Saturday, December 31, 2011

goodbye old year

2011 was a weird year for me, with Fabio starting his own company, and working every hour God sends and then some, kids leaving home and coming back, a new dog, a major uterine fail and various other womb-related adventures.

I'm kind of hoping that 2012 brings some different excitements, ones that don't include surgical procedures and constant goodbyes.

For my ChickChatters -- thankyou.

I'm constantly surprised when people tell me they read my blog, and utterly amazed when they say they love it.
There are many of you who read and don't comment, and that's fine. But to those who do comment, even if it's once in a blue moon, thankyou. You've lifted my flagging spirits more than you could ever know. Each and every comment has been a joy to me, because it meant someone heard me.

I want to wish you all the very very best that life can offer in 2012. And if the world really does end this year, let's go out together, hmm? Like a whole gang of Thelma and Louises (and if we're really really lucky, we might pick up a hitchhiker along the way.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

sticks and stones and words and bones

He uses words like weapons.

To bludgeon, cudgel, batter, and bruise, and leave you dazed.

With the skill and delicacy of an assassin, the thinnest of blades that slides through the cage you've built around your heart and leaves almost no visible mark, so that no-one sees what he's done.

With poison, venomous, scalding, acidic, that leaves you sick and burnt.

He has been like this since he was tiny. And it's always been me who has borne the worst of it.

I don't know why. Is it because I'm the one who stays? The one who loves him no matter what, the one who swallows the hurt and tries to mend what he's so thoughtlessly smashed?

Because I have. And I do. And I will.

Once, when he was younger, I would retaliate. Mostly in anger, sometimes in self-defence. I've lashed out, physically, verbally, I'm no angel. Just a human, failing. Flailing.

Now, my only defense is retreat. I wait, I heal, I try again.

He's my son. What else can I do?

it's cleaner on the inside

I have a theory about showers.

Have you ever noticed that an hour in the shower can feel like seconds? Or that you can't get your kids IN the shower, and then you can't get them out?

THIS is why.

It's some kind of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey thingamebobby.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

my Christmas was blue. How about yours?

Worst Christmas ever. Well, maybe not ever.... but still not cool.

Husband disconnected, little kids over the top, one big kid on her own and unable to get to us, one big kid rubbing it in what a wonderful Christmas he's having with his father, who hasn't even sent so much as a card to his other two kids in many years, not seeing the grandkids, missing my sisters....


I guess there's always next year, right?

Meantime I'm gonna forget about this one as fast as possible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

the wand of power

In our house, the remote is known by all and sundry as The Wand of Power, and when Fabio is in residence, we all know the WoP is his and his alone.

Sadly, he isn't home often enough to have mastered the 400+ tiny tiny buttons, so watching a DVD with him is ...... an interesting experience.

You see, I like to watch the WHOLE DVD. This includes the Pegasus galloping through the clouds and the Dolby Digital ad and any previews and the opening credits.
To me, the movie-crew have spent time and money putting the opening credits in as part of the movie (if they're any good at their job) and so these few seconds set the scene for the film to come.

Fabio is not of the same mind. He wants to get to the action. NOW. And he doesn't want to waste 30 or 40 seconds watching all that gibber, so he hits SKIPx120 or NEXT....

....but his thumb can easily cover half a dozen buttons or more, and so we might suddenly find ourselves watching the Australasian Lawn Bowls Championship on ABC1, or have the sound muted, or lose the picture all together and be only listening to the movie which is now broadcasting in Spanish.

It takes a minute or two of fumbling and cursing before we get the movie back. But the credits! and the skipping! and now we zoom to the third scene of the movie and he hits BACKx120, and we are now watching the opening credits again, and so on.

It takes a while. But at least we don't have to suffer through those darn opening credits!

What he needs is the MAN version of the DVD -- which has no credits, no previews, no special extras, and which is voice-activated to pause instantly when he says "BEER" and start again when he pops the top.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

sANTa bugged us

Things a Mother of Boys Might Find Herself Saying:

"Have you taken your ants* out of the fridge yet?"

*not a euphemism


Merry Christmas, ChickChatters. Especially those whose kids received an ant farm for Christmas.

Oh... just me? OK then.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

oooh, a MAN suit!

My poor husband.

He's been away for work for the last week and me being me, I was convinced something horrible would happen to him on the way back home, just because it's Christmas, so when he finally got here I was so relieved and glad to see him that I couldn't hug him enough.

I said, "I wish I could unzip you and climb inside and put my arms in your arms and my legs in your legs and ... just... wear you!"


"Is this a 'Silence of the Lambs' kind of thing?" he said.

This will make more sense if you've read this.
Or maybe less.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm a foster fail

So, a while back I heard about a greyhound who urgently needed a foster home. Like, VERY urgently.

And I offered to take him, provided that he got along with our girl, Paris (AKA The Laziest Dog On Earth.)

Meet Dexter. And yes, he was named after my favourite serial killer (though not by me).

He's a red brindle, with an un-nerving habit of leaning his considerable weight against your knees while simultaneously standing on your foot and he feels like a Clydesdale with ginsu knives for hooves.

He's also a sniffer.

But we fell in love with him and now we're adopting him, so while I might be a foster fail, I get the feeling that Dexter doesn't mind that kind of fail at ALL.

If you've never had anything to do with a greyhound, can I just tell you that they are the BEST dogs ever.
They're more like owning a cat -- unless there is an actual cat around, in which case things might get very interesting; mine are NOT cat friendly -- because pretty much all they do all day is sleep.
They'll happily wake up for a pat, or go for a short walk around the block, but if you just wanna watch tv all day they'll join you, no problem.

It's the dog you have when you don't really want a dog.

And now I have two.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WOO to the snowy HOO!!

Well, after long and serious consultation with the Powers That Be (5 seconds into a phone call with my sister) we're going to Germany for Christmas in two years !!

I told Fabio and he was excited (pretty much sold on the words 'AUTOBAHN' and 'BEER', truth be told) and now I just have to find a way to make it happen financially.


Sister K and I have been looking at and bookmarking various things, but we're trying to co-ordinate 3 couples, (one with 2 kids in tow), and 3 budgets, so there could be some serious compromising to be done.

I don't care. As long as I get to do all the stuff I want to do, it's all good :)

We're thinking sleigh ride in the SNOW, shopping, eating and drinking, SHOPPING, and some other stuff.
Sounds good, huh?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

my Indian name is...

Just lately on Facebook I'm seeing a lot of 'my Indian name' posts.
I'm assuming it's some randomly generated thing, I haven't looked. Because we sorted out our Indian names many years ago. It's a shame I can't remember them all though!

Fabio is Dances With Traffic -- named by my eldest daughter after his driving habits.

I am Stands With a Smack -- for obvious reasons.

Mr18 was Talks A Lot, and I don't see any reason to change that.

Mr10 was Two Spoons, because when he was a baby being spoon-fed, we had to give him another spoon to keep him happy. I'm thinking he's due a name upgrade. Maybe -- Can't Shut The Door. It would fit.

My eldest daughter was something like Hides In Her Room, and we can't remember Beefcakes' name at all, though I think he's picked a new one now he has his own family.

The Princess wasn't born then, so she never got one, but I reckon her Indian name should be Lights Up The Room. Because she does.

What about you? have you thought about your Indian name? Your 'real' one, that is -- not the Fakebook name.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Frohe Weihnachten! (merry Christmas)

One Christmas, I would like to go here

Here being Germany.

My great-grandparents were German, and so was our next-door neighbour when I was a kid. We got to taste the yummiest cakes and breads, and see beautiful decorations we'd never come across anywhere else.

A lot of our modern Christmas traditions originated in Germany, did you know that? Like advent calendars, and Christmas trees, and gingerbread houses. Silent Night is German. The first commercially produced decorations were German, too.

It's a big deal over there, and I love the massive participation. Christmas markets can be found in many major towns and the most famous is in Nuremberg.

How amazing would it be to go shopping here?

I love Christmas in Australia, don't get me wrong -- but this would be truly magical. Just once. Please, Santa?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

now that's a good swear!

One day I heard my son crossly muttering "Jesus Whiskers!" at one of his projects that wasn't going the way he wanted it to.


I explained to him that we don't say "Jesus Whiskers" and he gave me a funny look and asked how come Rat in a Hat is allowed to.
Rat in a Hat, for those of you who have not been tortured by ABCs Bananas in Pyjamas, says CHEESE AND WHISKERS.

Which the kids are of course allowed to say.


When Beefcake was little, he told me he was sad because he wanted to swear but he wasn't allowed to.
So I gave him his very own special swears.
He could say RATS or FUDGE, or for really really bad swears, he could say FOOEYGUTS! (FOOEYGUTS is an awesome swear. Go ahead, try it)



I'm thinking we need to go back to words like RATS and FOOEYGUTS.
Fabio and I are swearing WAY TOO MUCH.
He works in an environment where every second word is the F-bomb, and I remember when we first got married he wouldn't dream of swearing in front of me.
Now he doesn't think twice about it, and is swearing more and more in front of the kids.

And I, I'm ashamed to say, am just as bad or WORSE.

In fact, Mr 10 is acting like that annoying angel who sits on your shoulder giving advice, and is dropping hints about Swear Jars.
Which is a little embarrassing.

The thing is.... I know he's right.

Swearing occasionally is just one of those things.
Swearing all the time is ugly.

What do you think?

Friday, December 16, 2011

well, I hope that fixed it

Seems something in that last post was screwing up my formatting, so please let me know if you CAN see my blog properly now. Obviously, if you can't, you're not going to reply.

Friday, December 9, 2011

making whoopie (s)


Have you seen these little beauties doing the rounds yet? they're the Latest Thing.

They're Whoopie Pies, and they're DELISH. I know because I've been making them for about *ahem* twenty years or so. Which just goes to show I'm so far ahead of the rest of the world I could technically be it's mother.
I've been wearing a thumb ring and a toe ring since WAY before they became popular too. But I digress.

I found this recipe for Whoopie Pies in an Amish cookbook, and the recipe makes a LOT. Of BIG Pies. It says 15 pies, but that depends on how big you make them.
Also, their 'cream' filling is not so good. So you can substitute sweetened whipped cream, or a marshmallow type fluffy frosting.

* 4 cups plain flour
* 1 tspn baking soda
* 1 tspn baking powder
* 1 tspn salt (adjust that if you want!)
* 1 tblspn cream of tartar
* 1 cup cocoa powder
* 1 cup of soft butter
* 2 cups of sugar
* 2 tspns vanilla essence (less if you use extract)
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/3 cups soured milk

* sift the dry goods together
* cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, then add the eggs, 1 at a time
* add flour mix and milk to the butter alternately, mixing between

* use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pie, and drop onto lined baking sheets. They WILL spread a lot.

* bake in a mod oven for about 6 mins, then reverse the baking sheet, and bake for a further 10 mins.

* let stand on the sheet for 2 mins before placing them on a wire rack to cool.

The Pies should be soft, not crispy.

Sandwich a creamy filling between two Pies -- if you want you can roll the edge in 100s and 1000s or sprinkles or something, but they really don't need it.

* try not to eat them all yourself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the tree post

Polystyrene balls covered in glue and flowers and sticky bling. Too easy.

Polystyrene balls painted and braid glued on. Too easy.

Paper flower with sticky bling in the middle. Too easy.

And here is the famous Christmas Carrot. I don't know WHY the kids think we have a Christmas Carrot, but they love it and greet it with great excitement every year. Luckily we have two so they can each hang one up.

We have a glass angel bell....

more handmade baubles and some store-bought (betcha can't tell which is which)

a star....

and the new kid on the block, from one of the $2 shops.

Also, it wouldn't be Christmas without Gingerbread Men (or Girls) would it?

made with an MDF shape, alcohol ink (sounds a lot more exciting than it is), and sticky bling.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

fair go, mate

Life isn't fair. Ever noticed that?

People have kids with horrible illnesses who die before they live, and it isn't fair.

Monsters do dreadful things and get away with it in the court system, and it isn't fair.

Earthquakes and fires and floods happen, and dogs get run over, and popsicles fall off their sticks before we've finished them, and it isn't fair.

Here are some things that are fair.

It's fair that if you work hard, and make a lot of sacrifices, and build yourself a little business, you should be rewarded for your effort and enterprise.

It's fair that if you pay taxes all your working life, you should be entitled to retire in comfort.

It's fair that if you study hard at school, or work hard in your chosen sport, you should be rewarded for that.

It's fair that if you do the wrong thing, break the law or hurt someone, you should be punished.

It's fair that if you sit on your butt on the dole and contribute nothing to society, you should have to go without luxuries.

It's fair that you should have the right to protest, and make your opinion known, but it's not fair that you should make a nuisance of yourself to do so.


Friday, December 2, 2011

eleven years

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 happily ever after.

The End.

(true story)

This is what I wrote last year, on this very day.

And it's all still true.

Fabio has been my best friend for 22 years now; my lover and husband for 11. He's the nearest thing to perfect that I've ever seen, fully deserving of all the adoration flung his way by the kids and the dogs and his wife.

Happy anniversary, my heart. This is the last one we spend apart, k?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I don't even know what to title this post

And following on from the prayer for our daughters.... this.

Have you heard of Kiki Kannibal? I hadn't -- until I read a magazine article this morning.

This kid, all of 13 years old, started a MySpace account and with her fashion sense and quirky style, quickly developed a large following and some equally large haters.
One thing led to another and before too much longer, she was getting hate mail, death threats (actual real ones, not just made up climate scientist/politician sookiness) and her family had to move out of their home because of vandalism and the like.
She was targeted by a paedophile, posted provocative pictures of herself on her blog, and started running a business making jewellery.

You can read about it here if you want.

At no point, it seems, did her parents say ENOUGH. They say now that they made some mistakes but they had to hit rock bottom to realise that. They wanted to encourage her creative side, which I'm sure we can all understand, and they really wanted to help her overcome the loneliness she felt from being bullied at school.
I get that.

I also get 'Kiki' wanting to be Someone.

What I don't get is why it took all this drama for them all to realise that the Internet is not a childrens' playground. No parent would want to see their child (or their family!) go through what these people have, but bad decisions lead to bad outcomes.

That poor little girl has lost her innocence, and her childhood. Her family has lost their financial security, and their peace of mind. All to allow a child to express herself.

And it's not the fault of the Internet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

a prayer for our daughters

I saw this today on Pinterest and it rang so true in my heart. Even though I didn't know what Hollister was and had to Google it.

Tina Fey's Prayer for her daughter:

“First, Lord: No tattoos.
May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes. Amen.” -Tina Fey

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the biggest difference between boys and girls...

.... is, apparently, spiders.

The Princess screamed in panic when she spotted a Daddy Long Legs in the bathroom.

Mr 10 ran off and got his Nerf gun and shot its' leg off, laughing maniacally.

Mr 18 was very impressed and the two boys discussed how its' leg looked like a four, and enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

Boys are weird.

P.S. I do actually know that Daddy Long Legses aren't really spiders. But they should be.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

these are a few of my favourite things....

So, this is what I've been making in the last couple of days. They're not as fancy as the ones I saw that gave me the idea, but I love them anyway and I think they'll make a cute stocking filler!

Like? not like? what do you say?

Monday, November 21, 2011

whose is that strange child??

Have you ever played Three Little Words?

(each person takes a turn to say just three words, and you make a story)

I taught the kids to play while we're in the car, and yesterday the story went something like this

some pretty coloured autumn leaves fell in

me: the witches' cauldron

Mr9: and she made

The Princess: a COLLAGE!

Cue hysterical laughter for about 4 kms.

I'm a playah

Dear Blog,

I do still love you, honest.

It's just that I've been busy. Really busy. No, really REALLY.

Oh, alright, if you must know, I've been playing my new Assassins' Creed game. You know I pre-ordered it months ago, and I've waited a very long time and it's completely awesome and cool and I promise I'll be back when I've finished it. K?

We good now?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

park it here

Our local library has a very small parking lot. 14 spaces.

And today, 7 of those 14 spaces are RESERVED.

2 are reserved for library staff. Both empty.

1 is a loading zone -- NO PARKING. Empty. (seriously?? a LOADING zone? for a LIBRARY? How often is THAT needed?)

3 are handicapped spaces, and I have no quibble with that at all, except 1 of them has been 'stolen' by the library for the use of contractors who are working on something out the back of the library. And the other 2 of them were empty.

2 are reserved for contractors. And they were empty.

So out of the whole parking lot, there were 7 spaces available to the general public, all filled (YAY for a town where at least 7 people read) and 7 spaces closed to just anyone, only one of which was in use. By someone who was NOT using the library.

I am applauding the law-abiding citizens of BeachTown (including myself) who will park over the road at the supermarket and run to the library in the rain; but BOO HISS to the council, because that is a poor effort.


Yesterday, at school, I pulled into the first empty space I came to, and realised mine was one in a row of seven silver cars.


day a) it is raining outside, grey and windy, all the way through breakfast and while the kids are putting their uniforms and finding their shoes. I take the umbrella (feeling very parental) and when we get to school (7 minutes away) there is no rain.

day b) it is sunny out, and stays sunny through the breakfast eating and the uniform-putting-onning, and the shoe finding (why it it there's always one child who can't find its' shoes???)
and we get to school and it's pouring. And the umbrella is snug and dry at home.


My dogs sleep next to each other in the exact same positions, but heads at opposite ends.


Is the universe just messing with me this week?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

best EVER Christmas tip

This is the best Christmas tip I have.

Get yourself a cheap spiral-bound notebook, and cover it with pretty paper.

Now glue or tape the FRONT of an envelope to the inside BACK cover of the notebook, like so.

VOILA. You have yourself a Christmas organiser.

Use the notebook for lists, gift ideas etc, and store all your receipts in the envelope in case anything needs to be returned.

I made myself this one in a hurry about 5 years ago, so it's functional rather than pretty, but they also make a nice little gift idea, especially if you take a little care and use a pretty envelope etc.