Wednesday, March 30, 2011

the effing rubbish on TV

Last night I turned the TV that's a rare event in itself...but there it is. It was 7.45 - not exactly adult viewing time, and the programme on offer was Hells Kitchen. The ironing was beckoning...ah I thought, a cooking programme, perfect brainless viewing for that!

Well, let me tell you that had to be possibly the most offensive thing I have ever watched. The language, well it was Gordon Ramsay, so I was expecting some effing and blinding, but seriously? An hour of one man blaspheming, swearing and shouting personal abuse at a group of adults who cowtowed to him, watching them scurry to his attention, getting thrown out of the was hideous. I found myself watching, compelled to see if it could actually get any worse - and it did. A party, drunk and naked chefs (eeewww), big hangovers, frequent announcements by the contestants of their need to 'go to the bathroom'.

I seriously cannot beleive that such humiliating and intimidating behaviour is allowed to be screened on TV. I'm considering writing to the broadcasting tribunal - their requirement is that a programme could be deemed 'in breach of good taste and decency'. In my view, verbal and emotional abuse, even knowing it has been edited for 'viewing pleasure' is beyond that particularl guideline.

NOw I am no prude, but if that's what is considered entertainment, I'm glad my television is no longer available to the children. And I sure won't be switching it on for myself at 7.30 on a Tuesday night any time soon.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

a place to call my own

a discussion with one of my oldest and closest friends this weekend was inspiration for this weeks blog.

Many people comment how lucky i am to have my own house, and they're right. All that space! just for you! no other adult messing it up!
And yes, that's true too i suppose.
There's this common misnomer though, that the house is the womans domain, her space to do as she pleases. That as long as men have their shed/garage/cave, all will be well.

But in my house, and i suspect many other houses, the truth is that the house is not REALLY my space at all. it's a collective family space - let's face it, it's a rare day that i get to use the bathroom on my own, let alone have any place in the house that i can truly call my own. My wardrobe, possibly, but even then, No 1 Daughter has a fascination with what lies beyond it's doors (not a whole lot of excitement, just for the record). The TV is out of the lounge and is now poked in a corner in my bedroom, the only space it could go, so most days the children get a little time in front of that, sprawled on my bed or floor.
The kitchen - well that's carte blanche for hungry people, the lounge belongs to all of us.
They have their own rooms, and whilst i am welcome, of course, there is no doubt that this is 'their space' not mine. Ditto, the garden resplendent with jungle gym and tramp.
My office - well hardly the space i want to call my own, and it also doubles as a second living space.
So what is left?
Well, as i see it - the last vestige of privacy for women has to be...
their handbags!
my children have been brought up to believe that there is a crocodile living in the bottom of mine who will snap at their fingers if they so much as dip a hand in. (and, dear readers, there is no need to email me about telling lies to children...if you're a woman you'll be writing this idea down, if you're a man, you're just not gonna care about lies like this...)
So, the things i DONT want my children to touch (and there are few, but that's not the point), live in my handbag. The camera, my miniature folddown umbrella - which holds fascination for the kids - my purse and cellphone. A crossword book (why oh why do they insist on filling in the gaps if it's left lying about). hot hot hot peppermints. not much else really. but it's MY space, mine mine mine....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

sermon at the mount

I was asked to speak at church last Sunday. It's Lent, and the theme was, kind of, along the lines of dying to one's old 'self'.
This is what I had to say.

Early this week my Mum brought a branch of Swan plant, complete with half a dozen cute little caterpillars. They were hungry, the branch died within a day or two, but we successfully migrated the caterpillars to the huge plant on my boundary, which my neighbour has been nurturing for some months.
It fascinates me, this caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly process. But one thing that occurred to me, is that it might be interesting to look at this from the caterpillars point of view, rather than as an onlooker.
So, the caterpillar, as he grows, is compelled to eat, in fact, this is pretty much all he, and eat and eat. ideally good and healthy swan plant, but if he's desperate he'll take sugar water, or even pumpkin. he doesn't know (we assume) what's going to happen to him. but he gets fatter and fatter, then starts to build his house. he disappears inside for 2 weeks, essentially dead to the world - in fact in grave danger as wasps can easily destroy him after all this time.
Eventually, matured, he breaks from the chrysalis and is the 'beautiful butterfly'. But just for a minute, remember that this caterpillar probably doesn't know he's a butterfly. he most certainly doesn't know he's beautiful! he just gets on, doing what butterflies do, making eggs to create new caterpillars. A female butterfly can lay 1000 eggs - what a geneology. A male butterfly gets a 6 week window to fertilise those eggs, and then his number is up.
It is the people around him that get to enjoy his transformation. They get to say, wow, how amazing that something that looked like THAT now looks like THIS...and 'we thought it was a cute caterpillar, but how much more attractive he is as a butterfly - or even how DIFFERENT does this creature look!
my message is this - the process of transformation can be slow, it might mean stuffing ourselves full of things we love until we can't even move...
it could mean having to endure things we don't like that much, or aren't that good for us.
it might be a wonderful experience that we get to see and feel. but it might happen outside of our control and senses.
it might mean hibernating for a while.
we might go through that transformation and out the other side and not even notice it ourselves - it is the onlooker that can see the difference between the then and the now.
In fact, there's a good chance we really won't know how much we've changed!

it is our job to listen to our instincts, do the things we feel driven to do, and in that process, we might, we just might, avoid the wasps and become a butterfly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


imagine there are 4 children playing in a garden. There's a fence around the edges.

The first child looks around at what there is to do. Sees the fence. looks at it briefly and goes back to the task of playing. the second sees the fence, walks around the perimeter of the garden, and goes back to play. The third looks up, goes over to the fence, looks for a gate, tries to peep over the fence, checks how sturdy it is, then goes back to the game.

The fourth, somewhat bored with the play, goes over to the fence. Kicks it to see how strong it is. jumps up at it. gets frustrated - ever glancing back at the game but keen to know what lies beyond. body slams the fence. shouts in frustration. returns, resigned, to the game.

Which kid lives in your house?
How strong is your fence?

Monday, March 14, 2011

the double edged sword of technology

Some months ago I was introduced to Google calendar. I was sceptical - I'm organised, efficient, with a relatively good memory, and a perfectly adequate calendar hanging on the wall (in the same place for the past 5 years in fact). Why did i need an electronic calendar? just more information to remember to input right? just more reminders and emails to wade through each morning surely?

Well, because I am so openminded and willing to try new things (;)), I gave it a go. Now, a year down the track, I seriously don't know what I would do with out it. Everything I do is on there - the hours I put into my jobs, the pickups and drop offs for school, dancing, visits to Dad, play dates, sleepovers, my hobbies, church and community commitments, my dance classes! I find now i've turned into one of those people that says, 'oh the 15th? eerm, let me check my diary and get back to you...'. It's brilliant!

But the one thing that worries me...have I - have we all - become too reliant on technology? Sure, i would remember MOST of the things on each days schedule, but certainly not all. And I love being able to input something 3 or 6 or more weeks (or months) away and then be able to put it out of my mind until much closer to the time. Add on my mobile phone, the only place i keep easily retrieveable contact information. Places like Facebook where I can catch up on my friends comings and goings. Email. Blog feeds. Twitter. TradeMe to buy anything I want. iTunes and the MP3 player. Live updates on world events on the internet.

downside: I have a pile of books beside the bed, largely unread. Can't remember the last time I read a newspaper from front to back. I hardly watch the TV (oh...that's good, right!).

upside: Both of my main jobs are done largely via email and telephone which affords me the luxury of working from home, at any time of the day or night, to fit around kids. I compose the Village Voice using email, send it off via email for formatting and get it back as a finished publisher document. so so easy. The time i spend with 'real people' is real time - meaningful conversation with friends, fun with the children, being in the outdoors, enjoying music.

Conclusion - reliant? yes. addicted?..well maybe. balanced...yes for sure.
converted? absolutely!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a hard days night

a tough 10 ten days in this house is almost over. The first few days after the dancing Queen had her tonsils out were seductively - and deceivingly as it turns out - easy. the past few days have been..well, !@#@!!! hard work!

we've had a really nice few days today - dropping the engineer off at school, and collecting him together, but spending each day either going on little outings, visits or mooching about at home. DQ has helped me sort cupboards and drawers as well as spending time converting her bedroom to a beauty salon.

As her throat started to heal, she started getting a fair amount of pain and for a child already prone to 'larger than life' responses, we are all enjoying the benefit of the healing process. this has resulted in her seeking undivided attention (loudly and vociferously), large doses of pamol, brufen, and rescue remedy - and everything just seems that bit harder than normal.

i find myself in the 'bad mother camp' more often than i would like...often getting impatient when i should be dispensing large amounts of sympathy, and also feeling stressed as the work in my office piles up by the day. she is getting bored, i am getting frustrated at the slow healing process, we are probably both tiring about of each others company!

her balance has been off (presume this is as a result of all the painkillers, as well as recurrent earache) and so she's had a number of bumps, scrapes and near misses. also, with it being uncomfortable to swallow, her food and drink intake is lower than it ought to be - bringing the added pleasure of low blood sugar (although interestingly has no problem with ice cream, chocolate and lemonade!)

then, just round off the week nicely, she fell off the new jungle gym - well you'd think the roof of the world had caved in. her arm is sprained (but not broken) but is miraculously flexible when required for altercations with younger brother...

I love my children beyond measure but my parenting love tank is getting a bit depleted this week!!!

whew....whoever said parenting full time was the easy option clearly never had kids....

Sunday, March 06, 2011

random questions

1. Where were you 3 hours ago?
in the bath
2. Who are you in love with?
not telling
3. Have you ever eaten a crayon?
4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
my jarmies
5. When is the last time you went to the mall?
more than two weeks ago
6. Are you wearing socks right now?
7. Do you have a car worth over $2,000?
I do
8. When was the last time you drove out of town?
this afternoon, to pick up the new jungle gym
9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?
no, but i did go 10 days ago, to the Kings Speech
10. Are you hot?
only because I have a winter duvet on the bed
11. What was the last thing you had to drink?
soda water. just now.
12. What are you wearing right now?
the pink jarmies referred to in question 4
13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?
we share
14. Last food that you ate?
a home made vietnamese spring roll.  yum!
15. Where were you last week at this time?
the same place I am now
16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
oh yes.  gorgeous shoes!
17. When is the last time you ran?
today - across the road to the shop for an icecream for my daughter
18. What's the last sporting event you watched?
my son's swimming on Friday
19. What is your favorite animal?
Giraffe - they just seem so....IMPLAUSIBLE!
20. Your dream vacation?
Alaska, Cuba, Greenland
21. Last person's house you were in?
my friend's.  which used to be my house once.
22. Worst injury you've ever had?
2003 - arm broken in 3 places....slipped over when i bent to pick up my the house mentioned above!
23. Have you been in love?
oh yes...delicious!
24. Do you miss anyone right now?
I do
25. Last play you saw?
The Little Red Hen....School production!
26. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
It's no charm and wit speak for themselves (especially when paired with my humility)
27. What are your plans for tonight?
the night is almost done
28. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment?
MySpace? how old do you think I am!
29. Next trip you are going to take?
Nelson at Queens Birthday, well that's the plan
30. Ever go to camp?
oh so many times
31. Were you an honor roll student in school?
I wish
32. What do you want to know about the future?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Que Sera' sera'
33. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
not right now
34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
next month
35. Where is your best friend?
too far away
36. How is your best friend?
37. Do you have a tan?
38. What are you listening to right now?
TV - some odd Australian drama
39. Do you collect anything?
40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
I couldn't possibly tell you
41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
speeding ticket 2 years ago (late for church!)
42. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?
43. What does your last text message say?
Came to see you but no one was home
44. Do you like hot sauce?
ick, no
45. Last time you took a shower?
3 days ago (I bathe....)
46. Do you need to do laundry?
47. What is your heritage?
Proud and multinational
48. Are you someone's best friend?
Am hugely happy and priviledged to say yes!
49. Are you rich?
in spirit, healthy and happiness
50. What were you doing at 12AM last night?
rare for me, i was asleep

Saturday, March 05, 2011

the pleasure in small things

As some will know, 8 year old daughter had her tonsils out on Wednesday.  She's had a remarkable recovery and being a pretty amazing patient but I am also being fairly careful about how much she's doing in a day (this kid is the energiser bunny even on a bad day).
So for the past few days we have had lots of down time, and I've had to be a bit creative about how to fill it - so as not to get to dinner time and have spent half the day in front of a DVD.

We have played snakes n ladders, she 'taught' me to play UNO.  We've set up a beauty spa in the bedroom, complete with a counter and booking diary at the door (it cost me $2 for nail polish!).  We've walked to the shop in the rain...we've danced in the lounge...snuck chocolate from the stories, written poems...all simple things but such pleasure to enjoy each others company.  A couple of outings - the ubiquitous trip to the $2 shop, a fluffy at a cafe, the dvd store for emergency and from school (how strange having a companion to pick up youngest child!)...

and today my brother visited and I made pancakes which we devoured straight from the pan, dripping in maple syrup....

Even the pouring wet weather has not been enough to 'dampen spirits'.  Umbrellas truly are beautiful pieces of technology!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

brain dumping

I was told recently that I had far too much in my head...that if I concentrated on using my legs and feet more, that the energy in my body would move around, and that as a result I might be calmer and thus sleep better.
Apparantly I was putting way too much energy into what was coming out my mouth and not enough into what was coming out of other parts of my body....(well that's what she said....!)
At the time, I must have looked pretty blank - this was about 3 weeks ago, and it is only now on reflection that I wonder if there might have been (just a tiny tiny tiny....) bit of truth in there.  For sure since making a concerted effort to get to Ceroc every week, and ride my bike twice a week, I am rather more tired than I was, as the day ends.  I have had quite a few late nights but I'm coping pretty well, not waking up feeling (completely) wrecked!
When I got home from my night out on Saturday I was on a total high - for sure I felt I was in a place where I was at my sparkliest happiest best - that's good, right!?!?  There's truth in the maxim that to start moving forward we should go back and look (not reside!) at the place where we were once the happiest.

Always a high energy person, I didn't really understand what she meant (actually I'm not sure I do yet) but I DO understand that the energy I have can be directed in lots of different ways.
A friend observed recently that I appeared to be pretty happy with my life - yes that's true...I really am, it's just about how I want it to be (but not quite...)

The other side of this, is that in a - somewhat feeble - attempt to SHUT UP, there's stil a whole lot of random stuff bouncing around in my head....
things in conversation that profoundly irritate me....people constantly retracking their statements with  'in saying that'......mispronunciation: somethink, ragland, proberly...being called Sue (you have been warned!)
bad spelling - cappuccino spelt wrong (why do kiwi cafes do this!); businesses that end their namez in z; kidz namez with stoopid spelling like Aiymee
daily frustrations....why can't I get i-tunes properly downloaded on my computer; why does coffee smell so much better than it actually tastes; why does it take the kids an hour just to get dressed and drink a glass of milk
the neverending to do list that seems to get longer not shorter - what is that about? I seem to be so much better at human doing than human being!
the continuing wrestling with big questions - why am i here, what is my mission?, what do i believe about the stuff that's bigger than my own life?

and the good stuff - time with friends and families, my work and interests, fond memories that just pop into my head without good reason, although often  prompted by a certain smell or sound (my two strongest senses) - a song, a scent, sigh I'm there!