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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sad Day

Yesterday on Oprah American journalist Anderson Cooper was on talking about the suicide of his brother. It then hit me that its ten years this week sometime that my high-school friend, Tim, committed suicide. I’ve been meaning to ‘commemorate’ this but, unfortunately, I’ve kept forgetting. I also say ‘sometime’ this week because the last time I saw him was at an 18th birthday party on the night of Saturday 24th August 1996. The next day, he drove off to work and was never seen alive again. For the next six weeks, there was no sign of him and people had started to think that he’d taken off to Newcastle, run away, so to speak. However I, and a few others, always had a gut feeling that it was something worse.
His body wasn’t found until about three-four weeks later (the details are a bit fuzzy now) in the deep forest at the back of Clybucca, near Kempsey. I believe he died from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound, but no-one really talked about that part of the story. And I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.
Our class’ HSC (final year exams) were then due to start two weeks later. Needless to say none of us got a very high pass mark that year.
I don’t think any of us really cared, by then, to be honest.
Anyway, there you go. I could go further into the specifics of the time: the misery; the confusion; the mystery.
Actually, I’ll put this down…Tim did give me one of the biggest compliments of my teenage life. It was that time of year when we were voting for school captains. As I was not part of the ‘cool squad’—the people who usually get the gig--there was no living chance I’d even get a vote. Or so I thought. Later on that day, Tim told me he’d voted for ME for captain. Flustered and pleased I asked him why??? He said, and I quote, “Because you’d be better at it than those other girls”. Wow.
Thinking of you Tim: you funny, silly, sorry, stupid bugger. Wish you were still here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Top Ten Overrated Books List

This is a simple list, as I was distracted last night writing it. I was watching 2005's Comic Relief special of Little Britain. Robbie Williams dressed as a transvestite 'lady' is truly something to behold. Anyway, here goes:

1) The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell
Yawn. By the time she was at a rodeo in Spain or whatever, I'm like, "please, please finish".
2)Housekeeping/Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
I was really disappointed with these. I've heard nothing but PRAISE for these and considering Gilead won the Pulitzer, I was expecting more than I got. Look, the prose is good, but it's supposed to be read slooooooowly, taking time to enjoy the language blah blah. I don't have time for that at the moment.
3) The River Ophelia by Justine Ettler
A Masters of Creative Writing project that was published. Perhaps it shouldn't have been. Look, I understand what she was trying to do, with the sex and the grunge factor, but it’s a bit overdone.
4) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova Perhaps this is another example of "I don't have time for this". I get peeved with most vampire novels though, because it is part of my pet subject of interest and most of them just get it all wrong (in my mind). Good writing, but....I don't know. Something was missing.
5) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
It had me; I was sucked in entirely. Until half-way. Then I realised the book had none of the faith or depth or soul as its religious subject matter. I just think that’s a bit ironic
6) Temple by Matthew Reilly oops no, Seven Ancient Wonders
Not even an overrated book. Not even a good book at all. Terrible. Even Adam stopped at the third chapter. That’s saying something.
edit: Of course, I meant to say his most recent book, not Temple. But really, I'm splitting hairs....
7) Persuasion by Jane Austen
Yawn-o-rama. Really had no sense of humour, which is vital in an Austen.
8) The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
I love Hemmingway, don't get me wrong. I've just tried with this book so many times and I can't get into it. Perhaps I need to grow into it a bit more. Maybe I'm a bit young to appreciate it
9) The Red Tent by Anita Damant
A biblical 'epic' of sorts. There just wasn't much of a story to sustain me --and considering its religious roots, that’s shouldn't have been an issue. Old Testament rules for its dramaticism
10) I’m still working on it...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

No place like home

The title is a quote from “The Wizard of Oz”, when at the end Dorothy realises personal happiness and fulfilment were to be found from within rather than externally.
(If I wanted to go out on my literary tangent here, the allegorical significance of “Oz” is really interesting. Go here to learn more).

Anyway, I’m saying that today because, last night, I was stumped because I had ‘nothing’ to read and all the library books I’d gotten recently were duds. So I go to my bookcase and have a proper look for the first time in ages. (Now, not to brag, but Adam and I have a LOT of books, but they’re mostly all in storage because we can’t fit them into our house. We had to pick carefully which ones we actually do want inside.) I was surprised and, moreover, happy, to find many of my ‘all time favourites’ so tonight I’ll take my time and have another look and surely, SURELY then I’ll find something to settle down with!
Tomorrow I might do a post, following today’s theme, on something like “Books which I’ve been all excited to read from hype, but only find them to be dumb/boring”. A top-ten list or something. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!!

On the home front, there’s not much news. We got our carpets cry-cleaned yesterday and they look really nice again. And, despite my BEST efforts, guess what the first stain to happen was?



In Keira's defence, it was an accident. She was trying to be helpful. She'd done a poo and was trying to empty it into the toilet.

Added later: my gosh, it must be a developmental week for Riley or something, but today's he's been rolling like nothing else, and just then I walked away while he was on his tummy and I come back and he's crawled backwards along the floor! WOW

Monday, August 28, 2006


Considering the feedback I got yesterday on my shower post (both on the board here and off of it) I guess I should do 'big' ones like that more often. And I will - when I get time!

Then, once I hit the big league, I'll have to worry about people pinching my stuff!
(Free plug to Darren's site which I've fallen in love with).

If you read the above link you may be shocked at the stupidity of that journalist/newspaper. Plagurism stinks. Goes to show you never can be too sure who's reading your stuff. And you can be also pretty damn sure blog-contents are being moderated more than you think they are, even if it's 'only' by their own authors. Not hard to see why......

Added later: Oh, I have to do my proud-mama bear, beating the chest with pride, bit here: Riley's cut his first TWO teeth today, both at the same time. I couldn't believe it when I saw them. People have been telling me he could've been teething, but I didn't believe it. Keira was 7 months before she got her first one, and Riley's only 5.5 months. Goes to show I can't rely on past experiences for everything. He's also taking it better than she did (touch wood).

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Putting the case for showers

There are bath people and there are shower people. I freely admit to being a woman who prefers the latter.

Don’t get me wrong; there are times when nothing but a quick soak will soothe the nerves. Though usually I’m in there no longer than five minutes, when the water starts to cool and my skin starts to crinkle, and my mind focuses on whatever germs and dirt I’m actually surrounded by, and I’m done. With showers you don’t have that problem. It all goes down the drain, almost instantaneously.

This love affair with showers started early, in jest. As a child I would sneak into the bathroom with a bucket of cold water, climb up the bath beside the frosted glass cubicle, and pour the contents of the bucket on an unsuspecting sister inside. Her shrieks had me chuckling Bart Simpson-style.

In high school a friend of mine, who I remain close with, once mentioned in passing that that past weekend she’d eaten a peach in the shower. That sentence has obviously remained with me since. What a fabulously decadent thing to do! Why hadn’t I thought of that! We were kindred spirits, it seemed. And while the experience didn’t quite live up to expectations––of course, I went out and bought a peach that very day. It was still green––it did teach me one must never rule out the heightened potential showers could give a humble culinary fare.

Then I had to have my Appendix removed. Hardly the kind of thing a twelve year old wants to happen, but imagine my delight when, once on my feet again, my nurse told me I could go have a shower. “And take as long as you like!” she said kindly. Boy, did I. Twenty minutes! (When you live in a town which usually has water restrictions, and your house tried to obey them, twenty minutes was an eternity.) The facilities were your usual, Spartan, hospital fare, but for me they were luxurious. A chair!! Detachable nozzle! Wow!

Chairs in showers were somewhat of a theme to come. At university, many of my male dormitory-mates often had competitions as to who could take the longest shower. In they took their own, plastic garden chairs, CD players, and god-knows what else and there they sat, talking and laughing with each other through the thick steam. I think the record was something like two hours, but by that point, for me, the joke had run from amusing to downright wasteful.

There are the fads: shower sex? (No thanks…and don’t ask why). Two-man sized showers with his’n’hers bays? Twin shower heads? Then there are those new-fangled ones that drop the water from directly above, to resemble rain. Sounds fantastic; perhaps when I have more money. But for now I’ll have to make do with my own little innovation.

I read in the shower. Yes, that’s right.

The success rate of this really depends on the design of your shower. If you have a long shower recess, you can lie on your belly, let the water fall on your back while you’re just out of the splash-zone. Smaller showers can work in that often you can prop up the book just in front of you along the rungs of the door-track (so obviously glass-walled showers are an advantage). This is often a better option as you’re less likely to get cold, but you can also get more water in your eyes, thus making the effort redundant. Experimentation is they key.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t do this every day. I don’t even do it every month. It’s just that sometimes the shower is the only place I get some peace and time to yourself. So I utilise it to its fullest capacity. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

What do you do in your shower?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Quick update

Well, it's early here and we're about off to brunch with friends.

I will be busy over this weekend, I think. A friend of mine who is editor of this magazine has asked me to be a contributor reader for the submissions for the next edition. So I have lots of short stories and poems to read, which should be fun.

More later!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Wish lists and need-to-knows

I’ve decided that Fridays – along with any updates from the family – can be of what the title above implies. What’s new and what’s important from this week (at least to me). Or, at least interesting and entertaining.
Or all of the above.

This the reason why I’m very cautious about buying any sort of take-out food anymore
This might be a little naieve of me to ask, as I'm to too sure of the internal workings of canteens, or of how Hep A is spread, but don’t canteen workers need to wear gloves? If not, shouldn’t they? Isn’t it a policy in most other general fast food or food court shops? Or in this case wouldn't it have even mattered?

Pap Smear Warning
Sure, we all hate them. Bring on the day when you can get a blood test to do the same thing (it’s in the pipeline, apparently). But we still need to get them done!

Wish list
U-Bra Revolution
New “U-beaut” (Sorry, couldn’t help it) bra to hit our shores. And, to my surprise, it doesn’t cost a fortune. I can’t wear it now (the breastfeeding thing…) but I’d be interested to hear if its actually any good. I have some dresses I can’t wear now because my existing bras would show. This would solve that problem.
(I could go bra-less but alas those days are over. Again, I have the breastfeeding to thank…)

A sneaker that helps you lose weight and cellulite? All just by walking or doing whatever you’d normally do in a sneaker? Bring it on!
They cost a pretty penny, but are they worth it?
Someone let me know!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fights and Freebies

Who’s a clean-freak? It’s certainly not me, although I have improved over the years. Adam? More so.
So, this morning, when he says as he’s leaving, in a warning voice, “This house is getting messy again” I got a bit ‘miffed’. He is a bottom-line man. End-product focused. I try to explain I do about ten min-clean ups during the day, but it doesn’t seem to register.
And I’m not even wanting to be paid housekeeping! (And a good thing too, he might respond…)
Makes me wonder if anyone still gets paid housekeeping these days anyway?
It’s still early. I should go shake this off. It won’t seem like such a big deal later.
In the meantime, I should go drag a mop across the floor.

On a happier note, we’ve finally fallen over the Flybuys minimum points level to declare a prize. Not much to pick from, yet, unless you’re really hanging out for a waffle maker or new cordless phone. I think I’ll get a new set of scales. It doesn’t do much for your self-esteem when your fickle old one can ready anything from 56kg to 59kg in a matter of minutes, without any adjustments made in the meantime!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Whinging Milestone

Keira is great at whinging. Today, however, she's added to her tears and stomping repertoire.

She's added "Please". (But draw out the vowels - "pleeeeeeeease!")

She kepting wanting new cardboard to draw on, but I'd just bought them and am rationing them out. After 2 fluro-pink ones, I said enough was enough. Well, that started the waterworks. And the "Pleases". But I was strong!

Interesting Link of the day

Jesus in an ultrasound

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Breastfed Dolls

Have to add this, last night, as I was giving Riley his last feed, Keira did the same to her own special dolly.

The difference of this, to other times, was that her pajama top was too loose and kept falling down over doll, thus making Keira's own grip on her uncomfortable. She was getting so cranky that Adam had to hold her top up for her.

Now, there's an example of 'attachment issues'!!!

Care for Karen day

Yesterday, my local Maternal Health Nurse called me up to see how I was doing and whether I needed to come in. She'd come across my file and was reminded about my last check up (with Riley).

You see, last time, I did the Edinburgh Scale Test for new mums and my score wasn't so good. Which meant I was at risk for Post Natal Depression (PND)

After that, during a particularly bad week, I did the same test with my GP and got an even higher score. So, I was referred to a state government scheme which provides free in-home counselling for cases like this.

(SURPRISE! Family, who have no idea about this.......)

Anyway, before you all think I'm borderline inmate, I don't have 'depression' as such, I have 'anxiety'. Which are usually lumped together, and have some similarities, but are also chemically and psychogically different. To most. But I'm no expert.

But that can wait for a different post.

Anyway, the call was funny because today was my meeting with my counsellor, a wonderful woman named Lisa. It had been a few weeks. And, in response to her question how I was doing, I feel much better. Mostly, my anxiety is twofold. My general anxiety was tonnes better; with my kids I have good days and bad.

I explained to her a scenario. I hold Riley in the bath. The other night, because he's getting so strong, he lurched forward and his face hit the water before I could stop it. He was fine; I pulled him back and he spluttered a bit and that was that. But in my head, it automatically visits "What Could Have Been". And stays there. For ages. And as such, my stomach clenches and I feel physically ill. And I have to block it out.

She nodded and said (To paraphrase), "I can understand that. To be honest, I think any mother in the same situation would've felt the same. I guess what we have to think about here is if your response, to you, was really more 'self-blameful' or 'emphatic' than what another's would be".

Which is a good question. And I have no idea.

I hope the above made sense. Bottom line is: I'm a worrier. I worry for the sake of worrying and I worry about the kids. The second is understandable. Perhaps the first is 'overkill'.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to the old (weather)

After the glorious early spring weather of the weekend, this morning its raining and windy, but its supposed to fine up later. Hopefully.

Keira's speaking is coming ahead, just in this month alone its getting clearer.

Here is a sample of what's been said so far this morning.

"Bye dad, see you soon!" (She said as Adam was leaving for work)

(Holding up my bra, for me to put on as I was getting out of the shower) "Bra". Holds it up to her own chest. "No fit, Kiri"

As I was putting on my pink shirt, "Mummy, nice!" (She is my stylist. She always lets me know what she thinks I should wear).

Riley's face broke out again on the weekend and I have no idea why. Perhaps it was the nicer weather, as Adam was complaining how the blossoming wattle was making his hayfever start to twitch.
This is what it looks like:

There's that obviosuly red patch on his cheek, but also (not as clear) there's a large, scaley area that's not red right now, but can be. That's also on the exact spot on the left side of his cheek. Plus, its all around his eyes, so sometimes he looks like a zombie. Poor little man.

What to watch tonight--Grey's Anatomy: Code Black

I've seen this already. As a newcomer, only in the last 3 episodes, I think I'm hooked. If I can just forget how much Meredith/McDreamy really annoy me with their lovely-dovey eyes. But I think the writing in this episode is great. At the end of it (if they keep it as a two-parter), you'll be hanging out for next week. Christina Ricci is great.
(Gosh, for my first attempt at a review in a while, that one was very average! No time now - I have a toddler who needs potty!)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Today was the usual for a Sunday.

For those who don’t know, in our house Sunday equals: A trip to the mall because now, if Adam hasn’t had his ‘dose’ already, he is positively scratching at the door to go and hang out at his favourite stalls and get a decent coffee to fix his caffeine-headache.

Before this, however, he has a lie in. Which leaves me with a toddler who herself is desperate to get outside. See photo as Exhibit A:

She dresses, gets shoes on, and hops up in the pram and waits to go…wherever. She doesn’t care. And she’s patient. Today she was in there near an hour until I had the chance to take her out.

Another one of Adam’s favourite weekend tricks is to teach her politically incorrect phrases.

This week, he has taught her to slap my butt and say “Hello, Toots!”

Truly, marvellous.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


It's pretty easy:


Friday, August 18, 2006

Painting for beginners

This was my girl's first (independant) venture at full on 'Painting' at the easel, without mum's choked, hawkeyed supervision.

Despite smocks, plastic mats, the relative 'safety' of using water colours, yes, she did get some paint on the blessed deck.

But, we have a high pressured water gun-hose. Surely that will get it off? (She says, hopefully).

Not being overly creative myself in the touchy-feely hands on kind of way, even though I enjoyed painting as a kid, I'm kind of at a loss as to help Keira. Adam has great spacial capabilities and can draw a bit himself, so he'd be better....

Not much else to report. Riley's sleeping has been very average over the past few days.

What I'm listening to: Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake. Was loving it until Adam ruined it for me by pointing out how repetitive it was. And so it is. But Keira and I still like dancing to it.

What I am watching: David Tench. I had to turn it off. Was it that bad, or was it just me??

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

About Karen and Miscellaneous Mum

About Karen

My site is about our family: me (Karen), my husband (Adam) and our two children Keira (2) and Riley (newborn.)

It's also about what interests me. Although I am a mum, I'm not 'just' a mum. If I want anyone to take away something with them from here, it's that thought.

So, you may find gossip, trivia, media reviews, shopping ideas, recipes, family anecdotes, links, pictures and anything else that takes my fancy.

Chances are, we probably have a fair bit in common.

About Miscellaneous Mum

I accept the following: comments, praise, money, blog-topic suggestions, food parcels, money, jewelry, advice on how to make the perfect scones (there's got to be a better way than folding the butter through with a knife. I mean COME ON!), and anything else that's likely to make it into the yuppie inserts that come in the Saturday newspapers.

I do NOT accept: spam, hate-mail, unwarranted abuse, or people telling me that, yes, the only way to make decent scones is to mind-numbingly fold in the butter with a knife, or invitations to join any or all political parties or religious groups. I'm thinking of starting my own.

If I get any of the above, I reserve the right to do with them as I see fit.