Friday, December 22, 2006


Classic quote for the season...

Zoe, aged 8, on Wednesday. At their last Kids Touch clinic, they had Santa come to give out lollies. A young bloke dressed up as Santa (so, no, not the most realistic jolly old Santa I've ever seen..)

Zoe brought her stash of lollies up to show me, and said, "The pretend Santa gave them out. You can tell it's not the real Santa."

This from a kid who has never sat on Santa's knee!! (I gave up asking a few years ago...!!) She knows her Santas though.

Labels: ,


Peace on earth...

If you haven't already seen this one... it's worth it.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Crossing things off...

My self indulgent exercise:

* Now Thursday. Tick, tick, tick. (That's the clock.. not me ticking things off the list... well, I am slowly ticking things off the list.. but like Libby says in comments.. I'm sitting here doing a bit of a Rimmer....!)

* Now Friday... one minute I think I'm on top of things, the next I think there aren't enough hours in the day. Having coughing fits... I hope this means I am getting rid of all the gunk.

mow the yard
vacuum the house - downstairs, stairs, middle floor, top floor. (no wonder I'm insane - 3 floors!)* skip the top floor...
change/wash sheets on all beds - our bed, girls' beds
several just a few more laundry loads
cross fingers it doesn't rain (though now the sun's come out, so I'm probably safe for the sheet drying!- phew!)
Friday - it's drizzly.. bugger! Means the washing has to cycle through the dryer...
make mini xmas cakes
post birthday present to nephew
sort lilos/air mattresses (for canyoning...)
finalise present shopping
write a packing list for girls (and supervise packing)
write a packing list for me (including food/condiments, sheets/towels for holiday house)
get girls to stop slothing/fighting/saying 'it's not my turn to do that' and HELP ... for god's sake - and stop having stupid arguments about who is allowed to borrow whose CDs or books.... *Impossible*
stop eating bloody shortbreads (leftovers from Ali's homemade batch) (easy - just ate the rest..!)
wash car/vacuum * forget it
sort someone to collect our mail
do the actual packing !
get through kids' Touch Wednesday afternoon..
3 x swimming squad classes on Friday afternoon.
return late library books *tried, but the library was closed and the book chute was full
buy more cough medicine

I am happy I got the mowing done.. it was bothering me. Couldn't afford to leave it, in case it rained.

Of course there are all the other things:

easy meals for Wed, Thurs (bought Chinese), Fri
ring Hi Fi store that is en route to Sydney to see if they still have stock of dvd recorder on special (present for Marc's mum) * still more than 20 left.. cross fingers there'll still be some on Saturday..
ring again Friday * rang and he's keeping one for me. Legend.
buy another lilo, and cheap wetsuit for Cait (for canyoning)
girls to finish mug decoration for the presents for their aunty plus her friend
bake said mugs - 24 hours later...
girls to 'disappear' all the books, textbooks, paper etc they brought home from school
girls to take truckloads of STUFF upstairs...

wrap presents * mostly done.
finish cards for relos
get over this cough...
read the riot act about the MESS in their room

I seem to have added more than I have crossed off... :(

This is very indulgent.. but believe it or not it's actually helping me get it in persective. Love my little strike out html code. What a geek.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Keeping up appearances

I was going to cast aspersions on.. um... Santa's M.O. - but that wouldn't be PC. Would it? But honestly... You would think after ... so many.. years, Santa would have the equal distribution of prezzies between 3 siblings in one family all sorted. Wouldn't you? Hmmm. You'd be wrong. It's a random escalation of purchases fest here. One each of this sort of thing. One each of that sort of thing. Repeat until it looks like it'll fill one of those gift bags each. Mostly 'fill up the bag' stuff.. but hopefully a couple of 'oh cool!' things. Until the sighting (and purchase) of an 'oh, Child X will love that' item .. but then the score needs to be sort of evened up.. quantity-wise.. and sort of size wise, because you can't have one sack/bag appearing to be overflowing, and one half empty looking. Can you...? (And then what if the X item is something a bit on the large side?)

I'm going insane. I'm also starting to think I've not removed things from 'hiding' places, when I have. I took a list with me to town this afternoon, but lost it, and so forgot stuff. So still one more trip to town required this week... Plus what feels like a kazillion and one other things.. that I could be doing now, but it's 10.30 pm, so I'm not starting anything else now.. that would just be stupid.. when I can blog instead. And wait and see if I catch Marc online.

When I think about it, it's not as bad as Rootietoot's list. Well.. at least I have more than one day to do my list. And I don't have to flea dip any dogs.

I did get to cross stuff off my list today. I did achieve.. I did, I did. Mainly in terms of getting a few parcels sorted and sent, and the snail mail cards done and sent. Not as much as I would have liked to achieve...but still. I plead general unwellness and still having a few coughing fits. I think I feel a bit better.. but I'm still not "well". I must have looked shite because I got an 'early mark' from netball this evening. (Very strange that nobody said anything about me not being at the lunch on Sunday... guess they didn't miss me.)

I have three more days to:

mow the yard
vacuum the house
change/wash sheets on all beds
several more laundry loads, by the time Friday comes around
make mini xmas cakes (which I should have done already...and would scratch if I hadn't already soaked mixed fruit and almonds in brandy)
post birthday present to nephew
sort lilos/air mattresses (for canyoning...)
finalise present shopping
write a packing list for girls (and supervise packing)
write a packing list for me (including food/condiments, sheets/towels for holiday house)
get girls to stop slothing/fighting/saying 'it's not my turn to do that' and HELP ... for god's sake
stop eating bloody shortbreads (leftovers from Ali's homemade batch)
wash car/vacuum
sort someone to collect our mail
do the actual packing
get through kids Touch tomorrow afternoon..
and 3 x swimming squad classes on Friday afternoon.

Oh there's more.. but that will keep me going till I revise it...
Maybe I'll come back and put that strikethrough thingy through it all... so I can see that I am getting somewhere.

The hilarious thing is that, when the school teachers got their card (the photo stuck on a silver card with transparent photo corners).. plus their gifts (the girls decorated plates with porcelain pens, then we bake them... Ali had the most wonderful teacher this year, so she put 'Best Teacher Ever' on hers..).. and one of the teachers apparently said 'Your mum is SO organised!'... when the reality is that my house is such a disaster zone, currently I'd be embarrassed to have any visitors step foot inside....and given that I don't work, I have no reasonable excuse for being in this state. Only that I'm a walking disaster zone. We haven't even put the tree up this year, and I simply cannot face doing it when we are going away. The older two don't care.. but Zoe does.. and I feel bad about that.

So shhhh... Don't tell anyone I'm actually going nuts. I'll just keep trying to keep up appearances.. making it up as I go along...

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 18, 2006


Bring on the antibiotics.

I finally got sick of the coughing. I tried to swim today, and got out after 15 mins, came home, and made a drs appointment. Guess the old antibodies need some help after all. Was amazed to get an appointment at 4.30.. so at least I've been able to start a course of antibiotics tonight. Hope they work... I'm a bit sick of this.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Fix a hoist with sticky tape..

There's this kids' song:

'When Mr Clickety Came..
he plays a silly game..
and all the kids in the street ..
they like to do the same
Wash your face with orange juice...Wash your face with orange juice
Clean your teeth with bubble gum...Clean your teeth with bubble gum
Fix a fence with sticky tape... Fix a fence with sticky tape
Brush your hair with a toothbrush
.. Brush your hair with a toothbrush
Clean your teeth with bubblegum... Clean your teeth with bubblegum...
Belly flop on a pizza... Belly flop on a pizza?!

So anyway I've been singing 'Fix a line with sticky tape' in my head all day.. Because I fixed the clothes line... again.. with duct tape. (It broke over a year ago when a kid at Zoe's birthday party swung on it.) One day I suppose we will have to fix it properly...

Just seemed like a bit of a metaphor for the way the day started. And the way I feel about the rest of the week. Hand me the sticky tape, please.

Labels: ,



This is it. The photo has lost quality along the way.. but I'm beyond worrying about it. It's not that important anyway in the scheme of things.

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

How about those moving thingies, eh. Copying and pasting Javascript is so cool.

Marc has left for the flights to KL. He didn't wake me while he packed this morning. Once he did, to kiss me goodbye, and I needed to get up to go to the loo, then the coughing and sneezing and that started, so I didn't get to sleep in any longer. Which is a bummer, because I reckon I could do with it. I'm not feeling on top of the world right now. Headache to add to the mix. And we were going to hit the shops. Arrrghh... crowds... ugh.

Zoe decided to make 'snowflakes' as her 'cards' to her friends.. so she is busy producing confetti. Easy enough to vacuum up. Thank you to E. for the inspiration via the parcel of goodies that arrived recently!

Now to hassle #2 about what she is doing for friends and teacher. (She has just come and asked me if she can make shortbread!)

(And what #3 is doing for her teacher..?)

And to wake up DQ.

And to take something for this headache.

Merry Christmas.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, December 16, 2006


'Stand up if you're not sitting down.'

Not drunk blogging, just one of the classic lines Ali's related from the school camp she went on this week. The permanent teachers at this camp had a few good tricks up their sleeves to combine discipline and fun. She's hardly stopped talking about it since she got back about 3.00 yesterday afternoon. $165 well spent, I'd say.

We got up at 5.00 this morning to go for the community bike ride - this time with the girls (considering that we have to start doing some training for the Big Ride.) Weather was dubious looking.. cloudy, windy. I wasn't keen. But we went. And it started raining half way to town. And I gave him the big "I told you so" look. Oh well, we were up, we were there.. we had bike rain jackets... and it actually wasn't that bad. Rolled up to the start, to a very small turnout.

A couple of k's into it, Cait, my stoker.. my passenger... had an Attack. A full blooded DQ (Drama Queen) attack. Cold legs, wet bum, didn't want to be there. No.. didn't care about getting bacon and eggs at the cafe when we finished. She was so painful, I had to pull out after a few kms and ride back. She copped an earful all the way.. and then for the next half hour of killing time sitting in the car. That sounds dreadful, but it's not like this is some new 'thing' we've just dreamed up and decided to make her do. She was saying at the end of the Big Ride earlier this year that she wanted to do it again. And so we are. And so THIS was training.. and.. guess what, kid. It might rain on the Ride.. and you'll get wet! You'll have to push through a bit of discomfort.

Of course, being the teenage DQ that she is, she'd also ignored the advice we've given her ever since we bought them all bike nix. You don't wear undies with bike nix! Never. The seams dig in.. and guess what. If you get wet, then your cotton undies are going to soak up the water, and your bum will be wetter. But oh no.. she knows best.

I left her in the car while I met the others (after they did their ride) at the cafe, and we had bacon and eggs. The other two were fine. It didn't rain the whole time.. and despite being a bit wet, it wasn't that cold. And they got their promised big brekkie.

Gave her an ultimatum. Decide now whether she's IN for the Big Ride or not. If she's not, I'll buy a bloody road bike, and ride myself. I can't put up with the DQ act. If we're doing it, we need to do training rides, and the training rides start now. She made ME miss MY training ride today. So I was NOT HAPPY. And boy did she know it.

So we've been home a while.. and the phone rings; it's my mother. I deliberately didn't mention the bike ride. I know what she would think. But then she asked me if we went.. and I'm not a good enough liar to just say 'yeah.. we went with the kids'. I glossed over it.. 'yeah, Marc, Ali and Zoe did it, Cait had an attack and we didn't'... AND of course she says "I wouldn't want to go for a ride in the rain anyway."

[No, Mum. In my whole childhood you also never went in a swimming pool, or swam with us at the beach. You never did ANYTHING with us that pushed us out of our comfort zones or helped us challenge ourselves... AND ANYWAY... I didn't even ask for your effing opinion.]


Meh... so today.. disintegrated. Tired from getting up early, but not achieving what I set out to achieve when I got up early. Had a sense of urgency about getting things done, because Marc leaves tomorrow for this work trip to KL.. back Friday.. we leave Saturday morning. But we didn't seem to achieve anything much at all. Watched some good cricket?! I suppose.. I HOPE .. it will all fall into place this week.

Alternatively, I could just have a nervous breakdown and be done with it.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, December 15, 2006


At least I have smooth legs.

I may be going slowly insane, but at least my legs are no longer hairy. I've been waxing them myself at home for over a year now ... (ever since I gave the beauty salon the flick because of what they did to my eyebrow.) I prided myself that I was saving money too. I've come to realise I have really been just redistributing my payments. An hour of contortionism each time (and not a particularly good job either..) and I've actually been contributing to the chiropractor's superannuation fund instead.

So a couple of days ago I walked by a local salon.. only $12 for a half leg wax (as opposed to the $17 or more I used to pay.) What the heck, it's Christmas, I thought. I booked in.. went yesterday. Ten minutes and it was done.

I wonder why I've been bothering myself all this time. Even if the woman wasn't particularly friendly or talkative. 10 minutes!!

Waxing my legs is one of the few girlie things I still bother with. (I shave under my arms, and shave the worst of the bikini line.. and that's all. I'm such a dag.) I usually feel MUCH better when my legs are smooth.. it usually gives me a boost. It just didn't really work yesterday (and it's not really working today).. probably all those worms I was eating...

And all the coughing.

And all the christmas shopping doing my head in.

At least THIS made me laugh. (See, there's a good reason why I don't colour my hair!!)

And yesterday I got THIS for my nephews. To share. At half the price it is going for there. Progress.

But, anyway, this is how crazy I am:

I loathe all the overdone Christmas stuff.. right?

But, I make those cards... and do up a webpage.. and a spiel. And it takes hours. Because I fuss around with it all.

Then the girls start bringing home sixty million cheap cards from friends which have just 'To X from Y' written on them. And they go 'Bloody cards.. what a waste of trees ... what is the point of them?' (I wonder where they got THAT idea from?) And so.. what are they going to do instead? Make treats - little xmas shaped biscuits/cookies/chocolate truffles. For all their friends.

Do I need a kitchen mess all weekend? No. So why oh why?

It's true.. I am crazy.

This morning I was all set to go to a Master Class presentation at Cait's school. 9.30 the invitation said, to see the 'best of' powerpoint research presentations the class had done. I dressed up in decent clothes... Thinking.. a couple of hours there.. then I'm back home and into the domestics. Hey yeah.

I also felt good that I had this to go to at the high school, because the primary school and high school end of year presentations clash next Monday morning. Both are at 9.30 am! Doh! Cait is getting something (the usual walk up and across stage, collect certificate, shake hands, walk straight off and sit back down in audience. But at least one of the other two will get something also (got a letter from school - just don't know who it's for!).. Alison is playing flute in the band... and is also in the running to be elected to the SRC, which will be announced.

So I will go to the primary one... and Cait is cool with that.

This morning when she reminds me about the Master Class presentation, she says 'I'm on last... it possibly won't be till after lunch.' AFTER LUNCH?!!! Like I have the time to sit there for 4 hours?! Hell, no, I have all this pre-christmas panic stuff to do! Plus mow the lawn. "Text me around recess and let me know how it's going." (It's 11.00 and I haven't heard...)

And I've been such a busy bee. Not. I have been sitting on the computer for 2 hours. Some of it is really important stuff.. like the christmas letter spiel. Riiight. And to do any domestics I need to change out of my decent clothes. And I'm still in them. (And it's raining so I can't mow.)

I'm just, basically... insane. But at least my legs are smooth.

** UPDATE. 1.15 pm : I took a punt on the timing.. went up to the school.. the teacher slotted her presentation in before lunch, so I was out of there in less than half an hour. Happy days.. now I have time to do some domestics.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Think I'll go and eat worms...

A school P & C fundraiser recipe book finally came home today (I sent my $10 for it in a while back.) I had also sent in a few recipes when they were calling for contributions. Someone stuffed up somewhere along the line, because each of the recipes I sent in was acknowledged as being from someone else. (The Treasurer of the P & C no less.)

Yes. I'm just ever so slightly miffed. Yes. I am. Because if they are going to acknowledge everyone's contribution, they should get it right.

Do I say anything? (Zoe is possibly more miffed than I am - she asked me 'did you send any recipes in Mum?') Do I say to the Treasurer 'Hi.. I see you really liked the recipes I sent in for the recipe book.'
That sounds narky though, doesn't it.

Let it go, Tracey... let it go...


I sent an email to one of the netball committee girls asking for the scores from the twilight comp on Tues night so I could put them on the website. She emailed them to me, cc'd to the president (whose husband puts the scores in the paper), and added "See you both on Sunday."

Me: ???

Happened to see her in town... asked if the Sunday reference was for the Pres. and husband.

"No, the lunch!" she says.

"What lunch?"

"Our christmas lunch on Sunday. 1.00 Bluebottles. (Local cafe.)"

"I didn't know anything about that."

"Oh.. didn't S. tell you?"


Hmmm, so Marc will be away on Sunday; I'd planned to take the girls in to do their christmas shopping. I'm not sure whether to make an effort to get back in time, then leave the girls at home (daytime is ok.) Or think 'get stuffed' and not go. (I'm a bit over the whole thing at the moment anyway..)

Mmmmm... worms......


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


*Cough cough.. sniffle.. sob*

Damn cough. It's been hanging around for a couple of weeks now. One of those ones that don't take you out completely, but wear you down gradually and insidiously. With cough medicine I'm managing to sleep ok, but I'm paying for it in the morning, (where you have to cough up all the crap sitting in your lungs...) with coughing fits where I just about throw up. Inexplicably, after one of those attacks, I feel like bursting into tears.. even though I know it could be much much worse. It eases off during the day then.. then hits again at night.

Needless to say it's not doing much to inspire me to any heights of creative thinking in the present buying department. And it's thrown me right off any niggling urges to vacuum or clean bathrooms... or to get out and burn some calories. I've been going to my swimming classes (simply because I've missed too many already..) and I can swim ok till we have to swim hard, and then it brings on another coughing fit.

Randomly, amongst the coughing, I'll have a hayfever-like attack of sneezes.

All in all it's an assault on my very weak pelvic floor muscles that I don't really need. My abdomen hurts with each cough now.. but somehow I don't think it's the right sort of ab crunch that will transform my belly from the jelly that it is. My lower back hurts with each coughing attack as well. Lucky I have a chiro appointment today. No doubt my propped-up sleeping posture is contributing to my problems in that area.

Then I need to hit the shops, and miraculously come up with solutions to the present (as in 'gift') dilemma. I am only buying for the kids, and my nephews, and I've got nothin'. NUTHIN' ! Totally stumped. OK.. I'll scrape by with the girls...though it won't be an 'ooh ahh look what Santa brought me christmas morning.

But the boys?! No effing idea. This is ridiculous.. world gone mad.. noone NEEDS anything. Somehow, I don't think a little card saying 'For your Christmas present this year we've donated money to buy a starving kid in a poor country some FOOD' is going to cut it. [Now that I've put that in black and white, I'm seriously thinking of doing something like that with the girls.. but I wouldn't DARE do it as a replacement for a present for my nephews.. the fallout would be unbearable.]

*cough, cough... sniffle... sob*

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Oh the angst...

Each year about the time that I finally get stuck into 'creating' the one 'tradition' I do at this time of year (ie. the photo of the girls, and then the 'blurb') I usually read some article or blog post or comments on blog posts that slam them as self centred, pukey, obsessive pieces.

So I 'angst' about it for a while, but then I usually still do them and send them out because a) at least some friends and family seem to like them... b) I enjoy a well-written 'year that was' blurb from others.... and c) I am a spoilt brat who has the time to do them because I don't work (and like any excuse to avoid housework.)

Some detractors comment that 'if you haven't seen these people during the year then what's the point?'.. and criticise the yearly christmas card list review and cull. The "Stuff them, they haven't sent me anything for a few years." sort of thing.

I have debated this within myself a few times, and each time I've come out the other end deciding that, through life, you accumulate a lot of friends.. and it's just not possible to hook up with them in a meaningful way every year, particularly when you tend to be geographically far-flung. But there are always some that you can not see for years, and then find you can chat, chat, chat as if it was only 10 weeks and not 10 years since you last spoke!

So if Christmas means nothing else to me, it does mean letting people know that they're not forgotten. I had, at one point, a great poem that summed this up, but blowed if I can find it right at this minute.

I live in hope that others don't mind reading our news, and are maybe inspired to send me their news. And I try not to be too pukey and self-obsessed.

Last year in my xmas letter I made a 'toast' to catching up with 'old friends' in the new year; and stuff me if it didn't happen. This year has been quite remarkable in the number of old friends we have had the enjoyment of catching up with.

So I shall remain strong, and keep on doing what I do. And keep on making my toast 'Here's to catching up with new and old friends in the coming year.'

I also do it for myself, because, self-centredly, yes, I love to read back on my 'yearly summaries'. It's amazing how you forget what you did, what the girls were up to, what you did, and what you were aiming to do in the following year.

Pixie referred (in the comments here) to our 2004 chrissy photo as her favourite.. so I thought I'd share the last few years of our photos since I was capable of putting them on a webpage. Reverse chronological order. You can see the progression of graphics abilities... with variations in inspiration. And it's a chance to rejoice in our gorgeous girls - a nice change from my usual grumblings and whingeing about them!

This one for 2003 said 'Wishing you a magical Christmas...':

Labels: ,

Monday, December 11, 2006


A mixed bag.

Generally a great weekend, with only this persistent cough, and non-specific uptightedness during Saturday that I realised mostly came from discussing our christmas travel plans with my mother, to spoil a nice low-key normal family weekend. Like managing to pull out one or two ear wax flavoured sweets out of an otherwise yummy flavoured pack of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Left me with that 'errgh' taste in my mouth until I got some more of the sweet tutti-frutti candy flavoured ones! Metaphorically speaking of course. In reality it was me sort of grumping around with clenched teeth for a few hours wondering why I was feeling all sort of shitty. In amongst a few precious 'Wouldn't be dead for quids!' moments.

Marc and I got up early and went into the community ride. I did very well waking up early - no moanings or grumblings at all.. though he thinks I could do better by actually getting out of bed before him. We were in bed before 10.30... surprising how much easier it is to get up if you've had a reasonable amount of sleep. (And then in the afternoon I went up and had a nap! Me.. a daytime nap?! Unheard of... Who said a leopard can't change its spots?)

Home by 9.30.. phone call from my mother. "Are you up yet? Because I thought too bad if you're not because I wanted to go shopping."
"Yes, we were up at 5.00, and we've been into town on a 30 km bike ride."
(I repeat myself.)
"Um, no Mum... it's only 9.30!.. we only did 30km in that time! .
(So much for acknowledging the achievement of having done what we did.)

"Ah, so got your email about coming here on your way home from the Blue Mountains."
"Yes." (I sent it after we made the Decision that Had to be Made)
"So, we'll have a family get together New Years Eve"
"Yes, ok."
"So did you want to stay more than one night?"
"Ah.. no... we want to get home". (To the beach... seriously what's there to do in the hot, humid northwest suburbs of Sydney apart from sitting around feeling hot?)
"Oh. Ok"
(Why is it anything I decide to do always seems to come up short... )

And then it was discussions about christmas present ideas for the kids, of which I have none. But it's not really acceptable to think that. Somehow.

I suppose anyone reading that will wonder what is wrong with me. It's the tone that gets to me more than anything. And the bottom line is that I'm a terrible nark who doesn't get all warm fuzzies from the compulsory family get-togethers... and is getting more and more tense about her mother as time goes on. It's decreed. It's in the genes. I'm not sure how to shake it off.

Marc was a busy boy all weekend.. and managed to install the cargo barrier in the Landcruiser.. Every now and then I had to be his 'gofer'... but he's the one with the 'high level of technical proficiency' recommended on the instructions.. Another Daddy job well done.

And we went down to the beach for a late swim both afternoons... Highlight of the weekend really.. body surfing with Dad... followed up by a BBQ. Saturday night, after we enjoyed lamb steaks for dinner, he exclaimed "It doesn't get much better than this!" The girls thought it could if we'd done the beach in the morning as well, but we told them the Mummy and Daddy time, riding our tandem, without them, in the morning was quite perfect! Hah.

But the surf was great. OK, not the best waves ever, but catchable. After so many years not being able to go in the water at the same time as him (because of baby/child supervision issues), it's great being able to get out there, and, with some tips and encouragement from him, get better and better at catching waves. Zoe is right by herself in the shallows (too much of a wuss to come out). Cait is out the back with us, and Alison comes out if they take a boogie board, and/or there isn't any seaweed. I had hoped that a couple of goes at the ultimate 'saltwater gargle' might improve my cough. Jury is still out on that.. I felt great on Saturday night, but it's still hanging around.

Afternoons like that, though, make me appreciate where we live. How lucky we are to be able to just wander down to the beach, and to enjoy a surf with hardly another soul around. And possibly because he is away so much these days, I really treasure the times we spend together - just him, me and the girls. Both those afternoons, standing there drying off in the late afternoon sun, I felt that all was right with the world.. well.. my little world anyway. Pity you can't bottle that sort of thing up and give it away as a Christmas pressie. Pity you need to wrench yourself away from all that, and refocus on the angst of some thing to buy my kids and my nephews for Christmas.

I didn't actually achieve much else, apart from vaguely supervising Alison's packing for school camp (ironing name tags on her clothes at nearly midnight and discovering smuggled lollies in her toiletry bag!) Did manage to stay away from the blogging, which is probably a good thing, considering how long I've been fiddling around here this morning.

Yesterday we also managed to take the photo for our annual Christmas card. Which I get prints of for the 'luddites' (and friends who I know really like to have a real card.)

But I also put it on a web page... to save the trees.

Sneak preview?

See. I do work up to a bit of Christmas Spirit. TM. Tracey style.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Letter to Santa...

Oh the agony. Do I join the Christmas Resistance Movement?
"You know holiday shopping is offensive and wasteful. You know Christmas "wish lists" and "gift exchanges" degrade the concept of giving. You know Christmas marketing is a scam, benefiting manufacturers, stores, and huge corporations, while driving individuals into debt. You know this annual consumer frenzy wreaks havoc on the environment, filling landfills with useless packaging and discarded gifts."
I know all this... So will I join.. or will I "cave in and go shopping."?

And, the reality is that I will cave in and go shopping, because I am too gutless! And I can't do it to my kids. Particularly when Little Ms 8 knows Santa comes every year. He finds us whereever we spend Christmas, despite the fact that she has never sat on his lap, and probably still wouldn't, even if you paid her. Funny how the older two are not about to let the cat out of the bag.. they have heard about this 'scaling down' of santa sacks thing that can happen once you let Mum know you're a cynic. They will keep Zoe believing till she's 18 if they can.

As a bit of a protest over the years I have never encouraged the writing of wishlists to Santa by the children, because I believe it engenders a too much of a 'want, want, want' ethic (Plus it took the pressure off having to succumb to buying crap that I didn't want them to have.)

I have also always scorned the writing of lists of what I want (for christmas or birthdays). If my loved ones are incapable of paying me enough interest throughout the year to pick up on some idea of some nice surprise gift.. and if I have to write down the exact details of whatever it is... then I may as well just go get it myself. I refuse to feign surprise over a present that I have all but gone and got and wrapped myself.

So, in the most outrageous display of double standards, particularly after this post, I am going to cave in to the 'tag' put out by rootietoot and then northern girl. This is a self-centred 'I WANT' letter to santa!!

Dear Santa

Well, yes, I do feel a bit of a fraud writing this to you. As Northern Girl says, there isn't anything I actually need. And there are billions of people out there who need a whole lot more than I do. I am leading a very fortunate life, and we are managing to equip ourselves with most things that we'd like, sooner or later. .. and not necessarily just because it's Christmas or a birthday. (Mind you, if the elf magic extends to dabbling in genetic modification for humans , then a housekeeping gene as Blair requests, would be top of my list. Seems there could be a few of us, so you might be able to work some miracle with a bulk order. If you can't do a new gene, then maybe a genie would do the trick!)

But.. materially speaking... these are some things I would be deliriously happy about if they appeared in my living room on Christmas morning. Slight problem with some of them, as we will be away in a holiday house.. and transporting them home might be difficult. Let's be hypotheticial then...

I'd love a new tandem that is as cool as our Co-motion triplet. A Co-motion or a Santana (a touring model rather than a road bike) would be nice. (And if you dropped it off, it would save all the hassles of getting one freighted over from the US, or some other far flung country, and if we miraculously came by one of them, we'd just give away our old tandems so as to convert someone else to the wonders of tandeming.)

I also wouldn't mind a single road bike. I've kind of got the 'go fast' bug now from riding our Santana road tandem.. and my MTB is a bit slow on the road. (I still want to do some dirt road riding... so I don't really want to get rid of my MTB!...)

While I'm talking bikes, a new bike jersey or two (maybe a cool one from Team Estrogen.. pick one that caters for larger sizes and not stick figures though!).. oh.. and I need a bike pump that will fit on my mountain bike. (Either that, or we need to put the bottle cages in a new place, and there are clever bottle cage brackets so you can stick the bottles behind your seat.)

From bike riding to camping.. we are trying to get ourselves set up to do some 4WD camping, and the next thing we need are roof bars for the landcruiser. Then one of those Thule roof pods.. And if I could get one of these Drifta kitchens, I'd think I was Christmas!

In terms of more normal requests though, like a lot of people, I'd love to upgrade my camera. My current one is only 2.1 megapixel, with 3x optical zoom.. so I'd love something better than that. Surprise me.. I'm not really technical, so too many options will just confuse me, but with more megapixels, and more zoom, I might turn into a better photographer, hey.

(There's another side of me that would like one of those really small, slim digital cameras so that I'd always have it with me, and be able to take lots of candid shots - which is really more the direction I'm destined to go with my photography...)

And if I don't deserve any of all of that.. (which I probably don't because I deserve a kick up the backside for so many reasons) well, there's always the latest book by Fiona McIntosh, or Kate Forsyth.< I've been tempted to buy them in the shops recently, but felt too guilty to do so. My conscience has a limit.

I could say chocolate and wine, but I'd really rather I didn't get tempted with all of that. It's going to be hard enough as it is. And if I want to look the part on any bike I am riding, then what I really need from you, Santa, is a magical dose of willpower so that I can tackle 2007 with a new outlook - and far less time spent sitting on my backside writing and reading blogs!!

Tracey. Aged 44.

TAG! dear reader (if there's any more of you!) - You're it. Your turn.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


And I thought I was careless...

I'm pretty good at losing and misplacing things, I have to say. Take my swimming costume saga from last week for instance. Recently I also had to buy new sunglasses.. didn't have a clue where mine were.. they turned up about 6 weeks later at my hairdresser's house. (Yes, she could have rung me...)

My mum-in-law rang me the other morning to ask if we'd lost one of our tandems. Ha ha. Or perhaps we might want to buy one. (Yeah, why not, we already have 4!) She had heard this amusing item on the radio about the Railways Lost Property auction... and they had a tandem for sale.

I did a google, and found it... and a whole heap of other bikes as well. I ask you this.. how do you just accidentally leave your bike behind on a train?

(Just incidentally, I note that good spelling obviously isn't a prerequisite for auctioneering. )

Granted, also, that a lot of the items on the list (if you go to the link) are obviously Railway office or yard property that they are getting rid of. I can't think where a tandem bike would have been standard Railways issue though....


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Fried Ants

Might have had something to do with our circuit problem, don't you think...

This was an external power point.. under cover in the carport.. and it had been hidden, unused, behind a big board leaning against the wall above it. As soon as we'd cleared the 'runway', and moved the board, there was our answer. Black soot on the outside of the plate, and scorch marks on the back of the board. It was actually full of an ants nest.. (it all fell out as soon as Marc pulled it apart). Salt air, damp... and finally ... zappo.

So we're back and plugged in and cookin' with gas electricity.

(A bit cheaper than getting the electrician to sort it too... )

Labels: ,


All I want for Christmas...

.. is to manage to put it all into perspective.

So suggested my very smart husband this morning when I was doing the big angst about fitting in the visit to my family. (After my sister blabbed to my mother about some thoughts I'd had, even though I asked her not to... which has got me even more tense about it all than I was already.)

"At least you don't have to wrangle with Malaysian companies over a contract worth a couple of million dollars."


But I'm going to have a whinge all the same.

I am not that into Christmas.

There, I've said it. Sorry. I am not religious, so I feel a bit of a fraud, actually... Perhaps you can justify the whole materialism aspect of it if you can put it into the birth of Christ/wise men bearing gifts context.. I've never really understood where Santa fits into that... and basically my whole life I've just gone along for the ride, doing what you are supposed to do.. but without any deep feeling of specialness about it all. Trying to make up Santa sacks that the kids will go 'ooh ahh' about. Trying to summon enthusiasm for a tree that makes the living room smaller than it already is., and even harder to vacuum.

Bah humbug. Trying to do this by myself, because the Daddy here is not into it at all, and, given our division of labour (Him Breadwinner, me all the Other Stuff), then it is all down to me to make Christmas Christmassy. And I am just no good at it. (I blame it on my upbringing.)

Christmas has, to me, just come to represent stress. Stress about what presents to get everyone. And stress about having to have a ridiculously large and "special" meal, twice, with each side of the family. Somehow.

Every year we face the decision of which side of the family we'll spend Christmas day with... and how and if we also catch up with the other side of the family. Dependent on the distance factor.. given that we live a few hundred kilometres away from everyone.

Each year that we travel to family, we curse our insanity for leaving the beach (where we live) for the heat and humidity of Sydney and surrounds. Last year we stayed here, but ended up with family houseguests for a whole week.

Most years, though, we have travelled to them. And we will again this year, to spend Christmas with Marc's mum. Around 650 km from here to there.. 8 hours driving time. Each way. It will be a difficult one because his Dad passed away in August. We have rented a holiday house near her holiday house, and his younger sister will be up from Melbourne. At least it will be in the relative coolness of the Blue Mountains, a couple of hours west of Sydney... well.. it might be only a couple of degrees cooler than the usually sweltering Sydney at that time of the year. Or it could be misty and something like 13 degrees. Pack for all seasons.

We have to travel through Sydney to get there. We have friends who live between Sydney and our destination, and we haven't seen them for ages, and, as we saw all my family in Sydney a few weeks ago, I decided this time we wouldn't stop on our way through, and we'd stay a night with the friends. Which leaves the problem of when to catch up with my family.

I have just the one sister, so when we go to Sydney we usually do the family meal thing then, with our parents, sister, her husband and two kids. So there is nothing extra special about getting together at Christmas, except that it seems to be a prerequisite to provide, then attempt to consume, HEAPS of food. Usually a buffet style spread of cold meats and more salads than you need. Enough food for a week put out for one lunchtime meal. (And I'm trying to lose weight, for heaven's sakes.)

This year I tossed around the idea of meeting my family half way somewhere during the week we are in the Blue Mountains.. and to do something different (a picnic?) and then use our new tent, and camp our way home via the inland route.

I decided to trust my sister with my thoughts... but she has blabbed to our mother, who rang up last night to do the 'Oh' thing about it. "Oh, you're not stopping on your way though? Oh, I don't really want to do a picnic.. what if it's hot, or raining, and I wouldn't know where. Oh, you might not be coming home through Sydney." Etc etc etc. Thanks Sis. Given Marc and I hadn't had the chance to talk about it the last 3 weeks, but had started to think it was all 'too hard basket', I didn't need The Phone Call.

I suppose we will have to do the 'week late' family 'do' on our way back home. It's the easiest thing. Even if it's not the thing that would be most enjoyable for me.

I haven't done any shopping yet. I have spent the last few weeks in a kind of 'fingers in ears going 'lalalalalalala it's not really getting closer to christmas is it, I can't hear you' state. I have no clue at all this year what to get anybody.

We will have to cart the Santa presents there and back. Instant size-of-presents issue. (And if you have ever heard my husband grumble about packing the car, you'll understand why present shopping for that stresses me.. because on top of bringing back what we took there will be extra to come back from the presents they receive when they are down there - despite the fact that we will have taken some to give away. He has never gotten over the glitter that pervaded the car one year because of some glittery, girly present given by Grandma. Or the dolls house he had to squeeze into the car, somehow. ) Only the youngest still believes in Santa, so it must still be done for her sake. Despite the fact that it might be more sensible to buy them each a larger item that they really need, instead of a heap of stuff that has been bought simply because it is transportable.

I also have no clue what to get my nephews. If I ask my sister for ideas, she will organise me into what to get, and offer to buy it for me. Which I HATE.

The only thing I really get a kick out of doing at Christmas is maintaining the contact with friends made over the years that you don't always get a chance to keep up with. Since we got married our christmas card has always been handmade, and reflecting something about our family... It used to be stick figure drawings of what we were doing (paddling a canoe, or building a house ourselves)... now it's usually a photo of the girls to mark the season. (Because they are more photogenic than Marc and me.) I usually write up a 'year that was' spiel, because it gives me a chance to reflect on our lives over the past 12 months, and to look ahead to what we are hoping to achieve. I enjoy it when I receive the same in return, because I know that even though you can't catch up in person with everyone that has become a friend, or touched your life in some way over the years, it is nice to make an effort to make sure it happens. And I enjoy their updates or reflections.

I know that the same should apply to family at Christmas .. Not sure whether it's just me, or my whole family, that is too dysfunctional to make that a reality.

Labels: ,

Monday, December 04, 2006


The power and the passion

Naff post title.. but I think I'm a comedian. Apologies to Midnight Oil.

We still have electrical problems. But I have my dearly beloved back home, and being "with" him has been a greater drawcard than blogging over the weekend. Would you believe. Even if the 'with' involves, at some stage, sitting in close proximity on the lounge and watching the cricket with him. All together now.. "Awwww".

Well, there is more to it than wanting to hold his hand a bit, or rest my head on his shoulder and sigh, or finally get to bed - together - on Saturday night.

It's stuff like the novelty of a family meal - BBQ meals even. (He is OIC bbqs around here.. I don't try to cook them myself). It's the sitting down together, all five of us (and a bottle of wine).

It's being able to have a conversation that doesn't involve typing.

It's being able to watch Zoe skip around the stage in a ballet concert - and suffer through all the other items - together. (And we were not impressed with what the Grade 3 ballet class was 'showcasing' but that's another story... we'd rather watch them play netball! At least you get to see them for more than 2 minutes!)

I am so glad he is home.

The electrician, after 2 visits, replaced the circuit breaker in the meter box. And it 'went' for half a day, then tripped again. Marc spoke to him this morning, and got the distinct impression he wasn't really interested in solving the problem. Too much like hard work... sheesh. Looks like it is up to my Mr Fixit, who fortunately has the knowledge to 'play around' with power points (when the power is off.) We now have a mission to isolate each power point in turn, to discover where the 'breakdown' is. Fortunately there are only 7 points on this circuit.. and he did the laundry one before heading off to work. So far so good, 2 loads of washing.. and no circuit breaking. Next one in line is an outside one that requires some moving of junk from me.

And yes, you heard correctly.. he has gone to work. Three weeks away- for work - 11 hour days, and then usually dealing with emails etc back at the apartment ("I had one day off" he says) ... and he can't take today off. Pffft.. don't start me.

BUT. I am so glad he is home.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 01, 2006


Why do today what you can put off till ...

Vacuum the floor? Nah... I need to embed a temperature thingy in my blog. And then a clock. That's waaaay more important.

Marc's not back till tomorrow. HEAPS of time to run around trying to do the sort of cleaning up I should have been doing consistently over the past few weeks.

Besides, today I am waiting on the 'tree man' to come and cut up that branch that fell into the vacant block. (Ummm, relevance?)

I also had to ring an electrician. Last night around 8pm suddenly the computers and TV went PFFFT. We were a bit confused for a minute. The lights were still on, so it wasn't another blackout. I realised something had blown the fuse/shorted the circuit breaker.. whatever the technical term for it is. Hmmmm.

Fortunately we have 2 power circuits, and the "important" side of the house (ie. with fridge, kettle... and, upstairs, my alarm clock!!) was ok. (So theoretically, I can still vacuum.)

I unplugged the computers and tried to flick the circuit breaker. Nup. Pulled out the TV. Nup. Rang Marc in Malaysia to consult. I was doing the right thing. He said to keep turning things off on that circuit, till it worked. No luck, everything is off/unplugged on that circuit, but it won't go on again. But at least we weren't 'powerless', so I'd just have to ring an electrician in the morning.

And, of course, run an extension cord across the dining room and loungeroom so I could have my computer working again. Priorities! (And I could run another extension cord across my bedroom so I could iron the school uniforms. Hooray for extension cords.)

I picked an electrician out of the Yellow Pages.. Despite living up this side of town (which is why I picked him) of course he was working on the other side of town. He could come late this afternoon. After 5.00. No good, I have swimming. Ah.. you might swim with my stepdaughter, he says. Yep, I know her.. have swum with her before; she's good, she swims in a 'gun' class on another night. So, we're second best mates now. He even offered to come after 7.00 tonight (while he was visiting his son a few streets away..)... I suggested the morning, seeing we could get by with our extension cords, and that's fine. 7.30 tomorrow morning. There goes the sleep in! Probably just as well.

So I have till tomorrow morning to make the place presentable. Hah!!

I have the swimming lesson run for the girls straight after school. Bit frustrating. Zoe could get a lift with a friend today (we take it in turns).. but Alison accidentally broke Zoe's goggle straps when she used them on the weekend (she has lost her goggles... doh.. that's another story...).. so I need to go and buy new straps (and put them on) before she starts.

Also, the last time she got a lift with this friend, they didn't get to eat a snack in the car on the way from school to the pool. I got the impression that you wouldn't be allowed to eat in their car, whereas my priority is for my kid to have the fuel she needs to swim solidly for an hour... and you can't do that from 3.30 till 4.30 when the last thing you ate was at 1.15. (And I usually feed this other kid when it's my turn to take them.)

That's a priority that I think I have got right. So I would actually rather take Zoe so she can eat.

In terms of the house, though....

Thank you to my good friend E. in Canada, who, though she has never seen me, or the true state of my house, knows me all too well, and sends me fridge magnets like this in Christmas parcels.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?