Thursday, May 28, 2009

making me smile during a rough old day

...bottoms are funny.

...and a sweet gal just happy that Dad's in a good mood.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ten Steps to Looking Ten Years Older in Ten Hours

1. Have your two-year-old incubate a mystery virus that unfolds like this: Day 1: sniffly cold. Day 2: extreme naughtiness. Day 3: projectile vomiting.

2. On a trip to pick up a Mary Poppins DVD for the sick-couch, have the car break down at the video shop.

3. Spend the afternoon like an impotent giant facing up against a tiny, brilliant, evil fairy, as toddler reaches heights of naughtiness beyond your discipline powers. Finally, send her to bed early in disgrace.

4. Watch her projectile vomit the next morning, realise she really was sick yesterday and feel the acid bile of guilt eat away your stomach lining.

5. Organise monsoonal rainfall on the morning you must walk both sick kids to the shops to meet the Lubemobile mechanic. Ensure no neighbours can come and watch the kids. Decide you must dash between rain showers.

6. Realise double stroller has been left in the rain, and Ergo back-sling in the car, forcing a kilometre walk along a dirt goat-track with toddler in poncy-wheeled city stroller,big fat baby crammed into Baby Bjorn and every accoutrement possible (vomit bucket, spare clothes, water, blanket, warm hats, garbage bag for crisis rain-ponchos)crammed into bag...

7. Except car keys, which are on the dining table. Discover this at the car.

8. Resolve key issue with great pain and suffering, and do not cry as mechanic starts your car, but concludes that it will definitely break down again, but he can't say when, or why exactly. Do not slap him when gives you his card to call next time it happens.

9. Get home and wrestle baby, who, moving into stage 2 of mystery virus, shouts angrily at you as you try to clean the rug with one arm while holding him off with the other, thus ruining his excellent plan to play in bucket of soapy vomit water. Hurt yourself in the struggle.

10. Do not cry as the little one, for the fourth day running, will only sleep in your arms, or in your bed with his face pressed against yours on the pillow. In his own bed, he lasts 20 minutes before waking and yelling:'Hey! You've fricken tricked me again! Get me OUT OF HERE!!'

10. Feel the beginnings of virus prickle at your sinuses and realise you are about to get sick too. Nostalgically recall past illnesses that involved soup made and delivered by others, remote controls, long sleeps and self-pity. Realise self-pity is the only tool you have left. Resolve to make the very most of it. Employ electronic means if you can.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

can we have a different conversation?

This week has been kind of depressing.

The latest rugby league sex scandal has that 'same same, but different' smell about it. It's the smell of old bullshit, being trotted out again and fed to us as though 'shock' and scandal' are agents for change, and not just good sexy tools to sell papers. If you are overseas, in a coma or wisely don't consume media, find out from Caroline Overington's excellent article on the happenings of the week.

Me, I'm just thinking... OK, here we go again. I'm glad that we're having a conversation, but I'm pretty sure that we're having the wrong one.

Can we stop asking 'Should Matty Johns pay for his team-mates actions? And should he lose his career? And will his wife forgive him? Can we stop asking what this 'incident' will do to the code? Can we stop talking about sexual degradation of women in the context of drunken footballers and widen the debate a bit?

He res what I'd like to talk about:

1 in 4 girls sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
1 in 7 boys sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
The drastic under-reporting of sexual assault to police.
The very low rate of conviction for those assaults that are reported and tried.

I worked as a counsellor for a sexual assault service for a couple of years. I supported a number of clients through court cases and I've seen what goes on in courtrooms. I've watched defence lawyers work to shred a reputation, and I've witnessed young girls being sacrificed to the system - traumatised once by the crime, and again by the courts.

This issue is bigger and nastier than a few overpaid, underbrained sportsmen. I can't help but feel that this weeks 'scandal' is going to make some sensational headlines for a week or two and then slip quietly away. Again. Fatty Vautin summed it up for me, when after Matthew Johns initial weak apology on the Footy Show, Fatty smacked him affectionately on the back and said 'Well done, mate. And now, on with the show.'

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

thanks, mum

Oh, I'm under the hammer.

Teething, grumpy crawler; authority-shy toddler with a naughty glint in her eye. Nappies, feeding, cleaning, negotiating, cuddling. Not enough hours in the day to blog.

But I couldn't let Mothers Day slip past without a little shout-out to my own Mum, who's just left after a ten-day visit housesitting nearby with Dad. I'm bereft without the company! And she really is great company.

So Mum has all the nescessary qualities, and some extra: she's sweet, generous, kind and sensitive. She's funny and interested in the world. She's a wonderful cook with a beautiful soul, great pins and endless energy for nanna- fun.

But most of all, she is a goofball. Let me tell you two of my favourite stories about her, just to illustrate.

1. The Sausage

While camping one year, Mum ended up at a long table full of people discussing race relations in Australia. One charming man at the other end was holding forth, basically advocating genocide of the Aboriginal population. Mum, shy in groups, got more and more worked up but couldn't get it together to argue back. Eventually, in a sudden burst, she fired a charred sausage at him. A nicely blackened bit got him in the eye and the conversation ended as dad led Mum away from the table.

2. The Standing Ovation.

One of Mum's oldest friends is a bush poet. After working for years on a script on the Eureka Stockade, she got the chance to stage a reading for a group of investors at a city theatre. The audience was full of hard-nosed business types, me, and Mum, who was bursting with pride and excitement. At the shows conclusion, everybody clapped politely, but Mum was out of step with the vibe of the crowd. She leapt to her feet, cheering wildly, and then tried to sit down again when she realised that nobody else was getting up. Unfortunately, the chair beneath her folded up in the meantime, so she landed on the floor. Can you picture it? Gymnastic leap in the air, with clapping, to full floor finish. Priceless.

3. The Big Night Out.

So, with no small thanks to Mum's show of support, Eureka! got made, and Mum and I went along to the Melbourne opening night, where we had a blast. Mingled with d-list soapie stars and Big Brother contestants, boogied-on-down with the bearded mayor of Bendigo at the after-party, and stopped off on the way home at a karaoke bar to perform 'Hopelessly Devoted To You'.

What a woman! Lucky, lucky me.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

my mothers day compliment

More on Mummies Day tomorrow, but for now, a compliment from my sis-in-law:

'You look great...glowing...sort of like you've been...Photoshopped!''


Friday, May 8, 2009

take that, wiggles!

Buddy Mick to the rescue after my Wiggles breakdown of last week. You know those friends you need to keep you up to date on all the zeitgeist you miss while mashing potatoes and talking about poo? Mick is one of them.

Love this one too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

the joy of decks

I'll post a start-to-finish in pictures soon of the wonderful, delicious deck, but today was all finding my inner master craftsman as I worked the electric sander.


Nanna to keep curious kiddos on the safe side of the glass.
Pop to supervise proceedings and take turns sanding.
Keith's voice in my ear echoing '├Żou missed a'
Kisses through the glass door.
Mounting excitement.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

damn you, Wiggles, and all that you stand for.

I have spent a lot of time with the Wiggles over these past weeks, as Ivy's obsession is pathological. I like them, generally, although their cast , in true Aussie fashion, is almost entirely male, and their eternal joie de vivre borders on the psychotic.

Ivy isn't alone in her obsession, and her passion is shared by many, many little one I know. The Wiggles know it too. Their merchandising machine is on overdrive, and they work those toddlers from every angle they can. Toys. DVDs. Books. Juice. Nappies. Pencils. Tractor equipment. Camel-muzzles. Denture paste.

I wouldn't mind quite so much if they weren't such crappy products, so obviously hoisted onto the markey to diddle parents out of a baby bonus that would have better spent on a plasma screen. But the books are littered with typos, the food is packed with chemicals and sugar and the nappies are disposable.

What'a a mum to do when caving under the pressure but buy a doll, a Murray doll, that won't rot brains or teeth but might at least inspire some creative imagination?

It's another toss-up of principles, and I'm pretty sure the loser is logic. No Barbies for you, Ivy. But yes, you can have a figure of a middle-aged man with a Tandoori tan and hair by Loreal (Copper Collection), and take him to bed every night.