Friday, June 28, 2013

Good Luck Mr Ho

There is one lone man and his sheep, Baa.

Image from THE AGE Online

They cause no pain to anyone, they don't attack people and they are not intimidating.

But Baa the sheep and Mr Ho seem to be hanging in the wrong 'hood. Because Baa is a sheep, he is not welcome in this town.

Mr Ho could get himself a yelping dog, he could have a boxer that makes people feel uncomfortable, he could have a cat that kills all the native bird life, he could have a rabbit that if it got loose would breed like...well, bunnies.

I would love to have a pet lamb. The idea is not that odd. Our family are farmers, sheep farmers, sometimes they have abandoned lambs that need feeding and care and a warm space, if we didn't have a dog we could have a lamby baa. If you have ever had a pet lamb you know that they soon decide they are people too and they can be wonderful pets, sheep are great fun for kids and take care of the lawn while having poo that can be used on the veggie garden - not like dogs and cats!

Lots of people have chooks in their back yard, kept in little pens and hutches, no one is saying chooks are for out of towners only. Others keep snakes and even turtles, as far as I know no snake wants to exist inside a glass box, but people are still allowed to keep them.

Mr Ho is heading to the High Court. Fighting the lonely fight against bigger groups and so far has costs against him over $200,000. Not a lawyer in sight, they don't believe in him, or Baa, or the right to be able to have a loved pet at your house.

As far as I know the welfare of Baa is not being questioned.

In people years Baa is already geriatric, old sheep generally have bad dental issues so I wonder if Baa would even cope out 'in the wild' of a paddock. While Baa is probably not long for this world, Mr Ho is fighting the fight for people everywhere. Fighting for what he believes in, for what he thinks is fair and right.

In days where politics is filling our screens and papers and the nightly news is filled with horrible violence there are stories of Mr Ho and Baa.

Good Luck Mr Ho.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Raw Chook

Hang around here long enough and you soon realise that I am not known for my cooking, so it may not  surprise you that once upon a time I gave myself food poisoning.

I remember waking in the middle of the night in my funky St Kilda flat and thinking to myself, umm, this is not good.

Initially I thought it was a gastro bug and prepared myself for the usual.

24 hours later I had nearly given up on life and was welcoming death, living on my own at the time I thought I might just be found in a few days if I was lucky. If you have ever had food poisoning you will know what I am talking about. The culprit had been a chicken fillet that I had not defrosted properly, being in a hurry to eat, I half defrosted this piece of soon to be poison in the microwave and then figured it can't be too bad, and I just cooked it, half defrosted and half frozen.

Stupid. Everyone knows you need to defrost chicken carefully.

Except my hairdresser. She was telling me about her super easy working Mums meal - you get the chicken from the freezer, put it straight in to the slow cooker... I told her she was risking her life each time she cooked that meal.

I started telling people about how crazy my hairdresser was and they nearly all responded with comments about doing the same thing at one time or defrosting chicken in the microwave - which maybe is ok if you do it a special way or something.

Some people mentioned how they have cooked a roast chicken - from frozen!

Three years ago I got food poisoning again - not my own cooking this time - and again I could just about see the door bell hanging on heavens door. Fecking chook again.  This time around I had Mr H there who returned from a day out with the girls to find me on the bathroom floor looking half the size I was the day before.

I hardly ever cook chicken these days and never cook a roast chook, I leave that for my Mum to do when she visits.

How about you, has a chook ever nearly made you meet your end?  What are your house rules for cooking a chook?

Monday, June 24, 2013

24 of 91

My new attitude to winter is working. I am soaking up the frosty mornings.

Of course we are just 24 of 91 days along, but so far so good. Yesterday we had pretend sunshine. Do you know pretend sunshine? When the sky is blue, the clouds are gone and the light is bright. But the washing never dries, coats are still buttoned high and the ground is still wet. If you sit inside a window with the pretend sunshine streaming in you can feel great.

And we did.

We played Kerplunk and Pick up Sticks and Hungry Hippos.

We danced to some great new music by Electric Lunchbox while each of our pizzas were cooking.

Popps put on a magic show.

Immy started the day as a cat, insisting on a cat name, spent some time as the cutest unicorn ever to exist and then performed her own rendition of rock a bye baby.

We measured how enormous the biggest tooth in the world was going to be.

Mr H played golf and I listed another car seat on eBay.

I avoided the washing, knowing it wouldn't dry.

We spent a few of the best sunny hours at the park playing with my nephews.

When I tucked Popps into bed she was practicing her knitting, she doesnt want to knit anything, just to learn the skill, this was when I realised that she has no clean uniform for today because avoiding the washing is never a good thing. Praise the inventor of the dryer.

Are you embracing winter? If you do so on Instagram would you mind adding #embracingwinter to your picture so I can pop by and be encouraged by all the other things that can only be enjoyed while wearing thermals.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A tribute to Goldie

Yesterday we farewelled Goldie.

Goldie was once referred to as Goldilocks but it was soon shortened to Goldie, because all of our cars get a name, a very obvious name it seems as our other car was Hi Ho Silver.

Goldie has been a part of our lives since Popps arrived when we needed more of a family wagon and she has taken us well over 100,000kms in that time.

Goldie rarely complained and never had tantrums, as long as she had a belly full of juice and a regular health check she just kept on going. Except for the time that she made me miss Immy's second birthday.  Having to leave your child at creche on their birthday is fine when you know they are going to get a cake with all of their friends and be the 'special' kid for the day. They love it. You also plan to leave work early, pick them up and head home for celebratory dinner and cake and opening of cards in the mail.

Goldie had other plans, she let the fuel pump take a break and left me stranded in a high rise car park with all the other cars piling up behind me tooting their horns. Hours later I had to get the 8pm train home and Goldie got a piggy back from the RACV. Immy's birthday was over and I had barely been a part of it, but having 42 cars backed up behind you tooting is also very stressful.

Goldie delivered us the best Christmas trees.

She drove through farms and up kerbs, she raced us to hospitals and delivered us to celebrations. She has been filled with balloons so you couldn't see out the back and been packed with prams, golf clubs, dogs and bikes all at the one time.

She let little people stand on her roof to try and reach for the planes in the sky.

Last year she got a little chubby and found it hard to fit through our gate which resulted in a picket off our fence getting wedged into her side flanks, there is no other explanation for such a thing to occur. Not long after a taxi pinched her on the bottom and she has had a yellow stripe ever since.

When a tradesman next door parked in a very inconvenient place, Goldie decided to teach him and his brand new ute a lesson and just reversed straight into him. It happens.

A couple of months ago Goldie decided to make life a little more exciting by refusing to let the driver out of the car. Mr H suggested we be all Dukes of Hazard and climb out the window instead.

It seemed the time was coming that we would have to farewell Goldie. Immy was worried and actually cried, because she has a special crayon drawing on the door in Goldie and she won't see it anymore. She won't be able to yell 'slow down Goldie' when I am rolling down the big hill yelling 'no pedals".

The sputtering and the whirring started to become something we couldn't ignore.

It was time to pass Goldie on, to let her go.

Thanks for the good times Goldie.

May you Rust in Pieces.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Roll Up, Roll Up and get the best tickets in town.

There is no reason to stay home and not go out and see a show.

There really is something for everyone on all the time and I have some tickets to giveaway to a few of those coming up in Melbourne.

First up:

Slava's Snowshow

I am going to see this in a few weeks time (adding get a babysitter to the to do list). I can't tell you too much about it as I haven't seen it yet, but if the Sydney gig is anything to go by then this will be worth checking out. It looks like one of those amazing shows you don't want to miss.

Slava's SnowShow will be on at the Comedy Theatre, 17 - 28 July,

I have a double pass to giveaway to someone valued at $158 who is free to see this on 
Wednesday 17 July at 7.30 pm (in MELBOURNE). 

Show Number Two:

Disney on Ice Princesses and Heroes

Our School Holidays are already filling up fast and one of the activities the girls are really looking forward to is the Disney on Ice Princesses and Heroes event. We went last year and I have learnt that it is cold in those places so if you are planning to go my advice is to wear warm socks and boots to keep your toes warm, and take a coat. I also suggest taking home made snack packs, but that is because I hate spending so much cash on all the junk that is on offer at these places.

I am giving one person FOUR tickets to see the show.  
You can take your family or some friends, whatever works for you, but you must be free to attend the performance on Sunday 7 July 2013 at 5pm.  

Show Number Three:

Confessions of a Control Freak

This is one that I won't be able to attend myself, but that is not going to stop me from giving you guys the tickets instead!

Confessions of a Control Freak looks really fun and the blurb reads great:

Feel better about yourself and witness someone way more messed up than you. Former ballerina and self-confessed control freak Belinda Raisin embodies alter-ego Frances in this one woman comedy cabaret about the struggle for balance in a contemporary life. How does a control freak reconcile the conflicting ideas, “I want it all - I want it now” and “I need to slow down - go with the flow”? 
Belinda is joined on stage by pianist Jamie Teh. Totally blind, Jamie has the best ears in the biz.

For all the details or to get your own tickets:

I am giving one person TWO tickets to the show on Tuesday 2 July at 9.30pm, at The Butterfly Club, Carson Place off Little Collins Street Melbourne. 

Show Number Four:

Sing-a-Long Sound of Music

I went to this show last year and I laughed and laughed. Mainly at the other people around me. Everyone was so fanatical about The Sound of Music that they went dressed up as characters of the show, they sang their hearts out with the songs playing, booed and hissed at the Countess and the Nazis and yelled out 'behind you, behind you' like little kids.  It was a really silly, funny night. This year I am going again, but sorry I have no tickets to giveaway because I am taking some friends along with me already. If you think this is something you would enjoy, grab your tickets here, it is playing at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on 16 and 17 August.

Show Number Five:

Unblogged in Anglesea

Alright, so this is not a theatre show, but if all these others are not for you but catching up with other people and enjoying the company and conversation of cool people is more your thing, join a few other people at Unblogged in Anglesea. Sorry, no tickets for this one, everyone is doing their own thing, some are in cabins, some may camp, some already have houses down that way and will just join for dinner. It's just a big talkfest with like minded minds.

That's all Folks, except the important bits: 

To win any of these tickets please leave a comment that includes: 

1) Which show you would like to win tickets to.
2) Why you want tickets to that show.

Comments are open MONDAY 17 June and CLOSE FRIDAY 21 JUNE.  

I will contact people on the weekend, if you have not given me your details by midday on Monday 24 June the prize will be provided to a runner up. 

Good Luck.

P.S. Please note I am moderating comments at the moment so you won't see your comment instantly. xx

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hang it all out

Months ago someone mentioned to me that they don't like the way people use hung when they should use hanged.

It wasn't something I have given much thought to, but then today I was thinking to myself, would that person say "I just hanged out the washing" which sounds ok-ish to me but I would most likely say "I've just hung out the washing".

I decided to ask the question in social media land to see what they said.

The answers were fast. The rules were simple.

Pictures are hung. People are hanged. Coats are hung, unless they are on the backs of the hanged.

Except English is never that simple.

Because as @meaganpitt suggested, sometimes people are hung. A man for instance may be "well hung". You wouldn't say, I met a man who was well hanged, unless he was dead and even then I am not sure anyone would say that.

You can also hang your friend out to dry.

Your brother might hang you from a hook - but not to kill you just to be funny - if you have a brother that can lift you and a coat on.

The girl who wore the odd shoes to work, she should hang her head in shame for making such a fashion blooper, and if she did, does she say to her friend, "Yesterday, I hanged my head in shame when I noticed my shoes." Or is her head the object and so it's "Yesterday, I hung my head in shame when I saw my shoes."

Some people, they get a hangover and then later they talk about being hungover, they are not hangedover. Ever.

So hanged is just for people who are left to die by hanging.

But not those that are crucified. Jesus was hung from the cross and left to die, but he wasn't hanged. ONLY if he was hung from a rope, around the neck, then he was hanged.

However, then we have the song from My Fair Lady, with the following lines:

By law she should be taken out and hung
For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue

Ummm...shouldn't that be hanged?

A very popular song, sung a gazillion times. Apparently changed because it made it easier to rhyme with, but it didn't bother song writer Alan Lerner all that much nor the people who watched the performance year after year. Hung was very easily changed from hanged decades ago and not many minded.

In Australia we don't hang people any more and the term hanged is used less and less and it is not often we see the word in that context.

You never know where words might take you though. Google + now has 'hangouts', people go 'hanging out' with their friends.

Some people just let it all hang out, others say "'hang it all, who cares?"

Tell me, how ya hangin' and do you like to play hangman?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Creative Play for the iGeneration

I just downloaded my photos from our weekend. There were 96 images and only five of them were pictures I had taken.

The remaining 91 were from everyone playing on my phone and taking pictures of what they created.

When we go away we have nearly eight hours in the car. I always pack both the girls a backpack of toys, paper, pencils and craft and I also download a new app or two on the devices we have.

Last week I downloaded Hair Salon 2.

It is really fun.

It is not educational and your child will not learn anything at all.

It is also not a game.

I really like this because you don't go 'out' and have to start again. No one wins, no one has to keep going until just one more level. There is no competition at all, you just play along, being creative and snipping here, growing there, colouring a bit too.

It is just about playing and being silly.

You pick a character and then you do their hair - you can make it grow, cut it, shave it, colour it, curl it, straighten it, add some hair clips or a hat, you can wash the hair and blow dry it or towel dry it. There are six characters to choose from, four males and two females. If anything I would have liked to have seen an equal balance here, not sure why there wouldn't be. Immy only ever chooses the female characters, Popps likes to give the men funny beards and facial hair.

It is simple for the littlest of fingers and fun for the big kids.

Hair Salon 2 is also a good idea to get for someone who is new to touchscreen devices, let them play with this app to really get a feel of how to move around an iphone screen without worrying they might 'break' something.

At four years old, Immy just loves this app over anything else on the ipad or phone. I even lost a little time in front of the fire playing with it myself.

There could be a free version, but I coughed up the price of $1.99 for this one so that there were no adverts or in-app purchases, which are the two things I despise most in apps that the kids use.

Once you are happy with your creation there is a camera button that you can press that takes an image and saves it to your photo gallery for you.

If you want some quiet from the back seat on a long drive this is what you are looking for.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Children's Books that are keepers.

Each year at Christmas time we give both the girls a book that we hope will be a 'keeper'. The type of book they may not love right now, but over time it is one they won't grow out of fast and it will be read over and over for years to come. Sometimes they do love it instantly but the book has so much to it that they get more and more out of it as they grow.

Finding such books is really hard.

The best ones so far have come from Graeme Base. The Water Hole, Uno's Garden and ol' faithful Animalia. These books have beautiful images that small children can look at, you can make up stories to the pictures or read the written story. As the children develop, the illustrations have things to find hidden in the drawings, important messages about the world and even mathematical equations to work out.

Old classics can also work but most are longer books and not as suitable for little kids. Little Women is on the list for the coming Christmas.

I have also found Ruby Red Shoes.

We all love Ruby Red Shoes.

It is a very simple book about Ruby the hare. Ruby is a very 'aware hare' who lives in a caravan with her grandmother, Babushka Galina Galushka.  Ruby has a beautiful garden, with chooks who cheat when they play soccer and who are learning to speak french. Ruby has lots of fun playing with friends and being all cosy in her caravan.

The paper of the book is a high quality thick paper, not 'toddler proof' plastic paper but thicker than many kids books and provides that feeling that you are reading a 'special' book.

Most of all, whenever we read Ruby Red Shoes we are always a teeny bit sad that it is over. We would like to see more of Ruby and her garden and what she is up to.

Ruby Red Shoes is written and illustrated by Australian artist Kate Knapp, Kate and Ruby share a blog, and it looks like they might be in the process of putting together Ruby's next adventure!

Do you have any other books which you consider to be 'keepers'?

Have you read Ruby Red Shoes?

Images are from the Ruby Red Shoes website


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Really, who does this?

I jumped in the lift to go home from work tonight and someone I didn't know walked in as the doors were closing. I couldn't be bothered with any lift conversations so I just looked straight down at my feet.

What the Fruitcake???

Who does this?

Who really wears two different shoes all day and does not realise.

I walked around like this all day and I didn't notice I had different shoes on.

No one said anything all day. They must have been pissing themselves laughing after I left.

Lucky I can laugh at myself.

I sent my sis a text sharing my humiliation, she sent me a reply that simply said.
"You have made my day."

A good laugh is good for your health, today, the laugh is on me.

You're Welcome

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Diary of a migraine

 I am awaking from a migraine. It is a common thing, a regular occurrence for me. I have tried a gazillion ways to avoid them, I have seen many a doctor but the reality is that migraines are just something some of us have to deal with and swim through to the other side the best we can.

Oh the pain. The pain. It hurts.

I knew it was coming on Saturday. So I pretended this one would be ok. It wasn't too bad. I went to bed early, crossing everything that a good sleep would keep it away this time.

By 5 am I was scoffing down codeine. And nurofen. They come together in a neat little package. The package needs to be served with a Fibre gel chaser.

That codeine is no bowels friend.

It takes its time to settle in.

By 5.30am I decide a shower will help. Anything to stop the constant throb while I lie twisting in the dark with the pain.

For some people a migraine attacks their eyes making anything visual difficult. While I have this at times, mainly I find distraction a useful tool. Anything that takes my mind off the pain. It works best if I don't have to move. Reading can work for a short while. TV can work if it is not loud and too glarey. Social media can work too, but no one is there to talk on Sunday morning at 6am.

Because it is a Sunday Mr H is home. By now I have thrown myself into the spare room where no one comes to speak to me. Speaking and interacting can be difficult. It takes concentration and noise and means I have to move my head. I say no to all phone calls and utter one word replies to any questions.

At midday I move myself to the couch. I have a book and allow myself to keep reading it. Immy snuggles in with me, she has sniffy blanky and snorts away at the threads hanging off it. We sit there snuggled in silence.

Popps starts playing the keyboard. Mr H decides he is off to try his new golf clubs.

I call on my codeine package again.

We eat soup I have made the day before for tea.

I finish my book and go to bed but I can't sleep after lazing around all day.

The next day starts with a fresh throbbing pain. I turn to my new migraine friend, Mazalt. I don't know much about the drug. I am wary of it. I am not sure if I should be. It works. It dissolves on your tongue in seconds and then sends me rather spacey. My body feels odd, like I have less control of it and can't rely on it to do what I want it to. The feeling lasts for half an hour before slowly starting to leave and taking with it any pain at all. After an hour the pain is totally gone and I think I should have just taken the Mazalt first up the day before. But I never do, each time I try and beat the pain myself. Drink more water, avoid alcohol, get enough sleep, take a bath, do pilates, use voltaren, drink apple cider vinegar, walk more. Every time the migraine still attacks.

Maybe next time I will grab the Mazalt first and see how the diary goes.