Monday 30 November 2009

Twists and turns

I started the day off grumpy. Awoken at the usual 5am, I really could have used another hour's sleep. For most of the morning I snapped and growled. The house needed a really good clean after I had been slack while working. I started. I turned around and the girls had poured a bucket of dirt on the floor. I started again. They poured water on another floor. I started yet again. The rubbed toothpaste into the door. I started yet again. Lil-lil poured a bucket of dirt over my head as I bent down to wash our glass doors. I gave up.

After three hours the house looked worse than when I woke up.

I was ready to scream and run to the hills. The phone rang and my lovely mum, brother and nephew were offering to take Lil-lil to the zoo. She was thrilled. So was I! This one gesture made an otherwise frustrating day better.

It's funny how everything can be chaos, you can be in the worst mood and one unexpected turn in the day turns everything around!

Friday 27 November 2009

The impossible dream

I want to be a farmer. I dream of living a self-sustained lifestyle on a small plot of land somewhere beautiful. Cows, pigs, chooks, sheep frollick about, live a happy life and then end up on my dinner table. I grow all sorts of wonderful herbs and vegetables. I make all sorts of jams, chutneys and preserves. If we need anything we can't make ourselves we barter with our neighbours. Basically I want to live at River Cottage.

I've loved Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for about seven years now - I even named one of my cars after him. I love his ideas on food, animal husbandry, life in general. If you haven't seen his shows or read his books, I highly recommend them. See here

There is one little glitch in my dream. It's a tiny one. I have no idea how to be a farmer. Oh, academically I have an idea, but if you plonked me on a piece of land somewhere I'd probably be curled up in the foetal position screaming for my Foxtel remote within 10 minutes. While I love the idea of this fairytale life, I suspect that's just what it is – a fairytale.

I'm a big believer in chasing your dreams. If you have a passion for something you should pursue it because we're only here once and what is life worth living for if you can't do what you love? Though what if you have a dream that can never be realised. Is it bad to dream about something that can only ever be a dream? Like me being a farmer? My 6ft 3inch husband wanting to be a jockey? My 40-year-old friend wanting to be an Olympic sprinter?
Can we only dream of things that may actually possibly come true? Do we always have to chase our dreams? Can't we just dream for the sake of dreaming?

Hmmm these are the questions I'm pondering today.

Thursday 26 November 2009

All I want for Christmas...

Watch out, two posts in one day!
Here is a sample of my list to Santa if I lived in my favourite place... Imaginaryland!

A whole quiet day to have a coffee and read a book.

This beautiful home on the headland overlooking Port Douglas.

Rockband Beatles for PS3, so I could pretend I was a Beatle all day long.

A gorgeous pearl ring, though I would have the band in white gold. But hey, since I live in Imaginaryland, I may as well go for platinum.

A girl can dream!

Back in the fold

Well my stint of paid work is over and I'm back in the 24/7 grind of a stay-at-home mum. The positive is that I'll be able to be a bit more of a dedicated and creative blogger. Going into the office and writing has sapped my blogging urges lately.

The girls have made it a memorable day for my first one back at home full-time. Lil-lil managed to squeeze a whole tube of toothpaste into my bed. Goosey pushed a bigger boy off the climbing equipment at the local playground, which brought high-pitched yells from his mother (fair enough too!). There have been tantrums galore. All in all though, it's good to be home!

My favourite moment has been the 'surprise' party Lil-lil decided we must throw for Goosey. She told me it was Goosey's birthday and we must have a surprise party, when I mentioned Goosey was asleep and her birthday's not for another 8 months, she replied: "Yes, we must party very quietly, so we don't wake her. We won't tell her about the party." I guess the best surprise of a surprise party is not even knowing it's going on!

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Quick fixes

I've been inspired by the Blog This! challenge this week. It's not the kind of thing I normally write about but here goes...

They want to know about quick fix meals – favourites, takeaway, etc. I have to say that I love food, we spend a lot of time thinking about food and enjoying meals out. We have mastered a lot of dishes that are delicious and quick to make. Usually nothing in our repotoire takes longer than half an hour to make. It's a cliche but delicious fresh produce doesn't need a huge amount of preparation. Plus with a couple of kids, the less time spent in the kitchen, the better. We have a few corkers up our sleeve on those nights the cupboard is practically bare and we just can't be bothered.

I would love to take the credit for my favourite quick fix meal, but it's one of Skip's. We usually have all the ingredients in the cupboard and it takes just 15 minutes to make. Best of all it's yuuuuummmmo!

Quick fix pasta
Cook pasta (any type will do, but we usually use penne, fusilli or bow ties as they're easier for the girls to eat).

Fry off some onion and garlic. Add some dried oregano. Add a tin of tomatoes (or some tomato passata). Add a tin of salmon fillets (John West in olive oil work best). Add a swirl of cream and stir. Add the cooked and drain pasta to the sauce, stir. Serve with garlic bread (which we always have in the freezer).

Sometimes we fry off mushrooms with the onion and garlic. Sometimes I throw in some peas or zucchini, depending on what's in the fridge.

This is as easy as any jar of pasta sauce and infinitely better. Best of all the girls will devour it.

Another favourite quick meal is a BBQ chook. There's nothing better if it's a good one. Serve with some vegies or salad. We then use the leftover chicken for sandwiches or a pasta/curry/fried rice the following night - so two quick meals in one.

If all else fails and no-one can be bothered to even open the cupboard, it's sushi - we have a great Japanese restaurant a two-minute walk away. The girls get avocado rolls while Skip and I share a mixed sushi platter and a California roll. Sushi is guilt-free takeaway in my opinion. Healthy, tasty and a great Sunday night dinner! I have to admit I have 'forgotten' to take meat out of the freezer on a few occasions so we can take an emergency dash to the sushi shop, but let's just keep that between us.

Treading water

I have so many things I'd love to get done at the moment. So many things aren't getting done. I look around and see all the things that are literally and figuratively piling up, yet I'm not inspired or motivated.

I'm making lists, yet keep getting distracted. Ho hum. Ho hum. I wish I was one of those people who ran around like a chook with its head cut off until everything is perfect. It's not so much that I'm lazy – I spend all day chasing the girls and keeping everything running – it's just getting organised to do all the stuff that would make life just a little bit better.

How do you get inspired? How do you motivate yourself?

Mission impossible?

I like Christmas shopping. I've always liked finding the perfect gift for my family and friends. Something that they'll love and put a smile on their face on Christmas morning. I don't even mind the manic last minute rush at the shops. I always thought that it was part of the fun of Christmas. 
Since the girls have arrived, the fun has disappeared. It's just too hard to take them shopping, let alone browse and try and unearth perfect pressies. I'm yelling and trying to catch them as they pull things off the shelves, dive under racks of clothes and run out onto the street. For the past couple of years, I have bought all my presents locally, thankfully the shops near me are great. Though I made a decision this morning - I'm going to do all my Christmas shopping online.
I have always hated the idea of online shopping. I like to see, feel, touch and bring home my purchases, lay them out and see them all. I'm starting to come around, the idea of doing the shopping while the girls are playing or napping and then having them arrive at the front door a few days later is bliss. Plus I'm finding some great stuff. I feel like I can put a bit love and effort back in again. 

So my mission is get all my shopping done in the next couple of weeks and do it all online. Shopping will be done, it'll be easier to keep to a budget (no spur of the moment purchases) and I'll have a lot more free time. Now, let's see if I can do it.

Friday 20 November 2009

Man, it's hot out there

I've talked about how I hate the weather small talk, but by jove today was just made for talking about the weather! Yes, it's hot out there. Damn hot. Looks like it's going to be hot out there tomorrow.

I had to laugh when I was at the beautician this morning – a lady walked in and commented: "It's really warm out there!" The beautician who was attending to me yelled out over the curtain: "Warm?! You've got to be kidding. It's bloody hot." She's my kind of woman.

I've just filled the fridge with drinks, shortly I'll fill the paddling pool, arranged for a few friends to drop by at different times and that's me done for the day. 

Have a great weekend! A big happy birthday to my Dad!

Singing for my supper

It seems to be the week for confessions, as I have another one...

I dream of being singer. Not just a singer, but a rock'n'roll star. A world-famous rock'n'roll star. A multi-platinum record selling, world-famous rock'n'roll star. (Well if you're going to do it, you may as well do it properly!) I'm now approaching my mid-30s and only have a 'nice' voice (as opposed to a 'great' voice) so I think this dream is planted firmly in la-la land. That's OK, I've accepted that fact.

As a lass, I was in the Australian Girls Choir and then did a bit of singing in high school musicals, I then decided if I couldn't sing with a strong, husky, bottom-of-a-whisky bottle voice I wasn't going to bother. Since having kids I find myself singing pretty much all day, every day. I've fallen in love with it all over again.

Now much to the horror of Skip, I will take any opportunity to sing. Yes, that means karaoke. I don't even need to have a few drinks under my belt, if there's a microphone and a cheesy tune –I'm in. We have the sing star game for PS2 and it often gets dragged out. I even considered buying a PS3 solely to buy the Rockstar Beatles game – can you imagine doing a whole Beatle concert in your lounge room?! (Santa are you listening??) Thankfully, I have very patient neighbours.

My girls are so used to my constant singing that they have started doing it too. They sit in the back of the car singing together. Lil-lil has even started making her own songs (my personal favourites are the 'We're on our way to pick up Dad' and 'The fish-n-chip' songs).

As much as it pains everyone else around me, I'm going to keep on singing. Like this blog, it's been a surprise love and one I'm not ready give up just yet. Writing and singing keep me sane or at least one step further away from being certifiable.

Have a musical weekend and keep cool. x

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Hi ho hi ho

Peaceful moments, people calling me politely by my name, people offering to fetch me tea, a whole hour to myself to do whatever I please, gazing out the window, being given money to do all of this. And people call all this 'work'!

I'm off to this so-called work today, so no long blog from me. 

See you tomorrow while I'm really working.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Have I reached my twilight years?

I have a confession to make. I'm not proud of it and I admit that I may have even lied about it at some point.

I don't really know what Twilight is.

There. I've said it. I feel much better now.

You're either thinking: 'What a moron! Have you been living under a rock?' or 'What's the big deal?' Well, just before having kids I spent a few years working in trashy, weekly celebrity rags, so it was my job to know anything and everything about this kind of thing. Now I don't know who these people are on the cover of the mags I once worked at. I don't know if Twilight is a book, a TV show, a cable special, a movie or all of the above. I feel like there's a whole world going on out there that is completely foreign to me. Most of all it makes me feel really old. I have no idea what the young folk are talking about these days.

I watched 60 minutes on Sunday night and caught a few minutes of their Twilight story. It really hit home then - if I need Charles Wooley to explain youth culture to me, then I'm really not part of  youth culture (or even popular culture) anymore.

Yesterday, as I walked around Ultimo in my lunch break I noticed all the young guys had this same silly haircut. What are they all thinking? It must take them ages to do, they all look ridiculous, most of all they all look like a sad bunch of clones. Uh oh, another sign of aging.

I then sat down in a small cafe, just for a minute and then had to leave. There was this god awful loud music playing.

On the bus home, two 14-year-olds behind me in their school uniform were having a very sexually explicit conversation. Something about how you have to find someone with the right sexual chemistry. That would never have happened in my day.

Know nothing about the latest craze – tick. Find the latest hairdos ridiculous – tick. Music too loud and just 'noise' – tick. Utter the words 'That never would've happened in my day' – tick.

So it's official, I'm old. Well, at the very least I'm certainly not young anymore. How on earth could this happen? I've spent years and years being young and hip!

Thursday 12 November 2009

10 questions

OK these are 10 questions posed by Melissa at Things I'd Tell You 
As I'm at home with a sick family and have a bit of time on my hands I decided to participate.
So here goes:

1. What was your favourite subject at school? History
2. Did you have a favourite teacher? What was it about them that you liked? My year 8, 9 & 10 science teacher. He had a very dry wit and for some reason he liked me. He gave me the only award I received in high school just cause he thought I was a nice person, not for actually achieving anything.
3. What do you like most about yourself? My uncanny resemblance to Angelina Jolie.
4. Why did you start blogging? To get my brain around writing again after having kids. 
5. Can you show us your 5 favourite blog posts? Kids' music; Deserting dessert; Cafe au shame; Man Cold (below) & One of those days
6. What do you love most about your partner? His uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt
7. Next to your husband/partner/significant other/children, who do you speak to most often? My mum
8. What are your 5 favourite books? 1984, George Orwell (the only time I have physically jumped with shock while reading a book); A Fortunate Life, AB Facey; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl; Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom; The Picture of Dorian Grey, Oscar Wilde. Though for a good, sit down and escape, head-in-a-book page turner you can't go past a Robert Goddard or Douglas Kennedy novel. This was such a hard question, I really needed to pick 10 as I left our some corkers...
9. Do you have a favourite work of art? Starry Night, Vincent Van Gough 
10.If you could live for a year anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Can I pick two?? I'd choose Paris (as it's my dream destination) or Hong Kong (as I love Yum Cha, BBQ Pork and the hustle and bustle). 

Feel free to answer these and then let me know so I can check them out!

Man cold

Our household has been hit by a very serious illness – man cold. Thankfully women are immune to this dreadful malaise, so only a quarter of our household has been struck down. Funnily enough the females in our home have colds, but it doesn't seem to be as serious as the dreaded man cold.

The symptoms of man cold appear to be similar to that of regular colds everyone suffers, just more  extreme. There is, of course, the added symptoms of excessive whinging, moaning and groaning. The patient will often think they're dying and sometimes try to find baseless reasons for their pain.

I'm hopeful that scientists will see how devastating this illness can be and develop a vaccine. I guess when the day-to-day running can still be done by the women (who are obviously not affected) they have so far seen no need. Perhaps we should start a fund-raising group. We could sell giant dummies at the train station on a special Friday we name 'Dummy Spit Day - let's spit out man cold for good'.

Women who are exposed to the effects of man cold should never, I repeat never, try to downplay the seriousness of man cold – it is a very debilitating condition, or so I'm told.

The only way to survive man cold is to put the patient in an isolated place (preferably a sound-proof room far away from the rest of the household) and take a measure of red wine or vodka (the carer, not the patient) regularly while symptoms persist. Hopefully within a day or two the illness will have passed.

PS - as you can see I have updated the design of 'A Day in the Life'. Would love to hear your thoughts. Do you love it? Hate it? Like the old one better?

Wednesday 11 November 2009

The real meaning of Christmas

This is another Blog This challenge:
What is the real meaning of Christmas
What does Xmas mean to you and your family?
Have you got some traditions?? 
What will you cook?! 
Who will you spend it with? 
Got a favourite Christmas memory? 
How are you decorating??

The cynic in me says the real meaning of Christmas is driving round to a million different places for a million different family functions. Never getting into the groove of one place before you're off to another. That's not true though. As much as it can be exhausting going from one family bash to the next, it is nice to catch up with everyone over the festive season.

I'm not really one for Christmas traditions, I've had so many different types of Christmases that there really hasn't been a place to keep traditions. I've spent Christmases overseas, interstate, at home, in restaurants, with family, with friends, with strangers. When I do spend it at home with family we never do the hot roast dinner - it tends to be cold ham, turkey and salads. 

For me, there are only three constants when it comes to Christmas. One is waking up with those butterflies of excitement on Christmas morning, this has continued past age five and Santa leaving presents under my tree. I still get excited on Christmas morning, knowing this day will be a little bit more special than any other day of the year.
Another is food - wherever I am and what ever I'm doing there's lots and lots of food.
The last is taking a moment to pause some time during the day. [This is something that I'm trying to do every day as I think it's really important for inner and outer health.] At some point on Christmas Day there will be a moment where everything goes quiet and you tend to reflect on what you've been doing in your life, family and what you want for the coming year. I have a million silly season memories but one that stays with me is one Christmas afternoon lying down with Skip to listen to a Jeff Buckley CD he had been given. As my mind processed the whole day, a cool breeze blew in and we drifted into the most blissful sleep, waking an hour or so later feeling so relaxed and rejuvenated. It was one of the best sleeps I've ever had. Not your average Christmas memory but one that Skip and I cherish.

Maybe now we have the girls we can start our own traditions, something just for the four of us, that we can pass down. Now that would be special. I guess that's what Christmas really is – behind the tinsel and the turkey it's a time for sharing special moments with the people that mean the most. (Or maybe I just stole that from a Family Ties Christmas Special...)

What rubbish!

It's council clean-up in our street this week. It's great to get rid of all those odd and bods that have been cluttering up the place. I also like the excitement of people wandering around picking through others' rubbish to find their own treasure. We have people who are so organised they have trucks and scouters out with mobile phones. Even if people are profiting from it, it's better than all the refuse ending up at the tip.

For council clean-ups we've been told to have all items on the kerb by 4.30pm Sunday. It's now 7.30am Wednesday and it still hasn't been collected. Now I understand the council (which is run by the Greens in our area) is hoping that others will collect items and are giving them as much time as they think necessary, but it's getting ridiculous!

Besides the fact that our street looks like a rubbish dump, I now have to do some serious preparation every time we leave the house. I need to distract the girls so they don't see all their old toys on the footpath and a screaming match starts. I also need to distract them from picking through other people's garbage - old lawn mowers, rusty bed springs and fridges aren't the best playthings for toddlers. Lil-lil keeps asking why her things are on the footpath and I'm running out of answers. Telling her the truth - "They're broken toys, darling. The man is going to collect them and take them to the dump" brings howls of "They're not broken! I love them!". Which makes a quick trip to the shop for milk impossible.

You learn a lot about your neighbours in council clean-up time. There are those that never put anything out and there is the house that puts out a small city each and every time. There are those who shameless go through your stuff in broad daylight while you're out gardening in the front yard and those who sneak out after dark with a torch (you still see them anyway).

I'm not much of a greenie, I admit ( more of a shade of teal or turquoise) but could those magical people from the council please come and wave their wand and make my rubbish vanish?

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Danger, Will Robinson!

Yesterday I had to go to funeral. It wasn't a particularly sad event as the person was 102, but it was sentimental. It was more of an end mark to a life that had fitted that had been jammed full of events and experiences.

After the service my brother and I were talking about all the things that had happened in the past 102 years and how amazing it would have been to have lived through them all. 
We then reminisced about all the things that we used to get up to in suburbia that kids these days would never get to do. Riding motorbikes sans helmets, playing in the bush without parental supervision, letting off fireworks in the backyard and a whole host of other very fun things.

These days kids aren't allowed to do much at all, mainly due to the kid who lost his eye on cracker night and the other kid who suffered a head injury on the motorbike or those kids who blew up their faces with gelignite they found in the bush (I actually knew these kids...).

The question is, that while are kids are super safe, are we wrapping them too tight in cotton wool? Are we depriving them of experiences that will help them carve they way in the world. Make them be bold thinkers, inventors or explorers. Will they be a generation of people who play it safe and take the middle road? Will they be kids who just see 'Danger' wherever they go?

What's the answer to keeping your kids safe, but giving them enough freedom to discover the world?

Monday 9 November 2009

Baby talk

Goosey is beginning to talk and to tell you the truth I'm not sure it's happy thing. Sure, everyday she has a new word and her talent for mimicry is outstanding. My lack of enthusiasm is that soon she's going to tell me all kind of things I don't want to hear. 'No', 'yuck', 'no way' will soon be all I hear. Actually she's already very adept at saying 'No!' which she teams with a vehement head shake. 

I have to admit though, there are some funny things coming out of her mouth. She often says 'Help!' when she can't do something (which sort of sounds like heeelup). Yesterday morning Lil-lil was whinging and Goosey turned to her and said 'Shhhh' with the finger across the lips and all. This morning while I was trying to find the little hooligans hiding in their rooms when I heard Lil-lil say: "Look out, Mumma's coming!" to which Goosey replied "Uh oh!"
She's certainly a little girl too, every morning when I get her dressed she brushes her hands over her outfit and says 'Ahhh pretty!'

Well, I can the two plotting something now - and they are certainly able to plot now they can verbalise to each other! So best be off.


Just wanted to send out a thank you to everyone for their support of my blog. It's has grown into something I never suspected it would. I've met some lovely people and am so happy to have such a loyal group of followers who are actually interested in what I have to say.
So a big mwah and thanks to you all. xx

Friday 6 November 2009

Time after time

I'm a little excited as this weekend I'm going to take myself off to see The Time Traveler's Wife. I loved, loved, loved the book, it's one of those reads that stay with you for a long time after you've closed the cover. Of course, I'm a little apprehensive about how it will translate to the screen.

I'm fascinated by the idea of time travel. Ever since I saw and read Playing Beattie Bow, I've wanted to time travel. I used to love going to Old Sydney Town and pretending I really had gone back in time. I guess it comes from my love of history. As a kid I could wander around the Rocks for hours and almost imagine myself 150 years back in time. Plus as a theme for a movie nothing is better - think of Back to the Future, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, 12 Monkeys.

I always thought that if I had the opportunity to time travel that I would pick somewhere like colonial Australia, medieval England, renaissance Italy, New York in the 50s. As the years go by, I'm beginning to think I'd like to travel back to moments in my own life. Baking cakes with my grandmother; playing murder in the dark with my oldest friend; my sixth birthday party; Christmases past; finishing my HSC; my wedding day; those first few moments of my girls' lives. While most of those events are etched into my brain, it would be incredible to go back and live in that moment once again. Soak in every scent; bottle every emotion; capture every sensation.

I guess until they invent a time machine I should just make sure that I stop and soak in every moment as life rushes past.

Have a good weekend. x

A special note to my old friend - I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils. 
Thank you for your compassion, love and generosity. You influenced my life more than you knew. 

Thursday 5 November 2009

The grindstone

This week my use of "Stop", "No", "Don't", "Careful", "Down", has dropped dramatically. It's not because my girls have suddenly become angels (far from it, in fact). It's because I've been working. I've been doing some freelancing to help out a friend and earn some extra bucks and it's been a blast. Quiet cups of coffee, peaceful bus trips, using that forgotten part of my brain.

In my previous life, I worked in magazines and I've been back doing some sub editing this week and have loved it! I was worried I that I had forgotten how do to anything, but it's come back to me so easily.

The thing that I've loved the most is being in a workplace again. I know this may sound strange but I love office life. I love the dynamics of it - the little quirks people have, the politics, the chatter round the kettle, lunch breaks, the whole lot of it. In my field, I could work from home, but for me I find that 'working from home' is like someone saying to me I could 'garden in bed'. Home is home, work is work. 

Of course, the best part about it all is that I'm only there two days a week for a month, so there is an end in sight. For the moment though I'm soaking up office life. I find watching people in the office and all the dramas that go on is better than a trashy mag or soapy. When people are fully absorbed by their workplace they become quite passionate about it, they're also forced to mesh with people they wouldn't ordinarily spend time with.

I love when you're out at a restaurant and you see a big table, you then look at who's seated and realise it has to be a work thing. There's no way that 50-year-old woman, 22-year-old guy and 36-year-old man would socialise in any other setting. I love watching how they interact with each other in a friendly, yet awkward manner. As the night wears on, someone gets more sloshed, someone gets more outraged and you almost see the gossip and whispers that will happen when they get back to the office the next week.

Ahh we all whinge about work, but let's face it, most of us wouldn't give it up for the world.

I'm back baby!

Well, what a couple of weeks it's been. No computer. It was really difficult! Now I have to try and catch up and get all this junk out of my head.

Hope you're all well! I promise I'll have some more for you all soon.

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