Friday, October 29, 2010

If I didn't have you.

I had the most beautiful morning today.  My lovely husband and I went to the local surf club for breakfast.  We sat out on the deck overlooking the beach and the ocean.  We even saw a whale....or a was hard to tell from 5kms away.  Either way there was a dark shape out there which was definitely moving.  We were having such a lovely morning that I forgave the useless chef for over-cooking my poached eggs.  (Of course he stuffed them up because I didn't have to pay an extra friggin dollar.)  I also forgave the barista for making my coffee too strong.  What the hell is a barista anyway?  We used to have coffee-makers, now someone is trying to culture us up and turn our perfectly good coffee-makers into baristas.  Well, can I tell you something barista person?  Just cause you call yourself a barista doesn't mean you make the coffee any better.

Anyway, I was having quite a lovely morning when I had a moment of reflection which made me pause for a moment.  I looked at my husband and thought to myself "what would I do if I didn't have you?".  It scared me a little bit actually.  I mean he's not perfect.  Actually he's far from it.  But I quite like him and for just a moment I wondered what my life would be like if he wasn't around.  I pondered this and tried to think how I could put it into words.  I then decided I couldn't be bothered, so I thought I'd leave it up to Tim Minchin do it for me.  So, take it away Tim.......

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't take it personally.

I've worked out us humans don't like being told no and many of us also have trouble saying no.  I know, I'm obviously a genius to have worked this out, but it really makes me wonder why it's so important to us. Today I said no to someone, and they were hideously offended, demanding the reason why I would be so bold as to say no.  Well love, it's none of your friggin business actually.  I just don't want to! 

Just because I say no doesn't mean I don't like you.  Of course it may not mean I do like you either, but that's not the point.  It doesn't mean I don't like what you're offering or that I'm intentionally trying to offend you.  It just means no, not this time.  Or maybe never.  Who cares.  It's just no. 

My problem is I don't say no often enough.  I like to avoid the exact thing that happened to me today.  I don't like letting people down, which is strange cause I'm not a big fan of people so why should I really care?

My life has been a mixture of being a yes and a no person.  Up until the last few years if you asked me to go for a helicopter ride, I would've said no. If you'd suggested I swim in the surf, I would have said no.  If you suggested I start writing a blog, I would have pissed myself laughing, then would have said no.  I really had no sense of adventure (which is odd because I'm a rally co-driver, but that's a story for another time).  I just didn't want to do anything that was out of my comfort zone.

On the other hand though, if you asked me to help you pretty much in any way, I'd say yeah, sure.  I'd agree to look after your kids (even though I don't really care for kids that much), be secretary of the pre-school or run a school fete.  And I wouldn't even wait to be asked.  I'd stick my bloody hand up for it!  "Hey, pick me!  I'm hanging to volunteer to do something I really don't want to".  Seriously, what sort of idiot am I?

So my problem now is that I'm starting to conquer one side of  my yes/no persona but my other side still needs a lot of work.  Today if you suggest I jump out of a perfectly good plane, I probably won't say yes, but I'd come up with a workable compromise.  Something along the lines of  "How about I watch YOU jump out of a perfectly good plane?"  I will say yes to going on that ride at the theme park, I'll say yes to bobbing around in the surf like a pogo stick and I'll say yes to learning how to row a kayak.  And my life has been so much better for it.

Now all I need to do is teach the other side of my personality to say no.  Next time the position of class co-ordinator becomes available, I really want to say no.  After I conquer running the school fete, I need to say "thanks for experience, but I don't want to do that again".  I need to remember I don't actually like children all that much when I'm about to volunteer to have 57 of the little shits over to my house for a playdate.

I guess that's something for me to keep working on.  In the meantime I'll keep saying yes to all the things I used to be scared of doing and practice saying no to all the things I don't want to do.  And it would be doing me a big favour if you don't take it personally.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What a dumb idea.

I recently went along to my daughter's schools P & F Meeting.  That’s Parents and Friends for those of us who remember it as P & C.  I was quite surprised to find a grand total of five parents there (excluding committee).  Seriously, how hard is it to drag your sorry arse out one night a term to check out what’s going on in your school.  Yes, I know everyone’s busy with work and children and eating Pizza Hut in front of the telly so you don’t miss Masterchef, but seriously, is it really that hard?  4 times a year!

Anyway, I go to this meeting and find it’s really cool because they have wine and food.  I like these Parents and Friends.  Of course I now realize why they have wine and food. They’re making sure you’re nice and relaxed when they hit you with the “Oh we’re still looking for a <insert name of position here>, would you be interested?  In my case it was for a position entitled Fete Convener.  I didn’t even know how to spell the word convener until then so I clearly had no idea what this position would involve.  I had a vision of standing behind a trestle table selling sausages at Bunnings and figured that could be fun.  Obviously being the Convenor I would probably need to organise the trestle table.

So I organise to have a coffee with the Outgoing Fete Convener (OFC).  We arrange to meet at Gloria Jeans.  At least in a public place someone will notice me trying to escape.  I know I’m in trouble when not only does the outgoing Fete Convener turn up, but so does the P & F President.  They’ve sent in the big guns.  I’m feeling very outnumbered and now wish I hadn’t ordered decaf.  I need to be much more alert.  So we have a nice chat while trying to be dainty eating our toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwiches.  I wonder why we insist on putting tomato on sandwiches.  It either squishes up into a horrible red mess or it simply falls off the sandwich.  I think Gloria Jeans have the right idea by squashing it so horribly in the toasting machine that everything just glues together.  Much easier.

Anyway we have a chat and I discover that the Fete they are talking about is the one I went to last year when Emily was in Prep.  Now as far as I’m concerned this is not a Fete.  A fete is trestle tables with stuff on them.  Little homemade cakes, brownies, jams, little crap things that no one wants anymore that they redesign and call paperweights.  The “fete” they are talking about is not a real fete.  There ARE trestle tables which are used on all of the 30 or so stalls.  There’s also rides.  Lots of them.  There’s a stage where there is entertainment.  There’s raffles and cent auctions.  There’s an art exhibition. No, this is not a Fete, it’s the friggin Ekka!

So our little chat goes quite well.  OFC assures me as long as I’m organized it’s a pretty straight forward job.  She’s very organized, she says, and has everything I could possibly want in two folders which she’ll apparently only show me once I commit to the position.  I figure how hard can it be?  And I know I need to do something with my life as it’s been nearly a year since I sold my business.  How long a break does one actually need?  So I say yes, and then wonder why I have developed a headache when I’m only drinking decaf.  I felt excited, euphoric almost that I now have a title.  Fete Convener. My life now has purpose.  

In the weeks that have passed since then I've found myself thinking a lot more about my future plans and unfortunately I've realised that my life purpose is not actually to run the school Fete.  That's a bummer. Would have been handy to have known that a bit sooner.  Oh well, no turning back now.  Come visit me there in 6 months.  I'll be the one holding up the bar making rude gestures with the German sausages.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If you can walk in them, then why bother?

There are two types of shopping - solo shopping and social shopping. 

Solo shopping is, as the name suggests, when you go shopping by yourself.  These shopping trips are for basic needs such as groceries or everyday clothing.  This would include cotton underwear, t-shirts, unisex jeans, flat and comfortable shoes, flannelette pyjamas, etc. 

Social shopping is when you shop with a friend (or friends if you're lucky enough to have more than one).  This type of shopping is solely reserved for non-essential and totally inappropriate items such as bikinis you will never wear, a pair of jeans to join the other 19 pairs in your wardrobe, a new handbag, anything from the perfume and make-up counter, most jewellery, and shoes which weren't meant for walking.  Everything must be purchased at full price.

I don't like solo shopping.  It's stupid and a waste of time.  Social shopping is my passion.  I'm quite good at it.  I was taught by a friend who is a master at it.  Unfortunately we now live in different states which means we only get to social shop once or twice a year.  This has become even more depressing since discovering that none of my new found friends really "get" social shopping.  I have one friend who clearly tries, but just doesn't get the concept.  She proudly "status updated" that she bought 3 pairs of shoes in one go!  I was impressed by this yet also a bit concerned as it turns out she was solo shopping at the time.  Upon further investigation it turns out she bought those 3 pairs at K-Mart for a total of $59, AND at least 2 of those pairs were flat and comfortable.  What a ridiculous waste of time.

Today I was hoping for a win.  I went shopping with another friend for the specific purpose of finding her an outfit for our Melbourne Cup lunch next week.  (For those that are unaware, the Melbourne Cup is a horse race which requires everyone to dress up, wear big hats, drink a lot of alcohol and avoid getting glassed at Swell). I was excited to be going social shopping and was salivating over the possibilites.....hats to be tried on, dresses to be squeezed into and shoe heels to be measured.   Unfortunately my best laid plans came crashing down when I rang her to arrange a place to meet and she suggested Colorado.  FFS.  Comfortable cotton clothes that they make up to a size 18!  What the hell was she thinking?! 

So anyway, my day went from anticipation and excitement to comfortable shoes from Colorado, sneakers from Athletes Foot and an oversized top from Noni B.  Not to be deterred, I did manage to get her to try on two completely inappropriate dresses and although she chose not to purchase them, I came away with the feeling that I may have had just a little win.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Golf is shit.

When we moved to our current location I decided to take up golf.  It seemed the logical thing to do since we had moved to a suburb with 4 golf courses and a driving range.  It was either that or take up horse riding, and I've been put off that since our Year 6 school camp to San Michele where I rode a horse called Patch who shit himself the whole time I was on him.  Bloody disgusting.  Anyway, golf it was.

As a kid I used to play tennis, and was pretty good at it if I do say so myself, so I figured how hard could golf be?  It's the same concept....hitting a ball with a stick.  And frankly it should be heaps easier cause the ball isn't even moving.  So I bought myself a set of bats and decided to get some lessons.  This was mistake number 1.  For someone who can be mildly competitive, learning the correct golfing technique is fraught with danger.  Because I learnt everything I needed to know, I stupidly expected I would play well.  Well that doesn't just happen.  Apparently having good hand/eye co-ordination doesn't cut it in the golfing world.  You have to get your weight right, don't move your head, don't stand too straight, don't bend too much, don't twist too much, don't swing so far back, but make sure you swing further than that! 

So I do all the crap the instructor tells me to and I eventually get reasonably good.  He even videos me swinging and points out that he could see my earlobe in that shot, which clearly demonstrates why my ball ended up on the wrong fairway.  What a load of bollocks.

So anyway, I practiced and practiced and then decided to join a ladies social competition at one of the local clubs.  I was the youngest there by about 70 years and one of the few who didn't need a cart due to the onset of arthritis.  I realised all my lessons were pretty much a waste of time when I got beaten by an 'A' grader who uses her putter for everything except teeing off.  What about my beautiful drives, my stunning chip shots and my to-die-for mid-range shots?  Well, no one could care less, cause all anyone wanted was that little plastic trophy, and if that meant hitting the ball like a hockey player, then so be it. 

Due to my mild competitive streak I continued playing for a number of months until I had managed to win A Grade, not once but twice!  I then realised I had achieved everything I was ever going to achieve, and have now retired to social golf every Monday with a friend who doesn't give a rats about the score, as long as we've got time for our latte afterwards.  And that's probably the way golf should be.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You can take your poached eggs and shove em....

I like poached eggs.  I can make them at home quite easily.  In fact I'd say I'm fairly proficient at it.  I don't find them any more challenging to make than, say scrambled eggs, so when I go out for breakfast on a weekend I don't consider that the "chef" may find them in any way tricky or terribly time time consuming. 

So imagine my surprise when I was slugged an extra dollar at our local cafe this morning for the privilege of ordering my eggs poached.  Now, let me clarify, there was no disclaimer on the menu saying "cause we find poaching eggs a particularly onerous task, we are charging you $1 to turn you off ordering them".  Nothing of the sort.  I ordered, I was asked how I wanted my eggs, and then watched as the waitress pressed a button on her fancy ordering system which added an extra $1.50.  When I politely pointed out that it doesn't say anything on the menu about extra charges, she checked with one of the co-owners who confirmed that there was an extra charge of $1 (not $1.50).  Then she had to work out how to change the extra charge amount on her fancy ordering system, couldn't, and gave up.  I paid my $1 extra for my poached eggs (which were lovely) and vowed I'd order one less coffee from them next week just to stick it up them.  That'll teach em!

If you own a cafe and have to charge extra to poach an egg, you either need to put your prices up, or take a up new career cause you're friggin useless.  Surely even the little darlings on Junior Masterchef can poach an egg without cyring.

So, I just don't get it.  They are clearly proficient at cooking a poached egg, and their scrambled eggs have more than 2 eggs in them, so what's the extra charge for?  I bet they're just trying to stick it up us posh people who like our eggs done in a posh way.  Well, you're not getting away with it.......ok, well you did this time......but never again.  In future I'll dribble scrambled eggs down my face with all the other losers and you can take your poached eggs and your extra dollar and shove em......sunnyside up.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Skin care, jewellery and tupperware.

I'm going to a skin care "party" tonight.  First it's not a party.  There is no music, no balloons, no sleazy guy in the corner, not even a cake.  It's a sales pitch.  Throw in a glass of cheap wine and some crappy dip you found at the back of your fridge and all of a sudden you have a party.  Not likely. 

I'm a little bit fragile today.  My social calendar is currently full of such "parties".  To me this indicates I have no life and I'll do anything that reminds me of days past when I used to go to real parties that didn't require you to discuss the merits of certain types of plastic.  Tonight should be a corker though.  They're apparently going to show us how some jars of cream and bottles of potions will stop us looking older.  What a crock.  But you know what?  I'll buy something.  I always do. It's not that I'm a sucker...far from's just my way of saying thanks for inviting me.  Thanks for giving me a night out and giving me a glass of shit wine and letting me devour your not-quite-off dip. 

A friend posted on her Facebook status today that she was looking forward to her "girls night out" tonight.  I was a bit jealous for a minute before I realised she's coming to the "party" tonight.  See, I never thought of it as a girls night out.  Firstly, when it's at someone's house, it's a night in. Secondly, there's always that underlying pressure of listening, sampling and nodding politely that for me just makes it painful to be at, and that's not what a girls night out should be.  It should be about a nice meal, a few drinks and avoiding getting glassed at Swell.  Now, THAT's a girls night out.

And then of course there's the hit up at the end.  They all want ME to hold a party.  No way sister.  It ain't happening.  I'll happily drag my sorry arse to someone else's house, but having one myself is just scraping the barrel for me.  I might as well have a flashing neon sign over my head saying "pick me, I've used up all my girl's night out party invitations so have to resort to having one myself.  Please come.  It'll be embarrasing if no one turns up.  I'll even supply cheap champagne."  That's one expensive neon sign.

But I guess this is my life now.  I do miss the days when I had a night out for no reason.  Not to celebrate someone's birthday, or to go to a tupperware party, or to celebrate a special occasion.  Just a night out for the sake of it.  At least if I did that now I could wear my Moodi dress, my Esteem jewellery and wear my $200 face cream.  Then I'd come home and nibble a few nuts out of my Tupperware container and go to sleep on my Lorraine Lea sheets.  I guess these girl's night's aren't a waste after all.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What do you do with a dead sheep?

Well, this week didn't start off well at all.  We were away for the weekend and came back to find one of our pet sheep had died.  If you think that means dinner for the next couple of weeks is all organised, then you'd be sadly mistaken.  Our two sheep, Dolly and Freckles were/are pretty old.  Their meat would be as tough as old boot leather I imagine and seriously how could you eat your own pet anyway?!

Even though we were expecting this moment eventually, it's still a terrible shock.  Poor Emily was devastated and couldn't stop crying.  Strangely I found this quite comforting.  She's not one for noticing much about what happens around her and doesn't seem to care all that much about, well, anything really, so it was nice to see she really did "get it".  She goes to a Lutheran school so she obviously learns about God etc. but she's never mentioned the G word at all.  Until that night.  She asked "Can God read your mind?".  Now, truth be told, if I'd been honest I would have said that I didn't believe in God, but not wanting to disappoint the poor girl twice in one day I came out with "no, but I can!".  This of course horrified her more than anything else I could have said and she now practices keeping a blank canvas inside her head to make sure I don't intrude which of course means she doesn't think in any sane way at all. 

Reminder - do short course on how to talk to children about religion.

In any case, after we'd all had a good cry, we awoke to the new day.  I carted Emily off to school (don't want the mourning to go on too long) and it was then that we realised we had the task of disposing of our beloved Dolly.  We considered digging a hole in the paddock, burying her and making a nice little grave, but practicality took over.  Or perhaps we were just too lazy.  Either way we decided to find "a man" to come and collect her.  Surely they'd be somone who would.  And find someone we did.  He wanted $650 to come and pick her up!  You've got to be kidding. So we did some further investigation and we found that we could take her to a place that has a special spot for deceased animals.  Well, OK it's a tip, but they DID have a special spot for her.  So we wrapped her up in a tarp and placed her in the back of the ute.  Problem was it was a 45 min drive and Dolly was starting to....well.....stink.  It was a very unpleasant drive.

So anyway, poor Dolly's body is now at the tip and according to Emily she is a lovely angel.  And next week we're getting delivered some new 1 year old lambs.  And tomorrow night we're having lamb cutlets.  Life must go on.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Starting at the beginning.

My name is Karen and I’m a housewife. 

Wow, that was hard to write.  It’s hard to put in black and white something that was never supposed to happen.  To acknowledge that this is my title, my being.  This is what I am.  A housewife.  Just a housewife.  No more, sometimes less.

I’m 37 years old and have been married for nearly 10 years to Matt (Matthew when he’s not listening).  He’s my husband.  He’s pretty cool.  I could say he was good looking, wonderful, witty, kind, adorable and any other number of words, but I’m not the gushing kind (and I don’t like lying), so he’s just pretty cool. 

We have one child (OMG!  Just one?!).  She is a girl and her name is Emily.  She’s pretty cool too.  Well most of the time.  Sometimes she’s just so damn childish.  You don’t want that from a 6 year old.  It appears my world revolves around her.  That wasn’t supposed to happen.

I think I’m pretty intelligent, relatively nice, have a decent sense of humour and sometimes swear inappropriately.  I acknowledge that many people can’t see these wonderful traits in me, but that’s not my concern.  I’m not terribly concerned about what people think of me, but I’ve begun to realize that I DO worry about what I think of myself.  Gee, I can beat myself up.  I’m not normally the sort of person who does a lot of soul searching, but lately I’ve found myself contemplating just what has become of my life, how it turned out like that, and have become aware that Monty Python actually does make sense.

I’ve decided to take myself on a little journey to discover what I’ve done with my life, what I shouldn’t have done, what I should do and if it really matters at all.  I remember as a kid I used to lay in bed contemplating the meaning of life.  How did I get here?  Yes, I know how I got here physically, but what is the purpose of us, the human race?  Who or what decided we should exist?  I spent many months as a 10 year old trying to work this out and in the end made a conscious decision that it didn’t matter because I was starting to fall behind with my clarinet practice.  Well, now nearly 30 years on, I’m starting to wonder if it does in fact matter, as playing the clarinet clearly didn’t.

So, this little blog is solely to help me through my life to discover if it really has been as boring as it appears to be and to give me a place to have a whinge about myself.  But right now I think it’s time for a cup of tea and a little lay down….