Thursday, September 29, 2011

My happy space- 29th September, 2011

This week pandas are making me smile.

As the Adelaide Zoo gives Wang Wang and Funi their private space
in the hope of some fertile hanky panky taking place behind closed doors,
(they have even turned off the internet cam...),
I've been coming across photos of baby panda nurseries in China.

Warning-  excessive cuteness ahead...




Here's wishing Wang Wang and Funi a bit of romance
and a load of baby-panda-making-rumpy pumpy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A technicolour life.


Angela was the name of the eccentric lady in my country town when I was growing up.
In a small town like Longford, Tasmania (population well under 5000 at that time),
everyone knew Angela.

She was middle aged, she lived alone
and she walked everywhere.
She lived a few doors down from us.

She also had a goat sleeping on the bed in her spare room.
She undressed down to bra and knickers at the local clothing store
to walk out of the dressing room and announce (to the world apparently)
"This is what size I am"
She would stand by the side of the road picking and eating some strange, unknown berries from a hedge
watching the world go by,
offering them to anyone who passed.

Angela wasn't threatening.
She frequented the local businesses,
my parents' butcher shop included,
and was polite and generous.

While I am sure the majority of the small population of the town
ridiculed or pitied Angela,  judged her,
she seemed happy in her world.
It appeared to be a colourful place.


I don't know what happened to her.
I don't know if she had family or friends to support her.
I don't know if her "eccentricities" led to any particular diagnosis or struggle 
and, as a consequence, a (possibly involuntary) lifestyle change.

Today I realised that I haven't seen the local walking man for near to 12 months.
He is a solitary man, about my age,
always dressed in what appeared to be a heavy tweed suit,
and he walked.

And walked.

And walked.


I would see him a couple of times a week.
He would walk up our street
but I would see him suburbs away.
Sometimes walking on the side of the road,
never communicating with anyone
but, it seemed, often a smile played on his face.

But he has disappeared.

I worry that something has happened to him.
That he didn't have support or help.
That he has been taken away from his life
and placed somewhere where he doesn't want to be.

But I know nothing about him.
He might have actually been happily retired or unemployed,
sleeping in then reading the paper,
walking most of the day
then heading home in the later afternoon to his wife of 22 years and his pet cat,
to sit down to meat and three veg and watch the soapies on telly.

Who knows?


I don't remember a lot of people in my home town from my childhood
apart from family and close friends.
But I will always remember Angela with a fondness
that she made the world a bit less boring and mainstream.

For whatever reasons,
she didn't care what people thought
and she was contented to live her life the way that she wanted to.

We all tend to judge- at least (or mostly) superficially- don't we?

We see a somewhat older woman with brightly coloured hair, multiple piercings and a very short skirt
and think "Really? Seriously? Should you?"

We see a couple getting married after a whirlwind relationship
and think "Oh, that will end in tears"

I am bemused by the sheer majority of mums at our local school who pull out their knee high black boots come winter
while they are probably equally bemused by my red Docs.

Chances are that they doesn't give a toss what I think
and they feel great about themselves.

I lack some of the conformity that I see in other women of my own age
but I am self-conscious at times and hesitant in some decision making 
for fear of judgement or ridicule.

It shouldn't matter, should it?
If we all do the same, live the same, wear the same,...
life is one big yawn. 


It is probably worth risking a bit of judgement if it gives you some added technicolour in your life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

An unabashed, unapologetic and unsolicited crafty rave.

Little Boozle 2011

We have a lot of books in our household.
Some of those books are non-fiction
and a lot of those non-fiction books are of the cooking/ sewing/ knitting/ other crafting variety. 
...and a lot of them have been very disappointing or just plain crap.

Little Boozle 2011

I just started sewing again this week
after really not doing much at all in the past 6-12 months.
I don't think, caught up in my obsessive knitting phase,
that I realised how much I missed sewing.

Little Boozle 2011

Little Boozle 2011

My first projects were some City Shoppers from Nicole Mallalieu's "You Sew, Girl" book.
I have loved the look of this bag since flicking through the book on Mother's Day
and decided that I now might just need to sew one up
as the necessary hands-free bag one might need on an upcoming trip to, hmmmm, say, Vanuatu.

Little Boozle 2011

I have made a lot of bags
but I have to say that I learnt so much in just making this one style of bag from her book.
The end result is so much more polished and professional than I am used to.

Little Boozle 2011

I actually made 3
(and the third will be making its way to Sydney for my giveaway
so I can't show you yet)

Little Boozle 2011

There are a few more projects that I am eyeing off in Nikki's book
and I am looking forward to ticking them off my project list.
She shares some fantastic techniques and tips
and these bags came together perfectly.

While a few of my craft books are currently dust collectors, this one isn't.
It's a gem.

Little Boozle 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This week...24th September, 2011


...We watched Gran Torino.
Think an elderly, racist Dirty Harry Highpants
living in the multi-cultural 'burbs.
Confronting and excellent.

Little Boozle 2011

...Another week (day),
another sponge meets its demise.

Little Boozle 2011

...I made play doh for a daughter and a son in the colours as requested.
While I was busy making and colouring and thinking about gender stereotypes,
I didn't even noticed the colour of the scrapers that I had used.
Who is to blame for such stereotypes?

Little Boozle 2011

...Some adult entertainment arrived, even wrapped in brown paper packaging.
Shoot up the mad chooks who are pelting you with eggs
or coming at you with machine guns.

Not suitable for the kids
and why should they have all the fun anyway?
(Can't wait till next date night)

Little Boozle 2011

...I found my sewing mojo cowering under a massive pile of fabric, scraps,
old, unfinished projects and clothing to be repaired.
He was rather hypoxic, very dusty, almost squashed flat due to the weight on top of him
 and he refused to come out until I cleaned up my sewing table.

He was true to his word
and magically returned to life once the table had been cleared.
I'll try not to let him get buried again anytime soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally. If you remember, I was having a giveaway...

Little Boozle 2011

In the excitement of a blog giveaway draw equal only to watching paint dry,
the lemon tree gods have spoken
and someone has actually (finally) won (something)

Little Boozle 2011

I will admit to artistic license and re-creating the scene for the sake of heightening the tension
that only comes from the anticipation of knowing that the paint is finally dry.
(Real life circumstances were that Erky actually found and grabbed the winning citrus
and came bouncing into the kitchen.
But I didn't happen to be holding a camera to capture the exciting moment unfolding)

Little Boozle 2011

The winner is....

Little Boozle 2011

....comment no 11 from Sara.

Which presents a challenge as I can't give her the Thermomix that I had set aside as the prize*

Sara makes many gorgeous things;
she dyes, embroiders, sews, makes iron-ons.
So I am sewing her something that I hope she will love.

Now what to do with this Thermomix...

*Sara came out this week and revealed that she had gotten one of these beautiful kitchen appliances.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some motherly advice


My dear daughter,

I am hoping that this advice can be taken on board.
After all, you are only 4
and if I have it right,
according to how it happened with your brother,
you don't know everything
until you wake up on your 8th birthday.

Firstly, try and say that you have a friend who is a boy at kindy
rather than that you have a boyfriend.
You may miss the subtlety of the difference between the two at your age
but let's just say that it is the difference
between your daddy getting a goofy grin on his face and talking about cutesy things
or him getting a big frown on his face and talking about shot-guns.
It is a conversation that we are hoping to avoid for at least another 10 years.

Secondly, you are a big girl now and you really should try
and make sure that the whole world doesn't know that you are wearing "My Little Pony" undies.
I say this because it is something that family friends will feel the need to remind you about later in life,
much later in life.

I am 42 and I am still reminded by (now elderly) family friends
about my undie displays as a young tomboy.
In fact, a couple may still murmur about my lack of undies as a young tomboy.
And how I used to chew my big toes nails.
If this doesn't put you off, it should.

Thirdly, when I asked your big brother to send you an email from school
because you are forever heart broken
at your lack of mail, both paper or electronic,
I expected something along the lines of
"Dear sis,
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Brussel sprouts stink
and so do you".
So when he actually sent you an email,
without countless reminders,
and it said
"you are the best sis in the world. i love you!",
my heart swelled up and almost burst.

You probably wont understand this either.
But one day when you are a mum, you will.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

"The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating...

...and you finish off as an orgasm.”

George Carlin

Monday, September 19, 2011

Remember the days of the old school yard?


This year is my 25 year high school reunion.
I have had a friend chipping away at me for months to fly back to Tassie and attend.

I have hovered between being quite keen and curious 
or thinking that I'd rather be dropped into a vat of boiling oil.

Part of me can't get past the thought
that the night will turn into a cliche
from a movie or telly show.


All the beautiful people will have married other beautiful people
and have beautiful jobs and beautiful houses
and have beautiful children and
take beautiful holidays
and have beautiful bank account balances.

The dags, of course, will still be dags.

The jocks unquestionably will still be jocks.


(I was in none of these groups.
I was stuck somewhere in-between these groups.
As one of the more-inclined-to-be-a-book-nerd-than-anything-else group,
I tried to fly beneath the radar where I could
and avoid being in the spotlight for any unwanted attention)

Another part of me can't get past the fantasy cliche,
also out of a movie,
where the beautiful people are no longer beautiful
and their lives are a mess.
The jocks have a middle-aged paunch and hair loss.
The dags have blossomed and live fabulous lives.
Then I waltz in
and the music stops
and all heads turn my way and wonder
"Who is that amazingly awesome person who just walked in?"

It is amazing how the thought of a reunion 25 years later brings back all the insecurities
of high school.

But you know what?
I will admit that at first I was thinking that I should try and lose a few kilograms for the occasion
and make sure that the grey hairs were under control
and that I should wear figure-shaping underwear.

But, as soon as I booked the air fares
and made the commitment to attend,
I actually started to think how good it would be to see some of those dear friends
that I shared some fabulous times with.
Other than that, it was a clean slate to meet up with some "strangers" of 25 years
and see what happens.

It became about catching up with friends
rather than trying to prove anything to the ghosts of high school.


But you know that I will be wearing the figure shaping underwear too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This week...17th September, 2011

Little Boozle 2011

...There weren't any roses so I stopped to smell the jasmine.
Many times.
So many times, in fact, that my boys started whinging at me
to get over it and keep walking.

...I decided that I should be up for some kind of Guiness Book of Record
for the length of time it is going to take to get a blog giveaway winner.
(It seemed like a good idea at the time)

...I watched An Inconvenient Truth.
If you are a climate change sceptic, you should watch it
and then ask yourself if you can afford to be wrong.


...I noticed that no-one told Nestle not to lead us into temptation.

Little Boozle 2011

The world is a better place for having condensed milk.

Little Boozle 2011

...I had a parenting overhaul.
I had slid into a pattern of grumpiness, apathy and lack of consideration
for my children over the past few months.
I am trying to be a better mum
and making an effort to remember what it was like to be their age.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do the maths.


Last year the Living Planet Report
(from WWF, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network)
noted that human demands on natural resources has doubled in less than 50 years.


It projected that, if nothing changes,
we will need 2 Earths by the year 2030
to provide enough resources
to support the population.


There are over 6 billion human beings on planet Earth right now.
The United Nations expects the Earth's population to reach 9 billion by 2050
(population increases measured on current life expectancy)


We are now being told by scientists
that the life expectancy of human beings may double within our lifetime.


I can't make those figures work.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The fear factor


What are you afraid of?

I mean, really afraid of?

I don't mean the
"oh, no-giggle-I'm afraid of-giggle-spiders-giggle-
get that daddy long legs away from me right now-giggle" type of fear. 

(Please note- I am not demeaning anyone's real fear of spiders)

I don't mean the
"oh, nooooo. I am going to miss my bus
and then I wont have time to grab a coffee before work" type of fear
(though, granted, coffee deprivation can be pretty terrifying)

I mean, the " your heart rate goes up, you start to feel sweaty and clammy and faint and hot and cold,
all at once, you get really nervous,
the adrenalin kicks in" type of fear.


For me, as I have said before, I am pretty much scared to death by the thought of death.
(Now that would be an ironic turn of events, wouldn't it?)

Then there are heights.
Or specifically flying.


Really odd considering that growing up in Tasmania
meant that we pretty much flew everywhere to go on holidays.

I don't remember being afraid then.

It would seem that I have developed in the last 5 - 10 years.
It coincides with both motherhood
as well as the sudden of rise of extreme terrorism in the world.

I think that you have a greater sense of your mortality
once you become a parent.
I also know that I am a worrier and a pessimist and I am prone to obsessive behaviour
so I do consider the possibility of terrorism when I fly.

I know some of you are puzzling over this 
and saying "But you do know that you are more likely to die
each time you get in a car than you are when you fly on a plane,
don't you?"

Yes, I know the stats.
And stats mean nothing to the person who is about to die in a plane crash,
even if it should be safer than driving a car.

I have sat, hot and clammy, during take-off and turbulence,
and held the hand of my nervous, like-minded, middle child,
telling him that everything was OK, it's all good, don't worry...
while my older child announced with that youthful enthusiasm and naivety
 that planes don't crash.

My middle child is now happy to fly.

Lucky him.

I don't like to be afraid.

I don't get my jollies from being flung around at great speeds
or dropped suddenly and unexpectedly.

I don't get a thrill from watching seemingly immortal weirdos in ice hockey masks with chainsaws
hunt down nubile 16 year old virgins
while I munch my popcorn.

Mr Boozle and I have just planned a wonderful holiday for two.
It involves two plane flights in each direction
plus possibly a return journey in a small plane during the holiday
(Oh, do not get me started on small planes)

I am already thinking about the fact that we need to fly.
I will be a little edgy in the days leading up to the flights.
The relief I feel when the wheels hit the runway and the plane lands safely
will be obvious to anyone who can read basic body language.

I don't know if this will get better or worse with time.
I figure it is not bad enough to stop me from making plans
and taking the flights
so it is not an uncontrolled fear.

But if you threaten to withhold my morning coffee,
I might need counselling.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The cost of your inheritance


As we get older,
we have an increasing awareness of the fragility of our human bodies.

Things are starting to stretch or shrivel,
degenerate or decompensate,
misfire or not work at all.

As you reach each birthday milestone,
you seem to hit the jackpot for another recommended
(and often uncomfortable or embarrassing) annual examination
of one of your body functions
or one of the pieces of your body,
designed to catch any nasty surprises early.

Some of these are thrust upon you
courtesy of your immediate family's medical history.

Suddenly we are looking to the health of our parents, our siblings, maybe even our grandparents
when the doctor works his or her way through the checklist.

My hubby and his siblings is already suffering from the dicky hip
that his dad has had replaced
while I am conscious of the increased risks of glaucoma and melanoma.

As a consequence, I have developed a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy) obsession with UV exposure.
which I am thrusting that upon my kids,
trying to explain the health reasons without telling young kids about the big "C".

Now that I am a parent,
I find myself hoping that our kids inherit the best of our genes.
If they are lucky,
they will dodge the dicky hips, crappy eyesight and failing peripheral vision
that their parents' genes could have flung in their path.

If our kids are really unlucky,
they will be limping blindly around by the time they reach middle age,
unable to bend over to see their extremities to do their skin check.

Who knows what else they will be having to keep an eye on
as we, their parents, get older and start falling at the hurdles.

But there is one thing I know for sure:
 I can at least wake each and every morning,
secure in the knowledge that, because of me,
all 3 kids are able to roll their tongues
 in spite of their dad's dodgy genetics.

Come what may, I am sure that they will appreciate that.