Saturday, April 30, 2011

meet my daughter, the tramp

I came across this article last week, and BOY did it tick some boxes for me!

Living by the beach, we're used to seeing half-naked girls wandering the streets, but sometimes, you have to wonder, 'What parent would ever let their child out of the house looking the way she does?'

We have daughters.
My oldest daughter dresses modestly.
Our youngest is 6, and eyes off the mini-skirts and tarty knickers and crop-tops and skinny jeans and leopard-prints, but she isn't in control of the purse-strings.
I am.

And I'm a mean mummy (you just ask her, she'll tell you.)

I don't understand why any parent will buy tarty clothes for a small child, or let their teenage daughters go out looking like street-walkers.
What kind of message are we sending our girls?
You're not worth anything, so we don't care how you look?
Don't have any respect for yourself?
Look like a tart, so all the boys are looking at your body and not caring about your character?

The article I've linked to ends with these words... (emphasis mine)

In 2007, the American Psychological Association's Taskforce On The Sexualization Of Girls  issued a report linking early sexualization with three of the most common mental-health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. There's nothing inherently wrong with parents wanting to appease their daughters by buying them the latest fashions. But is getting cool points today worth the harm dressing little girls like prostitutes could cause tomorrow?
A line needs to be drawn, but not by Abercrombie. Not by Britney Spears. And not by these little girls who don't know better and desperately need their parents to be parents and not 40-year-old BFFs.

What do YOU think? if you have daughters, are you concerned by the fashions we see in our shops? or do you think they should be free to wear what they like?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm a Diana tragic.

With the wedding coming up, I've been YouTubing Diana. And crying.

Looking at wedding pictures, and crying.

Do you remember this?

I was 15. I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Just a few years later, she looked like this.

She loved her boys so much

And they loved her.
Listen to Harry here.

So what is it about this woman that so touched our hearts? Because she really was the Peoples' Princess.

And it's so unutterably sad that she won't be watching her son marry this week.

how can I help you?

I love living in a town that relies so heavily on tourism. (mostly) (except for the crowds)

I'm one of those annoying people who thinks that if you're paying for service, you should get good service.

When I worked in shops, I was taught that THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. That THE CUSTOMER LEAVES HAPPY.

Seems kind of old-fashioned now, in a world where 14 year olds think they're not being paid enough to wipe tables at Maccas.

And have you asked for help in your average K-Mart or Target lately? Service in K-Mart is so bad that I've stopped going there altogether, and Target is a last resort. I'd rather go without, or pay a little more and go into one of the small, locally-owned shops where they rely more heavily on customer satisfaction.
Or shop ON-LINE (hear me, Gerry Harvey?)

But at least if you live where tourism is a major factor in the local economy, service isn't entirely a foreign concept.

We used to go to Rainy Beach Town quite a lot. Rainy Beach Town is tucked quite out of the way, in WA. And service there is pretty hit-and-miss. Everything, except for the supermarkets, closes by midday on a Saturday - and when I say 'by' I mean sometimes 11:30 sees the doors slam shut. So we learned to shop fast.

The best part though, was the 'hospitality' industry.

The first place we stayed at, I left my gold bangles behind somehow. I rang the resort as soon as I got home, and the woman said, "Oh yes, one of the cleaners found them. Just a minute, I'll go look for them."

Long silence.

She came back and told me she could only find one, which was odd because she had put them in a safe place.
Resort safe? desk drawer? filing cabinet?

No. She had dropped them over the pens in her pen-pot, on her desk.


She went away and looked some more, and finally located the missing bangle, which had been 'moved by the cleaning staff'. One bangle. Moved from the pen-pot, leaving one behind.

"Right," I said. "Well, since we live 200 kms away, do you think that you could put them into an envelope and send them back to me, next time you're in the Post Office? I'm happy to pay postage and a little extra for your trouble."

"Oh, no." she said. "No. It's too much bother."


Eventually, I arranged for someone's friends' mother-in-law to go in and pick them up, give them to friend, who gave them to someone, who returned them to me.

And we never stayed there again.

And yes, everyone I knew heard that story.

The next place we tried, my husband was groped by a naked man and the woman who ran the place 'adopted' us and came to visit every day while celebrating something (there was always something to celebrate, it seems) and stayed till she ran out of whatever-she-was-drinking.

After that, we found some utterly gorgeous townhouses that we loved, though they were horribly expensive, and we had to book weeks ahead.
But the service was good!

Monday, April 25, 2011

an ANZAC legend

In August 1940, a young man named George Roland Smith enlisted in the army.

On the 10th April 1941 he was sent overseas, and served in Siam, Malaya, Singapore and Java, as a driver.

In March of 1942, Java fell to the Japanese forces, and George (Nibsy) was reported missing, believed to be a POW.

Until his POW status was confirmed, his family back home in North Queensland had no way of knowing if he was alive or dead.

The years between his capture and his eventual return to Australia are a bit of a mystery.

Nibsy never spoke much of his capture, or of life as a POW. We know he was in Changi, but he also said once that there were worse places than Changi, and we know he was moved around quite a bit.

From reading other accounts of life as a Japanese POW, we know he was starved, dehydrated, humiliated and saw many of his mates die a horrible and painful death from disease and torture. He slept in the mud, ate rotten food (when he could get it) and worked like a slave for his captors. He was about as mis-treated as a man could ever be.

I read a book called One Fourteenth of an Elephant, by Ian Denys Peek, that gives a pretty good description of what men like Nibsy went through. It's not for the faint-hearted.

One of the things that struck me most in reading this book was that many of the POWs were concerned how they'd be viewed by their fellow soldiers. They worried that they'd 'helped' the enemy, by being forced to build roads, and railways. They worried that they'd been out of the fight, while other men were still at war. It broke my heart to read it.

Today, I want to pay tribute to soldiers like George Roland Smith. They are the true heroes of this country.
May we never forget.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

chocolate cult

Some of you know that I used to go to a fundamentalist church (some might say -- indeed, HAVE said -- cult) and that I left for various reasons which have nothing to do with this post.
But it's background info I guess.

Because one of the things I picked up from my years in chains church was a deep and abiding reverence for Easter and Christmas.

To me, they are Holy Days, and so we celebrate them a little differently to most people.
The emphasis since we left church is on people and celebrating rather than gifts and chocolate. We don't have Santa or the Easter Bunny, for example, and though we give presents for Christmas (and plenty of them) we also tell the Christmas Story and have the nativity scene front and centre.

Easter for us is a big deal. We have a candlelit roast lamb dinner on Good Friday, which we celebrate as a modified Passover, and we talk about the children of Israel escaping Egypt and slavery under Pharoah.
We have a Seder plate, piled high with
* hard-boiled eggs (symbolising suffering and new life)
* the roasted lamb shank bone (symbolising the blood sacrifice)
* bitter herbs (horseradish) symbolising the bitterness of slavery
* parsley (symbolising Spring and bringing hope)
* salt water (symbolising the tears cried in slavery)
* haroset (little bricks made of nuts, honey, apple and wine) (symbolising the work of slavery)
* unleavened bread (symbolising how quickly the children of Israel had to leave Egypt)

The kids love dipping into the Seder plate, and trying to remember what each item represents. We bring the crucifixion into it, too, but nothing like as full on as we used to.

We drink lots of wine (Maison for the kids) and we used to have people over too, which made it more fun, but Fabio isn't into dinner guests for some reason so now it's just us.

I make a chocolate tart for dessert, which is so thick and sticky the kids call it Tar Pudding, and then we stagger off and collapse for a few hours.

Sunday is very low-key. We put the eggs by the kids' beds before they wake, and if we remember we have an egg hunt at some point during the day, but it's no big deal.

I miss the days when we had too many people to fit round the table, and ended up using Vegemite jars because we ran out of good glasses, you know? It was so fun, lots of laughter and plenty of help with the dishes too!

But that's part of marriage, isn't it? Things change.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

on the road again.....

I'm writing today with tears in my eyes, so please excuse any spelling mistakes cos I can't actually see very well.

The house we moved into down here, our beautiful home that we love so much, has been put on the market. We can't afford to buy it, and at this price, I doubt it will go to an investor because they can't charge enough in rent to cover the repayments.

So I'll be moving again.

And even typing that makes my heart ache and my throat throb with unshed tears so that's all I'm saying for today.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

game for anything

I admit it, the ChickChat House is gamer-geeky. All of us but Fabio, who just won't play anything.

We have a Wii, a PS3, an X-Box 360, a PS2, and hundreds of games. We play games on computers, too.

I own a Lara Croft figure and I bought Assassins' Creed as a pre-order because it came in a funky box that looks like a medieval stone casket.

And I have the Wii-Fit board and game. Which I use as a weight-loss tool.

No, no, seriously.

If you haven't seen the Wii-Fit before, it really is good IF you use it. The game (Wii-Fit Plus) takes your weight (ouch!) and lets you set a goal for weight-loss (say, 2 kgs within a month) Then it tracks your progress. And it has a kind of calorie burner too, which tells you how much each exercise will burn and also what the equivalent is in food.

The games themselves are fun.

There are 4 divisions -- you can choose from yoga, balance games, muscle workouts, or cardio, which includes jogging,
step aerobics, and hula-hooping.
THIS is how I sold Fabio on the idea of investing so much money in a game console....
Of course, I don't look like that, but he still enjoys watching :)

The board also measures your stance. I found I was standing way too far back on my heels, which was one of the reasons why my feet were so sore at the end of the day. I'm training myself to stand properly now.

I know there's been a lot of back-and-forth about whether Wii-Fit will really help you lose weight or not, but I reckon it's like any other exercise machine. If it sits in the corner gathering dust, it's a waste of money, but if it gets you up and moving, then it can only be a good thing.

So what about you? do you play games? own consoles? have you tried the Wii-Fit?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

deep fried fruit chat

I thought I might do posts on some of my favourite blogs, from time to time.

Then I thought, heck, I'll get some guests on and then they can do all the hard work writing a post, and I can drink more gin. Win-win (for me, anyway)

So my very first special guest star blogger is......

Leanne, from Deep Fried Fruit.

I'm very excited about this. Partly because I hear the gin calling my name, but also because Leannes' is one of the blogs I read EVERY day. She's a hugely inspirational person, who almost always looks on the bright side of life. She's funny and real, so without further ado, let's cross (live!) (almost) to Leanne.....

How exciting!! My first guest post. I feel like a celebrity getting interviewed for OK Magazine …

1. tell us a little about yourself
Apparently (according to my blog banner) I’m fit, fabulous and slightly fatigued. I got the fatigue bit right.

I am busy all the time. Until I’m not, which is when I crash and fall into a deep pit … which happens from time to time.

a. what do you do in your 'real life'?
Well, I wear lots of hats: I’m a wife, and a mother, and a daughter. I’m a cheer coach, and a Success Consultant and a relief member of the school’s Learning Support Unit. I’m a children’s book author and a blogger and friend.

b. what's your life philosophy?
My life philosophy is all about belief. Believe and you will achieve. And secondly it’s all about perception. We experience the world not as it is, but as we are. And thirdly, it’s all about action. You’ve got to get out there and do the thing if you want the thing to get done.

2. tell us about your blog (s)
Deep Fried Fruit is The Diary of a Fit, Fabulous and Slightly Fatigued 40 (ish) Year Old. I have other blogs, but DFF is the only one I’ve made public.

 a. what made you decide to start blogging?
Why did I start DFF? I blame the movie Julie and Julia. I watched it a couple of days after my 40th birthday. I thought, what a great way to get rid of some of internal dialogue! What a great way to fulfil my dream of becoming a writer. I came home and started blogging immediately with a goal to blog every day in my 40th year. It was to be part of my continual year of celebration as I entered the official mid-life zone. But when I hit 41 I couldn’t let it go. I was supposed to stop at Day 365 but here I am having just celebrated Day 555. I still blog every single day. Every single freakin’ day …

b. what's your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Blogging every single freakin’ day … that’s definitely a challenge. Finding the time, the energy and the subject matter to blog daily. But I’m a chatterbox, so I normally manage to pull something out of my head to put on the blogosphere (whether people want to read it or not …)

c. what makes your blog unique?
Is it unique? I don’t know. Maybe. Perhaps the fact that I write every day and that it truly is a diary. There are times I join blog links and partake in organised subject matters, but the primary purpose of my blog is to be a diary. A diary of real life issues, random thoughts, emotions, middle aged phenomena’s and the occasional need to vent.

d. what advice would you give to new bloggers?
 I’m no bloggy expert, so I’m not sure my advice is worth much, but I blog because I enjoy it. I think that’s the key. Make sure it is fun for you - that you are writing the way you want to write, when you want to write it, and about the things that interest you. Within that process you will attract like-minded people and in time establish a great support network.

3. if you had to choose a song or movie title to describe your life, what would it be?
Toy Story comes to mind, as does Bring It On, Mama Mia and National Lampoon’s Summer Vacation (we are the Griswalds).

I don’t know! I honestly don’t know. I mean, my family life and marriage is very close to the Dunphy’s in “Modern Family”, and my relationship with Mum (and my humour) is very “Kath and Kim”. But one movie or song? Hmmmm.

Oh, oh, oh …. I know … I’ve got a song that sums up my life …

“We’re all in this together” by Ben Lee. Yep, that’s my song.

“Woke up this morning
I suddenly realized
We're all in this together
I started smiling
Cos you were smiling
And were all in this together
I'm made of atoms
You're made of atoms
And were all in this together
And long division
Just doesn't matter
Cos were all in this together”

4. do you ever play Solitaire on your computer?
 I actually don’t! I used to have a Palm Pilot and would play solitaire whenever I was waiting about for kids at school or dancing or whatever, but no, I don’t play games on my computer. If I have spare time on the computer it is used for blogging or stalking fellow bloggers …

5. if you had a superpower, what would it be?
Oh yay! Love this question. (Vigorous little hand clap accompanied with squeal).
If I had a superpower it would be to switch people’s mindsets with the click of a button. I know, I know, that sounds completely nerdy and un-fun, and it would put me out of business, but that is what I would choose.
I just want everyone to experience joy in their life and see the good and the gratefuls in their everyday.

Can I have two super powers? Cause I’d also wanna be able to fly. Gotta be a flying superhero …

How about a round of applause for the lovely Leanne? Or, even better, leave her some comment love either here or over at her place. It won't take long and it'll make her day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

anybody need some mulch?

Clean up continues in the Cassowary Coast region of North Queensland, where Yasi did so much damage in February.

There have been 59,528 truck movements (as of Friday April 8) for all waste removal since Cyclone Yasi.
More than 600,000 cubic metres of waste has been removed.
The bulk of that is green waste (483,000 cubic metres).

This green waste has been processed into 193,300 cubic metres of mulch – enough to fill a football field more than 32m high. It's free to residents.

The sheer number of trucks on the roads, combined with massive rainfall (at least 3 metres of rain so far this year) means the roads are in terrible condition. One 20 km stretch requires major works in about 18 places.
Council estimates around 30% of roads have significant damage, and many more require some work.
An early estimate of the damage bill for roads is more than $50 million.

The constant rain, pretty much daily since Feb., has made work difficult. There's much that can't be completed (or even begun) until the rain stops. Locals are hopeful at the moment -- they've had sun for the last week.

The Council has supplied 137 fully‐furnished bedrooms (in transportable houses, units and caravans) to those whose homes were destroyed or damaged, and to those workers who are helping with the reconstruction effort. More accomodation is arriving.

Council has also provided laundry, toilet and shower facilities for those who don't have their own homes.

Re-building of private homes has not yet begun. A combination of bad weather and slow insurance payouts means there are still many people out of their own homes.

Asbestos has been removed from council and public property, although property owners are responsible for asbestos clean-up on private property. Some of the older houses destroyed by Yasi were made of asbestos and the removal has had to be carried out very carefully.

Cassowary feeding stations have been set up, water courses have to be cleared of debris, and work on damaged council infrastructure is expected to begin soon.

Cases of dengue fever are being reported, and spraying and trapping have begun. (I love the idea of mosquito traps. I picture them as tiny little rabbit-traps, makes me laugh every time)

The foreshore has been cleaned up, trees have been saved or cleared, sand replenishment carried out, and seawalls are being inspected and repaired.

Council has also ordered in extra wheelie bins, to replace those carried away in the cyclone.

Did you know that clean-up was still going on in the area? I wouldn't have either, except that my sister lives there. She tells me that the rainforest is fighting back, with leaves and even flowers appearing, though it will take years before the region looks as beautiful as it did last Christmas.

Money will help, of course.
If you're planning a holiday in the next year or so, won't you consider visiting the Cassowary Coast? Some of the resorts are back to business-as-usual, and others are working hard to re-open as soon as possible.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I want to thank Kellie for hosting my story yesterday. Talking about children dying is not an easy topic and she was so kind and supportive of me in writing about Levi and what happened to us.

I also want to thank all the readers who took the time to read and then comment. It's not easy to find the words to offer in a comment after you read something like that, and I really appreciate every single one of them.

And I'm OK. Really. It was hard to write (and re-live) but I'm OK.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ChickChat goes visiting

I'm guest posting today, at Three Li'l Princesses.
This was a hard post for me to write, and I hope you'll go read it.
And please thank Kellie for having me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

get outta my way, Granma

It seems yesterday was Old Chooks Day in town. There were grannies (and a few granpas) everywhere, in Jeans West and the supermarket and shuffling their way down the street.

And you know what made me mad?


You know what, sweetheart?
You might be 20 now but you won't stay that way forever.
God willing, one day YOU will be the Old Chook with a cane or a Zimmer frame, shuffling round the shops in the cold and every one of your joints will be aching and your bones will be a lot more fragile than they used to be.
Your balance won't be crash hot and your hearing might be gone, and when some Important Young Thing goes swishing by you I hope she's a little more careful than you were today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

mad skillz babe

This is not a funny topic. At all. But two funny (ish) things happened to two women I know recently.

Both were applying for jobs they really wanted. Both are in their 40s. Both have been out of the workforce for some time.

Interview 1 with friend L went like this:

interviewer - so, L, can you tell me what your skills are?

L - L's brain picks this moment to take a break.
(looks out the window)
(looks at interviewer)
(still silent)
Ummmm..... I'm sorry. I'm not sure what you mean....

interviewer - Well, can you tell me what you would bring to this job?

L just looks at her. Her brain is still absent. After a few more (very long) seconds of silence, she begins talking about how she thinks she can do the job, and manages to muddle her way through.
She cries in her car all the way home.

Interview 2 with J goes like this:

interviewer: So, J, can you tell me about your skills?

J : (brain freezes)......

interviewer: Well, what would you bring to the job? What are your skills?

J : very flustered, bursts out in an accusing tone, Well, I don't have any! (not true, she does)


Interviews aren't really fun for anyone, are they? But when you've been a full-time mum for years, recently divorced, worrying over a mortgage and how the kids are coping, and desperately need the job, the tension and stress plays havoc with your self-esteem.

Both these women could do the job. But they have trouble selling themselves.

I just hope both interviewers look past those disastrous replies, and see the real skills.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I've thought a lot about writing this post, knowing that some people (like my MIL or my kids!) might be horrified, or feel too ill to finish their Weetbix.
I'm going to be talking about sex. Feel free to click away now, if you think you won't ever feel the same about me after reading this.

A while back, I was asked by the lovely girls at Love Rouge if I'd be interested in a product review.

I think most women have a fair amount of curiosity about sex toys, but many of us would rather tear out our tongues than talk about them, in anything but a light-hearted way.

A good on-line shop gives us freedom to browse, with no embarrassment, and Love Rouge is set up especially for women. They're polite, friendly, and professional, and even took the trouble to spell my name correctly, which is a nicety that escapes many businesses.

I was interested.

However, knowing how prim my Fabio can be about some things (like, he hates it that I sometimes drive in my pyjamas, even though they're flannie Elmo PJs and hardly likely to inflame the passions of passing motorists), I asked him how he would feel about me doing a review on my blog, for a vibrator.

OH, how I mis-judged him. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning, and couldn't quite believe that his wifes' little blog hobby thing led to him being asked to help try out a vibrator! {So, hardly an unbiased opinion.}

A few days later, a beautifully wrapped package appeared in the mail, with this little beauty inside.

The Lelo Gigi. Isn't she pretty?

Here are some of the things we like about her:

1. she's small and light. Easy to shove under the pillow suddenly, if you should have to.

2. she's easy to hold onto, and fits nicely into your hand. And she's soft, too.

3. she is very very quiet. Huge bonus if you have little kids. Or your mother is visiting.

4. she has a rechargeable battery, which runs for up to 6 hours - a fact that had Fabio VERY interested although I don't know why -- never gonna happen, babe. Sorry.
She takes only an hour or two to re-charge. This also had Fabio interested. Again -- not gonna happen, babe.

5. she has well designed controls. You need to hold the buttons down for a few seconds to turn her off or on, or adjust her speed, so you won't accidentally switch her off at the wrong moment, or have to try and track down a funny noise coming from the bedside table in the middle of the night because the ON button has been bumped. This has happened to -- err -- someone I know. Twice.
And she has a travel lock.

6. she has a nice shape that doesn't scream "I am a big penis-shaped vibrator" , so if the kids drag her out while you're having tea with Aunt Betty, you might be able to get away with saying she's your new face massager.
I have no idea what you might say if Aunty asks to try her, though.

7. she has 5 different modes, and they're really easy to adjust.

8. she's nicely curved, and she's slim. Not too fat, not too thin.

She gets 5 Toe Curls from me (this is a rating, not an actual count.)

And five from Fabio too. (Because I really like her.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

plain smokin'

I read yesterday about this:

... plain cigarette packaging that the Government wants to introduce.

This is what I think.

I quit smoking back in 1997, and I was never a really hard-core smoker anyway, but I do understand how hard it is to give the damn things up.
They have a stranglehold on your mind and body, and many people find it impossible to quit permanently.

I loathe smoking now. The smell is revolting, disgusting, and the merest whiff makes me feel sick and suffocated at the same time.

BUT -- although I wish no-one in the world smoked, I'm not going to tell people they can't. I don't want to live in a world where some 'Expert' decides what we can and can't do, for our own good.
Because, really, in the end we have to take responsibility for our own actions.
Everyone knows the dangers and risks of smoking. If they still do so, it's not out of ignorance.

I'm all for banning smoking in public places, because that affects everyone around the smoker. It is no longer just 'your right' that we're talking about here, it's the right of everyone around you not to have to breathe in that smoke.

But trying to force people into quitting isn't going to work.

You can put picture of corpses on the packets and people will keep smoking. You can charge $100 a packet, and people will keep smoking.
Someone will come up with cigarette cases, or a black market will open up, or folks will start growing their own, illegally.

Seriously -- you CAN NOT stop people from smoking if they're determined to.

And why the hell should we, anyway?

Who has the right to tell smokers that they can't smoke?

I have a strict no smoking rule in my house, and that's fine. When I visit my friends, who smoke, I don't insist they don't smoke while I'm there.
(In fact, out of respect for me, they always ask if I'd like to sit outside with them while they have a durrie.)

Should we continue educating people on the dangers of smoking? ABSOLUTELY.

Should we step up the campaign in schools? ABSOLUTELY. Because research shows that if you haven't started by the time you're 18-20, the chances are good that you never will.

Should we be subsidising smokers with health complications directly due to smoking? Hmmm. I don't know about this. I lean towards no.

Should our government be interfering in our lives to this extent? NO. It's not like they don't have better things to do.

And while I'm no fan of Big Tobacco, who after all are profiteering from an addiction, I also believe that no government has the right to interfere in the lives of ordinary people to this degree.
I hate that we're becoming such a Nanny Country.

There's an excellent video here, from an episode of The Gruen Transfer late last year.

I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to watch it, because a lot of angles on this issue are discussed and it's very interesting viewing.

Also -- I'd LOVE to hear what you think! Do you agree with plain packaging? Think it's a terrible idea? Tell us about it, in the comments.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

colour me happy

I put on my new top, and went to ask Fabio what he thought.

"Do you like my new purple top?" I asked.

"Purple?!" he said. "I thought it was black."

"Well," I said, "it's really eggplant. Or, aubergine."

Fabio gave me a funny look. "No man ever came up with a name like 'aubergine'," he said.

Then he told me, "When I was a kid, I saw a box of 64 colouring pencils, and I thought to myself, 'Who would ever want 64 colours?'"

I laughed. "That's right, babe. You really only need black, white, blue and red, don't you?"

"Yes." he said. "AND there's only 2 kinds of blue. Blue. And light blue."

So there you go.

I know I've talked about colours and my men-folk before, but it's endlessly entertaining.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jodi Picoult - Sing You Home

Jodi Picoult is one of my favourite authors.

What I love most about her is that with every novel, she forces me to re-evaluate.
What do I think, and why?
Her books are never about black-and-white issues. And she sketches the grey so beautifully.

Here is what her own site says about her latest novel, Sing You Home.

Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and after multiple miscarriages and infertility issues, it looks like her dream is about to come true – she is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events leads to a nightmare – one that takes away the baby she has already fallen for; and breaks apart her marriage to Max.

In the aftermath, she throws herself into her career as a music therapist – using music clinically to soothe burn victims in a hospital; to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with the present; to provide solace for hospice patients. When Vanessa – a guidance counselor -- asks her to work with a suicidal teen, their relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of having a family, again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that were never used by herself and Max.

Meanwhile, Max has found peace at the bottom of a bottle – until he is redeemed by an evangelical church, whose charismatic pastor – Clive Lincoln – has vowed to fight the “homosexual agenda” that has threatened traditional family values in America. But this mission becomes personal for Max, when Zoe and her same-sex partner say they want permission to raise his unborn child.

SING YOU HOME explores what it means to be gay in today’s world, and how reproductive science has outstripped the legal system. Are embryos people or property? What challenges do same-sex couples face when it comes to marriage and adoption? What happens when religion and sexual orientation – two issues that are supposed to be justice-blind – enter the courtroom? And most importantly, what constitutes a “traditional family” in today’s day and age?

I really couldn't put this down.
As an ex-member of a church that sounds JUST LIKE the one in the book, I found myself constantly checking my own opinions, and wondering what it is about gay marriage that so many people find so threatening.

If you're a Picoult fan, I think you're really going to like this one.

the secret language of love

I don't know why, but Fabio can't seem to put things back in the exact spot they came from. Like the coffee, tea and sugar canisters, for example -- they're ALWAYS a couple of inches out on the bench instead of pushed back neatly against the tiles.

I love it that he spoils me by making me a cuppa.
And the thing with the canisters has become a bit of a joke between us.

I will push them back and he'll grin and later I'll find them all out on the bench again.

One morning I sneaked out to the shed and got a length of heavy chain and piled it all over and around the 3 canisters, and he laughed and laughed when he saw it.

This morning, I noticed the canisters are stacked up on top of one another.....

now I really have to put my brain to work. Any suggestions?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Yesterday, Fabio and I took a picnic lunch down to one of our favourite beaches, a place we used to visit regularly when we were courting.

We lie on a soft blanket on a little grassy hill, and look down over this tiny bay, more a cove really. It's a small strip of white, gritty sand, anchored at both ends by a careless jumble of big brown rocks.

The water, green at the shore and edged in lacy white foam, becomes the most brilliant turquoise a little further out, and then a deep indigo. There is a distant brown and blue smudge of land far away on the horizon.

All we can hear is the endless wash of waves on the sand, some kookaburras gently squabbling over a few crusts from lunch, and tiny birds chirruping in the bushes behind us.

We smell crushed gum leaves, fresh grass, the salt of the sea, and the fragrance of a cup of tea, as we lie here, reading and day-dreaming.

Over us, the deep solid blue bowl of the sky, stretching from horizon to horizon, perfectly cloudless.....

this is paradise.