Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 31. Day 365. Resolutions

 Right, that's 2015 over then. I shall write my own report card to self. "Must try harder" or perhaps "must stop trying so hard". It's not easy to tell. Anyway if I had to make a resolution different from the "lose weight and exercise more "I make every year it would be try to make more time to try and enjoy the little things - and give oneself permission to enjoy them". I mean look at my favourite little man Elliott enjoying swinging between two hands. Why do we forget that. Oh, that's right. Work, washing, Woolworths and life and the responsibilities that go with that. So here is my summary of 2015

This year
Survived her 17th year as an academic emerging with a Vice Chancellors Excellence Award accompanied by a $6000 prize cheque to show for it
Fooled no-one when she “protested” about having to carry Rumple on their walks
Was able to tick off  hiking the Great Ocean Road track to the 12 Apostles from her bucket list
Ate her weight in bacon and eggs as part of a new high protein diet
Still hasn’t managed to lose the last five kilos
Said “Year12 will be the death of me” rather a lot
Survived two work trips to Sri Lanka emerging with memories of Sri Lankan traffic and elephant rides to show for it
Fooled no-one when he “protested” about having to go to Sri Lanka for work
Was able to tick off going to a one-day cricket match in Sri Lanka from his bucket list
Ate his weight in airline food during frequent work trips
Still hasn’t reached bridge grand master status
Said “ I’m flying to….Biloela, Rockhampton , Gladstone, Sydney or Sri Lanka “ rather a lot

Survived his high school years and emerged with a Senior Certificate and an impressive OP of 6 to show for it
Fooled no-one when he “protested” about having to wear a dress on stage for an ugly step sister role
Was able to tick off gaining one of only 15 places in a full time acting course from his bucket list
Ate his weight in white chocolate cheese cake, the food discovery for the year
Still hasn’t managed to convince a girl to go out with him
Said “do you know any attractive, young available women” rather a lot

Rumple (and Winkle)
Survived a fight with a blue tongue lizard and emerged with 10 centimetres of lizard tail to show for it
Fooled no-one when “protesting” about the arrival of the puppy Winkle
Was able to tick off actually catching some creature you are chasing from his bucket list
Ate his weight in Schmackos
Still hasn’t managed to catch one of the chickens that live next door
Said “okay, the joke’s over you can send that fur ball back now” rather a lot

And of course the exercise more and lose weight resolution stays. This year, it might actually happen

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 30. Day 364. Games people play

If there's one thing you learn when you have kids it's that body bits and functions are extraordinarily funny. Wee, poo, bum, fart - all these words will have small (and frankly not so small) children smirking. Other people use "say cheese" to make children smile in photos. I prefer to say the always hilarious "stinky undies". Other cases in point. The day when we went to the zoo and the highlight was the elephant doing a wee. The beautiful nativity play we saw where the highlight was the camel pooping. The steam train ride where the highlight was learning that anything you did on the train loo used to end up on the track. Hours of enjoyment. Recently the cousins discovered Cards Against Humanity, a game at my place Rated 17 plus because of its thoroughly inappropriate content. They wanted to play it. We refused. Point blank. Then we decided there was quite a number of just silly cards so we could take out the rude ones and let them play. The problem is that many of the ideas went above their heads. I mean when you are 12 trying to find a card that could finish the sentence "Christmas has been ruined by secular liberals and their ...." is kind of impossible. So almost every time they would find a card to such as "loud farts" to finish the sentence and laugh a lot. We decided it might be best to put the game away for a few years. They decided they wanted to play again. Solution. I created my own cards packed full of non sexual toilet humour. So if the game card played was "You think your mum is embarrassing well my mum just...." you might play a card that says "can burp the alphabet" or "has explosive diarrhoea" or even "did the chicken dance near the frozen chickens in Coles". Classy (not). If you didn't like any in your hand you could also write your own.
I wrote hundreds of these little beauties, printed them out as cards and tonight the card game Verbal Diarrhoea had its debut. Result laughing, the need for Ventolin and spitting a drink or two (and that was just me). Success, proving once again toilet humour wins. I am pretty sure, however, Parker Bros will never make this into a game.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29. Day 363. Hit me for a six

Well who would have thought? Certainly not me. I said "Do you want to walk up Mt Coot-tha with me?" and both my husband and son said "yes". I didn't even mention we were taking the path to the cafe and the possibility of chips and nachos and ice cream. I did mention, however, that my sister, brother and kids would be there and we could take the dogs. Deal sealed. I do not expect that we will become the family that hikes together any time soon but I know they enjoyed it a lot.  Once again the amazing Lady Winkle showed she punches way above her weight running all the way up and only seeking a lift close to the bottom. Anything Rumple can do ....... Later in the day we were back in more familiar territory at the Big Bash League. While I don't actually consider Twenty 20 to be real cricket, I love it as a spectacle and as a way to spend a few hours it is pretty ace. Sure the Brisbane team lost but 350 runs and a Twenty 20 century, we certainly got our money's worth. This, I am more confident we will do again soon.

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28. Day 362. First steps

It is the season of excess and in this my cup has runneth over. It's not as though I have been drinking myself into a coma every night (or indeed any night) but enough is enough. Today after sleeping in until until 3pm I decided to reclaim a small bit of normality.
Step one, a walk. In fact, I had two walks and for the first time in about two weeks I actually managed to achieve the 14,285 steps set as my Fitbit target. Once again I have proved to myself something I have long known but often need to re-establish, exercise is good for my mental health.
The flipside to this is that lack of exercise is exceptionally bad for me.
I had planned to turn over a new leaf on new year's day but I fear this is not only cliched but also a delay of three days that is neither advisable nor necessary.
There is still far too much chocolate and cake in the house for me to be a reformed individual but a girl has to start somewhere and here is good enough.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27. Day 361. Nifty at 50

Children are supposed to keep you young, well that's the plan. For some it works far better than others. For some (here I am talking about me) I am pretty sure it leads to premature aging and possibly lots of grey hair (an arrangement I have with my hairdresser means I plan to not be sure on that point). Anyway, for my friend Alison it has clearly worked a treat. Today was Alison's 50th birthday and she is in the somewhat unusual position of being the mum of a toddler. I get tired just thinking about that (I also get tired thinking about what to cook for dinner but I digress). Motherhood has treated her well and it was a great delight to celebrate her birthday with he son and her mum (there were also a couple of flies but we refused to let them spoil the party). So happy birthday to my dear friend. May there be many more.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 26. Day 360. Anything you can do

 When your child learns to walk, you realise your life will never be the same again. I think poor Rumple had the dog equivalent of that today. Until now he could always escape to the sanctuary of the bed with the crazy puppy got too much for him. Today she managed to get herself up there. Game over player one. It has to be said Rumple is exceptionally good natured about it all. It also has to be said that Winkle is like the precocious younger sibling who refuses to accept he or she can't do something the older child can do. She's little in size but big in determination and if imitation is the best form of flattery Rumple should be chuffed. Mostly it's cute but it's not just the endearing Rumple habits she's picked up. There's also the toilet roll and tissue thing. The good news for you Rumple is you can now share the blame. This may be small comfort for having to share everything else but it is what it is

Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25. Day 359. Merry Christmas

I admit that not being in Santa's drop zone does take away a little special something on Christmas morning. There is a priceless joy in watching a child's excitement at discovering  what's in the Santa Sack. That being said, there is a special something about not being woken up at 4am and not having to spend the day in a near coma. Besides, just because there are no small children doesn't mean you all have to behave like grown ups. There was a whole lot of Christmas crazy fed by high spirits, sugar and, in the case of some, champagne. With a collection of props and Christmas paper for a photobooth, the pool and a whole collection of the silliest board games, a great evening was had by all. And then as midnight approached and we all approached food coma we all hugged each other and headed off. This is Christmas in our place. It's certainly not the way everyone does it but what I love is that we are not a family haunted by ghosts of Christmas past where alcohol fuels the fire of resentment and bitterness. The only "fights" here are over the last roast potato or whose turn it is at the games table. A Merry Christmas was had by all.

December 24. Day 358. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

 Because it is Christmas, that special family time of the year, I am going to share two important parenting tips to get through both the holiday season and life.
Tip 1: Sometimes, as parents, it is our duty to behave in a way our children may not always like. For instance, it is the sworn duty of every parent to be as embarrassing as possible in public to make the children in our lives squirm. Class A performance today at the Santa Rocks pantomime. A little bit of public dancing by myself, Charles and my sister Lisa had my nieces wishing for a Harry Potter invisibility cloak.
Runner's up prize goes to the makeshift photo booth involving Christmas paper and bad props on sticks. No pose too stupid, apparently.
Tip 2. Of course winning isn't everything. Of course it's not how you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Kids must learn this. But they also must understand that when it comes to games nights none of the above apply. Cheating is only a problem if you get caught. We love a games night, the sillier the better and tonight was about as silly as it gets with Celebrity Head on the table. It was the lead in to Christmas we all needed. Food, foolishness and good friends. It was enough to bring out the inner child in all of us. Long may it be so.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23. Day 357. Making a splash

For a while there it looked like playing with the hose in the back yard with the home was a pleasure from the past, never to be repeated. Ongoing drought and dam levels below 20 per cent meant sprinklers were banned and hoses on the severely endangered list. And then we all installed water tanks and water efficient devices and it rained (at least in the city). Never again will we take water for granted in the way we once did but making a splash with the hose no longer has you on a most wanted list. And thank God for that. Few things make a summer like a bit of water play. For added fun get mum with the hose. Extra points if you can soak the crazy visitor with the camera. Smiles and wet bums all round. At this time of year when shopping = stress everyone can do with a bit of a cooling off.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22. Day 356. Hair raising

I think my darling child was at least three before I could bring myself to take him to have a haircut. Once those baby curls are gone the baby suddenly starts to look like a toddler and there's no going back. So I was not at all keen to see miss Winkle's puppy fluff hit the floor of the grooming salon. But while a toddler's curls is pretty much an aesthetic decision for a puppy in the Queensland heat there are bigger issues. Added to that is the fact that without a haircut the little miss would be seeing the world through a fur fringe. So it had to be. The same decision process has long guided Rumple's haircuts so today the two dogs had their pre-Christmas grooming. They emerged with bows and happy faces. The results are cool - in both senses of the word.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21. Day 355. Chasing your tail

I love Christmas, I really do but some times I find the festive season becomes an exercise in running around chasing your tail. It is so easy to concentrate on all the things you need or want to do rather than on why you are actually doing them. Today was a "enough is enough day" designed to recharge the batteries not to full but at least a level beyond which you keep getting the low power signal. This meant another visit to the baby owls, another visit to the Christmas fireworks and an hour or so watching Charlie the wonder dog play ball. I can't feel stressed when there's a dog at play, no matter how seriously thye take the game. So we live to play another day.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 20. Day 354. About time

 How many times have you left a gathering of friends or relatives and said "we must do this more often". You say it because you mean it (well usually. Sometimes your fingers might be crossed behind your back). But even though you mean it, the days turn to weeks and the weeks to months or often years but it doesn't happen. Life gets in the way of good intentions. Today, the stars and the good intentions aligned and a group inlcuding my aunt and uncle, cousins and their kids ad my lot gathered at my house for a pre-Christmas and because-we-should get-together. It was a "everyone-bring-a-plate" low stress affair which is befitting a Sunday afternoon a few days before Christmas. There was lots of chatter and catching up and of course eating. Naturally because it's me, the day also included a vomiting dog, a puppy who needed washing because of poo and an inability to find a pasty brush. But in the end none of that mattered and we all promised to do it again soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 19. Day 353. Christmas cracker

Of course through a  child's eyes, everything seems much bigger than it does when you are an adult. Who hasn't been back and found that the hill you remember as being something like a mountain is not much more than a speed bump? But I don't think this is the case here. I believe the Christmas windows just don't have the same scale and awesomeness they once did. The journey into the city to peer into those windows was once a pilgrimage. Now the windows seem like little more than a book merchandising opportunity. They are still a great beauty but it's just not the same. Christmas in the city is, however, an evolving feast and a delight for young and old. Tonight my mum, my son and I joined the massive crowd at South Bank for the fireworks before walking across the King George Square for the light show.We did briefly check out the windows and all agreed the main game had shifted. Still Christmas in Brisbane is a celebration even the biggest kid can be proud of.

Friday, December 18, 2015

December 18. Day 352. A cracking performance

Waiting, waiting

The words that came out of my mouth as my face headed for the concrete pool tiles were not attractive, I admit. The thoughts were far more admirable. I must get the puppy out of the pool. I must save the blue tongue lizard from the dog or vice versa. I must not smash or swamp my iPhone (yes, tragically, that was a thought. Afterwards the thoughts were (in no particular order) "sh*t that hurt", "I can taste blood", "Hey, Winkle can swim" and "I don't think I've broken bones, teeth or the phone. Result". It was one of those stupid things that you couldn't repeat if you tried and no-one would believe if it was the plot of a soap opera or an explanation in the witness box. Later in the day I realised how lucky I was. Lucky I didn't break anything. Lucky my head missed the big concrete planters just beyond where I fell. Lucky the blue tongue will be able to regrow the 10 centimetre length of tail I found on the couch. Lucky I got to Winkle in time and also lucky that no-one who knows me or my family would doubt my story. Plenty of women with battered, bloody and bruised faces are not so lucky. It did mean that eating at the planned get together in the evening was a little difficult. It didn't matter. There was plenty of soft food and the champagne helped. It was one of those special evenings where three families who had known each other since our kids were in day care gathered to eat, drink and watch the clock tick down until the high school results went online at midnight. Being able to celebrate such a milestone with special friends is indeed lucky and the looks on all the happy faces as the results were posted was priceless. Some days you really are lucky to be alive.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December 17. Day 351. Let them eat cake

You know how most people are either a sweet or a savory person? In this I consider myself to be an over-achiever. I like it both ways, depending on the day, my mood or what's in the fridge that doesn't look like it will result in salmonella poisoning. In the end the food choice I make will almost inevitably be based on which is the worst for me or which has the most calories or both. But given all those variables, cake still has a special place. Cake just looks as awesome as it tastes and in the case of the batch whipped up in my kitchen this afternoon that is especially awesome. To be clear, they were whipped up in my kitchen but not by me. The lovely Christy is the baker and cake boss. I just made encouraging noises an a great big mess as I rolled rum balls. And this is what makes Christmas special. Hanging around the kitchen, making food, sharing food, chatting over food and eating cake.
*I only managed to damage one cake in my  less than adequate attempts at food styling. I was forced to eat it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 16. Day 350. Size doesn't matter

Of course size matters. The difference between a small fries and a large one matters. The difference between a dress in a size that fits and one that doesn't matters. But while size matters it doesn't have to mean everything. Plenty of people perform well above their weight. You can refuse to let size define you for good or evil. For example, the small man syndrome. It's a thing. Some men who are small in stature over compensate by being great, big arseholes. I've met plenty of them in my time. There was a baby ibis in the Botanic Gardens today who I reckon has avian attitude problems. It was making an awful lot of noise none of which seemed justified. It didn't have much weight but it was throwing it around all over the place. And then there's Winkle, the new puppy. That little fur ball refuses to let her small size get in the way of her performance. She claws her way up on the lounge chair, because Rumple does. She somehow manages to climb her way into the car, because Rumple does. She walks to South Bank and back trotting at pace with her tail in the air. She only whinges when we stop at the lights. Rumple, the city boy he is, knows you have to wait until the tone at the crossing changes. Winkle has yet to figure that bit out and can see no good reason to stop. My tip is that little one is destined for big things.