Jun 29, 2014

Sunday Selections #178

It's time for Sunday Selections!
Sunday Selections is a weekly meme hosted by River at Drifting Through Life. 

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River somewhere in your post
3. leave a comment on River's post and visit some of the others who have posted and commented: for example:
    Andrew at High Riser
    Gillie at The View From Here

Here is this week's collection of orphan photos:

Like Elephant's Child this week I have a few sky photos. We've had such beautiful sunrises and sunsets lately.

These ones taken from the park up the end of our street:

My daughter asked me to snap the next one when we spotted it from the supermarket carpark: she wanted to put it on her Instagram.
(Yes, my kids are now on Instagram - a post for another day perhaps)

I'm sorry (not sorry) for foisting on you yet more shots taken from the roof of my work building - but I just love these views

From the sky back to the ground. I love these views at Jells Park:


Before the rain really set in this week, we'd had some lovely winter days with good light - I love the play of light and shade on this tree trunk and these leaves, on our street and at the local park:

Here are a couple of shots of Harry on our walks:

Harry and Tia enjoying a bit of winter sun. Harry was here first and he looked a bit alarmed when Tia jumped up as well, but he stood his ground and they both had a long nap out here together.

How was YOUR week?

Jun 21, 2014

Mum Jokes

One good thing about having kids with a man whose first language is not English, is that I get to do all the Dad Jokes.

Lame parental jokes - chiefly dumb puns - are an important part of the childhood experience and I have no wish to deprive my children.

I offer the golden oldies, handed down from generation to generation, such as: "Did you have a good TRIP?" when one of my kids stumbles while walking, and "Oh no, you PEA'D on the table!" when they lose a pea from their dinner plate.

I do that whole "I haven't seen you since LAST YEAR!" thing on the morning of January 1st. That's after doing "Well I guess I won't see you now till NEXT YEAR!" when I kiss them goodnight on December 31st.

I offer the obvious play-on-words jokes whenever the opportunity arises, such as, when my daughter told me she had to take the class roll to the school office: "Well I hope you didn't eat any of it on the way! EAT? ROLL? Get it?"

I make up dumb knock-knock jokes, such as:
Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Harry who?
Harry up and get ready! 

And I am always ready with an "original" pun, such as when M pretended to hide behind the Times Tables poster:
"Well, you can COUNT on M to find a good hiding spot!"  and:
"She'll probably hide there lots of TIMES!"   and:
"She's really turned the TABLES on us!"

The best thing is that my kids are just the right age for these jokes. They actually think they are funny, and every time I do one, as long as I REALLY exaggerate the pun and then pull a joke face or say "Get it?" there will be a tiny pause for comprehension to settle and then "Ha! I get it! Good one!" and peals of laughter.

It feels GREAT to be a comic genius!


Do/Did you do dumb jokes with kids?

Jun 11, 2014

Old Slang

I recently picked up the Back To The Future trilogy for eight bucks so the kids and I watched all three movies in a weekend. (The kids loved them - it was fun).  The first movie was made in 1985 and there were a couple of slang phrases in it that were ubiquitous at the time, but have since disappeared from use.  It got me thinking about other slang that has fallen from use.

There are a bunch of US, Australian, English and New Zealand slang terms that were all pretty big when I was a kid and teenager. (That's mid-seventies to late eighties).  Hardly any of them have survived, though a few have. Some have morphed into shortened versions ("veg out" became "veg"). Some have evolved into updated versions ("Get serious!" was replaced by "Get real!" which is now used slightly differently as "Let's get real"). Some have survived, like linguistic artefacts, as ancestors of former phrases (we no longer say "kick the bucket" but we do have a "bucket list").

Some fell out of favor and then came back. The best example I can think of is "Far out!", which was a quaint, funny seventies slang term not used in the eighties, but is now back in use. I think maybe it's because it's a handy stand-in for "F- - -!" to use in polite society or in front of children.

There were some that seemed funny and totally fine at the time but seem a bit offensive in retrospect - "ghetto blaster" comes to mind, along with "spazz" and other playground insults best left in the past.

Slang is funny. The ones that stick are easy and clever, and there are others that try too hard, take too long to say (e.g., "technicolour yawn") or just won't work. ("Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen").

Some are resisted, uselessly. In New Zealand in the eighties I remember an Anglophile newspaper columnist bemoaning the use of the American "slang" term (keep in mind New Zealand was a pretty old-fashioned place back then) "hired and fired" and wondered why we couldn't use the "better" British English version "backed and sacked". As we say these days: good luck with that.

But even slang terms that are not resisted, are really popular and seem destined to stick around, seem to mostly eventually fall away. Just ask your parents what terms they used to use as teenagers. Or watch a movie from your own youth, and be reminded of all the things you thought you'd be saying forever.

Do you remember these?
  • That's heavy     (serious or profound)
  • Cosmic!
  • No shit, Sherlock           
  • Get serious!        
  • What a whacker     (Australian - was eventually replaced here by the English 'wanker')
  • It's a joke, Joyce    
  • Der, Fred
  • Choice!       (chiefly New Zealand)
  • Couch potato
  • Veg out           
  • Radical!     
  • Cool bananas      (still in use - supposedly ironically - by people my age; also 'Coolio')
  • Brill         (brilliant)
  • Brillo pad      (inevitable evolution of "brill")
  • Ace!    
  • Mondo                        
  • No way, Jose
  • "So funny I forgot to laugh"   (Sarcastic. I think it was a thing only kids said, but we said it a lot)
  • space cadet
  • yuppie
  • propeller head   (nerd)
  • Poindexter   (nerd)
  • spazz attack    (go crazy/freak out)
  • technicolour yawn   (vomit)
  • chuck a party
  • metal mouth / brace face    (someone wearing orthodontic braces)
  • Cowabunga!
  • As if!
  • Like, oh my god!   (ermahgerd!)
  • Go jump in the lake  /  Go take a long walk off a short pier    
  • Sit and spin
  • dirtbag
  • scumbag
  • (Something) City   - as in, if there were a lot of bad people somewhere, it was "Scumbag City"
  • pash   (kiss)
  • suck face   (kiss)
  • kicked the bucket  /  bought the farm     (died)
  • porchlight on dim   (one card short of a full deck; not all dogs barking; cuckoo)

How about these once popular sayings and quotes:

  • Whatchu talkin' bout Willis?                           (from the TV show Diff'rent Strokes)
  • Hang in there!                                                (poster - branch - kitten. Remember?)
  • It's hard to fly like an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys    (also a popular poster)
  • Happiness is a warm puppy                           (from Snoopy)
  • You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.            (from the TV show The Incredible Hulk)
  • Let's be careful out there                                (from the TV show Hill Street Blues)
  • "Holy (something), Batman!"                          (from the TV show Batman and Robin)
  • Good thinking, Ninety-Nine                           (from the TV show Get Smart)

Have you got any more?

Alex/Flickr Creative Commons

Jun 4, 2014

12 Resolutions: June (and May recap)

This year I'm playing along with #12Resolutions on Twitter and Facebook. The idea is to set yourself short-term, achievable goals, one each month. 

For May I set myself the goal of completing one module in my Project Management Professional accreditation course.  So how did I do?

I failed! I have done some study and completed units within the module, but have not completed the whole module.

Ah well. I will keep studying, but rather than set the same goal for June, I'll try something else.

For June my goal is to save money during the working week, by taking the train to work 3 of 4 days, and bringing a packed lunch at least 3 of 4 days. 

On Wednesdays I still need to drive as I need to pick up the kids from after-school care, and our public transport system will not get me from the city to our suburb in time for 6 pm pick-up.

The other three days I can take the train. I need to get back in that habit. I can't afford to keep driving every day and it's no good for my health either (or the environment).

And packed lunch. Yes, life is busy and I usually just can't be bothered to pack a lunch in the evening when all the chores are done and it's 11pm. But... I could do it when I pack the kids' lunchboxes, couldn't I?

This resolution is the only one I'm not confident in keeping at the start. It may sound like nothing, but I will actually be unwinding six years of habit if I can pull this one off.

The train as I wish it was:

Kicki Holmen/Flickr Creative Commons

The train as it is:

Amir Jina/Flickr Creative Commons


January: walk 5 times a week (done - I now walk daily)
February: write 2 short stories (failed - wrote none!)
March: write 1 short story, and start Project Management course (done)
April: visit GP and complete or schedule the follow-ups (done)

May: complete one module of Project Management course (failed)

June: working day money savers: public transport and packed lunch

Jun 3, 2014

Best Mother In The World

Today I have been awarded the prestigious - and rare - Best Mother in the World diploma.

Although I have worked and studied hard for this diploma, I could not have reached this moment without the help of many special people. To those people I would like to say a few words of thanks.

To my children, without whom none of this would be possible: I thank you.

To my husband, who has tirelessly supported his family and shared parenting duties with me: thank you. For the fact that you were so often absent working during those difficult early years, or generously sleeping and leaving me room to explore the mothering arts unhindered, allowing me to forge my parenting skills and complete many of the units required to earn this diploma alone: I thank you.

To my mother, whose ongoing support has been invaluable. To the older Greek ladies whose practical wisdom, spiced with handy tips for avoiding the curse of the Evil Eye, added so much to my bag of tricks. Thank you.

To the sleep school who saved us all, and especially for those two blissful nights with sleeping pills and no babies: I thank you.

To the countless parenting books, articles, blogs and columns I pored over, until having absorbed, learned or created all the wisdom I needed, I was able to roll my eyes, explode in rage or quietly chuckle and discard them all: thank you.

To the daycare centre which nurtured my children, nagged us to toilet train them, and provided enough messy activities to allow me to avoid finger painting at home: thank you.

Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child, and it takes two villages to raise twins. But there can only be one Best Mother in the World, and tonight I humbly accept that title.

As I look around me here tonight, I see many worthy mothers who might also have earned this diploma, and I feel honored to be in such company. That I was chosen says much about the skills and talents of us all.

I promise to remain worthy of this diploma and I hope that I can continue, in the years ahead, to provide not only love and support to my children, but also courage and inspiration to those other mothers out there, who may be struggling to earn their own diploma. Stick with it, sisters. One day in the future (when I am gone, of course) you too may also be awarded Best Mother in the World.

Awarded by A, via Greek school:
Diploma: the Best Mother in the World.

Jun 2, 2014

Tia's Scary Adventure

We arrived home last Wednesday night to find this note on our door:

Being winter (or on Wednesday, a few days before winter), evenings are now very dark. Although only 6.00 pm when we arrived home, it was as dark as midnight. First task was to try and remember which neighbor has a maple tree. We went out the back yard and called Tia but there was no response, so I showed the kids via Google what maple leaves look like, we grabbed torches, and went walking up the street. We found the tree, next door, set back from our fence, and it is HUGE. Our lovely neighbors heard us and came out, confirmed Tia had been in the tree all day, and opened the gate to let us into the yard.

I could not believe how high she was. When we called her she stood up and tentatively took a couple of steps, then sat again and stared. She didn't make a sound. Y made to climb the tree, but got only a couple of feet up before finally agreeing with the rest of us that it was impossible.

"She'll find her way down," I said. "Cats don't die in trees."

As it turns out though, I was wrong. Cats do indeed get stuck in trees and can die, either by getting exposure or dehydration and falling out, or by falling and killing themselves. I educated myself that evening on Exquisite Kitty. Did you know that cats can't climb down head-first? They have to climb backwards, which is why they are much better at climbing UP than climbing DOWN.
So if your cat is stuck in a tree for a whole day, you can't just leave it there; you have to organise an animal rescue.  Also, if your cat is not meowing, she may be weak and dehydrated.

We went out to our backyard and shone torches up to check on her throughout the evening, calling and coaxing her with no result. She changed branch a couple of times, stood and turned around and sat again; at one point she climbed higher up. At another point she was even swaying slightly, clearly nodding off.  At another point when I shone up my torch I got four shiny eyes, and then saw a possum sitting on the branch next to her, both of them watching me together.

Eventually I had to go to bed, even though I felt terrible.  I found Jim's Animal Rescue's contact details so we could call them in the morning; Y would be home that day.

The next morning I got up early and went outside with the torch, but there was no sign of Tia in the tree and no sound or sight of her when I called either. Just as I was thinking she had collapsed from exhaustion and fallen to her death during the night, I heard her bell, and she appeared from the bushes.

She ate an entire plate of food and a saucer of cat milk in one go, then came straight inside and stayed there for two days.

Jun 1, 2014

Sunday Selections #174

It's time for Sunday Selections!
Sunday Selections is a weekly meme hosted by River at Drifting Through Life. 

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to River somewhere in your post
3. leave a comment on River's post and visit some of the others who have posted and commented: for example:
    Andrew at High Riser
    Gillie at The View From Here

Here is this week's collection of orphan photos:

Most evenings the kids spend half an hour or so in their rooms before bedtime, and then I come in and read a chapter of a book to them before they go to sleep.  During the reading, both pets come in to whatever room I'm in and settle themselves somewhere cosy. 



After many weeks' dedicated practice, M has mastered the Rainbow Loom, and has learned how to make the more complicated 'charms' via YouTube tutorials:


ice-cream sodas

A prefers writing and drawing. After we all watched the Back to the Future movies together last weekend, she drew a picture of "the future".  As you can see, we will have flying cars and hoverboards, but kids will always play with dolls.

The Future


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