Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Mum, I can tell you when you will die!"

"Mum, I can tell you when you will die!"

This was the ecstatic comment coming from my almost 16 year old son's smiling face! I had always thought of him as loving, caring, affectionate, kind hearted...I could go on and on. But I WON'T! My son came into the kitchen last night, whilst I was preparing his school lunch no less, to tell me that he had downloaded a software program that can predict the age of death after the date of birth is inserted.

Now, my logical, scientifically trained mind (ahem, she says superficially examining her chipped fingernails!) wanted to shoo him away and tell him that what the programmers have probaby done was put together some equation, blah, blah, blah and that all in all, it is just a load of male cow manure (you get the drift)!

BUT, the rest of me was intrigued. Maybe the death age that it spits out will indicate that I have six weeks to go and my husband and children will pity me and be really, really nice in that time, and I'll get to go to France as a farewell gift. Or, I may have another 50 years left and I had better be really, really nice to them (especially the kids, you know, thoughts about nursing homes and the like)...especially funny (and of course confirming my logical, scientifically trained mind!) would be if it told us that I would die at the age of 28 (yes, suffice to say I am past that number!).

So after a little deliberation and a quiet moment (very unusual in our household!) I had a death age. Seventy-seven. Seventy-seven. I had exactly 39 years to go. Whilst quietly contemplating who it was I knew that was that age, I suddenly hear a loud guffaw emanate from my beautiful, loving son's mouth, informing me that, in addition to the death age, a countdown clock was displayed on the screen which he could email to me to set as my screen-saver on my laptop (this is where my chest cavity felt like it was imploding!)! And then, just as I am trying to work out what my favourite songs are (to be played at my memorial service), darling Hubby gets in on the act to see if he could better my death age! I didn't know whether to indulge him or to ridicule the program and him, for showing any interest in this silly but destructive software!

Highly amused, (myself bemused!) my quick-fingered son entered his Dad's birthdate and after a second of seriousness on his face, he let out a (concerning on my behalf!) laugh! "Guess what?" he tells his Dad, "You and Mum will both die at the age of 77!". Then, darling Hubby contemplates the maths and realises that, according to this software, he is to go before me..."Stupid program!" he lets out!

I really don't know how to end this post except to say that it has really led me to think about how long I may have to go (I really hadn't given it much thought before now). And, whoever wrote that "stupid program" has a lot to answer for...I forgot about packing the rest of my childrens' lunches, didn't give myself the do-it-yourself yoghurt and cucumber facial I had planned either!. And, I did not get a word of my novel written. I am now considering an autobiography. Thank you son.

I am also left with the questions: Is my beautiful, loving son behaving like any typical teenager with a new gadget, OR, (and this is closer to my heart!) should I disinherit him now?!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Love Ya Award...

I very happily and humbly accept the Love Ya Award that has kindly been bestowed upon me by the wonderful notSupermum. I believe that her blog title is a misnomer, as she truely is a Supermum and a wonderful inspiration! She has a wicked sense of humour and a razor-sharp wit and I thank her for being my friend in the blogosphere!

As part of the award, the following blurb must also be included:

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I would like to pass on this award to the following friends, as virtual as they may be, and without whome my morning cup of coffee would not be the same! In no particular order, they are:

1. DellaSteeetDreaming
2. Sheila from Ephemera
3. Unreal City
4. Darla at Bay Side to Mountain Side
5. Aspiring Writer
6. Audi from Fashion for Nerds
7. Jane from workthatwardrobe
8. Andrea from acatofimpossiblecolour

Keep on blogging!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's in a name?

NB: Please read the following with the most Aussie of Australian accents you can muster!

"Her name is Shaylah-Teneeshah, with a 'h' after Shaylah and a 'h' after Teneeshah", says mum number 1.

"Oh-ah lovely, it's soooo noice", says mum number 2.

"I made i-up and didn't tell a single soul 'til the day she was born", says now proud mum number 1.

"Well, I couldn't decide so I just wen' with whatever the midwife's name was and named her Abi, you know, for Abigail", says now deflated mum number 2.

"Oh, ya shoulda decided long before that; I knew she was gunna be Shaylah-Teneeshah and, with two h's, months before she was born. If she was a boy she woulda been named Travis or Anderson" says mum number 1 reminiscing, lip curled and nodding.

"Oh, I think Abi's still noice. I think when this one's born (nodding toward her expansive belly) I'll see what comes to mind", says mum number 2, reassuringly.

This was a conversation I overheard whilst having a coffee at a cafe.

Now, when and where I grew up, children had names like Michael and Michelle, Wendy or Wayne. Admittedly, I lived in a community that was so Anglo-Saxon, a quick glance over students seated in our school assembly hall revealed my sister and I (the obvious very dark heads)! And, not only did we stand out visually. At the time, we believed our names left alot to be desired as well. I disliked my name. I didn't hate it, no, my name did not deserve that much emotion be expended on it, just a casual dislike and dread of people calling out to me or reading my name off a roll-call list. To have had a name like Susan or Melinda or even Linda. Yes, a familiar name I would not have to spell out even to my teacher of three whole school terms (ie. three-quarters of the year!). No, Mervat. Several times I was asked what it meant and what its origin was. I knew I was named after some ancient Egyptian queen, but as if I was going to volunteer further alien information and be even more different! And what words could be made from my name (a rainy-day task favoured by overly bored teachers!): vat, met, rat, vet! Yes, my name was special indeed.

But, as I became older (and this is one thing age is beneficial for!)I grew into my name. Yes, I began to accept my name. And with the advent of the internet (God bless you internet!), I discovered that the origin of my name is Mervatiti (a young Egyptian princess named Mervat; as in Nefertiti!). And how wonderful this sounds to me at the age of 38! Yes, very exotic. Almost as exotic as Shaylah-Teneeshah (with or without two h's!).

These days, names like Hasan and Hilda, Nyugen and Nghi, Toula and Adonis, Mustafa and Magida, and yes, Cooper, Harrison and Jordan (for a girl or boy, glory be!) have become virtually mainstream in Australian society. Okay, I guess it is most cities west and south of Sydney and probably quite a few suburban areas around the country, but familiar none-the-less.

So, if there is an impending birth in your circles, and a really original name is sought, suggest the baby be named after the midwife, change the spelling of a familiar name or just make one up. You never know what you'll get!

What is your experience with a 'different' name?

Have a great day!!
Mervat (coming to you loud and proud thanks to an ancient Egyptian princess!).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What we can really do without!

Thank you for reading the previous post and for making further suggestions. Here they are:

Andrea from suggested: Tonsils, tailbones and appendices (of course, that nuisance appendage that can become life-threatening without notice...and we have no use for it!). Great thinking Andrea!

Sarah Lulu from agreed with some of the suggestions I had many more! By the way, don't you love the name of her blog: "Normal is a cycle on a washing machine"?

Houda from suggested: Food addiction (yes, and who doesn't have one of those!).

Lilly from suggested blog addiction(another of those afflictions I am sure we all share!), stress, illness, wrinkles, tooth decay and long sightedness. Makes me cringe when I think about it!

Mae from suggested wisdom teeth, hairy ANYTHING but especially toes and ears. Mae also pondered:

"Why shopping is tiring when there's plenty of money and boundlessly fascinating when broke....."

And, anyone who mentions hommous in the comments section gets to have a link posted on my blog, so here's to you Darla! (from

I guess we need another three million years of evolution before any of these annoying qualities are annihilated from woman- and man-kind for good! In the meantime, there is always, plucking, waxing, shaving etc, revelling in the fact that glasses can be turned into a fashion item and that there are some amazing op shops finds. Plus, what a terrific high one gets from a good bargain; the cheaper the item, the higher the high! Oh, and what use would all that dental equipment be if it weren't used for teeth? If dental problems were no longer an issue and hence the need for dentists abolished, then maybe these professionals with immaculate attention to detail could venture into beauty? Imagine getting your eyebrows waxed whilst inhaling laughing gas...regardless of the result, at least pain would be reduced somewhat. Or would you rather a mani/pedi with that same grinding, whizzing sound?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday Charlie!

Last Thursday was Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his famous book "On the Origin of Species".

Through his curiosity and scientific mind, Darwin reasoned that people, animals and plants evolved by genetic variation and natural selection. Now if you are reading this you may just be getting to that point where you are about to head off to read your next blog of interest. But, STOP! If Prof/Dr/Mr Darwin was alive today I would ask him this question. Why, after the 150 years that his theory came into being, moreover, after the core of all biological study and research has come to view natural selection as being at its very core, why, oh why do we still have the following:

Men with hairy ears and over-grown eyebrows?
Women with hairy ears and over-grown eyebrows??
That crooked first toe on most women (and some men!)?
Crooked second toe?
GREY HAIR (personal matter?)
The ability for garlic odour to linger for days on end?
Shopping addiction?
Addiction to chocolate?
Addiction to coffee?
Did I mention shopping addiction?
The necessity to wear glasses?
The fact that you want to sleep in on a weekday but rise before the birds at the weekend?

I could go on, and on.

If you abide by Darwin's theories then you would also believe that we are in the process of a continuing evolution. Maybe these minor nuisances to some (afflications to others!) will be weeded out in generations to come!

P.S. Can you add to my list?? In a few days I will publish those suggestions with a link to your blog, if you don't mind, of course!

P.P.S. Don't you think that the bird looks less menacing than the ear?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Koala seeking refuge from the heat

I recently received this picture by email from a dear friend. Upon finding a Koala on her back verandah (probably as a result of the extreme heat), a woman put out a basin of water. This is what happened next...

All this considering Koalas don't normally need much water, only their yummy usually-moist-enough eucalyptus leaves.

Take care,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Her beauty and her terror.

Last Saturday, we woke up in our semi-rural house bracing ourselves for a hot day, a very hot day. The forecast was for 44 degrees celcius. Our plan was have the airconditioning on, the curtains closed and to stay inside.

However, our youngest (Mr 6 yo) became febrile, his body temperature a smidgeon cooler than outside. Being short on children's paracetamol I hotfooted it (literally!) to the nearest pharmacy. Cursing the heat and the sweat I ran into an aquaintance who runs a shop-at-home clothing business. She decided there and then to give me the 2009Autumn/Winter fashion catalogue. I gracefully took it but threw it in the garbage bin once she had left. Upon my return home my husband informed me of the bush fires that had swept across Victoria. A flick of the channel revealed the flooding that was engulfing Queensland. Oh the contradictions; and here we were in New South Wales, floods to our south and fires to our north.

Today, Monday, we wake up to 22 degrees celcius and a drizzly day. I even donned a cardigan this afternoon. Thought of that catalogue, that was so inappropriately handed to me at the pharmacy, come to mind, even regret at throwing it away. But then a sobering reminder of the state of our country comes from the radio announcer's thick, sombre voice stating that the death toll has reached 131 lives, there are 450 injured (at least 10 of whom are critical) and 750 homes have been lost.

Saturday 6th February, 2009. This date will be remembered for a long time. Even as a Sydney-sider the floods and the fires are a potent reminder of the harsh, unforgiving side of the beauty that is Australia. But, despite all of this, I love this country, my country, my home of thirty years. One of my favourite poems comes to mind:

In Dorothea MacKellar's words:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror --
The wide brown land for me!

We can only hope that this does not happen again, not for a long, long time.

Take care,

Friday, February 6, 2009

Still following my teacher's advice

Recently, I was listening to the radio and a fellow listener called in to say that he had been attempting to read and re-read (and re-read!!) James Joyces's Ulysses for the last...wait for it...42 years! He starts and re-starts it in June every year. This led me to thinking about the books that I have attempted, stopped reading but returned to read. One particular book for me (which I have started three times over the past year) is Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. This book is regarded as one of the greatest English language novels of the twentieth century and I cannot get past page 20.

Which brings me to another point. My senior school English teacher (Mr Eton, who I credit with having introduced me to the world of literature and to whom I am ever grateful) once said to his class of 30-odd year 11 English students, that one way of knowing whether to continue with a book, is to subtract your age from the number 100. The resultant number you get is the page number you should reach before deciding to give up on a book. At the time he had a bit of a chuckle saying that the older you get the less time you have left and so the 'cop-out' page number gets smaller and smaller. Oh, Mr Eton, may you rest in peace!

Maybe if I wait long enough (i.e. when I turn eighty) I will be able to give up on the book, heeding my year 11 teacher's advice...and no guilt! Or, will I give it another go, glutton for punishment that I am?

What books have you attempted and re-attempted, etc, etc?

Take care,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

No excuses, just one reason.

I will not make excuses any longer. I have tried to come up with several excuses as to why I cannot bring myself to make the next instalment of our son's scoliosis journey, such as school holidays, family visiting, work commitments, even the weather. I only have one reason. I cannot go back there...just yet. I know I have come a long way (as witnessed by the posts I have uploaded so far), but I need a little more time before I continue. And, I still want/need to write and I have many other things to talk/write about and I will do just that until I am able to revisit the next phase of our boy's experience.

At present I have taken time off work for the next month or so to kick-start my writing. I am working on two novels (apart from throwing myself into the deep end, I guess I like to keep some variety). Even when I read I have, sometimes, up to three or four books going at the same time and I visit them as I please in a similar way, I guess, to following a couple of series on television. Are you like this?

Take care ,


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