Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter From Lake Boga: Victoria

I had hoped to head this post with a photo of me relaxing in a calorie induced haze, surrounded by yachts (well, dinghies) and gazing onto a peaceful lake but unfortunately, even with the wonders of smart phone technology, there are apparently limits to my blogging capabilities away from my computer. If any of you are familiar with the Blogger app, perhaps you could let me know if there's something I am missing.

Meanwhile, in the time honoured tradition of camping, I spent yesterday in the nearest town purchasing much needed equipment which you don't know you 'need' until you get there. Number one was a water container. Having spent the first day filling two litre bottles from the tap every time I wanted to wipe down the table, it has proved a worthwhile purchase and could, I suppose, be filled with punch at a pinch, for The BA's upcoming 18th birthday.

Second was a lightweight folding table on which I have installed my two burner gas stove (my pride and joy). I used the folding plastic four seater picnic table on the first night and my back is still recovering. I also picked up a toaster for the gas stove ( I am sure I used to have one of these, but on our marriage, Himself , in a rush of manly chivalry, took over all the camping gear, specifically storage of said gear, with the result that I spent yesterday replacing all the things he couldn't find!) and a nifty little silicon coated baking tray thing which you can BBQ meat on.

We had better go camping again real soon !!!!!

You know, forget couples counselling. All prospective married couples should go camping together before they tie the knot. You learn a lot about someone when you're camping .

Take me for instance; I am a self confessed control freak and although hardly what you would call pristine, favour a well ordered campsite. I spend time selecting the best site, deciding which way to orient the tent, placing the table and chairs and Eskies out of the sun. I like a well executed tent with a good distance between fly and inner walls, well stretched guy ropes and a taut skin. Himself on the other hand.......

Of course this is where I would usually insert a picture.

Suffice to say that Himself's answer to anything is 'but we're camping!!!!!!' This covers lack of correct food, clothing and cooking utensils. It even covers incorrect tent assembly. The last time Himself went camping was 2007 when a huge storm hit The Coorong and gusts of up to 90kmph left his tent with a broken pole and missing several guy ropes. As we emptied 5 year old sand out of the remaining pole pieces and attempted to insert the dome pole, held together with gaffer tape, through its sleeve, I couldn't help but wonder whether a trip like this would have affected my rapid acceptance of Himself's marriage proposal all those years ago....

Oh look, I did manage to insert a photo !

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

It's All This Mollycoddling That's To Blame!

My Head of Curriculucm emailed me today asking whether I had some figures for him or whether he would need to 'troll' though existing data in order to garner the relevant statistics.
Yes, 'troll'.
Yes, our Head of Curriculum.

In sharing this faux pas with my colleague we mused briefly on the meaning of 'troll',which has of course been hijacked by social media to refer to unpleasant internet types
"It's one of those little creatures with the fuzzy hair," I lamely offered, thinking of the dolls, which had been popular for a time in my youth, and of 'The Hall of The Mountain King' which I had imagined populated by these cute little fellers.

"Or wasn't it the monster under the bridge in the story of 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff'?" my colleague offered.
"Oh yeah! The one where the troll eats them and then they cut open his stomach and put in stones!!!"
My friend's face suggested that this was not the version she had heard!
"No, really," I blustered, "I'm sure that's what happens isn't it?"

Have I mentioned how much I love Google? Quick as a flash I typed in 'Three Billy Goats Gruff' and discovered that the largest Billy Goat had tossed ye olde troll off the bridge with his horns, thus bringing an end to him.
So, not the stones then.

But I was not content. I knew there was a story which involved stones and a stomach and cutting open something. So I googled those key words. Sure enough, up came the story of 'The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids' on a website entitled: The Baldwin Project: Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children.  With a byline, The Rainbow Book of Fairy Tales for Five Year Olds, this website proceeded to tell the story of seven little kids being swallowed whole by a wicked wolf and released from their captivity by their mother with scissors and a needle. Replacing the kids with stones, she restitches the wolf's stomach, all without disturbing him untowardly during his afternoon nap! Naturally, the wolf awakes with a great thirst (as you do after major surgery) and trots off to the well where he falls in and drowns due to the stones in his stomach.


There should be more of this I say! Obviously, yesterday's children were of a far sturdier mettle than the weak spirited wimps we are currently raising, brought up as they are on a diet of 'all the way to the moon and back' and strange creepy mothers coming into their adult son's bedrooms to rock them to sleep!

I think this is my favourite part though:
He ran to the miller and said, "Strew some white meal over my feet for me."
The miller thought to himself, "The wolf wants to deceive some one," and refused; but the wolf said,
"If thou wilt not do it, I will devour thee." Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him.
Truly, men are like that.

And let's face it folks...that's what our daughters need to know about, at five!

PS: Coincidentally I had only been discussing  troll/trawl in a spelling lesson with Year threes today! They had managed to include 'trall' in a list of words with the 'all' ending. Most thought it meant an internet nasty (yes, in year 3, aged approx 8 they know about internet nasties) and sadly, no-one suggested a method of fishing or searching. Interestingly, on googling 'trawl', it mentioned 'troll' as a type of fishing too, one where lines are dragged rather than nets. So perhaps my Head of Curriculum's expression isn't so wrong after all! Although I will be interested to know with what he intends to bait his line!!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Prune Days (and Nights)

Well, getting this spa re-furbished was one thing, getting Himself out of it is another!

I thought the idea was that he would fire it up once a week after sailing but so far he's been in and out of it all Saturday (sailing cancelled due to gale force winds), Sunday and as I returned home from work on Monday night, it appears Monday as well! To his credit however, he did come home early form work to install the electric garden lighting you see in the background. He also weeded and refurbished the river stones up on the back retaining wall so I can't really begrudge him his wallowing. Oh, and he discovered where the European wasps are coming from, by disturbing their nest!

Apparently he was up in the back corner, behind his beloved gumtree (IF YOU CUT THAT DOWN IT WILL BE DIVORCE!!!), clearing up some of the accumulated bark, gumnuts and dropped limbs, when there was a tremendous buzzing and a cloud of wasps flew up at him! He ran for the pool and by some miracle managed to sustain only one sting to the face. Unfortunately he didn't actually see where they came from, so all we know is there's a nest up behind the gumtree somewhere. Muggins will have to get up there in daylight and a scarf and hat to locate it and spray.

But the other exciting news is that our application to build a pergola/verandah has been approved by council and work should commence in 3 weeks. Oh and the lads (No 2 Son and step brother) have started lifting the old pavers in preparation for the new...photos to follow.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Eight Hours In Labour And This Is the Thanks I Get

There was a time when I could make a dress for myself off a pattern and it would mostly fit. Admittedly I would have to chop 6 inches off the bottom due to my limited height, but mostly I was of extremely average proportions.

Those days have gone.

My front has expanded, my back, above the waist, has not. Ergo I am a 16 in the front and a 14 in the back. And do I have a charming, helpful offspring to help me pin myself into an ill fitting pattern?

No I do NOT.

I have a cantankerous little cow who is far too obsessed with her own search for a job, and the high life, to give her mother more than five minutes, with the worst grace in the world, to pin up the back zip opening.

It is time to invest in a dressmaker's dummy. But where will it live? These things take up space!

But wait! I have an idea. There is always THIS room!!!!!!

Surely it's time someone moved OUT!!!!!???????

Friday, 8 March 2013

Heartbreak Hotel On Repeat

I mentioned a while ago, that one of the reasons I blog less frequently is because the objects of my blogging are now painfully aware of my reporting about them here.
Needless to say most of the interesting things in life are met with,
"And DON'T put this up on your blog mum!"
The BA herself has found some interesting ways around the whole social media thing though.

Once upon a time, she was threatened that if she blocked me on facebook, she would have her internet privileges removed. As a result we are still 'friends' and I still have access to her timeline and those of her friends, but one cannot help notice that they are posting there less and less.
Of course! duh-oh!....they have created a group page, to which parents are NOT privy! They also use other new media sites like tumblr and formspring (which are probably out of date now as I mention them) and move on to the next faddy e-meeting place as quickly as al Qaeda moves base camps. The only up side to this is that they are so involved with themselves, their secret internet meeting sites and their latest shade of lipstick (sorry, did I say that out loud??) that they don't bother checking back in on mother's blog too often. Which is a good thing as I have felt rather gagged of late, when there has been so much to write about.

One of the things I was not allowed to mention when it happened, was the break up of The BA and her first boyfriend. I always knew things like this must be hard for a loving parent to endure, but the reality was as sharp as a knife. She crawled back into my bed like a 4 year old. She cried with wracking sobs that tore at my very soul. She described every little crack in her heart to me....
I like to think I handled it well on the outside, that I was of some comfort, but who knows. At least it was a clear cut case of the young man behaving badly (sheesh...I am so polite here).

He had always intended to go off on a backpacking trip around Asia in his gap year (2012). The farewell at the airport was teary on both sides, and in the first week he face-timed her constantly, giving her a 360 degree laptop view of his surroundings every time they made contact. And then the communication stopped.
He and the BA had been as thick as thieves for two weeks shy of a year when he messaged her on facebook to suggest that they probably couldn't maintain this relationship at a distance. She showed me the message and collapsed into my arms. I encouraged her to find out what had changed. Perhaps he was miffed that she hadn't contacted him? (she had deliberately stopped when his responses became lacklustre). A flurry of messages later and it was clear that he simply wanted his cake and eat it too. In fact, he already HAD eaten it, although of course, as he protested, it didn't mean anything. Oh and additionally, perhaps she was no longer the right cake for him (when there was such a bakery on offer where he was...)

He spent some time rationalising about how different it was to be 'away' and 'travelling', how things just 'happened' and would probably 'happen' again! How this was perfectly natural and those poor souls stuck back in Adelaide would not really understand. She may have bought his load of crock too, except that he made one fatal mistake: he suggested that they might just 'get back together' when he returned home!!!

Fortunately, the BA was surrounded by people who value her and who snorted loudly when they heard his 'suggestion'. She stuck to her guns, didn't see him on his return and has now moved on.
(In a slightly sniggery footnote, I can report that on his return he begged to see her and, when she finally capitulated, was shocked by the depth of his own remaining feelings for her. After a couple of 'chummy' outings, he decided he couldn't see her again until he had 'got over her'. Well, duuuuh young fellow!)

In the meantime, she met Army Boy.

The BA has flown back and forwards from Adelaide to Sydney in her holidays for years. I have become very adept at seeing her off at the airport  and at picking  her up, draped in new clothes and gifts, after her holidays with her dad. In September 2012 she emerged through the flight gate accompanied by quite a nice looking young man! Surely dad had gone a bit far this time???? But seriously, she had been seated next to him on the plane and they had got chatting. As they emerged together, I could hear them swapping phone numbers. She introduced him to me (after a prompt from him I might add) and they agreed to catch up. The following weekend he took her out on a date: lunch at a nice restaurant in the Hills, bowling and a movie!! Like a real 'traditional' date! He left saying he had to dash off to church!!!

This was sounding more and more promising!

Since then, Army Boy has become a fixture and after some coy dancing around the 'nature' of their relationship
(BA: Mum! I have just had my heart broken, do you think I am going to get into a serious relationship again so soon?
Me: But, you only see each other don't you?
BA: Yes
Me: and you don't want to see anyone else do you?
BA: (emphatically) No!
Me; And he doesnt want to see anyone else does he?
BA: (even more emphatically) NO
Me: Then, regardless of what you want to call it ....... he's your boyfriend! 
BA: Oh Mum, you wouldn't understand!!!!!!)
have indeed become an 'item'.

Which is sad because he's just been deployed to Afghanistan. He leaves next Tuesday. I predict tears and there's absolutely nothing I can do to make it better for her :-(                                                                                                                                                       

picture credit 1

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Despite the Flaming Sword, I have completely failed to teach my child the basics of a civilised life.

She does not squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube.

She does not put her folded clothes into those handy receptacles we call drawers.

She does not clear her hair from the shower drain as a matter of courtesy and she never throws anything out.....

even when it is finished.

Today I counted three used bottles of blemish remover in her makeup bag. In her shower cubicle there are no less than 6 empty containers ranging from shampoo to exfoliant to fake tan. Her 'desk' in her room contains so many old school exercise books and opened and discarded official forms, letters and brochures that if she had indeed intended to go to university this year, she would have had to study from the floor.

I am of the belief that these kinds of habits are inculcated at a young age and become automatic, setting one up well for adulthood and flat sharing with friends (without the danger of never speaking to each other again afterwards). Firm instruction (aka nagging) and a good role model would, I believed, result in the lifelong adoption of these basic and essential elements for living alongside others.

I am tempted to revert to Joan Crawford methods. Where are those wire coat hangars?