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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wearing some badges today

Today is my chance to show some pretty, shiny things.

Many bloggers will know of NaBoPoMo. Last year I don't believe I entered (I can't even remember why), but this year, YEP! I would love, love to enter in NaNoWriMo, but couldn't even contemplate it until the kids are older. Come join in the fun!

Schmutzie has also organised the:

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

A challenge to all the lurkers out there to de-cloak and leave some freakin' comments. Show your love. Don't be a RSS feed leech for just one day!

{I promise I'll do the same, because we all know I'm a bit lax in that department too...]

Go to Schmutzie's to find out more!

Edited to add:

I've been laid low this week with some sort of viral infection; resulting in me to completely forget to keep mentioning the competition I'm running, the deadline being this Tuesday. So if you want to enter, you're chances of winning are already looking pretty good!
[Sorry about my lack of organisation.]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Eau de la poo

Whenever my sister comes to visit, before I even let her step through the door, I insist on her completely honest opinion on the olfactory state of our household.

"Now tell me," I say. "When you come in, take a whiff and tell me if it stinks or not."

Despite the place looking like I couldn't give two shakes about its appearance, the case is actually quite the opposite. I do care, and it usually doesn't take too long to bring it back into gear. However, what's not so easy, as many people realise, with kids, is hiding the fact that they tend, on occasion, to stink.

We've all walked into houses with nasty or heavenly scents to greet us. The good: coffee brewing, fresh roses or jonquils, and even the limey whiff of disinfectant is passable. The bad: three day old roast lamb remnants, and stinky sneakers left by the front door.

Then there's the pooey nappies.

I swear, on the bad days, when I've changed a particularly nasty nappy, the house still reeks hours later. And it's embarrassing. Which is why I hold-up my sister on the rare occasion she visits so I can stock take how well (or badly!) I am doing in keeping the air as neutral as possible.

Now, my sister normally grants my request with a degree of chagrin (And who can blame her? Who likes being asked if they can smell shit?) Luckily, her answer is usually lands on the side of blamelessness. Except for one time, she turned around to me and said, quietly, "Actually, you could do with an open window or two."

Oh, the humanity!

Do you get paranoid about this as well? Please don't tell me I'm the only one!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Confession time - 8 random facts

Mcewan tagged me with the 8 random facts meme and as it's been a while since I've done a meme I thought, why not?

The Rules:

I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.

People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their 8 things) and post these rules.

At the end of your blog, you need to choose people to get tagged and list their names.

Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Miscellaneous facts about Misc Mum

1) The other morning, I was humming a tune underneath my breath. It was ages before I realised it was the 'Star Spangled Banner'. Don't ask me why; I know it would've been more appropriate to sing my own national anthem, but hey! That's the subconscious for you.

2) The blog posts which come easiest to me are the ones I am often most personally fond of. This one, for example, was written in a single ad break of 'So You Think You Can Dance.' (Yes, Australia is behind in the episodes, something I was unaware of until I googled the show and then found out who won the grand final, thus ruining the surprise....)

3) Actually, while we're on the subject: yes, I think I can dance.

4) I took ballroom dancing classes for about two years.

5) With an elementary dancing knowledge, I can therefore understand what Mary Murphy is talking about on SYTYCD: that is, when she decides to talk at all, in between her hoots and cackles. Does the woman have an 'inside voice'? (A term which I remind my own daughter of when she's shouting).

6) Moving on from my dance talk, I have have a not-so secret fondness for Christian Bale.

7) When I used to swipe sherry out of my parent's liquor cabinet - at a VERY young age, probably still single-digits - I used to pretend I was Vivian Leigh in the scene from Gone With The Wind where Clark Gable is offering her shots of whiskey to get her drunk. (You see how many times I've referred to that movie this week? Completely unintentional, but telling, because it was a seminal cinematic experience of my life.) At the time I thought I was being seriously sophisticated; only in recent years did I discover that the sherry I was quaffing was cheap cooking stuff.

8)What's my favourite song from the past ten years, you ask? This one.

Okay, so I'm supposed to tag some people...who do I want to annoy honour?


Bah! I can't do it. I am a serious meme-a-phobe. I don't like them much personally, and I sure as sugar know they tend to bug some others too. Tell you what, if you want to do it, do it. Yay! All sorted.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Showtime - fun and sore stomachs for all

In Melbourne now it's Showtime. That period steeped in tradition around Australia, where we all trudge along to buy our Pluto Pups (me), or cream polly waffles (my dad), fairy floss (Adam), or sample all and sundry (Keira). I opted to stay home with Riley, just like last year, thinking it might be a chance to spend some quality time with my son.



Most of the time, he looked like this:

Why? Because, and I hadn't figured this before, he revels in his role as the 'quiet, but cunning' one. Keira deflects a lot of the stuff he gets up to and she is a great enabler ("You want to pull the toilet paper off the roller, Riley? Sure, I'll help you!") So, given I was able to devote almost 100% of my attention to him yesterday, that meant his mischief making was quashed. And he wasn't happy.

Until sister returned! Replete with facepaint and showbags!

That is, until it was makeup time, from a cheap kit she won on the clowns:

Then he went back to wishing he had the house to himself........as did I later, once my face also took on that lovely shade of ochre....

So who else has been to the shows this year?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WW - Having a Monty Python moment - please, don't get offended

As soon as I saw this, I was reminded of the quote: "He's not the messiah. He's a very naughty boy!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Overheard conversation at the library - putting to rest ideas husband have that we only speak of them in their absences

One mother (to another): You know? I bought all the craft stuff. I put it in the specially bought craft box. I fully planned on being engaged and involved, but whenever the kids ask me to get it out I say, "No, no, tomorrow." I just can't be stuffed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Looks like back to pushing up daisies is the goer in these green times

"The average male body produces about 50 kilograms of carbon dioxide in cremation"

In last weekend's section of ECO LIFE in The Age they had that rather affronting quote I mention above, plus how in these environmentally sensitive times cremation is now coming under question and how alternate burial methods and - ah - body removal are now being explored.

I can't find the article link online (as yet) but if I do I'll post it up because it is very interesting.

Which brought me to reflect upon my own - gasp - inevitable death. (Unless I do a Walt Disney and freeze myself so I may come back and live off the fortunes of my descendants) How do I want to be buried? I have no bloody idea, and like most people my age I have the hubris to reason that I don't need to think about it for at least another fifty years.

Al Gore has been in Australia this week on his environmental crusade, and I wonder if the question has been put to him. However, I have the feeling that he won't want to be buried in a cardboard box, with twist off brass handles, so they can then be re-screwed back on to the next casket (recycling!). Do you?

How about you? How do you want to be buried?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Spite pays back big-time

Keira was given for Christmas last year a set of delightful paper dolls, complete with a trousseau of clothes that Scarlett from Gone With The Wind would've been proud of. (Yes, that sentence ended with a preposition. I know - let's move on...)

Unfortunately, whenever she played with them, she became possessed by some devil of fashion; smearing the cardboard lovelies all over the floor, in various stages of undress, and would just refuse to clean up after them, or treat them nice. She was the perfect model's manager. Next, she would've been offering them cigarettes to stop them eating.

Eventually, I got to the point when ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH.


NO! She'd scream back.

WELL FINE, I'd say, lowering my voice. If you don't clean them up then I'm chucking them all in the bin (oh, how I sounded like my mother.)

Keira would cross her arms, unmoved.

FINE. So I swept them up, to go 'somewhere safe' until she's agreed to play nice with them again (whenever that is.)

The bugger is, I can't remember where I've put them, and now I wouldn't mind having a play too, because I have a hankering to find out if a punk-rock purple hairstyle can be matched with a 14th century Queen's outfit and roller skates for shoes. Perhaps with a magic wand to match, because we all know I loves me magic.

What toy of your kid's do you like to play with too?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Excuse the signal fuzz, but I'm broadcasting elsewhere today...

At Darren's invitation, I'm over at Problogger. See you there!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Facebook Lament

Last night I cried into Facebook
A friend, my friend, you see
emailed me privately to say
he didn't remember me!

How dare you, I said.
My picture, it's right there!
Didn't my eyes reveal
Our past in their hypnotic stare?

How could he forget me so?
Were my high-school charms
so kerplunked?
(in fact, in retrospect,
yes, I was a bit of a dunce)

I'm tempted to switch the bastard off
Never again - Facebook, you're kicked
But if that's the case, how will
I ever know if I've got another 'free gift'?

How do you deal with Facebook?
Are these people just those you're afraid to ignore?
Or do you "Add Friend"
with the kind of abandon I deplore?

'Cause are we meant to hold on forever?
Or keep one foot on each side of now and then?
And if that's the case, are you gonna drown in the tide
of unpaid dividends?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

An apologia to my offspring

Who's a grumpy heffalump? Yes, its me. I know, I know I've been a bit distracted this week. King and Queen of your respective domains as you are, you probably couldn't care less what's wrong with your serf (me), but listen up. This might help in years to come.

I've been sick. Worst case of Vertigo I've had in over a decade. I'll tell you, if you ever find a partner who's willing to hold your hair out of the way of the vomit as it's coming (especially if its in a non-alcohol-driven scenario) then they're worth keeping.

Yes, your father's been amazing this week, because I've been walking around in a fuzz of confusion and distraction (thanks again to above), and he's needed to come home early from work so I can get rest, and I tell you, when I hear you out in the lounge room reading stories together, and you get to the part in Dora when you shout "SWIPER! NO SWIPING!", I tell you, I wish I was out there too.

But when I have been, when we're fending for ourselves, I have been sullen and short of temper. The television has played babysitter for more hours than I care to think about. And when I do move, its to check my emails, or something as equally insignificant.

My brain though, when it's decided to function at all, has remembered some stuff. For example, yesterday, I walked in the lounge room to see Riley dancing there, all by himself, to the music on the radio (to Fall Out Boy! The lad's got style) and when he got sprung, he just grinned and held out his hand so I could join in too.

And Keira, my lovey. The girl who's gone from a cupboard full of dresses and literally nothing to wear, to the girl who will only wear the ONE outfit, her BINDI one, the one she wore yesterday and is now dirty, but that doesn't matter because she NEEDS TO BE BINDI.

Details, details. Mere details; but love is in the miscellany. I assure you.

So hang in there please, for me. I'll be better soon, and then I can play rough and tumble once again. Until then, yes, I have to hold my head completely still, like I'm in a deportment class-- otherwise it'll get ugly and I'll be calling for your father to do some head-holding once more.

And trust me - he doesn't want that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WW - Wolverine makes no sense, but he still makes me smile

I've had this picture for almost four years now. I don't remember where I got it, so I'm sorry I can't source it properly. It sits in my Pictures folder, on its own, with pride, nestled between the umpteen folders of the kid's shots.

Whenever I feel like I need a smile, I open it up. Because I figure, if the little dude can conjure up enough energy to push down that mighty big piano key, then, hey, maybe I can too (conjure up energy, that is. I can press a piano key okay.)

What do you think of it?!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Miscellaneous Mum's inaugural competition!

I was shopping last month and discovered these delicious little fridge magnets by Anne Taintor and couldn't resist buying some. Now I wish I bought more because I haven't seen any others in a similar vein here in Australia before. Perhaps that's why they caught my eye.

You see these? You like them? Well, here's your chance to win them for your fridge.

To celebrate Miscellaneous Mum's impending site redesign, I thought I'd hold a competition on the theme of changes.

I mean, isn't this what these magnets are about? The women's ironic observations on how life has changed, and perhaps not to her plan or expectations. Can you relate? How so?

It's easy to enter this competition: write a post on the subject of change. You're limited only by your imagination. If you need a prod though, here's some ideas: change of the seasons, lifestyle, schools, perspective, dress size etcetc. Many of you know I'm pretty easy going and not too strict about issues or topics, but, please, I'm going to reserve the right not include you in the draw if a post isn't appropriate. You have been warned!

Post your take on the challenge, including your link back to this competition page here at Misc Mum, and shoot me an email [miscmum AT gmail DOT com] and I'll include you in the draw. The draw will be completely random. I'll take entries up until midnight Tuesday 2nd October*. Any entries taken after that will be included in the final roundup of entries I'll post here, but won't be in line for the prize.

This competition is open to everyone.

*Remember, Australian time. So most people will have to be a half-day earlier than you think you'll need to be!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Popular Parent Bloggers - me!

Mammablogga has announced the revision of her list for the Popular Parent Bloggers, and boy was I shocked when I saw my name among the exulted. See, I read or have at least heard of most of those blog, and they're big guns. I think I'm the only Aussie though, so I'm happy to beat my chest about that little fact.

Go on over there and have a look-see if you're interested in finding some new reading material (to supplement here, naturally ;) )

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cross your fingers for me...on several fronts

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be afforded the opportunity to pitch my children's picture book manuscript to an agent.

I was seized with nerves - as anyone would be - but perhaps wasn't as frazzled as I could've been weren't it for the fact that on Friday night my son came down with a fever for the first time.

That's right mothers; hate me if you will, but in these first eighteen months of Riley's life he has not once, ever, had a fever (even here.) So yesterday morning it was a miracle I could prize the sorry bugger off my legs, out of my arms, long enough for me to get dressed.

Yes: when at the beginning of the week I was stressing over just what to wear for a video conference, now I was hoping just to get my hair and teeth brushed because my unwell son just couldn't be separated from me for one second! [Queue up the big, fat tears.]

So how did the pitch go? I hope it went well - apart from Skype dropping out on us once!

Now, forgive me, but I hear my son has awoken and he does not sound happy.....

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Times they are a 'changin....

*Anyone have a weird sense of deja vu? I think I've used that as a post title before. Meh - I'm sure you'll get over it*

As I've said several times over the past week, 'Miscellaneous Mum' is about to undergo a big overhaul. I will be keeping the 'kids drawing on the fence' banner, but I will be removing the quote.

Yes, Oprah-bashers, be relieved.

It's not for the ribbing from the Oprah-bashers that I'm removing it --although they don't help!--but more because I think it's time for a change.

That's where I might need your help. You see, I'd like to make up a fun, sassy quote with the word "Miscellaneous" in it (or a derivative of the term) to go underneath/beside.

You know,

"Bringing news of my miscellany - to yours"

"Miscellanea is often the best kind of information"

etcetc. (They aren't great examples! I'm thinking on the fly here!)

Why that and not something else? Well, I'm not 100% sure that's how it'll be. I have a divine E. L. Doctorow line that's tapping at my imagination like a reflex hammer, and won't desist.

So what's a great sentence you can make up with "Miscellaneous" in it?

Friday, September 14, 2007

A question for feed readers

Feedburner and I are at fisticuffs at the moment, and the scoreboard reads Feedburner 1: Misc Mum 0.

Literally, ZERO.

No one apparently reads me. Now, uh, two days ago, the tally looked different (not much different, granted, but I value each subscriber! I do! Hear me cry!) and my ego is suffering. Terribly.*

So my question is: are all my feeds showing up/ coming through okay? Please come and tell me (I assume because you're reading this that, yes, they are; but a little extra reassurance would be nice).

Thanks y'all.

*Well, not that much.

1001 Book Challenge - Abandoned Titles

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (halfway through before abandoning)

Published in the 1970's I can see why this might be considered a 'feminist tract'; what with the frank discussions of marriage, relationships, but, mostly, sex.

However I've found that most books which are primarily concerned with sex are, on the whole, boring. You're thinking how do I know this? I did do a degree in Cultural Studies, remember. Plus, I once did a stint reviewing erotic literature (no joke).

But I digress...

Fear of Flying was indulgent pontificating (fine) but there were no characters to redeem the text, or offer plausible excuse to keep reading. The main character, Isadora, really bothered me and I couldn't help but think, "Wow - with this kind of woman as the trailblazer or icon for the 'new feminist' movement, it's no wonder why now feminism is now considered washed-up or passe. Women obviously listened to the prattle."

There is a 'but'. Jong is unmistakably bright. There were a few sentences which made me Stop. Reread. Stop. Reread again. Quite arresting. I've made note of them for future blogging reference!

Who knows, one day I'll probably make it through...

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières (one-quarter done before abandoning)

It went from charmingly eccentric to downright bizarre.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm a bloody amateur - go on, ask about it

Keira's face balloons up in front of me.

"You happy, mum?" she asks, forehead crinkling slightly.

"Sure, I'm fine" I said quickly.

In fact, I had been silently contemplating the turn of events in my daughter's life during the past week. The toilet training (and I was so sure we'd gone past that stage) has been abysmal. She still has the odd 'leak' which she's able to shut off - sure - but no, this week its been complete gushers. Better still, it's called for changes of clothes, shoes, dignities, and treading the delicate line between patience and forbearance and frustration and questioning.

Then, this morning.......

Complete fecal decimation. She comes to me holding up a pair of undies that look like they've been dragged from the sewer.

"Mum. Dirty."


So after I scrub the clothes, the carpet (don't ask), the toilet bowl, I go outside for a moment to refresh the nasal palate.

And so when she appears before me, I look at her and try to smile. This is the same girl who has voluntarily used the potty since 18 months old. And yet this is the same girl who saturates one, sometimes two, nappies of a nighttime when other kids her same age are beginning to grow out of nighttime nappies altogether.

I know, I know, I shouldn't let it bother me. I've heard "Oh, its just a phase; a natural regression" a tonne of times now.

I guess I'm still stuck between the region of when I remember her vividly as a baby; now, I don't know which way to lead her or how to react to different situations. Times like this I'm reminded of a great t-shirt I should print up for myself: "I'M A BLOODY AMATEUR" and on the back it'll say, "GO ON - ASK ABOUT IT."

It's with these thoughts of incompetence in mind that I reach out and give my girl a hug - because it's about as close as I can get to getting something right.

And with the ferocity in which it is returned, do I hope that I am.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Seems like this issue ain't going to die anytime soon

Remember this?

The battle continues!

WW - Do you see what I see?

I see: A scrap of toilet paper on the floor which I'm about to snatch up when my daughter cries out......!

Keira sees: "No, don't mum! Look it's a six! A six!"

Hell, that was so darn cute I had to take a photo. Then I picked it up and threw it in the toilet bowl (well, what else was I to do with it?!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On strike today

Yesterday's post kind of took it out of me, but in accordance with my daily writing compulsion schedule, I just couldn't help posting on why I love Canadians so much.

This is an oldie-but-a-goodie.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Open letter to my husband on the subject of ipod borrowing


I loaned you my ipod in good faith a little while ago. I saw you take it to the computer and tinker with the song selections.

I know its embarrassing it's only an ipod shuffle. Thus we only have 100 songs or so to choose to upload at any given time (although I remember a time when that would have been heaven). So we must choose with discretion. Frankly, I thought I'd struck a pretty good balance and was puzzled as to what you'd want to remove and dubious as to what you'd want to replace. I thought, "What's the worst he could do?"

A fair bit, as it turned out.

But this was months ago, and I'd forgotten all about it: up until the other night when I decided to go for an evening stroll.

It was a postcard Melbournian Spring afternoon, with crab apple blossoms dusting the air, and a canvas of blue sky. Who wouldn't want to go for a walk through that?

So I tucked in the earphones and strode off.

#1 - Betterman by John Butler Trio. (Three Album)

Ah, crud. Look, I don't mind the John Butler Trio. Fantastic Aussies, blokes not afraid to take a stance on political issues. However - I'm sick to bloody hell of them! How many times do I have to listen to their albums!


#2 - Funky Tonight by John Butler Trio. (Grand National Album)

Not again! Actually, though, I like this song and the uptempo beat is good for the cardio.

#3 The River by Live (Songs from Black Mountain Album)

Oh, sensitive husband. Ever loyal to the Live boys, even though this is the only half-decent song from their latest (poor) album. Because Live is one of my favourite bands too, I listen - half-pondering though on their decline in recent years. I mean, compare them to Silverchair. They both came out at roughly the same time, the Silverchair boys are almost a decade younger, and they're continually coming up with dynamic new sounds; whereas Live lately have less fizz than an aspro a week after you've dropped it into the glass of water.

#4 This Is How a Heart Breaks by Rob Thomas (...Something to be Album)

This more like it!

I punch up the volume and adopt the geekish stance of the power walker: elbows bent, so it looks like I'm impersonating a duck and swing them! Swing them high!

Then, with the volume up high, this happens...

#5 Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne (The Best Damn Thing Album)

I grip my ears in pain, pain!

Sweet Jesu! Why?! Why must you torture me? Please explain your love of this sk8tr ingenue to me, because I really can't understand it. You do realise how young she is?

(Yes, I suppose you do...)


#6 Hanging Around by Counting Crows (This Desert Life Album)

All I can say about the Counting Crows was thank God you found the Dave Matthews Band when you did.


Feeling rather despondent now, and fearful my walk was going to be ruined by half-rate songs, I return my attention to the surroundings, only to discover my vision is diminishing in the early evening light. Walking along a busy road, I get an occasional 'toot' from cars as they drive past, but that may have less to do with their sexist catcalling and more to the fact that I seem to be in deep discussions with the ipod. Holding up the little stick in front of my face, like an offering to God, I plead with my creator, "Please God, let my husband have kept one good song on here!" The cars drivers may have sensed the crisis. Maybe they're in the middle of their own plea bargains in relation to their tuned radio stations.


#7 If only she knew by Michelle Branch (The Spirit Room Album)

God, have you forsaken me?


#8 Lala by Ashlee Simpson (Autobiography Album)

Oh for F*CKS sake!


I fall to my knees, defeated. Head tucked down into my chest, I mourn for the passing of my favourite songs.

"You okay?"

A resident of the house I've stopped in front of has just pulled up into his driveway. He's hoicked a laptop bag out of the passenger side of the car, and is looking for a polite answer from me so he can scurry inside.

"Yes, sorry," I say, getting up, feeling foolish. I wipe away tears. I have been crying. "I - ah - never mind."

The man shrugs and heads indoors.

I press PLAY.

#9 Hey Jude by the Beatles (Hey, Jude Album)

Oh, happy moment! One of my songs! He didn't erase them all!

I sing along. Elated, I couldn't give two tosses if people look at me funny when I'm saying Na- na- na- na- na- na- naaaaaaaa! and Jude-judiejudiejudiejudiejudie!

Sweet times.

#10 Everybody (Backstreet's Back) by Backstreet Boys (Backstreet's Back Album)

Uh - yes.....uh, yes. This one's mine.....

Deflated, uncertain in the knowledge that perhaps my taste in music isn't infallible, I decide to head home.

God, in his benevolence, offers one final reprieve:

#11 Grace Kelly by Mika (Life in Cartoon Motion Album)

Ah, the preppy, boppy, bubbly tunes of Mika. Will he still be around in two years time? Who knows? Does it matter?

Once I get to the front door, I take a moment to reflect on what I learned on the walk: It's that no matter how bad your taste in music might be, it's never so bad as when compared to someone else's. Which fills me with the right amount of righteous indignation to shake my finger at my husband as soon as I walk in the door and ask,

"Did you put all this crap on my ipod?"

This is a true story, But as we have seen before, I can often dress up truth for the dramatic benefits of a wider narrative. I'll let you decide where the light and shade goes....

For Julie's Hump Day Hmmm this week.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Adam's Fathers Day Present - Candamir

I mentioned the other week our favourite way of passing the time. I didn't mention our second favourite way - board games. Some people ask for toasters or avocado slicers for wedding presents. Not us! We put 'Scrabble' on our gift registry (which readers M & B gave to us - thanks guys!)

(However I refuse to play with Adam anymore, since he refuses to accept the fact that his winning on all occasions was just dumb luck).

Our board game tastes run to the unconventional. We like the games that no-one's heard of, those you need to scour specialty gaming shops for - and even then you're lucky to find it - and which cost a pretty penny. This baby, for example, was a cool $100.

Was it worth it? I think so. Does he? He'd better!

If anyone's interested, here's the site --> actually this has saved in German. Don't ask me why. If you can read German, go for it!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What to do with a garden like this?

A giant silky oak which is regretably dying, and needs chopping down.

Underneath all this natural mulch are stones which we laid, but the persistant weeds have grown through, as evidenced here...

......and here.

I want to bobcat all the ground back to some sort of levelness (hard to do when you live on an incline) and pave the whole darn lot. Adam thinks it would be a complete waste of money because there is no drainage to speak of. Turfing with grass is out of the question because the area receives next to no sunshine. And the stones haven't worked.

What other options are we left with? Anyone have any ideas?

Friday, September 07, 2007

1001 Book Challenge - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Now I've sat down to write this, words have failed me. How to describe an opus like Middlesex?

Most would know know it's the story with a hermaphrodite as the protagonist and his/her's (really, his) life's journey. But it's so much more. It's about European immigration into America in the early 20th century. It's about cultural attitudes towards men and women and how these have shifted. It's about so much more.

Eugenides is a marvellous writer. I love The Virgin Suicides. His characters are so textured; the plot so precise and deliberate, that I can't help but be reminded of an Australian Modern Classic - Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton. Both are family sagas, portrayed through the generations. Both are told through, or with a mind of, characters with mental/medical difficulties. Both Winton and Eugenides write great women characters - no mean feat, for male authors.


My slight quibble: the downfall of Father Mike at the end. That just seemed rushed and odd, frankly.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Whirlpool words

Do you know, after you've written the word 'miscellaneous' about a million times, it starts to look like a giant line of random tiles pulled from the scrabble box. It just looks odd.

Also, and why oh why didn't anyone say this over the past year - that the 'miscellaneous' in my title - look! look at the very top of the page, next to the blogger icon, in your web browser! It was spelled incorrectly.

God, I wanted to die when I realised that this morning.

Quick fix, done, schwing!

TT - five bad, but eight good things that have happened in our house this week

The Bad

  1. I got a rejection letter this week from a publisher regarding one of my manuscripts.

  2. I had to pick up Keira from preschool on Monday because she wouldn't stop crying.

  3. As I suspected, I've put on approx 1.5 kgs since before going away on our road trip

  4. I have been suffering the brain-freeze which is PMT. (At least I hope that's what it is...although my husband mightn't!)

  5. I was almost rear-ended in the supermarket carpark by an old man on Tuesday. Grr!

The Good

  1. I am getting a total blog overhaul and re-design over the next five weeks, done by the talented Leanne. Yes, it looks like I'm finally defecting from blogger.

  2. One of my top ten favourite books of all time, Pillars of the Earth, is finally getting a sequel! World Without End, to be released in Australia in October. I'm thinking Christmas presents, family...

  3. It's Spring! No further explanation!

  4. Touch wood, the kids are pretty healthy at the moment.

  5. There's the possibility of one of the kids saying something like, "Mum, does my Dora watch get email?" (Keira). Good Lord! That really happened!

  6. I'm about to get some quotes done for some backyard re-landscaping. I'll post some photos - you'll see why!

  7. I have to first three seasons of Deadwood here, on my DVD stand, calling me to watch them...

  8. Best of all: I'm pitching my children's book next weekend to an agent in the hopes of achieving representation. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Deveny some love in the air - me, for her

This is why I love this woman.

Now, I'm in the category she questions at the start (why did I change my name? Because I could), but I must say I her "supermum" talk at the end clangs in my ear. As I'm sure it does to other mothers around Australia (and around the world also? )

What do you think?

WW - Here I go on about breasts again

Keira: Mum! Here's a ball.

Me: Thank you.

[I take the ball to throw it, but that's obviously not what she had in mind.]

Keira: No! Put it in your top!

Me: No - I'll stretch it!

Keira: Make bigger boobies!

Me (considering this to be a cheaper alternative to plastic surgery): Okay then!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shorts from the mouths of my babes - with the occasional cross-cultural reference

From my babies this month:

Keira: "A goat grows up to be a camel!"

Riley: "Car! Car! Car!"

[What's so funny about it? He says it with the same choked-alto as Michael Palin does in that scene in A Fish Called Wanda, and Kevin Kline's got him tied up to the chair, trying to get the name of the airport hotel out of him, and all he can say is "Car---! Car--! The Car--"

They sound exactly the same.]

Scene: We're waiting in the express line (Ha! Oxymoron of the Year) of the supermarket, and as usual Riley is fussing in the pram, wanting to get out. I ignore him, as do those behind us. All, except Keira, who gets right up in his face and yells, "Hey! What's your problem?"

People behind us giggle, and it sounds so funny, I suppress a smile. Barely. I guess you had to be there...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Perfect Post Awards August - my pick

Perfect Post Award for August 2007

It's my turn to pick out what I thought was the best post of those I read in August. Now, some of you may laugh and think that's a bit rich, considering I have already made a certain confession but, no, I was back in my leather wing-back here in my lounge room when I first read this.

I've made it no secret that I'm not a huge fan of mammoth blog posts. I just can't read them off the screen; it makes my eyes hurt. And, technically, I can't print them off to read either unless the author's specifically made concessions to do so under creative commons.

So you know a post's good if it's long, and I read it eagerly.

Julie's was great.

I swallowed it hungrily because soon I will be in the same boat (preschool for Keira isn't quite as anxiety-inducing - and let's face it, that's the kind of gal I am - as I thought it would be) and I loved the breakdown, and her always frank way of expression and self-reflection. If only I could do the same!

Take a look. I recommend it!

Want others? Try here and here

Sunday, September 02, 2007

YouTube Time - Vader Sessions

We had friends over for dinner last night. The good thing about having techy-savvy friends (I would never say 'IT-nerds' because they most certainly are not and Adam and I, most certainly, are) is that we share information of all the goodies floating around the Internet.

They said, "Have you seen Vader Sessions on Youtube?" We said, "No."

It's not the most recent video around. Sure, many of you have already seen it.

If you haven't, grab a coffee and enjoy ten minutes of pure gold.

A heads up; it's clips of Star Wars dubbed over entirely in the voice of James Earl Jones from his other movie repertoire. So funny.

Happy Fathers Day! + links of the week

Happy Father's Day, husband. I know, I know, this isn't the best photo of any of you, but it's the most recent one.

And to my own dad, who puts up with a grumpy lump of a daughter sometimes.

PLUS: Yesterday, I found myself linked to on this site and this one . These, so far as my experience goes, have been the first places where you can visibly see many of the popular links and topics floating around digg, reddit, Stumbleupon, de.li.cio.us, etc all at the same time. It was fascinating to see what other people are finding fascinating at the moment. (I'm sure there are others though). Go have a look!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

1001 Book Reading Challenge - an update

I haven't posted any reviews lately, have I? Did you think you might've caught a break and I've forgotten about it? Nope. Sorry you non-readers out there (but I suspect most of you are!)

I'm plowing through three at the moment:

1) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

2) Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

3) Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

Despite their very obvious (if you've read them) differences, there are surprising similarities too. 1 & 3 are both set partially if not wholly in Greece. 1 & 2 have characters visit/live in Germany who are American in origin.

Stay tuned!

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

Melbourne earlier this week was experiencing beautiful weather. Everyone I talked to outside at the time opened their arms to the sky and said, "Isn't it glorious?" We all suffer during winter. I've spoken about it before, and I'm sure others who live in cold climes feel the same. I put the Van Dyke quote in because, naturally, the weather turned nasty again yesterday, but I'll keep it in mind, looking forward to happy-sunny times again.