Friday, 29 April 2011

Cleaning Music Mix

Ephemera — Retro Housewife Kitchen Rug

Are you anything like me? Do you find it hard to get motivated with cleaning the house? I do! Though once I get started on one thing I sometimes find myself moving on to other things that need doing — and so the ball gets rolling.
Late last night, about two in the morning, I got to thinking about motivational techniques for cleaning the house. I had the perfect answer — music. I love dancing to music, exercising to music and working to music. Something about the rhythm can get me moving.
Following is my own list of inspirational ‘house cleaning’ music:
·      Elevation — U2
·      Jump — The Pointer Sisters
·      Jump — Van Halen
·      Wanna Be Startin’ Something — Michael Jackson
·      I Love Rock‘n’Roll — Joan Jett
·      I Ain’t Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore — Divinyls
·      What You Waitin’ For — Gwen Stefani
·      Another Way To Die — Alicia Keyes & Jack White
·      My Doorbell — The White Stripes
·      Saving the Day — Alessi Brothers
·      Ghostbusters — Ray Parker Jr
·      Shake A Tail Feather — Ray Charles
·      We Used To Be Friends — The Dandy Warhols
·      Cherry Lips — Garbage
What music inspires you to clean house?

I Finally Got There

Hoorah-hoorah! Friday has finally touched down. And I am in a wonderful state of mind.
This morning I managed to finish knitting my scarf a week ahead of my own deadline. I think it helped playing Pride & Prejudice (the BBC series) in the background while I worked that wool and knitting needles.
This week I ate my way through a whole country’s worth of Easter chocolate. At one point my husband had to wonder “Didn’t we have four chocolate bunnies?” I nodded and pointed at my stomach. Honestly, I have such a sweet tooth for chocolate that the only way to keep me from eating it is — if it’s hidden from me, or if I actually forget that it’s in the house. I prefer the second option, because it is so exciting when you discover a massive chocolate supply weeks after you bought it. Whereas, if it’s hidden, my chocolate seeking nose will somehow, still find it out.
Lately I have been trying to do a bit more reading. The past week or so I have gotten through Jane Eyre, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass. The next book I intend to read on my Nintendo DS is Pilgrim’s Progress, written by John Bunyan. I think I recall this story being referenced in Little Women.
I wonder what next week has in store for me.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Monday Musings

Monday! Monday! Here we are again.
Well now. What is going on with this weather, I ask you. Sure the evenings drop to a decently freezing level, but then what about today. It has been like a perfect spring day.
So, what have I been up to? Let me see…
Gwen and I made a trip to Landcox Park. I hadn’t been there in a very long while. It was Gwen’s first time there, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. It is such a lovely spot. Michael and I affectionately call it the duck park for one very obvious reason — ducks live there. Years ago Michael and I used to ride our bikes to Landcox Park and have picnics. We even got married at this park.

Old Memories in Landcox Park
The past few days I have been knitting a black ‘n’ pink scarf for myself. I love, love, love it, and can hardly wait till it is finished. It is to be a narrow scarf, and reaaaaaallllllly long.
My Knitting
Last night I finished reading Anne Brontës’ The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on my Nintendo DS. Now I am on to Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Brontë. I love reading these classics on my Nintendo DS, especially late at night, when there is nothing left to do. It’s like a book and night-light all rolled into one.
There are other things I want to do. Perhaps later this week I will make a list. I haven’t made a list in such a long while. I like a list. It provides me with a bit of order in a world full of chaos.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

My Creative Space

My scarf notes.

Inspiration: Harry Potter scarfs.

Today I shall begin knitting myself a scarf. I have been inspired by the long scarfs, which were worn in one of the Harry Potter films. The colour scheme I have chosen is inspired by another blogger’s jumper knitting, which also used black and pink. As soon as I saw these two colours together I just knew how my scarf project would be.
Yesterday my daughter and I made a small trip to the local wool shop. I am so lucky it is only a two-minute walk. I chose my knitting yarn for my scarf, plus some pink ribbon for Gwen [the ribbon became a lead for a certain Barbie car, so that it can be pulled along.].

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Open Book Project

I surprised myself today, upon finding a transcript of a journal I had written in my second last year of high school. Years ago I had destroyed the original hand written journal. At the time I believed this act of destruction would have a healing affect. Most people who have gone through their teen years will agree that this period was a difficult battleground. Some people learnt from the challenges, but years later some people still feel the rawness in their emotional battle scars.
The Reach organization is hosting an awesome online event known as the Open Book Project. The aim of this project is to show today’s teenagers that adults once went through similar issues when growing up. I thought this was such a wonderful opportunity, so I contributed an entry from my journal.

You can check out my old journal entry over at…

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My Gaming Worlds

Monkey Island

Blistering days were spent in my bedroom, with a ceiling fan running, an ice filled tumbler of Coca-Cola and a small packet of American Jelly Beans at hand.
Even though it is four in the afternoon the temperature is hot, hot, hot and the only thing to do at times like this is to be still as possible. Although I am planted to my chair in a suburban house and neighbourhood my mind is somewhere far away, exploring tropical exotic locales. It is the summer of 1992/93, I am thirteen and playing The Secret of Monkey Island on my big arse Amiga Commodore.
For many of my teenage years the world of Monkey Island was home away from home. Like reading a good book I could immerse myself in a world of tropical islands, pirates, sharp sarcastic wit and three-headed monkeys.
I loved playing this game so much that even when the computer was turned off I couldn’t get it out of my head. I paper crafted some of the items from the inventory of the game such as letters, recipes, wanted posters. I almost went as far as designing and sewing dolls based on the characters of Monkey Island.
Other computer games that filled my imagination included Captain Planet and The Great Giana Sisters.
Captain Planet
Dad and I once attended a computer event at the old Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, and it was there that I acquired Captain Planet. This was a brilliantly colourful and difficult game, which further enticed me to try and complete it. One fateful school holiday, I clocked ten hours at the game [believe me when I say the levels were difficult] and I was almost finished. I stopped for the night to get some sleep, confident that I could easily move through the levels the next day in a shorter time frame. Alas, the next morning I switched on the Amiga Commodore and awaited it’s loooo-ong boot up [during this time I could usually go to the loo, get a drink, choose a book to read, and start reading said book], but the computer disk had a problem. It had some sort of glitch and never played again. To this day I am left wondering what it would be like to finish the game, and the memory of it sometimes torments my soul.
The Great Giana Sisters
Now, as for The Great Giana Sisters… in my defence I did not own a Nintendo at the time. And yes, I completely acknowledge that this game is almost literally a rip off of The Super Mario Bros phenomenon. But when you are a child of Western consumerism and you don’t own a Nintendo game system you are immensely grateful for even a rip off. I clocked many hours on this game and if memory serves correct I got as far as Level 30 [or am I thinking of Lemmings 2?]. I loved playing The Great Giana Sisters, for the fact that I had a feminine superhero of sorts to play. This was years before Lara Croft became my idol, and years after I was pretending my Barbie was Indiana Jones.

Over It!

Once someone is noticeably pregnant they tend to be the object of attention of many a passing stranger. Whilst the stares can be a little unsettling, most people harmlessly just want to talk about your pregnancy. Which when I think about it, is nice that people are taking an interest.
But herein lies the rub to all this well-intentioned curiosity. Imagine every day that you step out your front door and venture out into the world. Every single time you are asked, and by no less the same people, “Are you over it?” Naturally they are referring to the pregnancy, and of course the question is intended with the best of intentions. It is showing interest, concern, and providing me an opportunity to express myself, but… When you have to answer the question every week, sometimes a few times a week depending how often you visit the green grocer, understandably you can feel your inner furnace going into high burn.
I have about two months to go with my pregnancy, and everything has been going swimmingly. No complications, and any discomforts that naturally coincide with being pregnant I take in my stride. In fact that has become my staple response to the are-you-over-it question — “Taking it in my stride”. The only problem is, by the fact that I am writing an essay about this I am clearly not really taking the question in my stride. Would I feel better if the question being asked were simply “How are you doing?”
Perhaps it’s a female instinct to think that we all just want an opportunity to complain. My saying this may be a presumption but I only suspect this, because I often meet mothers whose eyes light up and excitedly talk about their favourite horror pregnancy tales. Truly someone once said to me “Oh, I love swapping horror labour stories”. I usually end up disappointing these people because the arrival of my first child was normal and without complication — it was a perfectly normal experience.
All in all, I am appreciating being pregnant. It is not always an experience that every woman can have in her lifetime. Knowing this gives me all the more reason to slow down and simply enjoy being pregnant. So putting things into to perspective perhaps I can extend this feeling enough to not be upset the next time someone asks me “Are you over it?”

Monday, 11 April 2011

Clock Craft

One of my daughter’s many obsessions is ‘clocks’. Wherever we may be she will point out a clock. She even refers to a wristwatch as a clock. So, since she is learning to count I thought she would love a craft clock that can be played with. This is how it was done…
You will need:
·      Paper plate
·      Card
·      Texta pens
·      Metal paper binding pin
·      Sewing needle

1. Mark the centre point of your paper plate with pen or pencil.
Create a tiny puncture in this point using a needle.

2. Draw, colour and cut out the clock hands on card.
Create a tiny puncture near the end of each hand, using a needle.

3. Grab the binding pin.

4. Insert the pin into the small hand, big hand, then the paper plate.
Fold down the metal on the opposite side of the plate to close the pin.
Carefully move the hands around the plate to loosen the pin’s hold.

5. Final touch — write numbers 1 to 12 around the plate edge, just as it is on a clock face. Voila! It’s done.

Monday Musings and Books

Yeee-esss! Many dried cuticles and one callus later I finished knitting my red beanie. Thank goodness for that. The temperature this weekend was finally turning toward a colder climate. This, after weeks of the Autumn season having an identity crisis — still believing itself to be Summer.
So, where am I at this week? I’ll give my hands a break from my knitting, giving them a chance to recoup natural oils. Although after last night, I am quite tempted to knit myself a Gryffindor inspired scarf, after having watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
I think knitting is becoming an addiction for me. I am rather relieved when I finish a knitting project and look forward to taking a break from it. But then 24 hours later I am inspired by something else and my fingers are itching to begin knitting something new. Does this happen to you? I wonder what the odds are of me starting a new knitting project before the week is out.
What books have I been reading lately? Let’s see…
Last week a friend loaned me Sex in the City by Candace Bushnell. I read it in about two days. It was a funny and light read. I was warned that it would be a bit racy. But honestly after reading a pile of Sookie Stackhouse stories there wasn’t anything in Sex in the City that could shock me.
I had also borrowed from the library Miss Masala by Mallika Basu, a practically edible book on Indian cuisine for people just a tad short on time. I’ll have to borrow this one again sometime.

Another library book was Like I Give a Frock by Michi Girl. This was a delicious read and is such a cute coffee table/hand bag book. Hmmm, ‘edible’ and ‘delicious’ — with words like that I must be hungry.

Now I am rereading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Going back through the Harry Potter stories has me having quite a few ah-hah moments. All the mysterious parts of the story that came together at the end, JK Rowling was already hinting to in the earlier books. So there you go, the woman really did have the whole saga properly planned from the beginning. Considering how complex the story is that must have taken a lot of effort.
Plus, I still have a pile of ‘classic’ books in my Nintendo DS that I have yet to get through, so I’ll no doubt get to that next.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

What Are You Singing?

Have you ever heard a catchy song on the radio that you loved so much it became your personal anthem? You couldn’t get enough of that song. You simply had to sing along every time it played on the radio — it lifted you so high. But then that thing happens. Like when people learnt the world is not flat and that the Earth is not the centre of the universe.
Sometimes you listen to a song and no matter how many times you’ve heard it, the singer’s voice is so heavily accented, indistinct or simply overpowered by all the other instruments that the words we hear are so completely different from the lyrical content.
When this sort of thing happens it can be funny, annoying or in my case downright embarrassing.
I remember when Kylie Minogue covered Locomotion (originally performed by Little Eva) and it was something of a hit here in Australia. One day I was at the public swimming pool, sitting on the ground in a circle of peers. Someone began singing Locomotion and the rest of us joined in. When it came to the line ‘you gotta swing your hips, now’, I committed a faux pas — I sang [gasp] ‘you gotta swing your tits, now’. In my defence let me just point out that I was a child and I really did believe that this was what was being sung. After all I had been singing this for many a week when I was home alone. But my innocent slip was not seen that way. Everyone paused in mid song, turned and stared at me. One girl screwed up her nose and declared ‘that’s disgusting’. All the blood in my body rushed to my face and I turned into a tomato.
I am not sure though that any lesson was learnt that day, except that I had knack for embarrassing myself.
Years down the track Gwen Stefani, one of my favourite artists, came out with What You Waiting For? I loved, loved, loved this song, it got into my head and pumped through my heart. I listened and sang along to it almost all the time. But then… Oops, I did it again! Can you guess what happened? When Gwen sang the line ‘They’re waiting for your next track’, I was right back at her with ‘They’re waiting for your heart attack’.
At this point I’m thinking, I should probably check lyrics of my favourite songs online before howling, off key, what I believe to be the song at the top of my lungs when driving down the highway.
I thought I’d share other wonderful examples of when we got the song line so completely wrong:
  • Smoke on the Water [Deep Purple] — Slow talking Walter
  • Our Lips are sealed [The Go Gos] — Alex the Seal
  • Boys Light Up [Australian Crawl] — Balls Up
  • Tiny Dancer [Elton John] — Hold me close Tony Danza

Monday, 4 April 2011

She doesn't have a lot to do, and does it well

The girl likes to dabble. Willing to give anything a go. She is trying to find something by which to leave her mark.
  • She tried photography but found people too willing and landscapes behaved in a most difficult manner.
  • She tried painting and drawing, but even with this her work hardly drew attention.
  • She tried cooking and baking. Her attempts at exotic cuisine were a bit hit and miss, usually ending in a late night trip to Maccas. Her baking of course had a constipating affect. But we’ll not go there.
  • She tried her hand at fashion design, discovering that this required patience. Something she didn’t have a lot of. Oh, and she needed to be fashionable — a concept that continually evaded her wardrobe.
  • She thought about becoming a teacher. But this would mean returning to school. Lord no! She was relieved when high school ended.
  • She considered becoming a gardener. After all she does love flowers. But then she remembers that she bought a gardenia last month. When was the last time she watered it? Oops! Better go check on the plant.
  • She could try a career in acting, but due to her extreme shortness, she is fated to playing fairies.
  • She tried being a professional public speaker, but then realised she didn’t have anything to say.
  • She gave the violin a go, but the cat had some mean things to say about her practice.

She is now between dabbling. She is reading and doodling and knitting a little. For the time being she doesn’t have a lot to do, and does it well.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


Saturday — The opener for the weekend. This is usually the day that people get out and take stock of what hasn’t been done during the week. Be it grocery shopping, cleaning the truly gross build up in the toilet, and clipping the cat’s claws. All those generally mundane chores that is tiresome but often necessary.
Just sometimes though, Saturday comes along and the house is in order and there is enough in the pantry to seriously put Old Mother Hubbard to shame. So what do you do when a gem of a Saturday like this comes your way? Can you say ‘relax’?
Today is just one of those magical Saturdays. You may wonder how we are making this work. Well, there really are only two little trade secrets. Though I really wouldn’t say ‘secret’. There is nothing clandestine about what I am to share with you.
·      For starters, shopping is saved for another day, usually the middle of the week.
·      Sections of the house are cleaned as it is required, and not saved up for the one day of the week. Thus cleaning up does not become an all day endurance event.
There was nothing complicated about that, was there?
Saturday has become a day of relaxation for my family. A snap shot of this peaceful scene, you will find my daughter blowing bubbles, my husband playing Playstation 3, and I while away the time knitting, reading and writing this little piece. We may fit in a family walk and visit some pretty local park. Sit down to a cup of tea and a little bit of chocolate; discuss the week gone by and plans for the future.
What are you doing with your Saturday?

Friday, 1 April 2011

Four in the Morning

Lately I have been waking up anywhere between two and four in the morning. Brain is completely fired up and ready for action. I am wired and fully awake. And I do mean AWAKE. Thoughts and concepts are flying about in my head going off like Fourth of July fireworks. It is the perfect time for brainstorming and getting my writing into motion.
Except it isn’t really the perfect time for doing anything. I don’t want to get out of bed. I am comfortable. I worry about waking up the other people in the house. If I do get up it means needing an extra long nap the following day.
So what is my next option? I can continue to lie in bed concentrating really hard on my planet moving ideas. That way when I wake up in the morning I will remember and write it all down when I am in a more vertical position.
Except, when I wake up I generally cannot recall what my thoughts were. As for the ideas I do remember, I then wonder why those thoughts were so wonderful in the first place.
So, where does that leave me?