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Monday, April 30, 2007

The power of a certain fried vegetable

Yesterday, for her special birthday treat, we took Keira to McDonald's for breakfast.

"What do you want to eat?" we asked as we got out of the car.

"Chips!" she said as we walked inside, and I choked back my indignation as I hoped no-one had also heard her request. Surely there's a line drawn on how early it is to be socially acceptable to order fries? It would not be 8.30am in the morning.

Then as we got into line, a father and son lined up behind us.

"What do you want to order?" asked the dad.

"Chips!" said the boy.

Is there nothing kids won't do or say to get the taste of potato, laden with trans-fats?

This post is dedicated to my best friend from high-school, who had her baby boy (she guessed it!) last night---not that chips have anything to do with babies...except when you're pregnant and you're craving them, like I did, with Keira....where am I going with this?!?! Congratulations, M.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oh, Great Gambling Gods, I implore thee...

to explain what the hell this means, please?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A letter to my girl for her third birthday, tomorrow

Hi Sweetie,

This will have to be brief, as I hear you rattling around with your pretend doctor's kit and pretty soon I will be subjected to various poking and prodding because it's your new favourite toy.

I know this is your favourite toy because now you declare LOUDLY whenever you like something that THIS IS MY FAVOURITE!

A little of my genes are coming out, I think: the other day I walked by your room and you were sitting in the middle of the floor, legs crossed, resting your head on your hands.

What are you doing? I asked.

Only thinking, you said, and I left you to it. And you sat there for ages longer. I wish I knew what it was you were pondering.

Actually, I probably know. Shoes and Clothes. You love shoes and clothes. Except when you decide to be a nudist.

Two days ago, on the rare occasion you fall into bed exhausted for a nap during the day, you positively shouted, "I MUST GO TO BED NUDIE, ONLY NUDIE!"

Bemused, I played along because this isn't the first time you've made such a demand, only to back out at the last minute, but this time you wriggled your bare little tush under the covers and snuggled down to sleep.

Great, now if you take to naked sleeping, I feel like I shall next have to finance a tattoo, or paste up Nirvana posters on your wall, or ransack your drawers for contraband because, seriously, this is as fast as the time is going for me and you could be ten, eleven, fifteen years older in a click.

And I'm loving it. And you.

Love Mum

Where I'm thinking too much again. I think.

"And when you call out his name, does he immediately respond by turning his head, or make eye contact?"

This was the innocent little question our maternal health nurse threw into the mix at Riley's one-year check up last month. But because I am familiar with Autism and it's signs (thanks to my cousin - hey R! Not that you're reading, but your sister is :) ) she wasn't going to slip that one by me.

"Since when do you do this screening for Autism so early?" I asked her.

She snorted slightly, secretly pleased, I think, to be outed. "Fairly recently" she admitted.

And to answer her, I said yes, yes, Riley does that fine. Which he does.



It depends.

For example, now at the park, he makes an immediate beeline for the duck pond and NO amount of calling, shouting etc on my part will stop him. I have to physically restrain him from slipping down the rocks which form a perimeter around the water. I pick him up and take him away but as soon as I place him back on the ground, he runs back.

Some days it's cute. I say something pat like, "Oh, it's his Piscean nature. He just loves the water so much" (which he does). Other days I throw up my hands and go, "Why do I even bother bringing him down here."

I guess he's just being a typical BOY. BOY BOY BOY, people have been saying to me in big, bold proclamations. And that may be. At home, he usually responds just fine and his ignoring me in public is just something I'm going to have to get used to because it's going to be happening for the next, oh, twenty or so years.

What I'm wondering is - who has boys that are just BOYS (big font)?? Hell, girls too. I won't discriminate. I'm not making light of serious, legitimate symptoms here either. It's just today, when there's so much ADHD and a variety of other such conditions (and a slight hysteria) I guess I just think too much about it.

I think.

Hold that thought!

Megan asked this yesterday:

"How do you know what a porno movie looks like? :P "

Actually, you'd be surprised. But that story can wait for another day.........I'll get back to you though!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Frivolity with Hi-5 again

In my usual position, we were watching 'Classic' Hi-5 (circa 2000). Back when the set was as well lit as a porno movie and the costumes were decidedly less fluorescent (and thus less expensive) than their current-era extravaganzas. This was the "Animal Adventures" video and, boy, I finally got to see some Nathan and Kellie action!

I've talked before about their love-affair and lamented on their not being seen together.

This time I did! They were dancing close and didn't I nearly flip out when I saw him put her hands on her hips!

Karen is dialling a number. She punches the numbers so fast she has to hang up and start over.

Operator: 000. What is your emergency?

Karen: Please, you've got to help me.
I need to find a life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

1001 Book Challenge + Thirteen Reasons why you should read Wide Sargasso Sea

1. You've probably never heard of it, and it's good to extend your library.

2. It's the prequel (of sorts) to Jane Eyre - one of the best books ever written.

3. Unlike contemporary sequels/prequels of classic books which tend to be terrible in quality, this book has gone on to forge a considerable reputation of its own.

4. It's partially set in the luscious Caribbean, and you can virtually feel the oppressive steam.

5. It's also partially set in England, which is a stark contrast, to put it mildly.

6. It took Jean Rhys nine years to complete, so it may give all of us who suffer writer's block some hope!

7. Any book with the character Edward Rochester in it is a winner in my eyes! (plus you see him get all down and dirty...kind of)

8. Any book which intelligently deals with mental illness, such suffered by the main protagonist, is worth a try.

9. Budding writers must take note of it's language: simple and beautiful. Rhys only ever uses as many words as are required.

10. It's a thin book - only 156 pages.

11. Because I said so!

12. It will make you want to run out an read Jane Eyre again, just to compare and remind yourself of the context and the difference of perspective between characters.

13. It's also got racial differences, infidelity, voodoo, alcohol, gossip, malice, and lots of spice. What more could you want?!

, See more here!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Here's the reason why white pants and chocolate don't mix

You get incriminating finger smears over your ass, that's why. Although don't ask me, as a mum of two toddlers, why I'm wearing white pants to begin with!


"They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the eveningwe will remember them."-- From the Anzac Day Service

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

When dandruff becomes passe' in the world of men's hygiene

I've been reading/hearing a lot lately about this underground trend in men's hygiene. It seems a lot of guys are voluntarily giving up washing their hair indefinitely - but at least for six weeks at a time- because after this time your hair will have found it's own 'oily' balance and will not require it anyway.

Of course, the second reason is often the most crucial, and that perk is that non-washing is believed to spare your glands (or whatever they are) from being overstimulated, a possible cause for baldness. So for some men it has become a choice: the shampoo bottle and being a satellite receiver for pulling chicks (or however that t-shirt slogan goes) or a penny-pinching macho, with coiffed locks.

Personally, I'd be loathe for Adam to give up shampooing. Why?

1) Non-washed hair stinks. It does.

2) I'd have no-one to mooch shampoo off when my own runs out and I don't fancy a nudie run to the cupboard to get another bottle- if there is one.

3) That would automatically place Adam in the 'I'm worried about losing my hair' category of male, and, please, I'm still just getting used to the fact he's THIRTY.

What do you think? Have you heard about this new craze? (As far as 'crazes' go though, it's got to be said it's unique in not requiring to BUY into it).

Would you want your partner to stop shampooing his/her hair??

Monday, April 23, 2007

Telling it like it is

Big Brother has just come on; Gretel Killeen has come out onto the stage.

Keira: TONI!!!

(Keira hero-worships Toni Pearen from Australia's Funniest Home Videos)

Adam and Me: No, this is Gretel.

Keira, squinting at the TV: Yeah, OLD Toni. Not beautiful.


Who's narrating your life?

Of writing about his iconic book Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak* recalls a moment from his childhood: the moment in the Wizard of Oz movie, where Dorothy is trapped in the Wicked Witch's castle, and that blood-red hourglass has just been turned over, clocking down her time left alive. Judy Garland's acting, and that moment where she's screaming into the crystal ball when Aunty Em's face flashes up, "I'm here! Save me!" was, to Maurice, a "sensational fear" . It was both wonderful and frightening: "I would have killed anyone who tried to take me out of the movie house."

I read this passage and knew immediately the scene; the seconds; to which he was referring because that scene would be frightening for a child. It was for me. When I was little, I remembered thinking at this point, "Boy, I'm glad it's her and not me." Then of course, putting myself in the protagonists shoes as I so often do, I would then wonder, "Well, OK then, if that WAS me, what would I do next?"

At that age, it's so easy to step in an out of a narrative. Perhaps we lose that as we get older; we are told at school that life must take a certain path and we, if we are to succeed, should choose it early. Our parents may make this point also, mores the pity. I am lucky that my mother (I don't remember dad ever saying anything on the subject) never pressured me to 'pick' a career. Then many people wake up when they're forty and go, "Wow, how did I end up here?" and realise they've had an unfulfilled previous twenty or so years because they've never actively narrated their destiny. It was easier to "go with the flow", when really that flow was a rip taking them out to sea.

What movie moments have made you 'wake up' to certain truths (good or bad) in your life? Or haven't you ever thought about it before?

*Sendak, M 'Visitors from My Boyhood' in Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of writing for Children. ed. W. Zinsser (1990) Houghton Mifflin: NY.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sounding it out for the ugly ducklings

I was watching RAGE on ABC the other weekend (Aus's version of Top of the Pops, or MTV, if you will) and this song came on:

Classic Kylie. It will come as a shock for anyone who doesn't know that this song is ten years old. It hasn't dated at all. Listen to the entire clip and I defy anyone not to go about singing/humming this for the rest of the day.

Anyway, this post isn't so much about the song but it's male lead. Ah, Dexter Fletcher. My how far you've come since Press Gang.

I watched Press Gang (a BBC show of the early 90's) when I was a pimply adolescent, as he himself was (probably) at the time of it's making, and it goes to show it you suffer through the teen years, anything could happen once you reach adulthood. "Blossoming", if you will.

Which star do you like more as they get older?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Is this taking our love of Red Dwarf a bit too far??

Rimmer and Mr Flibble


It was a rainy day. We were bored. You should see Riley!

Oh, wait, here you go!

Where I am serenaded by my daughter and her bodily functions

Keira has rather abruptly decided that she no longer requires an afternoon nap. This saddens me because that was once my sanity-regaining part of the day: with the two children in bed, I would retire to my own for a brief time to make up what Riley still leeches off of me of a night-time.

Now if I do put her to bed, her stamping on the walls with her feet, or playing with the curtains after ten minutes indicates she's not going to go off, and I reluctantly admit that I will have to entertain her.

This usually entails me lying prostrate on the couch while she dallys around me with the strict instructions to be quiet so as not to interfere with Oprah on the TV (yes, I'm admitting it). I will endure anything for a moment's rest, even "hairdressers" where she pulls my hair from the roots and chiding me by saying "Its OK, mum" like I chide her of a morning. Or she sings me a lullaby.

This latter activity can be quite enjoyable. I shut my eyes, she leans in close enough for me to smell her puppy-warm breath, and she strokes my hair, causing tingles to go down my back. She begins, "Twinkle twinkle little star" and I'm about ready to wish this feeling could be bottled up and sold as natural Prozac.

Yesterday was no different: "Twinkle twinkle...." she whispered and I'm relaxing...

....then silence....

...a quick indrawn breath...


She sneezed all over me. I am covered in snot. I feel like Bill Murray in Ghostbusters ("He slimed me.")

She sure did.

Quiet time over. "Mop up in aisle 5!"

Friday, April 20, 2007

Top of the world....well, the charts....well, not really. Close!

It seems most of the Australian Blogging Population is talking about Meg's list. I know I mentioned it in passing the other day, but now it's 100% fair dinkum official.

Miscellaneous Mum is one of Australia's Top 100 Blogs!

I may be down in the ass end, but boy, it's exciting! Not bad considering I'm barely eight months old.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

13 signs that someone you know may have an eating disorder

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that any one of these is an indicator of an eating disorder. A perfectly healthy person may have a few. I'm saying that I displayed all of these when I was suffering from my eating disorder. It is such a secretive illness that I haven't seen some of these symptoms printed anywhere before, but it's just the way I suffered, and the case may be different for someone else.

If it helps anyone, I would be very pleased. Pass it along to someone who you think might be interested. Leave comments. I believe in open communication: "You're only as sick as your secrets".

1) Look at their hands

Bulimics pry their fingers down their throat to gag and this is not often easy to do. Teeth indentations are common around the knuckle area. My hands bore these marks; it looked like I’d been biting myself. To hide this fact, many bulimics go on to use other objects (like the end of a toothbrush) instead.

2) A change of eating schedule

When sufferers do allow themselves to eat, it’s often in a very regimented and restricted fashion. This is hard when you’re eating in a family environment and you have to follow the times others set for you, so you make your own. If someone suddenly says they want to eat at 6pm when it’s always 7pm, ask them why.

3) Secretive Eating

Some people fast through the day, and then are starving by nighttime and rather than admit to anyone they are eating, do it in secret. Usually then one is filled with self-loathing, and then the downward spiral into purging begins.

4) Sudden interest in cooking

Extreme calorie regulation can occur when a sufferer may allow themselves to cook. If I had to eat, I’d do it on my terms. So, there was no oil used, no butter, no dressing. Very boring, but at least you could say, “Hey, I am eating!”

5) Sudden interest in the grocery shopping

A follow on from above. If you buy all the ‘right’ foods to begin with, you eliminate any temptation to ‘cheat’.

6) Sudden interest in fitness magazines

What’s wrong with this, you might say? Nothing, in itself. But these magazines usually have somewhere a feature on calories in certain foods, or do some sort of profile on a food group. And many people with eating disorders memorise calories counts. I used to know the calorie count of anything.

7) Sudden interest in tabloids, specifically ‘thin’ shots

Many magazines have these sorts of features: “All your favourite skinny stars!” and “Portia deRossi – anorexic or stressed out?” Naturally, most people look at such pictures with a mix of disgust and pity, but those with eating disorders may envy these women and gaze at the pictures with some sort of ‘awe’. If you catch anyone doing this, ask, “Do you think this person looks sick to you?” If they pause before answering, wonder why.

8) Complains of sore teeth

If someone you know has lost a lot of weight fast, a vitamin or mineral deficiency may make their teeth aches, even if they’ve been to the dentist recently, with no abnormal report.

9) Feels the cold

I used to wear three or four layers in the autumn and still be freezing. I’ve set my clothes on fire twice from standing too close to a fire to keep warm.

10) Hair Loss

My hair began falling out by the handful.

11) ‘How can you eat that?’ - transference of their own issues

This is a painful one. I would often pass (loud) judgement on others when I saw them enjoying food: “Don’t you know how unhealthy that is?” “Do you know how much fat is in that custard tart?” “Don’t you feel disgusting once you’ve eaten that” “Do you know how much time you need to spend on the treadmill to work that off?”

Naturally, on the inside I was insanely jealous these same people could enjoy their food. I would pick at the remains on the plate, miserable and bereft of self-esteem and confidence. Then I would go buy something bad and do a point (3).

12) Wears baggy clothing

It’s ironic, but the skinnier I got, the more aware I was of people staring at me negatively, so I’d just try to cover up more. I wore a lot of Adam’s clothing: and a 6ft 5 inch man clothes on a 5ft 4 inch girl isn’t a great look.

13) Fatigue

I was too tired to do anything – except go to the gym. I would make allowances for that, but nothing else. So if someone you know is doing the same, ask them why.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Finding Faith

These are my grandfather's hands; lifelong farmer.

If only more people's hands weren't more like his--strong, gentle, and kind.

The world might be a different place.

RIP - Virginia Tech victims.

I am still saddened.

Taking a moment

I think it would be amiss if I didn't mention something about Virginia Tech. But, honestly, I don't know what to say. It's hard to fathom. It's stomach churning.

Just be glad you weren't there. Just be glad your kids weren't there. And think, and hope, and pray (if you're into praying) for the ones who were.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mother Bloggers/Mommy Blogging, Technorati and Australia

Scribbit recently led me over to Mamablogga and her delightful little list of successful 'Mommy Bloggers'. I was surprised to know most of those already, and pleased to find some more great reads to add to my daily rota.

Then I looked at the sites mentioned carefully and noticed something.

All (bar one excellent Canadian) are American.

Where are the Aussies, you might ask?

Then I wondered: how many Australian 'mummy blogs' (I'm spelling it 'our' way) are in Technorati's top 6000?*

It's hard to figure. I went to the Australian Blog Index and did a search. Granted, I'm sure its not the most comprehensive of databases going around, but I was surprised at the number it gave back to me.


There are four of us in the top 6000. An example of one other being the glorious Kiddley/Loobylu, whose presence is being missed in the blogging world.

What is the significance?

Not much, probably! I was curious to know, and my curiosity has served me well (and bad) in my life. Blogging is not nearly as prevalent here in Australia as it is in America and other countries. I was reading in the paper the other day that 37% of the total blogs in the world are written in Japanese. You also have to consider how teeny tiny our country is-- a smidge over 20 million people. I googled America's most populous cities and found that we could be easily contained in just the top seven (NY, LA, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Antonio).

Summary: my question is, is there any way of pulling up lists from Technorati that list blogs by country, namely Australia?

Edited: I've found not one but two! Craig Harper has one on his right sidebar (You'll have to scroll down to halfway to find it) and an even more detailed one here. I originally drafted this post last week, so I hope it's not dated already!

*That arbitrary number is not so arbitrary. My ego is large enough to want to include my own in the tally.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Question and Answer Time

"Misc Mum - what's with all this self-help s**t?"

What an adroit question; brief, yet lovingly phrased.

I am no medium, but I can virtually see you at your computer, cloaked in darkness, sipping your Red Bull as you're waiting for a patch to download to run your latest-release PC game, and wasting time on other people's blogs in the meantime, being nasty.

You're probably young enough to think that the only self-knowledge that's important is to memorise your World of Warcraft character's skills and attributes because it would really come in handy if you're ambushed in a PvP realm. (Oh yeah, I can roll with them. We both know I know what I'm talking about here.*)

Yet the question is accidentally interesting. What would you have me do, Mr. Obscure-Hotmail-address-account? Do you want me to rant endlessly about my kids, regarding their good days and bad? Would you really find that more interesting, because I wouldn't, frankly.

I am also assuming that you are referring to the "Dear Me Project" or the newer "Hello, Gorgeous" challenge. Are you jealous because you couldn't, if you tried, think of how to attempt them?

I am not a 'self-help' guru, nor intend to make myself out to be one. There are plenty of other people out there in the world, with shinier teeth and better hair than I who can do that. I guess what I'm attempting to do is keeping the scales within balanced; to reconcile the expectations of what I, the wider-world, my family, my friends, my demons, everyone, say I could or should be being a 'mother'. You should go and talk to yours. I bet she'd rather enjoy the attention.

In the meantime, go get a life.

*Adam's level 60+ Druid can kick your ass anyway to Sunday, mate.

I am not here today

Well, I am, obviously, because I'm typing this and I'm pretty sure its daytime, but after the night I've had a truck could plough the lounge room any second and I wouldn't raise a tired eyebrow.

I'm also here:

I don’t play poker well, so I am going to show my hand early: I like to think I know a bit about writing and reading. ‘Hang on, so do I!’ may say you. Certainly if you are blogging, you already know the importance of content, of exacting the best of your knowledge and putting it out in the bloggersphere, hopefully to be respected and successful...................

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spreading the word

One of my new favourite websites

Celebrating the small victories

Yesterday, we went to a neighbouring suburb to play in the park and I took the opportunity to sneak off to an excellent second-hand bookshop nearby. It was my lucky day, because I hit the jackpot: The Madwoman in the Attic for $15, as new condition and a Helen Garner novel. Plus D H Lawrence's A Propos of Lady Chatterley's Lover.

I was still buzzing from this when something even more astounding happened.

Riley actually drank milk* from his sippy cup at lunch. For the first time.

This is a step forward for the whole weaning process. So I decided to skip his lunchtime feed. This resulted in a tantrum-and-tears of Mariah Carey proportions, which details I am too tired to go into here, but I emerged battle weary, hopeful.

*skim milk. So sue me. It was the only milk Keira opted for, and if its the case here, so be it. I know you're 'supposed' to give full fat milk until they're two, I know, I know. Don't email me.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The poser who's posing

The scene is this: it's December 1999. I'd just turned 21. I'm working out (check out my biceps!) and keeping my body healthy by good means rather than bad.

Life's getting tricky. I've just completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and want to enter the workforce, but am coming up against a wall of knock-backs because the workforce isn't interested in someone with just a Bachelor's degree. So in the meantime I'm working at a petrol station ('gas station' for the US folk) and smiling at fat businessmen as they throw their black AmEx's over the counter, like I'm a nothing.

This photo was taken just after I got home from a long shift. Our house was throwing a big pre-Christmas party, before we all split up to our respective families. I'd chucked back three champagnes (in the days when I could) and gone upstairs to do a quick wee. Running back, not to miss the shenanigans happening downstairs, little did I know that one of our guests had commandeered my camera and just as I was rounding the last bend in the stairs, "SNAP!"

I like my cheeky expression. I can be quite cheeky and flirty at times, when I'm not sleep deprived and I'm in some sort of 'happy place'. It looks like I'm striking a pose, and I am, kind of, but it's a spontaneous one. I look at it as an example of how, when life may be confusing, there are moments of optimism and happiness when we just stop dwelling on what's beyond our power to change. Like at that moment.

So this photo, to me, shows how a balance can be struck between our hopes and our reality. And how not to give up.

Because the following year, 2000, was the best damn one I've had. Hanging on, hanging in there, paid off.

Hello, Gorgeous!

Thanks to the success of the Dear Me" Project", I thought of how many of you out there got excited at the prospect of a little (fun) self-reflection.

Tell me, how many of you felt better afterwards? Did you leave you stronger on the inside: stronger than, say, a hundred bracing Kegel exercises?

Here's my next challenge. (It's not a meme. Please don't call it a 'meme'. It's such an ugly word).

Find a picture of yourself that you're truly happy with. You could be two years old in the bath, mugging for the camera, or it could be your wedding day, dolled up to the nines. It could even be your profile picture because, honestly, rarely is a profile picture a fugly one.

You could look damn hot or happy. Uncertain or nervous.

It doesn't have to be perfect.


Haven't we all seen a picture of ourselves that was taken just that second too soon, or too late, or without our even knowing, and we see it later and think, "Hey, I don't look all that bad." This could be a shock if you're normally the kind of person who say, "I don't take photographs well."

The picture could have red-eye, be blurry or slightly distorted, but there will be a look on your face that you recognize as you: true and unadulterated.

Perhaps you're holding your hands up in triumph after a triathlon. Perhaps you're leaning over a child, teaching them to learn to read. Perhaps you're just smiling to the camera in a garden of your own creation, proud of your achievement.

So go dig through some old photos. Ask someone to scan them, if needs be. Or use some recent digitals, if you wish. Post it up, write a description highlighting why you're looking so gorgeous, send me an email with the link (miscmum@gmail.com) and I'll compile a list of entrants, so we can all visit and go "Reaor - you go girl!"

I would ask that the photos not be photoshopped in any way because, really, that's just like getting botoxed before the Academy Awards - you're not fooling anyone. And you're just cheating yourself on the exercise.

Naturally, feel free to use the above button if you wish. Again thanks go to the talented daughter of my great friend.

Like the "Dear Me" Project, this will be open for an indefinite period of time. I'll post mine next to give you a bit of an idea of what I mean, but take the concept and run with it. Some of the best entries in the DM Project were those who 'thought outside of the square'.

Any questions, please ask in the comments. Please remember that by posting a link in the comments may not be enough to get onto the proper list within the original post. I will try, but it'll be easier in an email where I can be more organised.

Gorgeous people willing to share their gorgeousness

Misc Mum, Crazy Trace, The Brave, Shishyboo

Friday, April 13, 2007

Random Thoughts...on blogging etiquette

  1. I think I've been blogging too much lately.
  2. For example, the other night, I dreamt about Oh, The Joys.
  3. The dream in itself was rather uneventful: there were lots of computer monitors and profile names swirling about vertiginously, but Oh, The Joy's one kept popping out and talking to me.
  4. Now I've gone and admitted that...weirdness...here's another secret: I am still coming up to speed on blogging rules.
  5. For example, how do you refer to other bloggers? If I don't know the person in the flesh, or haven't even gone so far as to exchange emails, I normally refer to bloggers by their blog name. Some people prefer this, especially if they like keeping their anonymity, or if their blogging name is part of their 'brand'. But others mightn't care. For example, I'm talking about Oh, The Joys by that name, and not her real one, but I'm not sure if she'd mind either way? (Do tell me!)
  6. As for me, I don't care how I'm referred to, really, but to be honest "Misc Mum" is a more unique tag than "Karen" - (although there are undoubtedly many other excellent Karen blogger writers 'out there' who are using their own names proudly, and why not!)
  7. Another example would be Dooce. You say that name and everyone knows who you're talking about. Plain "Heather" could be a myriad of other people.
  8. What does all this mean?
  9. I find it interesting on how much power, respect and impressionability can be distilled right down to a 'name'. Some bloggers change their blogs and their names because they didn't like their original one or for more serious reasons, like being stalked or other such creepiness.

What about you? Are you happy with the blogging identity you've got now, or if you had your time over, what would you do differently?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

There's just something about Trains

At the Birthday Extravaganza on the weekend, the kids were given add-ons to their Thomas Train set. This included a new engine with batteries. So of course the whole set had to be dragged out to the lounge room and set up smack in the middle for everyone to trip over, because, really, a party isn't a party without some casualty or another.

Then I noticed something. A train set automatically draws you in: the continuous locomotion of a train going around the track, and the scratchy noise it makes. Or mentally willing it to go over a bridge and stay its course, most people are hypnotized in their presence. We had boyfriends, playgroup-friends, grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers, mothers, all at some point re-building knocked about tracks or re-connecting rogue cabooses. All for the higher purpose of keeping little Thomas chug-chugging along.

It struck me then that no matter how much we grow; we all remain child-like inside. At least, we should. It's unifying. It's innocent. It's wonderful.

What toys do you find draw people together to play and enjoy their inner-selves? Perhaps it's a kite? Or a jigsaw puzzle? And just what is it about these toys - or others - that give them such universal appeal?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A flying visit....

  1. Still not all that flash, but gagging feeling has slightly lessened. Don't think I'll do the test. In all probability it will be a waste of money.
  2. Mercy's Maid was kind enough to inform me the "Dear Me" project page was broken. I fixed it right up with a smack to the butt and sent it to its room. It's actually a timely time (tautology enough?!) for me to announce I've got another little 'scheme' cooking up which will be ready sometime over the next few days...
  3. That's all - it just seemed like a pointless exercise to have numbered points for anything less than a two....

Birthday Cake Heaven

Here is Keira's Dora Cake

Here is Riley's Number 1 cake, complete with Truck expressway

And because we got to the day and realised we'd forgotten about a cake for Adam, so knocked up this doughnut treat.

Notice I say 'we' above, but I had nothing to do with these cakes except whip up the mix from a packet. My sister-in-law decorated it, with some input from my mother. Both are experienced cake decorators. Not me, sirree.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Testing Times

Now life has begun to return to normal and I've had a chance to slow down, I've noticed that my body is not...behaving as it should.

These past two days, I've felt like dry retching in the afternoons, evenings and any which time I've eaten.

Sounds familiar?

Yep - I'm about to type a sentence I never thought I would again. Not for a long time, at least:

I think I need to go buy a pregnancy test.

"You're overtired" my remaining visitors tell me. "You've over-extended yourself". Which may be true.

I have other cold-like symptoms, like a runny nose and a tickly throat. So that's most likely the problem.

Still, it would be an interesting 'hypothetical' experiment. Gauge just how ready (or not, in this case) I would be to run that race again.

It would be the first time I'd be crossing my fingers for a negative.

Because if it came back positive I wouldn't know what the hell to do or say.

So, wish me speedy recovery so this feeling goes away and I don't have to think about this anymore.

Has anyone been in this kind of predicament before?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Celebrating the ecumenical difference between Catholics and Protestants

Protestant Godfather (watching the cars process out after the Easter Sunday Mass/Baptism of Riley is finished): Why is it that cars are so slow when driving to your church, but are so damn fast driving out?

Me (laughing): That's a funny question. Just don't say it too close to my mother - her eyes will scorch you deeper than holy wafers pressed upon the flesh of a vampire if she catches you making jokes.

Protestant Godfather: Ah, that's why the water font started bubbling when I walked past, then.

Well our party extravaganza is over and it went very well. Despite the cooking, the stress, the lack of storage room, it was wonderful catching up with people we love. Yuk, I'm going all soppy. I must go take my caustic soda tablets now....

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Life's little amusements

The ROFL Awards are something I've been vaguely aware of for a little while...'vaguely aware' meaning, of course, I've been lusting after one of those little buttons more than Lindsay Lohan does after a cheeseburger (she doesn't? She should).

Anyway, I read the post of this month's recipient and I found it so apt; so true.

True enough to want to add my little photo to the mix. Well, kind of.

I apologise for the quality of the photo. I hope you can see the stain.This is only a section of it.

This isn't breast milk. No, it's blood splatter. Six year old blood splatter, to be exact. One of my bodily amusements is to occasionally manifest a projectile nosebleed. It's about as fun as it sounds, and at these times I end up walking around like an extra from the Saw movies. This one went all over the wall and I stared at it and thought, "How long can I go without cleaning this wall?"

Six years and counting.

I think a little part of me - the prima donna - wants someone to notice it and then I can say all innocently: "Oh, that, yes, wow, that was an accident and a half! Cut my finger and almost severed the artery! Look at the blood trajectory! CSI would love a look at it!"

Oh, yes, I'm a great little housewife.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Just don't mention the war"

The above is a quote from the famous television show, Fawlty Towers, starring John Cleese, from the 1970's. Many of you will be mystified by the reference; others will know exactly what it means. I don't have time to explain it today, so you'll just have to go with the flow...

...anyway, most of our visitors have arrived now, and the house is crammed with food, suitcases, presents for the kids (which they're loving), and pretty much every surface is covered with something-or-other. In the midst of this, Adam and I have been sleeping in a bedroom cursed again with the itchy-and-scratchings of rodents.

They were gone for a week and we were congratulating ourselves, but then no, they're back. So I ring the exterminators because we're still under warranty to tell them to get their poisoning asses back here. So, to their credit, they did immediately. TWO men this time. Word has spread we must be a tough case to crack. They come down from out of the roof and one tells me, "Do you know they've eaten holes through the metal lining? I can see daylight through one of them"...Now I was a) pleased with a solution to the problem but b) cranky that no-one told me this before. So, Adam had a job to do.

Which brings me back to my headline. Adam says to me, "PLEASE, please, don't talk about this at the party on the weekend."

This makes me laugh because several times yesterday, guests arrived to visit while he was up on the roof, elbow deep in steel wool and bitumen tape. "What are you doing up there?" they asked. And because we are truthful souls, we usually 'fessed up. So everybody already knows anyway. We have no shame. I don't anyway. When a photo of the placenta from Keira's birth flashed up on our computer once when a friend was visiting, I didn't raise an eyebrow (boy, she nearly tossed her biscuits though!); I can dance foolishly in public and not care (too) much. I snort when I laugh and can live with it. Tell me, do you have no shame either?

Anyway, I've got to get going. Today is Food Preparation Day and Cake Decorating Day.

Friday, April 06, 2007

1001 Books Challenge- "Dracula" by Bram Stoker

Photo reproduced with kind permission by Elizabeth Miller. It's a picture of the 1st edition

Gothic Mastery at its best––and the villain who betters all others!

The plot is infamous; solicitor Jonathan Harker takes a foreign assignment. He is to travel to Transylvania to his firm’s mysterious client, a Count Dracula, where he must finalise the documentation on several purchased estates. However he soon realises that his courteous host is keeping him prisoner and planning to move to England for some diabolical purpose. Once Jonathan escapes he rushes back home where it becomes his quest––and the quest of his friends, including wife Mina, and doctors John Steward and Abraham van Helsing––to stop Dracula before it’s too late.

The slight quibbles one could make about the text––it is overlong and somewhat Victorian in its sentiments towards women’s sexuality––are far outweighed by its triumphs. Dracula’s journey to England on the Demeter, written in log form by its crew and accounting all sorts of terrifying mysteries, is particularly harrowing to read. As are other scenes, like Lucy’s ‘true’ death and the final chase in the Carpathians. Dracula might not have been the first of the vampire genre, but it certainly defined it.

One of my all-time favourites. I can't help loving it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thirteen Things Happening in Our Household This Week

  1. Party Preparations for Weekend - are in full swing as you'll see below...
  2. Birthday Cake Dilemmas - after swearing for months she wanted a butterfly cake, Keira decided two days ago that instead she wanted a Dora the Explorer cake. Riiggggttt...
  3. Birthday Cake Dilemmas #2 - we can't decide if we want Riley's cake to be a '1' shape (for his age) or in a Christening theme (because that's what else it is!). It might be a mix of both
  4. We had the carpet cleaned! How extravagant!
  5. Jumping Castle booked!
  6. Food bought!
  7. Alcohol bought! (and with my family, it's kind of a prerequisite)
  8. Adam's sister has been with us already for a few days and has been a wonderful help. Those extra pair of hands really make a difference because...
  9. ....consequently, Riley has been much perkier this week, because he's feeling better and because there's lots going on (that's my guess, anyway)
  10. I've had my hair cut, coloured, eyebrows waxed etc to look my best (well, as close too)
  11. Keira has about five potential party dresses picked out for the day, and would wear each one if I let her.
  12. All this considered, I'm going to have to relax and let it all happen because already I'm getting stressed about it, and on a completely non-related subject...
  13. ...I've had another article accepted for publication. Woot!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Chocolatey Goodness

The consequence of this post. Mum finished off Riley's yesterday and it was Mmm-mmm delicious-so (think Dora)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bloggity Goodness

Crazy Trace tagged me for this meme, one which I've seen around the traps for a while now, and has eventually made its way to me. Thanks, Trace. I do try my best. Uh...yeah. My mind's gone blank. Bad day to bestow this on me when I can't string a coherent sentence together.

Anyway, blatantly ripped from her pages are the rules as follows:

So, now, the rules of this meme started by Thinking Blogger Awards are as follows:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (there is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

Now, my problem. Pretty much everyone I read has already been tagged. So I will re-tag them, in the hopes my spreading of bloggy-love does not irk, but only flatter. Of course, if they haven't been tagged before, here is my gift to you and the wish for you to all keep on bloggin'.

Mental Tesserae

Man, I'm sorry. I'm spent today. I shouldn't be here. Too much to do....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Early Easter treats and potential apologies

Yesterday a neighbour we're not too close too, a wave and a 'hi, how are you" about covers the relationship, brought over some Lindt Easter bunnies, one each for the kids. This was a lovely surprise, all the more when you consider the 'predicament' which occurs when one gives Easter eggs to a baby.

Riley is still at an age where you give him an Easter egg, and he'd rather eat the foil. Whereas Keira is old enough now to give a dissertation on the subtle differences of chocolate varieties on the palate.

Naturally, this leaves us with the question of what to do with Riley's chocolate. Chocolate in the past, passed through my breast milk, used to cause him to break out in terrible eczema. (Not so anymore, as it turns out). The question is solved by a conversation that usually goes like this:

Me: Would Riley like some Easter egg? (Breaking off a large-ish chunk for herself)
Riley: No answer, or, perhaps a grunt not related to the question
Me: OK, I'll eat it for you then buddy (Popping it into her mouth)

Adam: Riley, egg? No? OK (Pops it into his mouth, without even waiting for his son's response)

Ah, Easter's grand.

Now, the potential apologies. As of last night, an influx of interstate visitors has begun to arrive for our impending Adam/Keira/Riley combined birthday extravaganza on the weekend. Combined with Riley's Christening on Sunday, it's going to be a big-one, but will no doubt provide ample blogging material. So if I'm not around here as much, I'll make it up to you next week.

But in all honesty I may still be here, because I am a compulsive soul, with certain habits that are hard to break.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

My new favourite sandwich topping

Due to the shocking week I've had I haven't been eating all that well because cooking would take up far too much time than my hysteric baby would allow. So, we've been experimenting. Adam has been eating Cheerios for tea and deemed that acceptable, whereas Keira has been scavenging olives, cheese, cherry tomatoes and slices of ham from the fridge whenever she can and making out of the collection a pretty damn fine tapas plate.

(Keira is no stranger to culinary experimentation)

My new love however is Frosting Sandwiches. Ten-Fifteen years ago, American importations such as this were still a rarity in Australia. We still beat our own butter and sugar together, thanks. These days? Go to the supermarket and buy it in a tub, stupid! I am a guilty offender - -no, I WAS a guilty offender until I tasted it's divinity of chemically enriched (I'm guessing) flavour.

Nonetheless, Adam was none to pleased when he sprang me covertly trying to make another sandwich.

"What are you doing?"

Me: (with spoonful of the cream in my mouth) "Hey, I've had a hard week. You eat crystallised sugar lollies masked as cereal for dinner - don't judge me"

It's a miracle we passed our dental appointment with flying colours. It's Keira's turn in a couple of weeks. I'm dreading it.

What do you secretly eat to get you by in times of stress?