Thursday, May 31, 2007


You've got to move it move it...

So it seems. Second month running... tennis day = that day = no crampiness as experienced in previous months!! Something to do with moving around instead of sitting at the computer sooking? Either that or Naprogesic rocks where Ponstan doesn't. And/or the evening primrose oil actually does something (no lead up PMS this time either... which makes a pleasant change!) Whatever the equation, we have one happier girl than usual for this time of the month.

Notes to self:

So don't make excuses for not doing the special 7am community ride tomorrow morning, because it's obviously of benefit to keep moving, despite the inconvenience factor that men will just never really get... (He works hard at being sympathetic.. but he'll never know what it's like.. really...)

Keep taking the evening primrose oil capsules, even if you feel like you're going to start rattling soon.

Naprogesic. Don't leave home without it.

Yesterday?! I wasn't here. (You noticed didn't you?! You even missed me, right?). I trashed myself, basically. I made myself tired!! But in a good way. I think. Let's see... I left home at 9.15 to ride to the netball courts to help with a schools netball gala day... then I made excuses to leave there early, and rode down the highway.. (chalked up 18km by then...) ... met up with a new cycling/training buddy and we rode pretty hard (for me anyway) 23km around the estate she lives in, in and out of all the cul-de-sacs. AND then did our weights/training session. And then I rode home. 52.27km total. And I felt totally trashed. Sat here writing to Marc on Skype over and over again "I'm rooted." (And then I had to do a netball taxi run into town...)

So my post-ride trashedness? It wasn't just the physical effort. I am so not planning on riding that stretch of highway again. A 2-foot wide shoulder between a B-Double doing 100kph and a barricade is just too effing-freak-me-out-effing-scary for me. It doesn't bother me quite as much on the tandem because we are a) going faster, and b) Marc has the ability to look around constantly keeping an eye on the traffic, and somehow times our run through the narrower bits. While I tend to steer the bike all over the place if I look behind me, and hence risk running myself accidentally into the path of said trucks or cars barrelling up behind me at 100kph.

So picture me swearing very VERY hard as this freaking long truck barrels past at what seems like inches away... and then fighting the urge to cry, because oh my god, that was just too freaking close for comfort. This happened twice before I got past the bad section and onto a wider shoulder. I then turned off the highway, and I think I might have been trembling a bit, maybe. With relief. Because I survived. I slowed down to take a drink, and I must have been still shaking, because I missed the bottle cage as I went to put the bike bottle back. Doh! One bike bottle to retrieve from the middle of the road. And then I swallowed a bug. Hmmm, yum. Not.

Ah well, but I am sure it must be doing me good, somehow. And this feeling of virtuosity from the total kilometres ridden (plus the Cycling Coach/Partner being "proud" of me for it) is ok as well.

And so I've backed up today with four sets of tennis, and somehow it all seems to have affected my brain, because I just stood vacantly in the supermarket just now trying to think of something 'easy' for dinner... and I finally came away with stuff to make a pumpkin, bacon and leek quiche or frittata or something, and as I got home I thought "That's not effing easy... I've got to chop stuff up! (The Guilt Factor stopped me from buying frozen pies for a second week in a row.)

And so I plan to have the kidlets' uniforms etc organised tonight so that they get themselves off to school... and we leave here at the relatively sane hour of 6.15 am (which sounds so much more civilised than 5.45am) to drive into town to do this bike ride. I'm sure the extra half hour in bed will make me feel so much better about it at the time.

And then of course, we will possibly follow it up with the usual Saturday morning ride.

Yep. I think we are both quite possibly insane, and also, quite possibly, at nearly 6pm, it would be an idea to do something about this supposedly easy dinner....

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Like the circles that you find

... In the windmills of your mind

I nearly got taken out by some wally on a double lane roundabout the other week. I don't mind normal roundabouts.. they definitely have their uses in streamlining the traffic flow. But I really do reckon that double lane ones are a recipe for disaster. I was in the inside lane - heading straight ahead through the roundabout. This Fool in the outside lane (and with trailer), decides to turn right. In front of me. Arrrgh! *Brake hard*... *swear, curse and roll eyes....*

There's no particular reason why I'm using roundabouts as a theme today, except that when I was looking through My Pictures for inspiration, I came across these old pics I received a few years ago in one of those email fwd thingies. An analogy struck me. Far-fetched, I know, but it looks like my brain feels with approaching all the Stuff I should be doing, and particularly attacking the clean up of this house. If I came across this roundabout, I've no doubt I'd be just about paralysed with indecision... (thankfully it's in England somewhere so I'm not likely to experience it in the near future!) Unfortunately (as I continue with the analogy.. go with me on this one, at least just to humour me...) I tend to be paralysed with indecision when it comes to how to approach, and negotiate the mess that is my house... and the other bits and pieces of my life that I should be sorting out.

Those smaller circles bring to mind eddies in a river... (*and off she goes on another tangent and another whacko analogy*)... where you might get stuck going round and round, struggling to make it back into the main flow. (I have an very clear memory of doing just that in a raft once - it was both hilarious and slightly freak-outish at the same time!)

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning wheel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Yup. That's my brain today. It's midday, and I haven't done anything bar start to hang out washing. It then started to rain. So I took it off again, along with the mostly dry washing I'd accidentally left out yesterday. (Oops. It probably smells of smoke from the woodfires of the wretched people around here who put the fire on to keep warm before they put a jumper on over a t-shirt... but don't start me on that particular rant right now!) And then the sun came out, while it was still raining, but now it's overcast again.

And so, with another load of washing finished as well, now I have two baskets of wet washing. It can't decide whether to rain or not, so I can't decide whether to try to hang it all out and hope. I also can't decide whether to risk the weather and just walk again. (If I do I should take my sunglasses just in case..seeing I made the sun come out yesterday.)

Or maybe I should actually do something useful and domestic, like vacuuming.

I did impress with my sorting of the washing yesterday. You can see our bedroom floor again now! AND I ironed stuff, including Marc's work shirt and the girls' school uniforms, so I didn't have to do it this morning! Woo hoo, big deal, you say. Indeed. But this, folks, for me, sadly enough, is progress.

Yes, perhaps today it is time to reacquaint myself with the vacuum cleaner, however, I guarantee I will end up frustrated because everybody in this damned house leaves STUFF lying around everywhere.... and so I will have to stop and move it, and I will feel like I am stuck within a roundabout in one of those 'eddies', struggling to get to where I am trying to go.

(Actually, right now, I'm pulled up at the sign, thinking, wtf?!! what do I do?.. how do I get through this?)

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Monday, May 28, 2007


If I get the blog post out of the way...

.. I can then focus mine energies on attacking the house. That's the plan anyway, although I will probably arrive back here moaning and wringing my hands and complaining that I don't know where to start on this diabolical mess.

I wonder if I have a problem.

Wonder?! I know I have a problem with this computer addiction thing. Once it was a bulletin board. Now it's blogs and blogging. Probably if it wasn't that it'd be something else.. but ... seriously... the amount of time I spend on here is really over the top. And the house has never been so bad.

So I need to approach today with some discipline. A good starting point for how I mean to continue. Sounds like a plan doesn't it?

I have also checked the tide times, and late morning will be an ideal time to walk up the beach. I haven't done any of my walking for a while. I think it's time to get that back on the agenda, at least one day a week. I'm doing fair bit of exercise I know. Relatively speaking. But it's not every day - and those couple of Days of Sloth per week are not helping me work off what I put in my mouth! And as I am loathe to give up everything yummy and 'medicinal' (read: glass of wine or two), then I have no choice but to *up* the kilojoule burning activity - on a daily basis. (While the weights class helps tone, it doesn't really burn calories... even if it gets the endorphins dancing a bit). I am also a bad, bad girl because I just somehow don't seem to get around to doing my 'homework'.. push ups, abs... even lunges... I could double my improvement rate if I just disciplined myself a little bit more.

Maybe just after one more coffee....?!

Ed: 5 mins later: It's raining! So much for the walking. No.. I don't feel like getting wet when it's "only" 18 degrees. Guess I'll have to work up a sweat with the cleaning. Though as I type the sun is shining through. Think it's going to be one of those sort of days!

Well, that's one way to make the weather clear up. After a few showers of rain decide you should take the risk on the weather; stride purposefully out of the house wearing tracksuit pants and a bike rainjacket, which you have to remove and tie round your waist within 100m of home. No sunglasses, no hat. It's guaranteed to turn sunny and warm enough that you wished you'd gone in shorts and a sleeveless top AND of course the sunnies.

At least I walked, even if I'm drawn back to the computer like a moth to a flame. I've sorted clothes, cleaned the iron plate, and ironed a few teatowels. And that's about it. Not much in the way of achievement is it... I suppose I have another hour till the kids get home and the taxi run starts.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007


Eighteen Fourteen.

It's our 18 year wedding anniversary today. And it was eldest daughter's 14th birthday yesterday. Both numbers, when I ponder upon them, are making me feel just slightly old - though I know there are many of a similar age who have a few years on us on both counts! I was 26 and he was 24 when we married. Funny how I was starting to notice my age by then (*tick tick tick* went the body clock) and yet it has often been remarked that 24 was quite young for him to marry. "What were you thinking?!" was one comment to him at a school reunion.

I look back on our wedding photos, and the ones of us with the firstborn, and, wow... didn't we look young back then?! Funny that. However! It's of no use to dwell on the aging process (or the effect of children upon our lives).... I daresay we would have aged anyway!

It's a bit hard to forget our anniversary, when it's the day after Madam's birthday, but when I rolled over in bed this morning and said "hmmm... Happy Anniversary", he said... "Ooh! I forgot!" Given he'd barely opened his eyes, I'll let him off that one.

"So did you get me a present?" he joshed.

"You just got a new bike!" I grinned. I did too, so we are square. We are like that with birthdays, christmas and anniversaries and everything. And we've continued to use the anniversary excuse today by ordering a pile of 'cool weather' cycling gear online. Lucky we had an anniversary, right now, otherwise we'd be cold riding our bikes through winter!! We have ordered some matching shirts. (As you do when you ride a tandem.) All together now... "Awwww."

We are having a quiet day. A sleep in - ahhh! Appreciated after our 5 am start yesterday to go bike riding. (48km on the tandem.) He is tinkering with bikes - actually, fixing up my old mountain bike so that the older girls have a viable bike to ride around, now that they have grown out of their kid bikes. They are not keen enough on solo riding at this stage to warrant new bikes, although if they were, we would no doubt add to the growing collection in the shed.

The Birthday Girl is in town with three friends, seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 3 as her birthday treat - a treat she only just won back after "losing it" on Friday night due to Attitude. At the moment I feel like this Parenting of a Teenager gig is much like breaking in a wild horse - with this one being a very frisky, wilful one indeed. I'm sure she is going to do our heads in more than the other two put together. She lost her party last year.. due to Attitude... and I was reluctant to be so horrible a mother to do it two years running. She is now on what you might call 'double (not-so) secret probation'... or 'zero tolerance'.. 'no strikes and you're out' - you get the picture - in regard to the way she speaks to us when we have issues with her behaviour. In the scheme of things she is probably not so bad, but if we let it run in the direction she's taking it.. well... don't like to think where it will all end up.

So, with a 'fresh start', we hope, I gave her something she's been SOOOO wanting - a mobile phone. Cheapest pre-paid model I could get... I must admit it's a bit of a present for me as well, because, as other parents will attest, it is your lifeline, your contact, at that stage in their lives where you have to let them out independently. I wonder how our parents coped in pre-mobile phone days. How much harder would it have been to let us loose with a bunch of girlfriends...?

If nothing else, confiscation of the phone will be an excellent threat hanging over her pretty head.

So, now that I've frittered away my day somehow (four loads of washing on the line).. I now have to drive back into town to pick them up. Last night Middle Child went on that sleepover I wasn't keen about .. and has disappeared this afternoon to a friend's place. As she apparently didn't get to sleep before 1am, I am anticipating some sort of fallout this evening, at which point I will be able to say "I told you so" about the whole sleepover thing.

I've also just remembered that I need to do a nit check on youngest's head tonight... arrrgh.

At any rate, for many reasons, a glass of wine will be in order tonight!

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Friday, May 25, 2007


Not going to set the world on fire today.

This is just bloody annoying. Niggly, niggly things... like the fact that my neck is sore when I turn to the right. It was like that the other night, but after a night's sleep it was ok. This time it worked the other way.. it was ok last night, but then it was hassling me during the night. I don't know if it's muscular, or glands, or what.

And my knees! Suddenly I have knee problems. I've never had knee problems! But this week, every day a different knee is playing up - on and off. Yes, I only have two, but they are taking it in turns to share the love. Last couple of nights one or the other has suddenly decided to start hurting around dinner time - yep, just like a recalcitrant toddler who didn't have her daytime nap. Last few days, ok by morning. Weights on Wednesday: no problem. Tennis yesterday: no problem. Last night, stood up from the computer around 8.30, and whammo, left knee twingeing, right knee really hurting. Finally limped up to bed thinking 'enough already, I'll take you to bed so you can rest and be ok in the morning'. Today however my right knee is still very 'iffy' which is most inconvenient.

Just a couple of annoyances like this are quite enough to tip me into grumble mode - because it doesn't take much for me to wilt. I had grand plans to ride my bike up today to watch the two younger girls run in the District Cross Country. At this stage I'm not sure if I'll even manage my swimming class at 5.30. (Not liking the idea of turning to breathe on the right.. and I don't think the warm up with the fins is going to be really pleasant. I also certainly don't feel like running a vacuum cleaner around the house - and yes, it still needs doing.. or needs doing again.. whatever.. it's never done.

My very attentive (not) husband: So will you be able to ride in the morning?"

Me: I don't f***ing know do I? I hope so.

We are planning on riding the tandem again in the community ride tomorrow morning. There's going to be a photographer on the route to take photos for promotional purposes and we're so vain we'd like to promote riding tandems! (And maybe even manage to get hold of a photo of us riding our tandem because we have none so far.)

Fortunately I already have dinner covered tonight - container of frozen spag bol leftovers is already out defrosting. Last night (as I usually manage to do) I did solve the meal dilemma. Go me! I picked up a 1.2 kg piece of roasting beef (which was on special), slathered it with sundried tomato pesto and chucked it in the oven. Chopped some white (purple?) and orange kumara/sweet potato and potato, sprayed with oil, and chucked that in the oven too. Voila. Baked dinner. Some green beans on the side. Just like that. Don't know what I'm whingeing about. I enjoyed it, even if noone else commented! Who needs to plan ahead?

On top of the neck and the knee, I have this humungous zit on my face, between my eyebrows (but more to the right). That annoying pimple pressure. Yes. (And I have squeezed it a few times, ewwww, which I know I should not, but one can't help but try to get rid of that ghastly white head..) Very attractive. Not. I'll be keeping my sunglasses on up at the cross country.

I might also pay a visit to the chemist to stock up on drugs like Voltaren. (I've just taken some painkillers and they are kicking in with the neck at any rate.) And I might even go the glucosamine route as well. What the hell. Friend with dodgy knees swears by it, reckons it has made a heap of difference for her. What with the evening primrose oil that I'm supposedly taking each day, and then that, I'll feel like I'm rattling. While I tackle a certain amount of scepticism of the efficacy or benefit of either.

So, anyway, I'll ditch the bike riding idea, and just get through today, perhaps with a flying trip into town after the cross country to pick up a couple more things for Eldest's birthday.. even though I had already decided to go with the suggestion made by another experienced mum who has been there done that with teenagers (shhhh, daughter might read this! - fill you in tomorrow.)

I'll work on 'setting the world on fire' tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007


What's for dinner?

Nearly 3pm and I don't have a clue yet. I am dropping a daughter at netball training at 4.15, so we will duck into the local supermarket, and I'll find something then. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute.

It's becoming a bit of a worry - this slackness of attitude in the kitchen department. (See, I can berate myself as well as my offspring!) Once upon a time I was pretty enthusiastic about coming up with a variety of decent meals for the family, and I even had a vague plan for the week of what meals we would have each night. Even stocked up meat in the freezer with a vague notion of what meals it was intended for. I've never been anything out of the box as a cook, but I can follow a recipe, and I'm quite capable of serving a fairly balanced meal. At one time I didn't mind doing so, although I do recall way back - after nearly 4 years of marriage (I was pregnant with #1), actually saying to my Mum "Thank you Mum for all those years of you cooking dinner every night. I never appreciated it when I was growing up, but I do now."

I'm not quite sure when 'the wheels fell off', but it's safe to say that I'm finding it all a real drag these days. I'm not sure if it's the annoyance factor (that I feel) of Marc rarely being home from work in time to eat with us. Two nights a week he is definitely late because he plays Touch.. the other three... who knows. (It's not that he ever complains about having to reheat stuff - It just annoys me.) And then there are the likes and dislikes spread across three children - not that they are particularly fussy. I've seen many who are much worse, and they are usually expected to eat what they are given. The one big pain is fish, because the eldest absolutely flatly refuses to eat it. With Marc not being fussed on 'tinned fish', it rules out a few easy tuna or salmon dishes.

Maybe it's that most afternoons I'm doing some sort of taxi run, so I don't have the luxury of a couple of hours preparation time leading up to it. I don't know how people who work manage to do it! And here is me who quite frequently has several hours up her sleeve during the day.. I am sure you can't imagine what the issue is. But I'm not into cutting up veggies for dinner early in the day, and it's also a bit hard to do that if you don't know what you're having yet!

I do like variety in meals, but I seem to get stuck on the same few things over and over again. (And always chicken, too much chicken!) I try to prepare relatively healthy meals, but I all too frequently get a complete slack-attack, and do what I did last night: I bought frozen pies to heat up. (It was that or no maths!) And you know what? The kids went "yummmm... I love pies". Hardly an incentive to go creating some other masterpiece, is it?

I don't grill meat at home anymore - not when it tastes so bloody good on the BBQ - so I leave that for weekend meals, which I guess limits my weeknight choices. If I do a random survey of what other people are cooking for dinner, just to give me ideas, I usually find that it isn't something the kids would be keen on, or me for that matter!!

A slow cooker is starting to look like a good idea, but I have two problems with that. Cupboard space (and a lack of energy to do a kitchen cupboard clean-out), and the fact that you actually DO have to know what you're having more than an hour in advance!

So, this week, so far - it has been... Monday night - chicken schnitzel (lazy, chicken shop prepared type, but I bake it, so no frying.), with pasta, corn, broccoli and carrot. Tuesday night - Zucchini slice - done in muffin tins, new potatoes, pre-boiled and then squashed flat on a tray, sprayed with oil, and baked till crisp, and salad. Last night, pies, peas and new potatoes.
Tomorrow night will have to be spag bol, as an easy meal to have when I get home from swimming at 7pm.

OK, here's an invitation. What's your favourite EASY midweek meal? Hit me with a recipe... (but let me know if it's in North American measurements so I can convert somehow, and bear in mind that there seems to be some common meal favourites over there that we don't really have here - which I won't know till I see, so please don't be offended if I ask 'what's that?!!)

The kids (and me) aren't into really spicy stuff - and I'm not really into cooking Asian cuisine (like Thai) apart from basic stirfries. Some stuff I'm just happy to save to enjoy in a restaurant!!!

And I'm not into stuff that uses a vast array of cooking utensils, pots and pans etc, to prepare. If there's one thing I'm more fed up with than cooking right now, it's washing up!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007



So I have spent some of my morning straining MY brain cells on Year 9 maths.. and surds in particular. (I let Limpy have another day off with her hip, because she had PE Prac and Sport today. No point going just so she can sit and watch. She may as well be doing this bloody maths!)

I've learnt at least that I still have the determination to figure Maths out, even when I get it wrong in the first place. And it's usually a "Duh" thing. Go back to the chapter and you'll find it in there somewhere.

Ms 14 Minus 3 days has not that determination. She just gets stroppy, and tries to say that it is all irrational (which is what surds are!) Which kind of figures. She can be a bit like that with things in general. Irrational. Absurd even! (Yes, yes, she's a teenager.) Mind you, I am hard pressed to come up with some possible use for surds later in life, particularly when she has no intention of taking up any career involving Mathematics. Or so she thinks. Do you think telling her that it is just good for her to work her brain will work? Hmmm.. didn't think so.

So, no, I am not enjoying this Week of Maths. (And it will have to be an ongoing thing even after she 'catches up'.) Marc comes home from work, then has to pin her down, and be there to talk her through the 'duh' bits. And the 'blonde' moments. It does make me wonder how you'd teach a class full of kids ranging in ability, and speed at which they grasp mathematical concepts and procedures. He was unimpressed at how little she did yesterday during the day.

By the time she's been sent to bed, neither he nor I are much in the mood for relaxing and catching up. It's an issue I am finding even without the maths tutoring. As the kids get older they stay up later and later, and I find we are losing "our time". Perhaps others aren't so selfish about it - I know many people who think nothing of going to bed the same time as the kids - or before their partner. But I like my evening 'just us two' time. I suppose this is just another phase to get through - till we are empty nesters and rattling around the house driving each other nuts!

We will have a taste of that in the school holidays in July. We are leaving the kids at their grandparents in Sydney for a few days (after the State Age netball).. coming back home for the rest of the week, because Marc has to work, then going back down 2/3 of the way to Sydney to meet up with the kids at Marc's mum's, and to spend a couple of days with her.

I wonder how I will feel about having no kids to complain about for 3 days?!!!!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


You're not going to blog me are you?

Ah, but yes. But it's not all bad.

Eldest had a heavy fall at rep netball training last night. Right on her hip. It was quite a *thud* apparently - the coach even rang me when she got home because she was a bit concerned. At the very least she'll be sporting an impressive bruise before long... but I guess we have to wait to see whether she's done any worse damage. I figured she'd be pretty sore today, and indeed she woke up finding it hard to walk properly. So she's getting a day off school. The trade-off is that she has to do a lot of maths!

This has caused a slight problem, in that I had planned to go to the shops today to do birthday present shopping for her - she is turning 14 on Saturday. Yet while I have no problem with leaving her at home, I am not sure that I can trust her to keep to the maths. Marc has been supervising and tutoring her most evenings, occasionally glaring and muttering at me that I could be helping too, you know! (I tend to support the division of labour method according to ability and skill, and he is far better equipped to tutor maths.) I am pretty sure when I get home she'll be "having a break" in front of the TV.

All this maths business puts us in a bit of an ironic situation. Here we are telling her that she should pull her finger out with the maths, because it's important - 'too important' a subject to throw away (well, particularly if you really do have the brains but are just too lazy to use them.)

Then she has me as the role model of someone who did the maths (albeit without the angst) but can't remember most of it. If I'm to help her, I will have to re-teach myself Year 9 maths, which is not something I particularly feel like doing right now, not this week anyway. Been there done that, got the certificate - and didn't follow through with the maths. (Mind you I can still do some of the basic stuff that she has some rather scary brain fades over.) But if I have managed to get through my adult life so far not needing to know how to do 'all that shit', it's pretty hard to impress on her the usefulness of algebra, geometry, indices and surds ... (Surds? I don't even recall the term, although once explained I can nod and say 'oh, right... those!')

Then again, much of school, and even uni, when it comes down to it, is a means to an end.. and getting the bit of paper at the end of it. Which could be the topic of a whole new post where I bemoan the uselessness of my degree. (BA stands for 'Bugger All') I used the phrase 'means to an end' talking to her about it the other day, and she didn't really get what I meant.

So, meantime, and despite getting a Maths half-yearly test for her birthday, it's "celebration" time on the weekend, and today is really the only day I have left this week to shop for her. Which is a bit difficult...I'm not quite sure what to get her; I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure about type, and how much to spend, etc. I actually said to her the other day 'Why is it that this year, again, leading up to your birthday, your attitude and general behaviour hasn't contributed to making me feel all warm and fuzzy about putting myself out for your birthday?" (Last year she actually lost her birthday party through some misdemeanour or other!) Seriously.. she seems to have gone to town on the Attitude again just recently. Or maybe I am just noticing it more because I have to reconcile being a loving mummy at birthday time with stuff that she says and does that really shits me!

She had at least the grace to say 'I don't know', rather than give me more Attitude. And she did ask "You're not going to blog me are you?".

I rather think that that threat could be quite a powerful one to use, oh, for the next few years at least! Although I think she's smart enough to realise that, good or bad, I'll do it anyway! You'd think if you were her, she'd make sure I only had good and wonderful things to blog about her!

Back to the Maths. And birthday presents. And birthday.. celebrations....

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Monday, May 21, 2007


The case of the missing sidebar..

Jeanie just discovered, after checking out my blog on another computer, that my sidebar doesn't appear on her computer, using IE or Firefox. Not that I'd have a clue what to do to fix it, but anyone else (of my very vast readership... *snorts* ) have that problem? (Could be the catalyst for migrating to wordpress perhaps?)

I understand a certain amount of HTML, and I have perused various templates, and obviously twiddled with mine, but I don't have a clue what a lot of it means!!! Where the hell do you learn this stuff?

One for my fellow 'strugglers'

I read something last week that made me feel just a bit better about not being naturally slim, and it is further impetus to keep on at doing what I'm doing. Of course I always knew that exercise was beneficial in other ways.. healthy heart and all that... but if what they are finding in this research is true, I can finally let go my extreme enviousness of people who are slim and don't 'work' at it. And know that even when it hurts, this exercise I'm doing really IS doing me good, in more ways than I originally thought!

Is skinny the new fat?

"When it comes to being fit, experts say there is no short-cut. "If you just want to look thin, then maybe dieting is enough," Bell said. "But if you want to actually be healthy, then exercise has to be an important component of your lifestyle."

So just for the record.. today I rode my bike (new road bike) - and chalked up 20km.. which included one decent hill, and a few other smaller ones. Not a lot,(relatively speaking) but I combined it with a couple of errands, dropping off and picking up things from people, so it also felt good to have used the bike rather than the car. One hour riding time. All good. So I'm also giving myself a tick for being environmentally friendly!

As an added bonus I have probably managed to embarrass my kids, because I rode past the school at lunchtime and heard a "Hey! That's Zoe's mum!!!!" from the fenceline. What a wonderful role model I am. Heh.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007


There are voices in my head

I am just slightly sleep deprived, my own fault of course. It isn't very sensible to get up at 5 am, go to bed at midnight, and then get up again at 6 am. (Had to drive kids in to netball carnival for 7am! photos.) I was about to say 'for someone who needs their beauty sleep', but it would be more apt to say 'for someone who really needs her brain sleep!!' (I gave up on the idea of beauty a long time ago!) Feeling just slightly 'gah-gah' tonight.

I am still trying to reconcile the 'I'm not a morning person' self with this one who is getting up before dawn to go bike riding. There was a very interesting conversation going on in between the voices in my head - for a good hour and a half yesterday morning - in fact, incessantly from 5 am till 6.30 am when we started riding. "You realise you could have stayed in bed till 8.00! That would be three hours more sleep!! How good would that be?... Yes, but you like the riding once you're there.... But you feel like shit later in the day!... Yes, but how much better do you feel for having got yourself some exercise... 30 something km!... you know you like how it makes you feel... yes, I know... and the social coffee afterwards.. that's good.... But THREE hours more sleep!... Wouldn't you like to have nearly 50% more sleep?!... Are you crazy?"

Nah.. I am proud of myself for these mini-achievements in overcoming a lifelong habit of morning sloth. At least once a week. Really, I am loving this bike riding. Once I'm there! And I love being a part of the community riding thing... (See! You're not a social outcast really.. you just need to find like-minded people..! ) It is certainly easier to exercise, in any way, in a group.

Hey, and there's something to be said for hydrotherapy. Swimming on Friday night was a bit tough on the creaky old quads, but I felt SO much better after my squad class, even if I didn't set the world on fire with my actual swimming. My legs were ok for riding the next morning.. I rode the bike better this week; riding in the pack (the peloton if you wish, albeit in a non-racing, small group situation) for the ride 'out'. I 'fell off' the back (again) on the way back - all the fault of bad timing with having to prop for traffic, and a bit of cautiousness on the bike path round a headland. That's ok. All practice. I am improving. And I chalked up another 33km on my new bike. And an hour and a half of exercise I wouldn't have done this weekend if I hadn't got up at 5am.

Since then I've spent several hours, in total, serving on netball canteens - both days - which, on top of the sleep thing is contributing to feeling pretty well stuffed. As I've said before, I would much prefer the feeling of 'stuffedness' from several hours riding to several hours standing at a counter, selling cans of drink, pies and sausage rolls, and endless cups of tea and coffee. It is just 'what you do' when the kids get involved in this level of sport, I guess. A certain level of 'duty' - and a certain level of standing around watching. We certainly wouldn't be doing it if the kids didn't love what they were doing. Even if those voices in my head today were having a lively discussion about what I'd much prefer to be doing with my Sunday!

So. Pizza for dinner... !! No energy left between either Marc or I to cook. A very mutual decision made there as we were leaving the netball courts - he did about 2 hours of BBQ duty, so wasn't particularly interested in lighting up ours tonight. Just hope he feels like driving to pick up the pizza. I should think about ordering it now, so that we can all eat, and then all get to bed to catch up on our beauty brain sleep. You would think our netballers would be tired, but you'd be surprised at how much nagging we will have to do to get them to go to bed - a combination of general fitness, the 'second wind' factor, and 'night owl' genes. No early risers in this house (yes, we had it good when they were little - no pre-dawn risers/waker-upperers). But we are paying for it now - eldest in particular is a sod to wake up in the morning - and I'm anticipating a sluggish one from all tomorrow! Including me.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007


I could never run very fast.

This is the first time I've been actually tagged for one of those bloggy meme type things. Trudi's fault. Damn. I'm usually pretty good at avoiding all that sort of stuff, being the rebellious type that I am when it comes to conforming with expected social situations. *sighs*... However, so as not to be rude, I will try.. though heaven knows they aren't questions I find very easy to answer.
Don't expect me to conform. I don't tend to talk in superlatives or absolutes. I'm an 'it depends' kind of girl. ie. if I am asked 'what's your favourite colour?', I will respond with 'what, to wear, or paint my wall?'

(I also don't like rating things. Just ask my husband (who, being a technician, is moreso inclined) - when I was in labour with baby #1 he was diligently recording the time between contractions, and then asking me to rate the contractions for intensity. I soon got very irate - I mean, how the bloody hell did I know what a 10 might be likely to be if I'd never experienced full-on labour before. Nor did I really care to concentrate and make a decision.- Needless to say he never attempted to ask me to do that on the subsequent labours!)

So, anyhoo, I am supposed to write about: 1. Four of my favourite jobs. 2. Four of my favourite local places. 3. Four of my favourite foods. 4. Four of my favourite international places, and name four people I am tagging. What's with the number 4 anyway? Someone's favourite number, obviously.

Jobs: Probably just easier to name four jobs I have done - don't think I could call any job I had 'favourite'.

OK. ... Um.. Well, I suppose vacation camp instructor was the best casual work I have ever done. Throughout my tertiary education I worked on the NSW (state govt) Sport & Rec camps. I have my involvement in them (specifically the training camp weekends) to thank for meeting my husband.

The job I have worked in the longest was with Red Cross in their youth department. It was pretty pathetic work really.... it wasn't doing anything very deep and meaningful, though for some reason part of my job description was doing a Migrant Youth Orientation programme in conjunction with an Intensive Language Centre near the city. It was a recreation programme, designed to take the Yr 11 students out of the classroom, and to teach them how to get out and about Sydney, and teaching them fun things to do so under their own steam. I had some fun with the students, doing everything from going iceskating, walking across the Harbour Bridge, to going on a couple of camps with them. I learnt a lot about the reasons families might migrate to Australia - of the issues the kids have learning to live in a new country.. and the reasons why some needed to escape from their countries. I remember going to see The Killing Fields with a group, including a couple of Cambodian kids. I came out shellshocked, and they told me that the movie barely scratched the surface.

In between a few 'youth development' jobs, I worked as a doctor's surgery receptionist, a receptionist in a radio station (which was diabolical; I left after 5 weeks)... and selling wall and floor tiles. Of those three, I'd nominate the tile shop as 'favourite', partly because in the other two, women on power trips made my life a misery, but also because my time there coincided with us owner building our house, and I got tiles and adhesives at cost!! Very handy.

I am still waiting on my next 'favourite' job. One day something will *click* and I will come across something that is right for me.

Local Places: Four?... sheesh.. Define "local".

Hmmm, well the beach is a given. Only a few hundred metres away, hardly any people, no tourists.

As for another three? Nothing particularly special in our local area comes to mind, not somewhere I make a point of going to because it is 'favourite'. OK.. let's try.

At the moment, I suppose the meeting point in the city centre for the Community Ride is a favourite - it must be because I drag my sorry backside out of bed at 5am to be there to start riding at 6.30am with a diverse bunch of other cyclists. I do it for the coffee and the chat in the open air cafe 90 minutes later!

There is one part of the usual ride route we take where you ride on a new bike path around a headland that overlooks the harbour. You emerge from the trees out into bright morning sunshine, and it feels pretty good to live and be able to ride locally somewhere like this.

I suppose I might have to sort of copy Trudi and include a swimming pool. "Mine" is the small private swimming centre where the kids have been having lessons for the past 8 or 9 years. I started doing my adult fitness squads there about four years ago in the 2 lane, 25m heated pool 'out the back', and seeing I am still going, I must like it! It has helped my aerobic fitness heaps. Plus it has been a bit of a social place, where I have met a lot of other parents from around the area.

Food: Chocolate. Chocolate... and...
No.. only kidding..

Just about anything my husband cooks on the BBQ - partly because he is good at it, and partly because it is one less part of the meal I have to cook.

Salad the way we like it in our family... Tossed (I mean, really tossed.. not like many Australians have it), with the lettuce leaves torn into bite size pieces. With dressing. Iceberg lettuce is what the kids prefer, and I am happy with that. Tomatoes are the only other definite ingredient, and I might add anything else from celery, capsicum, avocado (love it with avocado), rocket, and strips of carrot.


My spaghetti bol. Sorry, most others don't measure up to the way I have come to make it over the years!

International Places: Are you kidding? Well I haven't travelled overseas much, except for a year in Indonesia as an exchange student when I was 17/18, and a motorhome holiday to New Zealand. (Hmm, and a week in KL while Marc was working there.) Nothing favourite about Indo or Malaysia. Lots I loved about NZ. I would like to go there again and do some walks - or tramping as they call it there. Around the volcanoes on the North Island. I'd love to do a longer glacier walk. And one of the South Island walks, like the Milford Track.
I would like to go to Hawaii - to the Big Island - to see some American friends I met when I was living in Indonesia. I'd like to go to Canada to meet E... and check out Canada.
I'd like to see Antarctica. I'd like to go to any country on a tandem tour.

Tag 4 others: Don't do that. Feel free.


Friday, May 18, 2007


Every little bit hurts

Just having a moan. Because I have a forum in which to do so. Nobody around here is going to listen to me. Marc just rolls his eyes in bemusement. The girls are hardly going to be interested. So I will pretend 'you' are.

My legs! My back! They say 'no pain no gain', but this is crazy. I must have trashed myself at the trainer on Wednesday (Damn those bloody lunges!) even if she thinks I could be pushing myself more... "You should see your face!.. oh the seriousness of it!!!" (For crying out loud, if it looked like I was enjoying myself, she'd increase the weight, or the difficulty factor! - and guess what! You can't change 44 years of drab muscle tone in a few weeks! And *cue the quivering bottom lip*.. it's actually hard! It hurts!)

Maybe I consolidated the effects at tennis yesterday, but it was hardly what you would call a strenuous workout, winning three sets easily and losing one just as easily, and basically playing at a pretty low standard when all is said and done. Plus I refuse to do any spectacular lunges for the ball. We are not playing for sheep stations, and 'Paranoia' is my middle name when it comes to the chance of doing my back in again.

My thighs -specifically my quads - are rubbish! Marc thinks I should be going for a bike ride today. I am thinking a walk around the supermarket will be an achievement, and that is only if I don't have to stoop to get anything off a bottom shelf. My lower back has, today, decided to remind me that it exists. And can hurt. "Hey, remember me? I used to give you a bit of pain, but I've been a bit quiet lately, and you've become... how shall we say... complacent. Just a bit too optimisitic in fact. This is to let you know I'm still around, and still fragile. Hah! Thank you for your time."

Ironically, the cautionary back-saving wisdom - 'bend at the knees' - is not particularly effective at this point in time. Walking up stairs hurts! Squatting to pick something up hurts! Oh my legs!

Reckon I'm getting stuck into the housework today? Not likely.

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Oops I did it again

It's becoming a bit of a specialty of mine. Part way into cooking dinner I realise that I don't have a particular ingredient. Sometimes it's kind of major - like spaghetti when I'm making spaghetti bol. Last night it was merely the chutney for the curried sausages. I am trying to think of other examples. There are many - like starting to prepare tacos, and I find I have no taco sauce. Or a salad and I'm out of lettuce. Sometimes I discover early enough to make a mercy dash the 400m to the corner store. It doesn't carry a lot - and certainly nothing much in fruit and veg. And you also need to discover this before their winter season closing time of 6pm, or summer time of 7pm. Last night I lucked out (UK vernacular) with the time factor.

I don't know.. I'm sure at some point I had chutney on a shopping list, but that was probably one of the times I forgot/lost the list, or didn't even think to take it out of my bag. (Yep, I do that too!) I would have wandered through the supermarket in my usual daze, using the 'trigger' method of shopping. [ie. Much like a flow chart, it goes something like this: Notice salad dressings -> do we need salad dressing? -> if yes, select a salad dressing and place in shopping trolley. If no -> continue pushing trolley down aisle -> Notice sauces -> Do we need sauce? .... etc etc.]

So last night I managed to substitute some spread and a bit of tomato paste, and the children pronounced the sausages 'different but still ok'. Phew. Gourmet (hah) meal crisis averted.

There's the flipside to this of course. Sometimes I end up overstocking. A glitch in The supermarket trigger approach, much like cracked record: "Oh yes, that's right - I'm out of Chinese 5 spice powder. ".... ... "Oh yes, that's right - I'm out of Chinese 5 spice powder."... ... "Oh yes, that's right - I'm out of Chinese 5 spice powder." I now have about 3 jars of Chinese 5 spice powder in my pantry, and given the rate at which I use it I will never need to buy it again until I am about 90. Either that, or when the children finally move out of home, I will be able to set them up with a jar of Chinese 5 spice powder each for their pantries.

It must have been the night for Misadventures in Cooking. It's a bit discombobulating to see that 'vague' genes can be so easily passed on to the next generation. Ms 11¾ decided to make a cake last night. One of our family favourites - a quick mix lemon delicious cake. Warning bells should have started ringing when she asked me to help her spoon the mixture into the pan, and then just as I started doing so, said "Oops, I haven't greased the pan yet!". [I slop the mixture back into bowl, casually thinking that it looks very smooth and less yellow than normal. Kid washes pan. Sprays pan. Start again.] When I take it out of the oven later, it looks different to normal.. and despite the greased pan, it is sticking. When I try to tip it out, it falls out in pieces. Hmmm - she's forgotten some ingredient....

This morning I ask her what she might have left out of the cake mix. Oh duh! .. she says. The eggs.

Marc is about to have a bit of a rant [he is still not quite over her banana smoothie spillage the night before - all over the bench, trickling down the cupboard doors, and a big lake of it on the kitchen floor] when I fix him with a 'look'. Forgetting the eggs?! Pffft. Been there done that. "Remember the time....?" Hmmm, yes, I won't forget that one. I was making someone's birthday cake the night before a party - a double batch of my tried and true butter cake mix so as to make a 'slab' to then cut or shape into a novelty cake - when, at about 10.30pm it comes out of the oven and it is a complete flop. Literally. That time I realised I had neglected to double the quantity of eggs when I doubled the rest of the ingredients. Who would have thought that only using half the number of eggs in a recipe would have such an effect! At least Ali's 'no-eggs' mishap last night is an education as to the role eggs play in a cake!

I'm sure we are not the only ones to do 'vague' so well when it comes to shopping and cooking. Go on, make me feel better, and let me know that you do it too.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007


Vive les différences

We are coming home from tennis, and the conversation turns to what we'll do when we get home.

Me? Yeah, well, I'll check my email.. and read a few blogs, and... that'll probably get me through to when the kids get home. (Heck, I've just played four sets of tennis! Even if they weren't particularly high powered. (We won! I won 3 sets - don't know how - the ones I won we won easily.. then the wheels fell off, I played crap, and we lost 6-1.) I'll have a coffee and a sit down, and....

The friend? She was going to do the ironing!

Can you spot the difference?

So then we got to talking (AGAIN! - why do I do it to myself?) about ironing, and cleaning in general. I don't think I will ever find the bottom of the ironing pile. I swore it was genetic; my mum always had a never-ending ironing pile. And at 44, I figure I'm unlikely to change now. She said she had vowed not to have an ironing pile like her mother. So there goes the 'endogenous' excuse.

There is no doubt she multi-tasks better than me. She will talk on the phone and do the ironing at the same time. Or wash up, or whatever. I don't like getting a cricked neck, so I don't choose to do that... and, while I prefer email and the internet, I've yet to figure out how to iron and blog at the same time!

<-- <-- Perhaps I should look into taking up Extreme Ironing!

We then talked about storage and general organisation. She said she wasn't really a cleaning freak, like I seemed to think she was. (Just every time I talk to her she has done, is doing, or is about to do, some domestic chore!)

So I guess if she's middle of the spectrum, that puts me way down one end. Which I knew. And while I'd like to slide back up the scale just a leetle bit, I don't know that there's a lot of hope. So my house is a mess, and not that clean, but the kids don't have allergies or illnesses, they're smart, they do well at school and they go out in clean, ironed clothes - I do iron but I tend to do it as needed. They are fit, healthy, good at sport.... even if it is sometimes hard to spot the floor of their bedrooms.

And I know what a blog is! And I wouldn't 'know' all you wonderful people out there if I came home from [*insert activity of the day*] and didn't have some 'downtime' while feeding my intellect (and soul) by reading and discovering all these wonderful blogs from all around the world.

So even if I'm way down that other end of the domestic spectrum, it doesn't mean I'm hopeless, does it? I'm just... different.

Vive les différences!!

[Perhaps as a concession I could now get up, walk over to the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, wash up the 'extra' stuff from last night, and come up with some inspiration as to what to pick up for dinner!]

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007



I'm in a mess. My house is in a mess. My head is in a mess. The latter probably explains the former. Or the former the latter, I don't know. Which came first - the chicken or the egg?

When I set foot in the girls' bedrooms just now, to empty their wastepaper bins, and to strip the beds, my head went into a spin and I felt like crying. Diabolical mess. Dirty clothes, clean clothes. All in heaps, mixed up with toys and books. I keep promising myself I am going to have a blitz, but it is such a task, I keep putting it off. Partly because I know it will just get trashed again pretty soon. Plus me cleaning it up once in a blue moon doesn't change anything - they take mess over the edge, and I can't seem to rein them in. I know that they are bad because I am no role model in the tidy house stakes, but really... I don't leave my wet towel on the bedroom floor, and I don't leave my dirty clothes all over my bedroom floor either!! So what the hell is it with them?

Part of the problem is that two of them are sharing, and there is not enough wardrobe space or shelving. Enter the 'extension' plans, which have come to a grinding halt since before Christmas. I know that I am the one that needs to get them on the agenda again, but getting him to focus on that of an evening or weekend amongst all the other madness will not be easy.

My head can't decide how to prioritise things - on a daily level, and on a bigger picture level.

I am doing a blog because I want to practise writing, but even I can see that I am incapable of precise, clear prose. Brevity? What's that? Rather, the mess just pours from my brain, into long, scrambled essays of inane drivel. Every time I blog I feel guilty because I am not doing something more worthy of my time, yet I am driven to write.

I was reminded last night that there is another netball committee meeting on next Monday night, which means I need to do the minutes. Already? Sheesh. There's more time to be spent on the computer, when I actually could be doing something else more important, or worthy... you know, like cleaning.. or exercising... or doing something about the house plans... (or blogging of course.)

Yesterday I didn't get out on the bike or do anything active. So I felt bad. Yet when I do, particularly during the day, I feel guilty for swanning around. "What have you got on today?" he asked this morning. "Oh, my weights training class this afternoon." Nice for some, huh. Tomorrow I play tennis all day (and thus can't make it to watch my daughter play recorder in a concert for Education Week. Cue the SAHM *guilt*). Our team would be short if I didn't go, so you have to do what you have to do.

Today I feel sad and anxious for someone I don't even 'know'... but have actually just recently exchanged a couple of emails with about cervical 'issues'. Now I find that Schmutzie ... (she who hosts the Collection of Spectacles)... has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is always unfair, but particularly so when she is ten years younger than me, and yeah.. it just sucks. Be strong, Schmutzie.

One of the reasons we would be short for tennis tomorrow is that one of our team (who I haven't met yet) has just had a call back re possible skin cancer, and has to have more dug out from where a mole was removed 2 weeks ago. It always makes you feel vulnerable yourself when you hear the dreaded C word... and I am just a teeny bit anxious as I await the results of tests from my visit to the gyno; while the tests were not because of an abnormal smear or the like, there is something not quite right, which could be anything from something that can be fixed by taking progesterone, to.. well, you just don't effing know do you... My next appointment was to be for 2-3 weeks, but when I got home I realised the receptionist had made it for one month's time. I think I might go crazy if I don't hear anything in that period because the 'imagination' in my already messy head is running amok.

Last night we went to parent teacher night at the high school. As we suspected, in all subjects bar Maths, the teachers wax lyrical about her. Doing all the work (even if we don't see it), and doing it well. Organised. (huh?). Lovely girl. (*snorts*) Meticulous (what?) Helpful. (HUH?) Well, so long as she is like that at school, that's half the battle.

Hmmm, but as we feared, not so for Maths, because, as we already knew, she has an Attitude about Maths. Not handing homework in!! Scraping through tests.. Half yearly test on Thursday next week = one week for Dad to home tutor her, and to try to get her over the brick wall she has erected for herself; it would be just stupid to throw away opportunities just because she doesn't want to understand Maths. (I am thinking 'now why isn't the teacher taking some responsibility here?' but anyway...) We had an 'interesting' session with her when we got home, and laughed and shook our heads as she tried to find any way she could to blame someone or something else for being one of only a couple in the class who weren't signing off on homework. The kid is smart enough that the other subjects are not a strain at all.. and so we do worry that she won't actually know how to apply herself when she hits Year 11 and 12. Or uni if she chooses to go down that path. We *think* we have got through to her that actually working her brain for one subject - Maths- is still an easier path than most kids have who struggle with everything.

However, the home tutoring (by Dad because he is better at it) will be a nightly struggle. He is more patient than me, but by god, last night, he was getting frustrated with her, which he started taking out on me till I pointed out what was happening. He doesn't really need the brain strain on top of his long hours at work, but I'm just bloody glad he is here and not scheduled to be away for weeks.

The only thing I am top of today is dinner. I know what we are having, and have what I need in the cupboard and fridge. Given my M.O. in recent weeks, that is an achievement. One less bit of mess in my head. Till tomorrow.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


No care, no responsibility

The Teenager is not very popular around here over a few things, which can all be pretty much summed up as Attitude. I am assuming that it is all relatively normal teenage type behaviour, and while I know it could be a lot, lot worse, it is driving me nuts.

Her latest "excuses" for anything are "I didn't mean to".. and ... "I forgot". Which in her eyes are an automatic get out of jail free card. If she says she didn't mean to do something, or that she forgot then we have no right to take her to task on it. Translated: Shut up Mum. Shut up Dad. I'll do what I want (until I want something that is).

"I didn't MEAN to get paint on my school uniform". Systematically, every shirt and pair of pants is being ruined because she does Art at school. "Don't you cover up?" I ask. "Please cover up." The answer is this vague "I do", but it's obvious that she doesn't. And that she couldn't actually give a stuff. One pair of navy pants covered in white paint? Oh well, whatever.. actually, Mum, these are getting tight on me, I think I need a bigger size. Two out of three light blue shirts now have yellow and red paint on them so that they look like art shirts now. Very expensive bloody art shirts.

I tell her that this is not good enough... to ruin clothes like this, and she shrugs. She didn't MEAN to, so ... like... whatever, and stop nagging me about it.

Parent-teacher interviews are on this week, and the system is that a few weeks earlier the kids get timesheets, and they have to approach each teacher to schedule a 5 minute interview time. OK, we'd like to see every teacher, so please get in and get interviews. She has systematically "forgotten" each day, after getting only English and Photography. The maths or science teacher insisted that the form be signed beforehand by a parent as an indication that we are aware and serious about being there (though for the life of me I can't see a kid scheduling an interview without being nagged about it by their parent.) So she 'forgot' to get us to sign it, then blamed us for not signing it, and still tried to use that excuse AFTER I had signed it. Two days she had!

When pushed then she counters with I FORGOT, ALRIGHT! And how dare you be cross with me because I just FORGOT.

I am still working on how to effectively dish out the same thing to her to make her realise how overboard she is being. Anything I can think of would either be neglectful parenting (like - I forgot to make enough dinner for you!)... or would backfire (she would wear unironed clothes if I forgot to iron hers!)

Any ideas? Help!!!

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Monday, May 14, 2007


Nothing but blue sky

OK, there are a few clouds, but it's sunny and mostly blue sky today. Bad timing on Mother Nature's part if She had wanted me to do what I really wanted to do for Mother's Day. Actually I think Marc was more cheesed than me, because he is back in the office today, while, if I pull my finger out and shift my backside into gear, I can take myself for a bike ride before the kids get home from school.

This morning, apart from the reappearance of the sun, I was treated to the sounds of louder bird squawks than we normally get around here. To my delight there were some black cockatoos hanging about in the trees in our backyard. (Acknowledgement - gee it was hard to find a photo online!) These are big birds compared to the usual birds we get in our garden - like the rainbow lorikeets. A pity we had to get happening for school and such, as I could have gazed at them for as long as they were prepared to visit us, particularly the antics of one testing her weight moving further and further down the slight branch of the casuarina tree, till it dipped alarmingly, and we wondered how on earth it could take her weight. They are bigger than a white cockatoo and they look amazing as they take off. Especially if they do so just over your head as one did the other day - the only other time I've seen one around here in recent times.

The line is full of washing from yesterday (got that feeling of deja vu hanging half the stuff back out again) plus a bit more. I've been to get a leg wax (and even got my eyebrows done) - my concession to 'beauty' treatments.. so I suppose one might consider it my mother's day treat to myself (I will just have to find reasons to treat myself the other times I get it done).

If I am really clever I could squeeze in a bike ride, and get home in time to make some pumpkin soup before doing the after school taxi run. Never fear, however, no chance of me coming over all super-alpha-mum-like with the state the house is in, and the lack of cleaning or other domestic chores approached today, or most other days. My super-alpha-mumness appears to be confined to the fact that, by common definition it seems, my kids participate in *gasp* team sports, and attend a few other after school activities - like swimming squad, tennis lessons and a winter season cross country run, and, for this term at least (with the older two having rep netball training commitments until State Age at the beginning of June), afternoons are a kind of diabolical mix of car pooling, and shuttling them back and forth. You know what though? It's all stuff they want to do, enjoy doing, and they are fit, slim, healthy things who at least balance out the stats in regard to the obesity and fitness crisis of so many of today's kids and youth.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007


At least I don't HAVE to do anything today

Which is about all I will claim out of mother's day today. I am resolutely not a big fan of commercially-driven celebratory days and tokenism, so I have no reason to expect anything of note today. That said, I still wear, all the time, the 'Mum' pendant the girls managed to purchase through convoluted secret means and surprise me with last year. I never take it off - in fact it is the only piece of jewellery I usually wear. (Even my wedding band annoys me when the weather is warm and my fingers swell, so I take it off a lot these days... not really very feminine am I?)

This morning we had nowhere we had to be, thank heavens, so after a 5.15am start to go bike riding yesterday, I was looking forward to it, and with no guilt whatsoever, heck - I'll still milk something out of "Mother's Day" if I can! 9am was a nicely decadent sleep-in, and having woken, we were just starting to enjoy a nice snuggle when the two youngest appeared ((dammit!)) sheepishly at the side of the bed, presenting me with some trinkets they had made this morning with beads and scoobies, and presented in a paper box they had made, decorated with pretty gold stickers with the letters spelling MUM, and stars. Moreso than the usefulness of each piece, it was sweet that they worked together on a token of their affection. Zoe also wanted to make me a cup of coffee, but by the time I got downstairs to have breakfast, the zeal had faded, and they were on the computers. *le sigh* Maybe they will do 'something' later in the day.. but I won't hold my breath.

Back to situation normal. The eldest rose sometime after 10.00.. and has barely uttered a word. I'm not game to talk to her about anything today, lest it be taken as criticism, chewed up and spat back at me in rage or indignation. For example, how I might expect her to do the odd thing around the house, as according to her, she has to do everything, and the other two get off scot-free. (Yes, I am like that, apparently. I've made her the slave, and the others the princesses who do nothing, ever! Like, yesterday she already hung about 12 items of clothes on the line, AND did Zoe's hair. So, my God, how dare I ask her to chop some veggies for dinner! )

I've done washing, because the weather plus commitments prevented it the last few days. That was ok, as chucking stuff in the washing machine and hanging it out is one of the few domestic chores I don't mind doing. But now I have a line full of wet washing, as the weather waited till I optimistically hung out the second load, before letting forth with the rain. Looks as if at some point today I will have to rescue it all, spin it again, and then cycle it all through the cabinet dryer.

We were going to go bike riding, but the rain looks to have stymied those plans. While complaining about any rain is now heresy in Australia, we've really had a reasonable amount where we are, so I really do wish I could send it inland where they need it, and so that I could have had some time out today riding. I would have really enjoyed that for mother's day, moreso than any gifts or token pretence at helping with domestic chores.

We christened our new bikes yesterday morning in the community ride.. and I am a little despondent - not because I had trouble riding it as such, but because I was a lot slower than the group we set off with - one we are usually too fast for with the tandem. Once you fall off the back, you then struggle to keep up. Marc kept slowing to wait for me, and I could see he was struggling to keep his frustration in check. No wonder he chooses to ride a tandem with me - I can't get left behind, and he can ride as fast as he likes. So I am feeling like 'the weakest link'.. and I could only use the excuse of 'um, new bike, never ridden a road bike before, hence confidence in handling it affected my ability to go as fast as everyone else'. I really enjoyed the social coffee time afterwards, though, and really didn't want to leave to head back home for a few hours of standing around serving in the netball canteen and clubhouse. We only chalked up 30km - which doesn't seem much to us these days after riding 80+ on the tandem some mornings - but I had to drop Marc off to a Touch tournament in town, and realistically, for a couple of months now, we are going to be pushing it for pre-dawn light and riding down the highway. And I rode hard, trying to catch up the whole way, so maybe I worked as hard!

At swimming on Friday night the warm up with the fins hurt my left ankle a bit, and while it was ok on the bike, by last night the back of my ankle was hurting (not helped by so much standing around the rest of the day) - so that I couldn't walk down stairs properly, and the achilles tendon area was sort of throbbing even when I just sat on the lounge. I abandoned the Swans in the last quarter when I decided they weren't playing well enough to overcome a 25 point deficit in the last 15 minutes, and hobbled off to bed. Out like a light - didn't hear another thing, like the More Dedicated Supporter joining me at whatever time he did. There's something to be said for these stupid early mornings - I don't have as much trouble dropping off at night! (And I can walk downstairs today!)

Marc has a lot of little jobs to keep him occupied all day. Including patching a bike tube - realised when we got home last night that my new bike had a flat!! Doh! Bit of a bummer to achieve that on its first outing. And charging up a car battery. Yesterday after the ride, and to save time, I left my bike in the Commodore, and rallied the kids into the 4WD to race out to netball. (Have avoided using it lately because of the petrol consumption... hmmm...) *Tick, tick, tick* Battery was flat as a tack. "Jump out everyone, we'll have to take the Commodore (and hope we don't run out of petrol in that)"

As I'm dragging my bike out, I hear cries of anguish - Zoe has shut her own hand in the door of the Cruiser...! Great mothering - "Here's an icepack, bung it on your hand and, quick, let's go. We're running late!" (Thankfully, it was ok, but there wasn't much time for any TLC.)

At netball, Ali got a couple of nail gouges courtesy of an over-zealous opponent who obviously got past the nail check. (Plus an elbow to the head, and a jarred finger ) The one to the palm of her hand took a bit of a chunk out, and the poor kid had copped one thing too many, dissolving into tears at the end of the game (and again come shower time.) Lucky kids can bounce back fairly resiliently.. but one of the best mother's day weekend gifts I could have was having the Daddy back here and home for the weekend. Sometimes it's just the little things - he could play Dr Dad ("Step into my surgery and we'll deal with this hand") while I got dinner happening, and to be frank, he is the better 'physician'. (He does the practical stuff, and I deliver the emotional care.)

So back to today. 2pm and we haven't done anything about lunch. Marc is tinkering with bikes. I've talked to his mother on the phone. The younger two are pottering around upstairs - Ali has just come down to show me a design she's done, incorporating all her friends' names into it. It looks cool. I suggest she puts it in a frame. Eldest chips in with a narky "Copy cat", pleasant sibling that she is (not), because some aspects of it look vaguely like a design she has done. Once.

Does anyone have a single cone of silence they could lend me so that every now and then I could lower it just over her? So that I, on the outside, could not hear HER being loud and unreasonable. Look, even one just for today might be a good thing, because we seem to be going through a 'phase' here which I am not coping with very well.

Today, She, as I mentioned earlier, is possibly still stewing from my audacity in making her cut up vegetables for dinner last night - as I figured she obviously needed some practice. Friday night as I left for swimming the one thing I asked her to do was 'Could you prepare the vegetables for dinner.' She said 'which ones?', and I said 'look, any - go through the drawer in the fridge - there's a few in there - and choose some, and chop them up.' I figured that at two weeks off 14 years old, she could manage that by now - I know that the 11 year old could have and would have. Oh? But no. Too hard? No initiative to decide? To even try? It's not like I came home and found not enough prepared. She didn't even TRY. It's as if she's never chopped vegies before in her life, and while I have never been one of these 'cook with your children from when they are 6 months old type awesomely patient Mums' the girls have had a hand in doing stuff in the kitchen. The truth is, she didn't want to (get off the computer), and 'how very dare' *I expect her to be able to make a choice, or know how to head and tail beans or snow peas. [In my head I am imagining 'how very dare you!' in the same tone that the Catherine Tate's character Derek uses, even though it has no other relevance to the situation other than the hyperbole of the skit matches the exaggeration and ridiculousness of her indignance!]

If I am lucky, we might just get through Mother's Day without a scene. Which, in the end, is all I would really like from the day. I was able, just now, to signal to #2 to 'just walk away' (as we have discussed is probably the best way to deal with the irrationality of the stroppy older teenage sister). At least I am getting through somewhere while I am failing miserable somewhere else.

Dammit, I wish I could get out and ride my bike!


Thursday, May 10, 2007



Meet my new bike. It's called the Dolce, which, of course, is Italian for 'sweet'.

I'm calling it an investment in my fitness future. More opportunity to get out and ride a long way!! It is bottom of the range! - entry level road bike - but it has some nice features for the money, which I won't bore anyone with. I am very happy that it feels good to ride, because I have to admit I was a bit worried about how I would go on a road bike, with the drops and all that. The women's specific frame feels good.

I picked it up from the bike shop in Port Macquarie, a few hours away, as I was going there today anyway for my gyno appointment. And the guy in that shop offered to get it in for me, while my local bike shop didn't. A 'friend' was having a chuckle at me when I said I was also probably going to buy a bike while I was there. She reckoned most women would be using the opportunity to go clothes shopping or something, while Tracey (she's so quaint!) goes to a bike shop.

Hell yeah. That's me. (I also bet most women's husbands wouldn't be encouraging them to go and spend more than a grand on clothes!!)

So I have arrived home safely with it, but it is raining, plus I'm not sure how to get the front wheel back on (the brake calipers are in the way)! Lucky my personal bike mechanic and cycling coach will be home again tomorrow.

When someone asks what we are doing for mother's day on Sunday, if they know anything about me, they shouldn't be surprised when I say "going for a ride on our new bikes!"

I am actually feeling a bit 'blah' because I've done nothing of note exercise-wise for 2 days now... and I've sat on my bum in a car for about 5 hours today. (And eaten crisps and drunk coke to keep myself awake.) I have fallen off the wagon a bit lately, mostly in terms of what I am eating. Curse the fundraising chocolates #1 had for netball. Between her and me we have systematically demolished pretty much the whole box. (They were Cadbury.... *sighs*)

However, I've been reinspired by The Brave! (We are a Mutual Inspiration Society!).. and I'm so proud of her! Go Curves! Go Strauss!

Her self admonishment about the chocolate chip cookies, combined with my post yesterday about chocolate vs kissing has also given me a good idea. While chocolate may give a "better" rush than kissing, it is quite possible that kissing... "snogging!"... could do as a reasonable substitute for succumbing to chocolate. Much like a nicotine patch.

So I have a proposition for the Bike Mechanic. Because I'm sure he wants to help me beat my chocolate addiction. So I might lose some more weight. And inches. And so I'll be fitter on the bike. And...

And...? Yes... On Yer Bike, Trace....

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Don't Try this at home!

"They say" that Chocolate is better than kissing! "Chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz." These were conclusions of lab experiments done in the UK with volunteers in their twenties.

I don't know about you, but I don't think that the environment of a lab would get me in the right mood for a passionate snog, not that I'm that much into romantic settings and all the rest. I suppose I'm getting old, being in my forties and all that, but I think it would be hard to get into any sort of passionate kissing if I was all wired up with electrodes, knowing that people were watching me! (Maybe back in my starry eyed youth I could have ignored all that.)

It's certainly an interesting result though, and given that I'm partial to my chocolate, I think there is definitely some worth in some anecdotal testing of this result 'in the field'. For the sake of science of course.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I thought I got over this a long time ago...

Prolific, procrastinating posts. (Look! It's a P day!)

As I (actually!) vacuumed up a few dust bunnies, I was thinking. Musing. And not just about how disgusting this part of the house had gotten. I was thinking about all deep and meaningful stuff like how peer pressure was affecting me in my mid-forties for god's sake.

Earlier I'd been on the phone to a friend. I suppose you'd call her a friend. We're connected by the netball committee, tennis team, and a lot of gasbagging on the phone, as she seems to bring out the gasbag in me - which is probaby a bit of a worry. And we were talking about some netball issues, and #2's netball rep team issues - including a newly scheduled 'team sleepover' - and particular 'other children' issues.

Aforementioned sleepover is at the home of rep team manager and parent of child in team who *thinks* she is the coach (you know the sort - loud, opinionated, bossy...) - so that is another reason I'm not happy about the sleepover. As if this child needs another reason to think she is king of the castle. (Seriously, on Sunday at the carnival I had to walk away before I said *something* about the way she was carrying on.) Their older daughter has played rep with my other daughter for 3 years (in with the larger local netball association), and she now makes it blatantly obvious that she doesn't like Caitlin - doesn't really talk to her, even when we give her a lift, and chums it up with most of the other girls in the team in that cliquey kind of way you see teenage girls do.

I commented that this other family had really gone out of their way to cultivate the friendships of the other players and their parents. ie. to me it was a blatant and deliberate exercise resulting in what appears to me anyway, to be this really almost sickening fake matey thing. (I have a bit of an aversion to fakeness.)

And my friend said something like "Ah well, you're a bit of a loner really".


I said, "Well, yes and no. I guess I don't set out to *make* friendships; if I click, I click. If I don't I don't." Thinking, well, I don't try to manufacture them.

But it bothered me, as you can imagine. Am I really a loner? A hermit? Am I that anti-social?

Maybe I am. But is that bad, or just fact? It's not that I don't ever want to socialise. But I would have a better time if I invited just one family round, say for a meal or something, rather than having a huge big gathering, party style. I like small groups, I guess.

And it suddenly struck me that I'd done this before - and I'd finally got over that peer pressure of trying to fit in and do what everyone else does, with the party party stuff ... And now here I am 20 years later doing the angst thing about it again, I suppose because now it involves my kids. So much for being comfortable in my own skin.

It still doesn't give me the answer of what to do about this wretched 'team sleepover'. I don't see the point in it, and I am cranky that I will probably be pressured into it because I won't want to make a pariah out of my daughter. I can't see what it will achieve in the way of helping the team do better - in fact all it will achieve is one very tired girl who hasn't had enough sleep. I have no objection to her having to sleep away somewhere as a means to an end, and it's not like we are that *weird* that she hasn't done enough of that that she won't handle sleeping in a motel room with two or three others in the team at State Age.

I just don't get it, but I suppose, as I discovered earlier in my life, I don't really fit the norm. The hardest thing is to know how to deal with it all in respect of the kids.

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Too much time...

... on my hands. Someone give this woman a job, so she doesn't spend all day procrastinating.

Don't they say that if you want something done you should ask a busy person. Don't give it to me to do! I'll just keep putting it off, and off, and off.

Today once the kids were off to school I raced out for a haircut, and then to my weights class. So then I came home and allowed myself a "reward" of a coffee and a bit of time out after all my "hard work". Time to check the email and blogs, and to collect my thoughts and figure out the logistics of the taxi run this afternoon, and what to pick up for dinner, seeing I couldn't manage to solve that one while in the supermarket late yesterday afternoon - pfft. Time to flex my muscles and acknowledge to self that the weights really are making a difference (and maybe if I did the "homework" I'd be feeling and looking even better.) Ooh, and I might have another coffee now, and maybe lunch. And so I'm still here!!

That all shouldn't take 4 hours though should it! All I've achieved domestically is to hang some clothes out on the line. And pondered what I should do. It's pathetic really. This is the sort of stuff that a working mum does on the fly. And a decent SAHM does automatically, before 10am.

I can't even claim to be a domestic goddess of any variety. Homebaked goodies? Can do, used to do. Good idea in theory. Every time I do the shopping I think I should really make some stuff for the kids' lunchboxes. But then when I'm at home I'm all 'blah! - don't feel like cooking'.

Marc will be away only 3 nights, and even that 'relatively short' trip away feels really strange now after him being home for several weeks now. I was quite enjoying knowing that he would always be there - even if the office hours are still a bit ridiculous. In the past 10 years we have spent far too many nights apart. Far too many. When I look back, I wonder how I managed with 3 young children - although it was by no means as hard a gig as that of a single mother trying to earn money at the same time. (Perhaps just emotionally more 'wearing'...)

Still, I don't think I have really earned the right to sloth, so I had better go and find something constructive to do! If I come back and tell "youse all " what I've done, will you pat me on the back and encourage me to keep at it? Which has given me a wondrous idea. I don't just need a fitness trainer.. maybe I also need a housework trainer! If it wasn't for the fact that I need one myself, I could have just hit on an idea for self-employment!


(Maybe what I do need is a 'life coach' - but with a slightly different perspective to the usual variety...)

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Monday, May 07, 2007


making it up as you go along...

Some days are like that. No major dramas, but just the little changes along the way that make life interesting.

I woke up with a headache, and again cursed my uncurbed inclinations to imbibe of a wine and/or a beer most nights. (ie. every night unless I have a headache that I blame on the imbibing of alcohol!) I really didn't need that second glass of red wine on top of having had a lite beer - depite the fact that the cost factor of the 'red' involved should have meant that it kept me above the headache threshold. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot more than I used to be able to drink! Such an achievement! I wish I could just give it all up. I'd probably drop 10 kilos just like *that* as well as lessening my chances of headaches.

I got a phone call to say that one of the netball girls we car pool with this afternoon hurt her knee at the end of the carnival yesterday, and so won't be going. Her dad normally brings Cait home from town at 6.30, which leaves me free (after taking everyone in for 4.30) to get dinner ready and then pick up Alison from her training. Cue change of logistics for this afternoon - something that isn't the easiest thing to do with a headache, but I resigned myself to 'hanging' in town for 2 hours doing the shopping with Zoe. Lucky she is good company, even in the shops, and not a complainer. She doesn't mind her one on one Mum and Zoe time - and the chance to push the trolley without any competition for the 'right' to do so.

Marc came with me before work to the local bike shop for me to suss out one type of women's road bike. Not the one we think we want for me, but another brand. I rode it up the street and back. It will serve as a comparison when I check out the one in Port. Our local shop didn't offer to get in this other brand... so will miss out on a sale, most likely. I did discover, at least, that I think I will be fine riding a road bike. (I was concerned!) The 'drops' on the women's frame aren't as low as a standard frame, so it makes you feel like you could 'drop' on to them easily.

He dropped me off near the bridge over the highway. I've taken this short cut before. Walk up from highway road level to the level of the overpass, and gain access through a gap in the fencing. From there where it should have been a quick (barely) 1km walk home. However some official in their wisdom has put a padlock on the gate - so there was no getting through anymore. There was barbed wire along the top of the fence; one section there wasn't, it was maybe 15 ft height, and it was probably climbable, except I didn't feel up to making a potential spectacle of myself. Funny how despite all my "activity", sometimes I feel my age (and gender!).

From what I could see, the same applied to the other side of the highway, and the other side of the bridge. My only choice was to walk back up the highway about a kilometre, and then take the big loop around and back over the said overpass. Just 5km unplanned walking exercise - in itself not a big deal (probably 'ideal' given that I probably wouldn't have got round to doing any exercise today) except that I had no hat and no water, but the vestiges of the headache still hanging in there. Needless to say I didn't feel like throwing myself around the house in any sort of domestic cleaning frenzy once I got home. Oh, and as I walked over said bridge? Turned out the gate diagonally opposite the route I attempted had been vandalised, and so I could have crossed the road, walked down a few hundred metres, then back up a track through some bush and shrubs, and straight up onto the bridge. Gotta hate that.

I got some washing done, though even that didn't go smoothly. Not the dreaded tissue in the wash, but soggy bits of cardboard (from Zoe's speech cards) give the same result! Doh! Why do I forget to check pockets? (And 'no more speech cards' - hope she doesn't need them anymore.)

And when Zoe and I were doing the supermarket shopping this evening the shopping centre had a power failure! No biggie as the supermarket kicked in the back up generator, with minimum lighting and the cash registers working, but with no lights in the meat and deli displays, I gave up on the browsing for meal ideas, headed out in case it was a locality blackout, meaning the netball training would have no lights, but no such luck - it was obviously a plaza specialty.

The 'no more overseas work' has lasted until this week. I knew it couldn't be that simple when it involved an ongoing multi-million dollar project and the whims of Malaysian departments and officials, and people who basically aren't sensible. Some government department is demanding explanations of how this and that will work, and it comes down to Marc being the only one frm the company who understands it all and is able to explain it. Much angst. Much much angst, actually, and not just from me. He is going tomorrow, back Friday - it is a compromise. As long as he has the angst, and we are talking, it is ok.

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Good bits.

It's not a bad idea to focus on the little gems that life sometimes dishes up to you amongst the madness. Sometimes I get a bit bogged down with the whingeing, I know. I am guilty of that so very often, even though I try to balance it out with upbeat stuff.

Today I got a totally unsolicited email to the netball association account from someone from (presumably) a netball association to the south west of Sydney.

Hi. I was looking at your website. What a great way you promote your netball. I love how you show your girls playing in action and the positive way you enforce netball. I especially love the Bluebottles face of the week. Your committee and members obviously love netball.

Keep up the great work!!!!!


I think the word she wanted was 'promote' rather than 'enforce', but I get what she means, and.. gee... that was nice! Out of the blue like that, and just when I was feeling pretty jaded with it all. OK, I still am weary of it, but it might get me through another few weeks! And it makes me feel like I am doing something right after all. When I offered to help, I knew I couldn't contribute netball expertise, but I thought I could do something about getting information 'out there'. Half our members don't seem to even have the internet, but it's quite startling to know that someone out of the area has looked at it and liked it. The website I do is by no means classy in terms of web design, but my approach has been to give it a friendly, community feel.

It got me thinking. Why is it that these days we are surprised by random praise, or 'lovely gestures'? I know I am. Sometimes the simplest gesture can leave even me a bit teary...

A few weeks ago our neighbour was pruning some of the trees that hang over from our side of the fence. We paid his young bloke to cut down some of them back in February, but he's not unreasonable about them because they act as a screen, providing privacy for both of us, and also, as I've joked with him, they get to see OUR gorgeous gum blossoms when they are in bloom (as they are drawn to the northerly sun - on his side) so therefore we can't see them from our yard. So when they were in bloom a few weeks ago, (and they were really, really prolific this year), C, the neighbour, decided to prune them because the tree was actually so weighed down by the multitude of gumnuts. And he handed to Marc, over the fence, a spray of the blossoms, and one of the nuts, so that I could at least get to enjoy them for a short while by putting them in a vase. Even though I'm not a 'cut flower' kind of person I was so touched by this simple thought and gesture. Gosh.. I was blinking away the tears!!

What unexpected gestures or simple thankyous have take you by surprise?

Thinking about that does make me wonder if I 'give' enough. I know I did take that lovely gynaecologist receptionist by surprise last time I was there by thanking her - telling her that I really appreciated how helpful she always was. She was taken aback - thinking she was only 'doing her job'. But I still maintain she brings something more unique than she realises to her job, and I intend to tell her again this Thursday.


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