Saturday, July 28, 2007

Truly Inspirational!

I've been sick for the last week. I didn't work and I barely got out of bed on most days. My simple flu ended up becoming a severe bronchial infection. My poor kids have had to fend for themselves when my mother wasn't around to pick them up from school or cook for them. Miss 7 though, spent a lot of this week home with me, too. She still wasn't her usual self right up until Thursday afternoon. I knew she was ok to go back on Friday though when she complained to me that staying home was boring! That's my girl!

My week has been filled with sleeping and watching television and sleeping and watching television. See a pattern here? Lol! In fact, I've become quite up with the latest that daytime tv has to offer. My conclusion...not a lot! Thank goodness for channel 10 who have the whole Dr Phil-Oprah thing down pat! I think I'm hooked! I know exactly who went to the Dr Phil house last week and all about Gail and Oprah's spa day. I must say though, that when you are feeling like bler, Oprah is the one to watch. Her shows are so uplifting and inspirational! If they didn't bring me to tears cause they were just such great stories, then I was spellbound by them. I read somewhere recently that she was talking about retiring her show. I truly hope not. I mean, who out there does what Oprah does????

After the Dr Phil-Oprah shows, Channel ten then tempt us with the delectable Ready Steady Cook. Omg! I love this show! Every night I open my fridge and see milk, fruit, veges, meat etc and that is all I see. These chefs see the same food but magically turn them into masterpieces. And all in ten or twenty minutes. Now why can't I do that???? Last week, Alistair McLeod (from Bretts of my fave restaurants now!) turned plain old strawberries and cream into a work of art. He had the strawberries with some fancy cream and topped off with these amazing toffee sticks (recipe is here). Omg! If I could have reached through the television and nicked off with one, I would have!

Now, speaking of inspiring, I have just finished watching last week's episode of Australian Story, featuring the story of Belinda Emmett (it's on youtube if anyone missed it but take my advice and have tissues nearby). You know, when she passed away last year from breast cancer, I did feel sad. But watching that show had me in floods of tears. Man, she was just too young! Yet, she was so positive about living with cancer and about life. I don't think I could have been that way if I was in the same position. How she didn't fall apart will remain one of life's mysteries. Particularly with the media reporting on her every move. She was truly an inspiration and her death was not only a loss to those dear to her but I think it's left a little hole in humanity, too. A work colleague I know is suffering a similar fate at the moment.....cancer returning and being just too young! I really hope and pray that they find a cure to this horrible disease in the not-too-distant future.

Friday, July 27, 2007

In Memory of My Nanna

One year ago today my dear nanna passed away. She was almost 91 years old. I know that 90 years is a long time and there are many who would probably say that we were lucky to have her for as long as we did. But how can you ever get over losing someone so dear to you? How can you get over losing anyone who you love?

My nanna was an inspiration. Her life, had not always been easy. My grandfather was a timber-cutter and often uprooted his family to travel to work. She raised 5 children - each one born in different towns - often on her own, with little money and mostly in cheap or make-do shelter. After my grandfather's death from cancer, she went on to raise her youngest child alone, taking up cleaning jobs to pay the bills. She was a battler in the true sense of the word!

Some years after moving to the beach my nanna met her second husband. What followed was retirement, often highlighted by all the things that retirees do in a beachside community - bingo, senior citizens, travel. It was dampened at one stage by a battle with breast cancer that saw her lose a breast. But she never gave up and she became a true cancer survivor.

My memories of my nanna are sweet. I regularly stayed with her on school holidays when growing up. We often spent time going on beach walks. We did simple things like watching tv together, having cups of tea, eating meals, playing Scrabble....spending time! As I got older and had my children though, my visits became less often (as often happens with young children and car trips, I guess) although we would always make sure that we'd phone or I'd visit on birthdays, mother's day etc. My last true conversation with her was when she phoned me for my birthday in the month before she sustained the injury that went on to kill her. She talked for a long time. I didn't know then that that would be our last proper conversation, without the cloud of medication and injury hanging over her.

My mum says that I identified most with my nanna. We used to compare legs. It might sound silly but our legs looked the same....only hers were shorter! Her death, although not a total shock, was like having a part of my foundations crumble below me. Something I can't fully explain and something I didn't think would affect me as much as it has. Sure, you anticipate that when someone you know gets to 90, their days on earth must be limited, but the sense of loss that her death has brought about at the silliest moments is what astounds me the most. It's birthdays and Mother's Day. It's hearing someone say something that she might say. It's going to places that you think she might have enjoyed. It's catching a glimpse of someone that reminds you of her. It's spotting a wild bird and knowing that she'd have loved seeing it. It's all those things and more.

In the week before my nanna died and when she was going in and out of consciousness, I had a really vivid dream. I was travelling in the back of a car and she was next to me. She was talking to me and she was happy. I was happy to be with her. She told me that she was ok and that she was going. Then we both held up our legs and did the comparison thing and she said that I'd always be like her. I can't explain it, but I woke feeling radiant. Truly happy and loved. Does that sound weird? Perhaps, but I like to think that somehow, before she died, she managed to get a message to me that she was happy to be moving on.

So rest in peace Nanna. One year on and you are still missed!

(And thanks to my aunty for a copy of the picture. Nanna and me when I was a baby!)

Monday, July 23, 2007

It Takes the Flu to Ruin A Weekend!

I picked Miss 7 up on Friday afternoon and she declared that she wasn't well. No doubt she wasn't her usual self but as I had one of my oldest and dearest friend's 40th birthday parties on Saturday night, I safely left her (and the 11 year old) in the capable babysitting hands of the grandparents while Dear Husband and I went out to par-tay!!

Now, the party was at Kangaroo Point in the most beautiful place, with sweeping city views. Nice....right! And the prospect for catching up with old friends and acquaintances would normally be something I'd look forward to. But as the night progressed, I started to feel the same symptoms that Miss 7 had been experiencing.....aching muscles, sore throat, fever, dizziness, headache etc. What timing! So as I eyed the beautiful stack of cupcakes that was the birthday celebration 'cake' I didn't have my usual desire to eat the whole lot of it (unusual to say the least for me...even though I never actually would!) and I ended the night early and the babysitters were relieved before midnight! Darn!!!

I spent Sunday bedridden! We were supposed to go to the first birthday party of twins who belong to friends of ours (damn, I'd spent ages in Pumpkin Patch the previous week picking out the most delightful outfits as pressies, too!) but of course had to cancel!

And on Monday, when the alarm went at 7.45am to prod me into getting out and getting kids ready for school, I was so dizzy and feeling so awful that I made a spur of the moment decision that perhaps school wasn't necessary on this particular Monday after all and treated all of us to a sleep in and a day off! The 11 year old said that he woke at 11 am (yes, he is a true night owl!) and had to check 5 different clocks in the house to make sure that he wasn't dreaming that he'd missed school! I, on the other hand woke just after 11.30 with a fever just below 39 degrees! I also realised late last night that I completely forgot an orthodontist appointment for the 11 year old that had been made a month earlier! Grrrr!

But being sick does have its advantages. Firstly, my dear mum came up and cooked dinner for us all (m-wah, love you mum!) so that was one chore that I didn't have to bother with. Then, when Dear Husband came home from work, I calmly pointed to the washing in the machine which he, in turn had to hang out (although too bad that he only shoved half of it into the dryer!)! But, he did spent most of Sunday running after my every need! Hmmmm....I could get used to this! And when you are bedridden and dizzy, then you really don't see all the chores that need doing in the house and consequently have no guilt! Ha! Works for me!

So now I am left with a nasty cough and am living on Ventolin. I have absolutely no energy and feel like I have been hit by a bus! takes the flu to ruin more than a weekend!

And as a PS.....thanks to all those who sent lovely comments about my son's recent appearance in the latest Powderfinger video. It is so much appreciated. He has been acting like Mr if it doesn't affect him....but his teacher told me this morning that he told her all about it! And I did notice that he sat in front of Video Hits on Saturday morning until it came on tv! So he is obviously pretty excited. I have added another picture from 'behind the scenes' here. And for all you who want to know which one he is, sorry but I did say that I am very wary of publishing too much info here. I will tell you that he has a pretty big part though. Does that help? And no....he isn't mini Bernard (although I will say that IRL mini-Bernard and his parents are the loveliest, loveliest people!)!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Excitement and a Touch of Fame

I have pondered as to whether I should post this. I am usually very protective of writing/publishing stories that identify my children but considering that this is such a huge event, I thought that I should share it here.

A couple of weeks ago, both of my children auditioned to be in the new Powderfinger video. Yes, yes, I know.....I'm a bit of a PF fan, so imagine my delight at even being there. In his audition, my son was asked what his favourite music is. His reply was, "Wolfmother! But I don't mind some of Powderfinger's songs because my mum plays them all the time in the car!" Rofl! Embarrassing but probably true.

Anyway, a couple of days later we got the call to say that my son had been selected for one of the roles. What followed was 2 days (over a weekend) of excitement and an experience into the world of filming. And let me tell you, it was just like what you'd see on tv: big booms, cameras, makeup and wardrobe stylists everywhere, the director yelling 'Action' across a crowd of screaming was like another world really.

One highlight for me was meeting Darren Middleton, from the band. And yes, I did the most embarrassing thing and asked him to sign my cd cover. He is a very quiet guy but was totally lovely to everyone....especially the kids. He signed autographs for them all and had photos taken with them. He really seemed like a nice person.

I have learnt a few things, too. Firstly, that I am sooo not a stage mum! Standing around sets all day is tiring...especially if you aren't doing anything. The 2nd day's shoot went over time and we were still there at night - freezing and exhausted from doing nothing but standing around all day!

The other thing I have confirmed is what a truly incredible son I have. Sure, there are times when I could dearly give him away, but he just amazed me. He was confident and performed on cue as soon as the director yelled 'action'. Who would have thought he had it in him??!! I asked him afterwards if he had the acting bug now. "Mummy", was his reply, "This is a once-off"! Ahhh well, so close to having a little star in the family and yet now so far!

So here is the clip. The song is called 'I Don't Remember' and it was filmed at Samford, one of the outer Brisbane 'burbs! I am not going to tell you which one my son is (although all my friends reading this will know already) but I will give you a hint....he is on the stage! Watch out for it this weekend on the tellie, too.

More Water Tank Progress

Ok, bad photos I know because I had trouble trying to get behind the tank and take photos (fences/rock walls and space got in my way!) but here is the half-finished product! The concrete went in on Saturday and yesterday we laid the tank on top of it. All that is left to do is to plumb it into the down-pipe drain. Oh, and I want to put a screen up in front of it so you can't see it from the front of the house. Unfortunately, because our back yard is like mountain goat country, this is the only place we could put it without having to dig into an embankment!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

10 Songs that Make You Sad

Inspired from reading Another Mom Blog, I thought I'd create my own list.

1) Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton. This is weird but on the way to the cemetery....while driving in the funeral procession for nanna 1, this was playing on the radio. Then, 2 days before my FIL died (some years later) it was playing on the radio again. A month or so later, while shopping in a fruit shop, it was muzak in the background and the next day my grandpop died. Seriously sad. Everytime I hear it now I wonder if I'm going to hear of a death afterwards!

2) Ah May the Red Rose Live Always....Stephen Foster as sung by Suzy Bogguss. A really old song with a modern twist but was played at my nanna 2's funeral and brings back tearful memories.

3) Angel by Sarah McLoughlin....I love this song but it is so sad, too!

4) The Anzac by Adam Brand. Every Anzac ceremony that I go to that plays this song, I end up in tears at!

5) These Days...Powderfinger. I love this song. In fact, I'm sure that they were chanelling my life when they wrote it. Makes me sad because it is so damn accurate at times and perfect for anyone feeling that pinch of mid-life.

6) To Where You Are....Josh Groban. Lyrics say it all, I think.

7) Till Kingdom Come...Coldplay. I thought about putting The Scientist here, too. In fact, a lot of Coldplay songs make me a good way, of course! ;)

8) So Far Away....Carole King. When I got my first job 2 hours away from home, a friend made a tape for me to listen to on the drive there. He put this song on it, along with lots of songs about friendship and love and for years I cried everytime I played it. Sadly, the friendship didn't last but the memory of the song did.

9) Watch Over Me...Bernard Fanning. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house when he sang this at last year's Arias.

10) Better Be Home Soon...Crowded House. Sadness for the memories of a youth now replaced by laugh lines and responsibility! And sadness too for the memory of Paul Hester - who I actually met IRL once and who appeared as gregarious then as he did on the screen and stage. How sad that he was obviously battling his own demons. And if you do watch the link to this song right through and remain dry-eyed, then you are much stronger than me because I cry everytime Neil Finn starts his opening verse.

11) Can I add an 11? It seems that no list of mine could be complete without a Robbie reference and Nan's Song always makes me sad as it's about him losing his nanna......and having lost mine a year ago next month, I can so feel the pain!

In fact, I could add heaps more. But I'll leave my list there. Perhaps others can make their own.

Monday, July 9, 2007


We were watching the dvd of Charlotte's Web. There is a scene in it where Templeton, the rat tells Wilbur that he is going to eventually become 'sausages'.

"Mummy", says a surprised Miss 7, "Is that what sausages are made from?"

"Yes," I explained, "They can be made from pork or beef or even chicken sometimes".

"Oh," says Miss 7 seriously, "I thought they were made from 'Hot dogs'!!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Holidays Are Here Again!

It's that time again when every mother wonders why on earth they had kids and how on earth they can stay sane while they count down the days till school goes back!'s school holiday time! And at the moment I am the first to put my hand up and say that my patience has been sorely tested for many, many days now. The sounds of bored or fighting kids are only broken by the sound of the television blaring children's shows out into our living room at regular intervals. The house naturally looks like a bomb's hit it and my polite requests of asking to 'clean up after yourselves' has turned to nagging and screeching! Hmmmmmm! Get the picture? It's not pretty!

So, apart from marking days off on my calendar, I currently have a new hobby which is called, 'Find out how many different ways we can entertain kids for the cheapest possible value'.

Naturally, because I am on holidays too, there has been the necessary threat of 'wake me up before 9 and you don't go anywhere today!' Then it's the usual go-slow around the house so that to even contemplate going anywhere before midday is a scary thought.

So these holidays, we have done the 'out to lunch' day (ie cheapest possible place to eat and still give us an outing which usually ends up being the local shopping centre eatery or McDonalds....hey...they have a playground!), and we have done the 'visit relatives and friends'. In fact, I got so enthusiastic, that we actually had a friend sleep over.....which we all survived. Tuesdays are always marked on our calendars as the days that we do movies and rent dvds ('Cheap Tuesday' around our neck of the woods!). We have ear-marked days to visit the local library for free activities and of course we always do a day or two of baking so this week we actually have real, home-made chocolate chip biscuits to offer visitors who drop in trying to escape their own holiday blues!

But my favourite today was the trip to the beach. Now last week, it rained and was unusually cold and miserable so we stayed warm and close to home. This week, however, we are back to the lovely Queensland winter days.....warm and blue skies all day and cold at night. So we ventured down to Redcliffe for fish and chips on the beach and walking, collecting shells, climbing trees on the foreshore, counting boats and ships sailing by and skipping rocks across the water.

For any Queenslanders reading this, I can recommend the very busy fish and chip shop called Red Dolphin Cafe at Margate for nice food . Once your food is cooked, you can cross the road, spread a rug out and eat while watching the water and small beach. Further up the road (and a nice little walk) are playgrounds and the like at Suttons Beach. Along the walk are clusters of volcanic rock mounds (leftover from deceased volcanoes) that make great exploration spots for the kids (make sure they wear shoes along them though). And there are walking paths adjacent to the beach for those who prefer to ride bikes, blades etc and just don't like getting sand between their toes. My kids, however enjoyed skipping the rocks across the water and collecting coral and shells along the beach. They both agreed that they had a great day, too, so it is well worth the trip just for the simple, inexpensive fun!

Monday, July 2, 2007

We Have A Water Tank!

Woo hoo! We have now joined the growing number of city dwellers who own a water tank. The only problem is that ours actually isn't installed yet! Watch this space to keep up to date with the progress though. Next week, the ground is to be leveled, followed by concreting and then installation!

Here is our tank...just waiting sadly on its side....ready to go in!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Cool Home Music Clip!

Youtube is filled with people creating their own video clips to their favourite songs. Unfortunately, only a few of them are really worth the time to sit and watch. I stumbled across this one recently though and it is really very good. Not only have they finally put a great clip to one of my very fave Coldplay songs, but they have done a really interesting job! So well done, guys! It isn't often that I sit through a whole one of these on youtube. Oh and if anyone can tell me why Coldplay didn't release this as a single, I'd be interested to know because I've heard so many people say that it was their favourite song off the X&Y album: