Home is where the kids are

static_mapHard to believe it’s been more than a week since we returned from our whirlwind tour of Emerald! Even though it was a very quick and dirty visit, we managed to jam a fair bit in and caught up with family and friends.

It’s coming up to our six month anniversary here in NZ but flying into Emerald, it felt like we’d never left. We were fortunate to have awesome weather – not too hot, not too cold – and I certainly realised belatedly that perhaps I should have slapped some fake tan on to hide the fact I am the palest I think I’ve ever been! However, I’d worked hard to landscape those legs so they had to be shown off, even if the glare was blinding.

Family dinners, breakfast BBQ’s and Fathers Day bowls were all part of the fun but for me, the nicest part was just hanging out with my three kids talking garbage. They introduced me to the joys of Rick and Morty (a terribly rude and childish yet fiendishly funny cartoon) and I encouraged their education in all things comedy with Brooklyn 99.

I’m pleased to say they are all coping extremely well without me around. The boys’ flat was neat and tidy (I do suspect a pre-mother visit clean up happened) and they all look healthy and happy. I knew they’d be fine but it’s nice to see the proof.

We spent most of our last day together watching movies and chatting and eating. Nothing spectacular but then again sometimes it’s just the simple things in life that can mean the most.

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Going home for a visit

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Everything grows quicker in NZ

We’re heading back to Sunny Central Queensland for a brief visit next Father’s Day weekend and I’m so excited to catch up with the kids, family and friends for a few days. It’s been five months since we landed in New Zealand and whilst we have had such a good time getting established and finding our way (even with the few hiccups we’ve encountered), I have missed the family connections and friendships built up over time.

I’m not so excited about reacquainting myself with the heat however. We’re still doing 4 – 14 degree days here (although today is a huge 17 degrees!) whereas Emerald will be getting back up to 17 – 27 degrees while we’re home. Still, that’s fairly reasonable. I think I can take it. Except for one tiny little thing … It means I’ll have to wear shorts.

And that means I’ll have to shave my legs.

Those babies haven’t seen sunlight for months and I checked out their condition just out of curiosity the other day. I must admit … it’s not a pretty sight, people. Those poor pins are the palest colour I think they’ve ever been and whilst the overall hair coverage is relatively sparse, what is there is long and wispy. I relayed these facts to my daughter and the reply was a very disgusted “Sort dat out lady!”.

It’s on my list of things to do this weekend, along with finalising my taxes and seeing Final Fantasy XV in a special showing at the cinemas.

So I’ll be greeting the family with legs that will be bare-haired, pale and pasty … and possibly sporting a few razor cuts from lack of practice.

But at least I can console myself with the fact I’ve saved a fortune in razors.

The little things …

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I liked and shared a post on Facebook this morning called “Six reasons why you should read The Princess Bride“.  The original book by William Goldman (not the film adaptation) is so very witty, inventive and massively tongue in cheek.  I was introduced to it by my next door neighbour Helen.

She was the oldest of five kids and about 6-7 years older than me. She babysat us sometimes when we were on school holidays and had a great collection of interesting reads in the small bookcase in the room she shared with her younger sister.  I always think of Helen as my ‘dealer’, fostering a voracious appetite for reading, as well as possibly setting me on the long and winding path to a 20 year career in libraries.

On this particular day, I was sitting on the floor in her room, browsing through the titles when she reached over and pulled out one with a gorgeously hand-drawn picture of a beautiful blonde-haired woman on its cover and said, “Read this. It’s weird but funny. You’ll love it.”

As always, she was right. It was weird but really, really funny (and a little different to the movie – although this is not a movie bashing post!).

In Goldman’s telling, “The Princess Bride” is an epic work by Florinese author S. Morgenstern that Goldman’s father used to read to him as a young child. As an adult, he reads the story himself and discovers his father actually cut out large chunks of the story and only told “the good bits”. Sounds strange but it really does work.

Another literary classic Helen introduced me to was “The Hobbit”.  As usual, she picked it out for me and handed it over with the advice that I might find the language a bit hard going but I really should persevere because one day I will want to read “Lord of the Rings” and this little book with a dragon basking in a sea of gold on the front cover will set up the back story.

Helen also possessed the album Jeff Wayne’s musical version of “War of the Worlds“. Anyone remember that?  My clearest memory of Helen babysitting us consists of making and eating pancakes with lemon and sugar and my brother and I begging her to let us listen to ‘War of the Worlds’. We had to promise her that we wouldn’t have nightmares before she’d give in. Of course, we did have nightmares (I still can’t hear the musical yet creepy call of the martians’ “Ooohhllaaaa” without getting the shivers) but that was all part of the fun.

It’s been years since I last saw Helen. She grew up and left home then Mum and Dad moved house and the two families that had once lived so closely with kids in and out of each place lost touch for years at a time.

Although a couple of books and a musical record that was a little left-of-centre may seem like small things, they struck a chord and have stuck with me throughout my adulthood (I purchased ‘War of the Worlds’ on Google Play and listened to it whilst doing long haul on a bus through Europe last year. It still spooked me.)

And I have Helen to thank for introducing them to me.  I wonder if she knows that, in some small way, she is responsible for the woman I am today?

I guess the point of this whole thing is that every person that comes into your life has something to show you, even if at the time they may seem like such little things.

Failure to launch

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Failure and I are not friends

Failure.

I don’t do it well. Not at all.  And I didn’t truly realise this until the last few years.

You see, I’ve always worked hard and most of the time, I got what I wanted. Or at least, if I didn’t get it, I pretended I didn’t really want it anyway and could write a story in my head of why, in fact, not getting what I wanted was a good thing and therefore not REALLY a failure at all …

Which is kind of what I’m doing right now, having failed to get my RE motorcycle learners licence even though I’ve done 5 lessons so far and have previously ridden a moped for a few years and know how to ride a bike safely.  The most humiliating thing is, I’d pretty much posted on Facebook that after today, I would be a card-carrying bikie chick and now, after everyone’s liked and commented, I have to say “Nuh. False alarm. I missed out by one mark” and all because I’m overly cautious combined with terribly hopeless at judging distance accurately.

Of course, when I put it in perspective it’s not such a big deal. I just do the test again and finish my prac. I know I can do it but now the storytelling is starting in my head …

“$650 to do a course and get a licence that you may not ever use because you don’t even have a motorbike and even if you do shell out money for one, will you ever ride it?”

But the competitive part of me is already saying “Well, shit. Next time you’ll know the answers. You can do this. Bugger the cost and the fact  you may never use it. At least you’ll have proved a point to yourself.”

But hooo boy, I’m pissy today!

Change is good … right?

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Copy of Bruce Whatley’s ‘Ugliest Dog in the World’ for Illustration assignment

For years I studied for first my library degree and then graduate diploma in information studies whilst raising small, incessantly noisy children.
We shifted a fair bit so I waited patiently in each new town for a library staff member to retire, leave … or die. Finally, I scored the job as manager of a library service, stretching across 10 branches and 60,000 square kilometres of Central Queensland.

And then I quit.

Well, ok. There was a tad more to it than that.
I underwent massive personal growth (read: shitty shitty times) and decided that what I needed to get me through was to study again. Study is my happy place.
Originally, it was going to be something boring but useful like bookkeeping.

But then I spied the CATC school’s online Graphic Design course … which is why I now work from home as a graphic designer and proofreader.

Change is hard. Very hard. But ultimately, it is a good thing.

What’s this blog about? I’m really not sure, to tell you the truth.  I can tell you what I want it to be.  Funny and … huh.  That’s probably about it.

And possibly I’ll throw a few arty things in, just to make it look like I’m creative (like the illustration above that I did with pencil then scanned and coloured just to play around with Photoshop a little) when actually, what I do best is putting together dry old documents and bedazzling them just a little so people won’t want to slit their wrists when they have to pretend to read them. I’m good at that.  I’m also good at being a grammar nazi, but that’s a whole other post.