Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year

Dear 2011,

some of my favourite people in the world copped a pretty hard time from your predecessor. Please see to it that they don't get more of the same from you.
It was a good year for us and we'd like to see that trend continue.
That is all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

damn those rich bastards

Today, I read an article which quoted the Archbishop of Canterbury muttering on about how rich people need to 'shoulder their share of the load during the economic downturn'.

STABBY, much?

Need I point out that wealthy people actually don't take the dollars out of anyones' pocket? Wealthy people CREATE wealth. They CREATE businesses, industry, employment, opportunities. They EARN their money. Even the ones who inherit pots of money need to keep on top of it, or they lose it.
They pay truck-loads of tax (most of them), and they give money away to all kinds of charities and people without trumpeting about it (yes, Dick Smith, I'm looking at YOU).

I'm sick to death of this mean-spirited attitude toward 'rich bastards'. It smacks of envy, and it's ugly.

How about, governments need to ENCOURAGE people to earn more, to create more wealth? How about, aid agencies need to root out the corruption and waste that sees charity dollars reduced to a pittance? How about, we need to encourage and assist the seriously poor to better their own circumstances, instead of waiting around for a hand-out?

How about we stop trying to make wealthy people pay for daring to do better?

Friday, December 24, 2010

ho ho ho

We are quite the traditionalists here at Christmastime.

Every year, the (older) kids insist on the same food to be served for lunch, and they all insist on the same rituals to be observed, especially any that might involve getting some presents early.

When Fabio and I got married, we mixed things up a little so he could include any of his own traditions (he didn't have any apart from grumping about money), and as the older birds have raced away from the nest, we've had to accomodate new families of grandkids etc.
But some things stay the same.

On Christmas Eve, we have early baths and early dinner (earlier again tonight because of A Very Specky Christmas being on at 8:30) and then we have a family Christmas photo taken at the foot of the tree, and then we get to open our stockings. Each person poses under the tree with said stocking, then I take a few photos of the goodies being torn open, and it's these photos that make it into albums.
We started this one mostly to avoid the drama of having to pose for photos on Christmas morning when all you want to do is tear the paper off everything in sight.

Then we do the Christmas story (when the older kids were at home, and we had a crappy nativity scene, this was the kids' job and they used to make different props each year. I'm hoping this makes it back onto the Things To Do list because it was great fun)

Christmas morning, we open all the presents, then the kids go play while I cook and Fabio snoozes in his chair. I can almost guarantee this will happen again this year.

I make:
pineapple,ginger & macadamia crusted ham
potato salad with bacon and spring onion
green salad
watermelon salad
roast chooks

Dessert is always plum pud and brandy custard, with one other. Sometimes it's trifle, sometimes icecream pudding, or berry cheesecake, but this year I'm doing meringues with raspberries and cream.
And we have a bottle of Moet for the grown-ups and a dry ginger ale/orange juice punch for the kiddies, which I'm jazzing up with frozen watermelon pieces cut into stars.

Our table is set in red and gold and I make the placecards and crackers myself. We also have a little jewelled box at each place that is filled with chocolates. The kids get to use the GOOD glasses instead of old Nutella jars and it's so cute watching them toast each other.

I love Christmas. I love the traditions that knit a family together. I love seeing my older kids developing and adapting to make their own, and I love seeing the joy and anticipation from my littlies, as The Day draws closer and closer.
This year, we have my MIL with us for the first time, which we've all been looking forward to for months, and we hope that ONE DAY, we'll have a huge family Christmas with everyone jammed around the table. Or tables.

The most important part of Christmas is the people gathered around. Our friends and family, who make our lives complete, are worth more than any material gift or groaning table.

I want to wish each one of you a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and laughter. Stay safe, be happy. Enjoy your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

in which we visit the Deathly Hallows

MIL offered to watch the kiddies last night so we escaped to the movies. And of course, since we squabbled over the HP books like seagulls over a chip, we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
We'd seen several reviews -- notably Margaret and David, who both gave it low scores but admitted they didn't really 'get' it because they haven't read the books.
Say what?
I'm still stumbling over that thought.

But anyway -- in our view -- brilliant.

We felt it definitely captured the mood of the book, dark and despairing. Oddly, we both hate Bellatrix LeStrange more than Voldemort (Helena Bonham-Carter is so so good!) and the only disappointment is that we have to wait a while to see the second half of the book.

Overall, we gave it 5 rubber duckies out of 5.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We took The Princess to the beach this afternoon.

She busied herself running back and forth, carrying handfuls of dry sand over and flinging them into the water.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

She didn't even have time to look at me. "I'm saving sandkind," she said.

veni, vidi, Visa

I have nearly finished the Christmas gift shopping. Every time I think I'm done, I remember something or someone else but I'm not going to post about that because I could never top this hilarious post from A Day In The Wife.

I spent yesterday wandering around in town, looking in all the gorgeous gift shops and bookstores, and every retailer I spoke to told me the same things.
"Business is bad this year. Sales are way down and shoplifting is way up."

I live in (arguably) the most prosperous state in the country, in one of the most popular and fast-growing towns. This is where people invested during the first mining boom. There are new housing developments everywhere. And yet, there's not a lot of money around.
I know it's not just in WA. Earlier this year, everywhere we went in Queensland, we heard the same things -- no money, no work. Times are hard.
And these two states are the wealthy ones!

I'm not going to get all political on you. I'm sure there are a lot of complicated reasons for this. What I want to talk about is the shoplifting.

One lady told me they had 16 garments go missing off a rack last week. She'd lost almost all the wallets she had had on display. She's resorted to chaining her handbags together, and putting everything small into display cases. She hates the way her shop looks now.
She's not wealthy. Most small business owners aren't. She has to absorb those losses herself. She also has to view every customer as a potential shoplifter now, and she hates that. The one thing that's been keeping her going in her business is that she loved her shop. Now she doesn't.
Isn't that sad?

Thieves steal much more than they realise.

Monday, December 13, 2010

gifts for guys

OK, hands up if you've had trouble buying a gift for the man in your life.

I can't be the only woman in Australia whose husband has no interest in (another) bucket of car cleaning fluids, or a barbie apron with plastic boobs on it.

Every year, I rack my brains trying to buy him something he'll truly love, and he's absolutely no help any more. When I ask him what he'd like he says, "Lover, you've already given me everything I've ever wanted."
Which, while true, and very sweet, isn't actually any help.

It was easy in the beginning. In the short period between his break-up and divorce from the Wicked Witch of the West, she gave away or threw away everything he owned. He came to me with a banged-up work ute, a bag of golf clubs, and some clothes, and the only reason he still had those was because no-one else wanted them.

So I bought him fishing knives, and tools, and a barbie trolley, and a beautiful leather recliner, and his favourite movies on DVD.

A couple of years ago I bought him a fish picture by Roger Swainston (and if your man is a fisherman you should seriously think about these because they're stunning).
He loves playing the stock market, and loves mining, so I bought him antique mining share certificates on eBay, and had them framed.
I gave him NeoCube magnets to fiddle with and good whiskey tumblers and a West Coast Eagles spare wheel cover, and now -- I'm tapped. I have no more good ideas.
At least, none that I can afford.

Wonder how he'd feel about some hankies?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I betcha I can plait my underarm hairs.

So. Going to be very busy this weekend.

See, Fabio comes home in just 3 days, and he's been away for 6 weeks, and I've kinda let things go.
Things like -- the hair on my legs. Has not been attended to all that time and is now so long it's itchy. Which has been sort of a plus through the colder days, because it's added an extra layer of warmth. However, I'm thinking hubs will not like lying next to something that feels like a small animal. So -- shaving the legs.

Also -- underarms. Seriously... so long now I betcha I could plait it. I haven't tried but it's so long it lies down flat instead of poking out, and is quite interesting in a very gross kind of way.

Also -- the biggest problem with red hair (in addition to being teased and called horrible offensive names like ranga, having freckles and whiter-than-white skin, and serious colour clashes with anything remotely fashionable every year) is the blond-blond-blond eyelashes and eyebrows. (which are even more luminous now that I'm daily discovering white ones in there too. Thank goodness they're mostly confined to my eyebrows, and haven't made any serious advances on my head yet, though I expect that one morning, I'll wake up with a full head of white hair and frighten my poor husband to death. Not to mention myself).
Anyway, the brows and lashes need a dye job, STAT. This will do away with the raccoon look I've been cultivating because I can never remember to clean off the mascara before bed.

Plus I need to wash and straighten my hair, which left to its' own devices, looks and feels like coconut fibre.

And I'm doing all this for Fabios' sake, when really, he's been away for 6 WEEKS. He's so keen he'd probably shag a slipper if it laid still long enough.
But a wife's gotta do what a wife's gotta do, right?

Now I'm off to douse myself in strong chemicals.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Plan A. And B. And C.


I have a new plan, which is to win Lotto this week and open a shop that sells everything Tim Holtz makes (or uses) and then spend all my time making these little goodies. (when I'm not ringing up the register, that is. Ka-CHING!)

Isn't he AMAZING???? You see why I need it all, don't you? I so want to make some of these exquisite things.

Oh, and I'll probably buy a house too. With room for all my new stash.

Monday, December 6, 2010

how I nearly set my car on fire. Sort of.

So early this morning while driving Teenager to work, a car pulled onto the highway in front of me, and some large piece of blue fabric flew off it's (roof?) and landed on the road right in time for me to drive straight over it.
I looked in the rearview mirror and SHOCK! the Blue Thing had vanished.
Right away, a hundred thoughts ran through my mind.

OH MY GOD the Blue Thing is trapped under my car! What if it's sitting on the exhaust and it gets hot and catches fire? My car will burn down on the highway! And how will I get the kids to school? Oh, how's our insurance? Nope, we got the renewals last month and it's all sorted. Whew. Maybe I should stop? But Teenager will be Late For Work (a near-hanging offence in our household, according to Fabio) Maybe I'll just drive till I smell smoke and then stop? Oh, wait, is that smoke I smell? Yes, it is. OH NO -- oh wait, I can see smoke haze in the distance and it smells like the rubbish tip so not me. Thank God.

This kind of garbage went on till we got to Teenagers' work, when the Blue Thing (turned out to be a large towel) obligingly fell out from under my car in the carpark.

It didn't look even remotely singed, but I wondered what the owner would think when he discovered his towel utterly vanished from his car. And then imagined him driving to Maccas for a burger and finding his towel in the carpark. How funny would THAT be?

It must have been the day for losing stuff from cars though -- because within the space of a block, I also saw a kiddies cup and a blue plastic box by the side of the road.

But the yayest bit? I don't have to explain to Fabio how a towel caught my car on fire.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

going down.

Flat. Dull. Grey. Restless. Uninspired. Lost. Sad.

I miss my man. Nine days to go.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happily ever after is SO once upon a time...

Once upon a time, there was a not-very-beautiful Princess, who kissed a LOT of toads (sorry, babe) while looking for her Prince Charming.
And then one day (literally) she realised that her best friend of 11 years was in fact, the Prince she had been looking for her life!
They got married right away as soon as the divorce papers came through, and lived happliy ever after.

The End.

(true story)

Happy anniversary, my heart. You've made every second of the last 10 years worthwhile. Love you to the stars and back.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

when a boy meets a girl

Well, it's finally happened.

Mr 9 likes a girl at school.

And being the innocent sweetheart that he is, he hasn't realised that you might not need to broadcast these things.

Not long ago, he carefully lined a box with tissues, and placed a ring in the box (an Avon one, relax, it wasn't an heirloom) and planned to take it to school to give to the girl. I persuaded him that wasn't a very good idea, because the other kids might tease him. Or her.

Now I've found notes in his room, written to her, declaring his undying like for her.
"I really like you. I know you don't like me, but I liked you the first time I saw you."

Isn't that sweet?

But I knew we needed to talk about this.

Me: I know you like a girl at school. It's OK to like someone. But I think Dad needs to have a little chat with you about what to do if you like someone.

Him: OK.

Me: I think it should be Dad because I'm not a boy.

Him: OK.

Me: In the meantime, I think it should be a secret liking.

Him: How come?

Me: Just so no-one teases you, or her.

Him: OK. I wrote her a note. What should I do with it?

Me: What do you think?

Him: I'll chuck it in the bin.

So now, it's up to Dad. (sorry, babe)

Parenting is a tough gig, sometimes. You never really know if you're doing things right.
So tell me -- what would YOU do?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm so grateful....

Maxabella hosts a Grateful Hop each week, and though I'm late with this post, I have a good reason.

Now brace yourselves, this is going to seem very scary....

My internet connection carked it.

I know! Terrifying!

For days I've had sporadic connection -- maybe a minute at a time, not enough to read my blog list, or make a post, or even change my status on Facebook.
To those who are not on-line junkies, that sounds like " big deal! " -- but lemmee tell ya, to me it WAS a big deal.

I live a lot on-line. I Skype my man, I read the news, I play games, I learn stuff, I find recipes, I keep in touch with my friends, and I find inspiration. To suddenly be cut off from all that was like a form of torture.

However, for the time being it's staying steady -- and so today I'm grateful for the internet.
heart heart heart.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

happy birthday, Mr 9

Nine years ago, we were celebrating this:

He is the first 'subsequent sibling' -- the first born after losing Levi to SIDS aged just 48 days.

He restored my confidence in being able to look after a baby and survived all my worries and poking and prodding whenever he slept.

He lodged himself firmly in his dads' heart, growing him into an awesome father. (in fact, he loves his dad so much that he's refused to open his presents till Dad can watch on Skype)

He grew into this fine young man.

He is bright and funny and loud and thoughtful and grubby and altogether wonderful.

Happy birthday, my boy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

there are pirates in my kitchen...


Three dozen of them, in fact. All ready for our sons' birthday tomorrow.

* I apologise in advance to all the other parents at school tomorrow -- your kids are getting a massive sugar hit at recess. Sorry. *

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the worst four letter word

So today I decided it was time to change my sheets from flanny to cotton. And then because changing the sheets is not enough of a nail-breaker, I thought I would also change the valance. On our KING SIZE LATEX-MATTRESS bed.

I dragged the new linen from the cupboard where it's been hibernating through the winter, and then struggled a few minutes with the very worst four letter word I know.


{Sorry, I probably should have prepared you for that.... I'll give you a minute to recover.
... ... ... ...
you OK now? Good. OK. Let's get this over with. }

YES, the valance was crumpled and really, if I was going to go through all the nail-breaking and back-twinging, I should at least make sure the thing was going to look good when it was finished, yes?

So -- out came the ironing board, then I hunted a few minutes for the iron {don't be rolling your eyes like that, we've only been here 5 months and I haven't used it since I unpacked it.}
I plugged it in, and took a deep breath, and began ironing.

The Princess skipped in.

"What are you doing, Mummy? Can I watch?"
Then a gasp.
"I know what that is!" she cried. "That's a IRON! Isn't it, Mum? A IRON! That's what that is!"
Then she sighed happily. "Wow."

You think I need to iron more?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the Ghost of Mining Past

When we lived in Dreary Town, we used to quite often go 'bush-bashing' on weekends. (for my overseas readers {how posh does THAT sound?} that means driving around in the bush, usually in a four wheel drive)

There are probably millions of abandoned mines on the Goldfields, if you count all the shafts etc, and my man loves nothing more than stickybeaking around an old mine.
We took the 'tourist trail' a few times, which is mostly dirt road with some interesting sights along the way.

{This is the Break o Day cricket pitch. Hard to imagine there were cricket games being played every summer weekend once. Now the trees and saltbush are crowding in like excited spectators, and only a small band of volunteers stops the pitch from being swallowed up.}

An old headframe.

An abandoned decline.

This is apparently an air-hoist. Or was.

Look at this timbering.

Life out here was harsh.

This grave is in the middle of no-where, all by itself. There's another grave, a few kilometres away, of a 7 month old baby, which is very sad.

You have to be careful walking around out here, because shafts are everywhere.

You REALLY don't want to become a part of Goldfields history by falling down one!