Saturday 31 October 2015

Race? What Race?

I have three kids, at three different schools. I am time poor in a way I've never been before. I am in a logistical nightmare that I'm trying to adjust to manage better. I've had to change the orthodontist appointment because a school camp was announced. I had to rearrange the dentist because a last minute school meeting required my attendance. I have tight timeframes from 3 - 7.30 most nights.

So while I love the Melbourne Cup, I have managed to snaffle a dentist appointment that afternoon, so I will be in my car, racing to pick up all three kids to then make our way to the dentist when the race stops most of the nation.

I hope to head to the TAB during the day, or get a spot on someone's sweep, so I don't feel completely removed from society, but I won't be devastated if it doesn't pan out (I never win anyway, so I don't really understand why I bother).

I guess getting an appointment that all four of us can attend, that doesn't need to be rescheduled is my winning for that I'm grateful.

To everyone else, enjoy your lunch and festivities, raise a glass for me and may the best horse win.

Linking with #WWU

PS As an aside, I saw a FB post of a traveller visiting our shores saying with derision that Australians (in Victoria) got a day off for the AFL Grand Final Parade and the Melbourne Cup but disgracefully did nothing for Remembrance Day. I can see to outsiders this would look bad. In our defence, we celebrate ANZAC Day with a day off, and I believe that we probably celebrate more in the respectful spirit of Remembrance with the minute's silence on the 11th of November than if we took a whole day off (because we all know that would turn into a party and we'd probably not notice the 11th hour at all.)

Monday 26 October 2015

Writing my story

I'm not in a very good place to be writing my story at the moment. In fact I rarely get to write. I'm way behind on reviews, my blog posts uninspired, and the overwhelming crap of life is bringing me down. I seem to be using all my energy to bolster others, but lacking the cheer squad that I desperately need to regroup*. (As an interesting aside, I went to a parenting course, and at the start of the session, they said 'Parenting is hard. Have a think about who your support person is. Think about who you can call tomorrow and vent about what you need to download'. Quite possibly the most valuable thing they taught us.)

So, I will write in clichés, for that's the story I feel I'm writing at the moment.

Don't get caught in the chapter you're currently stuck in. If you don't like it, edit. Remove people, add action, whatever you need to do to make an improvement.

Don't make it repetitive. You can't live it, you can't write it. No matter what, find one small thing for you.

If you really have no words, add a picture.

Know that in the end, there's a happily ever after, even if that means you need to bin this story and start a new one.

For me, I need to make some time to write. The life I'm trying to create, the career and income, requires the written word, and some creativity. So to write my story, I need to ACTUALLY write a story.

"Rejected pieces aren’t failure; unwritten pieces are." Greg Daugherty

Linking with #ConvoCoffee and #OpenSlather

*I reread that and it's not meant to sound as the words imply. I've actually had some amazing support come from surprising corners of my world, and my regular good friends never fail. I just meant I seem to sink under the weight of a moment and there's no one there at the right time.

First of the Month Fiction - Nov

That went incredibly fast. I'm not organised, which seems to be my perpetual state at the moment.

My offering is a brief 30 words:

He was a man of few words, even less demonstration of affection. However, every morning he'd present her with a carefully made coffee. That gesture spoke volumes. Sometimes that's enough.

Newcomers, add your story in the comments and link your blog if you have one.
Stories must be 100 words exactly or less than 30 words.

Until next month!!

Linking with #FYBF , #WeekendRewind and the #UltimateRabbitHole

Thursday 22 October 2015

Stuck on the sidelines.

It seems very unfair, that when you get to an age that your friends are kind and you have the confidence to stand up for yourself and defend how you want to be treated, that you have to watch the little people you love above all else, be hurt by the jerks of youth.

I don't blame the other kids, they can't be friends with everyone, unfortunately kids can be such cruel beings, sometimes without even trying. It's just one of those things. Made more obvious by the carelessness of youth. It's not malicious, just thoughtless. Sometimes you must watch as the other kids all paddle off in the canoe, and just wave from the shore then find someone else.

It is, however, heartbreaking for the mother when you can't actually do anything to change it. You can make a few suggestions but it's the fact I can do nothing to take their pain away that hurts me the most. I want so much to fix it, but I can't.

I guess ultimately, I know that they'll end up fine. It's just watching the bumpy ride to get to that happy, confident adult that I hate.

Sometimes it's so very hard to be a spectator.

Linking with 

Monday 19 October 2015

Little Prince goes to the beach

We were lucky enough to snag a night away at this fabulous beach house - and the Little Prince came too. Alas my camera was eaten by the surf, and I'm now madly ebaying to buy a replacement (as the excess on insurance is more or less the same price as a replacement...). I did get to see two whales breaching, which was AMAZING, but the camera was already dead - and sometimes you just have to witness life with your bare eyes. Anyway, salvaged from the chip, here's what the little explorer saw....

Linking with #NaturesNotes

What I learnt this week from the internet....(Race and Furniture)

This is a new series of posts, the reverse of Riddle me this, where I actually give you the answers, instead of asking you for them:

1. I was reading an article on cultural appropriation, and they were talking about feathery headdresses, and American Indians (they didn't have Native in the front, which I thought was the correct name) but later in the article, they were referring to bindi's and Indian Americans. It stopped me in my tracks as I'd never thought about, or heard this term. Obviously, yes, if you think about it, it stands to reason. Italian American, Chinese American, African American and so on...I'd just never heard it.

2. I purchased a new footstool and asked my son to move the 'footstool type thing'. He then asked why I paused. I'd paused because I grew up knowing this as a 'poof' and I figured it was called something else these days....but NO. It is still a Pouf (or Pouffe) and was NEVER a poof as our Australian drawl led me to believe. However, in Australia it due to our dangerously mistaken politically incorrect accent on this word, you may care to use Hassock or Tuffet (I got to 107 before I learnt what I tuffet was - I thought it was some sort of tiny grassy knoll you could sit on). So Footstool is the umbrella term that all of the above and ottomans fall under. Ottomans have the defining feature of storage inside.

3. Backpfeifengengesicht is a German word which means a 'a face in need of a slap'

What did you learn this week?

Linking with #OpenSlather

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Little Prince loves Sydney

A long weekend for the Little Prince....

"What matters most are the simple pleasures so abundant that we can all enjoy them...Happiness doesn't lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince       

Linking with #OpenSlather

Monday 12 October 2015

Universal language

While on our holiday, the wee girl made a friend at the pool. They started to play a game together. He was a Chinese boy, visiting from China. She learns Mandarin at school, but only a year's worth so far. The game involved her counting to him in Chinese, he counted back in English and then hand signals did the rest of the game planning.

One of my favourite things when travelling, is watching the kids play with other kids who don't share the same language. It's amazing what games can be organised when the participants are prepared to make themselves understood through action rather than words. It's a shame we become less resourceful with age...

Little kids don't seem to be restricted by the idea that they don't speak a common language. Adults, on the other hand, even with a little of the language, are often self conscious about their ability to speak it,  and so we shut ourselves off from interacting with others, and maybe miss out on seeing the world from a different perspective.

What makes us suddenly cut ourselves off from people, purely because we decide it's too hard to communicate?

When I was 23, I was on a small plane with only Japanese passengers and a French pilot. After we'd landed, the pilot came in and told me that the transfer was late, but it was coming (we had landed at a very small provincial airport). I then had to charade to the Japanese that it was all okay, and we would be late. At the tiny resort, all the Japanese would smile hello, and on tours out to the sites, they'd sit with me, even though we couldn't talk (but we could point things out to each other). A few days later, one of the staff came and said to me "Why do they all think you work here? They want to give you a tip". It's a fond memory for me, and a reminder that we don't need to limit ourselves.

I wonder if we saw ourselves as more universal and less 'us & them' if we'd have a more peaceful planet?  It certainly couldn't hurt.

Linking with #MummyMondays

Sunday 11 October 2015

Smell the roses

Today I was down in the dumps, for no reason in particular,  just a melancholy mood. So when I spied a beautiful bunch of long stemmed roses at the IGA's bargain price of $10, I decided I'd spoil myself. They were so pretty, that my mood lifted almost immediately - the idea of bringing them to the new flat, that is currently looming as a very tiny, lonely space that I'm dreading being in most of the time, made me feel better. I could picture them cheering me up on the bedside table, and somehow transforming my attitude towards the place with their presence.

The best part? They smell. That fragrant, sweet rose perfume. I've been lamenting lately that shop flowers rarely smell anymore. The scent no longer pervades the room like it used to. I keep smelling them like a drug, each inhale inducing a smile. And like Proust's Madeleine*, the smell brings memories of happiness, and transforms my mood. Sometimes, it really is as simple as that.

"Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth."
Dianne Ackerman A Natural History of the Senses

Linking with #FloralBliss and #FloralFridayFoto

(It needs to be said, I'm not really a rose girl - my favourite flowers are jonquils, and in their short season, when they drop to $5, I buy them each week, and have them in the kitchen where I get the most out of their strong fragrance. Rest of the year, I don't buy flowers. Until today.)

(*It also needs to be said, if you haven't read Swann's Way, it's more accessible than you would think, and actually very amusing.)

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Watch the cents

With the renovations pending, the bills are piling up, so now is the time to reassess our spending. The one thing I've learnt, is it is very easy to overspend without realising it. So I've been looking at ways to cut costs without altering our way of living.

I've realised the trick is to be organised, and each year, re-evaluate. Laziness can cost us greatly. We saved approx. $600 by switching car insurance. For all services you use that have competition, it is worth shopping around before each renewal. If you do this with energy, phone bills, internet etc, it could save you thousands.

Look at petrol prices, if the stations near you offer the same price, then look at the bonus you get with it, flybuy points turn into supermarket cash or Virgin points can be spent on hotels or flights. If you can't get a lower price, at least get a discount later on, but make sure it is one that you will use.

With Christmas coming, start on the list now. As things go on sale, or there are gifts with purchase, then be prepared. If you have a lot of people to buy for, it helps not to have the whole credit card bill hit in January.

At the Supermarket, look at the specials. You don't have to alter your list, just buy ahead non perishables when on sale, or switch chicken for beef if there's a discount.

For me, the big one is the credit card fees. We were spending easily $30 a week just to use the card. This is easy to reduce, if the vendor is passing on the fee, use bpay or eft instead. If your card gives points, use them to pay the annual fee.

My aim is to shave dollars off our cost of living without any of the enjoyment of our lifestyle...I've set myself a three month challenge, in which to monitor it.

These are just my ideas - what's your budget busting suggestions? (As I'll need all the help I can get!)

Linking with #TrafficJamWeekend (sorry, still can't get the badge to work?)

Monday 5 October 2015


We were out and about and I saw this:

I started to explain to the kids the history behind it, and my daughter suddenly announced "It's graffiti. It's bad!*". I replied, 'It's not graffiti, it's in chalk'.
However, it got me wondering, is it graffiti? I seem to have this idea, that chalk is fine because of the non permanence of the medium. However, a quick google told me otherwise. Even hopscotch is graffiti. The difference between street art and graffiti is permission.

Would you have classed my photo as graffiti? Would you class hopscotch as graffiti?

Linking up with #WWU and later #WeekendRewind

*Given where we live, my love of street art, and our constant discussions on the merits of works we visit, I have no idea where this attitude comes from.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Stranger in a Strange Land - Stay awhile (the old lady wrap up)

 In a fit of enthusiasm, I decided we'd do the full day (12 hours) at the EB Games expo - which would have been fine but with 2 under the 15 age limit, requiring parental supervision, it meant I needed to be in 2 places at once (or arguing with one child), pretty much all day.

In a brief non-gamer wrap up, here's what I learnt:

1. I don't care what you gamers say, I loved Disney Infinity Star Wars and I'm a kick-ass Jedi.

2. Apparently you can spend the whole expo in Nintendo and a jumping castle, requiring your mother to read her book in the walkway in between (where she can thankfully supervise both children). Under duress I managed to get them to look at a few other things (I loved the Lego and can't wait for Art of the Brick: DC Comics, by the way).

3. I can catch all the Yo-Kai, which probably means you need to make the game harder, Nintendo,  because I don't know how to use a DS. (It has just occurred to me, maybe I'm a naturally awesome gamer...)

4. There were some families where everyone dressed up - my favourite, the Pay Day family that had little 6 year olds in suits, clown mask with guns, the whole bit.  Everyone, except the teen, who refused to be a party to it, or even walk near them. Proving that whatever you do, as a parent of a teen, is an embarrassment and uncool. If you think otherwise, you're deluding yourself.

5. A lot of mothers were in Cosplay while their kids weren't. I've decided this is because it's probably the only time they're not completely invisible or overshadowed by their kids. Or maybe they just like it.

6.  A Wookie just has to turn up to win the dance off and it's all over. Even if the other team are acrobats and the Wookie just stands there, the Wookie wins.

7. I may've squealed when Boba Fett came out to Kanye's Power (it was just too much of the things I like at once).

8. As much as I love the song, there is a limit to how many times I can listen to All I do is Win. I know it's my fault for spending 6 hours in the same spot, but even so, it was every 4 minutes. So I make that at least 90 times in one day. In case you want to walk a mile in my shoes, here it is:

9.I did laugh out loud more than once at the Terminator vs WWE ad....classic!

10. I've said it before, the gamers themselves make this event. The cosplayers are awesome, and the crowd are so patient. They happily wait 2 to 3 hours in line, and no one pushes in or complains**. Everyone is polite and happy. It's a really nice vibe, and these days, that's something to celebrate.

* I'll admit I did complain that after spending a squillion dollars to get the 6 year old in, I was then expected to fork out more money for the jumping castle. That should be included, EB Games! The amount of money you got for me and her not to play games would have paid for the jumping castle outright!

Linking with #FYBF and #UltimateRabbithole