May 27, 2013

27/5: Music for Monday...


Everyone in my house had Monday-itis this morning. Except for my eldest. He was up and out the door by 6am. The only reason I know this is because our resident feline diva had been literally walking all over me since 5.30. How freaking hard is it to find a suitable spot to plonk yourself down on, I ask you?

A few seconds later - in truth an hour and a half but it honestly FELT like only seconds - the alarm went off. Let's get this wagon train a-moving! Except that no-one was keen. Just very slooooooooow.

I had to wake up Son#2 THREE times before he eventually surfaced with a muffled 'Wha...?" from under his doona. Rise and shine, baby, I was thinking. If *I* can get up and get my shit together, then surely you can too. I'm a night person, remember?!


Things can only get better from here. I hope.

Today's song is a more recent tune - one I heard on the radio over the weekend while out and about. I was enjoying one of those sport-free weekends - a very rare occurrence in this house - which came about after a few days of very heavy rain. Spence and I were enjoying an invigorating Saturday morning walk in the autumn sunshine and this song kept me moving with a spring in my step. I liked it so much I've added it to my iPhone's music playlist. See what you think!

Hey baby won't you look my way
I can be your new addiction
Hey baby what you gotta say
All you're giving me is fiction

I'm a sorry sucker and this happens all the time
I found out that everybody talks
Everybody talks, everybody talks (too much)

Neon Trees - Everybody talks

Happy Mondays, people.

May 13, 2013

13/5: Music for Monday...

I thoroughly enjoyed all the pampering of yesterday but today it was back to work! You can tell when I have a day off, that's all I'm sayin'.

Image source

Three loads of washing were washed and hung out, two baskets of clean clothes folded and put away, breakfast dishes sorted, kitchen benches wiped down, hard floors vacuumed and mopped, dog walked and all was done before 11.30am! Phew. I can clean like a woman possessed when I'm in the zone.

But it also helps when there is an incentive, am I right? And this was a doozy. One of my Mother's Day presents from yesterday was a gift voucher for a one hour massage at my favourite beauty salon, the appointment scheduled for 12.30 today! Oh yes. One thing I must say about my boys - they definitely know what I like!

AND what I need. Because OH MY GOD, did I need it. There were knots in my neck and shoulders I swear have been there for months. And the massage therapist found every. Single. One. I did not want her to stop, the release of tension was sheer bliss! SO DAMN GOOD.

Have you noticed it's always a bit of a lottery with the range of 'relaxation style' music each salon has piped through their treatment rooms? I think they must all buy from the same music catalogues. I've been in enough salons over the years to be thoroughly sick of Enya, Tubular Bells or Clannad. We need to think outside the box, people!

Here's a suggestion for their playlist. Not a hint of chanting, wind chimes or flutes in this, I can assure you. Just very mellow and highlighted by a soulful guitar. I could listen to this particular artist all day. Twice I have seen this song performed live and both times, Sting was nothing short of incredible. What a talented musician.

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold

Sting -Fields of gold

Happy Monday, people.

May 11, 2013

The Magic of Mothers...

I adore this picture. It's a mother's love, shining pure and bright for all to see.

My mother and I have had our share of ups and downs over the years although I'm glad to say they've mostly been ups. I think she'd agree that my teens were probably the hardest period of all, probably not helped by the fact that we're actually very alike. It's only now - as I'm getting older - that I fully realise and understand this. 

"Hi Mum. I want to apologise in advance for
the grey hair I'm going to give you..." 

Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs out. No pay, on-call 24/7/365 days a year, no holidays. No instruction booklet available, just work it out yourself, thanks very much. It wasn't until I had children myself that I truly appreciated everything my mother has done for me, indeed what it actually means to BE a mother. It's a tough gig with not much to show for it at times. 

Heading home... circa 1966.

Thanks, Mum. Seriously, THANK YOU. You've always been there, my rock, my champion, my fiercest supporter. Whenever I've needed a strong female role model, you've shown me the way. All things considered, I think we've navigated the mother/daughter seas very successfully, don't you? Love you to the moon and back. Can't wait to see you in July!!

I'm looking forward to a relaxing Mother's Day at Chez WSDN tomorrow morning. On the to-do list is a sleep-in, a cup of tea with my Sunday paper (with time to read it) followed by a lazy lunch and a rugby game to watch in the afternoon. Can't get much better than that.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day, dear readers. And big hugs to all the mothers for everything they do. I hope you have a relaxing and joyful day with your families.

What are your plans for Mother's Day? And for those mums, what's on your present wish list for tomorrow? 

May 6, 2013

6/5: Music for Monday...

I have this quote printed on a magnet. I've had it for ages. I can't remember where I bought it (probably one of those spontaneous purchases at the cash register) but I do remember the first time I read it. 


I've added that to my bucket list. How invigorating would that be! Imagine standing on the edge of a cliff on your own; the air around you, still and portent. Suddenly you take a huge breath and let loose with the biggest scream of your life. The first time you do it, you might feel stupid. Self conscious, even. But then you gather yourself and try it again, putting all your angst and frustrations into a blood-curdling scream that soars out into the open space beyond. You listen to the echo bounce back to you.


After all that screaming, it stands to reason that you'd feel some kind of release wouldn't you think? Which could easily be extended and enhanced for a much longer period of time with a relaxing weekend away at an indulgent spa? Where can I sign up for that? I know, I know, I'm projecting but for the record, I like my bubbles in a tall crystal glass, ploise.

So as a tip of my hat to quote writer Carol Shields, I thought today's selection should reflect our continual search for a truer, deeper meaning of self. This particular legendary band sprang to mind -  when you need lyrics with meaning, you'd be hard pressed to go past them. They've got a repertoire so extensive you can find a song for almost any situation. This one happens to be one of my favourites... its iconic opening guitar solo speaks to my soul in a way no other does. 

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for 
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

U2 - I still haven't found what I'm looking for

Happy Monday, people.

May 5, 2013

Ghosts of holidays past...

Just before the Ninja Boy turned 4, we decided to take a family holiday to New Zealand. Ten years had passed since our last visit and I was desperate to take my boys to see everyone back home. The decision was made to go for 12 days during the winter school holidays in July. We'd start at my mother's place in Blenheim at the top of the South Island and drive down south to where my brother lived in Queenstown.

It was an exciting prospect. New Zealand is at its most spectacular in winter, especially in the South Island. The Southern Alps stretch like a jagged zip down the centre of the island, providing an impressive snowcapped backdrop to every picture postcard view. I've always thought of it as God's Country, because the serenity? Is simply magnificent.

But every time I thought about stepping on that plane, my brain was consumed with worry as well as a short list of all the things that could go wrong.

This trip was a very different proposition from all others we'd ever taken before, you see. 18 months prior, our youngest son had been diagnosed with Austism Spectrum Disorder. This news, quite understandably, had changed the landscape of our lives completely. In a turn-it-upside-down kind of way. We were still on a very steep learning curve with early intervention therapy but we'd already had elements of substantial progress. Managing the everyday challenges on a daily basis was becoming less of an issue but to even be contemplating travelling with him on an aircraft? An enclosed space where he couldn't get off? Something else ENTIRELY.

Anxious does not even begin to cover the myriad of emotions I felt. We'd never attempted anything as ambitious as that. How the hell would it work? Right from the word go I knew the sheer size of the airport building and its hordes of surging, noisy crowds would be sensory overload for the Ninja Boy in mere minutes. Going grocery shopping for 15 minutes was too much for him. My brain was already mapping out the likely scenarios of what could happen and none of them were particularly pleasant. The stress was building and we hadn't even booked the tickets!

As it turned out, we had a great trip. With a few meltdowns here and there which weren't as bad as my massive bouts of anxiety had led me to fear. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

Customs in both Australia and New Zealand were fantastic, graciously allowing us to go through the gate last, so that when we got on the plane it immediately began taxiing to the runway for take-off, there was no hanging around. The Ninja Boy spent a good portion of the flight lying on the floor underneath The Provider's seat, curled up with a blanket and a pillow. In his mind it equalled less pairs of eyes able to see him down there so that's where he stayed until landing. This coping mechanism was to be repeated a lot during our holiday - the Ninja Boy often sat under the table to eat his food - it was only there he felt more in control and less stressed, so we simply rolled with it and carried on regardless.

I was reminded of this holiday earlier in the week when I came across a picture we took at the time. The Ninja Boy had looked up as he was crouching on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. He'd been transfixed by all the rounded stones, fascinated by their shapes and colours. I swear, during that trip he must have thrown a quarry's worth of stones into the water/snow or river!

Looking at this picture reminded me how far he has come since those early days. His life at 12 is a far cry from where it used to be. The woman in that photo could only dream about the sorts of things the Ninja Boy is doing now. Thinking of the future was often in the 'too hard' basket - I was flat out dealing with what was happening today let alone five, ten years from now. I didn't know it then but I shouldn't have worried. He has taught me to appreciate the positive in every step forward and to focus on what we CAN do, not on what we CAN'T.

A good way to live for all of us, I think.

Have you ever travelled with a special needs child? How did it turn out? Where's the best place you and your family have holidayed?

April 29, 2013

29/4: Music for Monday...

Another Monday and the start of another week. Can you believe it'll be May in two days??

The countdown has begun for school to start (this Wednesday, woohoo!) although I may be more excited about it than the boys are. The house will finally be mine! *cue manic laughing* Rooms will miraculously stay clean all day. Serenity and calm will permeate the air. Work will be accomplished and study will be completed. That's the plan, at least. I'll let you know how it works out.

Plus there'll be a helluva lot less food preparation going on. That right there will save me SO much time. Seriously. The amount of food chowed down in this house over the past two and a half weeks is nothing short of ridiculous. You'd think we were a house of 10 adult men, not a family of 5. I honestly don't know where they put it.

All I know is that I'm tired of hearing male voices whining: "Muuuum! There's nothing to eat." 

Because the thing is, there's PLENTY. Fruit, bread, cheese, eggs, milk, bacon, ham, two minute noodles... literally oodles of food. DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING?

Apparently, yes. Yes, I do. Roll on Wednesday, ploise.

One voice I am enjoying hearing is the TV show 'The Voice'. We finally have new outfits for the judges (thank goodness) and the competition has ramped up to a 'sink or swim' atmosphere. Some singers have thrived, while others have been absolute shockers. Song choice is so important, is it not? 

The Voice has been a constant source of inspiration for MFM song choices lately and the last couple of episodes have been no exception. Today's selection is a KILLER song. I absolutely loved it in 1990 when it first came out, and the contestants did a pretty good job in the Battle Round, especially Shawne. 

Turn this up loud!

I always thought that our relationship was good
You played the role of having sense
While I always played the fool
Now something's different
I don't know the reason why
Whenever we separate
I always want to cry

Oh no, please not that again
Love rears up its ugly head

Living Colour - Love rears up its ugly head

Happy Monday, people.

April 25, 2013

How do you like your steak? With the fire brigade or without?

If it wasn't for the fact the BBQ gas bottle turned out to be empty, this episode would never have happened.  

In the past we have teased the Provider about his historically bad cooking skills (in all truth, this has been a little unfair) but after last night, let me tell you, he will have a hard time EVER stopping us now. It is destined to follow him for the rest of his days, poor bugger.

It was our usual Wednesday night. The boys and I had just returned from a solid rugby training session. They were tired and starving so I'd settled them down to a meal of store-bought BBQ chicken (the Ninja Boy) and a huge slab of bacon and egg pie I'd made earlier (Son#2). The Provider had spied a few thick steaks in the back fridge and thought, "You little beauty!" and figured he'd BBQ those suckers for himself and give what he didn't want to the dog. Good plan. Or so I thought.

It all started to go pear-shaped when he discovered we'd run out of gas for the BBQ. "I'll just cook them in the frypan inside then," he says. No worries, I thought distractedly. I was halfway through my own piece of bacon and egg pie while sitting at the counter reading a magazine, so I wasn't really paying much attention to what he was doing. When will I learn?

A few minutes later, I was aware of hearing the sizzle of steak meeting hot pan. Things escalated when he made a call on his mobile while the meat was cooking, a rookie mistake if ever there was one. I've always said men (in my house, at least) are hopeless multi-taskers.  Shit ALWAYS happens when you're not paying attention.

Our extractor fan over the oven is about as much use as tits on a bull and those steaks were smoking like lapsed nicotine addicts... said smoke billowing up over our heads, hugging the length of the kitchen ceiling and being sucked up the stairs. Cue the smoke alarm up there to lose its shit and start wailing. A few minutes later as the smoke increased, the main, hardwired, back-to-base house alarm went off. 

That's when pandemonium ensued. Picture this, if you will: 

Smoke everywhere

Unbearably LOUD mofo siren SCREAMING

Both the Provider and I frantically fanning the smoke alarm sensors to shut them up

Blue light of house alarm flashing, siren WAILING

Phones ringing (the call from the alarm monitoring company)

Dog howling and barking, not happy with the WAILING

Kids telling us to turn the alarms off

My brain finally engaged when I punched in the right code on the keypad to silence the screeching mother of a banshee house alarm. I then rang the security company to tell them that no, it was NOT a fire, just my husband failing spectacularly at multi-tasking. 

Was both embarrassed and dismayed to hear that despite this, the fire brigade had already been despatched and "once we call them, they have to attend." OH CRAP.

And all because of some charred pieces of meat. 

It's all happening here...

A very short time later, the fire brigade showed up. With not one but THREE firemen. I immediately told the Provider that HE was in charge of explaining why they were here.

The Provider was most apologetic, sharing the story of his little faux pas in the kitchen. The Firemen Three were very understanding and revealed this wasn't the first time they'd been called out for a burnt steak. It happens a lot more than you think, apparently.

In a way though, their prompt attendance was very reassuring. Once our call came in to the station, within 60 seconds those boys were up, dressed in all their gear and on the truck heading out. You couldn't help but be impressed. I know *I* was. And from the comments on Facebook and Instagram I got after posting this picture, there were more than a few gals who were too!

I may burn steak MYSELF if this is what shows up...

In the heat of the moment (pardon the pun) I totally forgot to ask the boys their names but they delivered everything you could ask for in a fireman... a speedy arrival, extremely professional with excellent senses of humour to boot. Many thanks, fellas and my sincere apologies for the false alarm. I hope the rest of your night was uneventful. There will be no more steak here until I fill the BBQ gas bottle, I promise!

On a serious note, later we all sat down and talked about what our family would do in the event of an actual emergency. Having that plan in place before something happens is important, a fact only too clearly demonstrated to us earlier. When all you can hear is the wail of a siren, staying calm and thinking straight can be incredibly hard to do.

Have you ever had to call the fire brigade? Does YOUR family have an emergency plan in the event of a fire? Who cooks the steak at your place?

April 22, 2013

22/4: Music for Monday...

Image: Channel 9

As regular readers of WSDN will already know, I am a self-professed watcher of the 'The Voice' on Channel 9. Last year I tuned in - mostly out of curiosity - and before I knew it, I (and the rest of the country) was hooked, ensuring my attendance in front of the telly every night. It was all about the singing. The emotional theatrics. Seal's unusual outfits. Keith's incredible song lyric knowledge. Joel's toothpick. Delta's facial expressions. In other words, RATINGS GOLD.

And this year, they're back. As am I. And there have been a few changes:

  • Ricky Martin has replaced Keith Urban.
  • Host Darren McMullen is under the impression that hair combed forward makes him look 'hip' or something.
  • The clothing allowance for judges has apparently been brutally slashed as they have worn the SAME OUTFITS for the entire series of blind auditions. I don't know how much more of 'peekaboo side-boob' I can take from Delta's jumpsuit. 
  • Contestants need to have the saddest, most tragic backstory possible before applying. This has  created much hilarity on the Twitter feed of late. 

Last night, a woman called Abby Dobson auditioned. She sang an Aretha Franklin song and gave it her absolute all but unfortunately, none of the judges were swayed to hit their buttons. Perhaps she chose the wrong song but she was STREETS ahead of the gal who butchered Radiohead's 'Creep' and still got through. If I never hear that version again it will be too soon. Your thoughts?

For anyone who doesn't know Abby, there's a very likely chance you'll know her beautiful voice. Abby was the lead singer of an Australian band, Leonardo's Bride. They had a massive hit in 1998 with "Even When I'm Sleeping". I have always loved this song and thought I'd remind everyone how beautiful it truly is by featuring it as today's song choice for MFM. 

Don't be confused by my apparent lack of ceremony
My mind is clear
I may be low or miles high off in the distance
I want you near
I love you... even when I'm sleeping
When I close my eyes
You're everywhere

Leonardo's Bride - Even When I'm Sleeping

Happy Monday, people. 

April 18, 2013

There's a light...

"Good evening. I'm Dougal Stevenson and this is TV1 news."

As a kid growing up in 1980's New Zealand, there were only two channels available on the box, TV1 and TV2 (highly original names, I know). There was no argument between my brother and I over which channel was the best, it was TV2 all the way. Mum and Dad, naturally, were keen TV1 viewers  - it had the nightly news and current affairs along with other programmes we felt were 'boring' and too serious. TV2 on the other hand was home to the imports - all the American shows (our favourites were Dukes of Hazzard, The Six Million Dollar Man and CHiPs) as well as local must-watch Kiwi music show, Ready to Roll. Compared to all that glitz and glam, the news didn't really rate as important with us as teens.

We felt very hard done by when the grown ups had control of the telly. There was only one television set in our house (I told my kids this and they thought we were SO deprived) and every night come 6 o'clock, Mum and Dad would switch it to TV1 for the news. We were gutted. Bo & Luke Duke were up to their necks in an awesome adventure with the General Lee on TV2 and we were missing it! Life was so UNFAIR! Wah!

Such good ol' boys...

Fast forward three decades and how things have changed. Now it's me who's the grown up watching the news. And my boys? Are very bloody lucky, is what they are. They're in the other room either playing on a variety of Apple devices at their disposal or watching one of over a dozen cloned-TV2-style channels on another TV set. What a blessed life they lead.

But news has been fairly intense viewing this week. The horrors of the Boston Marathon bombing, the fertiliser plant explosion in Waco, Texas, earthquakes in Iran. I'm conscious of trying to shelter the boys from the more graphic aspects of news as best I can but my attempts are flawed at best. One thing my parents didn't have to worry about was uncensored social media!

Thankfully though, you cannot have 'darkness' without a determined little light. YES! It's the light that COULD, people. And a certain light in particular is shining brightly through all the crap and just so happens to come from the land of my birth. I could not be more proud of my New Zealand heritage than I am right now.

Yesterday the New Zealand government legalised gay marriage, making them the first nation in the Asia-Pacific to do so (and the thirteenth nation worldwide). Good on them. The Kiwis are leading the way again. While I am not holding my breath, I sincerely hope the Australian Labour Party take note. Come on, Julia! NOW IS THE TIME. You have the power. JUST DO IT.

What shows did you watch as a kid? Who else is a news junkie? How do you get it? Internet, newspaper, TV or radio? How do you feel about NZ's decision on marriage equality?

April 15, 2013

15/4: Music for Monday...

Image source

It's day one of school holidays round these parts and so far, we're travelling along pretty well. For the record, there have been no fights. No yelling or whining. Just calm waters and smooth sailing so far.

This state of affairs isn't due to any superior mothering skills on my part nor is it because I've taken drastic preventative measures of sewing my kids lips together in the quest for domestic peace. No, far easier than that and a lot less bloody. Think 'divide and conquer' and you'd be closer to the truth. I had the opportunity to off-load one child (Son#2) to a mate's house for the night yesterday and like any sane woman with two children at home 24/7 for the next almost-three-weeks, I grabbed that baby with BOTH HANDS. You never look a gift horse in the mouth during the holidays, I always say. Especially when your kids don't go back to school until MAY THE FIRST. Give me strength.

Consequently, the Ninja Boy and I have enjoyed a lovely day hanging out together, one-on-one. We took Spencer for a walk and shot the breeze, talking about the things he'd like to do during the holidays (movies, ten-pin bowling and having his friends over for a sleepover) plus we kept an eye out for any wild rabbits lurking in the underbrush. Our local heritage park has loads of them and I see them quite often when walking through. The Ninja Boy was very curious to know if perhaps they knew the Easter Bunny. "If we see one, we'll ask," I told him. Naturally, Spencer was extremely keen to say hello to any rabbit game enough to stick their nose out but alas, they were less than enthusiastic and remained stubbornly hidden from view. The Easter Bunny is safe for now.

I'm just not that in to you, Spence. Sorry.

So here we are - it's Monday - and that means it's music time at WSDN. We've just started watching a new season of The Voice at Chez WSDN and I totally love it (the repetitive editing not withstanding). The blind audition phase has seen some incredible vocal performances so far with great song choices from most contestants. Including this little pearler, yes, it's another oldie but man-oh-man, it's such a goodie. Some songs just stand the test of time, don't they?

The only boy who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was, ooh he was

Dusty Springfield - Son of a preacher man

Happy Monday, everyone.

April 10, 2013

A fresh new look...

Image source

We've been doing a LOT of de-cluttering at Chez WSDN lately. One garbage bin has not been enough for the volume of crap we've been chucking out. I think we need a SKIP. And that's just for the boys rooms.

I think de-cluttering is one of those activities that should be featured on 'Dirty Jobs' because NO-ONE EVER WANTS TO DO IT. And I can understand why. It's dirty, sweaty, labour intensive and time-consuming. Even the mere thought of starting is exhausting. In another past clutter-free-life I might have subscribed to minimalist living but this current one with the Boys Wot Live Here just proves we've all missed the memo. 

Looking around my house NOTHING about it says 'minimalist'. It's more like 'maximumist', to be honest. We have 'stuff' everywhere, on bookcases, tables, couches, chairs. There are rugby boots discarded on the floor, school bags thrown any which way, framed pictures leaning against the wall waiting to be hung, books and papers stacked haphazardly on the kitchen bench. Where does all that paper come from? And junk mail catalogues, OMG. Out with you!

All of this seems a million miles away from when we first moved here. We really WERE minimalist back then. We had virtually nothing in the way of furniture and things you collect when you have a house. 

I'm not kidding. 

We'd moved from a tiny three bedroom townhouse into this 5 bedroom, two storey house that seemed so big, it kinda swallowed us up. I remember standing in our large front room one morning, listening to the echo of my voice as it bounced off the walls in the sparsely furnished space. I'd made a promise to myself I'd only buy good quality items for the house when we moved in, so there were a lot of empty spaces in those early days while we saved up enough money to get the next 'thing' on the list. 

13 years on, we have so much stuff it's ridiculous. School holidays start at the end of the week so I'm determined to continue the Cull. That skip may be needed sooner rather than later.

And in that same vein, things around here are changing too! I'm sure you've all noticed, right? After having the same old look at WSDN for what seems like ages, I decided it was in dire need of a freshen up too. A change is as good as a holiday, right?  

What do you think of WSDN's new look?? And have you tackled the de-cluttering merry-go-round lately? Share your survivor stories here.

March 25, 2013

25/3: Music for Monday...

Howdy! It's a slightly later edition of MFM only due to the fact that I was being extra productive today and you simply can't get in the way of THAT. However it's still Monday here, so I've made it. Just.

Image source

And it's been a good day. I learned something about myself. Many MANY years have passed since I was school age so the daily practice of listening, taking notes and learning is uh, well shall we say, a little on the rusty side? But since I've started this TAFE course, I've discovered my brain really enjoys being pushed out of its comfort zone. Quite a lot, actually. And I GET it, I really understand what I'm reading and that has had the rather pleasant knock-on effect of making me feel somewhat intelligent! I mean, I KNOW I'm no dummy but it's very nice to have validation from the solution section of the module you're studying to see you got the answer right. (I'm studying bookkeeping so there is always a right answer... there are NO shades of grey in accounting!)

But now study for the day is done, dinner has been served and eaten and the Blokes Wot Live Here are now entertaining themselves (thank YOU, Fox Sports) so I'm in serious chill out mode, organising a post-dinner cup of tea and settling myself down to watch another riveting episode of The Walking Dead on my laptop (if you have not seen this show, do it NOW. Seriously brilliant television.)

I must give thanks to Son#2 for inspiring the song choice for MFM this week, not that he'll realise it at the moment. The RugbyBoy is a huge music fan himself but it would be true to say that a lot of his favourite artists are ones I'm not particularly fussed about! However every now and then I'll see a song on his iPod, choices I NEVER would have thought he'd be into. Today's song is one of those. He tells me the category for this is 'Road Trip Music'. And it kind of is. What do YOU think?

Happy Mondays, people x

It's not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together

Jack Johnson - Better together

March 24, 2013

I'm in a Prickly, Moody State of mind...

Image source

*roars* You know it's going to be one of those days when this sums up your mindset perfectly. *more roaring*

Not five minutes ago I totally demolished a large fruit-filled hot cross bun. It had been lightly toasted in the oven and then slathered generously with butter which melted into a gooey pool of goodness, dripping down my fingers as I stuffed it into my gob. Oh my God. So good. Along with a giant coffee, this has only begun to slake the beginnings of my mercurial mood. I am ALL about the carbs today. In a 'gimme, gimme, get out of the way' sort of style. This hormone-flooded body will not be trifled with when it comes to feeding the menstrual swing and after almost 36 years of dealing with it, now I don't even bother. I'd have better luck stopping my breathing, I reckon.

Last week I attended the Digital Parents Conference in the very posh surrounds of Curzon Hall in Sydney. First time I've ever been to DPCon and it definitely didn't disappoint. There were two very busy days filled with various informative panels with entertaining and powerful speakers. They made us laugh and they made us cry. AND by God, they made us appreciate! And be thankful. We have some incredible writing talent here in Australia and I am awed by their bravery and generosity in telling their stories.

There were also plenty of opportunities to meet new and old friends, which in my view is one of the BEST things about going to conferences like these. It is beyond cool to meet the real person behind the blog and sharing a conversation with them is always a huge highlight for me.

There was one other highlight as well. I won a door prize, much to my surprise and delight! Let me take this chance to send my grateful thanks to one of the sponsors, the fabulous people at Red Balloon. Guys, you have NO IDEA how perfect this prize was for me - currently a hormonal, PMS-suffering cranky-pants woman - I mean, who wouldn't love a large box filled with delectable Max Brenner chocolates? Yummmmm. Instant mood lifter, right there.

Timing is so often everything and today that chocolate has been my SALVATION. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So how's your mental state today? New York? Empire? Or perhaps more of a Sunday Snooze?

March 18, 2013

18/3: Music for Monday...

Welcome to Monday and the start of another week! It's a busy one for me.

At long bloody last, Autumn is starting to show itself. FINALLY. It was definitely cooler walking the Ninja Boy to school this morning. Not sure if my trusty sidekick, Spencer, actually noticed (he just wanted to GO! COME ON, LET'S WALK!) but I sure as hell did. It's so much more pleasant when you don't have rivers of sweat pouring down your chest by the time you get to the end of the street.

Our high school is a lovely 12-15 minute stroll up and over the hill and across the park. Sometimes the Ninja Boy and I talk, sometimes we don't, but either way is fine by us. Seriously, it's one of the best parts of my day. We reach the school gate and it's a quick hug for me and a pat for Spence and we wave him off, watching as he confidently walks to class on his own. *happy sigh*

On the walk home I turn my attention to the business of the day - what song to choose? It was decided for me after I hit shuffle and I came across this one; I wonder if you know it? It's from the soundtrack of an iconic movie of a free-wheeling generation and very appropriate for the start of the week, in my opinion. My only advice? TURN IT UP LOUD, BABY!

Enjoy your Monday, people.

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way

Steppenwolf - Born to be wild

March 16, 2013

Out of the blue and into the black...

It gently and quietly occurred to me today, during a brief lull of domestic duties being done around here, that something's missing in my life. Big Time. In a sort-of Marcia Hines kind of way.

Maybe it's YOU.

Life has a strange way of showing you what's really important when you least expect it. Sometimes you get so caught up in the day-to-day stuff, you miss the signs and don't hear the message. I have been distracted and incredibly busy the last couple of months, meaning spare time for writing and general navel contemplation has been in very short supply. It's hard to feel creative when you're mentally under the pump, you know? But you can't keep a wannabe writer down for long so I'm making an effort to be around on a much more regular basis from now on.

To that end, a couple of my regular readers emailed me recently asking if the Music for Monday segments were returning as they really enjoyed starting their week with a song. I'm a music fan from way back too so I'm happy to say they'll be back! As of this coming Monday an actual fact, so keep an eye out.

And in other news, rugby season has kicked in so I'm back to spending countless hours pacing up and down the sidelines watching Son#2 play. And catching as much Super 15 rugby on the TV as I can too. It feels great to be back in the swing of all things rugby. It's like coming home.

So how YOU doing? How're the first three months of this year going? I feel like I'm a little out of the loop here!

February 20, 2013

Right here, write now

Image source

Gosh, hello. That self-imposed writing hiatus over the holidays lasted a little longer than I intended it to (and just when my blog's stats were beginning to show signs of promise. Oh well). But as things so very often are around here, there's been little time to stop and reflect on life and the universe, never mind sit down and actually write about it. Instead I've been reduced to writing countless blog posts in my head while I've been working, or painting, or walking the dog, or grocery shopping or doing SOMETHING other than hanging out here. 

But then yesterday I miraculously found a spare few minutes.  Do you think I could come up with something? Nope. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Talk about your frustrating moment. *sigh*

Eventually, after several coffees, I jumped on the idea I'd tell you about a few things that are putting a spring in my step so far this year. Cue bullet points, ploise:

  • School is BACK now, baby! *cue the sound of angels singing halleleujah* A new era of education has begun in the WSDN household with the Ninja Boy starting high school. We're just one month into it and the news is good: he loves it! I think all the different subjects, new teachers and experiences he's tried over the last four weeks (in an orderly timetabled manner, of course) have been like nectar of the Gods for his enquiring mind. Today was more of the new: he tried his hand at cooking, proudly bringing home two chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies as proof of his efforts in the kitchen (and they were lovely too). It has honestly been the easiest start to school ever, a fact I am incredibly grateful for. Without a doubt there'll still be challenges to overcome in the future but for now it's great, so I'm soaking up all that joy while I can!

  • Speaking of school, there's someone else who's back now too. Or more accurately, there's someone else who has returned after a very, VERY long time. Ten points if you guessed it was me. I have procrastinated for what seems like a ridiculous amount of time but finally I've enrolled at TAFE to do my Bookkeeping Certificate IV. Not sure if my brain has any idea what I've just signed it up for but so far, so good. I'm enjoying the challenge of having to think about something other than what to cook for dinner. Meanwhile, the boys are finding it most amusing that their mother now has homework to do. Ha!

  • Took the RugbyBoy, Son#2, and a couple of his mates to see the Waratahs vs Crusaders trial match last week. I love the Sydney Football Stadium as a venue but man, the traffic to get there absolutely SUCKS. However, it was worth it to be back in the bosom of all things rugby again. We were  incredibly fortunate to meet a few of the Crusaders boys (and the coach too, thanks Todd) who stayed out on the field after the game to chat to fans. The RugbyBoy was beyond thrilled to get a couple of photos with some of his heroes. On a side note, I thought it was a shame the home side couldn't hang around to do the same. Especially when Waratah Management have said they want more fans to come to the games. Ten minutes would have been really appreciated, fellas. Instead, the team headed straight back into the change rooms leaving young fans rather disappointed. Take note, Michael Cheika! Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Crusaders won, 16-14. YEAH. 

There are other awesome things as well, of course, like having heavenly PEACE AND QUIET here between the hours of 9 and 3, rooms that stay clean for longer than 5 minutes and less frequent trips to the supermarket but that all goes without saying during school terms, you know what I mean?  

Long may the smiles continue. So let me throw the question over to you: what's made YOU happy so far this year? 

February 12, 2013

He's a lumberjack and he's okay...

As the lone female living in a house full of blokes, I've learned (over time) that for my own mental health I have to be choosy about which battles I wage. There are some aspects about life with the Blokes Wot Live Here that will never change, no matter how much I wish it would.

I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. Think anything to do with toilets, bodily functions and noise. Separately or collectively.

It would be far too exhausting to argue about EVERY. SINGLE. THING. You simply couldn't do it. Life's too short and I can't be bothered being that anal or bitchy.


Every now and then an opportunity comes along that is tailor made to utilise their instinctive and primal appetite for untold destruction, intended or otherwise.

Today's weapon of choice

Hellooo, you gorgeous thing, you. *cue manly beating of chests and masculine grunting*

Down one side of our house we have a few tall trees from our neighbour's yard that sit very close to the fence. During the last big storm here these trees were swaying so badly they were smacking the side of the house. It was very loud and unfortunately caused one of the roof tiles to break off and fall onto the path below. The Provider went over to the neighbour's for a chat and they both agreed - it was time to give those babies a decent chop!

And it starts...

The boys were keen as to do it themselves, naturally. I found it all rather amusing - try it for yourself - tell a Bloke he can get busy with a chainsaw and watch the spark come alive in his eyes!

Son#1 was only too willing to help...

TIMBERRRRR! Let the chopping up begin! 

In no time at all one tall tree was trimmed down to far more manageable height. Of course MORE chainsawing was needed to chop it all into smaller pieces to be taken away to the tip. *cue more male beating of chests*

Many hands make light work...

Job was done in a short matter of time and as a happy, additional consequence we've discovered more sunlight can reach into the backyard in the afternoon. Awesome! I have more chopping/pruning to come down the track in the garden so it will be nice to call on the boys for a hand when I need it.

Good to have a few would-be lumberjacks around when you need them, hmmm?

January 27, 2013

A two pot screamer...

No, not this one...

May I present to you, Exhibit A.

I'm always amazed by how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

As is my wont at this time of year, I have been avidly watching the Australian Open on television over the last couple of weeks. Nothing says January to me like days/nights in front of the television enjoying the satisfying THWACK of a fluoro yellow tennis ball, belted with pinpoint accuracy around the court. The brilliance of the tennis more than makes up for the lack of sleep that occurs. And when I do actually get to sleep it is only in my dreams that I can rip a backhand winner crosscourt with the ferocity that they do!

Last night was the women's final between Victoria Azarenka and Li Na. Like many seasoned tennis fans, I was looking forward to a tough but entertaining match yet resigned to the fact that I'd have to listen to the annoying shriek of Azarenka every time she made a shot. My Twitter feed was full of it:

And they were just some of the polite ones. There were plenty of others that weren't. Especially the ones casting aspersions over Azarenka's sex life. *cough*

All this chatter about grunting tennis players reminded me of a post I wrote only 12 months ago, lamenting this very thing. I STILL don't understand why they have to do it. Honestly, girls. Is it really necessary? The majority of the top tennis players all manage to play strong, powerful tennis without doing it, so why do you screamers persist? 

I thought it was interesting to note that Azarenka doesn't grunt when she's training. At all. I'd be keen to hear any and all opinions on that.

Tonight is the men's final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. I am a little torn about this match as I like both players - Novak is simply brilliant full stop but Murray has been playing amazing tennis lately and deserves the win. At any rate it will be champagne tennis to watch... and at least this match will be without a 10 minute stoppage for Australia Day fireworks!! Seriously, WTF was with that? I can't think of anywhere else in the world where that would happen. Certainly not at Wimbledon!

Are you a tennis fan? Will you be watching?? Or are you looking forward to a tennis-free TV schedule next week?

January 6, 2013

Letting it all hang out...

Hello and welcome, 2013! How's it going for you guys so far?

We've been thoroughly enjoying the break and the weather has been consistently hot. We've BBQed, swum, lazed around, watched movies and eaten copious amounts of food. We've talked and planned and just generally chewed the fat. We've laughed and joked. In short, we've all just hung out.

It's been wonderful.

The Provider is looking a lot more relaxed these days. In truth, we all are. It's ridiculous how easily I have slipped back into my body's much preferred daily routine of staying up late and waking up late. No current need for the alarm clock helps, for sure, but it's also the pleasant by-product of living in a house with older children (for those of you with young kids there are many sleep-ins in your future, I promise!) No-one moves much before 8am around here at present. I'd be lying if I said I'm not enjoying it.

It's almost over now though because we're back to work tomorrow although the boys still have three weeks of school holidays left. I will be braving the crowds in the shops soon to buy school shoes, uniforms and school books. That 'ker-CHING' sound you may hear will be my plastic card taking a beating. Kids have an annoying habit of growing over the summer, don't they?

What have you been doing over the holiday break? 

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