28 January, 2010

The Blogies.

Before I dazzle you all with another blogging masterpiece (some times I even amaze myself), I have an update to my anti-job hunting blog from a few days ago.

I had a second job interview yesterday and I was determined not to make the same mistake I made in the first interview. This time I was trying to be unimpressive. I really don't want to go back to work and I only went to the interview because I can never say no to anybody (a genetic disposition, thanks Mum). I was sure I had managed to be completely forgettable and was so brutally honest about my short comings that I now think I need some self-improvement classes. I walked out of the interview feeling pretty pleased with myself. Nobody in their right mind would want to employ me.

This morning I received a call from the employment agent:
    "Great News! They're really keen on you and want you to come in today for a third interview."

Oh FFS!!!

Time for me to stop messing around. I have withdrawn my job application and have asked the agent not to call me unless he has a short term contract paying stupidly high rates.

But I digress …

I'm a little late in responding to a wonderful award sent my way by MadMother which she called the Blogies. I'm hoping she will still drop by and have a read while she is on her blogging hiatus.

When accepting an award you should always do an acceptance speech:

That's great. Thanks. Please don't tell the company I am trying not to get a job with that I got an award.

Ok, so I'm no Kate Winslet.

This award lets me tell you about five things I love. There is no way I could tell you about the people in my life that I love in just five points so I'm going to stick to superficial things that rock my world.

1.  I Love Slushies.

As a kid slushies were meant it was the summer holidays. You couldn't buy them in the rural area where I grew up and I only ever had them when I travelled to the coast to visit my grandparents. Imagine my joy when I moved to Sydney to find you can buy slushies at service stations. I could have a brain freeze any time I wanted.  It was worth getting a car just so I could buy them when I needed petrol. Last year I reached a pinnacle of slushy joy by buying my partner his own home slushy maker for Christmas. I wanted it so badly. I knew he would want one.

2.  I Love Political Arguments.
For the sake of a good argument I will happily switch political allegiances so I can take an opposing view. The beauty of a political argument is nobody can actually win since all political views have faults and none are perfect. They can go on forever. If you're really lucky you can change sides mid-argument without anybody noticing.  Just remember to duck when the punches start flying.

3.  I Love Mosques and Churches.
I'm not in any way religious but these buildings amaze me. I'm lucky to have travelled around Europe and some of the Middle East and I have seen some incredible buildings. The feeling of awe I experienced walking into the Blue Mosque in Istanbul will stay with me forever.

4.  I Love Books.
I'm not fussy, I will read anything I can get my hands on. I usually read three or four books at the same time because I get so excited about a new book that I start to read it before I have finished the old one. I can get a bit bloody minded and won't admit defeat with a book. I have been reading Anna Karenina for about 18 years now. This year I can take it drinking with me.

5.  I Love Laughter.

I have a loud laugh (think of a donkey bray crossed with a chainsaw) and I would get very self-concious when people commented on it. Happily I'm not so precious now. Screw it, I'll laugh as loud as I like. I enjoy hearing others laugh, no matter how unorthodox the sound. A dear friend is a snorter and I know I have had a good night out if she is snorting uncontrollably into her beer. It's a beautiful sight.

I also love reading snippets of people's lives in the blog-sphere. I'm enjoying reading about Caz from The Truth About Mummy and I would like to pass this award on to her. I hope all goes well for her with starting big school.

26 January, 2010

Happy Australia Day

I celebrated Australia Day with a bush walk in the Royal National Park. 

Grey Spider Flower (Grevillea Buxifolia)

I'm completely exhausted.  Can't engage my brain to write anything else.

25 January, 2010

Why am I Doing This?

Is it bad to go to a job interview when you have no intention of taking the job if it is offered to you? Why is it so important to me that I impress the pants off the interviewer when I shouldn't give a toss what they think of me?

These are the questions that have been haunting me for the last few days. Let me give you some background....

I have been contacted by a head hunter. It's a bit of an ego trip for me being head hunted. Someone out there thinks I'm worth employing. He first contacted me shortly after I left my old job last year and I was quick to tell him I had no intention of looking for work until the new year. This was my first mistake and I should have defined when in the new year I was talking about. He interpreted 'New Year' as 2nd January. I was thinking more like late March. My bad, I shouldn't assume everybody is as casual about dates as I am.

Feeling guilty about not being clear on my how long my current state of lethargy was going to last, I allowed myself to be talked into going to an interview last Friday for a job I don't want. I haven't been to a job interview in about 15 years so I thought I could do with some practice for when I do decide that I can be bothered going back to work.

Rather than relieving my guilt, I found I was feeling worse about wasting everybody's time. I discussed this with a friend and he assured me it was ok as the company in question is known for interviewing candidates only to get enough people to make a statistical selection. My ego deflates a little at this point.

The night before the interview I start worrying about what I'm going to wear and how professional I should look. I choose a skirt that I thought looked particularly smart only to be told
      “you can't wear that. You look like you're going shopping
Ego deflates a little more.

I reach into the forgotten land at the back of my wardrobe and find one of my old work outfits. Ok, I'll put the monkey suit on again. Hmm, I don't remember these trousers being quite so snug.  Ego is now the size of a peanut.

I dig up my beautiful leather portfolio to carry all my documents. It always made me look so professional. I would walk into meetings and flip my portfolio open showing reams of well though out notes I had prepared earlier. It's fortunate that nobody actually read the notes:
  * Ring AB to arrange lunch
  * PC thinks the No. 5 horse running in the 2nd race at Flemington is a dead certainty.
  * Nail polish is coming off the toes on the left foot – arrange pedicure

I find my beautiful leather portfolio has been put to a new use since I left the corporate world. The feral cats that have taken ownership of my house have been using it as a scratching post. Apparently sharpening one's claws on leather is so much more appealing than using the carpet covered scratching post that was supplied for that purpose.

The day of the interview I join the rat race and catch the train to the city. I'm dressed in my very professional (albeit snug) outfit with my mangled portfolio and I am sweltering in a train carriage without air-conditioning on the hottest day of summer. I'm thinking cool thoughts and trying not to wipe the perspiration off my face because all my make-up is going to go with it.

Finally the interview starts. It's a panel of three people all looking very cool and casual in jeans and t-shirts.        
                           “We have a casual dress policy here.”
Something you could have told me YESTERDAY!!!!!

After about five minutes I realise I am hopelessly over-qualified. I could do the job with my pinky and go for morning tea when I have finished. I would be bored. Realising this I should have stopped and told them but I couldn't help myself. I had this need to impress them and went through the entire interview explaining why I would be perfect for the job and how they couldn't possibly function without me. By now my ego is completely gone and I'm starting to hate myself.

I am now hoping desperately that my interviewers think I talk too much (a correct conclusion) and that I would be loud and disruptive because I am bored (comments which consistently appeared on my school reports from the age of 5). I'm now trying to work out at what point I can gracefully withdraw from the whole process.

As I was finishing this blog the employment agent called me.
         “They loved you. They thought your energy would be perfect for the job. Can you do a second interview this week?”
         “They loved me? How wonderful” I gushed.

I am going for the second interview.

I hate myself.

21 January, 2010

Happiness 101

There is a downside to blogging with no pants on: Sooner or later you are going to get busted. Today was my turn. There is a courier roaming the streets of Sydney who is going to need years of therapy to recover from having to deliver a parcel to my house. In my defense, it's really hot today.

That, however, is not the topic for today's blog. Today I am responding to the Happiness 101 Blog Award given to me by the delightful Kellyansapansa. I am going to share with you 10 things that make me happy.

  • There are not enough foot massages in the world. Foot massages are one of my favorite things. While working in banking we would have security training where we were told that everybody has their price. Well, this is my price. If you want the front door keys and safe combinations, the promise of a good foot massage will do the trick.
  • There is no such thing as bad chocolate. There is chocolate that is not as nice as other chocolate but all chocolate is good.
  • I have become strangely addicted to Professional Bull Riding lately. This warrants a blog in it's own right in the future so I will elaborate then. (this is just a teaser)
  • I'm a Pisces which may explain my love of water. Rivers, lakes, the ocean and even water running down the gutter. I am drawn towards it. Sadly so are my golf balls.
  • I have not yet shared with you my love for playing golf. Golf makes me happy in a strange way. It treats me very badly week in and week out so when I finally manage to play a good game it is pure bliss. I think it may actually be an abusive relationship.
  • I'm a child of the 80's and 80's music will always bring a smile to my face. Big hair and synthesizers will hold a special place in my heart forever.
  • How could I have a list of happiness providers and not include my family? We all live a long way away from each other so it's pretty damn special when we manage to get together. I would like to point out that Jacinta at Live Life Now cheats at croquet.
  • It would be remiss of me not to include my partner Matthew on my happiness list. He is my straight man who lets me have the punch lines and laughs at my jokes even when they are not that funny. He has the patience of a saint to put up with me when I start bouncing off the walls. He bought me flowers yesterday and I'm not even going to try and work out what he has done that he feels guilty about.
  • Time to share a daggy secret: Karaoke makes me happy. I'm a rubbish singer but there is something about throwing your inhibitions aside and ripping out a mono-tune version of Like a Virgin. Alcohol helps. Cheap champagne is the best.
  • As I sit on my deck with a beautiful view over bushland (with pants on now), I realise that my life makes me happy. I am so lucky to live where I do and be surrounded by wonderful people. There is so much pain and sorrow in this world and I have the amazing fortune to have a wonderful life. I didn't do anything to deserve it but I was born lucky.
Now you all know source of my happiness. A good, supportive blogger would pass this on to 10 other bloggers.  I'm going to award this to Jacinta at Live Life Now. I will surprise 9 other bloggers at a later date.  If I pass it on now someone will write a better list and I'll end up insanely jealous. I can be so petty.

18 January, 2010

Picture of the Year (Lazy Photographer Division)

I've stopped sulking about the cleaner not turning up. I have taken the good advice I received.  A path has been created through the chaos I created. I'm keeping my eyes above it all and I can make it through another week.

Jacinta at Live Life Now made me go through all my photos from the last year to find my favorite snap. It made me realise 2009 was a bit of a photography wasteland and I didn't take my camera out very often. Last year was not one of the better years for me so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. 2010 is going to be different. Time to get snap happy.

From the few photos I have from 2009 this one really struck a chord with me. I love the simplicity of it. It was taken at Bronte and is a picture of one of the displays at Sculpture by the Sea. The sculpture is call Morpheus and each of the yellow blobs (artistic description) were rotating in a different direction when caught by the wind. It was captivating to watch as it constantly changed it's shape. I'm wildly envious of anybody who can create something so unique.

Now, to share the love, I'm going to pass this onto
I'm sure you have some great photos from 2009 that will inspire me to get off my bum and dust off my camera.

15 January, 2010


I'm filled with despair.

I have looked forward to this moment for weeks and now I feel so let down.

I'm inconsolable.

Totally devastated.

Life has lost all meaning.

I though the cleaners were back from holidays today but now I realise they are back next week.

I'm too distraught to say more because I made a special “welcome back” mess for them and now I will have to deal with this myself.
and if you are wondering,
Yes, I am a lazy cow who has no job but kept the cleaners.  I don't know how I live with myself.

14 January, 2010


It should have been a fun night out. I wanted to go to a Twenty20 Cricket match last night. A few hours of excitement and drama from watching men in their pj's playing irresponsible cricket. What could go wrong? Just about everything.

The evening started well. I thought it would be ok to drive to the Olympic stadium when the match was being played. By taking a sneaky back road we missed all of Sydney's usual 6pm gridlock. If you are familiar with Sydney traffic you will know this is quite an achievement. We were within sight of the stadium and as we reached the top of a hill my heart sank. The last kilometre to the stadium was traffic pandemonium. Nobody was going anywhere.
Lesson No 1: you can never beat Sydney traffic. Until we get really cool hover cars that can fly over peak hour gridlock, Sydneysiders are doomed to spend a large chunk of their lives sitting impatiently in a traffic jam.

I'm stuck in traffic but I refuse to let this ruin my night. “It's ok” I tell myself. “There's lots of time and we are not late yet”. I'm starting to feel a little better when the sky in front of me is split with the perfect bolt of lightening. Several more bolts of lightening and a clap of thunder that is so close it goes right through you and the heavens opens. First the big fat rain drops that you get at the start of the storm. This was followed by a steady downpour that didn't feel like it was going anywhere. Not good for cricket.
Lesson No 2:- when every weather report you look at advises it is going to rain maybe you should actually believe them.

Still stuck in the traffic and watching the downpour, I am still trying to be positive.
“It's ok” I tell myself. “We are now late but the rain will delay the start of the game so we won't miss anything”.
We are inching towards the parking station and things are looking good. I'm sure the rain will clear. Thunderstorms don't hang around too long. For all my many faults, I have great eyesight so I was able to see the “Parking Full” signs long before anybody else.
Lesson No 3:- Check to see if there is anything else on at Homebush before you decide to take a gamble on the parking. If both the Tennis and a concert are on as well maybe rethink your strategy.

The nearest car park is a kilometre away. The same distance we had just crawled through the traffic from hell. We fought our way into the parking stations just as the “Parking Full” sign was going up and grabbed the second last park available. Now for the long up-hill walk back to the stadium.
Lesson No 4 – If you choose to ignore Lesson No 2, take an umbrella.

At last, we arrive at the stadium. I am dripping wet but the rain is easing and it looks like we will get to see a game. Just as we are taking our seats an announcement is made telling us the game had been reduced to nine overs per side. The game had been shortened so much that our travel time to the game has been longer than the actual match. I naively thought that they would reduce the overs a little and extend the finishing time.
Lesson 5: Spectators verses television commitments = Spectators lose

If you go to watch sport, you have to have a hot dog.  We braved the queues to see what we could get. All that was left were hot chips. Chicken burgers would be ready in five minutes if we wanted to wait.
     “That would be the $8 chicken burgers? What do you get in an $8 chicken burger?” I ask.
     “A piece of chicken” was the reply.
     “That's ok, I just have the $5.50 bucket of chips. I'm having to dip into my superannuation for this”
Lesson 6:- You know that the food is overpriced and lousy quality at the stadium. When are you going to learn this one???

I'm cold and wet but finally watching irresponsible action packed cricket. This, however, was the final insult. New South Wales, the team I came to cheer along, were pathetic. They scored the lowest total in the history of the competition. I was witness to a moment of history I could do without.
Lesson 7:- Sport is a commodity than had been designed for television. Stop trying to fight the system and watch it at home in the dry comfort of your lounge room. If the team you are cheering for play the worst game in history, turn off the TV and go to bed

10 January, 2010

Dumb Things

The Paul Kelly song sums me up so well:

Welcome, strangers, to the show
I'm the one who should be lying low
Saw the knives out, turned my back
Heard the train coming, stayed out on the track
In the middle, in the middle, in the middle of a dream
I lost my shirt, I pawned my rings
I've done all the dumb things

My 2010 Anti-Resolution is a look back at 2009 in the hope that I will not repeat some of the dumb things I did.

Don't change the CD when driving backwards down a steep curved driveway.
My bad. I know I wasn't paying attention. I'm sure it makes me a bad person but, as it wasn't my car that I put a major scratch down the side, I'm not loosing much sleep over this. It was a company car and I figure they expect dumb stuff like this.

My bigger concern was what I used to put the large scratch in the car: My house.
Yes, I managed to side-swipe one of the supporting beams that holds up the deck and the front of the house. Not good.

Select Face Book Friends wisely.
Several times this year I have become FaceBook friends with people I wouldn't recognise if I saw them on the street. I feel guilty about ignoring friend requests. It's feels like having a puppy rush up to you wanting to play and I've slapped it away. Time to harden up and start ignoring people.

There appears to be a rule in FaceBook: he who dies with the most friends wins. That can be the only explanation for these people wanting me as a friend particularly a teenage second cousin who had only met me three times. I'm not even sure we speak the same language because I don't understand anything she says.

I've also noticed that the people FaceBook suggests as friends are the same people you are avoiding like the plague. FaceBook is just messing with me.

Don't try to save money by attempting home veterinarian techniques.
Let me stress here my intentions were noble even if the results were less than satisfactory. One of the cats which have taken over my house (AKA: The Ferals) had got into a fight (again) and come off second best. Like a good pet owner I rushed her off to the vets for repairs thinking this will be simple to fix with a couple stitches and won't cost too much. So very wrong.

After a month with numerous hospital stays, two lots of surgery and many replacement stitches, I had a shaved cat that was rapidly loosing weight. The problem was the Elizabethan Collar she had to wear to stop her from ripping out the stitches (again). I wasn't concerned that the collar messed up her judgement and she would run into doors, walls, chairs, stairs and owners as she walked around. Actually it was kinda funny. (Bad Bad Pet Owner!!) The problem was as she tried to eat anything the collar would scoop all the food out of the bowl and into a little pile in front of her tantalisingly out of her reach. It was pitiful to watch.

The collar had to go but how do I stop her from ripping her stitches out? And that is when the brilliant idea hit me: A body stocking. Cut the ends off an old stocking and shove the cat through the middle. I still maintain the theory was good. The damaged Feral does not agree. She was not happy. Not happy and armed with razor wire for claws. The body stocking was quickly removed when we eventually we managed to catch her.

Don't change the ingredients.
2009 was the year I got into baking in a big way. It was just a phase I was going through and I'm over it now. After trying a recipe a couple times I would get a little creative and change things around. Unfortunately I'm not a very creative person. This resulted in some of the greatest cooking disasters in culinary history. The low point was the patty cakes that turned out like sea sponge when I decided that the world needed much more bicarb soda. I don't even know what bicarb soda does but it seemed like a good idea at the time

Don't tell your boss which orifice he can shove your job in the middle of a financial crisis.
Financial doom and gloom was sweeping the planet, unemployment was ballooning and stock markets were plunging so this must be the perfect time for me to get on my high horse and tell my boss I'm not going to put up with the crap any more.
I walked away from a secure, well paying job with no idea what I was going to do with myself. I always have a plan and a back up plan (I admit sometimes not well thought out) but this time I just walked away.

But is this really one of my dumbest achievements of 2009?
No. It was one of the smartest things I have ever done. I put life before money and I hope I make decisions like this for the rest of my life.

I resolve not to repeat my 2009 list of dumb things. 2010 is the start of a new decade and it deserves a fresh and new list of dumb things and I'm sure I will be able to live up to that challenge.

Welcome to the show!

08 January, 2010

Because I Can

I found this picture a week ago and have been trying to think of a way of incorporating it into the brain dump that forms my blog.

Sadly there are no penguins or polar bears in my life this week so I'm just going to post it as it is.

I'm even more impressed with the penguin with the handbag.

This one is for you Matty

07 January, 2010

Position Vacant: Hairdresser

I think it might be time to grow my hair long again. I don't particularly like my hair long but I've lost my hairdresser and the process of having to find a replacement is doing my head in. My problem is hairdressers intimidate the hell out of me.   I don't seem to be able to communicate with hairdressers. When ever I hear the chirpy “so, what are we doing today?” I loose the ability to form sentences and end up saying:
    “ umm, well it's kinda flat and messy. Can you make it un-flat and not messy?”.

As I start to panic, I make the fatal error:
    “Just do what ever you think it needs”.     Big mistake.

My previous hairdresser understood me. She knew what my hair was supposed to look like and didn't bother asking what I wanted. When she got a bit bored and decided to experiment with colours it was done with good intentions. She knew there was no point in discussing Dancing with the Stars with me. She could tell when I was sporting a hangover and would go easy on the head massage. I miss her but I wish her well in her new venture.

Life goes on and I have been to a number of different new hairdressers to see if I can form some sort of connection.

Failure No 1.
While a good haircut is important there are other things that need to be right as well. The problem with Failure No 1 was the refreshments offered to me while I was waiting. Fresh faced apprentice with bright red hair comes bouncing up to me.
    “Can I get you something to drink?”
    “How very nice, thank you. I would like a cup of tea, black with no sugar”

I see her face fall and she walks to the back of the shop. Did I say something wrong? Have I committed a hair salon sin punishable by a head shave?

A few moments later she returns.
    “ umm, how do you make tea? I've never been asked for that before”

Failure No 2.

I'm sure it was my fault. Maybe when I mumbled “can you make it un-flat?” it must have sounded like:
    “I would like you to make me look just like my mother. How big do you think you can make my hair?”

It's an easy mistake to make and I'm sure it's common for customers to want to be a foot taller when they leave.

Failure No 3.
    “Is 2pm ok?”
    “Anything earlier?”
    “I can do 1:30pm.”
    “1:30pm works for me. See you then”

You didn't really have 1:30 available, did you. If you did you wouldn't have left me sitting in front of a mirror staring at myself for half an hour. At the stroke of 2pm my hairdressers (soon to be ex-hairdresser) bounces over. “So, what are we doing today?”
I won't repeat my response as there may be children reading.
My lesson of the day here is don't make smart-arse comments to people with pointy little scissors who have the ability to make you a social leper with the most appalling haircut since Billy Ray Cyrus.

Are hats in fashion this year?

03 January, 2010

Loaves and Fishes

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs when you invite friends over for a New Year's Day barbecue. It's called the Loaves and Fishes effect. Ever since council workers in Jerusalem had to clean up after a picnic held a couple thousand years ago, mathematicians have been trying to determine the formula to calculate the volume of leftovers relative to the amount of food and drink you started with.

I am going to attempt to solve this mathematical mystery which has confounded some of the greatest minds in history: Why do you end up more food and drink after the party than you had at the start?

First you need the starting point - How much food and drink did you supply? I'm a glutton for punishment and a bit of a control freak so I decided that I would provide all the food and my guests could bring what ever they wanted to drink. I have country hospitality as part of my DNA and this dictates that the greatest failure when hosting a gathering is to run out of food. So, with the benefit of hindsight, I may have gone a little over the top on the food. True to my nature, on the day of the BBQ I was in a panic that I didn't have enough for everybody to eat and I was wondering where I could get extra lamb cutlets on New Years Day.

To make the formula easier to read I shall refer to the original supply of food and drink as Ridiculous Original Oversupply (ROO) . To determine the multiplier effect, next I have to look at the other variables in the formula.

The Guilt Multiplier (GM).
Nobody like to turn up to a party empty handed so, along with my original supply of food, some additional extra dishes managed to sneak their way in. I could have stuck these in the fridge and given them back to their owners as they were leaving, but they tasted better than what I had made.

Designated Driver Offset (DDO)
One of the problems in living miles from anywhere is everybody needs to have a designated driver. The excuse for a barbecue was a get together of girlfriends I had worked with for many years, so the ladies turned up with a couple bottles of wine each (a reasonable quantity given the amounts we have consumed over the years). Their husbands (aka designated driver) followed behind with a hang-dog look and a six pack of light beer. University tests have shown that nobody can drink a six-pack of light beer. After three light beers your brain creates a barrier that stops you for reaching for another one. The same tests showed that nobody is willing to take their un-drunk light beer home with them. The beers are happily abandoned for the host to deal with (ie take to the next party and dump there)

Dregs (D)
In the bottom of every bottle of wine is the last half a glass that nobody got around to drinking. This tradition can be traced back to ancient times when this portion was used as offering to the gods of boozy nights outs. In more recent times it can be more directly attributed to being a too pissed to remember what bottle you were drinking from. It's just easier to start another bottle.

Catering for Everybody Syndrome (CES)
This is linked to the Ridiculous Original Oversupply (ROO). Some of my guests were vegetarians, others don't eat spicy food, so the lumps of meat bathed with a chilli marinade was going to be a problem. Alternate dishes were provided and I needed to do enough for everybody just in case they were feeling like experimenting with an alternate life style on the day of my BBQ.

The Festive Hangover (FH)
The Festive Hangover introduces outside influences into the equation. This is used to calculate the effect of having guests who arrive already burdened with a hangover from parting a little too hard for New Year's Eve the previous night (is that glass of water a little too strong? You're still the odd shade of green). Add to this the no-shows who were still on Sing Star at 4am that morning (you know who you are).

Once you know all the variables and you just have to build the formula:

n being the number of guests
DDBHWPTDW being dregs drunk by host while packing the dishwasher.

143.54% is the magic number. Regardless of the number of people you invite and all the planning you put into your BBQ, you will always end up with 143.54% more food and drink than your started with.

I will win a Noble Prize for this.