Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas is almost here! I’ve been so busy pining for a holiday lately, that without me even realising it, it suddenly became December. And now there's only a week and a half left until Christmas.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how much I adore Christmas. It’s not a religious event for me. It’s not about the birth of Jesus, and it’s most certainly not about a fat man in a red suit sneaking into my house while I sleep and leaving presents.
For me, it’s about family. It’s about getting together with all of the people that I love and having a big meal. It’s about giving gifts to my loved ones to show them that although I don’t always say it, they mean a lot to me and I appreciate them.

But while these are the things that I love about Christmas, sometimes life and the people in it don’t seem to want to work with me on this. Some people seem to feel that Christmas is all about obligation, and whinging about Christmas obligations can just suck the fun right out of it in a matter of moments.

Take, for example my step-sister-in-law. This is only our second Christmas together as a family; and for some reason she felt the need to have a very long and complicated discussion (via facebook) about gift giving and who would be gifting to who and how much we were spending. This was while hinting all the while that she didn't want to buy anyone gifts.
As far as i'm concerned, gift giving does not require pre-meditation. The act of gift giving shouldn't be done with any sort of expectation of reciprocation, and most importantly, gift giving should never be done grudgingly. People seem to forget that there is a reason behind it all that isn't just 'because it's Christams and that's what you do.'


Christmas this year has been further complicated for me by crazy family members.
In every family, there are the ‘strange’ relatives. The unusual ones who are crazy or perpetually angry - or sometimes both.

In my family, we have more than our fair share of these, but most specifically my Uncle and Aunt on my Dad’s side. Some years ago, they moved away from Melbourne to a small town about two and half hours drive away. This wasn’t a problem for Christmas lunches, because after years of jumping from house to house at Christams, we had settled into a routine of having Christmas lunch at my parents place. It's the most centrally located place for all of the family, meaning that everyone has the shortest drive possible to spend Christmas with their family. My Aunt and Uncle knew this when they moved, and each year they drove down to see the family for Christmas.

But as the years progressed, my Aunty and Uncle became more and more withdrawn form the family, until they stopped coming to Christams all together.
Then this year, out of the blue, they decided that they wanted my 83 year old grandmother to spend Christmas with them. Only they didn’t want to make the two and a half hour drive to come and get her. Instead, my other Aunt (also on my dad's side) had to offer to give up her regular family get-together on Christmas day and take my Nanna all the way to spend the day with my crazy relatives. And while it sounds nice that my Nanna gets to see her son and daughter on Christmas day, there's one person that got forgotten in it all. My dad. And it's not a case that the two and a half hour drive is too much when the rest of his family lives here. It's that they didn't even invite him.

So I guess that Christmas isn't about family for everyone.


As well as Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles not being around for Christmas lunch this year, my brother and his wife are in England with their three kids, visiting my sister-in-law's family for the holidays.

So it's going to be a quiet one this year. Instead of 18 of us having lunch together, there will be five. But that's ok, because it's five wonderful family members that I get to spend a whole day with. And I get to spend the evening with my new family-in-law, who despite all the trauma of the gift-giving debate, are great people too.

And for me, that's what really makes Christmas.

Whinge Week: Work

Monday, November 21, 2011

After two days of not being at work, I feel as though I should be more relaxed. But I’m not. Instead I spent all weekend feeling like a hermit because I had no plans and did nothing. And while doing nothing, I had no internet access. So I wasn’t even like a good, internet social hermit. I was just a lonely, sad person with no one to talk to and nothing to do but drink.

Then, after a weekend of wretchedness, Sunday night was spent thinking over and over “I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, I don’t want to go to work tomorrow.” My car ride in to work this morning was spent thinking “Why do I have to go to work today? Why do I have to go to work today?”. When I arrived and sat at my desk it became “Why do I have to be here? Why oh why do I have to be here?”

By the time I had read my morning emails I was so agitated that I had to avoid everyone. I need a holiday damn it!!

I may have mentioned before (repeatedly) that one of the things I hate most about my job is the fact that I am the only female employee. At the best of times this is nothing – it can even be mildly amusing. But when your workload becomes so great that you begin to lost control, working with men is a nightmare. They’re disorganised and stupid and they spend most of the time patting themselves on the back for how well they’re doing, when really they’ve just dumped all of their work on me.

On Friday afternoon, right before work finished, the boss called a meeting. He then proceeded to crack the shits at us for not having done some obscure task that was set a few months ago which had to be put aside because we’ve been so busy and so understaffed. As I am at my wits-end with all the bullshit; and since in the best mood I am strictly no-nonsense; I just yelled right on back at him. And while this is not such an unusual thing, because this is the dynamic we have, it always makes me feel like shit afterwards.

In the last two months I have been yelled at, bitched to, back-stabbed and harassed at work and I am so well and truly done with it all that I just don’t want to be here anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve given as good as I’ve gotten. I’ve yelled at a co-worker or two, whinged about them and left work in a rage. But men and women feel differently about this stuff. And men never seem to see the vast workload which leads to this point. They just gloss over that and put down any bad mood to ‘female troubles’. Well, here is news for you men: my real female trouble is YOU. You’re lazy and ignorant. You’re incapable of multi-tasking and you can’t seem to ever talk about anything except cars. You forget that I’m a woman and joke about how annoying your wives or girlfriends are and some of you take to backstabbing when my work shows up how your work isn’t being done properly.

You suck, male work colleagues. You SUCK.

Whinge Week: Sometimes Life is A Pain in the...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In waiting until everything that you want to whinge about piles up into one giant heap, you end up with the problem of not knowing what you want to whinge about first. I guess, logically it would make sense to start at the very beginning, but I’m not sure that starting at the very beginning will give the full effect of how whinge worth things have been lately.

If I were to start at the very beginning, I would start by moaning about my job. But before I complain about my job and how I have a workload so big that I would need an army of office-serfs to get it done before Christmas, I’m going to whinge about something that affects each and every other crappy thing that has happened lately.


Some time during the last two weeks, I did something strenuous. I know that’s kind of vague, but I can’t recall what exactly I might have done that was strenuous, I only know that one morning, I woke up with a slightly painful twinge in my lower back. I put it down to sleeping in an odd position and tried to ignore it.

The universe, of course, decided that since I was ignoring that twinge, it would ramp things up a little to get my attention. When I woke up the next morning, the twinge had become a sharp stabbing. I got up out of bed so that I could stretch it out. Faster than I could stand up, I found myself on the floor writhing in back spasm-ing agony.

‘Fear not!’ I told myself once the pain had eased a little.’ Your sister is a physiotherapist! You’ll be fine!’. And as a good sister does, she immediately came to my house to work her magic. Half an hour of painful poking and prodding later, my lower back was taped up and I had an ice pack in hand and a belly full of Nurofen. As I headed to bed that night I felt relaxed and I was convinced that by the next day, I would be fine.

I’ve always wondered why people with back pain make out like they’re the most hard-done-by people in the world. Now I have a fair understanding. When I woke the next morning, the pain was excruciating once again, and it stayed that way for quite a while.

For the following week, my back was a constant source of pain. It was fine provided I didn’t try to do silly things like bend, stretch or move in any way; but you really don’t realise how much bending your spine does until it doesn’t want to do it anymore. Even something as simple as coughing becomes a giant pain the...well, in the back.


Now, there is a reason that my stupid back has been my first post during whinge week. This little tale of my back pain woes is something to keep in mind during the rest of whinge week. Because every single crap thing that has happened, every annoying person or irritating moment that I have come across recently – all have been accompanied by a sometimes stabbing, sometimes aching, always agonizing back pain. And when people and things suck, a pain in your back makes it all suck even more.

So to excruciating back pain caused by a mysterious strenuous activity, I say this:
You SUCK, back pain. You suck.

Commence Whinging

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

With the huge workload I’ve had at my job recently I haven't really found myself with a lot of time for writing, and when I have found time, all that comes to mind is a whinge about how busy I’ve been and how I have no life. I've always tried to stop myself from whinging too much on here, because I figured once I started it would be hard to stop; and if people wanted to hear someone complaining, they wouldn't have escaped to the internet in the first place.

So a few days ago, I finally mustered up the motivation and creativity to write something. It was a glorious little piece about some observations I had made regarding wine drinkers. The writing started slowly, but after a little while the words began to flow and I ended up with a fantastic, tight piece of writing that I was proud to post after my lengthy absence.

Then, as I copied and prepared to paste my writing into blogger, the unthinkable happened. My computer crashed.

Luckily, I am well prepared for such an eventuality. I save my work almost obsessively for just this reason. So I hit the reset button, and waited for windows to reboot. A strange message flashed across the screen, suggesting that I run a check disk. Impatiently, I opted to skip the check. The message disappeared...and the computer restarted. Same message again. This time, feeling slightly more cautious, I chose to run the check disk. The message disappeared...and the computer restarted.

And with that, my wondrous blog post, along with everything else on my PC disappeared into the great and mysterious virtual void.


That moment there; that brief but devastating moment; was the beginning of what seems to be the universe's attempt to make my life very difficult for a while. So many annoying, upsetting and painful things have happened to me in the last few days that I need an outlet for them all. And despite my attempts to keep this blog whinge free, there comes a time when whinge I must.

And so begins my 'Week of Whinge'. For one whole week I’m going to be totally self-indulgent and just write about how bloody annoying everyone and everything is at the moment. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me to feel a bit better.

So read away and feel free to join in by commenting and sharing your own similar experiences; or judge me and call me a grumpy old lady - but if you choose to do the latter, keep it to yourself. For one single week, I intend to complain without feeling guilty, so 'suck it up princess' type comments will be deleted - and then possibly whinged about. Because everyone needs to complain once in a while without fear of being permanently dubbed a 'whinger'.

And that is all I have to say about that. For now.

Let the whinging commence.

Jargon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One of the funniest things about working in the play industry is the terminology. In fact, you often overhear parts of conversation that could easily be mis-understood should your mind be dirty enough to make the connection (and alas, mine is).

Just this morning I overheard this little snippet of conversation between one of our sales guys and a customer:

Sales Guy: Did you check out David’s balls while you were down there?

Customer: Yeah, I had a feel of them, and they’re quite different to mine.

Sales Guy: Oh really?

Customer: Yeah, they were a lot firmer. I would prefer if mine were like that too.


The knowledge that you have to keep a straight face during a conversation like this somehow makes things like toilet humour so much more hilarious than they would otherwise be. And things seem to have a dirtier undertone to them once it becomes inappropriate to laugh. For example, it’s not appropriate to laugh at ball jokes while talking about kids’ playgrounds, yet somehow that only serves to make it funnier.

For the record, it was actually a conversation about a playground ball pit.

Personal Subtitling

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No voice? No Worries!
Wouldn’t it be great if people had subtitles? It would save people having to learn new languages. It would also be handy for those times when you’re having trouble understanding what someone is saying. Like Closed Captioning for real life. And if you lost your voice? No worries! Your personal subtitling would spell out everything you were trying to say!
I think it’s a wonderful idea. In fact, I propose that someone invent a device to do just this. I’ve already played my part by coming up with the idea. Surely there’s some brainiac out there with the necessary means to make personal subtitling happen.

On the down side, personal subtitling could land you in a lot of hot water. Like if you accidentally left your subtitling on while whispering to a colleague about what a tool your boss is. Or if you were playing Chinese whispers. And it’s probably not very helpful for people who can’t read. Or are dyslexic. Or for when you’re on the phone to someone you can’t understand.

Still, it would be useful a lot of the time. So I’m offering this invention idea for free. Tossing it out into the world wide web so that some techno boffin (I love that word!) can stumble across it and invent a truly useful piece of technology. I'd be particularly pleased if Apple were to come up with this little knick knack - not because I particularly like Apple products, but because they're the only company who could get away with calling it the 'iUnderstand'.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Every year 't comes along, an' every year I miss it on account o' I be too busy not bein' a pirate. But today I’ve done it. Today I’ve made history! I’ve remembered that it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, while it still be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

I thought I’d use this year’s TLAPD t' provide a helpful public service fer them o' ye who find ye’selves spendin' yer TLAPD all on yer lonesome.

Courtesy o’ the official Talk Like a Pirate Day website, I’d like t' share wi' ye the top ten pick up lines ye can use t' try t' score yersef a lass on September the 19th. So now ye can not only talk like a buccanneer, ye can hit on random strangers like one too!

10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?

9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?

8. Come on up and see me urchins.

7. Yes, that be a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.

6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.

5. Pardon me, but would ye mind if I fired me cannon through your porthole?

4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?

3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.

2. Well blow me down?

And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is...

1. Prepare to be boarded.


If that wasn't enough Pirate silliness for ye, why not try bloggin' like a Pirate? Or get yerself a Pirate name.
Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day everyone!

Remembering September 11, 2001

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It was getting late; just before 11pm, but I couldn’t sleep. Beside me, my boyfriend was already dozing. Restless and bored, I flicked on the TV, turning the volume right down so as not to wake him.

At first I thought I’d flicked onto a movie – the towering inferno or something. Then the text began to roll across the bottom of the screen: ‘Explosion reported at WTC in New York.’ Then moments later ‘Reports confirm a plane has hit the WTC’.

Gobsmacked, I watched as the tower smoked and smouldered. A hundred thoughts flickered through my mind all at once. ‘How could this happen?’ ‘Why was a plane that close to the city?’ ‘What’s going on?'.

Watching the smoke rise from the middle of the tower, worry began to creep over me, and new questions began to form.

‘Why isn’t anyone doing anything? Where are the lights and the sirens? Where are the firemen with their water hoses and their ladders? Why isn’t anyone doing anything?’

I kept asking myself these questions over and over. The tower smouldered and smoked and the world went on as though nothing was happening.

But of course they were there. Of course people were helping. But what could they do? Their hoses and their ladders couldn’t reach the 100th floor of a skyscraper. In my distant view of the towers, I couldn’t see the flurry of activity going on below. I couldn’t hear the noise of sirens and people. Here, thousands of miles away with the sound muted, all I could see was the lonely view of a skyscraper smoking steadily.

I suddenly felt myself flooded with a sense of complete and utter futility. I felt helpless, knowing that I was on the other side of the world, that I could see what was happening clearly - perhaps better than the people caged inside that concrete tower. That here, on the other side of the world, completely removed from the situation, there wasn’t a thing I could do. All I could do was watch.

And that’s what I did.

I watched. And as I watched, a second plane entered the screen. A tiny speck of a plane from the camera's distant point of view.

I watched as it crossed the sky, its destination obvious from the second it appeared. Even so, the surprise that racked me as it smashed into the second tower was jarring.

It was in that instant that my heart sank. In that brief and violent moment that stole the lives of so many people, my world changed. I could feel my heart sink; feel my innate feeling of safety slip away. Not only because I had just witnessed what I knew would be a huge loss of life, but for what I knew this meant. For how our lives were all going to change. Because as soon as that second plane hit, it was obvious that this was no accident. It was obvious that this was intentional. And that could only mean one thing as a result.

War.

There was no way that a country as invested in self-defence as the USA would let this go by without some kind of retaliation; and who would expect them to? If that attack had happened on my own home soil, I know I would have wanted the same thing.

But here on the other side of the world, watching the horror unfold before me, I knew that this meant more than just war for America. It meant war for us. For me. It meant the ANZUS treaty being invoked. It meant more death, more fighting. It meant the end of feeling safe in my own home, in my own country.


Those close to the events may sometimes forget in their grief over the attack on their nation, but on September 11 2001, Al-Qaeda didn’t just launch an attack on the American people. They launched an attack on the free world. They knew what the result of attacking the USA would be. They knew that retaliation would come, and not just from those to whom they had struck a direct blow. They knew they were bringing retaliation from multiple countries upon themselves.

They knew, the same way that I did in the split second when that second plane hit, that this would mean war. And it meant more deaths, not just for other countries, but for their own.

And therein lies the secret to how truly evil these people are. They struck, knowing that it could only heighten the violence around them. Knowing that they weren’t just signing their own death warrants, but those of everyone around them.


All this knowledge hit me in the fleeting moment of the second impact, and it left me feeling breathless. I suddenly felt sick.


As I continued to watch the events unfold on TV, a deep and permanent worry set in – a niggling worry that is still with me to this day.

Disregarding my sleeping boyfriend, I turned the volume up, desperate to hear what was unfolding. The sound woke him and he joined me, unusually silent as we watched.

As reports of a plane hitting The Pentagon flashed across the screen, followed by the collapse of the first tower, it became too much. Distraught, I got out my phone and began to call my family. I needed to know they were ok, to hear in their voices that same concern that was growing in me.



Ten years is a long time to worry about your safety and the safety of the people you love. Ten years is a long time after an event to still be able to remember it as if it were yesterday. Ten years is a long time to still feel the terror of an attack like what happened on September 11, 2001. Terrorism that can span an entire decade is why that niggling worry deep within me will never ease. Despite the death of Osama Bin Laden, despite increased security around the world. The knowledge that there are people out there capable of things which I could never even conceive of has changed my life forever.

Today, ten years on, I can still feel what I felt that night. Today I remember the terror, the aching sadness. Today that worry that niggles at me has heightened. I worry that this ten year anniversary will mean more attacks. I worry about my friends who are scattered all over the world; my friends and family here at home. I will remember these feelings and I will carry them with me all day and all night, until the sun sets on September 11th all over the world.



This post is included over at The Neon Lounge on September 11th, 2001: Where Were You?. Head over there and check out a collection of posts from bloggers all around the US about where they were 10 years ago when it all started.

A Phone Call from Last Night

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Me: Hello?

Caller: Um……..er…….ah……hi there!

Me: Hi.

Caller: This is John calling from *Insert random company name which I ignored*.

Me: Hi.

Caller: Um….Can you put mummy or daddy on the phone please dear?

Me: Excuse me!?!

Caller: Er…..um…ahhh….oh! Are you the lady of the house?

Me: Ok, bye now.


Now I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended at having someone think that I was a child.

I also think I missed a golden opportunity for a smart come-back to the ‘Can I talk to your mummy or daddy’ comment. Maybe I could have said “Sure! Have you got a pen? I’ll give you their number.”

Or, “Tell me John, Who’s your daddy?”.

Or I could have just said ‘Sure! Hang on a minute!’ and put the phone down and gone to watch TV.

Sadly, comebacks like this only come to mind after the fact.

Food Memories

Friday, August 12, 2011

Everyone has memories of the foods that they ate during their childhood – the standout dishes prepared by family members that have disappeared from their diet as they’ve grown up. Well, actually, I’m just assuming that everyone has these memories, because I certainly do. And those memories are shared by various members of my family.

For me, the standout dishes from my childhood were all cooked by my grandmother. My mum’s mum was always the standout cook in our family. She was Greek, although she emigrated to Australia from Egypt; and although she didn’t speak English that well, she spoke volumes through her cooking. Baklava, Rum Baba, Avgolemono Soup, Spanakopita, Dolmades and Galaktoboureko amongst other distinctly Mediterranean fare are the strongest food memories of my childhood. I was never one of those children who refused to eat anything without having tried it – I had an adventurous palate for a kid, and I adored these beautiful Greek foods that were rich in flavour.

Sadly, my Grandmother passed away some years ago, and since then the foods of my childhood have slipped from our diet. Like all the best cooks, most of her recipes were stored only in her mind, and while she was here to cook for us, we never thought to learn these secrets from her.

We tried, sometimes, to help with the cooking. But my grandmother was particular in preparation of her food, and you could easily fail basic food preparation while working with her. I can distinctly remember a time when I was around ten years old, helping her to make baklava. She reluctantly let me take charge of the pastry brush, and watched like a hawk while I brushed the sheets of filo pastry with what I thought were copious amounts of butter.

It wasn’t long before the brush had been removed from my hands so that she could slap on copious amounts more butter as though she’d never heard of cholesterol or calories (which she probably hadn’t); filling the places that in her mind she could see needed more. From then on I stepped aside, letting her work her magic. Once the Baklava was finished, my mother then failed dismally at arranging the baklava on the plate in a satisfactory manner. My mum and I laugh about this now, but I see that same level of particular-ness in myself all the time.

It might seem overly anal, but the results of her cooking spoke for themselves.


It’s been quite a few years since my grandmother passed away, and most of these foods have been just a distant memory for me. Then recently, my mum bought me a Greek cookbook which turned out to be the best cookbook that I have ever owned. I made a few of the recipes, and the flavours therein reminded me so much of my grandmothers cooking that I became inspired. My mum booked us into a Greek cooking class which actually turned out to be run by the same woman who had written the cookbook, and after making some fantastic foods there, I became inspired to try to recreate some of my grandmother’s recipes.


Which brings me to where I’m at now. The first place I had to look was in her battered old cookbook. My mum held on to it after her death, knowing that a lot of her recipes were based around the basic ones in this cookbook.
The problem is that the cookbook is in Greek. And it was written in the 1950’s, so it’s slightly out-dated Greek. Well, at least I think it is. I can’t be sure because I don’t actually speak or read Greek. Which makes the whole idea of using my Grandmother’s cookbook to relive my childhood food memories ever so slightly more difficult.

My first attempt at recreating 'Galaktoboureko'
Luckily for me, it’s the 21st century, so I have many and varied tools at my disposal – most crucially, the ability to switch quickly between a Greek and English keyboard on my iPad, and Google translate.

With these two things, I’ve begun the long and arduous process of reading a book that to me, appears to be nothing but a bunch of squiggly lines.

Despite how slow the going is, it’s not been dull because it’s amazing to see the foreign characters appear on the screen and then miraculously appear on the other side of the screen in English. And it’s also been quite amusing to read the garbled translations.

You can’t help but laugh when you find a chapter in the meat section titled “minds” or a recipe tells you to do things like “Dive your fingers into some water” or “Anoint with butter”.

Or when you mistype some characters and end up with translations like “Boiled Husband Soup”.


Translating the recipes is proving to be a painstaking, but incredibly enjoyable experience. And more than allowing me to rediscover some well-loved foods, I feel as though it’s bringing me a little closer to a grandmother who during her life was always ever so slightly distant to me through the language barrier.

Me vs. The Universe

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

As my lack of posts lately can attest, I have been incredibly busy at work. I have been so busy, in fact, that this weekend I found myself working on Saturday.

I had the building all to myself for most of the day and I had gotten huge amounts of work completed by the time one of my co-workers showed up around 4pm to pick up some stuff he had forgotten on Friday.

He seemed shocked to see me there on a weekend, and when I confessed that I was indeed working, he just shook his head.
You’re crazy! He told me, incredulously .

I’m not crazy, I told him. ‘I’m just a machine. A well-oiled playground designing machine.’

He just shook his head again and walked away. But I was on a roll; even his absence couldn’t still my rant.

‘Nothing can stop me!’ I trumpeted. ‘I’m slowed only by sickness, stopped only by death!’ I declared into the Universe.

The Universe didn’t like this.

‘Right’ it said, ‘I’ll show you.’

And it began to plot.


The universe hatched its dastardly plan early on Sunday afternoon as I headed outside to wash my car. My nose began to tickle a little. I put this down to the vast amounts of pollen in the air and got on with things.
I finished up and headed inside. I sat myself down on the couch and was immediately punched smack bang in the face by a cold. Bam! One moment I was fine, the next I was a wheezy, watery mess. There was no lead up. No feeling of an oncoming illness. One moment I was fine, the next I was like a character out of a cold and flu medication advert.

So now, courtesy of the Universe, I finally find myself with the time to post something. And while having a cold is incredibly annoying, I can only thank God that the universe chose the ‘slowed by sickness’ part of my statement to refute and not the other half. Because I imagine that blogging from the hereafter is probably a hell of a lot harder than blogging while sick.

Dear Internet,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hey there Internet,

It’s me, Torrygirl.
You and I, we’ve known each other for a while now. You know me pretty well I think. I’ve always been able to turn to you when I’ve had a problem at work or socially, or if I had a question that needed answering. I guess I’d say that you and I are pretty close. You’re someone I can confide in.

Lately, I’ve been pretty busy at work, so I’ve been neglecting you a little, and I’m sorry about that. It’s been tough though, working the long hours and still trying to make time to keep in touch. And I know that’s no excuse, but this written word medium that we use to keep in contact takes a bit of time and effort, and I’ve been a bit short on both lately.

This week, KJ has been pretty sick and I’m sure it’s from the stress of work. I’ve been feeling it myself too, and I guess that’s why I’m writing this.
I’ve done something, Internet. I’ve done something crazy. Something so incredibly outrageous, that I know you won’t believe it when I tell you. And I’m hoping that given our history, you won’t judge me. Even though what I’m about to tell you goes against everything you know about me.

So here it is, Internet. I’m just going to say it.

Last Monday, I did exercise. On purpose! And I know it sounds crazy, and it goes against everything I’ve ever told you about myself, but I did it; and then yesterday, I did it AGAIN.

I feel so ashamed. I’m a fraud! Here I am telling you how much I hate to exercise, and I find myself suddenly giving in and doing it! And Internet, it wasn’t just sneaky, on-my-own exercise. I went to a class. There were other people there and I even knew some of them! I wore runners!

Oh the shame!

Forgive me Internet. Forgive me for changing. Forgive me for going against my beliefs. Forgive me because I’m not going to stop - even though today my body feels like I pulled out all my muscles, stretched them out by hand and popped them back in again. Even though my knees ache like I’m a weather-beaten old man claiming that I can feel a storm a’comin’. Even though I swore I didn’t believe in running unless I was being chased.

Forgive me Internet. I hope we can still be friends.

Yours regretfully,

Torrygirl

Never trust a man pointing scissor at your head

Friday, July 08, 2011

Last night, I got home from work a little after six. No sooner had I walked in the door and made myself a cup of tea than my I got a phone call from my hairdresser saying I had an appointment at six and asking was I still coming? I hate, hate HATE being late (I have issues with time), but he assured me that he could still fit me in if I could get there as quickly as possible, so I hot-footed it out the door leaving my cup of tea to go cold on the bench.

I made it there in record time (while driving responsibly, of course) and arrived breathless; plonked myself into the nearest chair and began the long process of hair beautification. I apologised what felt like a million times for forgetting the appointment, and they waved my apologies off,reassuring me with phrases like ‘these things happen’ and ‘don’t stress about it, it’s no big deal’. And so my hairdressing experience went on as per the norm.


Now, while I was in the chair, and even after I got home, my hair looked fine. In fact, I’ve never had a bad haircut from this place; it’s the reason I keep going back.

But this morning, when I woke up and wandered past the mirror, I did a little bit of a double-take. ‘Bill Ray Cyrus?’ I asked in wonder.

Nope, definitely just me. Me, with a haircut that had a mullet-ish kind of quality about it. But I was in a hurry, so I quickly tied it back as best I could, and headed to work.


Now I’m not sure if it was just crazy morning hair and if it will be better when I get home tonight. And there are no mirrors in the building here so I can’t really check it out until then.

But there is this slight lingering worry niggling at me, telling me that maybe I wasn’t imagining things. And maybe my mullet is no accident. Maybe this haircut is the hairdresser’s way of saying ‘I’ll teach you to keep me waiting!’ Is that possible? Do people do that sort of thing? And if they do, is it on purpose, or by accident? Did he subconsciously mullet-ise me without realising?

And most importantly, what the hell am I going to do if it turns out I really do have a mullet?! I’m not sure I have the voice to be a country singer.

Post Office Lady

Monday, July 04, 2011

Post Office Lady has a stern, disapproving
look brought on by years of thinking people
don't talk clearly enough.
Post offices are notorious for their long lines. If you’ve ever had to post a parcel or buy some stamps during the day, you’re guaranteed to have waited in a line that weaves out of the door of the shop, down the street, through the park around the corner and past the post office in the next suburb.


The wait is long and tedious enough as it is, but at the local post office here at work, you spend your entire half hour wait hoping that you don’t end up being served by one particular woman. Why, you ask? Because she is as deaf as a door nail. As a post. As a stone. She is as deaf as a magician locked in a box, nailed into a crate then wrapped in a bag and buried six feet underground.

What I’m getting at here is – she can’t hear very well.


Something as simple as purchasing a sheet of stamps from her is a major ordeal, because that little interaction usually goes something like this:

Her: YES?

Me: Can I have a sheet of 20 five cent stamps please.

Her: WHAT?

Me: Errr, a sheet of 20 five cents stamps please?

Her: WHAT ARE YOU AFTER?!

Me: (beginning to draw strange looks from the waiting customers) Some five cent stamps please?

Her: STAMPS?!?

Me: YES! SOME FIVE CENT STAMPS!

Her: Yes, fine, five cents stamps; you should have said so to start with.


As a result, people (me included) can often be seen leaving the post office looking abashed, head hung low, clutching their stamps or whatever random item they’ve been sold in lieu of the item that the deaf post office lady was too hard of hearing to understand.

Super Secret Recipe

Friday, July 01, 2011

This photo dates from almost the
same era as my kitchen.
Last night, my Brother-in-law came over so that I could help him prepare his ‘secret recipe lasagne’. I’m not sure how it came to be a secret recipe, because I can’t imagine anyone ever asks another person for a lasagne recipe; but at some point it became a closely kept secret, and since then it’s been known to all as ‘secret recipe lasagne’.

The reason that I became privy to this super-secret special recipe last night is that I offered to make the lasagne sheets for him. That’s right, you read it correctly – I offered to make the pasta sheets from scratch. To some that might seem crazy, but I find that kind of repetitive cooking task almost soothing, the same way that I find painting walls soothing. It quiets a noisy brain. And I have an incredibly noisy brain.


I guess this kind of quality addition to the secret recipe lasagne obviously ranked me high enough to learn the secret formula. I like to imagine it as like being promoted in the coca cola company and finally learning the secret formula for coke. I now know what few others in the world know.


Luckily, because I have some modicum of anonymity on here, I can share that secret recipe with you without fear of retribution. Are you ready for it? Are you ready to hear what his super-secret ingredient that he refuses to share with anyone is?


Leggo’s Bolognese sauce.


His sauce is made from a jar.

Suddenly the ‘super-secret’ aspect of it all makes a lot more sense.

I think I might have to start claiming the ‘secret recipe’ clause for some of the meals I prepare. Like ‘2 Minute Microwave Super-Secret noodles’ or ‘Subway Secret-Recipe Cookies’.

Dark Day

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today is a dark day. A dark, bleak, soul crushing day.

It started out like any other Tuesday. The uneventful drive to work. The slow grind of the Tuesday work day. The routine of computer, factory, computer.

It happened at 11:23am. I remember the time well, because I had just seen the postman deliver the mail, and I checked the clock to see what time he had arrived. I headed downstairs, and out through the factory to grab the mail.

There was a large parcel, and the return address told me it was from a government agency, so as I wandered back inside, I was looking at the envelope, and not at where I was going, as I should have been.

As I reached the edge of the stairs, I suddenly felt my feet catch on something. It took me half a second to realise I was falling and in that insignificant moment, I thought I could right my balance.
Within the next half second, I knew it. I was going down. Envelopes flew from my hands and rained down around me as my palms and knees slammed into cold, hard concrete. I let loose with a string of obscenities that startled the guys in the factory.

As quickly as the pain could start, the embarrassment overtook it. Five faces peered at me, looking torn between amusement and concern. I thought quickly of my Mum, and her own recent fall. It’s a rare thing, falling down when you’re an adult, yet here I was; face down on the concrete floor of the factory.

I stood up as quickly as I could, and began to brush myself off. And that’s when I saw it. That’s when my heart dropped out of my chest and hit the floor.


I had torn a hole in my favourite pair of jeans.

Oh, my poor jeans! There are no other jeans like these jeans. They’re comfortable and slimming and they make my ass look perfectly rounded. They can be casual, or they can be slightly dressy. But most of all, they’re long enough to drag on the floor, despite my height. And at 5’10, that’s a hard thing for me to find. And now they’re ruined. RUINED!

Oh, my poor poor jeans….


Today is a dark day. A dark, bleak, soul crushing day. For now begins the quest to replace the most perfect pair of jeans that have ever graced this body. Yes, today is a dark, dark day.

Also, my knee hurts.

Old School Rules

Monday, June 13, 2011

When I have some spare time to myself (which isn't often lately) there are two things that i enjoy doing.

I love to read. I'll read just about anything that's put in front of me. I love a good book more than anything else. I can find myself getting completely lost in them, losing track of time and just reading until i reach the last page.

The other thing I do when i'm relaxing on the couch after work is to play on the iPad. I'm completely addicted to it. Mostly it's scrabble or card games (pretty low-tech for such a high-tech device) and also a lot of web browsing and IM-ing.

Given these two uses of my time, one would think that the concept of a book that I can read on the iPad would be ideal! They've been advertising pretty heavily lately the great features of the ipad and how you can buy thousands of books without leaving your house, so it was really only  a matter of time before I would give it a go. I wasn't much interested in the idea at first, because I spend my entire day at work reading things on an LCD screen, so the idea of coming home to do the same thing didn't really thrill me. But the idea of having any book i decided i wanted to read in a matter of seconds was something that did appeal to me. So after failing to find a book that i wanted at the local bookstore, I bit the bullet and bought it as an iBook.

At first, it seemed kinda cool. I mean, reading on a brightly lit screen was a bit odd at first, but that aside, being able to change the font style and size was great. Not having to hold a book open while I lay in bed was also pretty great. I could read without moving a muscle, which is really what you want when you read. There was also the added bonus of being able to read while KJ slept, which is harder with a regular book because you need to have the light on.

But after a little while I began to miss the feel of the paper in my hands, and the satisfying feeling of flipping through the pages, watching the heavy side of the book move from the right to the left as i made my way towards the end.

Then I came across the biggest flaw in the entire ibook concept, something that would put me off iBooks altogether.  Something that no amount of touch screen and processor technology could overcome. It's the reason why ibooks will never replace the trusty old paperback. The reason that the iPad, the Kindle, the Nook will never ever take the place of beautifully bound sheets of paper with plain, black type.

After a particularly long and draining 11 hour work day, I came home and ran myself a nice hot bath. As I was preparing myself to get in, I realized that the ridiculously over-rated iBook had left me in the lurch. When all I wanted to do was relax by soaking in a hot bubble bath and reading a good book, I found myself without anything to read - because you can't take an iPad into the bath with you.
A paper book - yes. Sure, it's not waterproof, but if you drop it in the water, you can still dry it out and use it again. At worst, you've ruined a $10 product. If you take an iPad into the bath with you and drop it in, no amount of drying can repair it. You will have killed a $700 (minimum) product by trying to use it in the way you would a regular book. You can't even really take it into the bathroom with you at all, even if you keep it well clear of the water, because even the steam of a hot bath has the potential to ruin it.


So, Steve Jobs, you may have invented a product that was not so long ago just a thing of science fiction books, but you haven't created the greatest product the world has ever seen, like some Mac-Obsessive fans will claim loudly and regularly to anyone who will listen. Because until you make that sucker waterproof, it's just a toy that will never be as good as a couple hundred sheets of paper bound together.

Old School still rules.

'Yard Work'

Friday, June 03, 2011

This past weekend, KJ and I headed down to his family beach house for a weekend of slave labour (You may know it by its other name – ‘Yard Work’). KJ had managed to borrow a hydraulic wood splitter, so the whole family headed down to try to split about 5 tonnes of wood that has been lying around in the shed forever - because when you're on holiday, you can't be bothered getting out an axe to chop wood.


The wood splitter was borrowed from a guy we work with who happens to live on a large farm property, and it was built as a trailer so that it could be towed wherever it needed to go. And this particular weekend, it needed to go behind the ute so we could tow it to the beach house.


The trailer was this rickety old thing, more rust than paint and with tyres so old that the trailer felt like it was rolling along on two concrete pipes. The tail-lights were mounted on an old wooden plank that was held on to the trailer with a couple of heavy duty cable ties. So as you can imagine, it was a real sturdy vehicle.


When we set off with the wood splitter in tow, i cringed at every bump, every rattle. But after about an hour or so, I began to think that the trailer was actually up to the trip, and began to relax.

Clearly, I relaxed too soon.

Somewhere on a long, empty stretch of highway, I heard a loud metallic clanging. The removable tyre guard had bounced its way off the trailer and disappeared somewhere into the darkness.
This marked the first of several stops we made along the way to traipse through the darkness by the side of the freeway to retrieve errant wheel guards. The last of these stops was about 15 minutes from our final destination. A distant clattering and a quick look in the rear view mirror told us that the guard had once again vacated the trailer. We pulled to the side of the road and onto the grass, and immediately felt the car sink into the mud. The futile spinning of tyres confirmed it - we were bogged.


Stranded by the side of the road, in the pitch black on a quiet highway in the middle of nowhere, without a single bar of phone reception, we could do nothing but wait for someone to stop and offer to pull us out. With no street lights around, we wandered up the road by phone light to find the wheel guard, trying to stay out of the mud.


Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a bloke in a 4WD pulled over and offered to rescue us.
He didn't introduce himself, he just got right into the process of pulling us out of the smelly, muddy ground. He will forever be known to me as 'The Mysterious Stranger’. He knelt on the wet, muddy ground to tie the rope he used to pull us out, as thought this were an every day occurrence for him. In no time at all we were free, and our mysterious stranger disappeared into the night once more.

It made me feel quite good about the state of the world. That there are still people who will stop and help a stranger who is broken down (or bogged) by the side of the road - i honestly felt up until last weekend that this sort of basic decency was gone from the world.
We need more mysterious strangers in the world, but i'm glad to know that there are still at least one or two out there.



When we finally arrived at the beach house and got down to the process of splitting the wood, there was a kind of evil serial killer-ness about it all. As we split some of the freshly cut wood, it began to leak sap - sap that was so intensely, vividly red that it looked exactly like blood. As the splitter pushed in to the soft flesh of the logs, the sap would begin to ooze, and then suddenly squirt out and all over everyone, like some kind of body-chopping scene from Dexter.

And as if being bogged, forced to do slave labour and murdering trees wasn't enough to kill any tiny shred of joy the weekend may have held - someone dropped a huge log on my foot, causing me to swear so loudly that it could be heard above the sound of both the chainsaw and the petrol motor of the wood splitter. I've been hobbling around all week with a giant black bruise on my foot.


I think we can safely surmise from this experience that Slave Labour (or Yard Work, if you prefer) is really an evil, injurious and murderous pursuit that should be avoided at all costs.

Jibber-Jabber-itis

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Over the last week or so, i've been battling a cold. I had Friday off work, and during a trip to the pharmacy for some cold and flu tablets, I made a few observations that I thought were worth sharing.

  • While pharmacies are mildly suspicious of you for wanting to purchase Cold & Flu tablets containing Pseudo-ephedrine as a general rule, asking for these tablets in a slummy area like where I work means they are VERY suspicious of you. Suspicious enough to make you talk to three separate employees about why you want the pills. I think they were hoping I would slip and say "I want them for my drug-la...ahhh...no, that's not it, I mean for my cold. Yes, I have a cold and/or the Flu."

  • Asking for "Cold and Flu tablets with Pseudo-ephedrine instead of that other crap" apparently makes you seem even more suspect. I have discovered, however, that requesting 'old formula' cold and flu tablets makes you seem clueless about drugs, and therefore obviously less likely to be purchasing the tablets to take home to your secret drug lab in order to cook up a bunch of Speed. Because apparently people who make drugs are better educated than any law abiding citizen.

  • Pharmacies are the epicentre of that world-wide phenomenon known as old-man-illness-jibber-jabber-itis. You may also know this as 'Sick-old-man-talk-itis' or 'Old-fart-talking-pus-itis'. Visit a pharmacy on a weekday during working hours and you will find a wide variety of elderly people telling anyone who will listen about their boils, blisters, constipation, growths and rashes. And that's just for starters. If you hang around for long enough you'll hear about the REAL problems - You don't even have to be the one having the conversation, they'll talk loud enough so everyone can hear. They're thoughtful like that.

  • Elderly people in pharmacies are just as suspicious of you as the pharmacists, only their suspicion seems to stem more from their feelings about your age/apparent lack of employment/refusal to hear about their pus-filled sores.


The benefit of all of these suspicions and medical jibber-jabber is that what you thought was a day that would be dull and spent wasted eating chicken noodle soup and watching trashy tv actually becomes quite entertaining. And it gives me new respect for pharmacists and pharmacy employees who have to deal with this stuff every single day.

Size Matters

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In a conversation with my best friend this past weekend, we came across a topic that I felt warranted sharing with the World Wide Web.

It’s some free advice for men who are purchasing an engagement ring for their girlfriend/future wife without any input from the fiancĂ©-to-be.

Once you’ve chosen a ring that you think is perfect, get the jeweller to up the diamond size by at least a quarter of a carat. That’s minimum. Because in my experience, men always overestimate size.

The Bones of Wisdom: A Cautionary Tale for Mother's Day

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Motherly advice is always
just a phone call away
The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed, to protect the innocent.

It was a Wednesday night like any other. Outside under a vast and solitary sky, the rural suburb of Torrytown* was bathed in the soothing, cool glow of a full moon. Amidst the wash of pale blue, a single ray of yellow light peeked out from behind the curtains of a cosy little house nestled into a quiet Torrytown valley.

Behind those curtains sat a young woman of extraordinary beauty, intelligence and Scrabble playing skill**. Encased in the warmth of her home, she sat quietly; tapping away on her keyboard, chatting online to a friend in a strange and distant land.

As she worked away on the keyboard with one hand, the other speared tiny pieces of salmon onto a fork from the plate beside her. She ate absently, her mind on the conversation and not really on her dinner.

Suddenly, a sharp pain jabbed at her throat! Her hands flew to her neck. The fork clattered to the table. Her typing stilled. She gasped!
Looking down at her dinner, the cause of her pain became apparent.

With shaking hands, she reached for the keyboard and typed a desperate message that crossed thousands of miles to tell her friend the cause of her agony.


'I'm choking on a fishbone!' She wrote. 'In my (allegedly) de-boned fish!'

She clutched at her throat, clawing at it as though she could remove the bone from the outside. Her mind flew to the advice that she had received about these kinds of things; tid-bits of advice from mothers, uncles, grandmothers, fathers.
She sifted through these kernels of wisdom, searching for something she knew she'd heard about fish bones.
'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' - No.
'Always wear clean underwear,' - No.
'Don't pick your nose' - NO!
'Be careful of bones in fish or they'll get stuck in your throat.'; YES! That's it! Her mothers voice rang though her mind, telling her over and over again to be careful.

Backwards and forwards she played this information in her head, as the fish bone jabbed painfully at her throat. But try as she might, she could not find a single piece of advice in that vast catalogue of wisdom to tell her what to do if that initial pearl of wisdom should fall through!

From the other side of the world advice was coming in thick and fast from her friend (the guy who sometimes kicks her ass at Scrabble, and who has this awesome website, and he's really funny and handsome, and writes great)***.
'Are you dying? Should I long distance call you an ambulance'? he typed. 'Can't you just pull it out? Mash the keyboard if you're turning blue!'

She tried to reach in and grab the bone, but alas, her hand was too big (or her mouth too small) and her gag reflex much too strong.


'Blergh, cough, splutter' she typed back; then realising that her fingers still worked - 'No, I can't.'

'You should have listened to your mother' he typed back. 'Mothers always know best.'


Inspiration!

Gasping for what could be her last breaths she grappled for the phone and hit speed-dial. Her mother answered after what seemed an agonisingly long time.


She croaked out her dilemma through stilted breath, feeling the fish bone jabbing into the soft flesh of her throat with every word.

'Mum! you never told me what to do when your advice failed!' She cried out.

'Bread.' Her mother told her calmly and knowingly. 'Eat a large piece of dry bread and it will dislodge the bone.'

With this simple advice, and another firm 'Mothers know best' from the Las Vegas Larrikin, she picked up a slice of bread and began to chew.

She could feel the fish bone moving a little as she swallowed the great wodge of bread, then a little more when she swallowed another. But four slices of bread later, while her breathing had eased, the little fish bone was still sharp against her throat.

'Mothers know best' she said to herself, 'until they don't! And then what?'

So what does one do when all the advice a mother can give you fails dismally?! She was stumped. Short of a trip to the ER, she had no idea how to remove the fish bone. If only her gag reflex wasn't so strong and her hands too big (or her mouth too small), then she could remove it easily enough.

The answer, then, was simple. What do you do when all roads lead nowhere? You have a drink.

There was some element of logic in this, although the specifics eluded her. Something about the medicinal, sterilising properties of alcohol and the muscle relaxant type of effect that it would have on her body.

So she poured herself a Bourbon and drank it down fast. Then she had another. And another. She could feel the tension in her muscles melting away, could feel her senses dulling. After four bourbons in as many minutes, she began to feel that she had underestimated her ability to extract the fish bone manually.
Suddenly, her hand seemed smaller (or her mouth larger) and her gag reflex dulled. With the kind of swift (and thoughtless) decisiveness characteristic of a drunk, she contorted her hand and somehow, she reached into her mouth and down her throat to pluck out the sharp little bone.

Later, she would look back on this moment and be unable to explain how she had managed it. Sober attempts to replicate the fitting of her hand into her mouth proved impossible. It was as though some law of physics had been broken - or perhaps just stretched momentarily to allow her to do things that she couldn't normally. It wasn't the first time that Bourbon had this effect on her, and she was sure it wouldn't be the last.


She called her mother in relief, telling the tale of how bourbon had worked more effectively than bread, believing wholly that things had come full circle and she was now the one handing advice to her mother.

'Have another bourbon' her mother told her knowingly, with the tone of one passing on an important token of wisdom. 'The alcohol will do your throat good, you know.'


This brings us to the moral of this tale, which is threefold:

1. If you're a mother, give advice to your children that is not just cautionary, but which is also problem solving. There will always be those rare times when caution isn't enough.

2. When advice fails you, you can always fall back on alcohol and its ability to help you defy the laws of physics.

And finally (and most importantly):
3. No matter what you think, Mothers always know best.


*names have been changed to protect those suburbs involved.
**My story, so I'll look however I want!
***Individual results may vary

Losing my Costco virginity

Friday, April 29, 2011

Regular readers (if I have such a thing) will notice that my blog has had a little spruce-up. Much more friendly, me thinks. Feel free to let me know your thoughts - and I shall feel free to ignore any thoughts with which I don't agree!



Last weekend, I had my very first Costco experience. Now, given that a lot of the visitors to this page are from the USA, home of mega-bulk-buying, that might not seem like a big deal, but here in Australia, Costco is still a bit of a novelty.

To put it in perspective, in the USA there are 416 Costco stores. In Australia, there is one. One single store to cater to the bulk-buy whims of the entire 20 million of us. So a visit to Costco is something of an experience.

I'd never had much interest in it before, other than a vague curiosity after hearing a rumour that you could buy a barrel of 1000 chupa-chips in it from there. But for some inexplicable reason, my Sister had bought herself a membership when the place opened a while ago, and she finally decided she wanted to use it. I was privileged enough to be dragged along as her 'guest'.


When we entered the car park, I started to have reservations. The place was jam-packed. We spent a good ten minutes trying to find a parking space. These reservations disappeared, however, once we'd wedged our car into a nearby crevice and I got my first glimpse of a Costco Trolley. They were HUGE! It was like someone had taken a regular trolley, fed it steroids to pump it up a little, then shipped it off to a bulk buy warehouse once it got too beefy to be sexy any more.

That was when I started to get excited.

We pushed our enormous trolley into the store and found ourselves standing in an aisle full of bulk-packaged sweets. That was it. That was the moment I realised I was in Heaven. Then I tried to move down the aisle and got bashed into by a swarm of other shoppers fighting for trolley space. That was when I realised I was in Hell.

Thus started two hours of good and bad. Tiny little joys - finding a half kilometre roll of baking paper; marvelling at 9kg tubs of washing powder; my sister impulse-buying a kilogram of processed American cheese slices - inter mingled with moments of overwhelming trolley-rage that would put any seasoned road-rager to shame.


The shoppers were a mix of Costco hardened parents bulk buying food and nappies, and excited sight-seers who were simply there for the experience and to exclaim over the amazing things you could buy in bulk.

At one point, we rolled our over-laden trolley down an aisle full of hardware. I paused in front of the biggest set of spanners that I have ever come across. Next to me a man had stopped to look at a set of saws.
'There's so many tools!' he exclaimed feverishly. 'I want to buy them all! I'm going to buy them all! And I don't even know how to use them!'


The biggest problem we faced was that when we first arrived, these bulk packs of food looked HUGE. But after an hour or so of getting lost amongst aisles full of oversized goods, things that were actually massive began to seem normal sized.

The danger in this was highlighted by our last purchase of the day - a fresh pizza, which we intended to cook as soon as we got home. We umm-ed and ahh-ed over it for ages, trying to decide if it would be big enough to feed four of us because it looked a little on the small size. When we got it home, it turned out to be so big that it wouldn't even fit in the oven.


My best purchase of the day, bar none, was this glorious, wonderful item:

That's right - 1.8kg of Jelly Bellys!


Anyone who has been reading this blog long enough knows that I have a serious Jelly Belly addiction. So having access to almost 2kg of Jelly Belly jelly-beans at a very reasonable price is not necessarily a good thing.

This is one of many reasons that I won't be hurrying back to Costco anytime soon. I think it's best to leave bulk buying to those of us with slightly stronger jelly-bean resisting will power.

Drinking right before bed is bad because...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

singing in the shower can turn into dancing in the shower, and shower dancing can result in embarrassing, hard to explain injuries.

Keeping my Heart in my Sock

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Freaked out
I’ve never really understood those ‘Funniest Home video’ type shows, where everyone pisses themselves laughing at some poor person falling down, getting kicked in the nuts or crashing a bike/wheelbarrow/pogo stick in what could only be a dangerous and painful way.
That kind of thing just doesn’t make me laugh. So you can imagine my horror when I got to witness a real life version of one of those videos the other day.

I dropped in at my parents place, and it turned out that Mum was babysitting my niece and nephew. It was a nice day so we were outside throwing a ball around. My niece tossed the ball up in the air, way above Mum’s head, and for some inexplicable reason known only to her, my arthritic 60 year old mother leapt to catch it. She tripped on a loose paver and went down like a sack of spuds, whacking her head hard against the bluestone brick border on the nearby garden bed.

I freaked out. I felt my heart drop so far I was scared to look down in case I saw it lying at my feet. It was one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen happen. I’d never thought about it before, but at some point you reach an age where falling down becomes a really big deal. A while back I saw a woman of about 60 or 70 stumble in the street and hit the ground with a disturbing ‘thwack!’ and it was a terrible, horrible thing to see. But this time I wasn’t just watching some random person fall down, it was my Mum; the person who will forever in my eyes epitomise the strength and power of being a grown-up. It was a horrifying thing to see happen.

My niece and Nephew didn’t understand what the big deal was – after all, they fall down all the time. They couldn’t work out why their Nanna taking a bit of a spill had everyone running around like crazy.


Mum was ok – she had a bit of a headache, a badly scraped arm and bruised ribs, but no serious injuries. Despite the fact that she was ok, I still felt as though I was carrying my heart around in my shoes for the next few 24 hours.


And if I had through some freak of chance caught the whole thing on tape? There is no cash prize that could ever persuade me to air it on national TV with a cheesy voiceover and comedic sound effects.

Junior

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We have a new junior salesman that started work with us a week or two ago.
When I say Junior, I mean junior. He’s 19 years old, although to be fair he looks a bit older than that. He could pass for 23 – if only he didn’t open his mouth and speak.

When he speaks, it’s like he’s spewing youthful ignorance out into the world. I’m sure that at 19 I wasn’t like this. I mean, we all come off sounding younger than we realise, but he sounds so young. And the thing is, he talks ALL THE TIME. Non-stop. He is so chatty that it makes me want to tear my ears off just to get some peace and quiet.
I don’t talk much at work. In fact, the less talking I can do, the better as far as I’m concerned. But here I find myself with a junior employee who is constantly asking questions, or giving me a running commentary on what he’s doing.


For the past few days he’s been sharing my office while I teach him how we do the design work here. I often listen to music while I work, and so we got onto the topic of music and bands.

I was feeling a bit sleepy, so I put on The Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’. Listening to The Beatles always perks me up. ‘The Fool on the Hill’ started playing. Then, as expected, Junior Salesman started talking:

Him: Is this ABBA?
Me: (jaw drops onto the floor) You’re kidding right?
Him: Nah, it’s ABBA, right?
Me: Ok, I’m going to pretend you’re kidding.
Him: So what kind of music do you listen to? Hey do you like that song by Rihanna? You know, the one with Eminem?
Me: Never heard it.
Him: It’s on the radio all the time.
Me: Yeah, never heard it sorry. Not really my thing
Him: So what music do you like?
Me: Well, my favourite band is probably CAKE…
Him: Who?
Me: CAKE
Him: I don’t know them.
Me: Stop talking please.

I suddenly feel very, very old. I know it’s rare to find someone who likes all the same music as you. KJ and I don’t even really like the same music. But at least KJ has heard of the bands that I like listening to – at least the ones who have been around forever, like The Beatles and like CAKE. So it’s begun. I relate better to old people than young people. This must be what it feels like to start getting old. How appropriate that it should happen just days before I celebrate my final birthday in my 20's.