Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Startin' the New Year off in a Scrappy kind of way

It's New Years day here and the day is startin' off just fine.

The blue sky from early this morning has turned to a mucky shade of gray and the rain's just starting... so I'm praying that it's a good omen for the New Year!

We could sure use the rain here in this part of Oz (well most parts, actually) and I would gladly forgo summer entirely, if we could just get these dams and reservoirs around here topped up with water! Here's hopin' that the year starts out, and continues with what we all need, no matter where we may live !! I'm getting sick and tired of taking 4 minute showers and if it gets much worse, we'll be cut down to only having a shower every 2nd day - and that doesn't even bear thinking about.



Now, I was doing what I usually do every morning - sitting down with a nice fresh hot cup of coffee and reading through my favorite blogs, when I came across this Scrap Award from Gizzards and Calf Fries. (check her out, I know you'll thank me!) which she has ermmmm...kindly passed on to all her followers... and I'm happy to say that I'm one of 'em! So, I've been "Scrapped"



What I'm supposed to do ( and so are YOU... so if you think you're getting off easily, think again!) is list 10 tidbits about myself that you may not know. Sounds easy, right? Well, think again... again ! (See? I'm making you think twice about reading this darn blog of mine in the first place. I'll do it one way or the other!)


Either I'm going senile and can't remember sh** anymore, or I'm just so darned boring that I have nothing worth telling... but I'm gonna give it a go and see what happens.

Just don't hold it against me if you fall asleep with your face smooshed against the computer screen, okay?


1. I was in love with John Walton. You know the one - the father from "The Waltons". Not John-Boy, because every time I saw John-Boys' face, I just wanted to scratch that darn nasty arse, melanomic looking mole right off his face with my fingernail - and tell him to grow some cajones. You want to be treated like a man John-Boy? start acting like one. No wonder that no girls wanted to kiss you much. But John? Daddy John? I simply loved that twinkle in his eye, that cheeky grin and the strong yet loving way he treated all his children. He also had a cute butt. But I lost that "loving feeling" as I grew older - because he grew older. Yes, I guess I'm fickle.

2. I have never been in an actual fight, but I did throw a tub of margarine at someone once, in a fit of pique. I'm not telling who though... mainly because if I do and someone asks him about it, he will carry on and on and on like I did something bad. Sheeeesh, it barely grazed his ear, but he'll make it sound like he was hit with a brick at 2 paces. For goodness sakes... I'm a girl, and I couldn't hit the side of a barn if I was standing right in front of it. The margarine was still usable afterwards, is all I'm saying on that little matter.

3. I love cats. I have 5 of them - 4 grown girls and one boy kitten, plus I'm currently boarding another girl kitten for a friend. A friend who may never get another rental and her current landlord won't allow her to have a pet. So I've got 6, if you count them all. And I love them to pieces. But if you ever think of making me one of those funny kitty-litter cakes, do NOT do it. I will *urp*. I swear I will.

4. I've never had a ticket of any kind in my life. That was one of the advantages of living in a small town in a small county - and being married to a California Highway Patrol officer. The two tickets I probably should have gotten, were not actually given to me... because of who I was married to. Knowing my husband, I think they felt sorry for me.

5. I'm a Quaker... a Birthright Quaker, though they don't use that term much anymore. My family have been Quakers since The Society of Friends was first started. Going right back to the 17th century. My great-great-great (+ a few more greats) grandparents were long-time friends of William Penn, and helped to found one of the first Quaker Meeting houses on Ridley Creek in Bucks county Pennsylvania - before William Penn was even granted the Province of Pennsylvania. It's in my blood... and in my heart.

6. I have a short attention span. Either that, or I'm incredibly lazy - one or the other. Because 6 out of "10 things you didn't know about me" is my limit. I've run out of "things". The well is dry, my brain is fried, the tank is empty and my bucket has a hole in it. I'm done.

Now it's your turn. Every single one of you lucky people who follow my blog, have now been tagged. Copy the award, post it on your own blog and tell me and everyone else 10 things that we didn't know about you. Let me know when you've posted it, so I can come over and check it out. I check your blogs out daily anyway, but I'm just sayin...

Just in case you're thinkin' about chickening out, I've written all your names down, so there's no point in clicking that "stop following this blog" button. Do NOT do it.

C'mon, it'll be fun... And there is no booby prize, if your well runs dry too.

Update Update Update...

As Sherri, who is one of my trusted (yeah...trusted to blab) almost- family members, has so kindly reminded me, I have another "little known fact" to add to my list. It wasn't that I was tryin' to hide anything, because my life is an open book... but rather that I had a bit of a menopause moment. Yeah... "That's the ticket". I had a menopause moment. (name the man that played that character - I dare ya.) Either it was a menopause moment, or it was self-induced amnesia. You choose.

7. Yes...It's true. I was a groupie. I was young, I was free and as a good Quaker girl in the years of Haight Ashbury, I got a wild hair up my yahootie and took up with the band. The Y part of CSN&Y to be exact. I dated Neil Young's sound engineer for almost a year and even had a teensy tinesy photo on the album cover for the soundtrack of Neil's 1972 film, "Journey Through The Past"... as a hippie chick. Which virtually meant, I got to look like myself. No makeup or hair stylist was used for the photo shoot and I didn't even have to take any acting lessons. As that music great, Buck Owens so eloquently said : "And all I had to do was act naturally". If... after I get even with Sherri for even bringing this up again and I'm in a fairly good mood, I might post some photos of me looking errmmm, "under the weather". "Under the weather" being a euphemism for illegally self-medicated. Which is another euphemism, but I'm sure that you can figure it out.

After that last revelation, I now just want to crawl under a rock. (Thank you again, Sherri. I think you need to take something for that recurring cough.)

Happy New Year !

Happy New Year, everyone !

Well, it took some doing, but I managed to assemble everything I want to cook for dinner on New Years day - which here in Australia, is tommorrow!
Finding the black-eyed peas and collards took some doing, but I finally found them at USA Foods in Melbourne.
With postage and all, they cost me nearly an arm and a leg, but I got 'em, so we will be eating good tommorrow!
I was brought up with the old traditions and the saying :

"Eat poor on New Year's - eat rich the rest of the year."

So, we'll be having what I've always had on New Years day - at least when I could get it :
Pineapple glazed Ham
Hoppin' John (rice, bacon and black-eyed peas)
Collards
and Cornbread
"Ham or bacon for looking forward, (hogs can't look backwards)
plus Peas for Pennies, Greens for Dollars, and Cornbread for Gold.”
And we always put a penny or coin under the plate to intensify the luckiness of the meal.

In case anyone doesn’t know, Hoppin' John is made of black-eyed peas cooked with bacon, with cooked rice added, and if you have any pot liquor leftover from the black eyed peas, to sop the cornbread in... all the better! Mmm mmmm good!
Everyone who eats Hoppin' John on New Years Day is almost guaranteed to have good luck... especially wealth, during the new year.


My "New Year's Wish" for all of us :

Perhaps a bit wiser,
a bit kinder, too,
a little bit braver,
a heart that's more true,
a touch of believing
I've not known before,
in joys I'm receiving
a little bit more.

A little more anxious
to reach out my hand,
despite hurt or problems
to still understand,
accepting the heartache
that life often brings,
a little more beauty
in life's simple things.

A prayer when I'm weary
as onward I trod,
a little more trusting,
believing in God,'
tis this I would wish for
within moments dear,
not a lot - just a little
this wondrous new year.
~ Garnett Ann Schultz ~

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where is the friendship?

I have no friends.

It's sad, but true.
You see... to me, a friend is someone who will tell you what you need to hear and not necessarily what you want to hear. They tell it like it is. Always. Because true friendship means being honest. A friend is someone you can always trust to have your back.
They will tell you that the dreamy guy you just met is trouble... Trouble with a capital T.
They tell you when your pants are too tight or too short or that that shade of lipstick makes you look like Morticia Adams on an extremely bad day.
They tell you it's time to get those eyebrows waxed again - because if you don't, the local Lepidopterologists are gonna come calling, having sniffed out some new species of caterpillar, growing right there on your face. (which reminds me... did you know that scientists have now proven that moths and butterflies can remember things from their caterpillar days? Amazing... but true. And totally useless unless you're a trivia freak. Or a Lepidopterologist)

Anyway... friends are people who will tell you the truth - no matter what - Isn't that right?

Now let me back up a bit and fill you in on some background here. Miz K (of the Mexican dinner / talking to grownups, post) was here this afternoon and we had a nice little 2-3 hour visit. Talking about this... talking about that... and eating some fish and chips and a corn-dog.
( I had the corn dog, which here in Oz, is actually called a Pluto Pup and tastes nothing like a real honest to goodness corn-dog, because there is no cornmeal in the darn thing and the dog is more of a skinny red sausage than a hot dog... but it's about the closest approximation to a corn-dog that you can get in this country. It tastes like sh**, but at least it's corn-dog shaped and you can dip it in mustard....and that counts for a lot when you're feeling nostalgic.)

Anyhow, Miz K and I sat across the table from each other - in broad , sunny daylight - and nattered and nibbled for hours... and it was lovely. It always is when Miz K is around. We smiled, we laughed, we talked about a whole range of things. And then she left.

It's one of those beautiful cool-ish, but the sunlight is golden, days and when I walked in the bathroom to put some towels away after Miz K left, I just happened to notice how the soft golden light was streaming through the bathroom windows and everything was softly illuminated in the wall mirror in there. So of course, I stopped to look at myself. Like you do. I hadn't looked at myself since this morning when I brushed my teeth, and most mornings, I do that in the almost dark, so keep from wasting electricity. So seeing myself clearly was kind of a nice surprise.
But this afternoon...because the light was so very clear, I noticed something about myself that I had never noticed before. And something that I almost wish I had never noticed, but thank goodness I did... in spite of the potential for future nightmares.

See, because the people that I had considered friends had never seen fit to mention this particular sight to me and were in fact, probably all huddled together at that exact moment, having a good old laugh at my expense - I was forced to come across this when I was all alone and at my most vulnerable. After eating a corn-dog and having a happy day..

You see, that clear light in the mirror showed a tiny little flaw on my neck. Something I had never thought I would see, unless my dear old Auntie Lou would somehow, miraculously, come back to life.
With her magnifying mirror in one hand and her Curex tweezers in the other.
I looked at this flaw on my neck and was totally gobsmacked, because I looked like a cross between my dear old Auntie Lou, and an aging Shirley Temple.

There... right there... on the right side of my neck, was a hair. A neck hair. And not just any old neck hair, but a hair about 4 inches long and curled like a Shirley Temple ringlet. A coil... a spring... a shortened, less colorful, almost grey version of my favorite childhood toy. A Slinky.

On
My
Neck !

You could tie a bow on this sucker.

I have been walking around for how long, with this coiled, springy, slinky-like"thing" sticking out of my neck, and NO one - especially my most beloved and trusted friends - has ever said a word?
It's not as if they couldn't see it. They must have known... and chosen to keep me in the dark.
So I ask you... wouldn't a real friend tell you something like this?

I should have asked for, or received some tweezers for Christmas... Because the people I have always considered to be my friends, knew that I needed them ... and they never said a word to me about it.
So do you want to know what I did? I didn't have any tweezers, but I still had that corn-dog stick. And I have to tell you, it worked like a charm... after I wound that hair about 27 times.
And yanked.

Nah... I would forgive Miz K just about anything.
And she probably never noticed a thing, because the light just wasn't right. :o)

Can you help? Oh please say yes!


I've been trying to work up a letter/ agreement / notice / thingamabobbie thingie to give to all my daycare parents... and I'm having a really hard time with it.

I think I'm cramming too much into it and making it too confusing, but try as I might, I can't seem to get it pared down or even worded right. It's giving me a major headache!

So...is anyone willing to give me a hand with re-wording and/or editing it? I need totally honest opinions, and someone else's in-put.... Because I'm a total lame-brain after working at this all day long -and my head is spinning in circles right now. Kind of like Linda Blair in that Exorcist movie. Minus the pea soup.
So any help that you can - or will - give me, would be hugely, humongously appreciated !!!
I'm just about at my wits end with 3 parents in particular, and enough is enough !!
I just want to start 2009 off right and I want them to KNOW that I'm not gonna take it anymore!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

You think KC and the Sunshine Band is bad?

Well, guess who was dumb enough to teach the kids " The Name Game" song?
Yep, yours truly.... and I seriously, seriously regret it.

All I've heard all morning is " Tater, we can we sing the "banana-fana" song?"

Jack, Jack, bo-back,
Banana-fana fo-fack
Fee-fi-fo-mack
Jaaaack!

Tater Tater, bo-bater
Banana-fana fo-fater
Fee-fi-fo-mater
Taaaater

Hey, At least I don't have any children named Alice, Tucker, Chuck, Buck, Huck, Bart, Art, Mitch, Rich or Richie.... or I don't know how I would explain it to the parents. *snort*

C'mon... tell me that you remember the song !

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A gem of a day !



I'm pleased to say that I got a heck of a lot of stuff accomplished today and I'm almost ready for a lovely and well-deserved nana-nap ! Woo Hooo!
(That old KC and The Sunshine Band song keeps runnin' through my head :
Do a little dance,
make a little love
Get down tonight,
get down tonight.
....Which actually sounds better in my head, and a lot more apt IN my head than actually seeing it in print there.
Forgive me, for I am stupid. And I'm running in "exhaustion mode" right now.)

I got a lot (well... some) weeding done out the back and I even managed to get the climbing rose turned back into more of a "climbing" rose and not the "I will grab you, impale you, claw the sh** out of you and will make your life a misery if you dare walk past me" rose, that it had turned into in the last few weeks. The flowers were beautiful though and it's a pity that they had to go, as well as the brambly bits.
Thanks to days of rain and then days of sunshine... everything out there is going absolutely bonkers... and although it's looking good, with everything all beautifully lush and fragrant, it's a major PITA to keep it looking semi-tidy. I just wish the grass grew one half as well as the weeds do.
Even the Mulberry tree is doin' it's best to give me baby mulberries! (note to self and anyone else stupid enough to try this: do NOT eat unripe mulberries. They will leave a nasty arse taste in your mouth and the "pucker" won't leave you for hours. Ditto for baby limes.)

I even managed to print out some "Business Hours" signs ( I did several, because my hours vary with school holidays, (aka school vacations) what mood I may be in, etc.) and they look good, if I do say so myself. :o)
I checked online, and the simple ones like I wanted, were priced at $13.95 and up, so I figured I could make something - at least temporarily, until I could find cheaper prices. I want MUCH
cheaper prices !
But they turned out so darned good, that I just printed off a heap of them and put them in the folder, so I can change them or alternate them as needed.
No more "Mr. Nice Guy" anymore... especially when it
comes to taking advantage of this little brown duck!
(kind of a small photo, but you get the gist)


The house is cleaned, floors mopped and vacuumed and the kitchen is almost looking semi-presentable. Maybe not "Gordon Ramsey is coming to dinner" presentable, but it's not too bad anyway and I'm happy with it. Mostly.
The driveway and front porch are swept, the front porch bench has been given a coat of stain, the porch plants fed and watered and the shower has had a good scrub-down.

Geez... I'm on a roll today! See what a couple of stress-free days can do for ya?

Sing it with me...

Do a little dance,
make a little love
Get down tonight,
get down tonight !!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reflections and Resolutions

I don't know if it's just the aftermath of Christmas and that everything has slowed down a bit, or it's the fact that I've had several much-needed days off in a row... but I'm feeling peaceful.
Thankful.
Inspired and connected.
Stronger and more determined.

I've been thinking about my New Year's resolution for this year and rather than focusing on outward "things" like I do most years... this year, I'm going to try and focus more internally.
Yep, I know I need to lose weight. I know I need to get more exercise. I need to eat healthier. I need to get so many things in order. But just saying that, doesn't get it done... or give me the incentive to do what needs doing.

I always put everyone first - and myself last. I'm a giver... that's just what I do.
Having trouble? I'm the first to call and offer support.
Need a listening ear? Call me up and I'll be there.
Are you lonely, upset or at your wits end? Drop on by. The kettle is always on and I've got broad shoulders.
Need milk or you're going to be running late? Sure... leave the kids here.

Now see, I like that about myself. I really do. I like that I don't have to work at it or force it, because it just comes naturally. My mom used to complain when I was young that I was "the champion of the underdog"... and that I gave too much. I gave too freely and without always looking to see what the repercussions would be.

I still do that.

Oh, I may be a little fussier nowadays, when it comes to dragging home angst-filled teenage boyfriends and every sad-eyed looking puppy on the street, but I still get friends - or friends of friends - or parents of my little charges - asking for help, or just needing someone to talk to.
And I find it hard to say no.
And I don't want to stop that entirely.
I really don't.

But I do need to start thinking of myself and putting myself - and not only with just my life, but with my life with my guy - first.
Without my batteries being fully charged or re-charged, I have no juice left in me to share with anyone else.
What I could do with ease in my younger years, is becoming harder to do as I get older... and I end up feeling more and more drained and resentful.
I need balance, and I need to start working on getting that balance, so the buck officially stops here.

So here's my New Years resolution.
I'm going to get one of those business clocks. You know, the one with the open and closed hours on it ? And it will be stuck on the wall just outside the front door.
Monday... 9-5 Tuesday... 9-4:30 Well, you know what I mean.
From now on, when my work day "officially" starts at 9 am (or 7:45 or whatever is scheduled), any parent who shows up 25 minutes early, can just plant their butt on the bench on the front porch, and wait until 9 o'clock or 7:45. That extra 25 minutes is ME time and no one is gonna get away with it anymore. That door - and this business - will remain closed until it's time to open for the day.

See, I get up at 5am most mornings. I check through my favorite blogs first thing, while I'm having my first cup of coffee for the day and then I get my cute little bum in gear. I jump in the shower and get ready for the day... and then there's vacuuming and mopping and tidying of the playroom to be done... and I usually have just about 30 minutes at the end of those chores, to simply sit down and relax for a bit. That's 30 minutes of me time. But do I get it?
No.
Invariably, I always have a parent show up early, since they need to get to the store/ to work/ to school early... and it's just easy for them, because I'm on the way. It's convenient for them. Or they want to run to the store on their way home from work, so they'll be 15 minutes late.
Do I do it? Yes.
Do I mind? Yes, again.
Is it convenient for me? No.
Will I continue to do it? NO I won't.

And friends who think that just because I work from home, and think that I have some kind of glorified life where I get to sit on my arse all day and get paid for it... well, they need to find someone else to visit with.
And they need to think again.

Hey, y'all are welcome, but you need to help with the craft work or washing hands and faces, doing the dishes, playing with the kids, wiping noses, changing bums or whatever it is I need to do. Because this is my JOB and it's what earns me my living and pays the bills.

Do NOT expect me to drop everything and listen to your troubles, when I'm busy working. Would I go visit you at the bank/grocery/store insurance office or where ever it is that you work... and ask you to drop everything make me a cup of coffee during your working hours, or turn a blind eye to your clients so that you can listen to my tales of woe?
No... of course I wouldn't.
So why do I let them do it to me?
Because I'm nice.
Too nice.
Now, there's nothing wrong with being nice... but from now on, my being available to every Tom Dick and Harry is gonna stop and it's going to be on my terms from now on.

I want to start walking again. Not just for my health, (although I know I need to do it for that reason as well) but simply because walking for half an hour at the end of the day, well... it gives me a chance to unwind and reflect on things. It recharges my batteries. It gives me a bit of a breather, and gives me the energy to do what needs to be done at the end of the day.

But in order to do that, I need to have a firm finish to my day. When a parent books until 5, that means 5... NOT 5:30, simply because they need a liter of milk and it's easier for them to go to the store, when they don't have their children with them.
From now on, it's gonna be : "honey, you had 'em, YOU deal with 'em now".
When I'm done for the day... I'm done for the day. It's closing time...the doctor ain't in... my shoulders and listening ears are off duty... and I want - and need - to focus 100% on myself , my guy and our needs now.

The diet and the exercise resolution? Yes, those need to be done and I do plan on doing them, but I need to have balance in my life first and foremost. So that I have the energy to focus on them and to focus on myself, my guy... and God from whom all blessings flow...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Boxing Day

Umm... What do you say to people on Boxing day? Happy Boxing day? Boxing Day Blessings?
Here's Yer Box, you lower class person, you?

I don't fully understand the reasoning and/or meaning behind Boxing Day, (other than it's a public holiday... and I have no problems with that at all) so I went merrily a-googling, and found this:

What is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is a day the higher classes gave gifts to the lower classes. Before or on December 25th people of similar class would exchange gifts to celebrate the Christmas season. Gifts were not exchanged with the lower class (which includes household servants and service personnel) until the next day... called Boxing Day. It is also known as St. Stephen’s Day.

Why is the holiday named Boxing Day?
The holiday is named Boxing Day because the tradition of giving gifts of cash, food, clothing and other goods to the less fortunate, and were placed into boxes for easier transportation. The goods were distributed based on the family needs and their services to the giver.


Who celebrates Boxing Day?
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and other Commonwealth Countries celebrate Boxing Day on December 26th.


In Australia and Canada, Boxing Day is now primarily known as a shopping holiday, and a time where stores have sales, often with dramatic price decreases. For many merchants, it has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue. In recent years, this has been expanded to "Boxing Week". While Boxing Day is actually on 26 December, many retailers who hold Boxing Day Sales will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year's Eve.

See? That's what I love about this country.
It has a legal public holiday set aside as a shopping day!

And I don't know about you, but when I receive gifts of money, it's usually in the form of a few bills or even a check - and it's always in a small envelope. I have never received a box full of money... although it sure would come in handy for all those Boxing Day sales, wouldn't it?

Whatever the meaning behind it, or whether you celebrate the day or not.... May your day be blessed!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I found the joy...



It's Christmas morning here and I'm sitting here all alone.


Now before you start into feeling sorry for me, just listen a bit, okay?



I woke up at my usual 5am this morning and everything was so still and quiet... that I could feel the presence of Jesus. Today is Jesus' birthday and no matter how busy or quiet things may be for each of us, it's one of the best days of the year... simply because we've already received the greatest gift imaginable.


But I feel good today. I feel peaceful and thankful and full of joy.

And I've been chuckling to myself all morning. Which might be a sign of impending senility, but I kind of doubt it. At least I hope not.

You see, when I was a child and when my children were young, it always seemed so unfair to recieve bikes and skates, skateboards, volleyball sets and jump ropes for Christmas... simply because the weather wasn't nice enough to get out there and use them, you know? From a kid's point of view, how sad is it really, to recieve presents, when you have to wait another 4-5 months before you can actually use them ? I remember always being so excited and thrilled to get what I asked for - at least a tiny portion of what I had asked for - but we seldom got to use what we had gotten - at least not right away.

We never got much in the way of manufactured gifts, because we all know that the space on Santa's sleigh is pretty limited. And how would it be, if he brought every single child a bicycle for Christmas? Those poor reindeer would be pullin' muscles, hauling all that heavy stuff around all night! One year my dad told us that the reindeer might even go on strike, if people didn't start to realize just how hard they were being asked to work - and all for nothing but carrots and a bucket of water.

So we always knew that our gifts from Santa were limited and we may not be able to use them right away... but the clothes that my mother lovingly made by hand, the books from my Nana and the oranges and nuts and a candy cane in our stocking were all big bonus's. Life was good. Some of our presents may have been unusable for the next few months, but life was good because we had what really counted. We had love and we had each other.

Well, it's going to be in the high 80's today, so guess what's going on outside my house this morning! Kids ! Kids on bikes. Kids on skateboards. Kids with balsa wood airplanes and action figures with parachutes that fall from the sky. Laughing and shouting and the sounds of frustration...." Mum, I can't ride this stupid bike". Joyous noises in the sunshine.

I even saw a young couple passing by, with a baby in a brand new, bright, make your eyeballs hurt, pink pram... and that pram was covered - literally covered - in tinsel and bells and dangling ornaments... looking like a strange sort of Christmas sleigh. It looked like a float in Macy's Christmas parade. But it sounded just like Santa's sleigh would have sounded, if I had stayed awake long enough to hear it. And oh my... it sounded wonderful!

In our town, the volunteer fireman drive Santa around on their fire engine on Christmas morning ( because he's tired after all that hard work last night) and he throws candy to everyone along the way. So here in my town at least, the children get a glimpse of "the big jolly man" after all his hard labors... and it just adds to the excitement.
Santa just came down our street, and big kid that I am, I was out there with the best of 'em. All the neighbors were standing on the sidewalk, waiting for a glimpse of Santa and a chance to grab some Christmas candy. Kids were all jumping and shouting "Mum, here comes Santa... he's coming to our house!! LOOK ! LOOK Dad, here he comes !! He's COMING!!"

Even the teenage boys across the street were scrambling for their bits of candy. And they all shouted out "Thank you Santa!" Even the scary looking one, with the mohawk and the lip piercings. No matter what he may look like, he's still a kid... and he still knows the joy of Christmas. As well as his manners.

The kids are up and down the sidewalk on their skates and bikes...everyone is smiling and laughing, you can smell the barbeque's starting to fire up... and you can hear "Merry Christmas!" echoing throughout the street.

It may not be peaceful... and it sure as heck isn't serene and quiet, but in my neighborhood this morning... it's Joyous!


I wish you all, a very Joyous and love filled Christmas!




Merry Christmas, everyone !


~~~ Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
and a safe, healthy and Happy New Year ~~~
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.
~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, December 22, 2008

Easy Oreo Truffles... Mmmm, mmm, good!

The children and I made these truffle/ cookie/ thingies yesterday, and they turned out beautifully ! ( if a tiny bit misshapen and lumpy)
They were so quick and easy to make... and perfect for gift giving!


Easy Oreo Truffles
from Kraft Foods

1 package (1 pound 2 ounces) Oreo cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 package (8 ounces) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
2 packages (8 squares each) Baker's Semi Sweet baking chocolate, or any good quality baking chocolate, melted
( I used Nestle's Toll House choc chips because they were what I had on hand)

1. Mix 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42
(1 inch) balls.
2. Using 2 forks, dip balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. (or see below)
3. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container.


I sprinkled some of ours with crushed candy canes, chocolate sprinkles, and any other edible shiny decoration we could find in the cupboard... because the kids wanted to make them look really "Christmas-y". :o)



I have to admit that I used the Kraft photo here. (hopefully they won't get me for copyright infringment, but if they do, I'm sure y'all will chip in to bail me out of jail, since it is Christmas, after all)
Because we had numerous little hands making them, ours ended up looking a bit lop-sided and uneven, and all different sizes, ( we ended up with 51, but some are big and some are small) but the kids had an absolute ball making them and isn't that what really counts ?
And besides... everytime I had them all prettily arranged on a plate, some kid would say "Noooooo, those are mine, don't take a picture of mine!" and since I'm not sure which are which, or who's are who's...Kraft is just gonna have to sue me.

I'm going to have a Holly, Jolly Christmas...

Have you ever heard that old saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" ?

Well, mama's happy. Yep... this mama is really happy!!

I got a Christmas card from my son the other day, and big sook that I am, I had tears in my eyes as soon as I read it. And I kept reading it. And I kept puddling up. I'm a crier, okay? It's what I do. *sniff sniff*
Geez....I just don't know where that boy of mine gets his knack, but he has always had the ability to chose just the right card, say just the right thing, do whatever it takes to make me smile and it always ends up making his mama happy. (well... except for him not answering my IM's, but I do know how busy he is, so I'm turning a blind eye here and forgivin' him for being a teensy bit less than perfect.)

Anyway, the card he sent, was gorgeous... See?

And then tonight, I figured I had better go check the mailbox before heading to bed.
(look , when you have 7 daycare children running around the house for almost 10 hours a day, turning your back on them to go to the mailbox or even to the toilet for more than 30 seconds, is just something that ya just don't want to do if you don't have to... so things tend to slide a bit at times.)
Anyway, I only had 2 pieces of mail. The first one was a notice from the mortgage company telling me that with the latest interest rate drop, my payments have dropped by another $47 a month. I was almost dancin' in the street, because it couldn't have happened at a better time!

And then I reached in and touched the other envelope in the box... Now, I don't know if it's because I'm a mama or what, but I knew as soon as I touched it that it was from my boy. Common sense would have told me that since I had just received a card from him ( and with a lovely sniffle-inducing hand-written sentiment to boot) there would be no reason for there to be another card. But I knew. I have no common sense at times.

But this card wasn't "just" from my son, like the other one was.... It was from my beautiful daughter-in-law, my boy and my 3 gorgeous little grandsons, with ALL of them signing it... even down to a squiggly little scribble from my littlest guy.

And it was a musical card !

Burl Ives singing "Holly Jolly Christmas"
(I just love Burl Ives, even though it may not be fashionable to admit to it.
Just don't tell anyone that I said so though, okay?)

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It's the best time of the year
I don't know if there'll be snow,
but have a cup of cheer.

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
And when you walk down the street
Say Hello to friends you know
and everyone you meet.

Oh, ho, the mistletoe
hung where you can see;
Somebody waits for you;
Kiss her once for me.

Have a holly jolly Christmas,
and in case you didn't hear,
Oh by golly, have a holly,
jolly Christmas this year.

Oh I will. I really will !

And Josh? If you're reading this...... I love you more than you know!!
You really made your mama's day !







Sunday, December 21, 2008

This is Christmas weather...

Even after all these years here in Australia, I just can not get used to warm weather at Christmas time. It just doesn't seem natural. Well, I know it is natural in this part of the world, but I guess it's just a case of not being able to teach this particular dog, any new tricks.
(For you guys in the Northern Hemisphere, just try imagining celebrating Christmas in late June....each and every year!)

I have to admit that so far this month, it's been pretty cool and rainy and it's been a lot easier for me to get into the Christmas spirit.... because it's cooler. It doesn't really seem like summertime - at least so far this year. It almost seems like Christmas weather; minus the snow of course.

Why, I even decorated the house and windows last week... which is the first time I've decorated in years. With poinsettias and icicle lights. Snowmen and jolly Santa in a heavy red suit, trimmed with fur. Reindeer's with sleighs, dashing through the snow.

Now, I'm not complaining. I'm really not. What is... just is.

But oh my... I wish I were sitting in front of a roaring fire right now, dressed in a reindeer sweater, a silly Santa hat on my head... drinking a cup of hot chocolate with melty marshmallows and looking out through "steamy on the inside, frosty on the outside" windows... watching the snow falling from the sky.
Something like this:







But this is what I get instead.
This is Santa last year, taking a much-needed break after delivering Christmas presents to children in Oz... Before donning the suit again and heading towards the Northern Hemisphere... where he then delivered more presents to good little girls and boys.

Kind of nice, eh?
(my guy insists that I insert a disclaimer here:)
Just in case you're wondering, this is NOT my guy. My guy doesn't wear red trousers or drink foofy drinks with umbrellas in them. So he says anyway.

This is our weather forecast for today...

Forecast for Monday
Partly cloudy. A shower or two and the chance of thunderstorms from the morning. Winds northerly averaging up to 65 km/h tending northwest to southwesterly up to 50 km/h around midday.
Precis:
Storms and shower or two.
Min 17 C ( 17 degree Celsius = 62.6 degree Fahrenheit)
Max 31C ( 31 degree Celsius = 87.8 degree Fahrenheit)
Maximum Fire Danger: High
UV Alert from 9:10 am to 5:40 pm, UV Index predicted to reach 13 [Extreme]

Whatever the weather and whatever the temps...

I hope you ALL have a Merry Christmas !!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Give me a Dominecker !

Well, it looks like we're going to get a little bit of sunshine today and as much I've been loving this rain and drizzle... because it just feels more Christmas-y to me, I do have to admit that those blue skies look pretty darn good right now.

I went out in the yard this morning with my first cup of coffee, to have a bit of a wander around like I usually do...just looking at all the growing things, listening to the birds in the trees and spying out the beautiful spider webs that appear magically overnight... and guess what I heard!

COCK A DOODLE DOOOOOOO !

Yep, someone in the neighborhood has a rooster and I figure that if there's a rooster, there's gotta be hens, right? In the 'burbs! Suddenly, the suburbs feel slightly less 'burb-like and it's a wonderful feeling!

And that's when I decided what I really want for Christmas. I want chickens.

Dear Santa,
I want some chickens please.

I want Domineckers... I want Orpingtons... I want Leghorns... I want Plymouth Rocks... I want Sea-brights.
I want laying hens and roosters that crow at the crack of dawn.
(Well, the neighbors probably wouldn't like the rooster noises, but hey, do I complain about them firing up their motorcycles and boat engines on a Sunday morning? Noooo... I don't... and fair is fair, isn't that right?)

We have a great farmers market about 45 minutes from here and they always have a great selection of poultry and livestock, so I've been drooling and dreaming for ages about getting a nice little chicken yard going. But because this is the 'burbs here where I live, I've been a little bit hesitant.
But now I'm feeling decidedly childish and I want to stamp my foot and say "well, if they can have chickens, I want some too ! Me too, me too" !

Just think... They could eat my slugs and snails and nasty little bugs and scratch around the garden. They could supply me with chicken poo. They could soothe my ears with their soft cluck cluck clucking noises.
And they could supply me with eggs !
Farm fresh eggs that come from contented, happy chickens.
There's nothing better!

My guy is gonna think I've gone crazy (again), but he also knows me well enough by now.
When I start researchin' and googling and phoning around for what I want, it's gonna be a done deal.
No doubt about it.

I want chickens.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gunshots in the night.

Well, yesterday was one heck of a day. It was so full-on, that I wanted to use a much stronger word than just "heck"... but hey, I'm trying to be polite and protect y'all from my bad language.

The kids started arriving at 7 am and by 9 o'clock I had 7 of the little darlin's. Which is usually no problem, but yesterday was just a madhouse with a lot of various things goin' on. While I was dealing with a couple of other grown-ups late in the day, ( yes, I got to talk to real life, non-drooling grown-ups for a change) the little natives were getting restless... and y'all know that the best way to soothe the savage beasts is with balloons. No matter how cranky or how tired a child is, give 'em a balloon or two, and peace reigns.
If only for a few minutes.
If they start getting bored again, just blow up a different colored balloon and they think it's the best balloon yet... and the peace and giggles are just magical.

So by the time the munchkins all left at almost 7 last night, I was knee deep in balloons. 100 balloons in the packet and there were only a few left. I'm surprised that I had any air left in me.

And man, was I tired. Bone-achingly, it's hard to put one foot in front of another, tired. With a capital T.
I made myself a quick sandwich for my dinner, only ate half of it because I was too tired to chew, because even my teeth were exhausted... then I herded all those dozens upon dozens of balloons into a corner ...and hit the hay by 9 o'clock.

And got woken up at 11, by gunshots. Gunshots. Clear as day. And you know what? I was so stinkin' tired that I just sort of shrugged and went right back to la-la-land. I obviously hadn't been shot, had I? So I just went right back to sleep. Because man, I was tired.

And woke an hour later to more gunshots.
And then a couple of more.

Well, if someone was shooting at me, they were pretty obviously bad shots... and if they were just shooting up the neighborhood, I guess I would hear about it in the morning... so why worry, eh? ( now, this is a really quiet neighborhood and nothing ever happens here, let alone bad stuff, but when you're too exhausted to think straight, nuthin' makes any sense and anything can seem likely.)
So back to la-la-land I went.
And slept until almost 7 this morning.

It was daylight when I got out of bed, which is a very rare occurrence. I usually get up around 5 and it's always dark enough to need the lights turned on, to save me walkin' into something and killing my toes on the way to the bathroom.
So, the fact that it was daylight, well... it made the gunshots seem like less of a worry.
And the fact that I hadn't heard police car or ambulance sirens in the night... at least nobody had been killed. Maybe.
But I had better go check that all was safe and see how the neighbors had fared.
Because I may have been too tired to care during the night, but reality really hit once I was completely awake.

And then I came into the kitchen.

Remember those balloons? Well, the kittens must have thought it was party-hearty time last night. Because every single one of those balloons had been popped and there were (and still are, because I'm a lazy cow) remnants of balloons everywhere. On the floor. On the table. On the sofa... and even on the counter tops. In their food dishes and water dish. There was even one hanging off the handle of my coffee cup.

And the cats? Well, they were all sleeping like furry little angels. Like they had rid the whole world of fat, round, evil colored invaders... and were having a much needed rest after their " My, it's such a tough job, but somebody had do it", labors.
They did an excellent job of keeping our little house safe in the night.

God Bless 'em.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick update on QA


Well, today's the very last day of QA validation and I didn't get called, so I guess I'm off the hook for another year!
*happy dancin'... happy dancin'... happy dancin' *
I hope we pass, but their criteria is just ridiculous, so fingers crossed.
We didn't pass last year, because one carer had a cat in her backyard ( it wasn't even hers) and another carer had a rose bush in her yard. Rose thorns can give you tetanus, so they're a big no-no. Can you image that? What is the world coming to, when we have to wrap our little ones in cotton wool and keep them from experiencing the bad with the good?
I'm tellin' ya...it's a good thing they never came here, because I'm not tearing out my rose garden for anybody... and the cats? They're my family and I'll find another job before I give them up!
I'm off for a celebratory coffee right now. :o)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Lesson?

I had an incident here last Friday and as much as I've tried to put it out of my mind, it reared it's head again this morning.

I had emergency care of a child and this child was dropped off by the dad, whom I had never met before. Mum was in hospital and the dad told me that he wasn't exactly sure of the pick-up time, but it would be sometime before 3 o'clock. That's okay, we'll be here when you get back.

Now on Friday, we were getting some of the best rain we've had in years and it was just bucketing down outside. So at approximately 1:30, I saw the man running up my driveway through the pouring rain and then come on to my front porch... so I opened the door. Only it wasn't the dad. It was a total stranger.
(my screen door is always kept locked, but because I thought this was one of my parents, I had unlocked the door)

As soon as I saw him up close, I knew he wasn't the dad... but he asked if he could come in and use my phone to call his uncle to come get him... and it was obvious he had some sort of intellectual disability. I told him no, I couldn't do that, since I was busy. He then asked if I would call his uncle for him. Again, I told him no. Then he asked ME to drive him to his uncle's because his foot was hurting.

I said "No luv, I'm sorry, but I can't do that" and attempted to close the door.

Well, he started pushing on the door so that I couldn't close it and then he yelled, "well, give me some f***ing money and cigarettes then". But he was acting more frustrated and scared than violent, if that makes any sense. Anyway, I finally managed to get the door closed and once it was shut and bolted, he continued to kick at the door and pound on the wall and he kept screaming at me to give him some f***ing money or cigarettes.

So I called 000 and they sent a police car out. By the time they got here, he was 2 blocks away, but they stopped him and questioned him.
And that was that.

Until 4:30 am this morning.

I was woken with constant pounding on the door and when I looked out through the peep hole.... yep, it was the same guy. He obviously had heard me moving around or saw the lights and he started calling out that he was being murdered and that he was cold and hungry.... And I could hear in his voice that he was crying and scared. It moved me... again. It really did, but what else could I do?
Again, I called 000.

He was still here, sitting my my front porch bench when the cops arrived and when they spoke to him and asked him why he was knocking on my door, he said " because she's a very nice lady and no one is ever nice to me. I like her a lot because she's like my mum and God says to be nice to people and she was kind and nice to me... so I think that lady has God inside her house".

Where does that leave me? What does this tell me?
Do I continue to be kind to total strangers and possibly make a difference in someones life? Or do I turn my heart against people like this?
I have to be honest. My first thought when the police led him away was Hebrews 13:2.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
(Hebrews 13:2)

Do I do what my heart tells me to do... or do I harden my heart, put my safety and well-being first and take the chance that I'm erring against God?

I still don't know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Go AWAY QA!!

QA is coming !

That's "Quality Assurance" though family daycare, for all of you who don't have to live through this particular brand of hell. And hell on earth it is. Really.



Isn't this a sweet little grouping? A patient and caring carer and her lovely, sweet, clean, well-behaved children.
Learning and sharing is so much fun, isn't it?


And this?
This is reality.
This is MY reality anyway. They don't send me the the quiet kids.
Nope, they don't.
Do I get the tidy kids or the kids who just love to cooperate and share with others?
Nope... THIS is what I get.
It's so unfair.



QA.....They come out to your home, observe your daycare practices, check through all your paperwork and generally disrupt the entire day. And you know kids.
If a child is gonna act up, they'll always do it when a stranger is sitting around asking questions and observing our every move... so I'm dreading it. I'm dreading it bad !! That kid up above? That was one of my kids last year. Well, no it actually wasn't, but if I admitted that my kids were fairly good well-behaved little darlin's, no one would feel the least bit sorry for me. And sympathy is the emotion I'm goin' for here...

See, with QA... they get to choose several carers a day for a week, and if you get the dreaded phone call first thing in the morning, you better be ready. Which I am.
I just don't wanna do it.
And I'm not going to do it.

So I'm not answering my phone or door today. I may not answer it for the rest of the week either... maybe even for the rest of my life.
For goodness sakes, I have an answering machine for a reason, don't I?
The kids and I will be out the back where we can't hear the door and we'll be doin' kid stuff. Isn't that what the parents want their children to be doing? Acting like happy rambunctious kids and learning to play together? Learning, sharing, experiencing?
I mean, for Pete's sakes... what do you do when you're in the middle of a nappy/diaper change and the phone rings? When you're serving snacks or meals and have only served 2 children so far? Or you have a 3 year old going to the toilet on her own, but she needs a little help? Or 3 rambunctious boys running around the backyard who are dying to try out their latest kick-boxing moves on the cat?

Do I run and answer the phone or doorbell, like I'm really expecting that the lottery people are calling or showing up with that giant cardboard check, to tell me I've won 16 billion dollars? Yeah....as IF!

Hellloooo office staff and QA people... Are you there and can you hear me? I have a job here. I CARE for other people's children for a living, as you very well know...

And if any of you have munchkins of your own, you know that time is never, ever your own when you have a houseful of kids. Never.
If it was, I would get to sit in the toilet for more than 30 seconds at a time, without someone knocking and saying "Tater? Tater, what are you doin' in there Tater?
Can we come in and see what you're doin???"
Or "Tater? I gotta peeeeeeeeee, right noooowww !"
I would be able to sit and drink a cup of coffee without it going all cold and yucky and skim-y on me. Which is a dream of mine. One of those fairy tale happy ever after dreams... just involving coffee.
I would sit on my lovely, soft, squishy lounge chair in the lounge room and not have to worry about boogers getting stuck on the seat of my pants or a kung-fu fighting figure getting stuck up my errmmm....(cough cough) bottom - and I'd watch that hunky spunky Dr. Phil , instead of The Wiggles and Playschool.

I have no life. And that's because everything is all about routine here... so where do they get off coming in here and intruding on my routine? The children are my priority. They always have been and they always will be.


QA
QA
Go away ...
Come again another day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oooops...


Did you know that if you save a post as a draft, then go back and finish it at a later date, that the day you started it is listed as the day you actually posted it? Even though you didn't?

I just finished the *Awards* post (below) at 5:30am this morning ( Monday Dec 14) but because I started it on Saturday... it's shown as being posted 2 days ago.

Interesting.
Useless information... but interesting.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Awards... I'm passing along awards



This "Marie Antionette - 'A real person award' "
was given to me today, by Tania over at Out Back.

(Thank you Tania)


The rules for this award are to display the icon and send it on to 7 other bloggers whom I feel are "real" in who they are.


I'm passing this award to the following 4 bloggers... mainly because I have a full house right now, I'm busy a a beaver in a raging river and I only have time to list 4.
I wish I had more time, but I don't. The dishes need doing and I need to get 2 children on the special bus in 10 minutes.... argh !


My 4 are:


Narelle at Moments For Mum
Melanie at Big Mama
and


These are all real people. And I mean real as in down to earth and ordinary.
People you would love to have as your next-door neighbors or as real-life friends, because they're such a joy to be around.
I know they start my day off right. :o)
~~~~
You know what? I've discovered a new past time. It's called "spell check". Sometimes I just laugh my cute little a*** off when I click on spell check and it says "hold on there a second... "blogger's" isn't a word." It asks, perhaps I meant to say "floggers" instead?
Loggers?
Blockers?
Logger's
No......... I mean BLOGGER's. I said blogger's and I meant blogger's.
Whether I got it right.. Or I got it wrong. Y'all know what I mean, don't ya?
Now get out there and start flogging...

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Can I please have a rain water tank for Christmas? A really BIG water tank?
I've been very good all year, (well, except for last night - but Cheryl did drink the last glass of wine in the bottle without offering to share) and although we don't get rain like this very often, I want to do my bit for the environment and save what we do get.

So can I please have a water tank? Pleeeeeeeese, pretty pretty please... with sugar on top?

Love,
Tatersmama

(p.s. Kiss your reindeer's for me.)
(p.p.s. I also want some tea towels and a back scratcher.)
(p.p.p.s. BTW...Just how big is your sleigh? I might want to amend my list.)






We got rain last night. Lots of good soaking rain... and man, did we need it! It was lovely to keep waking up in the night and hear the steadiness of it ...and it kept lulling me back to sleep. Lulling me back after I kept getting up to.. errmmm... well, you know.
(It's hell being menopausal.)
Next year, I'm gonna ask Santa for an en suite, so I don't have to keep traipsing down the hall to use the loo.


These tubs and buckets were filled to the brim, from just what was falling from the SKY... no downspouts or run-off at all !! Wooo Hoooo !


I was gonna do a little dance of happiness that everything is thoroughly and completely soaked, but I was barefoot and my feet would have gotten wet. Plus I just had my shorty nightshirt on and if the neighbors had been peekin' over the fence... *blush*
Now all I need is some ducks !

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

I used to love everything about Christmas. But that was years ago when my kids were little.
It was fun. It was hopeful. There was an air of expectation and peace.
Checking the weather and hoping for snow on Christmas day. The wood stove keeping us nice and cozy. Baking cookies and fruitcake. The fun of finding just the right gifts for everyone and planning the meal for Christmas lunch. Baking and decorating the "Baby Jesus birthday cake" which was always our dessert after Christmas dinner. Because Jesus is the reason for the season.
And even writing out dozens and dozens and dozens of Christmas cards. I liked it. I really did.

Well, in some ways, it's nice that the Christmas card list has been pared down a bit, mainly because of the cost. It's just way too expensive to send dozens of cards to the US.. at $1.00 a card. And when I used to do my Christmas cards, it was never just "a card". There was always a letter, or at least a hand-written note enclosed. But from Australia, if you enclose a letter in that card to the US..., the postage goes UP. Way up.

So I've pared the list right down. Most of my old friends and I keep in touch by email nowadays and they understand the need for me to keep the list to a minimum. I can't afford 50+ cards at a dollar apiece. So we just send emails to each other, instead.

But what I dislike... thoroughly, totally dislike... are the obligatory cards that I feel forced to respond to. You know... people that you have little in common with, who never bother with you ( or you, them) for most of the year and you start to think.. "whew, at least I won't have to send a card to Mary and Bob this year."
And then it arrives.

" Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."
and it's signed with lots of love and X's and O's... from Bob and Mary

What? Excuse me? You've almost crossed the street every time you've seen me coming, you're perfunctory and dismissive when I call... and if I call and you're not home, you never return the phone call? You talk about me behind my back and have been less than a friend to me since last years Christmas card... So what's up here?
As Marvin Gaye so eloquently said.... "What's Goin' On?"
You're sending me hugs and kisses? You love me at Christmas time?

I'm being strong this year. I'm being firm this year. I won't be sending a card in return, just because Mary and Bob sent me one. You can bet your sweet bippy on that one.
I can't afford it, I can't see the point, and I hate being a hypocrite at this joyous time of year.

That's all I have to say.
Okay, I need to get to the store and buy another box of Christmas cards now.
I have another card I need to get sent out. *sigh*

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Update on my kitties

Well, Wally and Bear are home again, but Walls is still out like the proverbial light. She had a pretty rough time with the surgery and the vet rang me at about 2:30 to tell me that they had almost lost her. Luckily, they were prepared for it and they knew all about her heart condition. Because if they hadn't been prepared... well, it could have been the end of my poor Wally baby.

Bear is full of beans but still pretty woozy , so he's more staggering around then really getting anywhere. He's had his dinner and he kept it down, so fingers crossed that he's on the mend.
But his poor little errmmm... boy bits. Not that the bits are still there, but he's so swollen that he doesn't want to sit down. He just sort of flops over on his side and then struggles to get back up without squishing anything. It's so comical looking, but I do feel sorry for him. He gets this real quizzical look on his face, because he knows that there's just something wrong back there, but he can't figure out what it is.

Wally will be sleeping with me, so that I can keep an eye on her, so I think I'll sleep better tonight...

Monday, December 8, 2008

A little of this... a little of that.

Well... the 2 lone children I had today, got up and went. Or rather,
their dad came and picked them up... over 6 hours early! What's up with that??
Not that I really care, because to tell you the truth, I'm just about in the mood for a nana-nap right about now... and that's one little luxury I never get to indulge in when I'm working. Oh yeah, sweet mama ...
A nana-nap! Woooo Hooootie !!

Okay. Now down to bizzzness.


The Wife over at Gizzards and Calf Fries, kindly gave me this award just a short time ago. This is my very first award ever and I'm telling ya, I'm almost loathe to pass it along... but I will. Because I'm a good sport and love to share the bounty. And because I wanted to say loathe. There's not much call for that word nowadays and I just like using it when ever I can.
I loathe the fact that loathe has fallen into dis-use.


The Wife has one of the coolest blogs I know and I love to check in to see how she's doin'... so head on over and give her a squiz. You'll thank me.
Anywho... I'm passing this award on to 3 of my favorite blogger buds.

I pass this to:
(drum roll please...)

1. Out Back
2. Moments for Mum
3. Taters Tales
~~~
Now on to me carrying on about my "boring as custard" life, as usual.
No word yet on my babies... and believe me, I've been pacing the floor. I know that Bear will be just fine but I keep thinkin' back to the vet telling me that if Wally was HIS cat, he would think twice about having her spayed. I'm seriously regretting making this decision and if there are any problems will my Wally Bally, I'm gonna hate myself.
Just a couple more hours, and I'm going to start calling the vet to see what's going on and how they're doing.
The suspense is killing me and I've literally bitten my nails down to the quick.

Where's the time going to?

Lawdy lawdy Miz Claudie... what's happened to this month? Time's a-flyin' and I haven't gotten anything started for Christmas and time's runnin' out.

This last week has just flown by and I don't know where it went. Last Wednesday was my citizenship ceremony (my 2nd and thank goodness, final attempt at it) and the day had been so hectic that I barely finished work and had to make a mad dash for the Council chambers. I was in such a rush due to a late pick-up, that I never had time to shower, change my clothes or even purtify myself. And lawdy... I really needed some serious purtifying.

I took my oath in the same jeans that I had been wearing all day... with snot on the seat and baby spit-up on the shoulder of my blouse. (I must of looked like an idiot, with a scarf draped strategically around my shoulders... in the heat) My one and only citizenship ceremony and I refused to take a camera with us, since there was no way I wanted photos of myself looking like a complete dag. ( henceforth, I will specialize in nature photographs only, because I always look like a dag. That's just me. Sadly.) We didn't even go out to eat after the swearing in, because I was just too dad-gummed tired to do anything. And if I pass up food or a chance to eat out, you know I'm tired.

Thursday night was our "all carers must attend" general meeting, so I attended. Against my wishes, I want you to know. I think I did anyway. I remember at one point starting to nod-off and doing that little *snort* that we all do when we're falling asleep. Don't we? Oh please... tell me we all do it and I'm not just a freak.
At least the meeting was short and I was back home and in my jammies within an hour and a half. Because I passed on the stale bickies and coffee portion of the evening and just walked out. They probably never even missed me.

Friday was a day off work for me, but it wasn't a pleasant way to have a day off. And I cried. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

I got my young family options child after school (he's part-time permanent, so see if you can figure that one out, because I certainly can't) and after several days of respite care in a respite facility... man, he was in a foul mood. And they had been feeding him apples. This is a child with autism... and let's just say that apples do him NO good whatsoever. Mood, attention and the stinkin' nappies... oh my. There is nothing worse than finally getting a child to bed and an hour later, he has to be gotten up, showered and changed and the house thoroughly aired. *urp*

Saturday was a good day. I have to admit that. Saturday was a good day. I was tired as heck, but it did me a world of good to work out in the yard and get something accomplished. I managed to get some geranium starts planted, got the lavender cut back and got those in pots for starting as well and just had a relaxing day. Except for the nappies. Because one apple can mean days of cow-poos, let me tell ya. And for some strange reason, I've decided to gag when I change those nappies. Dirty nappies have never bothered me, but it must because I've been terminally tired from last week.

I attempted.... and attempted hard to get a sitter for my boy on Sunday, so I could go to the market in Creswick and see Miz K again, but no one would cooperate with me. Fancy that. I give and I give and I give... and when it's my turn to ask for a favor, no one has the time.
There was no way I was gonna put this young boy in the car for a long drive and then have to deal with his melt-downs once he saw the crowds, so Sunday ended up being pretty much as "do-nothing" day. I was disappointed that we didn't get to the market, but the "down day" was nice anyway.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful (thank you Jesus) but I have 2 cats to get to the vet's first thing this morning. They're both gonna be "anatomically altered" and I feel like a heel. I know it's stupid, but I feel like a complete and utter heel for taking their right to procreate away from them. I really do. Now I know it's gotta be done and that I'm doing the right thing, but still...
So, none of the cats have had any food or water since last night at 9... and of course they're all starvin' Marvin's this morning. Meowing piteously. Piteously, I tell ya. Looking at me with those big blue eyes. Green eyes. Blue and green eyes in the same face. Yellow eyes. (uh-huh I have a lot of cats) Weaving in and out of my legs, giving my feet kitty smooches and meowing.

Yep... I feel like a heel.

I plan on getting Wally and Bear in their carry case this morning, putting them outside on the veranda and feeding the others while Walls and Bear aren't looking. Oh it's cruel and it's breaking my heart, but it's got to be done. I just can't stand the noise any longer.

A quick trip to the vets to drop mother and son off and then I'll come back home, start working... (thankfully I only have 2 children today) and I will stress my head off until this afternoon. See, Wally ( the mommy cat) is a special case. She's blind, has a bad heart (you can hear the murmur) and she has always been severely anemic. Yeah... giving birth is hard on her, I know that... but I'm seriously stressing about the effect the anesthetic will have on her. Even the vet said that if she were his cat, he would think twice about surgery, so it's a scary thought that my Wally may not make it.
So if you're a praying kind of person, please pray that my girl comes through the surgery okay.

That's it... I'm going outside and I'm going to start biting my fingernails again. These cats crying for their breakfast is breaking my heart.
Only 2 more hours to go...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I had a dream...

And I mean that literally. I HAD A DREAM.

See, I was just kickin' back last night, trying to unwind before I went to bed... and I did what I do most nights before bedtime. I had a browse through some of my favorite blogs.
There are blogs that make me think.
There are blogs that inspire me.
There are blogs that entertain me.
There are blogs that make me feel warm and fuzzy.
Then there's one certain blog that invariably makes me LMAO.

So, I had a nice little browse around the archives of the one that makes me LMAO... and then I headed off to bed, still chuckling.

And I dreamed.

I dreamed that I would be going on vacation and that I was going in an airplane. I was heading off to some deserted island for some much needed R&R and some of my co-workers had come along to see me off.
I had chosen my destination out of a big book of destinations that my travel agent had, solely because the word "deserted" reminded me of "dessert". (hey... it's a dream and I can dream anything I like, can't I?)

So while I'm waiting to board the plane, I notice that several of my co-workers are acting a bit funny... they're acting really secretive and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable, thinking maybe they aren't my friends after all. One of them goes off to the toilets with my carry-on bag, just as they call me for my flight and my friends tell me I can't board the plane yet. I have to wait for Malinda (whoever she is. I don't even know a Malinda) to come back with my bag.

Well, we wait... and we wait... but then the airline personnel starts telling me that I must board NOW because we need to get me to my deserted island. Tom Selleck is waiting for me there.
So I go ahead and board the plane, even though these people are all pulling at me, trying to get me to wait.
I get on the plane and we're sitting there waiting to taxi out, when all these unknown co-workers of mine come running out with a humongous cake in their hands.... which they proceed to throw at the window of the plane.
It sticks there, not smooshing or anything, so it's what I look at through the entire flight.
During the entire flight, I keep hoping that the cake doesn't blow off, because it had suddenly dawned on me that Tom would probably really like this cake and Oh my... what an appropriate cake to share with a sexy man on a "desserted" island, eh?

Anyway, I don't know what happened next... because I woke up.
So I just want to thank Cake Wrecks for putting a new spin on "Sweet Dreams."

If you haven't checked them out yet, head on over and have a good laugh. I mean that.

Cake Wrecks
You'll laugh.
You'll cringe.
You'll wonder what the world were they thinking ??


I love how this cake has "Fireplace" written on it. It's probably a good thing it does, because I never would have known what it was, otherwise !
Can't you just feel the warmth?




Thursday, December 4, 2008

And now a word from our sponsors...

Well, not sponsors. Not sponsors at all. And they're not saying anything, so I'm just sayin' it for them. But you know what I'm saying.. right? Right? No? Okay, then I'll explain it to you...

I woke up this morning to this beautiful new page and all I can say is:
A-wop bop a loo bop... baby I'm amazed!!!
How anyone could have taken my scattered thoughts, incomplete garbled sentences and total lack-of-the- knack for getting my point across and come up with this ?? Well, I'll say it again.

Baby I'm Amazed !

Staci and Stephanie over at Blogalicious Designs did this wonderful, beautiful, clean, fresh, "wow baby, it's ME" , page design for me.... and I just want to say... Bless their pea pickin' little hearts!
(there's also a little blogalicious button on the page, in addition to the link right here, so head on over and check them out)

Now to tell you the truth... I didn't deal with Stephanie much, (well not at all actually, if I'm tellin' the truth) but in the emails flying back and forth between Staci and I, they both got a sense of what I wanted - even though I didn't even know for sure what I wanted, or how to express to them what I wanted. And regardless of my garbled "I think" "I like" "what do you think?" emails....they executed it perfectly!

Bless BOTH of your pea pickin' little hearts.... You done good, girls!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's a new day... and a new me.

Well, I've got to admit that I'm feeling much better this morning. The sun is shining, I have all the windows and doors open and I got my carpet cleaned yesterday afternoon. It's kind of strange to think that having a clean carpet = happiness... but there ya go. It's a small thing I know, but it just feels fresher around here. I feel fresher and more hopeful.

A sunny day... fresh air and a clean carpet. Nice things to have, eh?
But I've got to give credit where credit is due.
The comments that y'all left yesterday, made all the difference in the world. Really.
Like they say : "A burden shared, is a burden halved."

I was having a real "maudlin moment" but you made me smile, you made me think and you made me realize that I'm not the only one that goes through this.
So I thank you all... from the bottom of my heart.

I am where I am, and I'm doing my darnedest to accept that. And when you really think about it, how lucky are we to live in a world where instant communication is so darned easy? When I think of what prior generations went through, moving across the country or across the world, and the only means of communication left to them were letters that could take forever to get where they needed to go. Man.. it just makes my heart ache.

My Nana left Oklahoma in 1930 to join her sons who were then working in construction in California... and she never ever got to go "home" again. Well, there was no "home" left to go to after the dust bowl, but she still ached for what she missed. I remember her sharing stories of friends and family that she never saw again in her lifetime... and how she would wipe her eyes with her apron, when she told those stories.
Even the happy stories had her wiping her tears. Because she missed it all. The people, the place and the personal history and items that had to be abandoned.

At least I have a home to go back to, I have the luxury to be able to do it... and I have the added joy of being able to communicate with my son and my friends whenever I want. We can send IM's. We can blog. We can pick up the phone or even jump on a plane. People we've never even met, can offer words of encouragement and share their stories, pictures and anecdotes with us. Options that our ancestors never had.
And what about the folks who moved halfway across the world, before, during and after the war and who never had the opportunity to see their loved ones again? It's just so heartbreaking.

I decided to quit being such a sooky chook.. and to stop my whinging, because the world simply doesn't revolve around me.
So, here I am....I'm smiling again. I really am.
I just need the occasional apron for those teary moments.... and my friends.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I don't know who I am anymore

Forgive the rambling... I'm not going to edit, proofread, spellcheck or even look at what I'm writing. I'm just gonna talk and let the words flow. If they make sense, that's a good thing I guess and if they don't, well at least it will be cathartic for me to get them down on paper (as it were) and get the words and the feelings off my chest.

I woke up at 4 am this morning and went outside to gaze at the morning sky with my oldest, dearest cat Jazzy. My poor sweet Jazzy has sore ears... because she's an all white cat and the sun does a real number on her poor delicate little ears every year.

Anyway, I found myself telling her, ( yes, I talk to all my cats. Don't you?) that now that we're almost in winter, things will be cooler and her ears will feel better. And then I caught myself. I'm in Australia now and we're coming into summer here... not winter.


See, I don't know if I'm coming or going anymore. I don't know if I'm Arthur or Martha. I don't know if it's just because I'm incredibly homesick and missing the whole Thanksgiving / Christmas season back home and everyone who is a part of it, or if it's because I'm just not as adaptable as I thought I was.


I've been here for 13 years and I've settled into my new life. I have a job I love, I'm in the process of buying a house that I love and I have a lot of dear friends. But I don't feel the "the fit" anymore. Did I ever really feel "the fit"? Or did I just convince myself that I could make a new life here, far away from everyone and everything that I hold near and dear? Have I been faking it for all these years?

I just dunno.

Don't get me wrong. I love Australia, I really do. It's not that at all.. it's more a feeling that Australia doesn't love me in return. I've tried and I've tried but no matter what I do, it will never be "home" to me. My heart hasn't been touched and I have the feeling that it never will be.

I miss the sights and sounds and smells of living in a small town. I miss my family more than I can say. And it just feels so wrong that I'm here and they are there ... when we should be together. I came here thinking that life was short and that you need to live your dreams while you have the chance. Well, I did that. At least one of my dreams anyway. But life is short and I'm missing out on too much that really matters to me.

I just want to go home.

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