Monday, November 10, 2008


A Christmas Challenge.

I haven't yet started on my traditional Christmas season rant.. (it is only NOVEMBER after all, and I flatly refuse to think about Christmas until December.) Though with the shops starting to fill again with glittery red, green, gold and silver manufactured crap "Stuff", the hackles have been rising.. and frankly, the despair beginning to ooze into the very fibre of my being.

Soooo much waste. Sooo much junk. Sooo much money spent on stuff we throw away. Or just don't need. Rampant materialism gone mad.

Oh, I know for many, the decorations and stuff raise their spirits and make them happy. I envy you guys. It's so much harder being me at Christmas time. I simply can't get into it... and I'm getting worse. You'd think I might mellow with age, but I'm hardening up.

That said, I do treat it as a time to 'touch base' with friends... (More the end of a year than Christmas, to be perfectly honest. It just happens to coincide!) I have done the homemade card thing ever since Marc and I hitched our lives together to become our own little family unit. With the advent of email and then my ability to construct a webpage, it was a natural progression for the greenie within to transition from extreme paper wastage to an electronic transmission of our end of year greeting, in photo format. Just about always accompanied by a blurb, because nothing frustrates me more than getting a christmas card from someone I haven't managed to keep tabs on during the year AND THEY DON'T TELL ME WHAT THEY'VE BEEN UP TO!

I send out very limited christmas cards now; if you have email, then you aren't likely to get a card from me. And the card is usually just the photo - referring those who actually want to read 'a year in the lives of' to the webpage I do up. Even so... I sigh (and wish they had email!)

And... this is very very harsh.. but sending me a card with just a 'To' and a 'From'... is frankly, just a waste of money. And paper. Unless you are going to send me a newsy letter. (I'm not against snail mail itself, just *wasted* snail mail.)

So naturally I was very taken with Misc Mum's Christmas Card Challenge. I have been on her snail mail Christmas Card list in the past [She was a very organised card sender, and hers would usually be first to arrive, before December! and I was all NOOOOOOO! Not Christmas YET! What are you doing to me girl! ] and so I am extreeeeeemely chuffed that, instead, the sort of money she would have wasted on an ingrate like me is going to go to a far more worthy cause.
Presuming I would still have made her Christmas card list this year ;-) I can feel happy that a dollar or so is being given to charity instead of wasting it on me.

But that is just her money. And I am thinking Hmmmmm. How do I promote this? Sure, you should go on over to her blog, and be convinced, and then write your own blog post, and spread the word...

But also, I challenge you - and myself - to do something similar, and to donate the money you would have spent to buying something that is of fleeting use and enjoyment (and will end up in landfill) to something that really will make a difference.

So if you were going to send me card... don't! Donate something instead to Karen's fundraiser. (Send me an email instead, mind!)

And I am going to take a very deep breath, and tell my extended family to do the same, with what they would have spent on cards, and chocolates I don't even like. (Given my parents won't do any transactions online, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to go about this... perhaps simply ask them to donate to any charity instead...)

Come on. Let's make a difference.


Saturday, November 08, 2008



Thankfully this week I haven't actually felt like strangling anyone, so there's a plus. (Except for the usual amount of times I get stroppy with the kids, but that's nothing out of the ordinary.) Possibly I've just hit the next stage on the hormonal rollercoaster, with this last week being defined more by introspection than anything else.

My lower back decided last weekend it was time to give me a bit of curry. It does so from time to time for no apparent reason. A chiro visit on Monday helped... but in the early hours of Thursday morning my left arm decided to get in on the act and go the whole nerve-pinching pain thing, so I haven't been on top of the world. A chiro visit yesterday has helped that - but I'm not quite myself again yet. (And I keep thinking that I'm certainly contributing to the chiropractor's superannuation fund, if not a new car or two.) I've not exercised all week because of the back and arm, and so a happy little vegemite I am not.

At TAFE I'm in the process of deciding what to do next year. It's a part of the course I'm doing to do so, but it's also what I need to do anyway. I've applied to do a one year course in Information Technology (Web Design). I *think* it's what I want to do when "I grow up", but I guess I'm not 100% sure. On Thursday I decided to use the counselling service at TAFE - they do careers counselling as well as the personal stuff. Hell, it's free, why not? My first session was helpful - and I'm going back next week. Perhaps she will help me unearth whatever it is within that tells me I can't do stuff - though I'm not completely sure about the airy fairy stuff.

The oldest teenager is doing the girl with the curl thing, and when she's not being good and helpful and lovely, she is being dramatic, and accusative, (and unhelpful) and we are apparently unreasonable and over protective parents who are going to scar her for life because we are following the 'no computers in bedroom' line as advised to parents. And we won't/wouldn't let her go to a party at a town 2 hours away... She doesn't bring friends around here because we are, apparently, Embarrassing, (because I dare to engage her friends in a bit of conversation it seems), her sisters are Annoying and she can't get away from any of us in 'our open plan house', despite the fact that she has her own room. Pardon me for just BEING, and for not having a house with rumpus rooms/separate TV rooms and the like. I'm not sure what palaces her friends live in.

The biggest challenge (and preoccupation) at the moment is that we are planning a cycling holiday riding, with other tandem acquaintances, down the east coast of Tasmania - next February. Planning and communication with the other parties has to be done online, and that is proving to be ... interesting. I am about to bite the bullet and book our fares on the Spirit of Tasmania - the ferry between the mainland and Tasmania. We are going to drive to Melbourne (2 day drive from here) and then slum it on the ferry. It looks costly, but by the time we weighed up the cost and hassle of plane fares, with camping gear and tandems, extra accommodation for a family of five, and airport shuttles, the overnight ferry experience won out.

Weighing up the pros and cons of shared costs for the ride has been another challenge altogether. However - it looks like it's going to happen, and .. did I mention?... I'm about to make the booking. Today. Sometime. It is exciting and yet daunting all at the same time. I thrive on the planning of something like this, though at the same time it stresses and consumes me. Today I have reached the point where I am saying to Marc 'So? Do I book it?' Point of no return. A financial investment in another family holiday and adventure. I haven't quite done so.. but sometime later today I will. I WILL.

The planning for that will ebb and flow - until it reaches panic stations in February!

Meanwhile I just have to manage the teenage angst, my own angst - and decisions about where I'm heading with the rest of my life...

And finalising the last requirements for this current course. A few pieces of writing, which should be right up my alley, seeing I want to do something with writing to earn a quid or two, yet I am procrastinating over it all nonetheless. (And a First Aid "exam" on Tuesday.)

And Christmas is around the corner, and that stresses me out like not much else can.

I'm not sure where blogging fits into this, but while I work on reinventing myself, I might just need to vent every now and then. (Is it significant that the word "vent" appears in reinvent?)

When I am not venting, I will inevitably be preoccupied.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008


Oh the humanity.

I've had one of those weeks. Not that anything particularly BAD has happened. It just seems to have been a week which has taken me to the edge of empathy and tolerance. A week when a sigh and a "takes all types" just doesn't cut it. It's probably called "people rage".

I'm not the type of person who would usually ever dream of telling someone they were a f*#%wit... but this week I felt *that* close to doing so to someone. Can a woman be called that? If not, then "a stupid, obnoxious b*tch"?

I don't know.. There have been previous things said by this woman that I've let through to the keeper (after a bit of a rant and some eye-rolling at home.)

Then there was Tuesday. Well. I can *just* cope with someone (her) telling another (who was needing my email address to send me stuff to put on the netball website) that I 'send long and complicated emails' (she refers to the time when I had to set up the netball committee with a gmail account, and she is patently someone who can't absorb more than a one-line instruction).....

But when, for the second time in recent history, she insists that a group of teenage girls (of which my middle daughter was one of) MUST automatically be to blame in a situation... then... I get a little .. testy.

I was at the netball clubhouse sorting out some registrations when I got a call on my mobile from my 13 year old. She had been at our local beach with friends. She was upset and blubbering (so that initially I thought someone must have drowned!). I then managed to ascertain that her mobile phone had got wet, and that a certain local boy - let's call him "J" - was involved. The way I heard it through her wailing was that he had thrown her stuff in the water.

To explain the interrupting phone call, I cursed about this "J" throwing her phone in the water, because he and his mate have lately harassed the girls everytime they've gone down to the beach. My daughter has even called me from the beach before because they have taken their gear and hidden them in the bushes before, and thrown their towels in the water, thrown sand at them... and generally been annoying little shits.)

"That woman" I mentioned above said "Who? "J" ?? Oh, he's a lovely kid.. he wouldn't do anything like that. The girls MUST have done something to him first." Huh? Blame the girls immediately? ... wtf?... This sweeping statement follows on from a netball issue a few months back when my daughter's rep team played her team, and at the committee meeting following it I objected to her sweeping statement that "ALL those 13 year old girls KNEW what they were doing.. they were ALL the same..." because I knew that my daughter was actually a bit naive (and not in the clique) - and genuinely not the type to deliberately cheat, or throw a game...)

"Well, that's crap", I said, "he and his mate have been harassing them for a while... taking their gear while they are in the water, and I'm over it... I'll bloody call his parents...."

"Well, good luck with that" she says. "Watch your back. I wouldn't tangle with his father."


"Well that says it all", I said. "If the father is like that, then no wonder the kid is a little dickhead."

And I had to therefore wonder about her intelligence, never mind her blatant assumption about "girls" (AGAIN) never mind her apparent need to give her immediate opinion (about MY daughter, as it happens) when it wasn't sought in the first place!

If I'd had any presence of mind I might have suggested to her that she must have been a right piece of work as a teenager given the assumptions she jumps to about all 13 year old girls! (As well as asking, anyway, how the hell she was coping with doing nursing at uni, because I'm sure the information she would have to absorb would be a hell of a lot more complicated than a page of instructions giving the log in and password to a gmail account, along with how using google docs online could be used by the committee.... I mean, THAT is like rocket science...)

Fortunately I didn't have the presence of mind to say that, because that would have just made me a b*tch, wouldn't it?

So I was riled up with this woman, and of course I was pretty furious about this "J". As it turned out I hadn't accurately deciphered my daughter's blubberings. What had happened was that at school that day he had threatened to take their stuff if they were at the beach.. so they had decided "prevention" was in order, and put their bags closer to the water than usual. Not taking account of the tide. No "J", but a wave.

An error of judgement by the girls - and particularly Ms 13, who was the only one with a phone in her bag - but spurred on by the threats and harassment nonetheless. And leaving nothing for us to go to the parents with if we chose to ignore the reality that there are unsavoury parents out there.

Her mobile phone is kaput. Which, as you can imagine, led to some rantings by one of the parental units in the house. (Not necessarily me either...)

So I'm a bit miffed with human nature this week.. and the fact that I pretty much have to suck it up, and just vent where I can, because I am not the type to confront people. (Especially if it is just to tell them what I think of them!) And that there are kids whose parents don't care about where they are or what they are doing, and who might well decide to set out on a campaign of harassment if approached when their little darlings impinge on the rights of others...

And then Halloween in our neighbourhood simply showcases this, with gangs of kids roaming the street, using Halloween as an excuse to run riot. This year only one egg made it onto our property - and thankfully not on the actual house this time. But it certainly wrapped up the theme of the week

And of course this week I seem to have come across more fools in cars than I might usually... you might have even seen me blow the horn a few times at someone who kept veering over into my lane....

And the eldest daughter nearly failed her Yr 10 trial school certificate maths, and we ended up with an appointment up at the school, because much of this has to do with the utter uselessness of the teacher, and finally something had to be said. But some of it is down to Ms 15's attitude, and lack of self-motivation to study. And so when her father and I banned the computer so she would have time to do maths, we were called 'unreasonable'.. which then led on to being called over protective parents, because she knew (correctly) that she wouldn't be allowed to go to a Halloween party at a town nearly 2 hours drive away!! (As well as the fact that she has still not been allowed on sleepovers when I don't know the parents...)

And the scariest thing of all, to me, is that there are a significant amount of people in the US who would happily vote in McCain with that woman Palin... to lead the nation that is (perhaps unfortunately) still, ostensibly, the leader of the 'free' world. Heaven help the world.

As I have been reminded this week, it takes all types. Just sometimes that is a very big worry.

[Go to and continue to ease my fears just a little bit! Unfortunately the world will not be voting.]



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