Should be leaving soon to hit the open road to start our two week adventure. So sorry about the lack of Skinfest today.
Keep the fires burning, folks. I'll try and post from the road, but can't promise.
Very excited now to go. Except for Clive screaming because I've had to put him in his bed whilst I finish up. Ah well.
SEE YA LATER ALLIGATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Should be leaving soon to hit the open road to start our two week adventure. So sorry about the lack of Skinfest today.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wow, a lot of you guys seem to think I was some kind of hottie when I was in high school. Let me throw a bucket of ice water on that thought right now:
Ok, I didn't look this awful most of the time. Taken at the Northeast Region Civil Air Patrol encampment at Otis Air Force Base (it wasn't a reserve base then), I think in 1988, I bring you Cadet Flight Officer Mooselet.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
A huge part of my problem with the whole slowly-going-insane issue is that I bring a lot of it on myself by my simple refusal to do one tiny thing - ask for help.
Seriously, I'd rather drown in a sea of stress than raise my hand and ask those around me for help. Here's a list of things I'd rather do than ask someone to help me:
- empty out the "mystery bin" at the bottom of my fridge
- go the the dentist (routine cleaning only)
- get my annual Pap smear
- change Clive after those disgusting BMs where it leaves the nappy and shoots up his back and all over his clothes
- eat an entire pepper, onion and mushroom pizza (three foods I really dislike)
- clean up the mess the dog leaves in the yard after she's done tearing into the bathroom rubbish
You get the idea. It's not as if I'm going to perform surgery on myself, however. I have no problems going to seek professional help for the big items. I go to the doctor when I'm sick. Ok, only when I'm really sick - this comes more from my knowledge of physiology than anything else. I get all my preventative checks. I've even sought counselling for mental health issues, mainly depression, as recently as 2004. I'm not completely stupid.
But when it comes to little items, things I think I should be able to handle on my own, I'm as stubborn as a mule. There can be a dozen things that quite obviously need doing and if a family member were to ask me "Can I help you with anything?", I will say "Oh, no, that's ok. I'll get it."
This suits my older kids just fine - and what kid wouldn't take their mother at their word? I've even got the Hermit trained to ignore the shabby chic look of the house, minus the chic, because I keep insisting I'll get to it. And he believes me, because it's easier. Again, what person wouldn't?
We will occasionally get into arguments about my inability to ask for help. He wants me to ask, I want him (and the older kids) to just do if they see something that needs doing. And they do sometimes. For example, Miss Thing put the groceries away last night after she got home from work because I hadn't found the time. Then there was the period last year when I was hugely pregnant and the Hermit stepped up. But then, perversely, I feel guilty that something got done that I feel I should have done.
The only person who totally gets how I am and is able to work around this particular neurosis of mine is Momma Mooselet. When I was a single parent, she would walk into my house and, completely ignoring my protests (she's very good at that, just ask her), simply do things. Dishes, folding laundry, whatever it was. No telling me all I need to do is ask, no making a big deal about what she'd done - just do it and quickly steer the topic to something else. She did it when she was here last year as well. No one could ask for a better mother than the one I've got.
I can't figure out why I'm like this, why I can't shake this problem. They say the first step in changing a bad behaviour is to acknowledge it. Well I've done that - I've invited the damn thing in for tea, I'd say! I know exactly what I do and why it's so destructive. I think I've always been like this - no wanting to ask for help, determined to do it all myself. Growing up in the 80s where the superwoman myth was born - not the one with the cape, but the one that says women can have it all without breaking a sweat - probably hasn't helped. And I don't look down my nose at people who do ask for, even demand, help. Indeed I envy them. But the sense of failure still looms inside when I picture myself in that position.
My simple refusal to grasp the hands that are offered from my family and my friends has done a lot to put me into the state than I'm in.
Maybe it's time to go back to that counselling...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
If you knew someone who was working 16 hour days, seven days a week you'd tell them to take time off before they had a mental breakdown. You'd probably tell them there were more important things in life and to take time out for themselves. You may even advice them to speak to their boss about why their work load is so heavy and allow others to step up to share the burden.
What about when one of your bosses is a 9 month old tyrant? Or another boss never sits still, or stops talking, long enough to get a word in edgewise? What are you supposed to do when the other "more important things in life" are your job? You know you're in dangerous territory when you begin to envy your sister-in-law who just spent several days in hospital and had to have surgery to stop some bleeding (glad you're home now and on the mend, Hermit's L'il Sis!) because at least she had time to herself! Sure part of it was under anesthesia and involved transfusions, but she was alone! Note to self - contact Gabe and and ask how I can get my gallstones to play up.
Ok, maybe it's not quite that bad. But when your day starts at 5:30-ish in the morning (today was before 5 am, other days it's just after 6 am) and goes non-stop until 8 pm, with a couple more hours after that to allow for homework checks, housework and the occasional viewing of Mythbusters, you start to think that a hospital stay has some appeal.
And please don't get on the Hermit's case in the comments. He leaves the house before 7 am in order to beat the worst of the traffic and doesn't get home until after 6 pm. One of us has to have an income.
So I'm really looking forward to leaving Saturday for a 2 week holiday. People have asked me what we're going to do while we're out in the Queensland Outback. I don't care if I spend the entire two weeks sitting beside various pools at different caravan parks and not doing anything else. Because if I don't get a mental break soon, I may end up with a mental breakdown. And I don't think those hospitals are quite as nice.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The (mostly) Cheesecake Edition.
I promised the guys a little something extra this week as payback for posting more than my 2:1 ratio of buff NRL guys to semi-naked hot lasses last week. But I couldn't have it all be cheesecake, else my family would start to worry about me. So here's a couple pics of lean NRL beef, featuring a really naughty Craig Wing and a nicely furred Matt Cooper:
Now guys (or ladies, if that's your persuasion) tell me how you like your ladies. With bodacious ta-ta's:
Covered in whipped cream:
Naughty but nice:
Or one who brings a friend:
More skin, and back to normal ratios, next week!
Friday, September 14, 2007
No, not mine. That was last month. Today is the 50th anniversary of two wonderful folks, my in-laws Momma and Poppa Hermit:
Not many people make it to the golden anniversary any more. The last people I knew personally who celebrated their 50th was my grandparents, and that was well over 20 years ago. So take a moment and give them a big virtual round of applause via the comments. Since Poppa Hermit regularly reads my blog - I know this not only because he tells the Hermit, but because my hit counter doesn't lie - I know they'll read them.
Momma and Poppa Hermit, I hope you have a wonderful anniversary. We only wish we could be there with you to celebrate.
I was at a local shopping centre today when I walked past a trendy teenager-oriented clothing shop. It was full of bright fluorescent clothing that is all the rage at the moment. And just so you kids today don't think you started the trend, I bring you this photo dated December 1984 (look - a corded phone!):
Yes, that's me (aged 15) on Christmas morning in my new outfit. I loved that shirt - it was very comfortable and was so huge it could've fit 3 of me. Sure I blinded my loved ones, and my teachers when I wore it to school, but it was awesome.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I took Her Majesty to the local immunization clinic this morning to get her 4-year vaccinations. She protested mightily about it all morning, repeatedly telling me she "didn't want to get a needle". Since I wasn't budging about having it done, she went to complain to Miss Thing and Sparky (the Hermit is in Sydney). They gave her the sympathy she was looking for and between that and having the time to accept it was going to happen - the clinic didn't open til 10am - she was downright bouncy when we got there.
It's great having these types of clinics, run by the local councils. My local council runs 6 per month so no matter where you live you'll have one not too far away, or you can go to one depending on what your schedule permits. Last time Clive went it was easier to go to the Tuesday clinic in Albany Creek rather than the Wednesday in Strathpine. No making an appointment with the doctor (although you can), no co-pays - it's all free. We had to wait about 30 minutes, but there were plenty of toys to entertain the kids. Children in secondary school (grade 8 and up) get their immunizations at the schools.
Her Majesty's name was called and we walked behind the screen to have a chat with the nurse, who engaged Her Majesty in conversation before telling her what was going to happen. We had been listening to babies of various ages shriek in dismay for the past half an hour, and she's come with me when Clive has had his shots, so she knew what was coming. We popped her up onto my lap and I held her hands in her lap. The nurse tried to distract Her Majesty by asking about her school friends, but Her Majesty was determined to watch the proceedings. I tightened my grip in anticipation of the screaming and pulling, but to my utter surprise she didn't budge, didn't make a sound other than an intake of breath when the first needle punctured her skin. There wasn't even that with the second needle. Impressive. I used to earn a living by poking people with sharp objects and I still can't watch the needle enter my skin.
She happily picked out a lollipop and sticker, was thrilled to hear she could keep her band-aids on to show her friends tomorrow at kindy and waited 15 minutes before we could leave without complaint. She continued to boast about how brave she had been as we spent another 10 minutes in the toilet so she could do her business. Kids love public toilets.
So tell me why she's now having a full blown meltdown because the butterfly sticker she picked out is no longer sticking to her arm? She's sobbing like I just ran over the dog, with huge tears running down her cheeks and screams to wake the dead... or at least Clive, who was sleeping until now.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I have several regular readers who don't have their own blogs, so when I put out the challenge to show me where you live after I posted mine last Friday I offered my own blog as a venue for those folks. Here's what I've gotten so far (please click on the image to see a larger version):
Jeff over at View From The Cloud has put his place up. He's also put the Live Search version, which I admit has better resolution that Google Earth as well as a cool "bird's eye view". Unfortunately, that feature is unavailable in Australia. I also noted the images are older, at least here. It's still cool and I encourage you to check out his post. Thanks to the Roth's over at Roth Family Adventures for playing along as well.
On my last post, Dave asked if Her Majesty could be any cuter. Absolutely:
I know she has nothing to do with the previous part of this post. I just couldn't resist being a proud momma for a few seconds. How I managed to produce such good looking offspring I'll never know.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
A Jayco Swan that is:
Behold, our newest addition - a brand spankin' new camper trailer. Since we hired the motorhome last year and made our trip up to Cairns and back (go find the label 'Tales from the Trip' in the sidebar if you haven't heard/read about it) we've been saving for a deposit on one of these. Given our large brood we knew we wouldn't be able to afford a caravan, but we wanted something easier to set up than a tent trailer. And here it is.
We picked it up Thursday and the folks at Brisbane Camperland couldn't have been nicer. Paul, the bloke who showed us how to set it up - the Hermit did all the hands-on work while I made mental notes for when he forgets - was fantastic, and many of the things that Jayco lists as an option came standard. I was a bit nervous as we towed it home, and there were a few tense moments in trying to get it in just the right spot in the driveway, but all went well.
We spent the weekend getting the extras we needed, practising setting it up and finding a space for everything. Her Majesty was very excited, helping me put away plates and getting sheets onto the beds. She even helped me as my model for the photo shoot:
I have not forgotten about Miss Thing. The larger lounge also can be converted into a bed, but that won't be necessary for our first trip as Miss Thing had declined to come with us. I could force her, but that would ruin the trip for everyone else. There are plans for her that I'll discuss another time, but let's just say she won't be unmonitored.
So where are we going and when? We leave in two weeks on a route that looks like this:
We'll be making stops in Roma, Charleville, Longreach, Emerald, Rockhampton and Rainbow Beach before heading back home with a little over 2,700 kms (nearly 1,700 miles) under our belts. I'm really looking forward to it.
The Beefcake Edition.
I think this will be the last weekend that is ridiculously busy. In what my come as a shock, it wasn't the fault of the older kids; that is to say I didn't spend my weekend driving them all over creation. In fact, I don't think Sparky left the house. Instead the Hermit and I, with Her Majesty and a teething Clive in tow, spent most of the day doing things for the newest addition to the family. I will only tell you that it is NOT another child - do I look that crazy? Hey, stop nodding!!! Besides, me falling pregnant again would require the presence of heavenly lights and an angel, or a really bad cauterizing job by my OB. I'll get some pictures today and give you the story later.
I promised you last week I'd have a surprise for you this week. Just so you think I'm not the only person who trawls photo achieves and the occasional gay-oriented website for suitable skinfest photos, I bring you the Adidas Action 3 Sexiest Man in League 2007 competition. Visit the website and vote for whom you think is the most droolworthy. You have your choice of 15 men, past and present players. I don't have pictures of everyone nominated, and the pictures they have on the official site are tame - hell they have clothes on in most of them! So here's a sample of some players, Mooselet style:
Looking at the website, there are two more names to be filled in. You can either check back with the site or I'll let you know. I'll add pictures if I've got them. I'm also insanely considering sending a request in for an interview with the winner but I'm chicken so I probably won't - although it would be good blog fodder. What would I ask? I must dwell on this...
Sorry guys, no cheesecake for you this week. I promise I'll make it up to you next week - perhaps a "best of" for you?
Friday, September 07, 2007
Brought to you today by Google Earth:
I've chosen a wider shot so you can see that Australia isn't just red desert, and you can see what my neighbourhood looks like. We chose an older place, about 20 kms (about 12.5 miles) from Brisbane City, so we could have some space. If you double click the photo, you can get a better view.
I've shown you mine, now show us yours! Put a Google Earth image of your abode up on your blog (or if you don't have one, send it to me and I'll put it up on mine) and show us where you live.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I've just had to do a mad dash outside to gather my clothes off the line before we got some more precious rain. Coming from the land of the matching washer/dryer, it was another "really?" moment to discover that dryers are not considered a necessity in Brisbane. This makes a lot of sense - it's not called the Sunshine State for nothing. It didn't take me long to get used to hanging clothes out to dry; we didn't own a washing machine until I was 12, so we either hung clothes on the line or in the basement if there was too much snow in winter to get to the backyard.
We got a clothes dryer a few years later, but my mother always liked to hang the clothes outside whenever she could. I bounced back and forth for years, depending on where I was living and how my financial status was. When the Hermit and I moved in together back in 1999 my clothes hanging days ended. We didn't have a clothes line, and I suspect some of my more snobbish neighbours would've been aghast to see my undies flapping in the breeze.
When we came to Brisbane we picked up a second hand washer and dryer. Something else I found odd about the dryers here is that there is rarely a venting duct hose to the outside. Back in Massachusetts it was mandatory. Here the dryers vent directly into the room - some even have the vent on the door to allow a small rack to be hung allowing delicates to dry quicker. Since we rarely used the dryer, I hung onto that second hand (although it may have been third or fourth hand, it was pretty beat up) one for ages. Even when we moved to our current house and replaced the water-guzzling top loader with a eco-friendly 10 kg capacity (that's 22 lbs of clothes) front loader, I kept our old 4 kg dryer. I finally had to put it out of its misery late last year when the second door bracket broke and I couldn't put enough tape on it to keep it shut.
You'll find houses here all come with some sort of clothes line. The standard is the Hills Hoist, a large rotary hoist that has become something of an icon in Australia. I would've loved to have one of these as the larger ones have a ridiculous amount of line space (65 metres/213 feet), handy when you have a large family. However you need 5-7 metres of clear space (16-23 feet) which is not available up close to the house. So I ended up with a folding frame line that has a mere 33 metres (108 feet) of space. I shouldn't complain - it means I have a built-in excuse to stop doing laundry after 2-3 loads. "Sorry, no more space!"
But for some Yanks, especially those who grew up closer to the cities in and cooler climates, the idea of hanging clothes up to dry is an anathema, something unheard of. I was greatly embarrassed once by an American woman whom rather proudly announced to an assembled group of Australian women she had never hung up clothes in her life and didn't understand why anyone needed to. Aussies eyes turned to me as I fumbled for an excuse for her (as she was completely unaware she had been rather insulting). I later proved that I wasn't bullshitting about my clothes having their sunshine scent from the actual sun instead of from fabric softener when I was able to remove 8 clothes pins from a clothesline with one hand.
There's an old joke about an ad in the paper offering a solar powered clothes dryer for $5. Amazed at the price, people sent off their five dollars and eagerly anticipated their new dryer. What they received was a length of clothes line - the original clothes dryer. Since carbon neutral is a big buzzword these days, I suspect more and more people will rediscover what their mother's always knew - nothing beats sheets dried in the sun. Nice to know I was ahead of the curve for once.
Monday, September 03, 2007
I haven't written about my tips in our local betting competition within Sparky's football club because, quite frankly, I sucked. There was a period mid-season where I was getting 2 or 3 out of 8 correct and coming very close to last. It's a good thing it's only pride and not money on the line else we'd be living out of cardboard boxes.
So now that the regular NRL season is over, where did I finish up? On the back of some strong tips at the end, I ended up 14th out of 23 overall. I was never out to win the whole thing. My entire goal was to beat Miss WTF, and in this I failed. She placed 13th overall, 3 points ahead of me.
Dammit dammit dammit.
We were neck in neck for the past month, with me consistently being one point behind her and us splitting the differences in our picks each week. If I just had one or two go my way, I would have been victorious. Instead I second guessed my picks this past week and ended up conceding defeat. The bet this year was loser treats for movies, with my only stipulation being no car chases. I told Miss WTF to choose her movie and let me know - it's on me.
I do have one consolation, however. My Broncos finished 8th overall in the standings - good enough to make the finals for the 16th consecutive season. Miss WTF's beloved Wests Tigers? 9th, just missing out for the second year running. Bwahahahahahahahhahaha... okay, that was my evil laugh getting out of my system. I'm better now.
I wonder if she'll take this into consideration when she picks her movie...
Sunday, September 02, 2007
I'd really like to have my weekends back. You'd think that now with the kids sports done with for the year it would be better, but alas no. I spent the entire day yesterday running in and out, back and forth. Miss Thing has to be at work at 7:30 am. Then laundry, errands, Sparky's school carnival, more errands for the Hermit, pick up Miss Thing from work, take laundry off the line, go back to collect Sparky only to be asked to allow him to stay longer, take Miss Thing and friend to the bus so they can go to RiverFire (see the awesome pictures here), dinner, little ones to bed, collect Sparky for real this time, clean house, collect Miss Thing and friend from train station and bring said friend home, and then FINALLY the day is mine. Except it was 11:30 pm. Crap.
So here I am today, eeking out a few free minutes to do up the Skinfest. Before we get to it, let me add this comment in the wake of the drugs scandal sweeping the NRL due to Andrew John's after-he-was-busted confession that he did illegal drugs throughout his career. (Please go Google it if you want more info - too many sources to provide links) I've always said that I'll post pictures of players that are drool-worthy despite what I personally think about them or their teams. When it comes to drugs, however, I draw the line. Therefore never again will I feature that fuckwit Johns, or any other NRL player found, either through confession or testing, to have done any type of illegal drugs, performance enhancing or otherwise. There is no excuse for it - end of story.
Rant over, let's get to the skin. Woot woot! Anissa asked me last week, since it was her birthday Monday, if I could pretty please give her a Craig Wing pic as a present. Since I've done similar things for Harmonica Man and Mitch McDad, although of the female variety, I thought fair was fair. So here you are, chickie, and I hope it was a good day:
The Broncos play their final game of the regular season this afternoon. A win could see them finish as high as 5th, and a loss will still see them finish 8th which is good enough to get into the finals. A great accomplishment given how many star players they've lost to injury, and it's allowed their youngsters like Darius Boyd to show what they've got. And Boyd's got quite a bit:
I find most of today's pop stars really annoying. Manufactured rubbish. But I can tolerate Gwen Steffani. I liked her much better when she was part of No Doubt, but her music doesn't make me want to curl into the fetal position. But then I saw these pictures and I hated her. It's not fair to have this good of a body after a baby, it's just not:
More skin and a surprise (for the ladies, mainly) next week!