Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
So I don't know if it has become frightfully apparent that I'm a wee bit of a neat freak. I like things tidy and in their place. I like to have a routine. I really missed out on my calling to join the military because lets face it, neat freaks thrive on routine drills and having really clean shoes.
Anyway, if you know me from Twitter, you will already have bared witness to my printed shopping list. I know it all seems a little OTT, but the list serves a valuable purpose, it makes my life easier and more efficient. Each week I grab a list and a trusty highlighter pen (sometimes two because some items are purchased at one supermarket and others at Aldi, so obviously each supermarket has it's own colour) and I scoot down my list marking the items I need.
Now just so you can really understand the depth of my 'organisational madness', my list is broken into sections like 'dairy' and 'canned goods' and these sections correspond to the aisles in my local supermarket.
Am I freaking you right out yet ? I'm guessing if you're a fellow neat freak you are standing up and applauding and saying "Now where on earth do I pick up one of these wondrous lists ?". If you're more of a wing-it person, you've probably already stopped reading and are trying to decide if a snack at eleven o'clock is a late breakfast, early lunch or brunch, for the record, my vote is brunch.
Sorry, I'm digressing again, my point is that I have a system and my system worked a treat until.....shock of horrors.....I went down to the local supermarket today and THEY HAVE MOVED EVERYTHING AROUND. It was chaos, mayhem, people running around screaming....oh alright, they weren't really, the chaos and mayhem was limited to inside my head, but I did pass some disorientated elderly folk and we shared a look that said 'Why ? Why have they done this to us ?'
But I guess at the end of the day a bit of change every now and again isn't such a bad thing. It reminds us that life is full of changes, some big, some small, and that the only way to deal with it is to take a big breath (and possibly a nip of brandy) and just get on with it the best way that we know how.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
To be perfectly honest I don't recall exactly how old I was when Horse Camp was pencilled in on the calendar. All I do recall is that my cousin and I were young and the thought of mounting a giant steed filled me with dread and uncertainty.
In my mothers defence, I probably nagged her until I was blue in the face to go to Horse Camp. I've always liked horses and I'm sure the idea of a week at Horse Camp seemed as exciting as the arrival of Santa Claus or a visit from the Tooth Fairy (twenty cents.......awright.....that's the biggest bag of mixed lollies in the entire world). Ah yes, selective memory loss, at the end of the day it may have all been mum's idea (I'm sure I'll be receiving an email shortly to fill in the blanks).
Anyway, on arrival at Horse Camp I was given a horse, who was probably the biggest horse to ever grace our fair shores. She was mammoth, gigantic, a Goliath amongst horses.......and I was a small, teeny, tiny, wee pip of a girl.
(Bare in mind I may be taking liberties with my story telling, and may also be embellishing a few minor facts, like actual sizes of animals and people)
My horse also had colic, which didn't really mean a great deal to me, aside from the fact that she had to wear a special collar (Prima Donna) and seemed especially crotchety (this may or may not have had anything to do with the colic). Turned out that not only was she a huge and colicky horse but she was also smart and took about a tenth of a second to realise she was a lot stronger then me, which clearly put her in charge.
Here is a simple fact. Small girl ; short legs - Big horse ; long legs, high body. Doesn't take a genius to work out that getting on and off the horse was going to be no small feat. It required either an adult, a box or a majestic gymnastics manoeuvre which no doubt would have scored straight tens at the Olympic Games.
Suffice to say, once I had manged to get on the horse it was paramount that I stayed put. Getting down and leaping back up again was not an option. Horse worked this out very early on, most likely around the same time that she worked out that my match-stick arms were unable to hold onto the reigns if she decided to stop and have some morning tea on the early trail ride.
So, horse chooses own direction, decides what she would like to eat, yanks reigns out of my hands and pretty much forgets she has a passenger on board. Yes, I was born to be a Horse-Woman.
As you might imagine, no sooner had horse learnt that I had no control over her whatsoever, I discovered that I much preferred to assist in the kitchen then go on the trail rides. Sorry mum, perhaps Cooking Camp might have been the way to go.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monty Python movies have been making me laugh for years. Today I could use a laugh. This is the Dead Parrot Sketch from 'And Now For Something Completely Different'. I'm pretty sure that I've seen it 1001 times and it still makes me giggle. Enjoy.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I had another idea for a watercolour and ink sketch, it seemed like a good idea in my head. I attempted some colour washes on Sunday and.....'meh', totally not what I was aiming for. Now I'm debating, do I try and redeem my first attempt or just toss it away, wait until the 'meh' has moved on, and try afresh ? Yes, tough decisions indeed, it's no wonder I'm having trouble falling asleep at night.
But it's not all bad when you get a dose of the 'mehs', finding my creative portal slightly blocked I have turned my attention elsewhere and have re-embraced home sessions of Pilates. I really enjoy Pilates, none of this sweating business. Calm, controlled movements which give you rock-hard (well, slightly less squishy) abs and a toned butt. Yes, that's the real carrot isn't it ? Who wouldn't want a toned, perky botbot that you could bounce a coin off ?
Petal has been joining me in my workouts (I use the term loosely) and I must admit that it's very hard to keep a straight face and concentrate on "working your inner core strength," when you have a four year old wanting to hold your hand and perform her stylised interpretation of the exercise. The Coach decided to take some photos of our efforts the other day, and Petal, ever the entertainer, is looking up with a huge grin on each shot whilst I grimace and try to hold a pose as all the muscles I'd forgotten I had begin to quiver and shake in protest.
Anyway, I'm sure that the 'mehs' will be on their merry way soon enough and in the meantime I will embrace my new daily mantra, "Abs of steel, abs of steel, abs of steel."
Monday, August 17, 2009
A pint sized bandit in red. Just hand over all the ripe strawberries, okay.
I was flicking through the August edition of Marie Claire when I stumbled across these gorgeous shots of scarlet gowns, taken by Hugh Stewart. Unfortunately my replication doesn't do the photo the justice it deserves, they are simply stunning photographs. It was hard to pick a favourite but I'm also going though a slight obsession with red Hunter gumboots.....look....red Hunter gumboots *sigh*. I can't explain why I love them so, but I do, so we'll just have to add that to my growing list of quirks.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I am the kindergarten librarian (that's one gold star) which is generally a pretty cushy job except for on book order weeks. Those weeks I roll my hair into a bun, don my specs and say "Shhhh children, mummy is trying to concentrate," and lets face it, post-pregnancy my brain doesn't seem to steamroller along in quite the same capacity as it once did.
On Tuesday we had a kindergarten excursion to the local Police Station (2nd gold star for being a parent helper). The kids had a lovely time and we all now know which little boy is already slurping on a cold beer and which mummy has a lead foot. No secrets with four year olds I tell you.
Wednesday night was our monthly committee meeting. These two hour plus meetings were pretty good when we started out, there were cakes and bickies and even a glass of wine. Now you're lucky to grab a lamington and a cup of coffee, sad times indeed. But we're a committed bunch, so if we can solve the crisis of the rut in the dirt next to the new soft-fall path, by jingo, we will, cake or no cake.
Friday I grabbed my apron and wooden spoon and baked up a storm (well, a mini-storm, one has to exercise some restraint, wouldn't want to show up the other mothers, would I ?) A delicious chocolate cake with dark ganache icing and a batch of pineapple and raisin muffins for the kindergarten cake stall (3rd gold star). Yummo. It was a touch cruel filling the house with the delectable aroma of baked goods and then informing the kids that this batch wasn't for them, but I'll make it up to them. A certain young artist has a birthday just around the corner, yay for birthday cake.
There's just something wonderful about a bowl of glossy, melted chocolate.
Voila, I have to admit I was rather happy with the end result. I have learnt to be patient with my ganache and allow it to cool to the correct consistency (first time I was too busy laughing as it dribbled everywhere) and I thought the white chocolate curls were quite pretty.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
So instead of sketching or painting I have been cleaning. The upside of this is that now I can happily invite a horde of neighbours in to use my toilet without a shred of embarrassment. Can you see how hard I'm working on finding that silver lining folks ?
After spending the morning with myself and determining I was rotten company, I decided to take matters in to my own hands. I grabbed the camera and went outside, where the day is absolutely perfect, and found a couple of things which make me smile. They're just little things, but sometimes that's all you need to help bring a touch of joy into a grey rainbow sort of day.
I am so happy to see the Jasmine flowers returning. Part of our back fence is overgrown with Jasmine and as much as I know it drives The Coach insane, I love it. When the breeze is just right the scent of the flowers drifts into our en suite. Gorgeous.
Petal's sparkly shoes, shimmering in the midday sun. Aren't they pretty ? That's got to make you smile, at least just a little.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
After reassuring Miss K, we continued on until we approached a billabong (I kid you not). There wasn't a bunyip or jolly swagman to be found but a small campsite had been set up and I think it was one of those rare instances where a sixth sense really did prevail. We by-passed the camp site very quietly. It was actually a very eerie spot, gloomy and silent, and something just didn't feel right. Now here's the bit that will make you go "ooooh, creepy," *insert dramatic music here* it was only upon my return home that I discovered a couple of guys had escaped from a prison in the general vicinity of the bushland we were hiking in (goosebumps, right ?). Was it their camp site ? Were they watching us ? Was one of them actually The Jolly Swagman ? I have no answers to any of those questions, but it was pretty darn spooky I tell you.
Anyway, finally we hit the ridge and discovered paddocks and a few houses below us. I couldn't tell you how long it took us to reach the houses, but the sun was dropping and the chill of the approaching evening was upon us by the time we were knocking on doors.
Could you believe it, not a single house was occupied. We were greeted with locked doors and dark windows. Talk about a bummer. But at least there were taps so we could get a drink, and a road, which provided us with a little comfort, even without a single street lamp.
As darkness descended I decided we should bunk down near the road. I had figured we were there for the night so I suggested to Miss K that she have a rest, whilst I kept watch, then I would wake her and we would swap.
Sometimes Lady Luck is following you around and you don't even know it. Suddenly we noticed something in the darkness, something coming towards us. We both leaped up and start jumping around like a couple of crazed wallabies.
It was a car. A middle-aged couple and their two children were in the car and to say we were delighted to see them was an understatement. They squeezed us into the back seat and drove us back to camp, which it turned out was over the other side of the mountain, doh.
So there you go, lost on year six camp, perhaps it wasn't for twelve hours, it may have been more like six or seven hours, but it was certainly an experience I won't be forgetting anytime soon.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Common sense dictated that we follow the track up, but when you are only twelve years old with an overactive imagination, it only takes the smallest thing to send you into a tail-spin.
Have you ever heard an angry koala ? Sure, they're all cute and fuzzy wuzzy bundles to look at, but when they are riled up they sound very much like a rage-driven, scientific experiment gone wrong, over-sized, razor-back pig, with sharpened tusks, red eyes and an insationable lust for human blood.
So when we heard the bellow of the angry over-sized razor-back (or yes, more feasibly, the peevish koala) we did what any person in their right mind would do. We back-tracked and moved at high speed away from the noise and down the other track. Tell me you wouldn't have done the same ?
It didn't take us too long to realise that we were completely alone. We tried 'coo-ee-ing', with no success but we were still too rattled by the loud grunting, screetches to turn back the way we had come.
The funny thing is that I don't recall being particularly concerned by our predicament, I figured we should head for the rise and from there we should be able to find a vantage point to work out which way to go. I guess growing up as Daddy's little fishing buddy had instilled certain outdoor survival skills in me, or perhaps it was all those episodes of The Famous Five, either way, we calmly kept on walking.......to be continued.....
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
On the whole I have pretty fond memories of my time at school. I attended the same school for my entire education (can anyone see where the seed of my reluctance to break a routine may have been sown ?) and moved through various circles of friendships during the course of the thirteen years. A few of those friendships have withstood the test of time whilst others simply drifted away.
The twenty year reunion brought back memories of events which occurred during my school years and I thought I would share one of those with you today.
For want of a better title, let's call this one 'Lost'. Or perhaps 'Lost in the Bush,' or maybe even 'Lost in the Bush without Any Supplies for 12 Long, Cold Hours.' No, that will give the whole story away, let's go back to 'Lost.'
It was Grade Six camp and a gentle hike had been scheduled in. Now I don't know how long the hike was actually supposed to take, but I can safely assume that no one counted on twelve hours. Well, in all fairness, only two of us hiked for twelve hours, the others were all safely back at the camp, showering, eating dinner and no doubt telling dramatic tales of their own.
In our defense, it really could have happened to anyone. There was a teacher at the front of the group, introducing us to the finer points of 'power walking' and a teacher at the rear with a cattle dog herding up the stragglers (okay, I made that up, there was no cattle dog, but in hindsight, a cattle dog would have saved us all a lot of trouble).
Because I am an extremely kind soul, with the patience of a Saint (Coach, if you are reading this, please stop laughing immediately) I stopped to wait with Miss K who had picked an extremely poor moment to suffer the misfortune of an untied shoe lace.
That was all it took, when she was done and we looked around, we were alone. The front group had turbo charged onward and upward, the stragglers were probably fawning over a colourful display of mould on a fallen tree trunk, either that or chasing pixies.
Yes, we could have waited for the stragglers but we had seen which direction to take, so with the infinite wisdom of twelve long years on the planet, we followed. Or so we thought...........to be continued....
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Now some of you may be thinking 'Woop Dee La Dee Doo,' but the build up to today has been enormous and has taken a dedicated team of ALDI supporters approximately two years of blood, sweat and tears.
As I marched my ALDI trolley out through the golden sliding doors, I proudly contemplated my three VERY FULL shopping bags and marvelled that I had only spent $49.95. That's about a bag of grapes and packet of juice at my usual supermarket. Yes, the rumours were all true and I was impressed.
Admittedly I was a little hazy as to what the contents of my bulging shopping bags actually were as I had been loading things in to my trolley with gay abandon, deliriously chinging the savings up on my mental cash register. 10 cents, ching. 25 cents, ching. $1.50 ching, ching, ching.
But the point is that I have overcome a debilitating fear of organised chaos. No, there were no familiar lines of neat and organised shelving, but I took deep breaths and surveyed the scene like a tour guide in an unfamiliar jungle, different trees, same approach.
So now we have Breakfast Bubbles and Dippits instead of Rice Bubbles and Le Snacks, but I think we'll cope (did I mention "ching, ching"?) And to Team ALDI, thank-you all for your support and nagging, see, it does get in. Now where do I sign up for my printed sweat-shirt and badge ?
Monday, August 3, 2009
I'd like to start by clarifying that the young lady above is not one of my children, in case the accent didn't give it away. I was quite impressed with her point by point instruction on how to perform the perfect tantrum but I'm afraid, compared to Le Artiste, when he was at the height of his 'tantrum throwing ' days, she really is rather an amateur.
When Le Artise was three he learnt how to throw tantrums of epic proportions. These were the kinds of tantrums from which legends were born. Earth rocking, building toppling, extravaganzas. Subsequently Le Artiste didn't enter a shopping centre between the ages of two and five. Some kids get to have parties or go to theme parks for their fifth birthday. Le Artiste, he was allowed to go into a shopping centre, oh the joy and awe on his sweet little face, am I the best mummy in the world or what ?
Anyhoo, Le Artise's tantrums were quite a sight to behold and they followed a tried and true formula. It went something like this :
1) Stare at floor while mulling over reason for ensuing tantrum (generally the word 'no' was involved).
2) Let bottom lip drop and perhaps quiver, just a touch.
3) Scrunch up face and begin colour transformation, first red.
4) Second stage of colour transformation, purple.
5) Take a huge breath (the bigger, the better)
6) Wail, scream, holler, sob, whilst bunching hands into fists.
7) Drop to floor and perform a cockroach death spin (very important to maintain the vocal factor whilst performing the spin)
8) Stop spinning. Kick feet and pound fists on floor.
9) Forget what it was that had caused tantrum in the first place.
10) Kneel up, face upturned, arms raised into the air (think that final scene in Platoon)
11) Projectile vomit all over the place.
12) Fall asleep.
I found the most effective way to deal with these all consuming tantrums was to ensure that Le Artise was in a safe environment then to just step back and let him ride it out. Perhaps a polite golf clap at the conclusion and a score out of ten for effort and overall enthusiasm.
Ah yes, the memories that brings back. Now maybe people can understand my response when I'm asked if I plan on having any more children. "Nope, all is well and the baby factory has closed and bolted it's doors."