Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Perils of Recreational Walking

The LBD is favouring his bad leg again. He was using it pretty consistently until yesterday, and now he'll hardly use it at all. I think it will be back to the vet again.

I had a letter to post and the postbox is up the top of the hill (between 800m - 1km). It is not worth getting the car out, and after all, I'm trying to get fit. The postbox would normally be the first stop on a longer walk, but the LBD would like to come. So we went on a short walk - he doesn't actually care how long it is, as long as there's something to sniff and lift his leg on. And I'm rowing my way to slenderness, so the walk is an additional extra.

I thought I was fairly immune to judgemental looks from passers-by. Today I spoke to one old chap powering up the hill, and we fell into conversation. He was doing a fair speed for a more mature person, and managed to carry on a conversation at the same time.

In the space of about 400 metres he'd managed to tell me:

1. I shouldn't be walking my lame dog;
2. If he's having trouble with the burrs I should get him some boots like they use out west (I'd already told him it wasn't the burrs);
3. Everyone should be getting fit (So what was I doing, eating donuts?);
4. Everyone should have a $1200 treadmill so that they can exercise at anytime of the day;
5. A rowing machine will not do - I need to get cardio-vascular fitness;
6. Then everyone also needs a home gym to tone up their muscles.

I was very glad that he was walking much, much further than I was, and that I had to turn off to get to the postbox.

What are the chances I want the opportunity to walk and talk with him again?

... Approximately None.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Best Block in Town?

We moved to town back in the middle of 2004. It was really back to town for me, having done high school here, and having a sprinkling of parents and grandparents living here.

We lived with Mum & Dad for a while, as we looked at the housing market and worked out what was best to do. I was going to work from home, so we needed a room for an office either near the front door or with a separate entrance that would give us privacy. My Beloved is very handy and has a '64 (I think) Humber Super Snipe car that he wants to do up, so he wanted MEGA garage space. Nothing in the available housing stock met these requirements without going up a price bracket, and getting us lots of other stuff that we didn't need.

My Dad is a Building Designer, so the other option was pretty obvious. Find a block and get the perfect house for us built on it.

We looked at the land around town (whether it was for sale or not) and found the one we now live on. It was reasonably close to town (30 minute walk). Reasonably close to my parents and grandparents' houses (5 mins and 25 mins respectively) and had this view:

Not too shabby.

My Beloved was brought up mainly on farms, so we ideally wanted more than just a town block, but close enough to town for my clients to find me.

We ended up with a town block, but with views across a flood plain that still has horses and cows and crops. It is perfect, we love it. We nearly couldn't afford it because it's on a slope and that makes for expensive construction, but most people in our age bracket don't have views of anything other than Hideous Coloured Tin Fences (that is their official title, and I won't shorten it).

It's in a quiet cul-de-sac, there are mature gum trees around with sulphur crested cockatoos, galahs, and heaps of other birds that give happy background music to the quiet day-times. We always get the breezes because our house is above the roof of any other neighbouring house.

There are two weekends a year which get a bit trying, though.

It's the Rodeo this weekend. Both the Rodeo and the District Show are held at the Showgrounds which are not far from us. Maybe 400 metres. They have loud speakers, and trucks delivering and taking away stock for the camp-drafting, and the nights can get a bit rowdy as the drinks go down.

We knew it was there when we bought, and I am fine with it normally, but just now I'm sitting here, trying to do my Business Activity Statement for last quarter (or now blogging as it turns out), enjoying the light, cooling breeze; the call of the birds; and breathing in the fresh scent of ... Eau D'Cow Manure and listening to someone on the loud speaker get very excited about what's going on (with an occasional groan or cheer from the crowd drifting across). At least they've wrested the microphone from the woman with the nasal tones reminiscent of Kath from Kath & Kim.

It's only two weekends a year. Chances of me wanting to sell the Best Block of Land in Town?

... Approximately None.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Town Planning CSI

I'm a Town Planner and we are held to be a boring lot. There was a survey done years ago that indicated that the populace thought us quite dangerous - but we’re not worth writing about.

So there will never be a Town Planning version of CSI. But can’t you picture it…

Some salubrious coastal resort town where all the Council staff are svelte and tanned with big hair (except for maybe one token beer-swilling, meat pie eating, balding employee to make wise cracks and maintain ‘authenticity’ within the local government context).

The cast of the Planning Department could start with the Manager. A wise family man of mature years - but with full head of hair and a god-like ability of knowing how to work the politics to get a great outcome every time. He has the ability to work a 60+ hour week, but still have his priorities right to maintain that perfectly balanced family life, an intriguing hobby, and, should occasion require him to remove his shirt, a six-pack.

The rest of the team could comprise young professionals, wonderfully attractive young women (at least one of whom is blonde). They would have to be the sort of plastic women who could do a round of site inspections at a piggery, test for acid sulfate soil out on the windy salt plains amongst the mangroves, then make it back to the office without a hair out of place, smelling like roses and without one speck of mud (or worse) on their expensive heels.

Of course at least one of the team would have to be a mischievous, (almost) male-chauvinist. But how could you blame him when he’s just so cute, and everything he says is so funny. He’d have to be a surfer so that there’d be plenty of shots of him coming into the office after his morning ride, ready for a shower and a 10 hour day.

Can’t you see those dedicated young professionals working all hours to crack that case… Does that relative’s apartment really actually house… a relative? Carefully compiling their evidence against the clock, and maintaining the admissibility of it.

Or the Strategic Planning team working all hours to get the new Planning Scheme signed off before the next template hits the deck, or the Minister goes into caretaker mode for an up-coming State Government election.

Then, at the end of each episode, the good planning outcome is achieved and the enemies of order and amenity slink off back to the Gold Coast. Ahhhh! What a way to capture some much-needed new recruits within the planning profession.

Alas, what chance is there that my vision will eventuate?

... Appoximately None.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I can't take it anymore!!!!!

I have reasonable eyesight. I often wear glasses when I'm at the computer, but I can still get away without them most of the time. But not necessarily when I'm commenting on a blog and they have that letter recognition code thingy.

I don't like it, but most of the time you can see before you comment that it's required. Mostly it's legible. Sometimes I have to have another go, because the 'l' was actually a 't' with a very tiny cross that I thought was just part of it going around the corner in some weird, twisted fashion.

But I ran across one today that not only had a combination of letters and numbers (What's the difference between a the letter 'O' and a zero in that style of writing?), it was on a very textured background, the letters were sort of chipped AND had strange lines across the whole thing. Worst of all, it was dark grey writing with black lines on varying shades of grey texture. Arrrrggghhh! And it was a secret code, because it only came up after I'd gone to the bother of entering my details and writing a comment.

The blogger obviously wants people to comment. They were featured on a blog recognition and support site. But did they have to make it so hard to do so?

Now I can understand not wanting to get spammed. It hasn't happened to me, but I recognise that some blogs get a little more traffic than mine, and therefore are prime targets for spammers. But I reserve the right not to comment on your blog if you expect me to go cross-eyed and if I haven't got my glasses handy.

How much do I want to offend my bloggy buddies who do choose to protect themselves this way?

... Approximately Not at All - but I needed to have a whinge.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hippomania and Other Dreadful Afflictions

From the Greek:
ἵππος = hippos = horse
μανίας = manias = madness

My hippomania manifested early. From about 2 I was mad-keen on horses. My parents blame my Grandmother who used to give me 'horsey rides' bouncing on her leg. I wanted to pat any horse that I came into contact with, including an illicit visit to the paddock up the street when I was quite tiny. Mum was very cranky that I didn't take her with me. She must have wanted to pat the horsey too.

The tragedy is that I wasn't able to learn to ride until I was 10 - we moved to Cloncurry from Brisbane. All the kids around me had been riding since they could walk, or before that. I was an old lady of 10. It was not fair.

I am not a good horsewoman. I lack the sense of balance, gross motor skills and lack of fear that are necessary for that. My brain spends too much time calculating how badly I will hurt myself if I come off. And I do come off. It's almost my speciality.

Apparently I have a pretty good seat, and a nice steady lower leg. But don't ask me to jump anything. I once did a one day event at Pony Club. Out west dressage is the boring bit you have to do before the fun jumping opportunities. I did the dressage (which I love), then skipped the worst of the jumps in the cross-country, thereby eliminating myself from the showjumping. Mum and Dad were furious that I'd wasted the entrance fee, but it was worth it from my perspective.

We moved when I was 13. We had to sell the horses. I got over it and settled down into unfulfilled hippomania. I would get a ride from time to time, and I would drink in stories of horses from others.

I did have a slight recurrence at about 25. I was working and had my own money. I sat down with my budget and worked out that I could afford to go to a riding school for an hour every week for six months, or once a fortnight for the whole year. I selected the 6 month option and had the strength to stop at the end of it.

Then I met a lady who had horses and her daughter had gone off to study. Another young woman and I kindly used to exercise the horses for her. I subscribed to an Equestrian magazine. That was fun until I moved again. Back into remission.

Most of the time I can cope. The outbreak of Equine Influenza last year meant that for the last 12 months or so I haven't been able to pat horses in paddocks for fear of spreading it.

Then, this weekend is the rodeo in town. Yes, anyone who shares my hippomania (if it manifests in the rodeo/campdrafting arena) could work out my top secret geographical location. We also have a World Cup Qualifying Eventing weekend each year, and the occasional Polocrosse World Cup.

I live not far from the showgrounds which means that at this time of the year there are horses everywhere. They are beautiful. I want one. We live on a town block. We can't have horses. I don't have time for horses - they would eat more time than blogging, and much more food than the LBD.

What is the chance I will own a horse again in the next few years?

... Approximately None

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Operation Skinny Cow

Well, thanks to everyone who shared their stories in my Honesty post from last Saturday. It has spawned a whole new blog - conceived by Givinya, seconded by me, and actually put into action by Femina (of whose technical ability I stand in awe, although she seems to think it wasn't that hard).

If you want to be a contributor, email Femina and she can do her magic.

The name 'Operation Skinny Cow' was coined by Givinya. When we were at college together we used to call anyone more slender than ourselves a skinny cow. To look Bovine on any given day meant that you were snappily dressed and looking at your best. So here's to increased Bovinity for the masses (masses = people; not my thighs - although that works too)!

So, clear space in your diary for the first Weigh-in (or Weight Loss, or something) Wednesday. Which will happen sometime (probably on a Wednesday, I'd suggest?). It's all a bit up in the air at the moment.

The concept is to share our stories and encourage one another in our own goals, and our own preferred method of getting a bit more fit and losing the odd kilo or so. We can share as much or as little as we want.

I say kilos, but there is no reason for someone who wants to lose pounds can't join us. Personally, I'd like to lose in pounds (because they are smaller and I would lose more of them) and record my weight in kilos (because they are bigger and therefore the number is smaller). I don't think Standards Australia would support this. And it would do my head in, maths not being my strong suit.

So at the beginning of this journey how much motivation have I to tell you precisely what I weigh?

...Approximately None

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Listless Morning

I've had a big start to the week, with a million things to do before getting to my desk to blog ...err

At 7.30 I was heading off to Prayer Breakfast (having already done my 30mins rowing - aren't you proud of me?), then to the Hospital to drop of the Pastoral Care on-call phone to this week's victim... I mean Pastoral Carer, then to get some money, then to get some groceries, then to put the groceries away.

My brain often short-circuits when I have to remember multiple things. I was so intent on making sure that I took the charger with the phone, and remembering the camera so that I could take photos of the chapel and one of our volunteers. I forgot my shopping bags. And my shopping list. I'm not certain which is worse.

I like lists, and this morning I definitely needed a list of things I had to do, which would have reminded me that I needed my bags and my list.

So although I remembered a few things that weren't on the list, I forgot others. And I had the stigma of being the young woman loading large numbers of plastic bags into the back of her car.

How many environmentally sustainable people are here working in my home office?

...Approximately None

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Honesty. There's not enough of it in this world. Accountability. That's another good thing. There should be more of it, too. As long as it's not me...

Every now and then I get the 'I've got to do something about my physical fitness, and my size'. Yes, I did the get-married-and-put-on-15-kilos-over-6-years thing. What worries me most is that I need to work on my aerobic fitness, my strength and flexibility. These all contribute towards reducing the risk of various health issues. It would also be good to have more stamina. It would also be good to fit my clothes and look good in them. It would be even better to have the opportunity to go out and buy some smaller clothes (and look good in them too - or at least be able to do up the zip/buttons!).

There have been many stimuli for me to come back to this point. Swift Jan posted a picture of a very pretty dress. It is my inspiration. She also highlighted my own fear of having to buy clothes with a 1 and an 8 in them. Not going there. Getting closer, but not going there.

Long Dark Hair, Blue Eyes was talking about her plan and her first kilo of success (Congratulations, by the way). This in turn inspired Givinya.

Also, the finishing off of the Spring Fair sweets has been accomplished. I've put on a bit since my last weigh-in. I'm telling myself it's that muscle weighs more than fat and it's actually the result of getting back on my little rowing machine. It builds muscle. It does! OK, so the sweet things may have contributed. The good thing with that is that I've always found that kilos that come on over a short period of time disappear quickly. It's those pesky long-term ones I have to watch.

It would be silly for me to want to get back to my weight at 18. I've selected my pre-Wedding weight. I was fully grown and 'filled out' and it should be achievable.

So, I have 16 kilos to lose. That's a big admission to make in cyberspace. Real people who know me can read it. Anyone can read it. I am going to do it thoughtfully, sustainably, and concentrating on getting well and strong, in addition to slender and elegant.

I will exercise - walking the dog and rowing and maybe I'll be able to get the bike out as a transport option once I'm a bit more fit. I will be careful about my portion size and only allow myself a maximum of two desserts and two other naughties each week. This means I can choose what I most prefer and won't go into pig out mode because I'm not allowed to have things. I find it easier to say no if it's from the viewpoint of "I could have that, but I don't like it enough to waste one of my weekly naughties on it, so I will choose not to". I will have balance phases between goals to make certain I can maintain each stage.

I've worked out it will probably take more than 12 months. I've planned not to lose anything over December, because that's just setting myself up for failure. I've scheduled myself rewards at certain magic numbers. Massage here I come! New outfits from time to time.

That's the plan.

Saturdays (weigh-in day) may therefore become 'Whinge about Weight' day. When I'm here.

Chances that this plan doesn't involve sacrifice?

...Approximately None.

There is actually an alternate plan I've considered. You see, if I move to the United States I would drop 2 dress sizes. I like that concept! No effort involved. May not make any change to my fitness and health, though.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Confluence of Events

This happened earlier in the year, but was worth blogging now that the cringe factor has lessened.

We had recently swapped the super-water-economical twin tub for a second hand environmentally insensitive toploading automatic machine. I decided I'd reduce the additional water use by using the 'suds save' option where it pumps the soapy water into the laundry tub where it can syphon back into the machine for the next load. Great! Not too much extra water necessary.

After a few loads I began to be perturbed by the amount of cleanish rinse water going to sewer. Surely, if nothing else, I could take that water (via the hose that Nan gave me with the machine) and get it onto the grass in the backyard. I don't expect the poor machine to pump up-hill to the garden beds, but the backyard is down-hill. This should work.

There was one little catch. The long outdoor hose had to be connected to the washing machine's short hose. The connection was reasonably secure, but I wasn't taking any chances. I made certain that the actual connecting point was outside the laundry door where any leaks would run across the driveway and onto the grass. I'm clever like that. Always looking for the thing that will go wrong.

I went back upstairs to get other things done before the next load of washing was ready to be hung out. All was good.

I kept an ear out on the machine to see when it stopped going...

After a while I noticed that it should really be finished by now. And yet, it was still running water. Why? It should be done. I went to investigate.

During the pumping out the first load of rinse water phase the connection had come unstuck. I am clever. I had forseen this possibility.

I had not forseen that the jerky pumping action would not only break the connection, but flick the end of the washing machine hose just inside the threshold of the laundry. This meant that the water being pumped out was ending up on the laundry floor.

We are clever. We had forseen a water spillage event and had a floor waste put into the laundry when we had the house built.

What we had not forseen was that the next load of washing (which had been quietly sitting in a pile on the laundry floor) would get sucked over the floor waste by the exiting water. Blocking it. Entirely.

But, how bad could this be? It's only one washing machine full of rinse water! So not being as clever as I had initially thought was not the end of the world.

What I had not forseen was that the washing machine actually relies on the fact that the end of the waste hose is above the top of the machine in order to stop the next lot of rinse water simply running out of the bottom of the machine once the pump stops. It had been 'filling up' for some minutes.

Fortunately, in modern homes they actually create sort of a fibreglass bowl to a certain distance up the walls before they put the floor tiles down. They had forseen this type of disaster.

What they had not forseen was that they can't take the fibreglass up the wall where the door is. The garage was also awash. We have heaps of stuff stored in the garage that haven't yet found homes. Tools; bits of board or timber that might be useful some day; a timber chest full of photos.

It was a disaster. My Beloved came home to a frazzled wife, who could not move everything to get at all the water. Being a sweetie, he helped with the clean-up. Without a word, bless him.

He has quietly hidden the outdoor hose. I can't find it anywhere. The chances that this can ever happen again?

...Approximately None.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Little Bathroom Mystery

Our house has two bathrooms. One is attached to our bedroom as an ensuite. The other is the 'main' bathroom and when we built I made certain that not only is the toilet separate*, but that the handbasin is in an alcove outside the shower/bathroom. Thus three different and unrelated persons can do separate parts of their daily ablutions at the same time without impacting on our little ensuite hideaway.

Perhaps I should mention that we have two people in our house. We cannot physically use all available fixtures at the same time.

Anyway, that's a little diversion from the reason I'm blogging. You see, I'm not that keen on housework of any description, and cleaning two bathrooms when there are only two of us in the house seems like a huge waste of time and effort. Therefore, we use the ensuite. The other bathroom sits in pristine condition awaiting visitors. Every now and then I dust it and it stays clean. Despite the fact that my office is much closer to the main bathroom, I walk around the corner and all the way to the other end of the house to use the ensuite.

I did some cleaning yesterday, and I found in the pristine(?) main bathroom human hair. Short lengths of human hair. Thick human hair like facial hair. On the handbasin. With my office scissors that had disappeared.


For how long has it been like this?

How many visitors have come and I haven't known that it was a mess?

Who did it?

Fact 1: There are only two people living in the house.

Fact 2: The LBD does not have the opposable thumb necessary to operate scissors. He also has soft fur.

Exhibit 1: Short lengths of hair. Some graying.

Fact 3: I don't yet have any gray hair.

Fact 4: I don't yet have any facial hair. Maybe I should send it to the lab for forensic testing?

Fact 5: My Beloved's sideburns have recently sprung up closer to the top of his ears.

The chances that the mess was not by the hand of my Beloved?

...Approximately None.

* As it is in most Australian houses that I've ever visited. What is with that in US television shows? Do all American houses have all the fixtures in the one room like an ensuite, or is that just that the set designers are saving money?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Welcome to Where the Blog are You!

Today I get to meet lots of friends I haven't met yet through the Where the Blog are You site. I hope you enjoy my ramblings! Have fun.

For those who haven't run into Where the Blog are You, it's a site that gives support to Australian blogs. Click on the button in my side bar and check it out.

How many ideas have I about how to get this post to end the 'right' way?
...Approximately None.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Brittle Weight Loss Plan

It was our church's Spring Fair on Saturday. For me, this usually involves eating too much. This is due to the fact that my baking usually doesn't work, so I spend money to make up for the fact I have no marketable making-things-for-a-stall skills.

This year:
I baked. And it worked.
I worked on the cake stall. We sold out.
I was in the fashion parade. But that makes no money at all, it's simply entertainment value.
I made an apron. And got heaps of spare change as votes.

So I decided to be a bit more selective in my food choices:
I had a steak burger with salad and a soft drink for lunch. No pavlova and cream. No nachos. No baked potato. No Devonshire Tea.
I bought no cakes (although my Beloved did buy some lamingtons while my back was turned).

I went to the homemade sweet stall and I bought one (1) each of Caramel Fudge and Peanut Brittle because these are my absolute favourites and I only ever get them once a year. There's nothing wrong with little seasonal treats once a year.

Nearing the end of the day, they annouced that various stalls had reduced the prices of what they had left. Remaining containers of sweets were reduced to $1.00.

There was no Caramel Fudge left (there never is). There was heaps of Peanut Brittle. I bought two (2) containers.

Just on the very end of the day I noticed that they still had some Peanut Brittle left. The ladies gave me about five containers for $1.00.

How much weight am I going to lose this week?
... Approximately None

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In which I walk down memory lane, and take it to a ridiculous length

From time to time I toy with creative writing. I wrote this a couple of years ago with the thought that I might send it in to the Queensland Planner. I've never got around to it, and it's probably not what they are looking for. I apologise for all the town planning in-jokes.

The following is entirely fictitious. Any resemblance to persons, places, or local governments living or dead is entirely accidental, and/or the product of their own guilty conscience. None of this would happen in real life!

There are days in local government planning when I forget one of my fundamental laws of planning. These are a series of 22 laws that I have built up over my years of experience, and I should know better than to break them by now.

I have come a long way since I first started, when I thought ‘Banana Shire’ was a fictitious entity, much like ‘John’ and ‘Jane Citizen’ and my lecturer’s favourite site on ‘Street Road’. I made some humorous comment to a colleague, before discovering my error.

But back to the point - Rule Number 1: Listen before speaking – or regret it.

I first made this a rule very early on in my career when I was called to the counter to answer a query and thought I was speaking to the proponent of, not the submitter to, an application. Enough said.

Today’s mess was more funny than worrying, but indicated the usefulness of Rule number 1.

I was called to the counter. Mrs Thompson, a little old lady who reminded me greatly of my great-grandmother, was somewhat hesitant and unwilling to come to the point. Her question involved the growing of vegetables in a residential area, and was it O.K? To make her feel more at home, I allowed my verbal diarrohea to take over, and assured her that growing vegetables in her yard was fine, ancillary to the residential use of the site, etc etc.

Mrs Thompson looked crest-fallen, and I stumbled to a halt before asking for more information. It seems that some people in her area have some difficulties with a neighbour who is growing vegetables. She stopped, unable to articulate her precise concern.

Still not having remembered Rule Number 1, I once again launched forth (with a picture of Tom & Barbara Good’s garden from the old series ‘The Good Life’ firmly entrenched in my mind). I was a little more circumspect as I said we could investigate if they were undertaking commercial market gardens at the site, and went on about amenity issues regarding visual pollution, fertiliser odour, pest spraying, machinery operating at odd hours.

As I threw these suggestions forward she was still looking at me blankly, and I began to panic and draw even more ridiculous possibilities for how a vege patch could be causing concern to the neighbours. I think the most ridiculous one was the idea of big lights all over the yard to make the plants grow more quickly, but an increasingly large part of my mind was trying to work out how much of an idiot I was going to make of myself before managing to palm the complaint onto one of the Environmental Health Officers.

Finally I ran out of words, and asked her to explain what the problem was. (A sentence that would have saved a whole heap of embarrassment if I had used it at the beginning of this episode.)

It seems that Mr Jordan from number 45 lost his wife a few years ago, and tends to spend his time in the garden to cope with his loss. The problem was not that he was operating a commercial operation, quite the reverse.

It seems that the garden has become bigger and bigger each year, and he gives the neighbours all the produce that he can’t use himself (which is heaps, because there is only one of him). At first, they all enjoyed the occasional veges and used to compliment him on the size, taste, and freshness as a way to start conversations to see how he was going. Unfortunately, some of the neighbours complemented veges that they didn’t actually like, and now don’t know what to do with such huge amounts of them. Mrs Thompson can’t eat the amount of produce that he is giving her, and like all the rest, doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Hmmm, and getting the Council to do something about it wouldn’t hurt his feelings? I tried to explain that that wasn’t really a Council problem. By the time I was finished, I could feel the not-quite-hidden smiles of the Customer Service girls from behind me. Can anyone explain to me why is it that Customer Service are never busy when the planner makes a fool of herself?

Maybe that should be Rule Number 23.

Ways to get out of this situation without embarrassment?
... Approximately None

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Just Excuses from Beginning to End

You might be forgiven for wondering where I've been. It's been a very big week.

I had an application to lodge and had to finish the appropriate report and fill out all the forms to go with it.

I had to arrange public notification of two applications which involved taking the signs to a town about 40 minutes from here to give to my clients. The land also had many neighbours, so I had to collate letters and notices to go to the right people, and keep it straight when stuffing the printed envelopes.

Australia Post also stuffed me up by changing the postage a couple of weeks ago without telling me, then not having the 5 cent stamps available to add to my other stamps. So I bought the new 55 cent ones, forgetting that I'd already stuck the stamps on some of the envelopes, which then meant a second trip up the street to get those envelopes specially stamped with their thingamy.

I was also on Hospital Pastoral Care this week, so lost Wednesday morning.

I needed to go 'shed sitting' a few times at my Beloved's business because both of the boys needed to go out on installations and they need someone to answer the phone and talk to any customers who come in. Fortunately I can take my laptop and do some work while I'm over there.

The other compounding factor was that today was our Church's Spring Fair which is our big fundraising activity for the year and usually makes up the budget shortfall if there is one.

This meant that I had to find time to go into one of the local ladies' wear shops in town and find three outfits to wear for the fashion parade.

Then, this year I decided to bake. I am not a natural baker. I do, however, work on the cake stall. This year I was definitely going to try to take something with me. Every other time I have tried I have used my never-fail recipes and they fail. I have made these things many times, but if it is for public consumption, they DO NOT WORK!!!!

This is my kitchen at about 10pm last night:

The photo just doesn't seem to capture the whole overwhelming feeling of mess. I must admit to having a stack attack a little earlier to get some space to work.

These are the results at about 11.30pm last night:

Apart from half a batch of the Cherry Shortbread bickies that came out looking like some alien portraits, they all worked!!! I am so proud of me. They also all sold, which was very positive reinforcement (apart from the fact that we sold nearly everything, even the dodgy-looking stuff).

The other way to waste my time was to have an idea for the apron competition. They decided to start it this year challenging people to make aprons that fit in with the theme of the stall where they work, then people can donate change to vote for their favourites. Most cash wins.

I set aside some time on Thursday morning to make it, and I got all the bits and pieces together ready to go. I went around to Mum's so that I could ask her questions at the drop of a hat.

I ended up having lunch with Mum and Dad.

At 6.30pm I decided I'd better go home to feed my Beloved.

I finished about 10pm. That wasn't part of the plan. But the finished product did have impact, and I made $74.10 (thank-you to Grandma and my parents who both made sizeable contributions). I'll find out tomorrow at church if I won.

I call it my 'Calendar Girls' apron.

How much shame do I have?

...Approximately None

Monday, October 6, 2008

How Embarrassment!

I did some grocery shopping this morning. I like to go to a separate, not-part-of-a-shopping-complex butcher just up around the corner from home on the way home. They sell good quality meat, I know them, and they know me.

I really miss the anonymity of the city sometimes.

Today, while one bloke was toting up my order, another lady was ordering what she needed from one of the younger ones. What she actually said was "Do you have a nice bit of rear?"

I burst out laughing. Aloud. Very loudly. You can guess what I thought I heard her say.

How many ways are there of explaining my loud, inappropriate laughter away?

...Approximately None.

To Herd and to Hold from this day forth...

My little bro, his wife and our sweet little 18 month old niece came on a surprise visit last week. It was great to see them, and Giggles hadn’t stayed at our place before. They usually stay at my parent’s place a little further out of town.

After breakfast I called in the LBD to see how Giggles reacted. They did meet a long time ago and although Giggles has another puppy she plays with regularly, the LBD is a good bit bigger than a puppy. I would never leave any dog alone with a small child, but the LBD seems to be pretty gentle (unless he’s excited) so with three adults present I didn’t think there should be a problem.

I had decided to treat my visitors (and myself – my poor beloved has to start work early and missed out) to a cooked breakfast, so I gave the LBD the leftover bacon rind. Giggles watched carefully and thought this was wonderful. She cheerfully offered a section of toast to the ravenous beast from the safety of her high chair. The LBD oh-so-gently took it from her hand, then scoffed it down. He was perfectly ready and willing to help her with the rest of her leftover toast, but I think the size of his teeth was just a bit much for Giggles to be willing to try again.

Then Giggles wanted down and was happily playing while the grown-ups talked. She became fascinated with the knobs on the drawers of our display cabinet and the fact that the drawers move, and my little bro was quick to tell her ‘no’ and follow up with appropriate discipline when she went back again. She was still fascinated, but who needs to keep an eye on small child when you have LBD the Wonderdog? Once he’d worked out that for her to touch the knobs was bad, he kept on going between her and the drawers. Wow. He’s done it before with other dogs who jump up – but he’s been taught that jumping up is bad. How did he pick up within such a short period of time that playing with door knobs is bad?

Have I mentioned that we think the LBD is a Border Collie? He was a pound puppy, so we can’t know what his parentage was - but if it looks like a Border Collie, and acts like a Border Collie…

Giggles was running around the table to get back to her toys, and that inspired the LBD to run the other way around the table and meet her half-way. She was a bit surprised, he was a bit excited and wanted to play some more. She wasn’t entirely certain about this, and was rescued by her Mum.

A little later Giggles was sitting on her Mum’s lap, but wanted down to play again. The LBD lay across between two chairs so that Giggles couldn’t escape. Fortunately it wasn’t frustrating enough to get Giggles’ goat.

I think we can afford to have quintuplets. Child control - no problemo! None of the little blighters would get away from the LBD.

Fortunately I know that you know I’m joking, so how many bad parenting comments am I expecting?

…Approximately None.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Slaggin' Dragon

Why does laundry day come around so regularly?

And why is there always some garment that needs special attention?

My Beloved had blood on one of his shirts. And in a shirt with striped sections why did it have to be on the white, rather than the bottle green?

My Mum has passed on a number of laundry tips over the years, for example oily stains can be removed with a combination of Sunshine Soap and Spit. Sounds lovely and alliterative, but is just plain disgusting. Apparently there are greeblies in saliva that break down oily substances. And it works. But it's disgusting and I hate doing it. None of the pre-wash stain removers seem to get the residual oil out, even if they take out any colour associated with the stain - so I spit.

The other one (that's actually relevant to today's post) stems from when Mum did a couture dressmaking course years ago. Apparently all dressmakers live in dread of accidentally pricking themselves on a pin when making a wedding dress and leaving a tiny blood spot on the snowy fabric. And Mum was given the top secret, fail-safe remedy for this disaster.

At this point, I think I should warn Givinya that she proceeds at her own peril. She is the one person I know who can both identify my Mum and also had her wedding dress made by Mum. Mind you, I don't think she needed to use this special method on your dress, but I can't be certain.

So it turns out saliva works here, too. But according to Mum it has to be the saliva of the bleedee. Now I can see everyone reading this who has ever been married is wondering if the dressmaker pricked themselves. This would mean that on the one day of our lives that we looked most radiant, wearing the most expensive dress we have ever worn, we may have been walking around in the only dress we've ever owned that has been spat on. Congratulations!

Mum made my wedding dress, but as if I'd worry. She used to spit on a tissue and clean my face with it! How's spitting on a dress going to hurt?

Back to my Beloved's shirt. It was his blood. He was at work. I thought I'd try the ol' spit method anyway. I don't know whether it's that Mum's right that it has to be the bleedee that spits, or whether my saliva hasn't had the chance to be turned into an industrial strength cleaner with the aid of pregnancy hormones. How much effect did it have?

...Approximately None.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why is there no Kitchen Nazi at this Workplace?

Every workplace I've been employed at has had a Kitchen Nazi. There is always somebody whose job description makes them the boss, or the social club has elected them, or sometimes they just appoint themselves to make certain that the kitchen is left in reasonable condition.

It is the Kitchen Nazi who puts up the sign over the sink or the dishwasher boldly stating that "Your Mother Doesn't Work Here", or "I'm not your slave". They get their 5 minutes of fame during staff meetings to highlight sundry kitchen infringements. They are responsible for the sign on the door of the microwave that tells you in no uncertain terms to cover any food you might want to reheat.

I could have used that sign at lunchtime, but I work from home.

I mostly always cover stuff (and certainly always clean up after myself, after all "My Mother doesn't work here" - I'm it!), but today I was making some toast and remembered a particularly spectacular batch of savory mince I'd cooked last night (and I wish I used a recipe, because although it has many of the same ingredients it is never the same twice). I thought I'd take some from the pot, heat it up, and have it on my toast. I was in a hurry because the toast was already on.

While I was rescuing the toast from cremation there was a bit of a bang from the microwave.

How many Kitchen Nazis do I employ?

...Approximately None.

I Can't Ever Make a Decision

OK, so I'm officially a "Where the Blog are You" Girl. I'm trying to see if I've got enough material to submit three really good posts so that I might be able to be featured. I'm not certain I've got any really spectacular ones among two months worth of rambling, so I'm asking my (four) loyal readers to let me know what their pick would be. Please comment and let me know - and if you don't usually comment, please do this time (I'd love to know that you're out there and what tickled your fancy).

How much did I ever think I'd fall into the trap of begging for comments?

...Approximately None.