Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tinsel, tummies and trajectories.


Last year I shared with you that
our house knows that Christmas is fast approaching 

This year they have upped the ante.

This year they are vomiting fur balls of tinsel.

This year we might well be spending 25th December
at a vet clinic pulling Christmas tinsel out of a cat's tummy
instead of spending it at a family dinner table
pulling Christmas crackers.

My only consolation is that it is prettier than your average fur ball.

That and the fact that I don't think that there are any other orifices
left to expel tinsel from.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I am thankful.

Today I packed a box.
Tomorrow I will take it to the post office
so that it can make its way to Sydney
and its contents can then be sent on to the Philippines 
in time for Christmas.

I have spent most of this year waiting 
to be able to make that trip to the post office.
It seemed clear through the year how I would blog about this project
as a simple "look what I did" post
but I realise now that there are many aspects 
that I need to or at least want to put in writing.

So I will.

In that box are 75 dresses that I have sewn this year
for distribution.

This statement alone lends itself to several comments
about me and about this project.

1. I really don't like making the same thing over and over.

2. I tend to be obsessive and compulsive.

3. I have a shitload of fabric that I will never, ever live long enough to sew up.

4. The extent of my compulsiveness and the extent of my fabric stash
outweighed the fact that I don't like to make the same thing even twice
and sometime back near the start of the year
(when I was possibly inebriated, sleep deprived 
or high on icecream)
I thought it was a good idea to cut out 75 dresses.

I have said for a couple of years that I would sew some dresses
for this campaign so perhaps I felt like I had to pull my digit out
and make a real effort.

5. Mr Boozle is proud of my project
but is crying because he can't see any dent in my fabric collection.

6. You can listen to a lot of musical theatre and audio books
while you sew this many dresses.

I thought a lot while I was sewing.
Sometimes, particularly while I was doing the bias,
the thought process involved a lot of swear words.
But there were other things ticking over in my head.

7. I am blessed and I am grateful.
I live in a wonderful country.
I am married to a good bloke
and yes, while I do want to send my kids off to military school on a daily basis,
I am so lucky to have them and I do love them.
My family are generally in good health and we have each other.
I am lucky to have the time and resources to put into this project.

8. When did the human race become so unequal?
Now that most of us don't have the evolutionary pressures
of avoiding starvation or becoming dinner to a sabre tooth tiger
and making sure that we live long enough to breed,
are we evolving in a direction that isn't great for mankind as a whole?
Are we looking evolving to be more selfish and
more self absorbed?
How did it get to be that so many people on this planet have so little?

9. Giving is good for you.
There are mental and physical benefits to doing good things for other people.
You have lower blood pressure.
You will probably live longer.
You have better self esteeem.
Depression is less likely.

Search the web. There is article after article.

10. My children have everything that they need
and a lot of what they want
(so their wish for a house walking distance from Disneyland 
hasn't been granted but I am sure that they wont hold that against us
once they reach adulthood)

We sponsor a child through World Vision;
we make donations to Kiva as a family;
we remind them that they have lives to be thankful for.

And I got to share with this project with them.
Why I was doing it.
Who I was doing it for.
How hard-working and generous the people who collect
and distribute these dresses are.

Hopefully some of it will stick.

We can all do things for others.
Little things, maybe bigger things.
But things to show that we care.

We should all take the time to put our lives into perspective.
We all have problems that are real
but hopefully most of us are thankful 
that we are who we are 
and that we live where we do.

I am not looking for praise for completing this project.

I am embarrassed that it took me so long to get off my arse and do it.
I am relieved that I have fulfilled my promise to myself.
I am grateful that I have the life that I have
and that it has allowed me to do this.
I am hopeful that this is just that start of combining my love of craft
with making a contribution to the happiness of others.

I need to remember to appreciate what I have and
to do what I can do for others.

I need to be thankful every day.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Computer security fail.


My 11 year old son accessed his dad's computer today.

No password.
No hacking.

He accessed it because the facial recognition let him pass.

Genetics 1 - technological advancements 0

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

School lunch orders will never be the same again

Where I grew up,
Fandangle was not a word that you'd think of -or want-
associating with children's icecream.

I am guessing that Peters' marketing gurus didn't grow up where I did.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


This post is probably not going to be very structured.
The thoughts have been swirling in my head for the past few days...


I don't think anyone has passed through the past 5 days 
with shaking their heads, clenching their fists, tearing over or crying 
at the pure tragedy of those lost people of flight MH17. 

Yet, while we are consumed by grief and outrage,
hundreds more have died in the Gaza War this week while
more than 200 Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been spirited away
to who-knows-where.
We are sympathetic and we are saddened.

But, of course, those souls on that plane are the ones that resonate with us.
In the same way that those lost in the Bali Bombings, on September 11th
or those missing on flight MH370 did.

We can't relate to living in a war zone or fleeing persecution in desperation.
Or dying because of famine or lack of basic medical intervention.

But, of course, people flying home from holidays,
flying to a conference, to a new job, to visit family or friends...
that's just so normal to us.

We just can't deal with the reality that any one of those people
could have been a family member, a friend or a workmate.
Or anyone of them could have been us.

We try to comprehend what they went through.
What their families and friends are going through.
We re-read and dwell on the stories that could be ours.
We shield our children from the news
as we wonder how whole families,
whole schools, whole communities don't have that same luxury.

We are haunted.

All of our known history has been punctuated with atrocities, 
perpetuated by human beings against human beings.

Those responsible have been 
desperate, extreme, indoctrinated, grieving,
angry, unstable, greedy.

They have committed acts because of religious or political beliefs,
because of ethnic or racial or sexual differences,
because they wanted more, they wanted something different,
because they thought that they were better,
because their minds were twisted.

Sadly it will continue to happen.

New lines seem to be drawn in the sand with each tragedy.

I wonder if suddenly, with that one missile,
 strangers rifling through the personal belongings of those perished, still lying unattended nearby,
is suddenly going to be more tolerated the next time something like this happens.
That there is just a little more desensitization to such callous actions.

Human beings, with our apposable thumbs and forefingers,
our intelligence, our emotions,
and our perceived superiority to the animals on this earth,
can really fuck things up when we get it wrong,
whether it be by accident or by deliberate wrong doing. 

Sometimes the term "humanity" just doesn't seem to make sense.

Whether or not you believe there is something waiting for us after our last breath,
most of us agree that this is the only breathing life that we are going to get
and most people have no idea how long it is going to last.

Friday's tragedy has emphasized that.

I know everyone right now
is hugging their loved ones
and saying "I love you" more than usual.

I also know that the platitudes of living each day like it could be your last
are inspiring but ultimately reality kicks in
and most of us need to keep moving through our necessary daily rituals
without being able to think so big.

So go out, stand in the sun and listen to the birds.
Make eye contact with people. Interact. Smile at people. Say "Hi".
Stand up for yourself, for others.
Be kind. Be generous.  Be gracious.
Be a good human being.
Show that for the sheer majority, 
we humans are worthwhile beings
and that this planet and all of its inhabitants are in good hands.

There may be nothing more than fate 
to decide how long you will be here for
so, each day, keep being the best that a human can be.

We can obliterate that line in the sand each time
so that it wont be any more acceptable the next time such an atrocity happens.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Keep calm and place more blocks.

Sometime, I daresay in the not-so-distant future,
 my (more than likely adolescent) son will throw the
"You don't ever do anything for me" line at me.

I'm ready.

I'll throw back the
"Do you know exactly little square blocks of chocolate cake I cut up and iced to make
that Minecraft cake for your 11th birthday?"

Admittedly, that might be only after the
 "Do you know what trauma and irreparable damage my pelvic floor 
and nether regions went through giving birth to you?" line
(though Mr Boozle and I are currently negotiating at what age my offspring
need to be before I use that for the less than moral use of emotional blackmail).

But it will be a close call.

Because they were both excruciating.

One day, I might get over the trauma of natural childbirth 
but I will never get over icing all those bloody cake blocks .

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lemon Shortcake. A substitute for John Barrowman.


I am in a slump this week.
I am trying to cope with the fact that John Barrowman
is actually in the same country as I am but I am not going to be able to stalk meet him.

 I have turned to baking to deal with my depression.

(Needless to say that the kids are happier with that
than if their mum gone AWOL interstate to chase down my celebrity crush.
Probably not least because few people get arrested for cooking in their kitchen.
Stalking, on the other hand...)

If anyone else is feeling a bit down,
about John Barrowman or anything,...
climate change, our prime minister, the cold weather, another grey hair...
or even if you are just a fan of tangy lemon recipes,
this is for you.

(No insipid citrus flavoured cooking happening here...)



120 grams melted butter
1 cup castor sugar
lemon rind (as much as you like)
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup lemon juice

Place butter, sugar and rind into non-reactive saucepan.
Strain eggs and lemon juice into other ingredients.
Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally.


2 cups self raising flour
1 cup castor sugar
120 grams chilled butter, cubed
2 eggs

Process (or rub in) butter, sugar and flour till sandy.
Add eggs to make pastry.
Do not overwork.

Line and grease a springform tin or similar.
Place 2/3 of pastry into base and press down.
Pour hot filling over.
Scatter remainder of pastry mix over.

Scatter 1/2 cup almonds or macadamias over.

Cook at 180 degrees Celcius for appromiately 40 minutes.

Cool before removing from tin.


Surely, it's almost as good as a hug from Captain Jack himself.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nailed it!..No, I really mean it. I nailed that sucker.

You know those photos you see on the web?

Those postcards where they show a pic of the outcome of a really cool recipe 
or fantabulous crafty project 
or awesome science experiment on one half
while the other half displays a photo of the disastrous attempt 
by one of us mere mortals to replicate it
with "Nailed It" in  what is obviously the most sarcastic font
emblazoned across it?

We all laugh (well, I know that I do)
but it is a nervous, sympathetic laugh knowing that one day it could be your cooking 
or sewing or slime-making experiment that is a dismal failure.

I do suspect that some of those glorious projects
have been doctored or photoshopped or the like
so we have no, no, no hope of emulating those achievements.

The home economics equivalent of models in fashion magazines.

So while I was really excited about finally trying to emulate that rainbow cake
that turns up on every corner of the world wide web.
I was also a slightly bit (read that as really) petrified and had a backup plan 
of less impressive but hopefuly less stressful rainbow cupcakes.

It turns out that the biggest fear to overcome is that of copious amounts
of artifical colouring at a little girl's birthday party
but hey, a rainbow is a rainbow after all.

Time-consuming, yes, but totally do-able.
And even a little bit fun.

And, if you can keep the secret,
the cutting of the cake is an awesome surprise to behold.

In the end, even as I fist-pumped the air,
and the birthday girl announced that the cake was "perfect',
I felt like a bit of a fraud for all the adulation that I received.

Though I also felt immense relief that my project wouldn't end up on the world wide web
as a total failure.

Not this time round anyhow. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hairy bits.


Please believe me when I say that when I got up this morning,
I had no thought to write a blog post 
that was going to mention pubic hair.

Pubic hair in soap no less.

But wandering the supermarket aisles this morning,
my mind wandered,
and the posts about how I miss blogging,
about how sad I am at the passing of Phillip Seymour Hoffman,
about how grumpy/sad/ I am that John Barrowman is coming to Australia
but not to Adelaide,
and the one asking how many other people drive and walk around
and imagine what their neighbourhood would be like post-zombie apocalypse
just evaporated when I started to think about hair.

I have spend the last two years freaking out about the amount of hair
migrating to life in the drain every time I wash my hair.

Mr Boozle has been lamenting his every increasing male pattern baldness for years
but, at the end of the (not-as-much-gender-equality-that-we-would-like) day,
just like grey hair,
it is easier for a man to carry off the thinning hair look than a woman.

Ah, the cycle of life...

We are born, hair on our limbs but maybe no, or little, hair on our heads.

We grow, get hair on our heads.

We get hormonal and there comes the fuzz in our armpits and in our nether regions.

We enjoy a full body of hair for a while,
albeit apparently shaving/ripping off/dyeing a good amount of it 
for the sake of fashion/comfort/heck knows why else.

(My GP friend says that by the time our girls are teens,
they will be fashionably hair-free in the you-know-where.
Hands up if you haven't had a Brazillian?
I am not into pain and I am not into looking like a 
pre-pubescent kid so I haven't been there
and have no interest.

I am not too worried about my pink bits being out and proud 
for necessity of health and in the privacy of a doctor's room.
After 3 pregnancies and natural childbirths, I've lost count of how many people
have eyeballed the area and I are comfy with the idea.
However, someone standing there with hot wax
and no necessity towards my health and life prospects
does not make me want to ask my va-jay-jay to be out and proud)

Anyhow, I digress.

Then we start to lose our head hair.
Well, actually it relocates to the face for older women
and the ear canals and nostrils for older men.

The word hirsute no longer means a hairy chest or back.

Any hair left at this point turns grey and starts to grow at awkward angles.

So through our lives we pluck, we shave,
we wax, we dye...

Human beings are weird, really.
I am not really into makeup
and can often head into summer without breaking open the fake tan lotion
but I don't like hairy armpits.

Parental influence? Teenage peers? Comfort?
The media? Partner's preference?

When do we make that decision
to shave that bit or dye that bit?

My folks are pretty laid back when it comes to most things when I was growing up
but my mum was an oppressive fascist tyrant when it came to her teenage daughter's beauty regime.

(OK, maybe she wasn't quite that bad but I was a teenager at the time
and that's how I remember it)

I was not allowed to get my ears pierced till I was 16.
That I could take with good grace.

Nor tweeze my eyebrows.
Taken with not such good grace
but accepted as I didn't (quite) have a monobrow.

But I wasn't allowed to shave my legs either.

When I was growing up, my mum bought into a lot of those old wives' tales...
sucking lemons will dry up your blood...
break a pin off in your splinter dig and it will go into your bloodstream and kill you...
shaving your legs will make the hair grow back faster and thicker...


So picture me,
the slightly dumpy, bespectacled, academic brunette nerd,
who may have also had a haircut resembling a mullet,
bleaching her leg hair through high school.

It wasn't enough for me to be dumpy, nerdy and wearing glasses.
I had to give the bullies a bit more fodder.

The only consolation was that my mother insisted on me wearing my school dress
at a hideous, longer length 
so that less of the bleached leg hair was showing.

That and the fact that the girl with the shortest dress in school 
had orange legs from fake tan 
so that diverted some of the attention,
more than the short dress alone attracted.

So I look at my 6 year old daughter
who has daddy's colouring so isn't a brunette
but has hairy legs all the same
and I think about the big decisions...

When will we give her the sex ed talk?
When will her boyfriend be able to sleep over?
When can she shave her legs and tweeze her brows?
When do we discuss pubic hair etiquette?

Mr Boozle and I,
like most partners, I am sure, 
follow the unspoken rule that head hair left on the soap is fine
but pubic hair is not.

Soon we will have 3 teenagers sharing one bathroom,
one shower
and quite possibly one cake of soap.

It does my head in now when the word "mum" is turned into 3 syllables...

"Mu-uuu-ummmmm, I can't find my hat"...
"Mu-uuu-ummmmm, he hit me again"...

But I should enjoy it.
I suspect that I will find that preferable to hearing it turned into 4...

"Mu-uuu-ummmmm, someone left a pube on the soap again.
I'm not touching it.
Can you come and get it off please?
Muuu-uuuuu-uuummmmmmm? "

Of course, if my GP friend is correct,
we might not have to worry about it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"I'm melting. Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!"


The Wicked Witch of the West 
couldn't have said it better if she'd tried.

The UN announced that little old Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 
would today be the hottest city in the world.

In. The. Whole. Wide. World.

We didn't reach our expected high of 46 degrees Celsius.
(that's114.8 degrees Farenheit
if you are reading this in America, Belize or Jamaica)

We "only" made it to about 44.2
so I am not sure if we ended up being the hottest or not.

(Let's be honest, anything over 40 is just bloody hot,
so what's a few degrees amongst heat-stroked friends?)


Tomorrow will be our 5th consecutive day over 40 degrees.

We South Australians aren't suffering alone. 
A lot of areas of Australia are fighting this heat
and the associated fallout.

I have been in Adelaide for 20 years now but
I grew up in Tasmania.
During my childhood, high 20s was a scorcher
and air conditioners were unheard of.
Last year they recorded nearly 42 degrees.

If it isn't global warming,
the predictions that our heatwaves will be hotter and longer
certainly make it feel that way.


Stay cool, everyone.
This (heatwave) too shall pass.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Parents would earn more badges than the best Scout in the world.


Imagine if, when you left the hospital with your first newly-born child,
precious little parcel in one arm,
amongst the nappy and baby shampoo samples, 59 teddy bears and bub's umbilical cord clip in your bag
was a shirt.

A really nice, brand new shirt, in your favourite colour,
a blank canvas front and back.

Imagine if, each time between that time
and the moment when that child,
as an independent-yet-still-living-at-home-just-turned-eighteen year old,
grabbed the car keys at 8pm on a Saturday night and said 
"See ya when I see ya",
you received a badge for each achievement as a parent.

Eighteen years after leaving hospital as a first time parent,
that shirt, along with some very old, curdled milk marks on the shoulder
is covered, 
limp under the weight of those badges.
(Eat your hearts out, you Scouts.
You can't compete with a parent)

The front and back are covered in them.

All the milestones of a parent.

You got your teething badge.
Your toilet training badge.
Your sleeping-through-the-night badge.
Your survived-the-first-day-of-school badge.
Your birthday cake decorating badge.
Your treat-the-whole-family-for-head-lice-more-than-once badge.
Your getting weed on badge.
Your tooth fairy and Santa training badges.

No wearing of curdled milk stains like a badge of honour.
You have a curdled milk stain badge of honour.

And, on each sleeve, the ooh-aah special ones.
Those badges you get because, as a parent,
you have done that extra little bit for your child
or have had to deal with particularly difficult circumstances.

I know that the time that I had to deal with toddler's poo in aisle three
of the local hardware store
would have been much easier to bear had I known that I was going to get a badge for it.

(OK That's a lie. It was messy and hideous and possibly mortifying at the time
and no bloody badge would have made it anything but unpleasant)

That third bout of mastitis would have been so much less excruciating
if I had just had a badge to look forward to.

(OK That's also a lie. It was foul and excruciating
and I'd much rather have the antibiotics than a friggin' badge)

We are currently working on our " Unswallowing" badge
(OK...yeah....the cleaning up your kids' vomit badge)

Obviously as parents with 25 years of "children time" under our belt,
we are not new to vomiting.

But we want to go for the advanced vomiting badge.

Want isn't the right word.
No choice in going for this badge.

We are 11 days in to a bout of gastroenteritis that has repeatedly affected everyone
 in the house apart from me
(I am claiming that I developed immunity to anything involving
my stomach or intestines last year.)

Now cleaning up someone else's vomit is one of those things
that is hard to stomach 
(Oh, that pun was oh, so, so intended)

There should be no expectation in life for anyone other than a parent of a child under the age of
?16 years to have to deal
with another person's upchuck.

Close friends and partners may chose to do so
(which I am thankful for after the way my hens' night ended.
But that's another story involving too much alcohol and very windy roads)
but only parents really have to do so.

(The Parenting with Unconditional Love manual
says so under Point 27: Bodily fluids.)

And, like poo, just because it comes from your offspring, 
doesn't make it any less repulsive a task.

In fact, I would argue that vomitus is more repulsive than poo
but that is only my personal opinion
and I am sure that you have your own.

One of my earlier memories as a young child was of the easy job I had (which was lying in bed
and vomiting all over the carpet)
and the hideous task my parents had (which was cleaning the carpet)


I was interested to see that we, as parents, have passed on the carrot gland to our children.
That is right up there with the evolutionary benefits of wisdom teeth and appendixes
as far as I can tell.

One of the children of the house has an impeccable track record,
having never missed the bucket or the toilet.

Unlike the cats, she does not seem to have a substrate preference for carpets and hallway runners.

One child, however, couldn't get it into a contained space if you put him on the edge of an empty
Olympic sized swimming pool, leant him over and directed him to vomit
in the empty space stretching out before him.

He thinks, after the event, that his knack of spewing
360 degrees is really quite amusing.

So, while we don't have a badge-covered shirt to dangle in his face when his first child arrives,
and an advanced "Vomit cleaning" merit to point to,
we have told him in no uncertain terms that we will be laughing 
when it is his turn to earn his Unswallowing badge.

I am pretty sure that there isn't a Scout badge to prepare him for that day.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A new year? Ditch the Brasso.


Approaching midnight on 31st December,
the year is looking a fair bit tarnished and dusty.
I know that for most of us
there are glimpses of beauty and the brilliance that were there at 12:01 am 
on the previous 1st January.

But instead of reaching for the dusters and the bicarb
to try and clean it up a bit as we have done through the year,
we get to gently push the jaded, fading year to one side.
We can look back when we want to,
pick it up, inspect the end product,
but meanwhile focus on the shiny, brand new year,
dust-free and full of potential.

2013 had a lot of positives for us
but some of the lows were very low.
Mostly first world problems
(probably the most [over] used catch phrase in 2013 for this family)
but significant all the same.

Aside from severe food poisoning for me
and the effects on the family of a prolongued and very ugly business break-up,
the kids seemed to take the worst of it.

A broken arm, Queen Bees, negligent teachers,
bullies, unresolved emotional issues,...
probably to be expected with 3 kids over the course of a year.

You take it on the chin 
and hope/resolve/pray that the new year 
will bring an easier year for the young ones.

But when middle child lost a tooth on Christmas Eve,
 presenting it to a worn-out parent (that would be me) at the end of a year limping towards its use-by date,
my knee-jerk reaction was to announce 
that the Tooth Fairy took Christmas Eve (and Good Friday-
a pre-emptive strike seemed like a good idea at the time) as  a day off.
Obviously, I reasoned with said child,
 the risk of getting trampled by the big guy or his reindeer was just too great.

(My brain was pounding along...
seriously-the tooth fairy?-on Christmas Eve?- as well?-
hard enough to get those stockings onto the ends of their beds with their jangly bells-
yes, seemed like a good idea to sew them on at the time-
but we aren't home-where is the food colouring in this place?-
why does our tooth fairy magically change the colour of the water in the glass?-
reckon that idea was started at the start of a year, not the end-
if I tread on Lego in the dark, it'll be ugly-
tired, so tired- surely the Tooth Fairy can catch up tomorrow...)

Other parent, high on the prospect of a new, self-improvement project,
quietly announced after the kids had gone to bed 
that there was enough magic for both Santa and the Tooth Fairy 
to come on the same night.

One mummy duly chastised.

OK, so I'm not going to get that "Parenting of the Year" award anytime soon.

But I am going to try my best to keep this new year absolutely luminescent
for as long as I can.
Keep it dusted frequently and with enthusiasm.
Even sprinkle it with fairy dust every now and then.

That is, once I have gotten rid of the head lice and the gastro that partied in this shiny new year
with us.