March 31, 2012

Earth Hour 2012



It's almost time!


We've got all our candles ready for this year's Earth Hour. Have you? In a little over half an hour we'll be turning off the lights to join all the millions of people worldwide trying to raise awareness of climate change.


I've always been a fan of candlelight (and not just because it casts a flattering light!) There are so many gorgeous smelling candles around now so we can be environmental AND enjoy the beautiful fragrance. It doesn't hurt that it makes me feel like I'm doing my bit to help protect our planet, either.


So be aware and switch those lights off! See you in 60 minutes!

March 22, 2012

Why I'll be a rock chick til I die...

Especially when I go to concerts like this:



Image: WSDN

I've been looking forward to this ever since I bought the tickets before Christmas. Did I want to see Lenny in concert? HELL, YES. They were my Christmas present to me and I couldn't help but congratulate myself over my brilliant choice of gift. Self-gifting is a practice I have followed for many years and one I wholeheartedly recommend to all:

1. Because we all deserve it

2. You ALWAYS love what you get.



The Provider and I travelled into the city for the concert at Sydney's Entertainment Centre. We parked our car at the Parking Goldmine (for its owners, anyway - God, they must make a KILLING!) and walked around the corner to join all the other cool rockers like us. We shared the obligatory snack on a park bench outside McDonalds and were 'fortunate' also to hear the old man sitting behind us loudly break wind. I quickly turned to reprimand The Provider and threaten never to take him out again, but he shook his head and nodded toward our seating companion. My look must have said it all because Trumpet Bum Man left shortly after.



We found our seats inside and so it began. Supporting acts for Lenny were Wolfmother (Aussie rockers with a love for hard rock guitar, an awesome performance) and the Cranberries (they were okay but I'm not a real big fan). Two hours later we were pumped with anticipation and dead keen to see the coolest rock legend take the stage.


We were NOT disappointed.


Image: TripleM / Ashley Mar

First song off the bat was his new one, "Come On, Get It' and boy, did we ever. I was in rock chick heaven. It may have been 18 years since Lenny was in Sydney but man, time has stood still for this dude. He looked HOT, sounded fucking AWESOME, and made my ovaries jump up and dance their little egg-packed socks off.



 In short, HE ROCKED US SENSELESS.

Image: Triple M / Ashley Mar

Image: WSDN

He sang all my faves - 'American Woman', 'Rock & Roll is Dead', 'Fields of Joy', 'Mama Said' & 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' but the highlight was his encore, 'Let Love Rule' which included his walk through the crowds of people, right up to the very back. I can tell you from my own close-up experience of less than 2 metres (!!) that Lenny is one ripped and very sexy individual in the (hot and sweaty) flesh. He's also very tall which was handy for the half a dozen security blokes following him, probably freaking out at the risk of being mown down by the hundreds of over-excited women throwing themselves into the path of Luscious Lenny. I know the blonde chick in high heels trying to run along the top of the row of seats behind us certainly had that in mind.


Almost two and a half hours later, it was over. Our ears were ringing, our throats were dry and our voices croaky. But everyone who left that building agreed - we had just seen the most amazing performance by the coolest rock legend around. The Provider and I agreed, it was worth every cent. Don't wait 18 years until the next time, Lenny. Let love rule, baby xxx



Were you there last night? What did you think? Or if not, who have YOU seen in concert lately?

March 19, 2012

Breakdown, take down, you're busted...




Well, shit.


Our old washing machine has carked it. Which is a real pain in the arse because we were only using it temporarily to buy The Provider some time so he could fix my other, newer, washing machine. Yes, that's right. It's newer... but it's broken. Kinda like having a iPhone with a smashed screen. All show but no finish. *sigh*


Newer machine needs a bearing or something. Older machine needs...? Wouldn't have a clue. All I know is it won't spin and it keeps beeping at me. Add to that, the weather is total shit. Which means TONS of dirty clothes. I'm going to need a phone number for the nearest laundromat and a bottle of something medicinal for me if the situation isn't rectified soon.


I knew I should've just called a technician when the first machine broke down. You should always trust your gut on these things, godammit. The Provider is your typical tradie, flat chat and no time to do any kind of home maintenance at his own house. And laundry is something I do EVERY DAY. Miss one wash and the situation gets dire very quickly.


God, I hate it when karma kicks my arse.

March 17, 2012

Rules of Life...




I'm going to put something out there that might make me seem a bit of a goodie-two-shoes. Which I'm not, not really. So here it is:


Rules are NOT always made to be broken. And for good reason.


Rules are part of everybody's life, whether we realise it or not. They form the framework from within which we operate in our society, our homes, our schools, our workplaces. Life would be unrecognisable without them. Just imagine the chaos.


I read on Mamamia the other day about the case of a Queensland school boy who refused to cut off his long rat's tail in accordance with their school uniform policy. The school is giving the boy a detention every day until he cuts it off. The father is saying he will take this matter all the way to court if the school doesn't back down.


I think he is totally missing the point and sending the wrong message to his son. This was an ideal opportunity to teach him an important life lesson. That sometimes you have to do things you don't like. And even though you don't like it, you still have to do it. Just suck it up and get on with it. It's just a rat's tail, for god's sake. Chop. It. Off. Hang it up at home.


I have had similar conversations about school uniform with Son #2.  He (and loads of others at his school, I've noticed) like wearing black socks instead of white ones with their uniform. (I have NO idea why, don't ask) The school has sent home reminders about uniform policy in their newsletter - specifically mentioning that their uniform is white socks - creating a few heated discussions between my son and I on the subject.


"But they look heaps better," he says. "I don't care," I say. "You can wear black socks any other time but between the hours of 8am and 3pm, they have to be white because THAT'S WHAT THE UNIFORM POLICY SAYS."


I'm not advocating squashing a person's individuality to their own detriment but I don't think abiding by the rules does that. I don't have anything against black socks. They can be worn all the time when he's not at school for all I care. But rules are rules. And they were all clearly written on the enrolment form we signed, remember?


But it's not actually about the socks. Or the rat's tail. It's about teaching kids discipline and respect for authority. That you can't go whining to the nearest mate/parent/media outlet to make an exception when you come up against a rule you don't like. As parents we shouldn't be encouraging and/or supporting behaviour like this Queensland father is. Rules are a fact of life - we all have to abide by them. Finding a loophole or an escape clause won't do kids any favours come the time they have to look for a job. 


Rules are important. We have road rules for driving, a legal system of laws and standards of behaviour to follow. In sport there are rules of the game. All come with their own penalties if you break them. That's where parents come in.


The sooner we start educating our kids by enforcing consistent and fair rules, the better off they'll be in the future.


So what do you think? Are rules made solely for the purpose of being broken? Or are you a regular rule follower and proud of it?

March 11, 2012

Better dead than red...

I spend far more time than I care to think about doing laundry. Every day will see me washing at least TWO loads full of clothes. It's one of life's constants. We're a house of five so there's always something to wash. Especially when you have kids and their idea of cleaning is picking everything up off the floor and throwing it in the laundry.


Being a SAHWM (stay at home working mother) I'm the 'lucky' gal who gets to deal with it, for wont of a better turn of phrase. Other phrases to describe this delightful household chore might also include: mindless occupation, boring job, necessary evil, pain in the arse, etc, etc.


But I'd like to add one more to the list: quite possibly dangerous.


Because look what I nearly TOUCHED WITH MY HAND while folding towels that I'd just taken off the airer outside:



Be still my beating-out-of-my-chest-heart and pass me the frikking Mortein.


For the record, I HATE spiders. With an especially strong aversion to the ONES THAT ARE POISONOUS.


The Provider happens to be, amongst many other things, a pest controller. As any tradies wife will tell you, your own home is the last place they tend to work as everyone else's paying job seems to get done first. However, I have firmly suggested that he find the time to spray our place or I shall not be responsible for the sudden HALT to the supply of freshly laundered clothes.



What kind of creepy crawlies freak YOU out? And who deals with them at your place? 

March 8, 2012

Yes, Virginia...miracles DO happen.



If you have a child between the ages of 3 - 13, then you'll know where these outlandish looking creatures are from. Skylanders is a video game that was released late last year and has since gone gangbusters in the popularity stakes all over the world. The family-friendly game gets you to explore different lands, collect treasures and solve puzzles. All really cool stuff that kids just love.



Players take on the role of the impressively titled 'Portal Master' (who dreams up these names!) who can control heaps of different characters. Each character has its own little plastic figurine that you place on the accompanying Portal to bring it into the game. 
 
 
But here's the stroke of genius by the game manufacturers - the starter pack comes with just three characters to get your collection going, leaving you with the 'option' (like there's a choice!) of purchasing the remaining characters individually.... ALL 30+ of them.


It's brilliant marketing at its finest. And equals pure frustration for parents! Because in this house, Son #3 is caught, hook, line and sinker.


As a child with autism, Son #3 has a tendency to become quite fixated on things. Especially things he LIKES. The extensive range of Lego Hero Factory toys currently arranged in a particular order on my lounge room coffee table stands as clear testament to this fact. In his mind, when you like something you have to collect it ALL so the collection is complete, otherwise what's the point?


Which brings me to why I posted this today. He was given the Skylanders game for Christmas last year among other things, as well as some money. Naturally he thought he'd buy some more figurines to boost his collection but they have been about as rare as hens teeth. Or sunshine in Sydney. We could not find any for love or money and it wasn't for the lack of trying. I've looked everywhere! I even saw one shop that had a rather terse handwritten note pinned to the register saying "NO, we do NOT have any Skylanders!! We do not know when they are coming in!" The underlying subtext being "So back off! Don't ask! FFS! We're sick of talking about them!" No word of a lie.


I was starting to get a little desperate. But today, halle-frikking-leujah, we had ourselves a little miracle.


To my eternal undying gratitude, a good friend of mine (thanks Mrs A!!!) phoned this morning to tell me that she'd seen new Skylanders stock in a local Big W. She'd already grabbed a whole heap of them for me and would I like to meet her down there before they all disappeared off the shelves? Is the Pope Catholic? Hell yes, I sure would.


I'm finally home with 9 of these little figurines sitting on my desk. Looking very smug in their plastic packaging too, I might add. They'll be sold out already, I bet. But my work there is done: Skylander-gate is over (for now), Christmas money is all spent and I have the warm fuzzy glow of anticipation warming my heart at the thought of the very happy 11 year old boy I'll have this afternoon. *high fives*

March 5, 2012

Housework vs Health...

My health has been less than fantastic over the last two days (and it was a huge weekend - my birthday on the Friday, another wedding on Saturday AND my wedding anniversary on Sunday... seriously, the timing of this really sucks) and apart from knowing that I felt like crap, the state of my house was a prime indicator of this fact as well. Thank God we didn't have any visitors.



After a night of feverish sweats and a throat so sore I could barely swallow, I spent most of yesterday on the couch sleeping. I made a half-hearted attempt to clean up before The Provider told me to leave it (I didn't need much persuading, let me tell you). Dinner was literally what we could find in the freezer and then I staggered to my bed early with two panadol.  I don't remember much after that.


A new day and the start of another school/working week began with dishes piled up high in the sink, dirty washing attempting to sneak out of the laundry door and all manner of detritus littering every flat surface in the house. It was enough to make me want to go back to bed! The Blokes Wot Live Here had obviously been flat out doing everything BUT cleaning up. How hard is it to put all the empty plastic bottles/cans/glass bottles in the recycling bin? Or empty the rubbish bin? Or unpack the dishwasher? Honestly.


I'm now back from the doctor's, antibiotics in hand and have started the first of many loads of washing for the day. It's just as well I don't get sick very often, you know. Life as they know it would change very, VERY quickly. However, the sun is out at long bloody last and there's a good chance the washing might actually dry before days end. So that's a plus. I'm all about looking for the upside right now -- I'll need it to get me through the massive amount of work I have to do here today!


What did you do over the weekend? And how's the weather at your place?

March 1, 2012

Hi, Noah? I was wondering if I could borrow something...




Today, summer officially ended. Then the rain set in.


And I resigned myself to another week of trying to work through the never-ending Mother Of Mountains that is our family's ridiculously huge pile of dirty, smelly laundry. Impressively large at the best of times, when it rains I swear it doubles in size overnight.


The only one who doesn't mind this is Spencer. To him, MOM represents all that is good and great about living with people. Because they sweat. And they stink up stuff. He thinks it's FANTASTIC. And it can never be too sweaty or too smelly.


You should see him when I open the laundry door -- he's straight in there, sniffing and smelling, before plonking himself down right in the middle of it with a deliriously happy snort. One of his fave items are the Provider's stench-ridden work socks; he buries his nose in them. I think he's crazy. He's thinks he's the luckiest dog in town.


As I type this we have rain, rain, and even more rain lashing our city and state. And more is forecast to come, FFS, if that's even possible. They're even saying that the main dam in Sydney could overflow. Remember the days of water restrictions and not being allowed to use the hose to wash your car? And how we all snorted at that, because using buckets wasted heaps more water than the hose ever did? *sigh* Oh irony, thy is cruel and unfair.


Son #2 is getting a more than a little peeved about the crap weather too. Training after training has been cancelled, fuelling his annoyance. He has been desperate to get out on the rugby field again. "Oh what? It's cancelled? Again? You're kidding me. It's supposed to be summer!"


Well yes, darling it is, but summer has gone on hiatus this year. Hopefully, she'll not forget us next time. Still a few people around with a sense of humour though. After cancelling training for the second time in a row, Son #2's rugby coach joked that we'd all be kayaking instead next week.


I laughed when I read his text. But then thought, shit. At this rate, he mightn't be that far wrong.


Stay dry, darlings.
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