Thursday, 30 October 2014

Is This Your Washing Story?

Washing. I've calculated recently that I average about 10 loads a week. Any wonder I had to abandon my colour-coding peg thing. It's crazy.

I'm quite sure many of you would would have even more loads in a week. You just need a change in weather, a short family holiday or have ONE spill or bed-wetting episode and BOOM. You're surrounded by it. It grows before your eyes and it is NEVER all done. EVER.

I wonder though if this anomaly applies to anyone else: my own clothes are outnumbered 20:1. Husband and two young children make up 95% of the clothes that go through our wash. I'm not kidding, for every 100 items of clothing I wash, hang, fold and put away, only 5 would be mine.

Maths skills aside, what does this mean? Are my clothes just always dirty? Am I naked more often than them? No, I don't think so. Well maybe a little but not enough to justify these stats.

If I take a step back and think about it, it's fairly obvious:

  • Jeans. I  wear them often, wash them rarely. They don't get dirty. Really. Don't judge me. 
  • Shirts. I work in an office. It's air conditioned. I can get through most days without sweating OR dropping food on myself. Kids and husband can't compete here.
  • Makeup - I don't wear it often so rarely face the problem of smearing it on my clothes when changing. An upside to looking boring (but recently countered by wearing heels).
  • Cooking - I avoid it as a rule, meaning less spills.
  • As the primary laundry worker in our house, I also think more about what I'm putting into the wash, whereas other family members will throw something in to avoid the effort of putting it away. Sound familiar?
Anyway, washing drivel aside, I really had an "awwww" moment about this:

Miss 5's pile, Master 8's pile and Lucy's pile.

My staffie has her own washing pile. My life is complete.

How many loads do you do? Do you wash something just in case it's dirty?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Week I Wear Heels Is The Week They Die

Gimme a break!

I don't wear heels often. I'm not gawk-at tall, not even noticeably tall (thanks more to my terrible posture than my actual measurements) but I am on the tall side. Consequently, heels have always made me feel like I don't fit. Literally. Like I'm going to bump my head on a low hanging pendant light.

The dress code at work is smart casual and let me tell you, it's a very loose use of the terms "smart" and "casual". It's almost anything goes.

So with my bumping-head paranoia and the lack of need to dress up, I just don't bother too often.

Until this week.

When I got dressed on Monday, for some reason I decided the outfit called for heels. Strange, since I wear the same things day in and day out, but I went with the epiphany.

What these? Just a little something I picked up in France, darling.

Everybody noticed and it felt good. Just a simple "you look nice" goes a bloody long way these days! Concerned that boss may think I was going for a job interview at lunch time, I decided I should back it up the next day. I seriously doubted he'd think I had TWO job interviews.

Tuesday got heels as well and, as hoped, I felt good. It's weird, but the heels seem to make me walk a little taller and also seem to remind me to suck in my gut. It's just one juicy benefit after another.

Imagine my horror, then, when I come across an article online ON TUESDAY stating that heels are dead. They're out. No more. Fashion is The Flat. The sensible, comfortable flat shoe that has dominated my life for decades is now in. THE DAY I DECIDE TO EMBRACE THE HEEL.


Well call me crazy, but I'm going to ignore this fashion news I stumbled across and not just because I'm not a fan of the Birkenstock look.

Am I going to wear heels everyday? God, no. I'll be lucky if this "heels make me feel good" phase lasts till the weekend, but I'm not giving them up just because someone else said I should. No way. I'm no slave to fashion (those who know me will sadly back me up there). I'll continue to choose my shoes based on ceiling height, occasion and. most importantly, state of toenails.

What's your position on heels?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Strange Invisible Neighbour

It's been 4 years since we moved into our house. We love where we live and we're glad everyday that we made the decision to move to Sydney's south. It's just a typical residential street with neighbours in every direction, even where the waterfront view is supposed to be.

Something, however, is weird.

Our next door neighbours (on one side, not both, for that would be creepy enough to move out) are practically invisible.

Since moving in, I shit you not, I have seen them less than a dozen times. In fact, if I really thought about it, it's probably more like 8 or 9 sightings. Way less than Big Foot.

During the 4 years, these neighbours have had two babies. I made the awkward effort to visit the first one and I did not glimpse that child for at least another 12 months. Our windows are only a few meters from each other, but I never heard that baby cry. Ever.

I've heard the second baby cry on several occasions, but have never  seen it. I say it because I don't know if child two is a boy or a girl.

We see the neighbours on the other side at least once a week, usually loading into our cars in the mornings. I see the neighbours  across the street almost daily, sometimes twice a day, so in sync are our activities. But low-talkers to our left? Never.

I do not think something sinister is going on. They seem (from the annual encounters we've had) like decent, normal people. Their child (the 3 times I have seen her) seems perfectly happy and they even went out of their way once to tell us we'd left our car's headlights on. Thanks friendly neighbour!

Strangely, I can only deduce that their times of  residential  departure and arrival are COMPLETELY different to ours. So different that it's uncanny. They never leave home between 8 and 9am on a weekday, never arrive home around 3:30pm or around 6pm and they obviously put their garbage bins out at 3am when we're usually asleep. Usually. (Once a year or so, husband and I forget we're not 20 anymore, go out, get blind rotten drunk and roll home around 3am, but clearly that's never on bin night.)

It doesn't bother me; I'm not upset that we haven't forged a lifelong friendship (especially since they don't own a pool!) but I just simply think it's weird.

Do you?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Cling Wrap - From Dad with Love

In 2011, my Dad gave me a present.

He bought it at Aldi on the Gold Coast, packed it into his check-in luggage and brought it to Sydney.

He was impressed with the gift, saying he'd got himself one as well and advised in a manner not to be argued with that it was imperative to write down the date on which I opened it.

So I did. I marked the present "Opened Friday June 24, 2011".

I am sad to say that as of today, the present no longer exists. I am left with the box, a mere shell of what was once the most practical and well planned gifts of all time:

600m of Cling Wrap
That's right. Cling wrap. 600m of the stuff.

Husband wasn't convinced when this little baby first made it's way into the kitchen. It's too heavy, he said. It's too big, he said. He was right, it was both of those things. We had to rethink where we stored the cling wrap and we had to take caution, using both hands to retrieve it from it's resting place for wrist safety.

He came around, however. He grew to love giant cling wrap just as much as I did and learnt to share my joy and awe as we passed each 6 month milestone.

"It's been 2 years, husband. 2 YEARS. And it just keeps on giving." Oh how we laughed.

Today, I have mixed feelings. I'm yet to break the news to Dad that the party has finally come to an end. I'm at a bit of a loss as to my replacement strategy and I'm also a bit disgusted by the realisation that our family unit has used 600 meters of dolphin choking evil.

Is that bad? Is 600m in 3 years, 4 months a lot? Or do other households crank through one of these puppies in a few months? Do I feel ashamed or proud? I don't know. These are the big issues that plague me.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The DIY Window Fix You Didn't See Coming

Do you ever come up with really shonky ways to fix something in your house to avoid getting it actually fixed?

I bet you do. Everyone does. It might look bad, it might even cost you more money in the long run, but you just can't be arsed dealing with it properly.

Well we do. I wish things were different, but they're not. So I hold my head high and be proud of our collective resourcefulness.

Here's an example.

Some time ago, Mr 8 (who was probably Mr 7 at the time) sent football spiralling into the window of our bathroom. This bathroom is small, housing just a toilet. The original toilet from the '70s I might add, with a fabulous powder-blue seat that perfectly matches the original wall and floor tiles.

The window was essentially two frosted-glass panels that sat one behind the other so that there was a permanent opening. It broke, very stylishly, creating a half moon shaped opening in the top section.

The room needs complete renovating, (despite the picture I may have painted of it earlier), so we were reluctant to get the window repaired when we really want to get it replaced. On top of that, it was summer at the time, so we didn't really care. The window had never actually sealed anyway, so there was no increase in creepy-crawlies and the breeze was quite pleasant.

When winter hit, however, things changed. Namely the weather. That little gap sent a gusty, icy wind blowing up the hallway, caused the door to slam and forced a really tough decision between urinating and staying warm.

Husband fixed it and not the old fashioned way. No, no, no. There was no glass needed here. A beach towel and a ruler ought to do it.

You too can try this if you're lucky enough to have a window that's older than you. 

I was impressed.

"Nice work," I said, patting him on the back while he looked around to see if anything else needed fixing.

Why did I choose  this example to show you?

It's been close to six months since the installation of the towel/ruler combo but I'm afraid this weekend, I must request some additional work from husband. It's heating up in Sydney you see, enough to go swimming during the day, but the nights are still quite cold.

So this weekend's project is to remove the towel, making it available for more traditional towel duties and replacing it with a blanket, who's usefulness is coming to an end.

I look forward to the day when we finally get it fixed, you know, for real by a tradesperson. But until then, I like the splash of colour it adds to our loo.

Got a shonky fix-it story to share?

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Topic Challenge - Week 5 - Thunder

Thanks Fiona for this week's topic challenge, thunder.

If you're in Sydney, you know what I'm talking about. For those who aren't, let me explain.

Last night, Sydney copped the mother of all storms. We're talking hours of thunder, lightning, gusty winds and rain coming out of our rain.

It was so miserable, our tap dancing teacher cancelled our class. That's right. I do tap dancing. Let's park that for another day, eh?

The kids handled it pretty well. They didn't get scared, just a little hyped up as kids always seem to get in a storm. I think it's the thrill of loud random noises that Mum can't simply turn down.

So the kids were OK, and we were OK. In fact, we were more than OK because Ray Donovan. More on that another day.

You know where this is going, don't you? Yes. The dog. The bloody dog. She was manic. She was inside the house and constantly reassured by humans, but it wasn't enough. Thunder is simply dog's nemesis.

I found her on my bed pillows, squashed between the bed and the wall. I was thankful she wasn't on the bed (let's remember this isn't a cutesy, fit in your handbag kind of dog) but not happy with the scene by any means. Still, I let it go.

That wasn't good enough though. We got distracted by TV (it happens) and were unaware that she'd found a better place in my bedroom. Bitch was inside the washing basket, laying on the clean, folded washing. We swore.

At bed time, we pondered our predicament. Outside was not an option. We could leave her in her usual inside spot, under the stairs Harry Potter style, but we feared she'd take herself onto new lounge and sign her own special injection notice.

When I caught her trying to jump onto Miss 5's bed, I knew I had to take drastic action. So we made her a little washing basket hideout in our bedroom and politely asked her to fit her fat arse inside it so we could go to bed.

Naturally, she played us. If the humans are prepared to go to trouble here, I'll see how far I can push it. I'll pretend I can't fit in there any more. I'll pretend I grew last minute.

Bitch ended up with a beautiful, coastal themed pillow bed with canopy right next to yours truly. I couldn't wait to view the countless number of 1cm long hairs on my spare pillows in the morning. She got comfy, and she slept. Husband and I drifted off. Peace.

Until she farted.

It may have been 8 degrees, but we slept with the ceiling fan on high, recreating the outside chaos in our own room.

Husband still cranky.

Do you break the dog rules in a storm? And is your house still in one piece today?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Topic Challenge - Week 4 - Goosebumps

This is the fourth blog post in my series "Topic Challenge". Each week, my friend Fiona is submitting a topic which I have agreed to cover in my blog. This week, the topic is goosebumps.

Goosebumps. Cold, shivers, freaky stuff. That's what comes to mind. Who doesn't love a good goosebumpy story?

We've all heard many over the years, some are much creepier or freaky than others, but even the pure coincidence stories can give me a little bit of chicken skin. The best ones are often those that have happened to yourself or to someone close to you, rather than the "I know a guy who knows a girl who's mother's brother blah blah blah". Closer to home is easier to believe, even if it's not as juicy.

So I dipped into my memory to pull out a couple of personal stories that have given me goosebumps over the years. They're not the freakiest things I've ever heard, but they're true. I hope the thrill isn't lost in the delivery!


When husband was still boyfriend, he lived in a unit in Randwick, Sydney. Some unexplained things went on there. Nothing scary, just weird. It was as if a classic prankster ghost was sharing the apartment. Here's a snapshot:

  • Boyfriend steps into shower, turns on water. It sprays directly into face because shower rose has been turned up - defying gravity.  I was the only other person in the unit. I got blamed for it and whilst I WISHED I had done it, I didn't. Very cool prankster ghost did it.

  • Eight tea-light candles lined up along window sill at night time. Candle 3 is on floor directly in front of window sill in the morning. The window was not open; the other candles were not disturbed. After conducting numerous tests (pushing candle 3 off window sill and watching it roll away every time), we could only conclude that it had NOT fallen or been pushed off the sill by a mouse or any other logical culprit. It had been removed from the sill and placed on the floor by very cool prankster ghost.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Dog Shaming - Lucy's Bean Digging.

She's been at it again. It was no real shock, but that doesn't make it any less painful.

Husband planted beans. There were 9 to start with. They were not magic beanstalks. This was disappointing because I think geese are funny and golden eggs are always useful.

Magic aside, we were excited about future beans. I could hardly wait to top and tail them, pop them in the microwave and forget all about them while family ate green-free dinner.  Seriously though, we were hoping to eat these ones.

Then this.

How guilty does she look? Very. She knew. She was just hoping we'd blame, oh I don't know, a large bird wearing paw shoes? 

There are now 5 plants left, one of which is in the critical ward. 

Her punishment was to pose for this next shot. I fear, however, she is growing used to the camera, enjoying the negative attention. It's like she understands her role in this game.

She also got a bath for her trouble. Lucy doesn't like baths. Perhaps that will make her stop and think next time.

Maybe, just maybe, she feels her diet is lacking the goodness of fresh vegetables? If that's the case, I'd like to point out that her diet would be much better if she stopped eating her bed.

Do you have a dog shame story to share?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Can You Save These Forgotten Paintings?

There's a little corner in my house where paintings go to learn their fate. A painting purgatory if you like. They're far from finished but I'm not quite willing to give up on them yet.

Some are  recent additions, while others have been there for over a year. Will they ever receive another stroke of paint? Or will they find themselves on the next council cleanup pile? It's the not knowing that's the hardest.

I thought I'd share them (most of them) with you. My hope is that making them public will help me decide to either push forward or cut my losses. For those that fall into the push forward pile, I also hope to find the motivation to finish them sooner rather than later.

So please, leave a comment with your opinion and if the decision is to finish them, I hope to show you a finished painting before the end of the year.



Poor turtle was the first to enter painting purgatory and probably the least likely to hit the rubbish pile. But it needs a lot and I lost my groove with it. Save the turtle?


Purple Sky

Don't be deceived. This painting is tiny, roughly 10 x 30cm. You can probably see where it was going but to avoid the awkwardness,  it was a panoramic beach scene at sunset. Just not sure if it's worth the effort.

Another Pear

If you're familiar with my other fruit paintings, they're a little more expressive than this. I think I got confused by the attempt at realism and bored with the lack of big fat brush strokes. Meh.


It's a boat (that big white blob)

I have seriously mixed feelings here and already have a number of different painting styles on the canvas. I was trying to be fancy pants with a pallet knife and, well, no. So much work needed. I think the end result could be very different to how it started.



I love the water but it's dull. There was originally going to be a lone person walking up the beach but....I don't know. Definitely no flamingos though!

I'd love to know what you think, so please leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook to save these paintings from the torture of painting purgatory.