Thursday, July 31

Past it

That's how I feel. When did it happen? When did I start behaving as though my life was over and I just had to settle in for the rest of my days. I'm not even very nice about it, I seem to have become one of those horrible, cranky, angry-at-the-world types. I started noticing it recently, little things that I do now that I would never have done even 5 years ago. It started with the car radio. I like to listen to Radio National - 'The ABC's specialist journalism and arts network' while I'm driving. It's interesting and gives me the intellectual stimulation I need (and don't always get these days). I used to alternate that with Triple J and Classic FM, because I love music - all kinds of music. I've realised that I don't listen to either of them any more. I used to listen to music at home all day every day or in the background at work. I still listen, but not so much. And now when I listen to Radio National I sometimes shout at the radio if something offends me.

My days are spent tapping away, frantically working at the computer, while in the back of my mind I'm fretting about the business, the price of petrol, the environment, global name it, I'm worried about it. I didn't used to be like that. Then I pick up the girls from school and tell them to put on their jumpers because it's cold and no, they can't have a chocolate frog - too much sugar is bad for you and do you have any homework and don't walk on that wall, you'll fall off and no we can't go to the cafe for Baby Cinos today because we have to get home and do homework and cook dinner and have baths and read bedtime stories.........blah blah blah. The playground? No way, not today.

God, I'm a bore.

The other morning I wrote an outraged email to a morning TV news show, I was furious at their biased reporting. So I told them so. It's only a matter of time before I start writing letters to the editor of The Australian and waving my umbrella at kids on skateboards.

Sigh. What happened to me? When did I forget that life is meant to be joyful and that it's actually a good thing to enjoy myself? And maybe by encouraging others to enjoy themselves I'd have some fun too. Don't get me wrong, I do still do things that I enjoy, but I seem to have forgotten how to be playful and how to have fun. I recently read a post by Dave about how he intends to have fun now that he's retired and moving to a new house with a bigger garden. I remember thinking 'yes, you should have fun, that is SO important'. Ha! Apparently it's important for other people but not for me.

It's a long time since I was mingling with the rich and famous in Puerto Banus

or riding the Paris Metro every morning for months to my favourite cafe for a café crème and chocolate croissant

or drinking too much Guinness in a little pub in The Burren

or enjoying ancient monuments ....

Sometimes I forget that there was a me before this me and she really knew how to have a good time.

I wonder where she is?

Wednesday, July 30

On my desk

Well look at that, Wednesday again and you know what that means don't you? It's 'on my desk' day. So what wonders have appeared on my desk today?

First of all some flowers from Aislin - she loves to bring me flowers from the garden (or from the school principal's garden in this case - oh dear).

A card. Every day I pull one from the pack (Cheryl Richardson's Grace cards). It keeps me 'mindful' and makes me think a bit more deeply than 'what shall I make for dinner tonight?'. I like to think whatever I pick is the message I need for that day. Today it was this.....and no, it has nothing to do with my ongoing insomnia.....although......

On the back it says 'Keep your eyes open. When we decide to live a more conscious life we see signs of grace everywhere'. Very appropriate for me today for so many reasons.

And last, and most definitely least, bills. They have to be paid and I'm trying to do it in a spirit of gratitude rather than resentment....without you Telstra, no phone, no internet...and SA Water? Well, speaks for itself really.

More on my desk here

Monday, July 28

It's not about winning (the hell it's not)

For the first time in ages we didn't have anything to do this weekend. No parties, family get-togethers or major shopping expeditions and best of all Tom didn't have to work. He's had a lot on lately and has had to bring work home so that he can meet the deadlines. It's tiresome for everyone, especially him. So with a whole weekend to spend at home what did we do? As little as possible of course. We played chess (yes, we are a whole family of geeks), played with Aislin's train set and built a whole town around it out of wooden blocks, baked scones and huddled round the fire to eat them, had a game of Cleudo (I won and Aislin had a tantrum because she wanted to win), napped and generally slothed around. It was fantastic.

There was some excitement when hailstones fell (see, geeks I tells ya).

All in all it was a lovely relaxing weekend.

We played lots of other games too, Go Fish, Old Maid, Snakes and Ladders - all the old favourites. The girls are very skilled at these games and they are sticklers for the rules. There was a lot of 'debate' throughout - card pairs were counted and recounted, spaces moved were checked and checked again. No-one was getting away with anything.

At one point T did raise an eyebrow when I thrashed Hannah at chess then did a demented kind of ecstatic happy dance about it. Ok, I realise she is 8 years old and I'm........well.... I'm older than her and I realise that I have decades more experience playing chess than she does and I realise that it's enjoying the game not winning that's important and I'm the Mummy and so I should set a good sporting example and be a bit more mature about it. But I WON!!!! What can I tell you, I like winning,

I didn't see him shrinking from the spotlight when he beat Aislin at checkers.

Yep, geeks one and all. Competitive geeks at that.

Saturday, July 26

Time waster...

First find a photo of yourself (or someone you love or better still someone you want to exact revenge upon) second go here, third waste some time playing with the images.

Personally I've always wanted a starring role in Harry Potter.

Off you go now, have a play......

Friday, July 25


A challenge to answer each question in one word.....can I do it?

1. Where is your mobile phone? sofa

2. Your significant other? work

3. Your hair? fine

4. Your daughter? two

5. Your son? none

6. Your favorite thing? them

7. Your dream last night? strange

8. Your favorite drink? wine

9. Your goal? tranquility

10. The room you’re in? office

11. Your church? willows

12. Your fear? loss

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? UK

14. Where were you last night? home

15. What you’re not? finished

16. Muffins? lemon

17. One of your wish list items? puppy

18. Where you grew up? haven't

19. The last thing you did? eat

20. What are you wearing? toga

21. Your TV? silent

22. Your pets? warm

23. Your computer? temperamental

24. Your life? busy

25. Your mood? reflective

26. Missing someone? sisters

27. Your car? reliable

28. Something you’re not wearing? bikini

29. Favorite shop? market

30. Your summer? HOT!

31. Love someone? yes

32. Your favorite color? blue

33. Last time you laughed? today

34. Last time you cried? recently

35. Who will repost this? friends

Well I wasn't sure about 'UK' but I'm making a rule that acronyms are one word. Oh and I'm not wearing a toga, it's winter here, there were too many clothes to list.

Ok, your turn.

Wednesday, July 23

On my desk

I have a confession - two in fact. First, I am a voyeur. Not in a pervy way (well not much) but in a more domestic way. I like seeing the inside of people's houses. Especially work rooms and desks etc. I can't explain it but I don't feel too guilty owning up to it here because anyone reading this is probably a bit of a voyeur too, isn't that why we read blogs's not? Oh....that's just me is it? Well now you know.

The second confession is that I'm quite lazy. If there's an easy way to do something I'll find it and take full advantage. So when I discovered that Kirsty at Kootoyoo had a 'game' called 'On My Desk', where every Wednesday's post is a picture of what is on your desk that day, I was all over it. First I crept around the players blogs in my raincoat peeping at their desks then I realised that I could do it too and it would solve the blogging problem one day a week - there's not usually much to talk about on a Wednesday. I'm sure if I surf the blogosphere long enough I can find a game for every day of the week and you'll never have to listen to me blethering again. Well, sorry to disappoint you (third secret confession, I like the sound of my own voice). So from now on Wednesdays will be 'On My Desk' day and you'll get to see a photo of my coffee cup what I'm working on and perhaps a bit of an explanation.

First a bit about my desk. I love it. It's old and pretty crappy looking. It was once an office desk from some government department before they decided that office desks are better when they're U-shaped lumps of formica surrounded by 'walls'. Remember when people worked in offices at solid wooden desks and everyone could see each other? Anyway, my desk is from those days. It's scratched and ink stained (ink? what's that? it's what we put in pens before gel was invented - tsk) and the drawer handles are ugly and sometimes they get loose and fall off. I'm always planning to sand and varnish it and buy it new handles but I quite like it the way it is really. It has character and it has seen me through many a long and stressful project/essay/assignment and we have bonded through my pain. Those scratches are battle scars. From time to time I look at the smart shiny desks in the office supplies shops that come with matching bookcases and comfy leather chairs but they are so heartless and unfriendly. I'll stick to my solid old friend thank you very much.

So getting to the point (finally), what is on my desk? I've blogged before (with photos) about my office tidying projects, those things are still there, Tara and the piece of Turkish textile. I also permanently have a desk lamp, my laptop, a file stand thing, a photo of the girls, a box of tissues and at the moment I have a very dusty red 1960s Swedish Art Glass vase that I found in a box of 'junk' my mother-in-law gave me to look through (she thought there might be something I'd want).

I'm not usually given to 'ornaments' (dust collectors) and something like this is not usually my taste (too 'retro') but for some reason I like it and in certain lights the colour is amazing, so I'll clean it up and find a spot for it. And of course Swedish Art Glass is very collectable.

There is the ubiquitous coffee mug, I have several lovely ones but today I am using one that cost $1.49 in the supermarket. I bought it for Hannah to take to school on hot Milo days (she breaks them a lot - 5 so far - so I bought a cheap one). It's a hideous colour but it's big and I needed a big cup of coffee this morning (don't ask).

And lastly, what am I working on today? Well it's not on my desk top, but it is on my desktop - the dreaded website. Which will probably explain why I've just spent and hour faffing about with this blog post and taking photos of coffee cups.

Welcome to 'On My Desk Wednesday'.

Tuesday, July 22

Singing, exercising and sorting

That's what I've done today. First came the exercising, I hate exercising - I'm much more suited to curling up in chair with a book, but alas my ever-spreading rear end dictates otherwise and occasionally I catch sight of my reflection in a shop window or mirror, let out an involuntary squeal and head straight to the gym. I bought a one year membership last October and let's just say I haven't exactly got my money's worth, in fact to date it's cost me about $78 a visit - I need to go more often. So off I went this morning full of enthusiasm and the delusion that after my 30 minute workout I'd exit looking like a bit like Angelina Jolie. Surprisingly this wasn't the case. After 30 minutes of uncoordinated shuffling about, jumping on and off pieces of equipment and sweating profusely I didn't look anything like her (she's taller). However I could feel smug that I'd actually done some exercise today and I'll be milking that one for the rest of the week.

I also decided today to clear out my wardrobe once and for all. I went and got some boxes to pack it all up and pulled a pile of stuff out and it now lies strewn across my bed. It's still there.

Then I read some blogs, including Dave's, he was reminiscing about David Essex and that song 'If I Had Words'. So then I did some singing (well, painful cawing more like). I commented to Dave that the scene from Babe where the farmer sings that song to the pig makes me cry. Every. Single. Time. It should make me cry because it's so soppy and silly but no, I cry for that little pig and that nice man singing to him.

So here you go.....

Sob, and now I have to go. Before I do, here's the original

Monday, July 21

Did you know....

...that the week of 1 - 7 August is Simplify Your Life Week? Who decided this? I know not. I can't find an official site for it, but I did find 268,000 results for it on Google so it must be real, but I can't promise I'm going to check them all to make sure - sorry, you'll just have to take my word for it.

Interestingly in my research I also discovered that August not only hosts Simplify Your Life Week it also hosts Work Like a Dog Day. Who thinks this stuff up? And I sincerely hope that Work Like a Dog Day doesn't fall in the middle of Simplify Your Life Week or there are going to be some very confused people out there because it seems to me those two events are not compatible.

Now don't get me wrong here, I'm a sucker for simplifying my life. I hanker after a calmer lifestyle, less busy striving, less consumerism, less stuff, less frantic rushing about and so on. In fact I quite fancy a stint at being Amish but not for too long because I think those hats the women wear would make for even worse hat hair than a mortar board and I'd miss my laptop (I'm shallow that way) and I believe every day is Work Like a Dog Day for the Amish (except the sabbath of course). Also I just can't see Tom and the girls going for this......

However, there are other ways I can simplify my life and I'm going to make a list in readiness for Simplify Your Life Week - all suggestions gratefully accepted (although not necessarily acted upon). I shall post this list prior to the event and you can be entertained by how unlikely it will be that I actually do it my newfound simple lifestyle.

If it all works out I'll be renaming this blog - The Simpletons Gazette or something ....oh, wait a minute....

Photo credit - I did not take this photo and I always like to give credit for photos on the blog that I didn't take - however this one is in several places around the internet and none of them give credit to the photographer. If you took this photo and find it here on my blog please let me know who you are so I can credit you.

Saturday, July 19

Last week I .....

  • continued to 'enjoy' the school holidays - ahem
  • entertained a house guest for two nights - Tom's youngest brother came to stay, he buys good wine
  • got a little bit tipsy on Thursday night (see previous)
  • had a slight hangover for the first time in a long time (some of you may recall this episode)
  • wrote some stuff then presented it to a potential 'associate' - nerve wracking
  • created a new household budget and stuck to it (time will tell on that one)
  • ate way more chocolate than is good for me (but within budget so that's ok)
  • missed my favourite blogs because I was too busy and distracted to read them
  • didn't post to my own blog
  • turned down the opportunity to interview for a very nice, very interesting, very important and very well paid job.
  • in doing so also turned down a life of stress, pressure, exhaustion and parental guilt because my children would have to spend so much time in childcare
  • beat myself up as to whether I'd made the right decision (ok, I'm still doing that one)

So tell me what you did last week....or I could just go and read your blog (if you have one..... if you don't you should......I'm looking at you Imelda).

Monday, July 14

..and very nice it was too.....

On Friday night, to celebrate our child free weekend, we enjoyed a rather lovely 1997 Wynn's Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner. Delicious.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, eating, sleeping and hours and hours reading. I never get to spend hours and hours reading so that was quite a treat.

Now I have to get to the shops because we're running out of food and, more importantly, toilet rolls. Yes. Back to reality.

Thursday, July 10

Nothing to see here folks....

..unless you're interested in endless rain and the sight of me going crazy trying to think of, then supervise, entertaining indoor activities while still getting some work done? No? Didn't think so.

The winter holidays are always a challenge, even if it's not raining it's cold out there and no-one really wants to be out in it for too long. Short bursts are about all we can take then it's back inside to destroy the house engage in more of those entertaining indoor activities. Sometimes (but not this time) we go to the family beach house for the July break, it's even colder and rainier there but that doesn't stop us staying out for hours then coming home to a warm fire and hot chocolate. Tom and I may or may not lace ours with whiskey, I'm not saying.

I'm not complaining about the rain, we need it desperately and I actually love a miserable, cold, rainy day (what can I tell you.... I'm Scottish). Also, South Australia is facing some very serious water issues and it's not an exaggeration to say we're in danger of running out unless our illustrious leaders do something. Scary stuff. So keep the rain coming I say.

Tomorrow the girls are off to their cousins' for the weekend. I've mentioned before the arrangement we have with Tom's brother and his wife. For those of you that don't like to follow links I'll recap - we have their boys for a weekend one month and they have the girls the next. It works well and means that both couples get a child free weekend every two months. When this tradition began we'd spend the first 8 hours wandering the house aimlessly, occasionally bumping into each other saying things like 'what shall we do?', 'I don't know, what do you want to do?', 'oh I don't know, what do you want to do?' and so on. Very tedious. Now that we're used to it there is no such bewilderment. It's more 'I'll pick up the takeaway, you get the wine' then we proceed to eat, sleep, watch movies and have uninterrupted conversations all weekend. Very grown up.

But that's tomorrow. Today I have to come up with some more holiday fun. I'm running out of ideas.

Monday, July 7


....pale pink cupcakes are the only thing that will get you through a rainy afternoon.

Because unfortunately Vodka is pretty much out of the question when you have children in your charge.

Sunday, July 6

Local wildlife

I've mentioned before that one of the best things about living in Australia is the wildlife. There are so many interesting and unusual animals in this country, some of which can be seen in your own backyard (or shed).

So you can imagine my delight when I managed to photograph a little known, and rarely seen, species of wombat as it came through the cat door this morning (obviously trying to escape the freezing rain). This remarkable little marsupial is the Lesser Turquoise Wombat (Vombatus Acid Trippus) or 'Pink Ear', a very rare sighting indeed. I'm so glad I had the camera handy.

Alternatively my children could be messing with my head, planning to have me committed so they can get their greedy little hands on that bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk hidden at the back of the pantry.

If anything happens to me can someone let the authorities know please.

Thursday, July 3

I've worked out what I'm doing wrong....

....I filled in the wrong quiz. Apparently I make a MUCH better 1930s husband than I do 1930s wife.


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

My friend Dave* (you can find him over here) left me a comment to say he'd done the quiz and was a very superior husband. This made me jealous curious. So I did the husband test (obviously replacing the spousal gender accordingly). Above you can see my result. Interesting isn't it?

Seemingly things like 'failing to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly' or 'walking round the house in stocking feet' make me a poor wife, whereas 'not using tobacco' and being a 'careful auto driver' make me a top notch husband. Who knew?

Thank goodness it isn't the 1930s. I'd be an outcast. Not only a hopeless wife but clearly way too much of husband. Disgraceful.

So come on...are you a better husband or wife?

*you'll note I say 'my friend Dave'. We've never met. I like his blog, he's funny and likes cricket and wants to walk on Mars. I like to chip in my ten cents worth in his comments and he sometimes comments here (hi Dave!). In the blogging world that makes him my friend, whether he likes it or not. Either that or I'm more of a stalker than I thought.

Wednesday, July 2

All is quiet

I'm not avoiding the blog, or having another 'moment' I just don't have much to report just now. It's a winter thing I think. I don't have anything interesting to blog about, I seem to be spending my days at the computer working hard, writing articles and an e-book for my business. That's all going well thank you very much.

The girls are on holiday for 2 weeks from this Friday, it's the end of Aislin's first term at school. It's gone quickly and she's doing really well. We had our first parent-teacher interview for her and it was all very positive. However winter time holidays are always a challenge, a few days in front of the fire watching movies is ok but what to do the rest of the time? Winter nature rambles, cooking, painting and crafting maybe. Everyone is stir crazy by the end of it all.

Tom and I have been talking about the future, deciding whether to move. With petrol prices and interest rates etc it might be prudent to live closer to school and his work (petrol is costing us about $100 a week just now). I don't know what I want to do, I still have the restlessness that has plagued me for most of this year. I feel I want to do something, I just don't know what. However I think winter is a time for incubating thoughts, plans and ideas. Mulling them over ready for action in the spring. So I'm not rushing into anything (famous last words).

Am I the only one that feels like hibernating in winter? I love winter but it really turns me into a hermit.