Saturday, 31 January 2009

A Court Date to Remember

It isn't often that Dal and I get to go on dates. Lack of close by family and a slow cash flow make it really difficult to spend some quality alone time together. When we do get some alone time, usually after LQ is in bed, we will sit down and watch a movie together or eat something fattening together.... you know that's the sort of thing that strengthens a marriage.

I am sure you have guessed by the previous post that Grandma is visiting LQ at the moment, so Dal and I took advantage of Grandma's great love for LQ and skipped out the door on Friday morning to go to court. Yep, court. If you haven't thought of a courtroom for a romantic date, you have been missing out. Dal and I managed to stumble upon this potential date when we appeared at the North Ryde Court House on Friday to contest an unpaid parking fine. I know, "unpaid parking fine"... not the most exciting reason to be summoned to court. I was considering embellishing the story for the story's sake and telling you that we are really under witness protection and we were asked to give evidence at a hearing. But I am sure you would have guessed otherwise (considering most of my readers are related to me).

Even if you don't have a reason to go to court, find out the busiest courthouse times, get there early for a good seat and enjoy the show. This is how your date will most likely pan out:

  • Upon early arrival, you may be approached by a short shady looking lady (or man) soliciting work for her/his blind lawyer employer. Short Shady will ask if you are already represented today and if you reply in the negative, he/she will then let you know that the blind lawyer's services are available to you at any price you name. That's right, whatever money you have on you, they will gladly take. I suggest politely, but firmly declining the offer. I saw one particular Robbie Williams look alike take them up on their offer. Only to find out later in court that he really didn't have a case at all and was given the full penalty regardless of his representation. I only hope he had a mere 20 cents on his person.
  • Once you have been ushered inside, make sure to find a comfortable and well situated seat. I managed to find a seat directly over an air conditioning vent and for all my complaining about the heat, I am now suffering from frost bitten toes.
  • To start the show, you are asked to rise while the judge enters the courtroom. Make sure you watch the people who work there. They bow quite low when this happens.

The show begins. What is so wonderful about this particular date is that you really don't know what you are going to get each time. What you will come to find out is that the people
who are represented get to go first, because apparently a lawyer's time is more precious than any others.

Whether they are represented or not, here is an example of what you can expect to see.

  • There are plenty of AVO's for the judge to attend to. Of the many that we were able to witness, the one that stuck in my mind was the lady of asian descent who seemed to have beat up her poor "more mature" husband. He claimed he had no fear, so the AVO was dismissed (eek! Had no fear? or had MORE fear of being beaten for having fear?).

  • Another man was actually apprehended for his violence, but his lawyer claimed that although he had a history of violence, on this particular occasion he was not at fault and did not touch the woman who had come into his bedroom and started attacking him.... hmmm, do I believe the man with the record, or the "victim"?

After all the AVO's, we had the pleasure of witnessing the "not so bright" elements of society. These were manifest in all sorts of traffic offenses. A few speeding fines that had gone unpaid, a man who just refused to get a licence but still insisted on driving his wife's car, a young man who stopped in a bus zone and thought he had a good defense when he said "I didn't know it was a bus zone", a woman who insisted she had a reason for going
92km/hour in a 50km zone AND my all time favourite - the taxi driver.

The taxi driver believed that he was doing the right thing by letting his passengers off in a no stopping zone. First he told the judge that it was a legal thing to do. When she corrected his way of thinking, he then moved his defense to "my passengers told me to d
rop them off there." When that didn't work, he pulled out my favourite line of the day "I provide a public service!" Quick, someone give him a cookie!

Oh boy, did he get it from the Judge.... she basically said all the things that everyone wants to yell at taxi drivers as they pull illegal u-turns right in front of you.

All in all, it was a pleasant date. The Judge was very nice about our parking ticket and after hearing that Dal actually works where he got the ticket and was legally parked, she made mention about the laziness of North Ryde council and said she was sorry our time had been wasted.

NOT SO, I wanted to tell her. We got to spend time together AND after the four hour show you just gave us, we feel really good about ourselves!

We seriously considered taking the camera to document the eventful day, but didn't want to incur the wrath of the judge or those people who all had an AVO against them!

Friday, 30 January 2009

Things I have done with Grandma - by LQ

Wet her face with water from my watering can

Picked up tree debris

Watered the vegetable garden
watered my own faceRun down to the ocean
built sandcastles
destroyed sandcastles

mummy considered using this lady's skin for her next purse

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Australia Day

Australia Day - 26th January. And because my time is consumed with not catching trains, I haven't posted these photos.

Most of Australia Day consisted of this:
But then we got to have a break and we did this:

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Talents you never thought you had

As Dal and I took another carload of crap possessions to our new house, I made the comment to Dal that I was amazed at how much stuff he managed to fit into the car.

"It's almost as if the car has a black hole that keeps sucking the stuff away.  And then it spews it back out when we need it."

Dal said he too was amazed at his new found talent of packing the car to the hilt.  He attributes this talent to the fact that he now has a child.  Before the child - no talent.  After the child - talent.

I said, "just like my ability to ignore children.  Every child used to annoy me, now I am able to tune them out completely.  Especially LQ."

I would like to find out if anyone else has a new talent since having children...

Friday, 23 January 2009

I Love you Longstein('s family)

It has been another 40 degree day outside.

The hot weather started a few days ago and LQ and I had already started on the slippery slope to total liquidation.

I am not sure how LQ would go with the whole liquid thing, as most of her liquids have been snaffled up the mosquitoes that seem to be lying in wait just for her.  Had we gone on with this wretched heat, I am sure my little robust queen may have just shriveled up right before my very eyes.

Last night was particularly disgusting as we battled the still stifling heat.  LQ's legs seemed to be completely covered in little bites that were slowly being harvested into larger bites by her little fingernails.  She woke up from scratching so much and was then inconsolable.

Being the new parents that we are (and always having screens on our windows during previous summer's), Dal and I were at a loss as to what to do.  We had no calamine lotion - which is what my mum used to put on our bites in her mothering years.  In fact we had no itch abating lotion whatsoever.  I scrambled around trying to find something to help the scratchy one.  I figured we needed to cover her bites with bandages to stop her from making them worse, but of course no bandages were to be found.  The final remedy? - nappy rash cream and then cover with a bandaid.  Legs were put into long pants, while we just left her arms to the gods of less itchy.  My Little Queen LOVED that we had put about 20 different "owie badges" on her legs and arms.  She even started to recite Mickey Mouse ("Oh Tootles!") - which in LQ land means she is on her way to feeling better.

By the time we were all in bed with fans blasting us from two different directions, I had already half formulated a plan to escape from our mosquito infested oven that we call home.

Fast forward (who really wants to hear about how we slept?) to when the first bus started its engines in our bedroom.  In the light of day I was feeling well rested and a little lazier than last night and thought that maybe all my plans could be postponed.  But the temperature rose faster than I had anticipated and LQ and I were on our way out the door with a few boxes and toys, practically running to the car to escape the heat by 8.30am.

Now I sit in our dear Longsteins house.  The house we are to be moving into shortly.  You know, the house sitting gig.  And a little giggle bubbles up in my throat.  Can you remember the last time you have been so happy that you haven't been able to control the huge grin on your face OR the laughter that just keeps coming and coming.  That's me.  Giggling like a little school girl, because I AM NOT HOT!  And yet it is hot outside.

LQ and I even went outside by choice to water some plants.  I taught her all about how plants grow.  I taught her how to cup your hand and drink from the hose.  She slid down the slide.  We felt sorry for the plants outside in the stifling heat and then we went back inside and cooled right down.

So here is my love letter to Longstein's family.

Dear Longstein's Family

I love you.  Thank you so much for allowing this girl the opportunity to live the life of a suburban housewife and not the urban student life, even if it is just for six months.  I am sure these six months will buoy me up and give me the hope that I will need in the five years to come.

I stood in the kitchen today and felt excited (for the first time in my life) about cooking!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Consider us moved in, in two more days! (we will definitely pay for the air conditioning!)

Love, Hel (and Bel, and Dal)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

The Old Greek Neighbour Lady has confirmed it

"Hello Helen"

"Hi, How are you?"

" Good, Good"

(awkward pause) - these happen often because she can't understand a word I say, so I have given up trying to have a conversation with her.

Greek Neighbour Lady: "You Fat. Having baby?"

Me: (in complete shock) "No, just eat too much I guess"

Mind you, she wont be winning any Greek beauty pageant any time soon.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

No Sympathy - Just an ear (or is it eye?)

My family and I are nomads from way back. From the time I was born (in Gatton, don't tell too many people) until now I have lived in ..... let me count..... a total of 17 different houses (make that 18 next week). My mum has had it worse. In her life time, add (I think) approximately 20 more houses.

Mum once told me that after having her father move the family around so much, she vowed to stay in the one place for her entire married life. BOY did she marry the wrong person. Dad seems to have a veritable bug up his you know what - to give him props, he is always trying to find a better job to give us a better quality of life - and can't seem to live in one place for more than five years. We have lived in one place for longer than that, but I'm sure it was killing him.

So with all this history and with moving in my gene pool, you would think that I am used to it. I am (just quietly) proud of my efficient packing skills. I am brilliant at determining the future worth of an article. I also seem to have an ability to not grow attached to too many things (including my unborn child, but that's a different story for another time - no, I am not pregnant). You see, I KNOW that more stuff means a more painful move.

Now, you remember how I just said that mum vowed never to move? Well, in my stupidity and young naivety, I vowed that I would never marry an American. That's right. NEVER.

Life lesson learned: Never vow... or NEVER say Never

I love Dal. Plain and simple. If I wasn't head over heels in love with him, I would never had said yes to his proposal in the Seattle Space Needle. You can imagine the problems that came with that proposal. In which country are we getting married? Which country are we going to live? How are we going to afford keeping in touch with family? etc.

Fortunately, things just seem to work out for us - it's a gift that we have. And because things just work out for us, we are moving to the US in July. There are parts of this move that get me excited and I usually focus all my energy on my excitement.

BUT this week, my emotions have said ENOUGH! No more bottling things up - we are coming out whether you like it or not! It has been crazy. It seemed to come from nowhere. I have been very tender emotionally and have cried at the drop of a hat or even the drop of a word. I haven't felt like this since..... since my adolescent years. UGH!

With every post of mine, Dal has told me that he likes a conclusion, a happy ending. So here it is. All this crying and not doing anything has forced me to really think about what I do each day and how I can get myself to improve on the motivation factor. In the past two days, I have played more with LQ. I have been on the computer less. And I have given myself a system to make sure both of those things continue.

(do you like my preschool style drawings?)

You see having a list just doesn't cut it for me. If I am to be reminded of stuff - it needs to be up in my grill. What better place than on the computer AND once I have completed a task I get to take it off the computer until there are no cards left there and I can play to my hearts content. So far, it has worked.

YES, I DO need to be reminded to take a shower. Sorry if that offends you!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

LQ has found the Volume knob

Rethinking my LOVE for Summer

There is nothing in this world that will convince me to move from in front of this fan - including a dirty nappy. (Unless of course you are offering free air conditioning)

If she were potty trained, she would be starkers
Yes folks, it got to 40 degrees today - (104 Farenheit) and I was without air conditioning, just one measly fan. All I keep thinking is, those Pioneers that went to Arizona were OUT OF THEIR MINDS!!!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


As I went to close our back door last night in preparation for bed, I noticed that the moonlight was coming in through the screen. I always love a full moon, so peeked out to see if it was visible from my stand point.

I didn't get a full moon, but what I got was infinitely better.

As I looked out, the trees and shrubs stood still. All I could hear was the slight chirping of crickets against the uncommon still city night. It almost felt as though I had been transported far from the clambering noise that a bustling city brings. There were no bus engines being started. No freight trains clacking past. No far off sirens. Not even a noisy neighbour to be heard.

In those few brief moments, I was given peace. Peace, after a long day of noise and upheaval. I wanted to go outside, sit in a chair and just drink in the palpable peace.

Instead, I moved back from the screen, slowly closed and locked the wooden door and shuffled to the bathroom to begin brushing my teeth. It was then that life seemed to start again for the city that stopped, just for me.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Weighty Problem

I have a secret way of keeping my negative thoughts about my weight at bay.

Disclaimer: I know am not (yet) overweight. But as I am part of the female race, I claim the right to feel bad about and uncomfortable with my body at any time of the day that I deem necessary.

So this secret - I have given myself a weight threshold (My maximum weight, if you will). If ever I feel fat or bloated or just plain blah I weigh myself. Then I think to myself - "well, I am still not over the weight threshold, so I must not look so bad." I am usually on my way to feeling better about myself after that.

It works! You should try it some time. I figure if I am not gaining weight, then I am doing ok. Admittedly, I have been on the weight threshold precipice for quite some time. BUT I have stayed there and I have been ok with that. *There is also something to say for sucking your gut in while you look at yourself in the mirror. Isn't it horrible, though, when after a couple of hours of leaving the house you inadvertently catch a glimpse of your relaxed reflection in a well place mirror or window. OUCH! I must have left that svelte, confidant woman back at the house.*

And then, unfortunately, Christmas happened. And five weeks of lethargy and bad eating happened. And Jack in the Box happened.

After all these weeks of bad things, I came home and immediately weighed myself. I was pleasantly surprised - it looked like my weight hadn't budged one bit. I gave myself a well deserved pat on the back.

Who was I kidding?!! I should have been giving myself a well deserved pat on my somewhat softer (wider) backside. I guess I was slightly delusional when I returned from my five weeks of gluttony and really believed that it was just the bloating that made my clothes pinch me.

So, now (2 weeks later) I am 2 kilograms! heavier than my weight threshold. AT this point you must be thinking, 2kg's? Is that all? Why is she dedicating an entire post to two measly kilograms. BUT you have to realise that this is 2 kilograms ABOVE uncomfortable me! I have been in a decided funk since I was affronted with those two horrible kilograms. I haven't even been able to bring myself to fold all those clean clothes that are calling out to me (what a shame).

The good news - this weight gain has motivated me to get myself down to my ideal weight and not just my weight threshold. My weight loss plans include some unattractive photos of me, a photo taken of me MANY years ago and the Wii Fit. Wish me luck.

The case of the hungry butt.

You can see it appearing now, the infamous Cluff Gut.

And there it is in all its glory - enjoy
I have just packed away all our photos, so you will have to make do with remembering/imagining how sexy I used to look. Trust me.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The stuff that matters

Because I am the worlds worst journal keeper, my blog acts as a backup. So this post is dedicated entirely to the "stuff that matters" - Moments with LQ.

My child is a genius. I noticed yesterday as I handed the clean dishes to LQ to rinse (again) that she was saying a word over and over. It wasn't until later when I said "Thank you" to her, that she repeated it back to me. "dank dyou" is more what she says, but is quite obvious what she is saying.

I thought, how clever. My little girl can parrot my thank yous. BUT oh no! She is not parroting. She actually knows when to say dank dyou.
She said dank dyou when I got her a cookie
She said dank dyou when I helped her off the floor
She said dank dyou after I took her high chair tray away

I have THE most polite 20 month old around.

It is only natural as LQ gets older that she would want to "help" mummy. It should come as no surprise to me, as I am always encouraging LQ to "help mummy".

The day has arrived.... LQ now wants to help. I am sure anyone with half a brain will realise that when a 20 month old HELPS, things tend to go a little slower and, dare I say it, not according to plan.

At this particular point in our lives, it is needful for me to go through and ruthlessly cull all our STUFF (I asked Dal today if he thought the Salvation Army would like all our old Ensigns). We are moving into our house sitting place soon and after that, it is on to the US. So the less boxes we have, the better. SO, I am packing boxes. LQ HELPED me pack yesterday.

She climbed into the box
She pulled the stuff out of the box
She stood on and in the stuff that was in the box
She took the stuff that was in the box to the other end of house

After a few false starts, I finally had the box ready to be closed up. LQ insisted on climbing into the box AGAIN. It was at this point that I was ready to throw my patient mother charade along with my child OUT THE WINDOW. A few deep breaths and a diversion (cookie) and we were back on track.

We have a doorbell that plays Christmas tunes all year round. Apparently, 'tis the season - even in May.

Yesterday morning, LQ and I were enjoying a relaxed moment (watching Mickey Mouse) when "Deck the Halls" startled us back to reality. Because visitors are a rarity and I am one of those people who enjoys a captive audience, I raced to the door to find out who it was.

It was two young ladies hoping to share with me what the "Bible REALLY says". Always up for a bit of enlightenment, I let them show me a few different passages from their pamphlet. There was a point when we were especially engrossed in why God lets bad things happen that LQ came waddling up from the hallway. She was halfway to the door when she stopped, looked at one of our visitors, pointed behind her and said quite seriously "Mi Mow". She promptly returned to watching "Mi Mow".

I am not sure if she was telling us to keep it down because something important was happening to Mickey Mouse
if she was telling me to hurry back to watching the most important thing in the world (Mickey Mouse).

Who gives a fig about the bad things that are happening in the world when Mickey Mouse is around?

Thursday, 8 January 2009

LQ, butt naked.. AGAIN?

LQ has taken to letting out forceful screams of delight at random moments, and so when I heard her scream from the living room a few hot days ago, I figured she was (once again) delighted with something Mickey Mouse had done.

Her squeals of delight came closer as she ran through the toy room/office completely and utterly naked to where I was in the kitchen. She offered me her used nappy that she had so deftly taken off herself and ran screaming from the kitchen back to her toys, forgetting to give me the nappy.

Look at her - pretending she is surprised that the nappy's not on her juicy bottom

Noah likes to slide

Cleaning up LQ's toys, I came across this

I have seen Noah enjoy the slippery slide while his animals try out the luxury of a car, but hadn't yet experienced the lioness on the swing.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

World Domination thanks to Arnotts

It wasn't a new years resolution to dominate the world. The opportunity just sort of fell into my lap.

It all started when I did my usual blog stalking/lurking rounds. Melanie J, author of Write Stuff blog, has devoted an entire post to Tim Tams. We Australians tend to be very protective of our best stuff, so a lot of it never leaves our shores. Arnotts Tim Tams have apparently snuck their way through our borders onto the land of America.

Actually, I already knew this - when Dal and I were shopping at Target before we left Arizona we noticed that Tim Tams were out on the shelves. Dal is VERY excited about this because Tim Tams are his favourite and it was one of the things that he would miss dearly when we leave Australia in July.

WHAT do Tim Tams have to do with world domination, though?

I will tell you. Poor Melanie J doesn't have access to ALL the different varieties of Tim Tams and I do. I figure that if I can get every American hooked on Tim Tams and then they are taken away from them (which they will be in March), then I will have them eating out of the palm of my hand (so to speak).

The next step from dominating America is dominating the world, right?!

PS My husband just said America is the world... well the only part that matters.

Hel in her pyjamas - Capable of world domination? I think so!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Did you notice, I completely skipped Christmas..

I was going to catch up and inundate you with a thousand photos, but having a camera as my "main" present this year, there were just too many photos to choose from. And to be honest, I am just too lazy to recap what was just a wonderfully busy day.

I was sneaky a few posts ago and hinted that I already knew what my Christmas present would be. And now my laziness has left you in suspense - so, here is my post dedicated to ONE of my presents.

Dal and I bought a Nikon D40 a few weeks before Christmas, but as per Christmas present rules, I was not ALLOWED to use it until Santa gave it to me.

I don't know how I lasted, but I did and now I have complete POWER over my pictures MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh).

At least I would have complete power if I knew what I was doing. I am still working on getting the lighting just right in most of my photos and I only figured out I could change the white balance AFTER I took 62 "yellow" photos of LQ and Audrey in the bath. I am having fun though and I am absolutely and completely pleased with our purchase.

We did a lot of research and are happy with the Nikon D40. Like many of the reviews told us, it is PERFECT for a beginner. And that's what I am.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Just call me Longstein

Dal, Hel and Bel celebrated New Years Day eating macaroni cheese and ribs at the Stavros' house in Glenfield yesterday.

You may remember we visited in November last year. Little has changed since our last visit. They still have the biggest swing in America, they still have Dora the Explorer, and an AMAZING deck (that I am just a wee bit jealous of). However there was one change that we were advised of early on in the visit - Miyako no longer goes by that name. She insisted that we call her Longstein.

Longstein and her family will be traveling to Japan in less than ten days for a whole six months. They have entrusted the care of their home to us and we are very excited to use all their fun stuff like the much coveted back deck!

so you can imagine it is a bitter-sweet parting. We will be losing some friends for 6 months, but we gain a "proper" house for 6 months.

I forgot to take my camera, so here's a photo of Longstein from the last time we were there.

I Like this Lady - A LOT

So, I stumbled upon this blog* a while ago, and laughed myself silly. Who knew anyone could be insightful as well as funny - I look forward to the day when I can arrange my brain cells back in some kind of order to help me achieve funny and insightful.

Well, DeNae so kindly offered some wonderful advice after my last post and I can't help but tell you how it boosted my spirits. So I am sharing my secret blogging friend with the rest of my friends. I hope you like her as much as I do.

Thanks DeNae, it was just what I needed.

P.S. Her Phase Ten post reminded me very much of my family. Although I have to admit I was the child that refused to play most times.

*For the life of me, stupid Blogger wont let me link my text, so here is the web address.

And just for your LQ fix