Saturday, February 15, 2014


Not news from my family this time, but the actual news.  I'm not a writer. I'm not much of a consumer of news.  But I listen to the ABC all the time.  We don't ever watch the evening news and I don't read the newspaper.  Channel 9 is on at work, so I get snippets of news there but essentially all of my news comes from the ABC.  This is the story of the the last week.

Sunday - It was an Extreme to Catastrophic Fire Warning Day.  Ever since Black Saturday in 2009, the way fires are discussed in Victoria has changed.  Phrases have new meaning that didn't make sense 5 years ago.
Emergency Warning - there is a fire that is very close, it is not safe for you to leave.  Shelter in place.
Watch and Act - there is a out of control fire nearby, if your fire plan was to leave you must leave now.
Advice - The fire is still close, you should take extreme precautions and listen to the radio, watch the CFA app etc.
These three phrases are now synonomous with Total Fire Ban days, they really don't need elaborating on, but they are.  The ABC went into emergency broadcasting on Sunday, which despite the danger is actually very interesting radio.  They bring their big guns in and lots of live crosses and callers talking about where the fire is up to.  THANKFULLY there were no lives lost in the fire, but over 40 homes have been destroyed and countless livestock.

Monday - what fire?  Schappelle Corby was released from her Balinese prison.  I'm still at a loss as to who cares about this woman (other than her family).  The media seem to care, the media seem to think we care.  The entire morning on channel nine was devoted to journalists trying to work out when Schappelle was coming out.  It was a very negative day.

Tuesday - More Schappelle and a little bit about fire - very smoky today.

Wednesday Evening came news that a young boy Luke Batty was killed after his cricket training from severe head injuries and his killer was soon after shot by police.  It turns out that the man was Luke's father and goodness knows why he killed him (it doesn't seem to be about not trying at cricket, rather a horrible family violence and separation issue)  All of Thursday was all about Luke and what can be done about Family Violence.  It made me so sad.  I'm still sad. 

Interesting how the media jumps from one topic to another!  Just like me.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

A new phase

Its been a confused summer.  Started off quite cold and then it got HOT.  Really hot, 4 days in a row over 40C a day reprieve and then back up.  Its sticky sweaty hot.  So we got a pool.  Not a fabulous in-ground pool, but a fabulous above ground pool, a blow up one.  Ok,its a kiddie pool but its amazing.  But rules state that water over 30cm needs to be fenced.  We are rules people, so a fence we got.
The original position, was far too awkward, so we moved it.

The finished area.  Perspex pool fencing and gazeebo for sun protection.

My nudist

Getting splashed by their big brother.

Big bro.

Gorgeous boys

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

This is me - Final... thank goodness.

*What is the most daring thing you've done?
Dare-devil daring was a bungee jump and rap-jump in NZ.  I hated the rap-jump (walking or running down the side of a building tethered to the top), it was terrifying and I wasn't "cool" about it.  The bungee was in Queenstown and also wasn't cool, but it was fun.

*What is the stupidest thing you've done?
Probably running off with Vince.  Should have left it at one day and a life time of "what ifs"

*What is your most embarrassing moment? (Or moments)
Nah, I'm pretty cool.  I have a lot of why did I ask that moments at my work.  "Is this your mother?" "No its my wife" and most recently I asked an asian woman who was supporting her friend during a baby's vaccination if she was the nanny.  Let the ground open up and swallow me.

*What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
I'd like to stand up for myself a bit better.  Although it would mean no Mark, I wish I wasn't able to contact Vince after our first meeting.  But I can't ever say that, it would mean no Mark!

*What is your general attitude toward life?
Not too great at the moment,  I'm finding almost every aspect very challenging.  Hoping for a pick me up soon.

*What kind of personality do you have?  
I've evolved.  I was painfully shy.  Blushing like crazy and not able to speak.  Now I'm very talkative, but still essentially shy. 

*How has your personality changed over the years?  What made it change?
Isn't that an interesting question after how I answered the first one.  I'm sure being a nurse has changed me, being a mother has changed me.  Nursing makes you talk to people and not always people you like.  Older men (like 70+) flirt with nurses something terrible, and it all has to be taken in your stride.  Coaxing out secret information is a skill too.

*How well do you associate with others?
I can talk to anyone.  Once I know you, I'm chatty.

*What makes you nervous/happy/angry/surprised/scared/etc?
Nervous - anything to do with decisions.
Happy - family
Angry - family, breaking rules.
Surprised - ??
Scared - Jamie or Paul driving, mice and dogs.

*What are your current hobbies?
Facebook would be my hobby. Baking is a need. Taking pics and scrapbooking is a sideline.

*What hobbies have you had in the past?
Scrapbooking was a passion.

*How often do you get to do your hobbies?
Its being bothered to do it.  I am always on Facebook and it distracts me from everything else.

*What hobbies do you wish you could start? 
I want to ride a bike.  I want to scrapbook daily.

*What would you like to do before you die?  (Bucket list)
I want to travel with Jamie.
I want to see my sons grow up and become amazing men.
I want to have all of my daughters-in-law (or son in law if that is the way it turns out) love me and feel as comfortable with me as their own parents.
I want to own a sports car.
Not much else.
*What are your beliefs about death?
I believe that I will leave my body and go to heaven to live with God.
*Are you scared to die?
I'm scared to die too early or painfully.
*How would you like to go?
The same as everyone else, peacefully in my sleep when I'm old before I get sick.  
*What are your final wishes?
If anyone dare let me live in a coma I will come back and haunt you.  I would rather pull out of treatment too early than to live the way some of patient's live.  No life support, no dialysis and there had better be a euthanasia pill.
*What are your wishes for your funeral and burial?
Could not care less, don't put me in an expensive casket, happy to be cremated.
*What would you like people to say about you when you're gone? 
She was an amazing mother and grandmother.  Man she made the best (insert food item) I don;t know what I want to be known for.  Maybe something a little more obscure like a pie that is not common in Australia. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

This is me - Part 17/18

*Where is your favourite place to go to get away from it all?
I strangely like to grocery shop.  I like having time (on my own) to stroll through the aisles and look at everything.  

*What outdoor activities do you like to participate in?
As little as possible.  I would like to walk.  I would like to ride a bike.  I would love to swim.  I would like to a lot of things.

*What are some of your favorite outdoor memories?
Torquay when I was a kid would be my favourite.  Strangely I don't think I've been there since I met Vince.  I don't believe I have been there with Jamie... will have to rectify that, change my memories to the new man (only had him for 14 years)


*Where in the world have you been?
Lets start from the beginning:
Germany - 1973
Canada - 1974-1979
Australia - 1979 - present
New Zealand - 1983
England, Scotland, Wales - 1993
France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Netherlands - 1993
New Zealand - 1997
All over Australia - 1997
Queensland - 2001
Thailand - 2013
*Where was your favorite vacation? 
As a child my favourite holiday was going in our wind up caravan to the beach.

Teenager was our big family holiday to Uluru, three weeks off school and pure family time.

Adult - I did love NZ, but looking back there are so many dark memories.  That is now been taken over by our trip to Thailand.  I love that we were able to take all three kids on a 2.5 week vacation in the sun.  We were careful with money which in hindsight wasn't as "fun" as it could have been.  But what an experience.
*Where would your dream vacation be?
I really want to go to America, I want to drive across country in a big ole car like in Thelma and Louise.  I want to go to New York, to Texas to the midwest.  I want to experience a diner and all those things I read about on blogs and see on tv.  I really want to do it as a couple - not a family (is that wrong?).  I want our next holiday to be a cruise.  Invite the whole family and all room separately but can meet up as required.

*How do you like to travel?
I don't care, I just want to do it more often.  Not a fan of flying with toddlers, but they are growing up.   

Sunday, February 02, 2014

This is Me - Part 14, 15 and 16

*How is your overall health?
Gone downhill since I turned 40.  Aches, pains, and degeneration in my back, shoulder and wrist.  Long standing issue with Restless Leg Syndrome, insomnia, anxiety and some gynaecological issues that don't need to be discussed as this time.

*Have you had any surgeries? (If yes, give details.)
Wisdom teeth out at 19 years old.
Caesarean section done at 24 years old
Laparoscopy done to check for infertility around 33 years old.
Cholecystectomy (gall bladder out) at 39
Will have two more surgeries at the same time later this year.

*Have you had any broken bones?  Nope

*Do you have allergies? Nope

*What are you doing to keep healthy now?
Trying to exercise, but am failing miserably.  Trying to lose weight and am also failing miserably.  Next week when it cools down a bit, I shall get back at it.  What I want to do is walk and eat more vegetables.

Part 15
Around the World:
*What major world events have happened in your lifetime?
My remembered lifetime.  
1982: Prince Charles and Diana got married, I actually remember watching that and I was only 9 

1989: Tiananmen Square protest and massacre. I was in year 10 at school and recall watching the protesters grow in number every day and saying to my parents, I need to go to China, I need to know what it feels like to be in a crowd of one million people.. then a couple days later the army came in.. and the rest is history.

1997: Princess Diana killed in a car crash.  I was in NZ about to return to Australia and our taxi driver told us she can been killed and we didn't believe him.  He had to turn the radio on to prove it.  What a shock.

2001: World Trade Centre terrorist attack, we were home here at Gordon St.  I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up around 11pm and the first tower was already hit and was smouldering as we have all seen a billion times now.  I was confused as to what movie it was, so changed channels to get the name of the movie (you know what I mean) and it was the same on channel 9, same on channel 10, same on the ABC... what the hell?  I woke Jamie up and like everyone else stayed up most of the night watching it on the telly.  Surreal.

*Has it affected who you are now? 
A major thing that really affected me at the time was in 1993, I was 20 years old.  It was the killing spree of Paul Denyer.  He was at the time known as the Frankston Killer.  No I didn't live in Frankston.  But it was the complete randomness of the killings, they were all thrill kills, pure stranger killings and I was so worried I would be next.  It was the first time in my life that I thought I could be hurt and it changed the way I did things.  

*Who was the President when you were born?  Who is it now?
US:                       Richard Nixon
                            Barack Obama
Australia:              Gough Whitlam
                            Tony Abbott (unfortunately) 
Canada:                Pierre Trudeau
                            Stephen Harper
NZ:                      Norman Kirk
                            John Key

*What natural disasters have you been in?
The closest we came to a natural disaster was a massive storm in Newcastle, the whole story is written here.  We didn't live in Victoria during Black Saturday, so haven't been in a bush fire, missed a cyclone in Far North Queensland by about day.  Been very safe actually. 

Part Sixteen:
*Are you involved in politics?  How so?
Not very at all.  We were quite unionised back in the mid 2000s due to a long strike Jamie was on with Boeing. You can read about it here and here 

*Are you a specific political party? 
I am 100% labour.  
*How do you choose who to vote for?
I chose Labour.  I can't cope with the other side.
*Are you happy with the Government?
Not at all.  I hate our refugee policy.  I find it embarrassing, that we would lock up, and pay a lot of money to lock up desperate people. I don't get that votes in Parliament are not all conscience votes.  I don't like the rudeness of people in politics.
*What would you change if you could?
 I would let the other side be in charge.

This is me - Part Thirteen

*What are your favorite foods?
Main course: I love curry, any Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai or middle eastern.  Not a fan of too hot, but I like it better than plain meat.  I'd love to do rice for breakfast, but find it challenging.
But, I prefer sweet, anything sweet and recently I feel I'm addicted to bread, its not a want, its a NEED.
*What are your favorite desserts?
Anything really, I love ice cream.  Cake. Slice.  Pies.  Pav.  Anything sweet I'm there.
*Do you like to cook or bake?  What are your favorites to make?
I love baking.  Trying new things, but my family are my hinderance.  They are not fans of anything new.  I do love making a curry too.
*Do you have any food allergies?
Thankfully no.  But know a lot of people who are gluten intolerant, so have experimented a LOT with gluten free cooking (and I hate it)
*What are some foods you have a hard time saying "no" to?
Cake, biscuits, anything that is free ;)
*What foods do you HAVE to have name brand?  Which can you do generic?
Can't say I really "get" that.  Marko hates SPC baked beans but I can't tell the difference.
*Do you try to eat healthy?
I'd like to.  I want to eat vegetables with dinner.  I want to experiment with healthy stuff, but my family again is the downfall, there are SO many dislikes in my family that there is very little that is acceptable.
*Do you prefer eating out?  Where? 
We love take away.  Haven't done many restaurants in our life.  Mainly due to Jamie not liking much.

Mum's Birthday.

I think I can put some sneaky pics on here as I don't have many people looking.  Here is a snippet from my mother's 76th birthday party.  The whole family came.  But I strangely did not get one of my parents together.

Happy cousins (what's with the face Ryan)

Mum and her daughters

All the girls.

Jo and her kids (can't believe she let me take a pic)

Pop and Mark

Mum and the grandkids

Lovely one of Sheena

Me and mum

Playing ball (yes Ben is around)

Pop showing the boys the iPad and his new favourite game.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

This is me - Part Twelve

*How many hours do you like to sleep at night?
Wow this is a vexed topic for me.  I  don't have a good relationship with sleep.  At the moment I'm getting between 3-5 hours a night.  It is not enough.  I'd like to sleep for 7.  Can't see that happening any time soon.

*Do you take naps?
Only ever take accidental naps on the weekend if the boys are watching a movie and they are sitting on my lap.  I can't stay awake then.  Also on the way home from a day trip, I sometimes micro sleep.

*Do you like a lot, or few blankets and pillows?
I hate heavy blankets.  I like my neck covered but my legs out.  Restless leg syndrome makes it challenging to be comfortable.

*Can you sleep anywhere, or does it have to be in your own bed? 
Terrible sleeper at home.  Worse sleeper anywhere else.

*What are your favorite conditions for a good-night's sleep?  Does it have to be completely dark and quiet?
I love having my radio on.  I love the overnight programs on the ABC for when I wake up overnight.  Don't care about lights.  Need to have my phone next to me.

At the moment Jamie is doing night shift, so we don't sleep together except on weekends (and to be honest, I'm not a fan), I tend to have one or more kids with me most nights.  Ryan is nice to sleep with, he is a "still sleeper", Ben on the other hand is the messiest sleeper ever, he likes to go sideways, upside down, one foot on your head.  He's very VERY hot too.

Day Eight - Dining Room

Clean the dining room.  Wipe over each chair.  Wipe down the top of the buffet.
  • Tidy area by placing all items where they belong
  • Empty bins
  • Dust/wipe over all surfaces
  • Clean window
  • Pick up items from the floor to make vacuuming easier
  • Clean skirting boards
  • Vacuum floor

Kids Toys  - With Christmas around the corner it’s time to sort through the kids toys and purge, hand down or put away anything they have outgrown or no longer play with.  I have recently had a big clean out in my kids rooms, I will be sharing more details once the challenge has finished.

 Family Responsibility System - My kids have been helping around the house since they were young, picking up toys from the floor, tidying the bookshelf or helping me dust. I remember when they first asked to unpack the dishwasher I didn’t think they were capable, but they were and they were so pleased to be helping.  My twins are now 9 and half and I have seen that by getting the them to help around the house is teaching them responsibility.  I don’t call them chores as I feel as a family these tasks need to be completed and together we can do it.  I do the dishes, but kids unpack the dishwasher, I fold the washing, the kids put it away. 

Day Seven - The Floors

Todays tasks are:
  • Pick up as much as you can off the floor.  I put items from the kids floor on their beds, bin and toilet brush on the toilet seats to make cleaning the floor as quick as possible.
  • Vacuum all floors, hard and carpet
  • Mop floor (see homemade cleaner recipe below)
  • Relax while the floor is drying

Out of date food - Look through your pantry (especially your dried herbs and spices) and dispose of all food out of date.  Add food close to use by date to next weeks meal plan.

Pantry - Today’s organise task is to organise the pantry. However, I don’t want you to remove everything from your pantry as this can be a big job.  Instead, today let’s spend time tidying and reorganising to make it more manageable.  You will find a complete post here, including video of the storage I used for my pantry

Day Six - Lounge Room.

Our lounge room is a confusing one.  Only ever go in there to watch tv which is hardly ever at the moment.  The kids watch the telly more.  We kick our shoes off in there and not much else.  Its a hard wood floor and is quite uncomfortable.  We used to have very VERY heavy brown curtains, but I thankfully threw them in the rubbish bin in September last year and got some lighter grey ones.  We got a new TV cabinet.  We have a big box of lego in the corner of the room, and there is almost always some Lego on the floor.  Mark is my big offender with messing up the lounge room.  He likes to sit on his phone and eat, he does not think about putting away his dishes, packets or shoes.

Today’s cleaning task is to do the following in your lounge room:
  • Place decorative cushions on washing line in sunshine for a few hours to help remove dustmites
  • Wash throw rugs
  • Dust all units in your lounge room: TV unit, display cabinets, coffee table etc.
  • Remove all DVD’s, CD’s or video games and dust this area, giving consoles and DVD players a good clean
  • Reconsider the amount of ornaments you have on display to make dusting easier
  • Dust all photo and picture frames
  • Wipe over all TV remote controls and video game controllers to remove germs and dirt buildup
  • Clean light fittings
  • Spot clean your couch
  • Vacuum couch
  • Roll up rug and vacuum underneath

Your magazine collection - This one is quite funny to me.  I don't do magazines.  I don't do books anymore.  Maybe my declutter can be the table in the entrance.  It always has junk on it.  I shall remove all the letters, bottles and other crap.  Then find a lovely plate or something like that to put the coins and other items that need to be kept.  

Pamper yourself with ‘me’ time - Our days seemed to be filled with cleaning, caring or doing things for others.  Yes I love doing all these things for my family but often I forget about myself.  It’s important to take time out for yourself, a coffee or movie night with friends, get a pedicure or a massage, plan some time one afternoon or during bubs naptime to read a book or take a long bath.  Today’s organise task is to plan and organise some ‘me’ time, call some girlfriends and make a date in your diary.

Day Five - The Fridge

My fridge never has enough in it.  A bit lost as to what other people have in their fridges that I don't.  Looking today I can write a bit for my shopping list.  Here is my after shot!

Yes, I do only have Coke, meat and a few yogurts.  I really need to shop.

Fridge -Today’s task we will be giving your fridge a complete clean:
  1. Throw away anything that is out of date or spoiled. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find.
  2. Move all other items to bench.
  3. Take all removable parts and wash in warm soapy water in the sink.
  4. While they are drying, wipe the inside of the fridge using warm soapy water and sponge, remembering the door shelves.
  5. Place all shelves into the fridge.  
  6. Return food items back into fridge, placing similar food items together.
  7. If needed place a container of bicarbonate of soda in fridge to eliminate odours.
  8. Wipe down the outside of the fridge to clean away sticky spots and fingerprints. 
The fridge door was embarrassing.  Now is fresh.

Cookbooks - I love recipe books, I already have a quite a collection and have just brought home some old cookbooks of mums, which I am excited to go through when I have time.  I love old fashioned recipes.  However  I am running out of storage space so I need to declutter my collection.  I know there are a few cookbooks that I only use one or two recipes from, I have photocopied these and placed them in my family favourite recipe binder and will then donate these cookbooks.

Meal Planning - If you have been a follower of this blog for awhile you will know that I am a huge advocate for meal planning.  I usually share our weekly meal plan each Monday, however I have not been able to during the challenge period.  You can find all my previous meal plans here.

This is Me - Part Eleven

Home life:
*Describe the places you've lived.
Templestowe Road was my childhood home.  Parents are still there.
Holden St, Nth Fitzroy - Jo and I moved out into our "cool" city pad.  Turquoise carpet and white concrete walls.  It was awful, but it was ours.  We thought we were really cool.
Kintore Cres - Box Hill - Jo and I moved there.  A lovely little unit with a cute courtyard.  
Roaming around - almost a year of nomadic living, including the back of a station wagon, a Kombie van, youth hostels and a caravan park.
Templestowe Road - back with the parents.
Gordon St, Tullamarine - moved in with Jamie to the house we are in now.
Purdue Avenue, Mayfield - our rental in Newcastle, it was a weird house, but it was home for 6 or so months.
Conmurra Circuit, Shortland - our purchased home in Newcastle.  Renovated the whole place, ended up being perfect two days before we moved out.
Currently back in a desperate to be renovated Gordon St.

*What was your favorite house or apartment?  Why?
My parents house is my favourite.  Everything is in the correct place.

*How do you like to decorate?
I'm in the process of picturifying the house (ie putting up more pictures)  Its a SLOW process.

*What is it about home that you love?
My family is there.

*How has your standard of life changed through the years? 
Its gone up and down.  We are on an upwards trend at the moment.  Still always look at the price though.