Friday, August 31, 2012

Naked cats

For the first time in my cat-loving life I splashed out and bought a little tag with her name and phone number.  I got it two days ago. Last night as I was giving her a little tickle I noticed that she had stripped at some stage during the day - no collar, no little bell and no tag.

I sent the monsters out searching the garden before school but to no avail.  It has scarpered.  (Not that they concentrated on the task at hand.  I imagine it is tricky to look while bellowing at each other and stripping the wattles.)

It is right up there with the theory about how long sunglasses last before being lost being inversely proportional to how much you pay.  Cheap crap lasts forever, a living testament to a desperate moment in a servo, while any slight amount of style or quality is doomed to be lost in sand or broken in a tripped over handbag in a millisecond.

I could at this point say something dry and ironic but frankly, I can't be fagged.  Flat acceptance is all I can manage.

The new collar has two bells.

Hazard ahead - unlike a tiger, at least you don't lose a leg

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A causal relationship between the rise of effective psychotropics and the end of quality literature - discuss

Today I lend my mind to literary theory, a topic I am completely unqualified to tackle.  As my research of other theorists is zilch, I shall dispense with that tiresome bibiliography lurk.  (It also means that my thesis is happily in ignorance of the thoughts of every other literary theorist (and in fact any actual facts), but you are reading a blog so you are dreaming if you expect anything other than mildly considered vomit.)

My thesis is that, with the rise of effective psychotropics in the last 40 years, there has been a diminishment and flattening of literature as a number of your greats were in fact, mad as headless chooks.

Case Study 1 - The probable effect of anti-depressives on Graham Greene.  Had they been available and effective, I contend there would be a notable absence of disappointed colonial administrators, hopeless and dispirited armaments purchasers, angry rejected lovers, and disheartened tropical hoteliers and vacuum cleaner salesmen in Mr Greene's works.

Case Study 2 - The lessening output of Thomas Pynchon and the increasing effectiveness of anti-psychotics.  Between 1960 and 1973 Mr Pynchon produced three novels - V, The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity's Rainbow,  works chocablock with frantic zigzagging prose, flaky intertwining paranoias and literally hundreds of confused and alienated characters incapable of forming normal relationships.  Since that time there has been a novel a decade, none with the same density of madness.  It certainly smells suspiciously like effective medication.*

Mike Fallopian - a quiet Saturday night at home

Case Study 3 - Emily Bronte - Bipolar - type II, enough said.

I think that is a QED, folks.  Thank you and goodnight.

 *Mr Pynchon, if you are in fact sane as a sheep, I apologise for the suggestion.  I will still love your works but have no idea whatever how they eeeped out of you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Missing  - three years - description unknown

Some time in late 2005 I seem to have lost my memory.  I remember very little before early 2008.  I even forget I have forgotten that period.

The husband and I (and at this point I should point out he has quite a bad memory compared with my excellent one) were talking about one of his siblings.  We were discussing an overseas trip and he used such phrases as "that was when they spent 6 months living overseas before they bought the house."  Nope, nothing in there about that.  I did some maths to see if it had happened before I had met the husband.  No luck.

Basically, I realised that he was talking about the dead zone.  Over three years lost.  It turns out when you are completely zonked with pregnancy, babies, toddlers during further pregnancies, then babies and toddlers in tandem, you do not lay down memories.

The only things I clearly remember is the children themselves - the lovely feeling of kissing little heads covered in fluff, delightful facial contortions upon sampling their first teaspoon of mashed swede, and hurling weeds around the garden to get away from the crying.

Things that I scarcely recall but theoretically happened during that period include: renovating the kitchen and negotiating with the state and territory governments to get them all to agree about something - a task akin to juggling jelly.  I hope they went well.

I suspect my working memory at the time was even worst.  Someone I worked for told me about a conversation we had during that period.  She said, "Can you dig out that paper you wrote on xxx because we can reuse it for yyy?"  "What paper?", I said ... further ridiculous conversation ... so the boss trotted off frustrated at her idiot savant employee and I looked in the drive.  I found it in quite a logical place and it was a doozy.  It had 15 pages of legislative analysis, options for solutions to problems that were likely to emerge, notes of conversations with General Counsel, etc.  Terrific stuff and very handy.  Clearly I wrote it but even a month later it was like reading it anew.

Sadly, I really don't remember what happened to anyone else so if you are one of those people who got a short shrift, I apologise.  This includes my parents, who got rare 5 minute garbled conversations, friends cut adrift, and the poor old cat, who just wanted me to sit down for 5 minutes so she could get a cuddle.

Ah, yes, I do remember giving birth.

I was inside asleep. The husband was playing with the crowbar and looking after the baby - naturally cognating activities.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The sun is shiny ...

... the wattles are golden, and it is time to talk about unquenched lust.

I think that is the thing that annoys me about my life most of all.  Here I am living with  a lovely chap who  also likes a spot of nooky and it is damn difficult to find a time to get to it.

It is not even as though I fancy someone else.  Ever, in fact.  If the husbandal unit were to be run over by a bus I can't see myself bothering with a new model.  It is partly a lingering sentimental attachment to the one I have (or had, in the bus-squishing scenario).

Possibly it is because I am aware of the quality of the current model, or, having gone to the trouble of getting used to living with him, I can't see myself enjoying discovering the range of disgusting habits you get in a new partner.  (My idea of hell includes having the TV on all weekend watching sport, or someone who widdles on the floor of the toilet then ignores it. YOU BASTARDS!!) (Sorry about that - cool, soothing breath!)

Also, it would be very tricky making a new family with extant monsters - I think people who try it are extraordinarily brave.

The current husbandal unit has seen me naked and knows about my slightly odd laughy habits.  I can't imagine the horror of going through that with someone else.  And what if you did and found you had the compatibility of sardines and caramel sauce?  I have not had a big enough range of partners to know where my husb. falls on the scale of likely successful completions but there are probably a lot of people with whom the end result would not be two smiley people.

No, all I really wish for is more opportunity to get to it when we are not sick, tired or looking after monsters.

 It is probably just the saps starting to flow.  Bloody spring.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vanquishing monsters

It is probably impolite to celebrate but the monsters are off for the weekend.  My marvelous brother and sister-in-law are once again taking care of the dear little mites.  What is more, they have been asked to bring bathers so that is a happy pair of monsters.

Much as I love the girls, being a full-time parent has its periods where you would like to gaffer-tape them to the inside of the garage to get some peace.  Eventually everything annoys you: hearing about dreams at top volume while you are slurping your first coffee; middens of hair elastics and library books; the astonishing capacity of children to destroy things (dishwasher doors turn out not to like being sat on, for example); the awful relationship between veggie intake and fartiness; and last but not least, the noisy, pointless fighting.

Sometimes I think it is time to give the game away - find some childcare and reinvigorate my brain and refresh my ego with a return to paid work.  (Because at $20/week cash in hand, this job definitely counts as volunteer work.)

But you have to remember why you do it:

1 Because life is crap for everyone when we are both working full-time.  There is exhaustion, pressure on careers as carer's leave is stretched to the outer limits, an even higher bug level as immune systems collapse, and a feeling that you are doing both paid work and parenting extremely badly.

2 Because when you do return to work, the monsters will always remember the time you set aside to do crafting, make cakes, read books, and wander the neighbourhood looking for trees to help them learn to climb.

Monsters dissecting dead IT
Frankly, I am damned lucky we have the choice so I will stop complaining and go and pick up the school monsters.  Byeeeee!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Holy sainted arm, Batman

Apparently the arm of Saint Francis Xavier is touring near me soon.  His lower right arm, to be precise.  I thought the Stones were the most ancient relics to undertake world tours, but they are mere chicks compared to this body part.

Apparently, and I mean apparently, the roaming Jesuit was buried on a beach on an island off China in 1552, then dug up and moved to Malaysia in 1553.  He was dug up a second time in 1553 and taken to Goa.  Most of him is apparently still in Goa, except his wandering arm which was detached in 1614 and taken to Rome, its primary place of residence.  I think I now know where Alfred Hitchcock got the plot for The Trouble with Harry.

Now the man himself had an interesting life roaming around Asia, mostly, drumming up converts - kind of like the Mormons but bogglingly more successful on a conversion per person ratio.  He was a busy buzzy with India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and lastly, and largely unsuccessfully, China on his tour itinerary.

Even if it was actually the arm of this super-converter (and after all those moves and all this time, who knows whose it is)  I am not sure if lining up to pray to the arm is something I would encourage if I was the Catholic Church*.  I mean, really, it is someone’s arm.  It is right up there with the Shroud of Turin in terms of its relevance to current Christianity.  I realise this may come as a shock to some but the middle ages actually ended (though admittedly nobody seems to have told Congressman Akin).

Mind you, should I take up Christianity, I probably prefer a middle-ages version.  Everyone feel free to pop over, rip your clothes off and paint yourselves with chocolate.  I plan to specialise in lust and gluttony, followed closely by long bouts of sloth.  Then, just before I die I am going to buy a stack of indulgences and Bob's your Aunty Jean.

* But of course I am not, because the CC is not a person, and if it was, I don't have the penis for the job.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

So I was talking to this woman by the strawberries ...

... that were on special.  We were talking about the reasonable price, which led on to her holidaying in the UK where she encountered extremely cheap raspberries.

I went on to explain in some detail (I know, you are surprised to hear it) how we grow raspberries, that they are extremely easy to grow in the climate, that they came in before Christmas so you sometimes missed out if you went away, that children loved to nibble (I am thinking of you, Monster2 - a kilo is too much raspberry for a toddler), etc.

She gave me a tired look and said she should think about it, and that her children would love it.

Then, as we turned to fill our respective trolleys, I noticed she was quite pregnant.  Ye gad, she probably doesn't have time for that sort of malarky.   So, aside from the fact that the chances of her reading this are extremely close to zero, I apologise.  Don't bother buying and planting raspberries.  Stick your feet up until the children get home from school. Have a cup of tea. 

When the baby season was upon us, we were lucky if we kept the laundry basket from evolving to the stage where it started raiding the fridge.  Occasionally I would take the crowbar for a wander to the front yard to work on the holes that would eventually get shrubs.  If you could get a inch depth, you could start watering the proto-holes to dig another inch next time.  Mostly the crow-bar went "spronggg" and leapt two feet in the air.  Ah, concrete-like clay after a decade of drought.

I am sure babies have some appeal but it is not a great time for gardening.

2012 - after 2 la Nina years
2008 - dryish

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday is mould day

Ah, Monday, a day of quiet serenity.  There are no amount of medications I wouldn't give to the children to get them over minor ailments and off to school.  It is just after 10am, I have had 2 large coffees, done 3 loads of washing, and have NO CHILDREN.


I do love the dear little things.  They are especially loveable when they are clean, when there are no trails of girl-crap around the house, and when they remember to shovel out the cat litter. 

There is one slight blot on the landscape and that is that Monday is mould day.  The combination of moving air with gas heating, old steel window frames and -5 degree Celcius nights means that mould grows like topsy around the windows.  Time to fight back.  A nasty job but someone has to do it and that lucky duck is me.

When we are rich (la la la laaa - off in fairy land again) we will dispose of our rusted, mould-prone, over-painted, almost impossible to shut windows and treat the house to double glazing.

In the interim, pass the bleach - sorry lungs, I'm going in to battle.

At least the black mould on the windows makes a change from the orange slime mould growing in the bathroom.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dirty cat habits

Drinking from the toilet:
I wouldn't mind so much if her preference wasn't so strongly towards a toilet I had just used.  She trots in every time I visit and waits on the end of the bath.  Kinda handy because she can inveigle a tickle from there.  Also, when she slips and gets wet feet, my abdomen is her favourite choice of towel.  Call me fussy but I prefer not.

The nooget herself - Toast
Early morning habits:
It is bad enough that Monster1 wakes up with the sparrows and likes to wake Monster2 to let the play commence.  Being a young cat, Toast wakes at 4am with a combo of "play with meeeeeeeeeeeeee" and "is it breccy time yet?"  She prefers to voice these questions by walking up your slumbering form, standing on your shoulder and purring in your ear.  Alternately, if access is available, she creeps up and presses her nose to yours.  There are a series of slams around the house as, one by one, she gets evicted by angry purr victims.  Eventually someone gets annoyed enough to shut her in the lounge.

Out-strategising the children:
I will say this again, people, if the cat is standing on you and purring, do not sit up.  She just nips around behind you and steals your warm spot.  We are no longer rescuing pathetic children who are being out-played by a kitten.  Service is discontinued.  Deal with it.

Playing inappropriately:
Monster1 has long hair - it dangles over the chair at dinner.
Monster2 has a fairy dress with long wispy bits.
My dear husband has a hard-core addiction to cords.  He likes nothing more than to connect two unlikely electronic devices.  The result is a tangled maw of cords behind the desk.
When I have ironed new curtains, I have to drag them to where I am hanging them or they get creased.
None of these things are invitations to play, Toast.  (Though I can see how you might mistake the cord jungle for a climbing frame.)

Otherwise, the nice way you sleep around the house, general purring, coping with rampaging monsters, etc - all good work.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The garbage conundrum

The tricky bugger bit about blogging seems to be topic selection, I mean, it is a nice idea in theory.  Surely each day something interesting enough must have drifted through your ears that is worth sharing with other people.

Sadly, the answer appears to be "No, that is not the case".  If anything remotely interesting does occur to me, it has usually ticked off entirely by the time I am sitting here wiggling my fingers. Then I run the real and present danger of wasting the time of passing eyeballs by writing about nothing.

Oh fuck!  I think I will stop now.  Sorry.

More summer dreams

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The irony is ...

... I turn 43 tomorrow, I have no desire for more children, raging cramps and probably another decade of menstrual fun.

There are no further children imminent.  The window of opportunity is well and truly closed.  Steps have been taken.

We tend to be late bleeders, the women of my family, so I would not be surprised if I have a considerable period (no pun intended) to go.  My mother and her sisters all went to about 55.

After a particularly chaotic hormonal phase, my doctor suggested he could take steps to stop it, or at least the more annoying aspects like bleeding for six weeks.  He basically suggested a flame thrower approach to the uterine lining.  

Apparently an actual flame thrower is not used - it is called endometrial ablation and can be done by:
  • Lasers (visions of Darth Vader, so I think not)
  • Heat using:
    • Radiofrequencies (I do live near a TV broadcasting tower - maybe it will happen anyway)
    • A balloon filled with saline solution that has been heated to 85 degrees Celsius
    • Normal saline (yeah, bugger it, just slosh some hot water round in there - try not to burn out the vagina though - that could be inconvenient)
  • Electricity (sorry, but isn't that known as a death sentence?)
  • Freezing (oh yeah, big improvement)
  • Microwave (you have to laugh at this one - are we talking a ping at the end of the procedure?)
Call me crazy, but it is a part of me I prefer untoasted. I believe I can live with the cramps.*

[* Please don't be put off by my tone.  This procedure may be a good solution for someone with more serious problems than me.]

Monday, August 13, 2012

I just looked in my spam folder and ...

... what a surprising range of crap there was in there.

One of the lovely things about my husband is that he is responsible for all spiced ham-related matters.  In fact, I only found out we had such a repository when he mentioned it apropos some email we actually wanted several months ago.  Thus, I have never actually looked in a spammery before.  I just looked - we got about 10 items yesterday alone.  Is this big?  Is this small? Who knows!

I was somewhat surprised at the sheer range of it.  Going from general discussion I thought it was going to be all penis-enhancements, viagra and cut-price deals on wives available today.  There was certainly some of that but so much else - who knew I was so employable, for one. Not just job offers, but all those people who apparently live near me, or want to sell me imaginary financial products.  I have no idea who Anthony is, successful or otherwise, and I am pretty confident he is lying when he tells me he wants to pay me some money.  Does your mother know about this business, Anthony?

I think my favourites contain a plea in the first line, "Please click 'not spam' if delivered to spam folder."  Bad luck!  They look like spam, they smell like spam, and should I have a dog I wanted killed who was willing to try it, they probably taste like spam.  "I am sorry it's your dying breath little feller, but was it faintly porky?"

I dream of summer

Friday, August 10, 2012

It is going thumpety dump faster than normal people

No idea what this means.  It is a quote from Monster2.

The husbandal unit has caught the family bug and has joined me in sitting around feeling sorry for myself.  Occasionally we negotiate who is going to do what.  We try not to sneer - it is too tiring.

Lunch today was delicious.  Toasted rye rolls with a smoky Vienna sausage, fried cabbage and onion with a little apple vinegar, served with Dijon mustard and tomato sauce.  You have to give it to those Germans - they know how to accessorise a snag.  Though it is probably treasonous to use a French mustard.

The sun is shiny and the air is icy - a typical day around here.  We are looking forward to spring.  I am inspecting buds on trees for signs of swelliness, and we are predicted to hit 15 degrees Celsius in the next week.  Whacko!

You have to decide what is better: the tacky stink pipe, the purple brain wall tiles or the mock toilets of the Victorian era wallpaper.  Now all sadly gone from my life.  The pink bowl was terrific - no complaints there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The dryer is full of woodland creatures

I believe there is a bear in there, a possum, several mice, and two Ippys (actual species unknown).  Apparently an Ippy was manky and from there it was all in for the ride.

An Ippy in a frock - your guess is as good as mine.

One of the challenges of parenting is to keep a positive spin on things. I was speaking to another parent about the turmoils of giving up thumb sucking.  She took her child out, they picked out a dress-up and bought poster paper and stickers.  They made a chart and when, a number of weeks later, the child had gone a week without sucking her thumb, they went and bought the dress-up.  What a woman.

My technique just consisted of speaking to the girl, then letting her older sister nag her whenever she was caught at it.  Not a very successful venture.  We are now discussing a technique with more incentive. I don't think she really wants to give it up, but with splaying baby teeth and two adult incisors on their way out, the time has come the walrus said.

A BFC for a picnic 40th.  Packed to travel.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sick sick sick

Well, here I am slobbing about in bed.  The lovely husband is outside doing dirty things to weeds and the girls are bellowing about the garden. 

Did I ever mention how much I hate a certain weirdly shaped blonde doll who may or may not go to Charm School?  Having primed themselves up on the other film-based princess collection, Monster1, in particular, is under the spell.  Everyone in these works is in a physically impossible state.  She always turns out to be a princess, lost in childhood.  This is only elucidated, of course, after she has snared a prince whose parents have remarkably gotten over her lack of royal status.  Luckily her inheritance comes with a well preserved queen/mother, "Oh, my lost child."

The lessons to be learned appear to be:

a) If you are impossibly beautiful, some handsome prince will fall in love with you immediately, irrespective of any other compatibility.

b) If you are beautiful enough, you are probably a princess, and your humdrum middle-class life and frumpy parents are just a temporary error.

c) That you can make money selling any crap to little girls if it is pink enough, and if you warp their minds by buggering their future self esteem and hope of a happy relationship, this is acceptable collateral damage to corporate profits.

It makes me want to vomit.  Monster1 knows this and we agree to differ on the matter.  The sum result is that I try hard not to watch any of it or read her the books and she has to fund her addiction with her own money.  Luckily this stuff rarely appear at the shop at the dump where we get most of our videos.  Snapped up by other poor souls, probably.

If I could start again, I would refuse to buy anything with a princess til they are 37.

What a terrible stream of negative blogs.  Next time, something positive.

Poor old Mouse - sadly missed

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I hate curtain-making

Oh, let me count the ways.
  1. Driving for ages to attend the world's most disorganised, rumpled store
  2. Ironing, ick ick ick
  3. Sore back
  4. Cat attacks on dragged fabric 
  5. Annoyingly bad sewing machine*
  6. Getting a sore neck up the ladder 
  7. Limited technical competence, which exacerbates 5, and is made worst by large time gaps between curtain-making episodes
Well, seven is not as bad as I thought.  I thought I might get to googleplex.

Why I like curtain-making

It is delightful to replace curtains that were destroyed by girls (passing wolves, they claim) or were made for a house in another state in 1985.   I won't throw the latter set out yet.  They haven't even reached their 30th anniversary.  Mere chicks.

What a grumpy day.  I am surprised you are still reading.

Jams - Mulberry and Raspberry - not a recent photo due to recent lack of mulberry crop

[*Much as I try not to covet, I have often heard women speak of the beautiful, efficient sewing machine that they bought for some abandoned craft, or were given by an elderly relative who fundamentally underestimated the recipient's personality.  Meanwhile, I actually sew - clothes, curtains, etc, on my cheap crappy one while all these much better sewing machines molder in cupboards, often without being used the first time.]