Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Splashing about in colour

Well as the fog of sleep deprivation is beginning to lift I'm finally inspired. I've spent the past three years on the couch looking at my house, wanting to decorate. Now, I'm no interior designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted my home to look a little more 'adult'. And by this I don't mean I want it to look like a brothel, more that I don't want it to look like a bunch of 19-year-olds live in it. So this week was the launch of 'Operation Spruce Up.'

So, after visiting the local furniture stores and decorating outlets I've made a few small steps. I'm still completely hopeless when it comes to a lot of this stuff, but I even managed to get the glue out and get a bit crafty. Tonia Todman, watch out! I've put a pic of my efforts in up above.

It's just made me realise how when it comes to visual things I'm about as good as Ray Charles at a blockout blind convention. I've got my talents, but putting colours, styles and textures together aren't one of them. Truly, when I was at high school I remember a teacher looking at a poster I'd been asked to do and saying: "Stop mucking around and do some real work." I was crushed, I'd spent a lot of time doing what I thought was a good job. Despite this, I'm rather please with my efforts at home. Even Skip nodded approval.

Though I don't expect Better Homes & Gardens to be knocking on my door anytime soon. Spruce Up will continue through out the week so hopefully in the next few days the house will be cleaned, tidied and looking shiny. Now to give my mind and body a good spring clean. Next week will be Operation Body Wise.

Catch ya later

Note: some people were asking me if they could comment without being a member and I have just changed the settings so you know can. It would lovely to hear from other readers out there... if you are indeed out there.

Top 10 Wednesday

Each Wednesday I'm going to do a top 10 of the week. I love doing top 10s or top 5s. Skip and I often (well I force him) do top 10 music countdowns of our own selections on a Friday night.

Here's my top 10 of the week:

1 Ruby Star Traders - this gorgeous shop has added colour and texture to my house and my week!
2 Playdates - keeping me sane while all the activities are on term break.
3 Lah-Lah - the wonderful Tina Harris' kid show has been on TV twice a day and the girls just adore her. We can't wait for the stage show at the Enmore next week. Tina as Lah-Lah is picture above.
4 Tobey Estate coffee - currently eclipsing my other favourite Campos.
5 Old Photos - as part of Operation Spruce Up [which I'll be writing about later today] I've been putting up some old photos. It's wonderful seeing faces from 100 years ago and seeing features of my girls looking back at me.
6 Marshmallows - I'm able to bribe Lil-lil to do almost anything with these.
7 Sunny Sydney weather - after all the bluster of last week, it's heaven to have some glorious spring days.
8 Sydney Food Festival - a whole month a delicious morsels just waiting for me.
9 Good hair days. I don't think this needs any explanation!
10 Daylight savings - hopefully the girls will be sleeping past 5am next week.

If you have any theme requests for my top 10 or top 5, please let me know!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Online or off the planet?

Sorry I have been offline the past few days, life has been busy. It's made me think, though, about my cyberworld.

These days most of my interaction with friends and family is online. Email, SMS, Facebook, blogs. Does all this technology help me stay in touch with my loved ones or does it turn our relationships into just words on a screen?

As a mum I think it's been invaluable. While the kids are screaming you can chat with friends without them being disturbed. While the bubs are sleeping you can chat with friends without them being disturbed. You can ask a quick question without going through a whole lot of small talk [yet again, my dislike of small talk rears its head]. I can keep in touch with my family overseas almost instantaneously - which is wonderful.

Today I bumped into a family member, who I often communicate with online. It was almost surreal to meet in the 'real world' though it was quite lovely to chat and laugh. It made me feel sad that we don't see each other more in the flesh, even though we live  just a suburb away. It also made me realise that this technology lets us be involved in each other's lives when the mundane routine makes it otherwise impossible.

So, I guess it's like everything in life - in moderation all this cyber-business is an OK thing.

Tune in tomorrow for my first top 10 list.

Good night and good luck.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Keeping mum

This morning Skip (yay, he's home!) was reading New Idea (shhh, don't tell anyone!) and Lil-lil leant over and pointed at a picture on Angelina and said: "Look, it's Mummy!".

At first I was chuffed that Lil-lil thought I looked like Ange! Then I thought, maybe all those threats I'd made about Brangelina coming to adopt them when they misbehave have really sunk in. Maybe she thinks the movie star really is her mum. Let's face it, I don't often get stopped in the street and asked for an autograph. Hmmmm something to ponder...

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A friend indeed!

All Lil-lil wants in life at the moment is friends - well milk, TV & friends. Making friends is easy for her, she simply sees a kids she likes and walks over and says "Hello, friend!". So they essentially become her mate whether they like it or not. Most of the time the other child is happy to comply with her and they play. She doesn't even need to know their name, she just calls them "My friend". Sometimes they'll see each other again, most often though they won't.

Wouldn't it be easy if we adults could be like this? I guess there are some people out there who are like that, but I'm not one of them. I'm terrible at small talk, especially with strangers [see my coffee post]. I find it really hard to talk about the banal things strangers usually talk about. Until recently this suited me fine. I'd put up the 'No Vacancy' sign in the friendship stakes a few years ago. I felt I had more than enough people to fulfill all my friendship quotas.

Recently though, as I've had more time at home, haven't been at work for a few years, lost some pals along they way, I thought it may be time to start recruiting again. I was beginning to feel a little lonely, but I couldn't place just why. It's weird though, at 33 years of age I'd forgotten how to make friends. I had to face the fact the most of my friends I'd met through my mum making playdates for me [sad, but true] and through my husband, with a smattering made at work.

Being someone who is completely hopeless at small talk I had no idea how I was going to make new friends. What was I going to do, walk up to some other mum at the park and say: "So, do you come here often?". It felt ridiculous even talking about it with Skip. I don't like things to be forced, so I just gave up on the whole idea. I decided that I did, in fact, have a lot of lovely friends and didn't really need to fill the hole that badly.

Out of the blue, I met someone. She's a lovely girl and we have so, so much in common. I decided to put myself out there and gave her my number. Which all felt incredibly weird. She actually called and we went out with her two girls and mine. As I was waiting for her to show, I suddenly realised that I felt like I was on a first date. I was nervous, the conversation was a little more stilted than when we first met, I kept thinking "Does she still like me?" As we parted she said "I'll give you a buzz soon and we'll do this again". I thought "Will she really call again?" And here I was thinking that as an old married lady, I'd never have to go through all this crap again!

She didn't call again, but she did email. She wrote: "How weird was it meeting, it was like a first date". I relaxed and laughed and we're now firm friends. While I love all my friends who have such different lives to mine, it's wonderful to have someone who is going through the exact same things I am and is on my wavelength. A kindred spirit, as Anne Shirley would say.

So I'm happy to say my two-year-old has taught me some tricks about the world and I'm sure it won't be the last time. So getting uncharacteristically sappy, my thought for the day is: Put yourself out there, you never know what might happen. 

Ciao for now.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Seeing red

Of course the apocalypse would come while Skip was away. This is what I was thinking at 6am today. A thick cloud of red dust had enveloped the city and I awoke to a room filled with an orange glow. The girls slept in as it was so dark - that in itself is a rare occurrence.
I did the sensible thing, of course, and grabbed the bub and ran outside to see what on earth was going on. I then rang Skip and gurgled to him incoherently about the 'end of world' and 'a Martian invasion'. Once sanity prevailed and the dust started to blow away, I realised that when the four horsemen ride up my street, I'll be the one standing on the street screaming like a bad extra in one of those 'end of the world' flicks.
I would like to think that when Judgement Day dawns I'll be playing it cool, but  I know that wont be. I'll be begging, pleading, yelling. Generally hysterical.
Oh well, it was kinda nice having a little bit of a dress rehearsal. The chance to star in my own sci-fi flick as I stared up at a blood red sky in my jammies.

Hope you're all breathing a little easier. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Home alone

Skip has gone away for work for five whole days. It's hard to do the 'single mother with a doortar' thing. Even though most days he's out the door at before 7am and not home until after 6pm, it's having that debrief in the evenings that makes life a little more sane. It's sharing the funny things the girls do and say that makes the day a little more enjoyable.
So, to get through the week I'm going to make the most of being home alone. And there are definitely some pluses:

  • Making and eating easy meals that Skip would turn his nose up at but the girls and I love
  • Having complete control of the remote control, which means a mix of trashy and high brow girly TV
  • Sleeping (yay, sleep!) diagonally in bed

To end I'm going to share two of the more hilarious quotes from Lil-lil this week, as I can't share them with Skip:
"My wee has a new home" [Said while on the toilet, shortly after being toilet trained]
"Mum, I have butter in my nose and honey in my ears."

On that note, adieu.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Singing a new tune

There was a time where I was up to date with all the latest music, novels and movies. I was a bit of a pop culture junkie too, so I knew about all the hit TV shows and celebrity news.
Those days are long gone.

About three years ago, the outside world stopped for me. In my mind it's still the early noughties. I'm like Miss Havisham - the clock stopped in 2006, I'm still wearing the same fashion and think that Justin Timberlake is fresh. The pop culture world has moved on yet here I'm am.

When I worked on a weekly celebrity gossip magazine, it was essential for me to know Jennifer Aniston's dog's name, what Posh Spice was eating so she could conceive a girl and where Lindsay Lohan had been partying on the weekend. Recently I picked up a magazine and I was reading about some girl called Megan Fox and Brad Pitt suddenly had six kids! When did this all happen?

Some how while I've been consumed with Hot Potato, Yo Gabba Gabba, Dora and the rest, movies have been made, music has been played and I haven't got a clue. Last week the family and I had dinner with some close friends who also have two young children. The telling factor that our lives had changed (besides the fact we started at 4pm and were on our way home at 7.30pm) was the conversation - we were talking about a recent episode of Bear in the Big Blue House, when we would normally have been discussing movies we'd seen or even having a bit of political banter.

The funniest part of the Big Blue House conversation was when our friend, a GP, was telling us he couldn't get the goodbye song out of his head and was singing it as he gave a patient a local anaesthetic. I can imagine how that patient felt as his doctor was singing "Goodbye, goodbye, my friend goodbye. Now it's time to goooo." 

That's the worst part about being completely absorbed with kids music, it's so damn catchy that you send yourself insane with tunes like "Toot, toot chugga chugga big red car", "I was just Johnny when I walked out the door, but I'm not just Johnny any more" and "My friends Tigger and Pooh". Yes, it's true, my kids watch too much TV.

I remember I had a strange sense of de ja vu as I jumped online to get tickets for The Wiggles in the presale, I had to hit the refresh button constantly so I could get good tickets. Wasn't I just doing the same thing to get tickets for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers? And as I was forced to cue up outside the Enmore Theatre being jostled around by toddlers and crazed mums to get through the door, I thought wasn't it just last week when I did the same thing to see Gomez?  I have to admit I think I got a bigger thrill seeing Jeff in person than Gomez. Man, that purple skivvy is cool.

Life has changed, yet in some strange way it still seems the same. 

So, please don't ask me if I've seen Russel Crowe's latest movie - I haven't! But I can tell you all about the Wiggles latest DVD and how I think Sam has put on a few kilos, but Anthony is looking surprisingly fit. And please don't ask me if I've read Tim Winton's latest novel - I haven't! But I can tell you all about the Hungry Caterpillar and Wiggly Pig's latest adventure.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Gone like the wind

Just a small post here about the loss yesterday of Patrick Swayze. He may not have been the best actor in living memory but he made some top movies and read some dialogue that has been the soundtrack for my life.
To honour Pat I'm going to quote some of his lines that have been the most memorable for me.
"Look, spaghetti arms. This is my dance space. This is your dance space." Dirty Dancing
"Life has a sick sense of humour, doesn't it?" Point Break
"Ditto" Ghost
And we cannot, not mention possibly the greatest movie line ever:
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

RIP Mr Swayze.

I'd also like to raise my glass to Keith Floyd who also passed on in fine Floyd style on Monday. The original TV chef passed away from a heart attack while sitting on the lounge after an extravagant champagne lunch. He was about to watch a TV tribute on his life. What a way to go! Floyd's cooking shows are still the best. 

The heavens are eating, drinking and dancing well tonight!

Nice to meat you

I will never be a vegetarian. I love meat too much. Luckily, I have never had to deal with guilty feelings about eating animals. I don't know why but I've never been plagued by remorse when I've realised that tasty little lamb rack I've just eaten has actually come from, well, a cute little lamb. Maybe I'm just a cruel and bloodthirsty person.

I'm not a carnivore that must have some kind of meat every day, I can happily eat vegetarian meals packed full of tofu and beans for days in a row. But there comes a time when I must have a tasty lamb cutlet, a succulent pork chop or a juicy steak.

This realisation of my passion for meat came to me over the weekend as I was pouring over the guide for the Sydney Food Festival. I saw the listing for a dinner with Fergus Henderson from St John in London. Set close to London's famous meat markets, this restaurant focuses on meat, but not just the prime cuts, Fergus makes every part of the animal a gastronomical treat. This idea is obviously not a new one and thinking about the having the opportunity to eat a whole pig from snout to trotter brought out a medieval drool in me. It's a little exy so I'm not sure I'll get to go (plus it's probably already sold out), but it did get me thinking about meat and my consumption of it.

I'm a believer of the idea that you either eat meat or you don't. Which means if you eat meat, you eat all meats, none of this 'I eat beef, but I don't eat veal' or 'I eat chicken, but I don't eat rabbit' business. It also means you should be willing to eat all parts of the animal (this part of the philosophy I'm still getting used to). On the other side of the argument if you're vegetarian please, please, please don't eat faux meat. We used to live near a vegetarian restaurant that had "duck", "beef", "chicken" on it's menu - tofu molded into meat shape and made to taste like meat is just plain ridiculous. If you're vegetarian, don't eat fish or chicken - they're animals too. I admit that I'm willing to try any type of meat (yes, any type except human) if it's served to me in an appetizing manner, Skip does think I'm a little weird for this.

Skip and I have always talked about how we want our kids to know where their food comes from, so they know that steak they're eating comes from a cow not a plastic-wrapped package from Coles. Lil-lil beat us to the punch when she was 18 months old and we were looking at goldfish in a pet store and she excitedly said: "Fish! Yum!".
We also tried having chickens to help the kids with this education, but the buggers never laid eggs and we spent all our time chasing them out of the house. Lil-lil did love chasing them round the yard though. And Skip's latest method is to point to the ducks swimming on the pond at the Botanical Garden and say "Girls, look at those delicious ducks! They'd make great confit or Peking-style." Hmmm..... I think that might be taking it a little too far.

We like to buy our meat from free-range, organic producers as much as possible too. I have to admit this is mainly because the taste is infinitely better, but also if any animal activists question my carnivorous activities I can tell them the animals I eat lived a good life.

So my challenge for the rest of the year is to eat all sorts of new meat, served up in all manner of ways - but most importantly that it's the best quality and has been farmed in a humane (and tasty) way! Bon apetit!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

How many Corinnes does it take to change a light globe?

If it's my fate to end up in hell after I pass away, I know exactly where I'll be.... wandering the aisles of Bunnings. Oh, how I hate that place! 
Floor to ceiling of things I don't want, don't need or don't care for. When I go there on a mission to get something in particular I can never find anyone who is willing to help me. It's like they can sense you need help and all vanish in a puff of sawdust.

I never feel a bigger idiot than when I'm wandering through a Bunnings store, but my outing there today has to take the cake. I needed to get some new globes for our kitchen downlights. It was the first time we had ever needed to change them, so on inspection we found there were a couple we didn't know how to get out of the socket. So there I was trying to find someone at Bunnings who could tell me how to change a light globe - yes, stamp moron on my forehead right now. And when I found the lighting 'expert', it really wasn't what you'd call a light bulb moment.

I managed to walk out with a couple of globes and a couple of ideas about how to change them, but my feelings toward Bunnings unchanged. It just reinforces my idea that everyone needs a little home handyman fairy to do all these jobs! 

Monday, 14 September 2009

Monday, monday, can't trust that day

Well Monday rolls around yet again. I know I don't work so I shouldn't get Mondayitis like most people, but I do. Maybe it's because Skip is back at work and that other adult to bounce the kids off is gone. The house is usually a shambles, which means a good few hours of cleaning before I can see my way - that is never a fun thing. Monday is also the day where you have to wash away the sins of the weekend – those delicious cakes, the glasses of wine, the chips, the extra rich food.

This means that Monday is fish day in our house. I like to cook something that's not only super healthy but super delicious. I think having a really tasty dinner helps ease the pain of a Monday.
So fish definitely fills the bills - healthy, easy to cook and, oh so, delicious.

So it's a short blog today as - being a Monday - I'm completely uninspired, but don't worry there are plenty more blogs in the ocean.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Cafe au shame

I love coffee. I love everything about it. I love the secret language of flat white, short black, piccolo, latte, cappuccino. I love the feel of a takeaway cup in my hand. I love that first sip and the anticipation of 'will it be a good one?'.

I have to admit I'm becoming a real coffee snob too. I can't just have any old takeaway coffee - it's got to be good, real good. Or else I just don't bother, I'll settle for a cup of tea at home.

That doesn't mean I'm completely loyal to one cafe. My brother is so loyal to his local barista that they've shared many a milestone together and know the ins and outs of each other's lives. See I'm more of your coffee Nazi. Like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld I have a list of unwritten rules and if any coffee dude breaks them then I usually put them on a suspension for an undisclosed amount of time. This means I have to have a pool of good, reliable coffee shops in case there is an unexpected breech of the rules.

I don't want to be friends with my barista, I just want a damn good coffee served (quickly) with a smile and be on my way. Cafes that are currently on suspension include Latticini in Rozelle (why are you sooooooo bloody slow?) and Piccolo Padre for constant abuse of the terms 'honey, sweetie, love'. Sadly they both make fabulous coffee, so I do bend the rules and let Skip go and buy me a coffee from them on occasion. He doesn't get the terms of endearment, though he does get the frustration of waiting 20 minutes for a coffee when you're the only person in the shop.

When I was on holiday earlier this year, the fabulous coffee shop in Port Douglas had a list of rules for their customers. I loved their rules, so I'll post them for you:
* Never ask why your coffee is taking so long
* If you want skim milk, you are not allowed cakes or biscuits
*If you do not take your allocated number we will not deliver your coffee.
* Never request country, progressive jazz or gospel
* You are only allowed decaf if you have a relevant medical certificate
* Never Order from the Barista
* Extra hot coffee = extra crap coffee
* Yes some of the girls are single.......only hot attractive foreigners will be considered

I've decided to write a list of my own, that I may or may not get printed on a T-shirt for my weekend coffee runs. My rules include: 
  • Don't tell me about your personal life. I don't care if your girlfriend wants you to propose, but you're just not sure if you're ready.
  • Don't make 18 coffees before you start doing the milk. Usually I'm at the head of the cue and I end up waiting 20 minutes before I get my coffee.
  • Don't serve your friends before me and push my coffee back in the line.
  • Don't call me darl, sweetie, honey, love. Especially all in the one transaction.
  • Don't charge me for a babycino, unless you're going to do something spectacular with a marshmallow - it's just leftover froth. And don't put hot milk in a babycino, they're for babies remember.
  • Drop the attitude - you make coffee for a living, this does not make you better than the rest of society.
I know this is a bit of an angry blog, but it's something I really feel needs addressing. To lighten things up it's time to announce my inaugural cafe excellence award. While this winner will be a bit controversial in my household, I have to say they have never had a suspension from me, they consistently serve great coffee without fuss and attitude. And the winner is..... (drum roll)

Bertoni, Darling St, Balmain. 

Have a good weekend and I hope your caffeine hit is a good one.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Voulons-je aller?

It's been a long time since my last blog and that's because there's been a lot going on inside and outside of my mind. It all started when sleep became my friend once again (oh how I've missed you, my love).

Now that I'm rested my mind doesn't know which way to turn. It's like a door has opened and there are all these different paths and I'm stuck in the door frame saying "Which way do I go?"
I have energy but I'm just not sure where to channel it. Well, there are the girls, of course, but I now have all this extra energy and time I could do even more with my day. I'm like a kid in lolly shop - should I read more books, should I do a course, maybe I'll get a part-time job, maybe I'll go freelance. So many choices... Not good for one so indecisive as I.

Though today my mind has been filled with thoughts of all things French. Why? Well I'm planning a trip to Melbourne. I know, that makes no sense whatsoever, so let me explain...
I'm pouring over the website for Vue du Monde - the wonderfully rich, elegant and wickedly expensive French restaurant in Melbourne's CBD. I also have a free day while I'm there and I have images of my wandering city lane ways, perhaps sipping on a glass of Pinot Noir while reading a book (of course it will be something profound and poetic) in some tiny wine bar and afterwards taking a stroll along the riverbank to a gallery. While it may not be Paris, a whole day to myself in a different city will definitely fill the gap between now and my next European getaway - probably in 2034!

So sleep well my dears, and let your dreams fill both your days and your nights.

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