Wednesday, March 30, 2011

love actually

Does anyone else love this movie?

How funny is Hugh Grant dancing?

And what about the hilarious part where Colin Farrell asks Aurelias' father for permission to marry his daughter....
Jamie: Good evening. Mr. Barros?

Mr. Barros: Yes?

Jamie: I am here to ask your daughter for her hands in marriage.

Mr. Barros: You want to marry my daughter?

Jamie: Yes.

Mr. Barros: [yelling toward the back of the house] Come here, there is a man at the door. He wants to marry you.

[a large and confused woman emerges]

Sophia Barros: But I've never seen him before.

Mr. Barros: Who cares?

Sophia Barros: You're going to sell me to a complete stranger?

Mr. Barros: Sell? Who said 'sell?' I'll pay him.

Jamie: Pardon me. I'm meaning your other daughter - Aurelia.

OH and the part where Emma Thompson confronts her husband about his roving eye?

Karen: Tell me, if you were in my position, what would you do?

Harry: What position is that?

Karen: Imagine your husband bought a gold necklace, and come Christmas gave it to somebody else...

Harry: Oh, Karen...

Karen: Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if, worst of all, it's a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?

Harry: Oh, God. I am so in the wrong. The classic fool!

Karen: [voice breaking] Yes, but you've also made a fool out of me, and you've made the life I lead foolish, too!

I ALWAYS cry at that bit.

But this is the part I was thinking of when I started to write this post. It's the intro.

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport.
General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that.
It seems to me that love is everywhere.
Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love.
If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.

I remember this every day when I'm at school, picking up the kids in the afternoon. All these little kids come running out of their classrooms, and run full pelt at their parents, leaping into their arms, yelling "Mum!" or "Daddy!" and there are massive hugs and kisses and occasional clobberings with a lunchbox.

It's cool.

Love is cool.

Monday, March 28, 2011

the Princess and the Please

The Princess took something the other day without saying thankyou.

"Oh, I think you meant to say 'thankyou Mother darling'", I prompted.

She looked at me kindly.

"Well," she said, "I didn't. But you can think that if you want to."

She's six, and she's outclassing me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

oh for the Lotto life....


I was so sure I'd win Lotto last night, because I actually remembered to buy a ticket this week, but no, it seems not.

Fabio and I often talk about what we would do if we won Lotto.
Mostly, we try and work out how much we could give away, and where we'd build our house.
And we always have the Car Discussion.

Last nights' Car Discussion went like this.

Fabio : "And I'd buy you a new car, babe."

me: "But I like my car."

Fabio: "Yes, but I'd buy you a new one."

me: "But I like my car. I haven't got any complaints about it. It'd be nice to have rear powered windows, and an iPod jack, but otherwise I'm really happy with that car."

Fabio: "See? I could buy you an upgraded model."

me: "But I like my car."


me: "We could buy you a new car!"

Fabio: "But........... I like my car."

We're such Wannabes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

clothes maketh the woman, too.

So the other day, the library rang me to say that I really needed to bring their books back home, please.
They were really polite, so I obliged immediately. Or the next morning.

And checked out a BIG pile of new books ('new' meaning, I haven't read them yet)

One of which was this:

I love T&Ss TV shows, and thought the book might be interesting, but I actually learned quite a lot from it.

It turns out that I have an hourglass figure. (think Nigella, or Marilyn Monroe! isn't that good company to be in?!)

Big boobs, short waisted, waist (relatively) small, big hips and generous thighs.
I sound like a box of chicken, don't I? all breasts and thighs...
(both times then, I typoed 'things' instead of 'thighs'. Wouldn't THAT have given you a giggle?)

So -- now I know my body shape, and the type of clothes I should be looking for, and what I should be avoiding (which seems to be most of my wardrobe).

I should avoid pointy shoes (YAY! HATE them!), big prints, frills flounces and bows (again YAY!)

I should be shopping for pencil skirts (awesome), nipped-in waists, V-necklines and dresses that lengthen my waist.
Any suggestions as to where I might find those items, ladies?
Because the shops around here are filled with cheap (or not cheap) trends, not actual clothes that people might like to wear for more than one season.

If I was rich, I would hire me a tailor. But I'm not, and so I'll be looking in op-shops and on eBay for more classic styles.

I'm not much of a fashionista.
But I'm tired of looking like I've been dragged into the day, kicking and screaming. I'd like to look 'nice' instead of merely 'dressed'.

I'm going to start making a little more effort with what I buy, and try *gasp* throwing out the clothes I have that I don't wear or that don't suit me.

Have you looked at this book? do you have a good idea of what styles suit you and what you should avoid? and are you tired of stores stocking clothes that really don't suit most women? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

cats and dogs

Once when I was a kid, we had a white cat with different coloured eyes, called Ravenswood.

Yes, I know -- we also had dogs called Sloopy and Fred the Croyd. This is what happens when you ask the kids, "what will we call the new pet?"

Ravenswood was weird. He climbed up Dads' pants leg at breakfast one morning and got stuck around the kneecap, which wasn't a whole lot of fun for Dad but had us kids in hysterics.

Also, he would climb up on top of doors and jump down on you when you walked into the room, with his claws out to make sure he got a good grip on your head and shoulders and didn't just fall to the ground.

My sister adopted an all-white cat called Kimba when she got older. He was HUGE and WHITE, and mesmerised a visitor to the house.
"Wow." he said. "I've got a cat just like that at home. Only mine's black."

I had a patchwork cat once. She was grey and marmalade and white in patches, really pretty but quite mad. Hence her name -- Mad Cat. I swear, I saw her jump up the wall and bite the light switch one time, before sauntering casually away.

I also had a HUGE WHITE cat (are we seeing a pattern here?) called Molly, named when I thought he was a girl cat.
Molly should have been named Scarface Claw, because he was so scary he used to catch and kill crows. And I saw a blue heeler, a renowned cat killer, creep away from him one time, too scared to front him.

A good cat, one with character, is worth its' weight in catmint. Especially if you have a video camera and know how to load videos to YouTube!
I miss having a cat, but with our greyhound, we can't take the risk. Her prey drive is very strong and she's just too quick.
Unless we could find another Molly, of course.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

10 cow women

I first heard this story years ago, and it appears in various forms all over the net, though for some odd reason it's popularly known as the 10 Cow Woman story.
However, don't let's get bogged down in trivia.
Read on.

by Patricia McGerr

My trip to the Kiniwata Island in the Pacific was a memorable one.
Although the island was beautiful and I had an enjoyable time, the thing I remember most about my trip was the fact "Johnny Lingo gave eight cows for his wife."
I’m reminded of it every time I see a woman belittle her husband or a wife wither under her husband’s scorn.
I want to say to them, "You should know why Johnny Lingo gave eight cows for his wife."

Johnny Lingo is known throughout the islands for his skills, intelligence, and savvy.
If you hire him as a guide, he will show you the best fishing spots and the best places to get pearls.
Johnny is also one of the sharpest traders in the islands.
He can get you the best possible deals.
The people of Kiniwata all speak highly of Johnny Lingo.
Yet, when they speak of him, they always smile just a little mockingly.

A couple days after my arrival to Kiniwata, I went to the manager of the guesthouse to see who he thought would be a good fishing guide.
"Johnny Lingo," said the manager. "He’s the best around. When you go shopping, let him do the bargaining. Johnny knows how to make a deal."

"Johnny Lingo!" hooted a nearby boy. The boy rocked with laughter as he said, "Yea, Johnny can make a deal alright!"

"What’s going on?" I demanded.
"Everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then they start laughing. Please, let me in on the joke."

"Oh, the people like to laugh," the manager said, shrugging. "Johnny’s the brightest and strongest young man in the islands. He’s also the richest for his age."

"But …" I protested. "… if he’s all you say he is, why does everyone laugh at him behind his back?"

"Well, there is one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He gave her father eight cows!"

I knew enough about island customs to be impressed. A dowry of two or three cows would net a fair wife and four or five cows would net a very nice wife.

"Wow!" I said. "Eight cows! She must have beauty that takes your breath away."

"She’s not ugly, …" he conceded with a little smile, "… but calling her ‘plain’ would definitely be a compliment. Sam Karoo, her father, was afraid he wouldn’t be able to marry her off. Instead of being stuck with her, he got eight cows for her. Isn’t that extraordinary? This price has never been paid before."

"Yet, you called Johnny’s wife ‘plain?’ "

"I said it would be a compliment to call her plain. She was skinny and she walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow."

"Well," I said, "I guess there’s just no accounting for love."

"True enough." agreed the man. "That’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact the sharpest trader in the islands was bested by dull old Sam Karoo."

"But how?"

"No one knows and everyone wonders. All of the cousins urged Sam to ask for three cows and hold out for two until he was sure Johnny would pay only one. To their surprise Johnny came to Sam Karoo and said, ‘Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter.’ "

"Eight cows," I murmured. "I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo."

I wanted fish and pearls, so the next afternoon I went to the island of Nurabandi.

When I met the slim, serious young man I could see immediately why everyone respected his skills.
However, this only reinforced my confusion over him.

As we sat in his house, he asked me, "You come here from Kiniwata?"


"They speak of me on that island?"

"Yes. They say you can provide me anything I need. They say you’re intelligent, resourceful, and the sharpest trader in the islands."

He smiled gently. "My wife is from Kiniwata."

"Yes, I know."

"They speak of her?"

"A little."

"What do they say?"

"Why, just … ." The question caught me off balance. "They told me you were married at festival time."

"Nothing more?" The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.

"They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows." I paused. "They wonder why."

"They ask that?" His eyes lighted with pleasure. "Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?"

I nodded.

"And in Nurabandi, everyone knows it too." His chest expanded with satisfaction. "Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita."

So that’s the answer, I thought: Vanity.

Just then Sarita entered the room to place flowers on the table.
She stood still for a moment to smile at her husband and then left.
She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, and the sparkle in her eyes all spelled self-confidence and pride.
Not an arrogant and haughty pride, but a confident inner beauty that radiated in her every movement.

I turned back to Johnny and found him looking at me.

"You admire her?" he murmured.

"She’s gorgeous." I said. "I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."

"You think eight cows was too many?" A smile slid over his lips.

"No, but how can she be so different from the way they described her?"

Johnny said, "Think about how it must make a girl feel to know her husband paid a very low dowry for her. It must be insulting to her to know he places such little value on her. Think about how she must feel when the other women boast about the high prices their husbands paid for them. It must be embarrassing for her. I would not let this happen to my Sarita."

"So, you paid eight cows just to make your wife happy?"

"Yes, but... you say she is different from what you expected. This is true. Many things can change a woman. There are things that happen on the inside and things that happen on the outside. However, the thing that matters most is how she views herself.
In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. As a result, that’s the value she projected. Now, she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands. It shows, doesn’t it?"

"Then you wanted …"

"I wanted to marry Sarita. She is the only woman I love."

"But …" I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."


I love this story.

How many of us are like Sarita, believing the lies, undervaluing ourselves, afraid to stand up tall or make our voices heard?
And how few Johnny Lingos there are in the world.

Maybe you know someone who is a 10 Cow Woman? Maybe you know that she doesn't really believe that about herself? Or maybe she's just beginning to discover her true self, to appreciate her own worth.

I've made a button which I've placed in my sidebar, with the code for it. If you want, you can take it and give it away to anyone you think should know just how truly amazing she is.

I'm giving it to
Kristin, who shines so hard she makes my eyes water.
Tanis, my very favourite redneck.
and my daughters-in-law, K and L, who are incredible wives and mums.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I like my husbands' testicles

Did I just hear the sound of hundreds dozens several mouses clicking away?

NO WAIT! this isn't as bad as it sounds. And there are no photos, I promise. Not of testicles, anyway.

When I first proposed this blog post title to my husband, his reaction was -- well, gratifying in a weird kind of way. Heh. I do like to keep him on his toes.

And, of course, none of us SERIOUSLY like testicles, do we? Girls, I mean -- fellas seem pretty keen on them for some reason.

But I do like one thing about testicles -- TESTOSTERONE.
I'm a girly girl, and I like manly men.

It seems to me that there's been a concerted move right across all forms of media over the last decade or more, to 'girlify' or downplay the role and reality of men.

I get that fashion changes, but once, hairy-chested men were all the rage.
Who can ever forget that eye-searing Jack Thompson centrefold? (if you've never seen it, be grateful.)
Or this iconic 'spread'?

Yes, indeed, ladies, once upon a time, Burt Reynolds was hotter than your nanas' flannie sheets.

Now, it's all about the waxing and there's not a chest hair to be seen on any model or actor.

Another example -- think about all the popular TV shows. How many of them feature a smart, manly man who can think for himself, without farting or ogling female body parts, and who doesn't need a woman or some smart arse kids to rescue him every week?

TV ads -- when was the last time you saw an ad for a 4WD that showed a MAN driving?

Even my favourite serial killer, Dexter, came under constant criticism from his wife and sister for being a bloke, and doing bloke stuff. What the...?

I like it that men are different from women.

I like the way they think, I like how their friendships have a completely different set of rules from female friendships, and I generally like their conversations a lot better at a barbeque!

I like that my man smells like a man, and works a man-job, and yes, sometimes he farts and it nearly kills me, but he also holds the doors for me and warms my towel in the dryer in winter, and if he wants to go fishing on the weekend, that's OK because I'm not going to make him choose curtain fabrics with me instead.

I don't need him to be another girlfriend (one with whiskers and big feet).

I need him to be my man, my spider-killer, my looker-afterer, my car-fixerer, my wet-towel-draping, remote-controlling-tv-flickerer; my hairy-chested, going bald, four-wheel-driving MAN.

I really do get it that women have had a hard slog to try and balance the 'battle of the sexes'. I know I'm standing on ground that was broken for me by suffragettes and feminists whose names I don't even know, and I'm grateful for the contributions that they've made to our lives.

But I don't think that, as a society, we have to discount the role that men play in order to elevate the status of women.

As a mum of 4 boys, I'm very conscious of teaching them that it's OK for them to be blokes. I don't want any of them to grow up thinking that they're unacceptable by acting true to their nature.

There's a great post on this, written by Brent Riggs. He says it all much better than I have, and if you have a minute, hop over and have a look, it's only a short post.

And please, let me know what you think in your comments.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

well, shut my mouth

I just spent an hour on the phone whinging and bitching to my sister. Hey, what are sisters for, right?

The topic of conversation the rant was the censorship of my blog.

You see, I keep writing posts and then having to delete them, because I am being heavily censored at the moment. There is a huge amount of stuff (like, my life) that I can't write about, and I'm so paranoid now that even light topics of conversation cause me to go through mental gymnastics and in the end, I mostly decide it isn't worth the bother.

This explains why I haven't been posting regularly for a while.
I've even been thinking I should just shut my blog down. It's quite painful coming here day after day and not being able to post the truth.

And I can't even tell you who or why or what's happening, so I probably just sound a little mental.


Well, I feel a little mental, to be honest.
This is MY BLOG.
MY space.
A place I've made for myself, where I'm supposed to be allowed to express myself, and get to know what I think and how I feel.
I'm feeling pretty frustrated and annoyed that my blog has become yet another victim of The Past.

I know most of that will make no sense, and I'm sorry. But I'm not allowed to talk about it.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Mr9 walked in just as I was putting The Princesses' hair in two little buns for school.

"I like it when you put her hair in pikelets," he said.

Yep. He's his dads' boy, alright.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thursday Theme - my handbags

OK, I admit it. I'm a Bag Lady.
I love handbags and shoes (and don't worry, there IS a shoe theme coming).

I have evening bags, and shopping bags, and out-with-the-kids bags, and little tiny bags for when I go out with Fabio (cos he has the money and the car keys!)

Here are some of my favourites.

Fabio bought me this vintage antelope skin bag.

This cute little wooden bag holds barely anything. 

I bought this in an op-shop and found a bank calendar from the 50s inside. Sadly, one of it's straps has broken and I doubt it can be repaired.

My 'Prada' satchel, this one gets a LOT of use. It's as old as the hills now and gets taken everywhere.
I picked it up in an op-shop for a few dollars and there is some debate in certain circles as to whether it's genuine or not. 
This is as close as I'm ever going to get so leave me with my dreams. Thankyou.

 This one is my current shopping bag. It holds a lot but it isn't too strong so it stays at home if it's likely to be filled with kid/husband junk.

Currently, it holds various bits of paper, a library card, 3 lipsticks (which are all essentially the same shade), a spare hair lacky, a cute purple shruggy thing I picked up the other day, a Promise coin, that wretched phone that I hate, and the Trifecta -- keys, sunglasses and wallet. 
There was  some sand in the bottom too but that happens when you live by the beach. Sand gets in everything. And I mean, everything.

So -- if you'd like to join in, post your bags or lack of, (pics or story), on your blog, and link back here from Thursday morning on. The link will be open till Sunday midnight (WA time)
And don't forget to leave some love on at least one other post.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thursday Themes this week -- handbags

Long the brunt of mens' jokes and complaints, although they'll still hand you assorted junk and ask you to 'just put that in your bag, please, love?'

This week, show us your handbag(s) -- maybe you have a favourite? or you might like to show us what's IN your bag. Maybe you're not a 'handbag' kinda girl, and you have a backpack or a nappybag instead.

You can write your post or just put some pictures up.

Anyone can join in, the more the merrier in fact! I know at least one of the regulars is off at the Aussie Bloggers Conference this week (HI RIVER! *waves*) so it would be nice to have someone else join in.

Just post your story on your blog on Thursday, and come back here to link up. See how easy it is?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

knitting and voodoo

I love the idea of knitting but I'm not so good on the actual DOING of it.

I'm slow, and my technique drives 'real' knitters mad. Also, I can't knit without my tongue poking out and I swear and mutter a lot, as I drop stitches and add in new ones arbitrarily, lose count of rows and try (in vain) to tell the difference between the 'front' and the 'back'.

I'm most attracted to small projects that don't require a lot of thought, like scarves, although this doesn't always work out so well, as you'll see if you follow that link back.

For some time now, I've been wanting to make myself a voodoo doll. And so I did.


Obviously, I can't do real voodoo, or there would be a few less Problem People in the world.
Also, I know there will be at least one of my own hairs knitted into him, so it would be kind of stupid to invest him with magical, painful powers, yes?

(And, if you feel the need to turn me from my certain slide into hell, how about you pray for me instead of sending me hate mail, k?)

For the rest of us, he needs a little 'something'. I'm thinking, a red felt heart.... but I'm not quite sure. Any suggestions?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

what have we done to deserve this?

I've had another post brewing in my head (or fermenting, possibly) for some time, but after the hideous events in Japan yesterday, I dropped all ideas and sat glued to the tv for as long as I could.

Watching the tsunamis roll in was one of the worst things I've ever seen in my life.
The image that sticks now is the one of cars, fleeing along roads with the water and debris chasing them down, moving faster than a car ever could and gaining on them so fast, and then you just see a couple of the cars being swept away before the camera moves away.

I keep thinking, what would that be like? Driving as fast as you can, to save yourself and your family, knowing there's nothing you can do, no-where you can go... glancing over your shoulder and seeing the water bearing down on you... looking around at your wife and kids, and knowing you can't save them, and all you can do is hope....

I watched that with tears pouring down my face, feeling utterly helpless and very very tiny.

I keep seeing people now asking "Why? Why is this happening? Is Mother Earth angry at us? What have we done to deserve this?"

The answer is -- nothing.

This planet is not a safe known quantity, under our control.
We barely understand the basic workings of climate, weather, and geological events.
The Earth has always been in a state of constant change, and it's a little foolish to assume that it would stop all it's rumblings and lie quietly just for us.

Whether or not you believe that man-made climate change is affecting us, our Earth goes on in exactly the same way as it always has. Events may be strengthening, and becoming more frequent, and there may be reasons for that which have nothing to do with us. I'm no scientist and I'm not pretending to be.

What I do know is this.

You can't take anything for granted in this life.

You can wake up in the morning, happily married, and by that night, be a widow.

Your house can burn down, be washed away, or blown apart by a cyclone.

You can lose your job, your livelihood, your life savings, in an instant.

Your ducks-in-a-row-life is an illusion.

When my son died, so suddenly, I felt like everything I'd ever taken for granted was a lie.
It was like having the rug pulled out from under my feet.
That's a metaphor we use without thinking about it, but take a moment to imagine what that's like, when things are so unstable that the things you take for granted can't be trusted.

Flooding, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis -- they happen. They've always happened. They will continue to happen.

I'm not dismissing them or their effects on people.

My mum and sister were in Cyclone Yasi.
I have friends in Christchurch.
I have a friend in Japan and I don't know if he's alive.

These were horrific events, each of them, and they devastated people, countries, economies.

All I'm saying is, we can't take it personally. The Earth is a planet, not a pet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

time to start using that aging cream.

Today, on some cartoon the kids love, a talking crab told a penguin that it was his birthday and he was 100 years old.

The Princess scoffed.

"You would DIE if you were 100 years old!" she said.

"Well, people can sometimes be 100 years old," I told her. "There's even someone who's 104."

"Hmmm." She thought about that for a moment. "That's probably you, Mum."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Themes -- Home

Home. Such a little word, with so much meaning attached to it.

I asked Fabio what 'home' means to him. He said, it's wherever I am.
Same for the kids; it's 'where mum is'.

Because Fabio is head of the home here, but I am the heart. I'm the one who makes our home comfortable. I clean the floors and wash the clothes and fill the pantry and find the remote and sort the toys and scrub the toilets.

And though I'm not a born housekeeper, I do love being a homemaker.

I love baking with an apron on, fluffing the cushions and curtains to get them just so, and arranging the pictures on the walls.
I love Howards' Storage World and paint charts and I have an Ikea catalogue coming in the mail that I will pore over time and again.


With my husbands' job, we've moved a lot. We've lived in the middle of no-where, in a city, in small country towns.... all in rented houses or supplied accomodation. Some of those places I've been desperately unhappy, all the while trying hard to fit in and get on with it.
I guess the plus side is that I've ruled out a lot of places where I know I definitely don't want to live!

If my husband needed it, I would go anywhere with him. Being his wife is the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me, and he is the most important thing in my life.
So, in a way, home is wherever he is, or wants me to be.

But in another way, 'home' means 'my own place'. The place where I'm glad to come to, the place I've had a hand in making into a home.
And the ultimate in that would be to own my own home. To have a say in what the laminate in the kitchen looks like, to have the cupboards set up to suit me, to pick my own curtains and paint colours, to plan a garden from scratch, to throw out the carpet and lay down something that doesn't stink from other peoples' dogs....

.... that's my Big Dream.


My husband is working hard to provide for our future. He had to start all over again after his first marriage ended, and he only has a few years left doing the work he does now, because it's so physically hard.
We have to make sure that when he has to stop, we can survive.
And I get that... sacrifice now, so we can live later. I support him in his choices.


This year I'll be 46. I'm no closer now to owning my own home, than I was when I was 26.
All I can do for now is dream. And when the dreaming gets too painful, I try and convince myself that renting is wonderful, and I can live anywhere

because home really is where Fabio, my heart, is.


Want to join in? Write a related post, and be as creative as you like.
Make sure to link back to me in your post, and make sure to leave some love on at least one other persons' post. The link should be open till midnight Sunday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dear Investment Property Owner....

Firstly, I need to give you some credentials here.

We've been renting for many many years, and in that time, we've accrued a staggering number of glowing references.

Our current property manager loves us. We have people asking us if we'll consider renting their properties. (sadly, none of them have so far been in a place where we want to live)

When we live in your house, we will keep the rent paid up well in advance (by months, in fact).

We will re-plant, prune, fertilise, mulch, weed and mow.

We will patch old nail-holes, repair and replace torn curtains, clean the light-fittings, scrub funny marks off the walls, mend the fly-screens, re-stain those water-marked window ledges, re-lay the lumpy pavers, and clean those grotty stickers off the windows.
We'll leave your property in better condition than when we moved into it.
We'll even do these things out of our own pocket most of the time.

UNTIL -- you respond by putting our rent up by $10 a week and only granting us 6 month leases, when you agreed to 12.
For your measly $260 odd you have lost our goodwill.
From now on, everything that was damaged when we moved in here, will stay that way unless YOU pay for it.
And we will vacate this property as soon as our current lease is up, no matter how much we love living here.
If this house is untenanted for even one week, you've lost all the gains from the rent increase.

Dumb move.


This is what I think every investment property owner should know.

1. it is not your tenants' job to pay your property off. I know this is the attraction that draws most people into the property market, but if YOU can't service your mortgage yourself, you shouldn't be investing in it. You shouldn't charge rent based on what you need to ask for in order to service the debt.

2. while your tenants are living in the house, it is their home. If they are keeping it in a reasonable condition, and keeping up with the rent, cut them some slack. Make sure your Property Manager knows that you can live with a dusty aircon vent or a handmark on the lightswitch. Don't become so pedantic that you lose your tenants.

3. you need to keep up with repairs to hot water systems, air cons, plumbing, electrics, the stove, tree-pruning etc.
The house will eventually need to be re-painted. Blinds will eventually need to be re-placed.
You can't ask people to pay for living with a non-working stove, or a fire hazard of junk piled behind the shed, or faulty lights. Be prepared to spend money (lots of money) when it's necessary. If you can't afford to replace or repair as necessary, you shouldn't have an investment property

4. if you have good tenants, look after them. They're rare.

Are you a tenant? or an owner? have you had a terrible owner, or a terrible tenant? tell us about it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Selections 9 - the olden days

Today I'm joining in on Kims' Sunday Selections. Kim gives us the opportunity to show photos that might otherwise sit in the computer and never be seen.
These photos were all taken in Herberton, NQld; mostly in the Herberton Historic Village, which is well worth a visit.

Pure heaven for a font junkie, this set of typesetters' drawers is set up in a 'newspaper office' and still contains the original letters.


For some reason, I love old typewriters as well.

Details on an old farmhouse. Aren't they too beautiful?

The butchers' shop.
A sign on the wall warns against smoking and expectorating.

I walked past this fence a million times as a kid and never before noticed this stile. The kids were fascinated by it and wanted to climb over it. Into someones' garden. Yeah, nah. But I think if we ever own our own home, there is a good chance we might build a stile someplace.

Detail on the old School of Arts building. I'm not sure that the blue works.
In other news today -- if you want a laugh this morning, head on over to The Fish Cave

and read Starfish's hilarious Fake Tidy post. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

next weeks Thursday Theme - home is where the heart is.

So next week, let's talk about HOME.

Where's your home? is it the house where you live? or are you living somewhere else, and waiting for the day when you can go home?
What makes your home, 'home'? is it the people who live there, the memories you have, the things you own?

Tell us about it. Don't forget to link up HERE on Thursday morning, and this week I'll be leaving the linky open all weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday Themes - Textures

I love old timber and rusted metal.

Lichens, fungi and bark do it for me, too.

I always want to touch them, and sometimes even looking at these photos I'll find myself rubbing my fingertips together.

Want to join in on this weeks' theme? simply do a post about textures, link back here, and leave some comment love on at least one other blog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


On Sunday, I made arrangements to meet with my friend, who we'll call Birdie, for coffee.
After much humming and hah-ing, and checking of schedules, we decided on Tuesday afternoon, 1 pm, at A Certain Cafe In Town.
I never ordinarily go to That Certain Cafe because I don't like it, but agreed anyway because I really like Birdie.

I arrived a couple of minutes early, and Birdie wasn't there yet, but while looking around the Cafe, I saw a child I recognised.
And a split second later, I saw her mother.
And then the mother noticed me, and we stared at one another with our mouths hanging open for several long seconds before the OMGs! began.

See, I have 'known' The Divine Miss M for YEARS -- on-line. We'd never met in real life, before, and actually live hundreds of kilometres apart.
Neither of us could get over meeting like that, in a place I never go to, a place she decided to eat in just on the spur of the moment.

And you know what was really weird? I felt like we really already knew each other.

Some people just don't 'get' on-line friendships, how you can be friends through a screen and a keyboard. They argue that a person can present themselves entirely differently through a strictly on-line persona, and I guess they're right.

Because I think that most of the time, we eventually pick up on a false vibe. You just 'click' with some people, and you sometimes don't with others, just like in real life; and every now and again, you will 'meet' someone on-line who just.. isn't.... quite right. Hard to put your finger on why, it's just a feeling.

Experts tell us that words comprise only about 7% of communication between people, and that's why it's so easy to misunderstand someone on-line, why we have to be so careful in the way we present ourselves and our opinions.
But after a while, you start to realise that there's a lot to learn by reading between the lines, or looking for what is UNsaid; by allowing for context and also previous experience of this persons' words and thoughts, you can build a picture of who they are.

And for me, The Divine Miss M was EXACTLY the same IRL. Even her voice seemed familiar, though I'd never heard it before. She was just the way I had pictured her. And so were her little girl and her husband.

So how do you feel about meeting an on-line friend?
I certainly wouldn't advocate throwing caution to the wind and giving out your street address to someone you'd only just met, but when you've 'known' someone for years, do you trust your own judgement when it comes to net relationships?