Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Margaret Throsby.

I don't know if it's just me, but I often imagine what songs I will pick when I become famous enough to be asked onto Margaret "Throbbers" Throsby's program on Classic FM.
It used to be that the guest had to, quite naturally I think, confine their choices to classical music. I don't know when exactly it happened but some time over the last number of years they changed it so Popular Music from the Hit Parade could be included. Scandalous, I know. I can only imagine the switchboard at the ABC lighting up with complaints from the change-a-phobic blue rinse brigade when that happened.  However, because I am down with the youth of today and am quick to embrace change like a mofo I am ok with this development.

I've been giving this issue considerable thought and have devised the following list.  It contains songs from every stage of my life, in no particular order.

1. Blossom Dearie - "Surrey with a Fringe on Top". M introduced me to the pleasures of Blossom Dearie along with other esoteric artists as Serge Gainsbourg, George Brassens, Depeche Mode and Flock of Seagulls.

2. Dubliners - "Dirty Old Town". This one's for my Dad who comes from a dirty old town himself.  And in case you hadn't realised so far, I love the Dubliners.  They are as relevant today as they were in their heyday, whenever that was.

3. James Taylor - "Sarah Maria". This one's for my mum, who loves herself a bit of 70s folk action and was inspired by the gentle warblings of James Taylor to name me after this song.

4.  Cyndi Lauper - "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".  This was my performance piece as a precocious toddler.  Mum used to wheel me out for weddings, parties, anything.

Sorry about the foul and offensive ad at the beginning. Urgh.

5.  Claude Debussy - "Girl with the flaxen hair".  This was a song I used to play on the piano when I was but a mere chit of a girl, and being as how I was sporting some "flaxen hair" myself at the time I always felt a fondness for it.

What's that you say? Why yes, Mr Darcy, I will let myself be persuaded to serenade you with a song on the pianoforte, for I esteem, nay LOVE you greatly and with an abiding passion.  Oh, sir, unhand me I say!  I am a good girl sir from a good family! It won't do! Unhand me you devil. Oh, I hate you! No I love you! No, wait I hate you! Oh I am all at sea.


Sorry about that.  Moving right along.

6. Old Blind Dogs - "The Battle of Harlaw" aka Diddieioh. P's favourite song in the whole world and makes me think of driving away in the car when we went to the hospital to have B, me sobbing like a maniac from anxiety and sadness and worry and generally mentalness, while she bravely waved goodbye in Mum's arms.

7. Tori Amos - "Winter".  From the "emo" years.  Tori you got me through a lot.

I could go on but I think I've already used up my alotted time.

Margaret, thanks for having me on to talk about how famous and successful I am and to encourage others to be famous and successful and rich and famous like me.  I hope my inspirational mega mix has provided your listeners with joy, pleasure, relaxation, boredom, indifference or anger as they see fit.

There's no right response to the music, people, just let it wash over you like the humidity in a Bunnings warehouse.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

007 - Lady Date. Beach. Batshit crazy.


I am feeling sweary.

Last night, being reluctantly torn from from my usual Saturday night activities (ie. watching Gardening Australia, folding washing, and going to bed early), I was forced out into the real world AFTER DARK.  Scary shit people.  I cant tell you how weird it feels when you are generally a shut in, only being released for solo nocturnal outings to ALDI or Woolies or some such place.  One of my dearest friends JJ (funky mother to three and arts worker extraordinaire) and I decided to throw caution to the wind and meet at that well-known artistic and cultural hub the Logan Hyperdome to view the latest James Bond film Skyfall.  Look, I'm not really a Bond devotee or anything but frankly anything that started at the right time of night (ie. NOT 9.30pm as that is hardcore past my bedtime) was fine with us, and I have always been partial to a bit of Daniel Craig ogling, so Bond it was.

The Hyperdome is about 20 mins from my place and 20 mins the other way from JJ's so it was perfect, but actually I'd never been to see a movie there before.  It was pumping baby!  The joint was jumping!  As JJ said, who knew!?  And why not, too....who wouldn't frequent a place that not only has a humongous cinema but also boasts a Sizzler's, a Gilhooleys pub and a Coffee Club amongst other things?  I don't BLAME them!   All you inner city snobs are missing out on all the action.  Anyway suffice to say it was the place to be and every man woman and child were there to see James Bond too.  Luckily it was in the most 'normous cinema ever known to humankind so that was fine.

I think the most exciting thing was seeing the trailer for Les Mis.  Oh. Em. Gee.  We were in ecstasy.  JJ reminisced about her youthful choral career and we both shed a little tear.  Hugh Jackman! Sacha Baron Cohen! Russell Crowe!  Heck yes. 

Skyfall was very entertaining of course in a camp sort of way.  Daniel Craig was looking a bit more haggard and weathered so less easy on the eye but I still felt fondly towards him.  Anyway there was sufficient bonking of Bond girls, car chases and blowing up of secret service buildings for even the most devoted of Bond aficionados, so all good there.  We had a blast.  We were totally Mums on the Run.  I pitied the people sitting next to us but not enough to stop our endless guffawing  and general chattering.  We have PRECIOUS FEW opportunities for this shizz people!

You can shake me OR stir me anytime, baby. [Source]
As a result I felt positively renewed today, like a new woman.  I felt kind and benevolent.

M had suggested we go on a family outing to the beach so I agreed, and after breakfast we packed up and set off for Currumbin where he thought there was a nice area for small fry to splash.  We had an ok time even though the bloody sun tent thing broke so I spent the whole morning sitting at a picnic table with B so his little bald head didn't get burnt to a crisp while M and P had a swim .

B and M.

P giving me cheek.

For someone who grew up on the Sunshine Coast and now lives on the Gold Coast I have me some deep seated ISSUES when it comes to the beach.  Issues I tell you.

As a teenager on the coast all the cool kids were surfie types and so I did the obligatory bleaching of hair and wearing of board shorts and bikini tops, as was the style at the time.  But as soon as I moved away to the Big Smoke for uni I died my hair pink, red, black, red, brown, black, blonde and brown -you name it -  developed a moon tan and generally stewed and became neurotic and weird.  And these days I am basically just down right phobic and scared of the beach.  I know.  Neurotic and weird, I hear you agree.  Neurotic and weird.

My phobic crazy beach disorder kind of goes like this.  Are you ready?

1.  I am pale, with a ruddy undertone to my skin, the sun burns the shit out of me if I walk outside to hang the washing out and if I spend the day in the sun then frankly I become pork crackling.  

This is me "sunbaking" on our honeymoon.  See? Moon tan.  Neurotic.  Weirdo.

2. I freaking hate the feeling of sand sticking to the sunscreen on your skin and I hate the feeling of putting clothes back on when you have sand and sunscreen and salt on your skin and it is all prickly and gross and URRURURURGHGHG I am FREAKING OUT JUST TYPING IT.  

3.  I hate public toilets at the beach, they never have toilet seats and the floor is always wet and sandy and God knows what and there's never hooks on the back of the door so your clothes get wet and OH GOD THE HORROR MY SKIN IS CRAWLING RIGHT NOW!  

4.  In a world that values hairless prepubescent female bodies I have been blessed with a thick pelt and that includes armpits, legs and the delicate BIKINI AREA and even my GODDAMN CHIN but that's another issue.  I am down with hairy armpits, I am all good, that's totally European and sexy and whatnot but I cannot come at hairy legs and so forth and frankly the upkeep to maintain a hair-free leg and pubical area is just too much for me and makes me want to have a good lie down right now.

5.  I am NOT THIN.

For so many reasons I endorse the Nigella burkini. [Source]

6.  I find the beach culture in Australia aggressive.  This was bad on the Sunshine Coast but oh fark it is worse on the Gold Coast.  Swaggering bronzed surfie types wearing thongs and no shirt, with their skinny girlfriends.  I feel like an alien near them.  Like they are so CONFIDENT and I can't help but feel like they have some SECRET KNOWLEDGE about being comfortable in your own skin even though you are a douchebag agro bogan and I can feel them all LOOKING AND JUDGING AND POINTING AND OH GOD THE HOOOOORRROOORR AGAIN (breathes into paper bag).

7.  SHARKS!!!!!!!!  My mum, who thinks I am an uptight wowser who should just chill out dude and go with the flow and calm the fuck down and enjoy myself, once tried to tell me there were no sharks in Hervey Bay/Woodgate Beach because it was protected by Fraser Island.  Nice try Mum, but I am pretty sure that is CYCLONES not SHARKS - I am ONTO YOU!!!!!!!

But I HATE MYSELF for being so ridiculous about the beach and always try and make myself go and end up practically on the floor of the car having a panic attack and shouting at my husband.

Our Argentinian neighbour M and her husband and kids spend every waking moment at the beach and they are brown as nuts.  When P was a baby and I was going slowly crazy as a loon, M used to say to me "Jost take herrrr to the beach!  All bebbies loff the beach!" and I wanted to scream, "Are you fucking out of your mind?! The beach with the sand and the sun and the waves and the bogans and the SHARKs and the OH MY GOD I AM LOSING MY SHIT AGAIN!!!!!!"

I decided today that it was all just stupid and even though the tent didn't work (M was screaming "WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS SO HARD!!?? FUCKKKKKK!". I know! Out of character) I remained CALM and sat peacefully watching the little kids do their surf board riding lessons and thought to myself "If that bunch of tubby kids can be ok with the beach then dammit so can I".  

I am thinking maybe I need to take surfing lessons.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right?  Hmm.  I'll think about it.

Anyone else dislike the beach? Love it? Are you crazy as a motherfucker like me?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Poo of a day. Festivus. For the rest of us.

WARNING: This post is long,  photo heavy and self-indulgent.

I had a CRAP DAY!  Everywhere I go I read blogs that say "I'm sick of hearing about people whinging and whining about life, harden up and be POSITIVE" and dammit I try hard to be humorous and see the good (which is hard as I am naturally all "What do you mean the glass is half empty?  It was never full!  Who drank it?  I'm thirsty and I want a drink and you mean my glass is EMPTY?") and what not but basically today was SHIT and I was a SHIT MOTHER and yelled at my toddler and rang my busy husband at work bawling and hysterical and had a HARDCORE MELTDOWN!  I put this status update on my personal FB account;

I usually hate whining FB rants but my 3 y.o. daughter and her behavior have reduced me to screaming rage filled tears today. I'm not looking for reassurance that I am an awesome mother here because I am freaking telling you today has been a What Not To Do as a Parent Day and I feel like poo. Yelling, screaming, crying, begging, shouting, chasing, threatening. You name it. Over it. Over it. Over it. I know there are people with awful problems and so forth but today I can't get perspective. And no booze. And no comfort eating. Farking farkity fark feck bum poo arse bugger bollocks crap shit.

This actually had the effect of cheering me up no end because of course my personal cheer squad chimed in with supportive crap out the whazoo so I am ok again and about to GET ME SOME BOOZE.  Also we bought P McDonalds in an attempt to atone for the horror day.  Poor kid stuck with a psycho mother. Who buys her junk food. Oh well.

Here's some slightly more cheering festive thoughts from me to distract from the gloom and horror of the day.

This year we will be up at the Slapdash family compound and spending Christmas Day with Mum in a sort of weird retro revisiting of family Christmases I have known.  It will be nice but also sad.  Last Christmas we didn't even know my stepdad was sick and now he is gone.  Anyway here's a sort of Dickensian tribute, a photo montage of recent-ish Family Christmases Past.
A much younger Mum sitting near the Chrissy Tree perusing some weird  retro cookbook for Christmas Dinner ideas no doubt. Maybe 1995-ish?

  This pic is from what I like to call "The Portly Years".  Mum and Dad and me looking rather well fed indeed. Brother C probs taking the pic.

This is much more recent.  Me and my bro at the unit at Mooloolaba we all stayed in one year.  This was M's first Christmas with us.  Probably 2005?
My first Christmas with M's family.  M partaking in a little tipple as he glazes the ham.

Cake and sherry.  The essence of Christmas.

The completed ham from that year.

M checking out his ancestral Christmas Tree.

Lunch with his family.  Me on my best behaviour, I didn't burp or even use the wrong cutlery or anything!

It was pork that year.  Crackling, anyone?

Fruity flan!

Another year, at M's family pre-Christmas knees-up.

The same year.  We went out to lunch at Pepper's Hervey Bay on Christmas Day with Dad.  Delightful and no washing up.

Same year.  M partaking in some bubbles.

Same year.  Awkward family shot.

First Christmas in our new house.

Dad and my brother-in-law with our niece.  
 All M's fam and my Dad and bro.  Note the crazy blue velvet cusions on the chairs.  We also inherited this dining suite from the same lady as the couches.  I ripped those suckers off and Mum and I reupholstered the hell out of them by buying some cheap IKEA fabric and staple gunning it on in true slapdash fashion.

As above, with atmospheric blurriness.

P's first Christmas.  Have Bumbo, will travel.

Christmas with Grandpa.  This was a hellish year where we drove to every parent under the sun and I went mad.

Christmas at Mum's with my brother C.

It was some time around this day that I went mad.  Screaming , sleep-deprived batshit crazy.  Sorry everyone.  Seems like this is a bit of a pattern for me!!!

Christmas the next year just us 3.  Was supposed to be Mum and her husband D too but the horror floods meant no traveling.  It was quite lovely really not to have to go anywhere.

Angel scampering.

The loot.
The morning.

Family photo.  Lush crazy vegetables and herbs in the background due to major crazy rain that year.

Last year.  Everyone at our house again.


My stepdad. And the ham. We didn't know this would be his last Christmas.


Table set ready to roll.

Almondy boozey fruity cakey goodness.

I for one can't wait for Christmas.  I am anything but a Scrooge.  Bring it on. We all need to look forward to something.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

He's got no faloorum. Morning vignette. Decking the halls.

I don't know what you guys get up to in the mornings (perhaps you indulge in a spot of brisk setting up exercises or a round of Sun Salutes), but round these here parts we greet the day by listening to some Top of the Pops music straight from the Hit Parade. This morning I put the soundtrack to Les Miserables on until P screamed "Mummy I just want QUIET!", and later on, "I don't like you singing Mummy I'm trying to RELAX!".

Without doubt the best musical ever in the history of the world.  I am practically weeing myself from excitement and anticipation about the movie version.  Roll on Christmas Holidays, this has got Date Night written all over it baby.   [Source]
P then demanded that I put "Tooralooralooralie" on, by which she means this song as previously mentioned in the blog, so I obliged her and then capered for her entertainment like some demented jester. That is, if jesters ever wore tattered old cotton nighties and no bra.  I realised after a while that she had wandered off, and that I'd been skipping round with said nightie hitched up round my knees while M watched from the kitchen, incredulous.
"We are going to end up raising a bunch of weirdos," he said, shaking his head.

I quickly stopped my capering and resumed normal activities while we listened to the next song in the hit mix, which was this's called "Maids When You're Young Never Wed an Old Man".

The song carries a warning that if you wed an old man you will discover on your wedding night that he's "got no faloorum", if you get my drift, nudge nudge.

M must have been feeling particularly downtrodden and decrepit because he said morosely "S you should have taken note of this song".
"No!" I said, "YOU should take note of this song! You watch out or I'll find a young man's faloorum!"
"Oh yeah? Well maybe I'll find a young man's faloorum!" he rejoined with.
"Maybe indeed", I concurred.

Can you feel the love?

I decided to go against the grain and put up the Christmas decorations today.  I usually do it on 1st December or the first weekend in December, as is my mother's tradition, but I felt the need to do it early.  Also, to cheer up a sad little wailing P on Monday on the way to swimming, I promised we would go and buy some outdoor Christmas lights afterwards. She perked up immediately and said "From the big place with the plants and things?".  I said "Do you mean Bunnings?" which she did, and so we did just that.

She had remembered there was a huge Christmas light section from our last visit.  Good work ole eagle-eyes, elephant-memory, mind-like-a-steel-trap P.  Also I needed something festively cheering to do that wasn't stuffing my face full of scorched almonds or other seasonal treats, as is tradition this time of year.  I bought these Heston Blumenthal puddins and mince pies from Coles when I read about them and they are sitting on our sideboard taunting me.  It is torture and it is taking all my strength and self-control not to rip the packet of mince pies open with my teeth and shove them all into my mouth at once, smearing their piney goodness all over my face in an orgy of sugar and fat.  I actually opened the packet of mince pies last night and was going to have JUST ONE, but I STOPPED AND PUT THEM AWAY!! I KNOW!  I'M FRIGHTENED TOO!

I'm not usually one for candied fruit but shall make an exception for Heston.  They will be my reward for good behaviour in the near future.  Food is love, people. Food is love.
                                     Here are the lights we bought.  Solar powered, don't you know!

So we did the decorating thing, despite the receptionist at kindy issuing me a warning in hushed tones that the one year she didn't put her tree up on the 1st December her mother got breast cancer.  I'll take the risk.  2012 wasn't exactly a winner of a year for our family (apart from gorgeous B being born of course!) so that's all mumbo jumbo as far as I'm concerned.

Dad aka Grandpa G came to help with the decorating but it ended up with P bossing him around all day as usual and shouting things at him like "NO! You have to be a FRIENDLY PIRATE!" and "You have to drink TOILET ORANGE JUICE, it's DELICIOUS!".

Here's some pics of our 2012 decorating effort...the solar lights are up outside but I don't think they have charged properly cos they aren't on.  Irritating.  I'll post some pics of them when I've finally got them working.

As far as I'm concerned a tray of mangoes is as festive as all get out.

Here's the old faithful el cheapo Woolworths tree still holding up.

Another angle of said tree.

I don't have many actually nice and meaningful ornaments but this one is from my friend J.  Cupcakes agogo.

A bird ornament I snaffled in last year's sales to gussy up the general Woolworths vibe.

Still life with tree and toasted sandwich maker.

Tree by night.

P helped with the decorating this year and did an admirable job.  I had to let a  few things slide re: ornament arranging but I think it looks ok.

Faux wreath to welcome any festive carollers who may be frequenting our suburb.  Or not, as the case may be.

Are you getting your Christmas on yet?  Planning any carolling this year? Or are you embracing your inner Scrooge?

Edited to add: They are working!

They are stars. I know they look like little crosses a la the tombs of ancestral family pets but they aren't.

Tasteful, innit?  None of your garish coloured lights for me thank you very much.

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