Mar 24, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...



Apologies to Monty Python for stealing the title, but this post is a departure from the norm for me. No hint of sarcasm, boobs or wine. Well, now there is, doh.

Anyway, instead of me showcasing my crappy life, I am going to showcase my son's. Not his crappy life, he actually has it pretty good, but his talent. He started studying photography at school a few years ago, loves it, and has shown regularly that he has a good eye. He is now 17, in his final year at school and going on weekly photography excursions to various locations in the hunt for that perfect shot. Unfortunately the other kids in the class are tramping around looking for the same thing, and often walk into each other's photos, but he has come up with some great work so far. And some less great shots of the back of some heads.

Just thought I'd post some photos taken on a recent trip around the city of Adelaide where we live (South Australia, look it up), particularly near the Festival Centre and River Torrens. Some are just general scenery, some are more arty angled shots... or he dropped the camera, I really didn't like to ask. He grudgingly gave me permission to share them with you - me bribing, threatening and cajoling, followed by him grunting and shrugging is the same as him giving permission, yeah?

I won't give them all captions, I will let most of them speak for themselves. So bear with me while this proud mummy indulges, and I hope you enjoy them.


The Rotunda in Elder Park (above), a bit of an Adelaide icon, was made in Glasgow and erected here in 1882, gifted by Sir Thomas Elder.
The girl in front was made circa 1992 and got a much closer shot than my son did. And we also have proof of the 'back of head' phenomenon.













This isn't one of his photos...just figured I'd throw in a Pythonesque interlude.


















And here's the top of the Rotunda that he chopped off in the first photo coz he was too busy making sure "Girl, circa 1992" was in the shot.
He is still a teenage boy after all.


So, to steal more words from Monty Python...
The End of The Film.

Mar 22, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

"There aren't nearly enough crutches in the world for all the lame excuses" ~ Marcus Stroup


I'd like to explain something...explanations, excuses...same thing really. Someone once said "Don't make excuses, make good". But I have some to make anyway, I'm all out of 'good'.

Firstly I have to apologise to all the bloggers out there whom I usually read and comment on, as I have been rather absent of late, and feeling very bad about it. Computers have not been my friend lately. The laptop was made vulnerable to a fatal virus thanks to my click-happy son and poor/weak/bloody hopeless virus protection, and had to have major life-saving surgery, meaning our slower and more temperamental pc was the only portal to outside intelligent life forces (as I like to think of you all). It had to be shared amongst us, and that combined with a fairly busy week led to me reading less than half my usual number of blogs, and commenting on even fewer (in a rush to read as many as I could in my allotted time, I didn't stop to tell you all how fantastic you are, sorry about that).

The day the laptop came home to mumma was glorious, the sun was shining, the birds were singing.... until a few hours later the sun went behind a storm cloud, the birds crapped on me and the pc crashed. Again a hideous virus, again a complete overhaul required, still not completed. So in the blink of an eye we were back to sharing one device (as my new BFF, the computer fixer-upper refers to them, I am really picking up the lingo now, go me). I figured this would be better than the previous week, the laptop is much faster and is at least portable, would be easier for me to read more blogs and get back to leaving snide comments. I mean, nice comments.

I don't know how to write a word to describe the sound on a game show when a contestant gets an answer horribly wrong, but that is the noise you should imagine hearing right now. I was wrong. For some inexplicable reason, the laptop is now being extraordinarily fussy, particularly when I go to a blog. How dare I want to read something. I click on a blog, even my own, and I regularly get bumped from the internet. Right off, onto my arse. I am thinking of getting a tshirt printed with "Diagnose Connection Problems" on it since it is the phrase most appropriate to my life at the moment.

If I manage to make it to the main page of a blog, I have been known to get so excited that I have rushed to try and leave a comment without even reading the post. Oops. So if you have a comment about mashed potato and gravy on a post about relationship issues, sorry, that was me. If I have left a sensible (for me) comment on your blog in the past week, then know that you are one of the lucky/unlucky five or so, and that persistent attempts were made to get through to you with a never-say-die attitude in my head, a chocolate bar in my hand, and a bottle of wine in my gut.

Someone with more technical nous than me, as in 90% of the planet, may know what's happening, but I have two theories. One is that the signal from the wireless router to the laptop is weak/suspect/faulty/intermittent/f**ked. That is my techno theory, using some words I read on something I found somewhere in our "Tangled Cords, Instructions and Other Computer Shit" cupboard. My second theory is that my laptop, or the little leprechaun inside my laptop, has decided your blogs are dangerous and therefore not to be trusted, that they prevent me from doing housebitch stuff, cooking dinner, hanging out with my family and basically participating in real life. I say "SOD OFF leprechaun".

Needless to say, we have spent more money on heavy duty virus protection, so whoever you are Kaspersky, you'd better damn well be worth it. I hope to get the pc back and sort out my leprechaun very soon. My patience is wearing thin and my snide is bursting to get out. Or that may be the bottle of wine...


Mar 16, 2010

It's Getting A Little Crowded In Here....



I’m confused.

I recently posted a piece about what I would say if I met my younger self which made me delve back through my memories, good and bad, and take a good look at the young me. She seems so far away now, and yet there is still so much of her in me that I wonder if I’ve ever really grown up, or if I’ve just grown older and more complicated. Taking a good look at me now is much harder, partly due to the fact I haven’t cleaned the mirror, not to mention this slight hangover I’m contending with. A somewhat blurry, disheveled image seems to be panting quite heavily and frowning back at me. Oh.....sorry... I’m looking through the window at the dog.

Trying to describe myself now, I sound like I have multiple personalities. Really, I think Sybil has nothing on me. It's kinda crowded inside me, but I can't complain, at least I have my own support network from within. This is the confusion though.... Shouldn’t I now, at this age (pick a number anywhere between 29 and menopause), have my personality, my traits, even my eccentricities pretty much set in stone? Why am I still a mass of contradictions? I am not just a ‘certain way’, I am any and every way. I am both sides of the coin. Angel and devil. Both yin and yang, positive and negative, good cop and bad cop, Abbott and Costello.

I think I am intrinsically lazy, as does everybody else round here, just ask them. If there’s a shortcut to doing things, be damned sure I’ll find it. And if I can avoid it altogether, I will. I look at the mound of washing for a fleeting, guilty moment, then grab a book, go sit outside and read. The pile of ironing beckons to me like an annoying mother-in-law, I know I’m gonna have to deal with it eventually, but I pick up the laptop instead. (And daydream about hitting the mother-in-law with the laptop, but that’s another story). Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Like cooking. What? You expect to eat every day?

And yet doubts about my perfunctory laziness sometimes creep in. Maybe it depends on what is laid before me. A messy kitchen after a lunch for twenty-odd people (or just twenty ‘odd’ people, we are talking about family after all) makes me almost gurgle with delight at the thought of cleaning it and making it spotless again. Give me my pink rubber gloves, my Ajax, my sponge, and maybe one more glass of wine, and just get out of my way. If there is a crammed cupboard of overflowing junk that needs sorting and arranging, I’ll be in there with bells on, will happily spend hours doing stuff like that. I don’t understand why. Do I have selective OCD like all husbands have selective hearing? These and a few other organizational chores around the home make me turn into the ultimate housebitch, and it frustratingly goes against the idleness that I stand for... or should I say, sit for.

When the true Libran in me is at the forefront, I can procrastinate with the best of them. Oh, the agony of making a decision. Dress or pants? (“They’re both black, what’s it matter?”) Yellow or cream walls? Chicken or fish? This jacket or that jacket? (“Again, they’re both black, what’s it matter?”) Blinds or curtains? Salad or vegies? Which shoes? (“Seriously? You still haven’t worked out that everything you’re agonizing over is black?”) .... and of course the age-old question ...Red or white wine?

Then there is Quick-Fire Cate, who leaps out unsuspectingly and surprises us all. Snap decisions. Definitely, no maybes. Absolutely. No doubts, no fears. Never looks back. Head first, deep end, no flotation devices.
“That’s the one, that’s the sofa I want”
“But this is the first store we’ve been to, don’t you want to...”
“Nope, that’s it. It’s perfect, it’s the one”
“But are you sure...”
“Shut up, this is it, I want it in the Mulberry”
“There’s lots of different colours...”
“Did you hear me? I want this sofa in Mulberry, go order it... and while you are there order that TV cabinet I liked too”
“You only looked at the one...”
“Yep, what of it?”
“Do you want me to measure it first?”
“Why? It’s fine, you’re forgetting I have a designer’s eye and a much greater spatial awareness than you”
“But...but...”
“But WHAT?”
“Nothing dear...”
Poor thing, he is as baffled as I am when my certainty cannot be shaken. Though to be fair to myself, the majority of the time I think I am somewhere in-between, like most women. Thoughtful decisions, made with a little caution. And then blame HIM when it all goes pear-shaped.

I can be very laid back, almost to the point of not caring about too many things. This is when I am at my most pleasant and agreeable, you can request/suggest/insist almost anything. I cannot be arsed one way or the other... sure, you do whatever you want, I’ll go along with that, I totally agree, it’s all fine by me, I don’t have an opinion, can’t be bothered, happy to go with the flow, you’re so right, whatever suits you, no worries in the world, I’m just chillin’, pour me another drink.

Then there’s Catezilla. I’m not afraid to admit it. Disagreeable, argumentative, pedantic, bitchy and ohhh so stubborn.... My way or the highway, no I will NOT see your point of view, you are dead wrong, no way Jose, how dare you?, don’t expect me to just sit here and take that, you can’t do that, did you think to even ask me first?, answer the friggin question, you cannot be serious, that’s not how you’re supposed to do it, I WILL make you agree with me, of course I’m right, I’m always right, end of story. She can be a little scary but she’s mostly bluff and bluster, honest. Just don’t tell the kids.

As I’ve told you before, I am loud, talkative, bubbly and outgoing. But there is also a shy, quiet, reflective side of me who will get asked “Are you okay? Is there something wrong? Talk to me.” It seems silence is not always golden, not if it’s from me. Oh, the pressure to be ‘on’ all the time.

I have the ability to concentrate on one thing for hours on end, really focus, especially when I’m writing. Other times my head jumps all over the place, like I have ADHD, have run out of Ritalin and replaced it with red cordial.

I can be a loving, generous and caring person, often to the point where I think I have “SUCKER” tattooed on my forehead. But sometimes I really want to buy that tshirt that says “Don’t ask me, you must be mistaking me for someone who gives a f**k”.

Half the time I think I was put on this earth just to be a mother, it’s what I was meant to do, the reason for my existence. The other half of the time I look forlornly at my kids and moan “WHY?”

When you come to me with a suggestion, question or accusation, I can be harsh or lenient, straightforward or evasive, roll my eyes and laugh or burst into tears.

I could blame hormones, genetics, environment or astrology. Or accept the fact that Forrest Gump was actually talking about me and not life in general when he said it’s “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. One thing for sure, being in my company is never predicta......oh, look, you should see what my kitten just did with my rubber glove on the Mulberry sofa, so funny...... ummm, where was I?



Mar 12, 2010

Come Fly With Me..... The First Leg of the Journey


I have received a couple of awards recently, from Roxy at a woman’s write, and from Kelly at kellysapansa, (thanks ladies) and have been a bit slack about doing anything with them. Actually I’ve been a bit unwell, and my lethargy levels have been higher than my energy levels so I’m sure you’ll forgive me. Just as my kids have forgiven me for looking at them blankly every night for the past week when they approached me with the usual “What’s for dinner?” query. I’m wondering how much longer I can get away with the response “I don’t know, I don’t feel well, ask your father, get it yourself or move in with another family whose mother gives a damn”.

As is customary for me, I thought I’d do something a little different. I won’t write anything about myself...... was that a collective sigh of relief I heard echoing around the blogger world? Don’t blame you, I’m sick and therefore sick of me too..... and I won’t tag anybody, or just list names of blogs. What I would like to do is grab a handful of the blogs I follow and tell you a bit about them, more in depth than just a name and command to follow. A review of sorts. Sometimes I see a list of links to blogs, names that are new to me, but I don’t have the time to go visit each one individually, check out their profile, read some posts to get a feel of whether or not it’s of interest to me, and then follow. If I could read something about them on the one page however, and make my decisions on which ones I’d like to follow in one hit, then maybe I’ll find time to cook dinner again. Sounds good in theory anyway. Except for the cooking part, ugh.

As I have posted previously, I know what I like in a blog, and that is someone who makes me feel something. I want to laugh, cry, feel inspired, have my eyes popped open wide, my chin drop or my mind blown. If I can barely raise a smile, my eyes glaze over and my mind wanders to think about cooking dinner, you know the blog I’m reading is in trouble, deep deep doodoo.


So I’m going to escort you on a little trip around the world, my blog world, and I’ll try to do it regularly. I could use the frequent flyers points.


First stop : London (I stopped over in Singapore for some duty-free shopping, but I don’t think I follow any blogs there)

The Life and Times of a Househusband : The trials and tribulations of a Dad who is just trying to do his best.
Jamie’s profile says “A 30 something househusband bringing up 3 monsters”.
And that barely scratches the surface. Jamie is a former publican who used to spend his days and nights pouring drinks for others, and now pours them for himself, usually starting as soon as the kids get rowdy. (I don’t see anything wrong with Jack Daniels on cornflakes, though I prefer Kahlua) He is now a SAHD and freelance writer, has articles published regularly on dad.ie and boy, does he know how to make me laugh. His hilarious tales of a 16th birthday party, an eventful house move and subsequent toilet-hogging illness, a disastrous month without broadband (shock, horror, I know, gave me shivers), a school play and in particular a panic-inducing power blackout will have you in stitches, guaranteed, or you must be in a coma. Don’t get me wrong, Jamie is not only about clever humour, biting sarcasm and outlandish threats of dismemberment to the monsters, but he can show a poignant side too, as the touching posts on the death of his uncle, his feelings about being a Dad of girls aged 11 years apart, and a tribute to his Mum for Mother’s Day have proven.
I love Jamie’s delicious blog (I will now be chastised for only calling the blog delicious and not him) but I can’t wait for the day he has to change his profile to read “40 something”, looking forward to it immensely. If there is only one blog you choose to check out from this review, make it this one, you won’t regret it. (this last bit cancels the chastising, yeah?)

Okay, where to next? Let’s get really cold and skip across to Finland. Yes, Finland.

Notes from Lapland : Mother, Writer, Pooper Scooper Extraordinaire.
Heather is originally from the UK, and now finds herself a SAHM to 2 kids in Finland (apparently she’s 20kms from Lapland but so what, it makes for a good title). She seems to find it boring on occasion, which is a godsend for us because it means that she blogs a lot. Just make sure all liquid refreshments are moved a safe distance from your keyboard before you start to read one of her postings, as you never know what you’ll get, but be warned, you probably will snort. No holds barred here. Whether it is about writing, vaginal secrets (I tend to now think of her as Heather from Flapland), anal sex, naked sauna parties, eating out of date food, or wanting to sell her children, this interesting and witty woman has all the bases covered. Except during the naked sauna parties when nothing is covered. And although I didn’t see all the videos and can’t compare her to many others, she sure can stuff a marshmallow or three into her mouth. On a more serious note, Heather is very active in the blogging world, sets challenges, reads and comments regularly, is involved in spinoff mini-communities, and gives very helpful, honest and constructive writing critiques. (She liked what I wrote so I think she’s, like, totally awesome). Basically, her blog is a must-read. Anyone who has a header including snow, a red telephone box, and a pooping reindeer deserves to be noticed.


Right, back on board and into our first class seats.....you didn’t think we were flying economy, did you? Off to the good old U.S. of A.


Constant Revision : it’s not enough to write.
Simon’s profile reads “It's not enough to write: revision is crucial to the creative process. If I write enough, and revise enough, perhaps someday I'll publish that novel.”
Simon is a Dad of 3, also from the UK....(do you see a pattern developing here? Hmmmm, me neither.) He describes himself on his twitter profile as “Writer of flash fiction and the occasional short story, aspiring novelist, inveterate procrastinator. Slightly ornery, most days.” I would add to that intelligent, funny and charming vodka-lover, who even when trying to impose a blogging break on himself to concentrate on his novel, still enters flash fiction contests (and wins) and manages to reply to every single comment left on his blog. I smell addiction. I also smell mimosas in the morning, followed by Coronas, then martinis and of course, Scotch. He loves music, woodworking and books, but not Shelley’s Frankenstein, makes snow sound so poetic and romantic, used to swing dance, and once got a nose-bleed in a mosh pit at a music festival where he chatted up a girl in a chain-mail bikini. Seriously, I cannot make this stuff up. Simon also needs to build some sort of virtual shelving system that would be the envy of IKEA to house all his blogging awards. And did I mention the tattoo? Go see for yourself. Not the tattoo, just the blog.

Taking off again and I think it’s time for a mid-flight nap, this might be enough for one day. Tell the steward to bring me everything from the bar when I wake up, will you? So, where to? Destination unknown, you’ll have to tune in again next time. And I am so not cooking dinner tonight.

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