Thursday, March 26, 2009

You know you're middleaged when...

I recently had to see a podiatrist for a sharp pain in my heel that has been bothering me for about six months. Within minutes of telling her of my complaint, she opened her mouth and her voice, like a load roar from the heavens, uttered the dreaded words "You Need Orthotics"...

I suddenly felt like I had aged well beyond my years. This was especially hurtful as I am excited about the prospect of getting older, watching my children grow up, achieving their aims in life and my husband and I fulfilling our dream of travelling near and far. But, despite my sentiments about growing older, all I pictured upon hearing the word ORTHOTICS was a walking stick and my croaking voice calling all the young folk, well, young folk and dearies! And, to add insult to injury these shoe inserts would have to be custom made and fitted into 'comfortable' shoes. Immediately my thoughts turned to my shoes and boots most of which are uncomfortable (some as soon as I put them on) but look oh so good. I have even managed to convince myself that the most uncomfortable of shoes will eventually mould to my feet (but usually the reverse happens...ouch!).

Later that day, after a chat about my predicament with friends (younger and older), I was quickly informed that my situation could be a lot worse. Orthotics, at least, cannot be seen and can be made to fit any style of shoe. We then got to laughing about ways we knew that we'd hit middle-age. I'd like to share some of these with you.

1. Listening to the radio station thought to be reserved for "the oldies"!

2. Looking to see if there is anything else to be done whilst bending over to tie up your shoe- might as well make the most of the effort that got you down there!

3. Needing to carry a cardigan with you everywhere you go.

4. Saying things like "in my day"...

5. When you and your teeth don't sleep together anymore.

6. Telling your children how you toilet-trained them when they were only months of age and yet they can't train their kids before the age of three or four!

7. Not being able to tolerate that deafening "doov doov" music in teeny fashion shops.

8. Saying other things like "this should see me out!".

9. When you have to hold a newspaper out at arms length to read it...even with reading glasses!

10. When happy hour is a nap on the couch!

How do you know you've hit middle-age?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Disgustingly Delicious Rocky Road

This has got to be the most delectable, more-ish dishes I have had the pleasure of making (and the guilt of eating!). In all its gooey, sticky mess, it is incredibly yummy when warm (ie straight out of the mixing bowl!) and if you can wait long enough, is crunchy and soft all at the same time. The proof is in the following pics!

And, I will admit to not being a chocoholic, and just not understanding what it is about chocolate that makes people tick. However this may truely make me a convert!

Recipe (add or remove what you like/don't like):
400 grams of dark chocolate (not cooking chocolate)
400 grams of milk chocolate (again, not cooking chocolate)
150 grams brazil nuts, each chopped in half
1/2 cup desiccated cocount
100 grams roasted chopped peanuts
250 grams glace cherries (this really makes it!)
2 handfuls of squishy marshmallows
Line a rectagular tray with silicon paper. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (do this in 30 second bouts and stir in between until melted). Then add the nuts, coconut, peanuts and cherries and mix these through, Then add the marshmallows (add these last so they don't melt with the warmth of the chocolate and to allow them to keep their shape). Then after trying just a little bit (or alot!!) pour into the try and spread. Keep at room temperature to cool as this results in a smoother chocolate (may need to be refrigerated if you are making this in 37 celcius-degree heat like I did!). Then, tip out onto chopping board (not one you use to chop onion and carlic on!!) and slice into slabs or squares. Devour before anyone else does!!
Bon appetite!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's in a voice?

As an avid reader I always imagine the voice of the person almost before I have read what they have to say. At the risk of sounding like I am of an unhealthy mind, the voices inside my head have accents, huskiness and habits such as vocal pauses and even throat clearing!

Now, when I am reading a post on your blog I also imagine what your voice sounds like. I don't hear my voice, I hear your voice. For example for some bloggers, I can almost hear proper English accents, and very calm but reassuring voices. I picture another blogger's voice to have a bit of huskiness and a full American accent with a bit of speed to her words. I imagine another of my favourite bloggers to be precise with her words, albeit a little cheeky! A special lady blogger, in my mind, has a softly spoken and kind voice. I think of one particular blogger as having a voice that is subtley high pitched with a mix of accents from both her native and new countries.

One blogger-friend has one of my favourite accents (the New Zealand accent) and I imagine her to speak in a very matter of fact but friendly way. For some bloggers I can hear a genteel southern American accent, with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for fun. I especially love the wonderfully round Canadian accent which I think is one of the easiest accents to hear. I even add a bit of an assertive manner to some bloggers' voices. Then there are those bloggers who I imagine to have a youthful and cute voice with words coming out at a 100 miles per hour! Other bloggers' voices have accents from their countries of origin (be it China, Greece, Italy, Russia, Germany, France, Egypt, South Africa, Japan, Spain, South America, oh and the list goes on!). There is one blog I frequent which places me almost in a trance as soon as I imagine the blogger's voice, with its calm nature carrying a wisdom as well. I think she has the sort of voice I could listen to for a while.

And, how could I not love a good Australian accent [as if there's a bad one!;-)], that is fuss-free, but very friendly. I also picture some Aussie accents in a larrakin kind of way, no nonsense but also fun. Other bloggers have reached into the world of sound via YouTube and as I listen to their voices, it is quite a surprise when they have a voice in the way I always imagined (for one particular blogger it was a bit of huskiness). Of course there are others who sound absolutely nothing like I imagined them to be.

As I write this post, thoughts about my German pen-pal, whom I came into contact with via a school program when I was in 5th grade, come to mind. I was immensly excited at the thought of communicating with someone from a completely different country, a different hemisphere to mine and, with almost giddiness, imagined what her voice would sound like! I also consider how grateful I am to be in an age where I can, in fact, be in direct contact with people of virtually every country on our Earth. Many, many times we have heard it stated about the internet, but I will say it again: How wonderfully good is it? Well, I say Bloody Marvelous, in my loud, Australian-accented, but friendly voice!

Have you ever thought about how your voice or accent sounds to others?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A curious case of all those buttons!

Ever wondered what to do with those buttons that come attached to new garments. With the button, stud or clasp a sample thread is also sometimes included. I usually snip away the little plastic zip-lock bag or cardboard envelope in which the button/stud/clasp & thread arrives in and store in a decorative box on my dressing table. However, once they go into the button box I usually never see them again. The other day I happened to glance upon this box. I immediately tipped it upside down on the bed. There were so many envelopes and little bags they formed a little mound. Upon searching through the box's contents I noticed there were packets for items I had long since discarded, worn away so much they were now garden and painting grubbies, or buttonless and holey in the garage rag box!

However, the question still remains: What to do with all these buttons? I did a quick search on the internet and found thes images below. What a great idea, I thought to myself.



What about earrings or a bracelet even? Then my imagination got the better of me and I started thinking about belts, picture frames, sunglasses, oh the list goes on! I even had a mental image of a car covered in buttons...yes, I had better quit while I was still ahead!

Now, as much as the necklace appeals to me (I still like the car idea and I've probably got enough buttons!), I doubt I will ever get around to making it. But, maybe I can con my crafty and arty daughter, Miss 11 into it? I'll tell her that I'll throw an extra button, for repairs, in for free!;-)

What do you do with the extra buttons?

Monday, March 16, 2009


Considering how happy I was to receive a lovely card from Darla as per my last post, I would like to share the love and send a postcard to you.

If you are interested, please email your postal address to and a postcard from the land of Oz will be coming your way. I have recently been to Melbourne so I will include some of these cards in my giveaway. To my fellow Aussies, please feel free to participate as well!

If you feel uncomfortable about emailing me your mailing address details, I understand. However, this post has been written with the best of intentions and with the aim of bringing something tangible to the otherwise virtual, almost unreal world of blogging.

With much love and best wishes,


Friday, March 13, 2009

Thank you Darla!

I recently received a lovely surprise in the mail. Well, sort-of surprise; I knew Darla had kindly posted a card to me. However, upon receiving the beautifully shimmery envelope, I was absolutely delighted. Even the children tried to get in on the action, but they were specifically instructed to Keep Away! The arrival of this lovely gift also reminded me of notSupermum's recent post about letter writing.

The first thing I noticed was Darla's beautiful cursive handwriting. It had been such a long time since I had received mail that had handwritten name and address details. Even friends who send cards or information on their travels usually attach printed address labels to the envelopes. Furthermore, the letter or card is usually printed out (and in the case of cards, the greetings etc. are typed, printed, cut-to-size and glued into the card; this would take longer than actually handwriting a message, wouldn't it?).

Darla's envelope and card have such a lovely personal touch as they are hand-made. The word 'imagine' on the front is a reminder to me to keep my thinking alive, to not let day to day stresses and distractions derail from an open mind and, on a more practical level, to keep my writing alive.

Thank you Darla. Your gift made my day.

Have you received a nice surprise in the mail recently?

Monday, March 9, 2009

A hidden treasure

Artist: Albert Namatjira

Title: GHOST GUM, Central Australia c. 1945, watercolour over pencil

Cleaning. Tidying. Purging. All activities we cannot deny every once in a while. And, once completed we are left feeling a sense of achievement, outcome and thrill at being able to utilise the new space in ways we had only been dreaming about.

One of the wonderful benefits of a tidy-up (particularly one's study!) is finding a photo, a notepad or an earring, long ago misplaced. During my recent purge I came across a yellowing, stained and dog-earred book titled Joseph's Coat by Peter Skrsynecki. This is a collection of mulitcultural writings published in 1985. As I opened it the year 1989 came gushing back to me. This was the year I had sat my final year high school exams. Familiar short-stories that had amused me and others that had baffled me. The highlight was finding a poem that I had forgotten all these years, but had once known word for word, emotion for emotion. This wonderful poem, so poignant is written by a poet named Kath Walker. Please let me share it with you.


Aboriginal man, you walked with pride,

And painted with joy the countryside.

Original man, your fame grew fast,

Men pointed you out as you went past.

But vain the honour and tributes paid,

For you strangled in rules the white men made;

You broke no law of your own wild clan

Which says "Share all with your fellow-man".

What did their loud acclaim avail

Who gave you honour, then gave you jail?

Namatjira, they boomed your art,

They called you genius, then broke your heart.

by Kath Walker

Albert Namatjira (1902–1959) was an Indigenous Australian artist and is perhaps the best known Aboriginal painter. Namatjira's artworks were colourful and varied depictions of the Australian landscape. He subsequently became a wealthy man, and being from the Nomadic Arrernte Aboriginal tribe, he was expected to "share all with your fellow-man".

In 1957 the government exempted Namatjira and his wife from the restrictive legislation that applied to Aborigines in the Northern Territory meaning they were now entitled to vote, own land, build a house and buy alcohol. Although Albert and his wife were legally allowed to drink alcohol, his Aboriginal family and friends were not. However, he was expected to share everything he owned, a contradiction that brought Namatjira into conflict with the law. He was subsequently held responsible for leaving a bottle of liquor (on a car seat) where an Aboriginal woman took hold of it. He was imprisoned for two months of a six months sentence, being released on humanitarian grounds. After his incarceration he became despondent, he suffered a heart attack and later died as a result of pneumonia.

Today his artworks hang in the Australian Art Gallery after initially being rejected by the then director Hal Missingham whose comment was: "We'll consider his work when it comes up to scratch".

What have you unearthed lately?

How many Matchbox cars does that cost?

Image: Part of our family's Matchbox cars collection.

Whilst helping me tidy the breakfast table, I noticed Mr. 6 had stopped at the kitchen sink and was having way too much fun with something I knew couldn't have anything to do with cleaning cups and saucers. As I walked towards him I noticed he had my artificial sweetener container in his hand.

"Mama, look, I can aim so well that I can flick the tablet all the way to the tap! Look, wanna see me do it again?", he said excitedly.

"Okay, but just one more", I replied. Let him have a bit of fun, I thought.

"Mama, can I please have some more turns, please?", pleading as any six year old would. I then thought I had better nip this little game of his, in the bud.

"Sweety, do you know how much that container costs?". I though I had better focus his attention on something else and maybe even have him realise the monetary worth of something, guessing one is never too young.

"Look, I hit another!" he exclaimed.

"Well, this cost $8.00", I tried to explain. He looked up at me, puzzled, turning his upper lip on one side.

Realising this really meant nothing to him I then said: "This costs as much as four Matchbox cars", I stated, pretty pleased with myself for the analogy.

This set my mind to thinking about how many Matchbox cars my boys possessed. Not only had Mr 6 acquired his own collection (yes, the bribes for all those times he had accompanied me grocery shopping) but, his brother (Mr almost-16) had also given him a fraction of his lot, which also contained some original hand-me-down Matchbox cars from my own, now 24 years old brother. Some of them, I imagined, were probably worth a pretty penny (in original condition and box, which of course, none had been in since the day they were enthusiastically torn open!).

Just as I devise a plan to purchase a whole load of Matchbox cars, as a future investment, Mr. 6 interrupts my train of thought.

"Mum, can you buy me a Matchbox car. It's been such a long time since you bought one for me, please, please", he begged, cute lisp and all!

So much for getting his mind off the task at hand!

Have you ever devised a plan to distract someone, only having that plan come back to bite you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Allergy to Aerogard

I have been taggeg to post the 5th photo from the 5th folder in my pictures file by my lovely sis over at

The photo I found is of my son, Mr 6 (at the time 4) whom we discovered had an allergy to Aerogard a personal anti-insect spray (whoever heard of an allergy to an Australian icon?!).

A chidhood memory of mine was 'Don't forget the Aerogard, and 'ave a good weekend!'.

And, my child has an allergy to Aerogard. At the time the photo was taken, we had been invited to the neighbour's house for a barbeque (yes, an Aussie Backyard Barbie) shortly after they had moved to the neighbourhood. After having thrown on the obligatory prawns (shrimps) and snags (no, not Sensitive New Age Guys, but sausages!) I noticed that the mosquitos were in their more-than-usual abundance (we live quite close to river). I quickly grabbed the Aerogard (a non-aerosol brand, better for the enviroment etc, etc) and sprayed my baby's arms and legs with it. I was determined that no mozzies (Aussie vernacular for mosquito) were going to get to him and make him all itchy, all night! Not a minute after I had applied what was to be a life-saver, it had become a life-threatener. My baby started to turn red and his head started to swell (thinking back now it was quite funny...terrible mother I am!). Poor darling, even his tongue was a little redder than usual. We immediately gave him ventolin (several puffs into his spacer) as he was an asthmatic and thought it better to be on the safe side. We then took him home, washed him down and watched him for the next few hours. I sat him down and kept checking his breathing whilst hubby (a cardiologist) sitting beside me, checking him as well...and eating a prawn...or six!

At home, and whilst Mr 4-at-the-time was watching television I took some photos. We tucked him into bed and my darling baby ended up scratching all night anyway!

Now, whenever my sweet baby sees a blue can, he absolutely freaks out, runs and hides behind my knees. Even the rest of the family have vowed against bringing it out when he is around and God love them, they put up with the mozzie bites just to protect him. Although, some family members have been known to come up to me (in the midst of scratching the skin off their arm or leg) and ask me if i am absolutely sure he has an allergy. Family...don't you just love them!

If you are interested please take on the tag and show us the 5th photo in your 5th file, just for a bit of fun...go on!!

I wonder, do you know anyone with an 'odd' allergy?


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