26 February 2013

Loving button buttons - aspirations of the not rich

You know that moment when you decide to go to bed and remember you stripped the bed earlier in the day and haven't yet made it up again?  When you are bleary eyed and wonder if not doing it would make you the worst person in the world?  And then you wonder whether or not that is the first step on a very slippery slope to abandoning the trappings of civilised surbubanity?  So you haul some sheets and a duvet cover from the pile of washing you still haven't put away and proceed to make the bed.  Just as you get the duvet into the cover, you realise - you've picked the duvet cover with buttons.

Yep - button buttons with button holes
And you want to scream.  In the same way you had wanted to scream when you were taking the stupid thing off the bed in a hurry and realised it had buttons.

Yep. Button buttons.

There is something about button buttons on bed linen which says "I need hired help".  Basically, buttons that clip together jauntily or even just zippers are quicker, much easier and you NEVER get all the way to the end and realise you've been one out the whole way along.  And button buttons are always a tight fit so it's fiddly and annoying and takes away all the pleasure of your lovely heavily threaded duvet cover.

Basically, some things should only become part of your life if you can afford to have somebody else take care of them.

Like button buttons on duvet covers.

And pigs as pets.  Sure George Clooney has one but I bet he's not responsible for looking after it.  He gets all the joy and none of the distress.  Much like rich people who have other people make their beds.  They get to appreciate the fine lines and classy looks of a duvet cover with button buttons because they have none of the exasperation that goes with changing it.

And smoothies.  Smoothies are delicious but always yummier and more satisfying when you haven't had to cut the fruit, beat the fruit, measure the dashes, extract the grasses and whatever else.  If I could afford to hire somebody to make me a smoothie every morning, I'd also be able to afford somebody to make my bed.

I definitely wouldn't to have to choose between the two, so I'll have to be mega wealthy.

What are some of the small, less obvious things which make you wish you "had staff" on occasion?

25 February 2013

Sixty minutes that led to heartbreak

Yesterday afternoon, the girls and I went to the park so that their father could pursue the manly task of mowing the lawn without the screams of terror that the girls omit when confronted with domestic tasks.  They have a similar reaction to vacuuming so we have to run these park interventions a couple of times a year.

Anyway, we get to the park and we go on the swings, the slides, the seesaw and the bobbly horse thing and the Cassinator practices her walking and clapping.  She also attempts to eat the woodchip but wisely discards the bottle top she digs up.  The Tullinator bores of the actual things at the park and we start playing make believe shops with her posing behind the seesaw and me requesting potatoes and tomatoes which is all her shop sold.

While I am endlessly purchasing two tomatoes for two monies - she who is not 11 months until tomorrow defies death by hauling herself up the steps to the slide, beaming joyfully and hurling herself down with shrieks of delight.

Cheeky dote! 
Anyway, there were no injuries resulting so it's okay to have taken a photo.

Thankfully, just about that point where I was going to hurl my two year old over the fence if she asked me if I wanted to buy two tomatoes for two monies one more time, an angelic vision presented itself to us.  As this angelic vision has not yet heard of identity theft, stranger danger or TMI, I am going to call her Jane to protect her from her own delightfulness.

She is 7, has an almost 10 year old sister, is named for a pop star, has a red house, with flowers, her address is... (not telling) and she loves to play at the park.  She played shops, demonstrated trapeze on the swing, hurled the Tullinator into the sky with an energetic seesaw session and taught her the expression "I love to have my bottom banged", the whole time updating me on every aspect of her life (which I can assure you I never asked for and would never do so because that would have made me very creepy.)  It was hilarious.
This is the two new besties on the seesaw.
Unfortunately she didn't know the seesaw song and Tully was about to puke from being hurled into the air so enthusiastically so I had to suggest a change of pace.  For a while they made cakes, lettuces and eggs from woodchip and lined them up on the seesaw counter.  I relaxed for a moment so the Cassinator fell off the steps.  And clapped.

Jane took Tully over to the bushes to show her the magic space behind the leaves (otherwise known as that dead bit under a tree) and entertained herself by popping her head out and yelling 'BOO' so that Tully yelped in shock and then screeched with laughter in the way that only toddlers or the deranged can.  And then, still telling me all about her life from birth to current times, she decided to show the girls how to make red dust from rocks.

Is there anything this girl can't do?
And of course, keen to examine the red dust for herself, the Tullinator sticks her hand under the rock in motion and ends up minus a chunk of her finger.  Cue the wailing normally reserved for Greek tragedies while the younger sister applauds vigorously. Encore! Encore!

They returned to the lettuce out of woodchip game while I tossed options up in my head about how we could extricate ourselves without appearing unappreciative of the girl's time, imagination and entertainment.  I can assure you an hour in the park had never passed so quickly.  Jane's father came by at that stage to return to his home at.... (still not telling) and off they skipped into the twilight, accompanied by the frenzied sobbing of my little girl bereft at the loss of her new BFF.  She didn't want to go home to daddy, she wanted to play shopping with Jane and stay at the park forever.

Poor darling, first major heartbreak.  Thank god they don't remember anything until they are older or this magical hour could have scarred her for life. But kudos to Jane - may she stay as delightful for all time.

18 February 2013

Why do I always get the weird ones?

Today I had cause to take a short taxi ride to collect some boxes full of other boxes which were too big and heavy and too many for me to carry through the streets of Sydney in my arms.  So into the back seat of the taxi I did jump.

And I couldn't help but notice that just in front of the taxi driver's left ear was a huge pimple, ready to pop.  So ready it was weeping.  And it seemed to move with the g-force generated by the taxi driver's exit from the rank and his abrupt stop behind a slower moving vehicle two metres in front of us.

In this start stop fashion we went to the longest way possible that a taxi driver can go without being accused of fare boosting via fraudulent directions and he spent the entire time telling me stories about Blackberry's innovations in the smartphone arena and how rich people custom order their smartphones to have diamonds inserted and how there is a phone (insert made up name which changed twice) which combines Apple and Samsung's technology and is all part of one uber-phone that can have two sim cards.  Or something. And how it was innocent women like myself who were being exploited by Apple, particularly Steve Jobs, with their iPhones because they had my data captive and sold it to marketing companies who targeted women who like Apple products.  Ummmm.... Steve Jobs is dead dude.  But I said this inside my head because I was desperate not to engage.

Not nutty like this - normally nutty

But I'd already asked before I got in the cab if he'd wait at the other end so I couldn't even lose the obviously deranged individual by paying him off and hailing another cab.  Well maybe some people could but I'm hopeless in situations like that.  And then, when I went to get the boxes, he followed me on foot to make sure I didn't do a runner.

And then he dropped me back at work, in complete silence, like he was a normal taxi driver.  With a big pimple.

Am I the only person that attracts nutters like this?

15 February 2013

They say the darnedest things

My toddler is just getting to the age where I recognise that I am never going to know what goes on her head.  I've always been of the opinion that parents are generally the ones that know their children the least, mostly because they assume so much knowledge based on their own input and assumptions.  And let's face it - to assume is to make an ass of everybody. And just for the record, the parents that protest this the most are generally the ones that know the least.  So you can stop right there with your protestations.

And she started sharing her secrets to bamboozling the parentals very early

Yesterday I was working from home and I had to get some stuff done.  The Tullinator asked me to stop working and play with her.  I told her I had stuff to do.  She said 'work boring'. I said 'that is not very polite' and she said 'work boring pweese and tank you'.  Gold.  Comedy gold combined with genius timing.  She's definitely going to be awesome this kid.

And today she starts a conversation with me about how food in her tummy sometimes gets sad because she doesn't have a chocolate frog to share with the other food already there.  WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?  And of course you can have a chocolate frog if it is to share with the other food.  I'm all for that kind of egalitarian approach to negotiating treats.  But you're not getting a second one.  Not even for the food that missed out sharing the first frog.

And then on the trampoline, she made the Cassinator and I join in this elaborate game involving Nemo, his hat, me the shark, Cass the whale and we all had to make the right movements with our face and hands.  I didn't even know she knew who Nemo was yet - no objections mind, I just thought she was too young to find him interesting yet. And the whale had to blow water out of her head and be big, and I had to show my teeth and keep my fin up.  HOW DOES SHE KNOW THIS STUFF?  Is this what people mean when they say television is bad?  Because it teaches them stuff that you haven't shared with them so you're not ready with the right replies?  And I haven't worked out why Nemo wears a hat.  This is going to bug me.

And you too, now that you know.

I know that children are just little people, but she's not quite 2.5 years old and she's got an entire alternative body of knowledge churning around in there that I only know about as she develops the language and/or the inclination to share it.  And here is me, Mama bear, desperate not to fuck up bringing her up and I'm behind the eight ball already.

And I have two of these beautiful, engaging, thinking, imaginators to get through life.  Thank goodness I got perfect ones, it must be doubly hard if you got one of the ones that are obsessed with sport from birth.  I'm still hopeful we got lucky and I never have to fake an interest in football.  I'm much more comfortable in the faking knowledge about whales, and sharks and the like.  Mainly because I've seen both 'Finding Nemo' and 'The littlest mermaid'.  Fact.

13 February 2013

I am the walking dead and all because of a fart

With babies comes changes to your sleep patterns. I get that.  Its part of it.  No point complaining, just get on with it.

But at this very moment in time, when I spent most of the night, literally hours of the period between midnight and dawn, walking up and down patting my youngest daughter's back- singing to her, jiggling, cooing, whispering sweet nothings into her soft hair, cuddling in positions worthy of yoga names- desperately trying to get her to settle, only to have her let off the world's largest, most explosive fart at 6am and fall into a deep sleep - I'm feeling that babies are cheating us.

I am sleep deprived because she needed to fart.  This is not something I could call my boss and get a day off for you know.  Generally bosses are only okay about days off when your child has some kind of dramatic disease that they are afeared of catching themselves.

And I could think of nothing contagious about farting.

And as I head into work, head befuddled, joints aching, eyes screaming with the effort of staying open, she's gone off to childcare where she will get more cuddles, be put down to sleep and have people adore her for the simple fact of her existence.  Which is obviously why we love our childcare centre but I want to lie on the floor and scream "No fair!!!  I did all the bloody work why can't I lie down and sleep and have people pat me on the back.  All she did was FART."

But instead, I'll accept people's observations that I look like shit and I'll refrain from punching people.

I'm all adult some days.  All adult.

6 February 2013

Gays, Asylum Seekers and Spanx

I woke up this morning to the news that the UK had pass the marriage equality bill 400 - 175 votes (more here). Nick Clegg (who I think is a pratt generally) summed it up beautifully when he said ""I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain … No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal."

Exactly. Well said Mr Clegg - the laws we live by should apply to all people. Gender, race, colour and creed have NO part in the laws which govern a country. ARE YOU LISTENING AUSTRALIA?


The mistake people make is thinking that marriage equality is just about gay people. It's not. The injustice, the violation occurs, in that we legislate against part of the population, therefore making discrimination somehow acceptable. Its not. By eliminating discrimination from law, step by step, we are truly working towards a truly equal society. You can't eliminate bigotry from law, but you can eliminate acceptance of discrimination as a cornerstone of the society in which you live.

Which leads me to another national disgrace. Almost like a segue but less pretty. Nauru. A nurse has spoken out about the conditions of Nauru which support the findings of the UN and Amnesty International late last year (see here) and the only thing the Immigration Department is upset about is that she violated the terms of confidentiality that she signed up to when she agreed to work for them. Okay - in respect to individual cases fine but the conditions that exist over there should be so freakin' above board that we could log in to 'Nauru-cam' 24/7 and see a stable, supportive environment like they claim they are providing. 


All our detention centres are a disgrace. We are a first world country who violates UN recommendations and with an election looming are probably going to see this disgrace promoted as leadership by both parties. For the record - if you are in favour of petitioning for a humane approach to asylum seekers (the clue is in the name guys!) - sign up to Amnesty's Behind Bars campaign.

So there I was with my cornflakes almost finished - all steamed up about the state of the world, properly mad and glad about two causes which matter to me - and also upset about the fit of my work dress despite Spanx and state of my hair (I'm human, a compassionate one I hope, but still human), when I read an article about Beyonce at the SuperBowl and I remembered that she admitted to Ellen DeGeneres once that she wears Spanx. And I'll be honest - I felt a little bit better about myself.


Which means I care about things that don't matter as well as things that do. And that my friends is the juxtaposition of the human condition.

2 February 2013

Cancer is a bumhole. Now Donate.

Cancer is a stupid bumhole.  I'd like to put it more violently but recent evidence suggests that at least one of my parents reads my blog on occasion so I'm going to leave it there.  2012 was a particularly crappy year of young lovely people getting cancer.  To the point that I was starting to get a little fed up with the universe pissing on my homies and wishing it would take its stupid stinking cancer bollocks and shove it up the backside of one of the more deserving.

One of those young lovelies is a gorgeous giant of a man known as Rusty.  Rusty was first diagnosed with cancer when his daughter was a baby and she started high school this week.  He's a stage four cancer survivor and a man of incredibly few words.  The kind of guy that makes cancer sound like man flu.  Okay. He doesn't make it sound that bad... he makes it sound annoying, irritable and in no way the violent poisoning of a young healthy body that it is.  He doesn't mention the effect it has on him, his gorgeous almost wifey and his beautiful young daughter.  He doesn't talk about the months and months of his life he has spent in hospital, the failure of remission to remain permanent, the difficultly of building up a small business when you've got to keep popping out for chemo or to have a lymph node removed or some ribs or even just for a lie down because it turns out that no matter how healthy you start, what the disease doesn't fuck with, the cure will.

And Rusty is lucky.  He's going strong at the moment and he has an incredible woman beside him and the love of a beautiful talented daughter who just finds him annoying and dorky because he is her dad.  And he is also lucky because for whatever reason, his big ol' compassionate heart turns his cancer into an inconvenience to be conquered probably because its dragged on so long now it's boring.  Like an old friend who is getting unnecessarily tedious and high maintenance.

So last year, to mix it up, two and half seconds after his last surgery, he decided to support a friend doing the Rottnest Island Channel swim and raise some money for the Melanoma Institute.  I mean its only a 20km paddle.  I could do that.  Provided it was in a kayak equipped with a motor and cocktails.  And that's before we mention the sharks in the water and the bodies washing up on Rottnest Island these days.

And now, because he had to have another encounter with the bitch called Cancer during 2012, he decided to do it again.  I mean, what's a little light exercise for a good cause?  I think he should paddle back as well but apparently he's not taking suggestions from lightweights.

Seriously though.  There is very little I can do to make any of the cancer journeys being undertaken at the moment for people that I love and care for very much, any easier.  Unless they need to outsource profaning and being generally cross at the universe in which case I AM THE MAN! So if in some way, having a blog can help Rusty help the Melanoma institute to sort out a cure for a least one of the stupid things and also support all the brilliant medical staff that have helped him and others on their unchosen journey, I would like to do it.

So this is a blatant, undisguised plea for you to donate to Rusty's latest 'Pay it forward' moment by going to http://melanomainstituteaustralia.gofundraise.com.au/page/MelanomaAwarenessRottoSwim2013.  And know that in donating your fiver, your fifty or your five hundred that you are making a donation for all the beautiful people having the big argument with Cancer at the moment.

See Rusty having a few laconic words on Melanoma Awareness day last year by clicking here.  And click on his photo above right or click on this phrase 'Cancer is a bumhole' to donate

And in the meantime.  If when you think about Cancer you think Cancer is a 'C' word, congratulations on a successful education. Now Donate.  No excuses.  And share this so others do too.  Just the price of a coffee would be lovely, there is no need to go overboard.  But if you could donate three coffees that would be even lovelier.