Sunday, 26 April 2015

A special care package

So I've said time and time again how wonderful the women I share the blog swaps with are. They're such a supportive and loving group of women, it's impossible not to feel special being a part of this group of women.

One woman in particular has become a very special friend over the past few months. We chat on a weekly basis over Facebook and email, we go to each other when we're feeling stuck or uninspired with a current blog post, and even when we've got problems in our day to day life. She's been a sympathetic ear and an awesome cheerleader for months now, and I am pleased to consider her a friend. I'm talking about the unstoppable Tamara at Confessions of a Part Time Working Mom.

Recently during one of our conversations I mentioned how jealous I was that she had free access to all the Swiss chocolate she could ever want (given that she is a Swiss native). One of the more expensive chocolates in Australia is Lindt chocolate, which in Switzerland is as cheap as Cadbury chocolate is in Australia. This got us talking about the different foods each of our countries had that were unique. In the end we decided to do each other up a small care package of national foods. We gave each other hints as to what foods would be best, and went on our merry ways. I spent weeks getting my care package together because unfortunately for Tamara one of the foods she especially requested seems to have been discontinued right before I started shopping for her, so I had to find a suitable replacement.

Shipping my parcel was especially exciting for me because I've never had to mail a package overseas, the farthest any of my mail has ever gone has always been between the shores of Australia, so I had no idea what I was doing when I went to my local post office. Luckily the woman who served me helped me go through the customs paperwork and I was in and out in less than 10 minutes. Then all I had to do was sit back and wait for my parcel to arrive.

Well I arrived home yesterday morning from dropping Miss K off with her father for the weekend to find a pretty gold parcel waiting for me on my coffee table.

So pretty

It was postmarked 21st March, which was several weeks before I even got my package to the post office, so my first thought was that Tamara still had ages to wait for her present. Of course all of that flew out of my head as soon as I opened up the box to see what I'd been given.

Soooo much a pack of mug cake mix.

All the Swiss chocolate I could ever hope to eat in one sitting. Of course the little pink bunny in the corner is off limits, because that one will have to go to Miss K. She absolutely loves Kinder Surprises, and it's a rare trip to the supermarket when she comes out without her little white and orange foil wrapped egg, so she'll be very happy to see that little fella when she comes home tomorrow.

Later on that night I received a message from Tamara just to say she'd received her parcel a day before I'd received mine, leaving me to marvel at the wonders that is the Swiss postal service, especially when compared to the Australian postal service, but closer inspection of the box revealed a stamp which stated that my present had been misplaced and ended up in Canada. It only fell 14,143 km short of its intended destination, but at least I know my sweets are very well travelled. 

As for what I sent Tamara, she received a tin of Milo, a pack of Tim Tams (which I have instructed her MUST be used to make Tim Tam straws), a box of barbeque shapes, two Cadbury Twirls, which are my absolute favourite chocolate bars, plus a jigsaw puzzle in the shape of Australia for her little boy to enjoy. I've already seen pictures of him putting it together, so I'm pretty sure I picked well. 

So if you'll all excuse me please I'm off to eat an entire box worth of Swiss chocolate. If you don't hear from me, just know I died happy. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Why I love my electronic babysitters

I'm having one of those months. You know the kind, your four year old decides this would be a perfect time to regress back to the age of 2, your boss feels that the 200 clients she manages on her own simply aren't enough, and it's up to you to figure out how to juggle the bulging diary of an overworked boss, your backside breaks yet another chair, same old thing really. But as any mum will tell you, sometimes when life keeps handing you lemon after lemon, you need a few things to save your sanity. For the housewives of the 1950's it was bottles of alcohol hidden in laundry baskets, but for me it's electronic babysitters.

These days it's a cardinal sin to admit that you allow your children free range of any electronic entertainment that their little heart desires. To the point that I actually resisted buying my daughter a children's tablet for a year, simply because I didn't want the other mothers at the store to judge me. But I'm here to tell those Judgy Mcjudgersons that they're missing the bigger picture by insisting that their children entertain themselves rather than plonking them in front of a TV screen so you can retire to your happy place for an hour or so. (or in my case go to the toilet without an audience). So today I am here as an advocate for every television that remains switched off during the day, and video console which gathers dust on weekends while children argue in their bedrooms over who can do the louder armpit farts. So below is a list of exactly why I love my electronic babysitters.

1. It's the only time children sit still
I'll get the obvious out of the way first. You turn on the television, and your children instantly become mute zombies. They also desire that you become a mute zombie, because every time you speak over the television they miss yet another glorious few seconds of Hulk and the agents of S.M.A.S.H (and let me tell you, the dialogue in some of these shows is pure gold.) When you have a child who only operates on two speeds, super fast and at the speed of light, then you will do anything you can to make them have an occasional rest, short of tying them down. The TV is the perfect solution to this problem. It also puts a stop to the million questions children ask you over the course of a day. Suddenly they don't want to know why you're calling the guy letting his dog take a dump on your nature strip horrible names, because they've got more pressing things to worry about, like how is Batman going to save the day yet again when he has no real powers. You can also rest safe in the knowledge that they won't take the choice phrases you yell through your curtains to school or kindergarten the next day because when the TV goes on, they hear nothing else. It is truly magic.

2. They learn things you don't have the energy or patience to teach them
Thanks to the wonders of children's television Miss K is gaining a wealth of knowledge I have no ability to teach her.  Waybuloo is teaching her yoga (or yogo as they call it, which is confusing around here, because that's a brand of chocolate yogurt), something which will benefit me greatly when I decide to enroll in a mummy and me yoga class one day, and my daughter can do the downward facing dog while the other children are sitting on the floor sucking on their thumbs.  Thanks to the psychedelic shows like Teletubbies and Baby Jake she's learning the dangers of doing psychotropic drugs like LSD (because you cannot tell me all of the people involved in those shows weren't tripping balls the whole time they were making that crap.) The access to the child safe videos on Miss K's Leap Pad have educated her to the awesome wonders of screaming goats, and excellent physical activities such as parkour.  I will admit however that after watching some of those videos I had to rescue her from the top of a mattress that was stacked on its side against a wall in our spare room, as she decided one viewing of these videos was enough to make her a parkour expert. (Either that or her cousin's obsession with Spiderman is really starting to rub off on her.)

3. You can subject your children to countless hours of lectures without losing your voice
This one actually bugged me at first until I realised I could use it to my advantage. Every children's show these days has an important take home message, whether it be the uplifting always be yourself, even if you are a barely evolved caveman, or the more surreal never impersonate a multi-millionaire CEO of a large corporation, as you'll end up in a wacky series of hi-jinx that will be next to impossible to explain to your parents, and may end up with you losing your computer privileges for a week. These days I take special note of all of the messages that come with Miss K's favourite shows, simply so that when she inevitably breaks one of the cardinal rules set out by her beloved TV, I can just sit back and say "Well you should have done what Elmo told you, and you wouldn't have ended up nearly cracking your own backside on the pavement." It hits home quicker than the hour long lectures I used to have to give just to drive a point home, and it comes with pretty colours and spontaneous singing, which is something I haven't attempted since my last night spent drinking butterscotch schnapps.

So people, please go easy on the electronic babysitters, they are more valuable than you realise. I think there are some of you who owe your televisions an apology, and maybe a little hug. Go ahead, I won't judge.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

April Fly on the Wall - poetry to my eyes

Hello again people, I'm back for another Fly on the Wall.  Take a seat, grab some popcorn and enjoy the insanity that is my home on a daily basis.

Fly on the Wall
Before I begin, I'll link to everyone else participating today, be sure to buzz along to their websites once you're finished here so they can feel some of your love too.          Baking In A Tornado     Spatulas on Parade        Follow me home           Menopausal Mother             Battered Hope               Just A Little Nutty                        The Momisodes        Someone Else’s Genius                 Disneyland in Kentucky                  Sanity Waiting to Happen               The Sadder But Wiser Girl                    Dinosaur Superhero Mommy          Juicebox Confession

Miss K: Mummy I'm going to punch you.
Then she did. You can't say I wasn't warned though.

So mum bought poetry magnets this month. You have no idea how much this excited me. The look on that googly face on the fridge is pretty much the look I made when she showed me.

Miss K spent Easter at her dad's house. We Skyped on Easter Sunday 
Nonna: Say happy Easter mum
Miss K: Happy Easter egg mum.
The true meaning of Easter for a four year old.

The poetry slam started immediately.

My big sister and I were having a bitchy conversation about the women my exes choose after we separate...
Me: You know what they say, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Sam: But you can make the beast with two backs with it apparently...

I've always wanted to make a poem about a yak!

Miss K: I'm so cute mum (for the millionth time)
Me: Yes. You're smart too.
Miss K: Yeah, I'm cute.
Me: You know there's more to life than being cute don't you
Miss K: Really?
Me: Yes, being smart is pretty important too. Can you say I am smart?
Miss K: I am smart.
Me: Good girl!
Miss K: Awww I'm sooo cute.
I give up.

It's not in iambic pentameter, but it does include curse words...

So Kim had a party for her 23rd birthday, and we held it at our house. Here are just some of the things you would have heard had you come over that day...

Kim: The one day mum doesn't have any newspaper around is the one day I'm trying to start a fire...

Me: Sadly this isn't the most indecent thing I've done with a Barbie doll.
Kim: Why am I not surprised?

Kim: So I was waiting by the car for Scott to come and unlock it, and he walks up and goes "Excuse me, do I know you?? Can you get away from my car please?" I was like Scott don't start this, just let me in the bloody car, and then he yells "No I won't give you any money!"

Tristan: What smells like ironed clothes?
Me: I have perfume on.
Ben: Who's pregnant?

Nat: Siri, how many chromosomes do people have?
Tristan: Twenty six!
Siri: Hmm let me think, here is what I found on how many chromosomes do people have sex?

I hope Karen from Baking in a Tornado feels better about her poetry now...

Me: Miss K, get over here and get dressed.
Miss K: You do it, you're my slave.

Well that's all the madness I've got for you this month, be sure to visit the rest of the bloggers and see what they've been up to behind closed doors.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

April Use Your Words - The Writer

Hello again people, it's time for another Use Your Words. Where 14 brave bloggers swap a group of words or phrases with each other, and then build a whole post based on the handful of words we are given.

baking in a tornado

Before I get into the festivities, I'll give you the links to the rest of the bloggers participating today, be sure to visit them all and see what creative geniuses they all are.           Baking In A Tornado         Spatulas on Parade       The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                             The Momisodes           Southern Belle Charm                Confessions of a part-time working mom          Someone Else’s Genius   Stacy Sews and Schools                  Sparkly Poetic Weirdo           Climaxed Eileen’s Perpetually Busy          Juicebox Confession                 Battered Hope

So today my words are Snow, Paint, candy land, remodel, yard stick and they were submitted by the awesome Sarah at The Momisodes

She stared at the blank screen, the familiar feeling of terror creeping into her stomach, as it always did when she tried to write these days. The snow white page mocking her as it dared her to write something, anything. "Go ahead and try" it said to her, "you know you'll delete the first twelve drafts anyway, so you might as well get them over and done with." She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair, silently cursing herself for volunteering yet again to go through this stomach churning process. When she was younger, writing seemed to come easier to her. The fear of rejection was not as strong as her self assurance that she was good at this. But time had been cruel to this woman, or rather, she'd been cruel to herself. Years spent being her own worst critic meant the voices in her head were no longer encouraging, but rather derisive, and spiteful. 

She glared at the screen again then pushed her chair away from the desk. She grabbed for her cigarettes and pulled one out. Lighting it she inhaled deeply, the burning in her throat distracted her from the lump in her stomach momentarily. Once upon a time she could paint a scene effortlessly with her words, but those days seemed to be long behind her. These days the thoughts that swam through her head as she tried to write seemed to be the same ones that would come through while she was trying to make love, small mundane thoughts designed to distract her from what was once an enjoyable process, but these days just left her feeling numb. It just seemed unfair. 

Part of her problem had come from meeting the women she was trying to write for now. These weren't ordinary women, they were writers too, and well out of her league. They were masters of the written word, and a massive yard stick to be measured against. Sometimes she wished for the anonymity that came from being a small fish in a big pond. One tiny piece in a massive game of Candy Land. She realised too late how comforting it was knowing that no one was reading what she had to say. The expectation she felt to entertain people with her writing was almost paralyzing, as was the tiny voice repeating over and over again, "What if they don't like it?" 

Taking a deep breath, she straightened up and poised above her keyboard, began to type;

"Don't remove what you can remodel"

Sighing she slumped back in her chair exhausted from the effort. "I didn't choose the fortune cookie life" she said as she lit another cigarette, "The fortune cookie life chose me."

Saturday, 4 April 2015

April Secret Subject Swap - Trolls

Hello again my lovelies.  I'm back for yet another installment in the Secret Subject Swap.  Each month a group of brave bloggers swap subjects with each other, then we post based on what we were given to work with.

Secret Subject Swap
Below is a list of all the bloggers participating this month, be sure to visit them all and see how they manage to spin words into absolute gold.            Baking In A Tornado        The Bergham’s Life Chronicles          Spatulas on Parade                       Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                            The Momisodes More Than Cheese and Beer             Southern Belle Charm Confessions of a part-time working mom                            The Lieber Family            Someone Else’s Genius             Climaxed     Stacy Sews and Schools                   Sparkly Poetic Weirdo    Silence of the Mom 

So this month my prompt is:

There is a troll in the garden.  What do you do? and it was submitted by the wonderful Stacy at Stacy Sews and Schools.

I used to be a skeptic about mythical creatures. They simply didn't exist. Fairies and elves lived in fairy tales along with knights in shining armor and happy endings. That all changed the day I discovered there was a troll living in my own garden. I had noticed little things at first, Miss K's toys would be moved around, or strange rocks would appear seemingly out of nowhere overnight. I thought nothing of it at first, probably just neighbour kids throwing things over the fence, or strong winds. But then random holes started appearing throughout my yard. I thought it was a feral animal, so I called animal control to come and inspect the place. The guy took one look at the holes then asked me if I had any piles of rubbish lying around. I showed him to the rubbish pile in the back and he started digging around. He lifted up a piece of corrugated iron, and there was a small living space underneath it. "Just as I suspected," he said, "you've got a troll problem here. You don't need animal control, you need a witch." At first I thought he was joking, I mean trolls just don't exist. But it turns out he was deadly serious. "Trolls are nothing to take lightly." he told me. "You need to get rid of it now before it starts causing real trouble for you." He then slipped me a small white piece of card. "This is the number of my cousin. She practices the craft. She'll be able to set you right." 

I called the number on the card and got the messaging service of someone called Tamara. I left my number and waited nervously for a call back. An hour later there was a knock at my door. When I opened it a small woman with dark eyes was staring at me. "I understand you need my services" she said. Then she turned and headed towards my back yard. Gobsmacked I followed behind her. "Who are you?" I asked. She ignored the question and headed straight for the rubbish pile. She stopped dead in her tracks a few metres away from it and stared quietly. She crouched down and touched the ground. I could have sworn I could hear her humming. After what seemed like an eternity she stood up again. "I got here just in time" she said as she turned to me. "This troll is starting to get comfortable here. If you'd left it another week he'd be permanent and you'd be stuck with him."  She handed me a small purple bottle. "Sprinkle this on the rubbish pile" she said. I followed her instructions, still feeling that this was just an elaborate prank that someone was playing on me, and as I sprinkled she muttered a spell. Once the bottle was empty she became silent. I stood there watching her, waiting to see what was meant to happen next. When she finally spoke her voice was grave. "What will happen next won't be pleasant." she said, "The troll isn't going to like what we've just done here, and he's going to try to resist leaving." "How long will it take?" I asked her quietly. "Depends" she replied, "could be a few days, could be a few weeks. Depends on how stubborn he is." "Stubborn is something I know well" I said with a grim smile. "Then you should be able to outlast him" came the reply. "Just whatever you do, don't leave anything even remotely edible outside until you're certain he's gone. And don't let him see that what he's doing annoys you, that will only make this take longer." With that she left. 

The next few days were a nightmare. Every morning I would go outside to find all my garden furniture overturned, and Miss K's toys scattered around in an absolute mess. I would quietly tidy everything up, not once reacting to the mess as the witch advised. When the troll realised this wasn't working he started getting worse. Suddenly I started finding graffiti scrawled on my outside walls in mud. Poorly spelled messages like "Yew smel" and "This haus is ful of meanees" Every morning I would go out with a bucket of water and wash the messages off, again not revealing how frustrated I was at the extra work being created for me. On and on it went for two weeks, the messes getting larger, and the messages getting ruder, until one day I went outside and the yard was exactly as I had left it the night before, except for one last message scrawled on my wall, simply the words "Goodby forevar". I was so relieved the ordeal was over, and was getting ready to celebrate when I heard a voice behind me. "I see you won." I turned and there was Tamara standing there. "Looks like I did" I replied. "Thanks for all your help." She smiled and turned to leave. But then something struck me. "Why did you tell me not to leave any food outside?" I asked her. She stopped dead in her tracks but didn't turn to face me. "For a person who spends a lot of time on the internet you sure don't know anything." she said. "What do you mean?" I asked. As she walked off she said "Surely by now you must know from public forums that you should never feed the trolls." 
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