Friday, December 31, 2010

Tantrums and other Terrorist Tactics

My mother thought she’d found a lost child the other day. There was a little girl, standing in the middle of a crowded shopping centre, bawling her head off. Mum was sitting on a couch nearby, and asked her if she was lost? Did she know where here Mummy was?

“Right here” was the grim reply a woman nearby, who had been seemingly ignoring her.

“She’s not lost, she just ‘having a moment’”, explained the Mum.

Ahh, tantrums – don’t you just love ‘em?

Erm, no actually. Detest them.

Then yesterday I was watching The View and heard Sherri talking about her son having a meltdown because she wouldn’t buy him a video game while she was in a computer store. All the other women asked her how did she cope, and she simply said, “I just let him have it”. For a heart-plunging second I thought she meant she let him have the game, but she meant she just let him have his tantrum, paid for what she had to get, and left (well, dragged him out). Thank God, an American with some common sense.

One of the other women, Joy, asked her why didn’t she use something other than “No”, like “Not today”, or “Mummy can’t afford it” or “We’ll see” or a million other bloody tiptoeing methods of not actually being in charge of the conversation. God forbid a child should hear the word “No” directed at him. I mean, that’ll never happen in his adult life right? And imagine if it does, won’t it be a lovely surprise for him?! I’m sure he’ll know exactly how to cope with being told no by his boss, his bank manager, his wife, given all the coping skills he learned in childhood, watching those Baby Einstein videos (whenever he demanded to, of course).

I loved Whoopi Goldberg’s reaction to Joy explaining she was just thinking of way to “avoid the tantrum”. “There is no ‘avoiding the tantrum’, if they’re gonna have one, they’re gonna have one – no matter how you phrase it, how you say it - even if you give them the damn toy! They might be tired, hungry or sometimes they’re just in a funky mood. Some days I’m like that, you can’t take me anywhere!”. Amen.

To be honest, tantrums were the one part of parenting that really had me scared when I was pregnant. I’m not good at dealing with overly emotional people at the best of times. I tend to explore my emotions in writing; in real life I don’t do touchy-feely at all. My husband is one of those rare and incredible men who talks openly and often about his feelings, and it makes me so squirmy and uncomfortable when he starts talking about how he’s feeling that I just have to jump him rather than listen to him talk. How would I cope with some little person having a meltdown and being all unreasonably and flamboyantly emotional?

And boy howdy, does Gorgeous Girl know how to chuck a nuclear-grade tantrum. Not so much these days; being 3 and a half, she’s all about the backchat and arguing and “well, what about...”. Sometime I’m really impressed at her logic and problem solving abilities when she’s trying to get what she wants, but most of the time I’m resisting the urge to duct-tape her mouth shut.

Most of the time though, she only really persists when she can sense that I’m wavering about whether or not to say no, I’m doubting myself, or second-guessing whether it’s really a big deal. The minute I show I’m serious and take charge by telling her, “No. Now I’ve said no, and I mean it. When have I ever said no and changed my mind?” she usually gives it up. And there is the secret, one thing I am inordinately smug about is the fact I have never, ever said no to GG and then gone back on it, no matter how big a tantrum she threw, because I knew the minute I did all I was teaching her that no doesn’t mean no, it just means you have to throw a bigger wobbly til you get what you want. I have trust capital now.

It means I have had to drag a screaming child out of many a shopping centre, leave a nearly-finished grocery shop and manhandle a squirming, screeching and kicking alien life force out of the store. It means I have had to stand at a door behind which I had confiscated something fun to play with (like a power saw) and physically hold it shut while a nearly 2yr old GG hung from the handle screaming with more decibels than a jet engine. (I can’t even remember what I put behind that door, but God I remember that tantrum! Curse door handles that don’t lock and freakishly tall toddlers that could reach them!!)

Do you know what though? GG learned pretty quickly that tantrums don’t get you anything except a time out. She’s not bratty, or demanding. She’s learnt that the best way to get a treat is to behave nicely when we’re out, and then at the end of the trip ever so sweetly remind me how good she’s been and do you think she could maybe get a lollipop? I had fallen into the trap of doing this pretty consistently, so she then expected a treat every time we went out. Nowadays, it’s more of a haphazard thing, sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t. She threw a couple of wobblies when I changed that up, but nothing dramatic.

So why are so many parents afraid of their children? Why do they jump through hoops and turn themselves inside out, lest their darling progeny chuck a fit and act all unseemly? I think part of it is this whole indulgent parenting movement, you know, where parents seem to be an insipid servant, catering to their indulged child’s every whim, rather than actually raising that child and teaching them important life lessons, like they can’t have everything they want. Think Veruca in Willy Wonka.

I get how hard it is to see your child upset. We’re their parents, we want to make them happy. We also want to avoid the Judgy McJudge-Judge looks you get from random strangers when your little one chucks a tantrum. And of course there are ways to help avoid your kids chucking wobblies when you’re out and about – avoid going out when they’re going to be or already are tired, or hungry, or whatever. Sometimes, though, life does not fit neatly around nap time and you’ve simply got shit you have to do. Even then there are things you can try – bring a favourite toy along, let them ride in a stroller or trolley rather than walk, or give them something that isn’t such a big deal, let them have a ride on those carousel things in the shops, rather than let them have a chocolate or soft drink.

Of course, Whoopi is right though, some days there is no avoiding the tantrum. You can have done every thing “right” and still end up with a melted toddler puddle screaming at your feet or chucking cans off the grocery shelf. This is a terrorist tactic, to see how quickly you’ll fold, and I don’t negotiate with terrorists. I’ve seen parents croon and try to console their children mid-tantrum, I’ve seen them laugh it off and try to jolly them out of it, and I’ve even seen them give in and let them have the thing they wanted, or something else, or an ever better toy. I’ve also seen that none of those things work. The only thing that works is to keep your energy low and calm (if somewhat threatening in my case – hey, that’s just how I roll when I’m tense) and ignore it. The best thing to do is leave immediately, but I get that sometimes you just have to get bills paid, food to eat, etc. I’ve done it. Ride it out. The only big social rule I really believe in is that if your child is throwing a tantrum in a cafe, restaurant or movie... LEAVE!!!! Don’t look round smiling apologetically, don’t laugh it off, just get the hell out, we’re trying to relax and eat here! Come back later when little Timmy is acting human again, okay?

How did I cope with all these lavish displays of emotion? Pretty good, I think. As hard as it is to see your little one upset and crying, part of you realises you are doing it for their own good, in a big-picture kind of sense, and I just kind of grit my teeth and work hard to act like I’m calm, unmoveable, a boulder in a stream, with a river of emotion just washing around me. I am unchanged, although maybe a little worn down at the end.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

In which I put on my big girl knickers...

Confrontation can be... well... confronting for me.

Actually, that's not completely true. Surprisingly, if I get wound up enough, getting really angry and tearing someone a new asshole is pretty easy, I dont't have that thing where you walk away and suddenly think of all the things you wish you'd said, I tend to walk away thinking, "Oh, wow, you made the truckie cry, maybe you should have gone a bit easier". What I find hard is to find that middle ground between being a avenging Fury, and meekly accepting something you're not happy with.

Assertiveness, I believe it's called.

And so today, I am strutting around quite proud of myself, because I have finally put on my big girl knickers and faced an awkward situation, and confronted my hairdresser.

While all my female readers let out a knowing, "Ahhhh...", let me explain for any male readers out there.  Hairdressers are like priests, you find yourself confessing secrets and chatting away about very intimate subjects (like, just today; sex, body image, weight loss, miscarriage and celebrity fake tans) and when you find a good one, you will go to extreme measures to stay with them.

I have been bereft of a good hairdresser relationship since I moved from Brisbane ot the Gold Coast, and so was thrilled when I turned up for an appointment today at a new salon. The vibe was welcoming and stylish, with a homespun feel (the salon is a converted house, the flowers were fresh and the CD playing was Megan Washington, i.e. perfect). I was further thrilled when I immediately 'clicked' with my haidresser, B, and we were soon chatting away like old mates.

So, when I left not feeling like I had got my money's worth, I was a little shattered. I have quite dark black hair at the moment, after a short-lived fascination with wanting to look like a Latina bombshell,

and want to start going lighter, as I have been most of my adult life, ending up something like this...

Obviously, this will be a bit of a process... "It won't happen overnight" etc. Still, I did think after dropping THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS at the hairdresser, I might see a noticable difference! I know it a massive amount of money, but this was my little reclamation of my 'old self' and my treat to myself, a little luxury and pampering now that I am working and slogging my guts out during the week. Plus, I am starting to feel more like my old self, not the dark, stressed girl of late, so want my outside to reflect that too.

Anyhoo, enough validating. When we had finished at the salon, I was pretty dissapointed to see that, yes, my hair was a bit lighter overall, but not so noticeably so. I had expected, after our discussion in the beginning, that I would see more caramel pieces, rather than just an being a slightly lighter shade overall.

I brought it up at the time, but admittedly in a fairly wishy washy way. I had come to really like B, and I hoped to become a regular of the salon, so I didn't really want to rock the boat too much, or make her think I was mean, or unappreciative. Is it just me or does it seem slightly silly that I am comfortable paying so much money out for something as ultimately trivial as hair, but I can't have a grown-up conversation and say I'm not particularly happy about a service?

Anyway, B assured me that as my hair dried, I would see it actually is a fair bit lighter. I am really happy with the cut she gave me, and my hair feels lovely after the treatement, so I swallow my reservations (hey, maybe that's the real reason we put on weight???), thnak her, pay my staggering bill and leave.

Half an hour later, I feel terrible. I go to my Aunt's house to pick up GG and notice her surprise that I spent 4 hours at the hairdresser and still look essentially the same. I check out my now dry hair in the mirror and yep, I can notice it's a little lighter, but just barely.,

By now I feel awful, regretful, horrified at the amount of money I had spent and hating myself for not speaking up. I really wanted to go back in time, or else go home and eat chocolate and pretend it never happened.

Instead, I slapped myself upside the head and gave myself a stern talking to. "Quixotic, you are a grown woman. You are smart, accomplished and resourceful. Stop acting like an insecure teenager, and get your 33-year old butt back there and tell them you appreciate the effort she made, love the cut, but feel you haven't got value for money, and want either half your money back, or another head of foils for free.".

Feeling absolutely terrified, I front back up to the salon. B sees me and grins, heading toward me with a questioning look.


I feel 3 inches tall, but the thought of all the things I could have done with $300 dollars keeps me from trilling maniacally "Just forgot a card!" and bolting out the door to safety.

I gather up all my courage and speak... I tell her this is incredibly awkward for me, I love what she's done, but for the amount of money I paid, I would have liked to see a more noticable difference. I smile. I giggle a little bit hysterically (so shoot me) but essentially keep it together.

B is an angel, She stays calm, and friendly, brings her manager over and asks me exactly what I'm unhappy with.

I am dying, plus now I have another person present, but swallow hard and again re-iterate that I love my cut, and am happy with what she's done so far, but would've expected to see more of a difference.

B explains exactly what she did for me, and the manager agrees that yes, that's what she would have done, but also agrees my hair colour doesn't look that different.

I tell them I understand not everyone's hair reacts the same to colouring, but nonetheless, I would like to see more of a difference.

B suggests another head of foils in a few days, with a more 'piece-y' look and some caramel highlights.

I resist the urge to tongue-kiss B.

The manager agrees and I book another appointment, feeling a rush of happiness that I have actually acted like a grown-up, proper big girl and calmly and assertively solved a problem, rather than just slink home and dump a bottle of peroxide through my hair and avoid ever going within a 10km radius of that salon again.

B even thanked me for coming back, because she'd have hated for me to just leave it and be unhappy with her work, now she gets a chance to give me what I want.

REALLY resist the urge to tongue-kiss B.

I felt empowered, magnificent and not a tiny bit proud of myself. I was also IMMENSELY pleased with the great service and professionalism B and her manager showed. They have a brand new regular that's for sure!

The best part of all this? That GG was with me during the whole conversation, and got to see a woman stand up for herself, confront a problem calmly and assertively and get a result, all without being overly dramatic, passive-agressive, abusive or shouty. Win/win all round!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Have a little faith...

Well, hi there! After another marathon session of blog-abstinence, I thought it high time I wander back on over.

So how's things? Everyone good? Yeah... cool. Oh me? Oh you know, not much, this and that, running round after GG, the usual... oh there is one little thing - I GOT A PERMANENT JOB!!!!!!!

Honestly, the relief is amazing! I feel a sense of security, and hopefulness, now that I can actually plan out a budget and do all those little things, like buy food and electricity.

It's very full on, I get up at 5.30am and rush, rush, rush til I put GG to bed at 7.30/8.00pm. Then I try and get some stuff done around the house (quietly!) before I pass out at a nanna-worthy bedtime. It's not ideal, but it's what we need right now, so I imagine I will stick around til GG starts school in a little over a year.


What was that sound you wonder?? That was me falling out of my fucking chair that my tiny little baby will start school IN A LITTLE OVER A YEAR!!!!!!! The last year of kid-dom feels like it passed in oh, about a week, so it will be no time before I'm covering books in contact and trying not to cry at the school gate.

There's no way I will subject her to before-school care, going to school, after-school care and then maybe an hour or so with Mum before bed (all whilst I'm trying to get dinner, bath her etc.), so we will have to re-visit our situation then, it's just not fair to her, to start this major chater in her life without more support from me.

At least for now we can start paying off some debt and have a decent Christmas.

This really couldn't have come at a better time. I had been trying so hard to stay postive, to trust that everything would work out, but it had gotten to the point where I was starting to question myself. Was I a total idiot for thinking this way? To trust in God or the Universe or Dr Phil that everything would be okay if I had faith and stayed positve, what sort of ludicrous, deluded thinking is that? Shouldn't I be running around shrieking. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!", dissolving into hysterics and hating my life?

Nope, apparently not. Faith is the way to go it seems, it'll just test your resolve til you get there.

A bit of an asshole, Faith is, it seems. Playing with you like that, toying with your emotions.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seal of Approval

A disoriented New Zealand Fur Seal has been having a little holiday on the Gold Coast, hanging out in Tallebudgera Creek...

see here

I can just imagine the poor little blighter, peering over at all the holidaying school kids and soccer-mum paparazzi assembled, thinking to himself...

"What?! I can't have a holiday on the Gold Coast like every other Kiwi??"


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Second time's the charm.

Okay, calm down, calm down everyone, I know you're all excited to hear from me after so long, but let's maintain order, orright? You there, stop screeching...  that's better. And you lot - stop letting off those fireworks, you hear? It's just little old me, no need to get so excited... jeesh!!!

Okay, we all good? Back in your seats? Okay then...

So as you might have noticed, I have indeed been absent from this blog for a couple of weeks. Stupid irritating little things have been interrupting me and keeping me away - things like trying to find a job, keeping our house running on a shoestring budget, yada, yada, yada....

You may remember when my last job hit a surprise ending and knocked me for six. One of the upshots of that was telling GG I would be spending the next while hanging out with her and watching her little face absolutely light up as she threw herself into me and gave me such a fierce hug I thought she might burst! Since I had been working full-time, I noticed that she had become quite clingy, always (literally) hanging off me when we were home, and not even wanting to stay over at her cousins house - usually a favourite treat. She had also become quite whiny, but that could also have just been a "Hey, I'm three and this is how we three year olds roll" kinda thing...

So fast forward a few weeks, over 40 job applications, seven new grey hairs and a partridge in a pear tree, I find a job. It's a contract for a few months to cover a girl's maternity leave, though it may turn into something more...

It's also full time.

Yep, after the last job eff-up, and then having to turn down a full time job I was offered because the travel time meant I would have to be dropping GG off in the morning before she'd gone to bed the night before (cold meds may lead to slight exaggerations), I had decided to pursue only part-time jobs. Thing is part-time jobs are like hen's teeth, and there are approximately eleventy billion trillion women all wanting to work part-time.

So necessity over-rides good intentions yet again.

I have just finished my first week, and yeah, yeah the job is fine and all that, but more importantly, so it seems is GG!

Me being me, I had worked myself into a lather over the harm I would be inflicting on my poor, innocent child. Me and my selfish materialistic need to pay the bills would mean she would be flung back into a world of abandonment, clinginess, insecurity and wanting to stay up all night just to have my attention. Okay, okay, so my reservations may not have been entirely unselfish concern for my child.

Instead, GG did what she specialises in doing, she surprised me.

When I told GG that I would be going back to work, she was entirely non-fussed. When I prompted her about how she felt about it, she simply replied that, "Well I will still see you ebrey night, right?". I have been
spending the week on tenterhooks, waiting to some sign of her backsliding and... nothin'... she's fine. She's happy, independent, even at the kindy drop off which she's sometimes a bit teary at, she just charges up to the window that overlooks the car park so she can wave goodbye. She has even planned a sleepover for next week!

Maybe those horrible weeks of the first job were just her getting adjusted? Maybe the fact I finish earlier and am picking her up by 5pm and we get that little extra time together makes the difference? Either way, life is good right now and I refuse to sit around looking over my shoulder waiting for "something bad" to happen like I have been lately whenever life is good.  I'm just gonna enjoy it. And maybe send some wishes out to the Universe that the girl I'm replacing only wants to come back part-time and we can job share.

Not too much to ask, is it?


Sunday, August 29, 2010


Last night, GG and Hubby stay up watching a movie, Mummy goes to bed as Mummy has stupid freaking 4am start.

The following has been relayed to me by a stupified and chastened husband.

About halfway through the movie, GG has crashed out and is managing to take up all 6 feet of the couch, despite only being 4 foot tall.

Hubby decides he would like to partake of contraband ice cream and chocolate buttons. Hubby avails himself, first making sure GG is asleep by taking GG by the wrists and re-enacting the YMCA dance.

**Note, Hubby will now be supervised at all times, lest bad 80's dances catch on.**

***Except of course the Nutbush - that rocks***

The second hubby sits down, GG's eyes pop open and she asks, "Daddy, whatcha got?"

"Ice-cream, Boo - d'ya want some?"

Thoughtful pause...

"No - but Daddy, you have to ask before you get a treat."

"Do I? Ask who?"


Toddler brainwashing for the win.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

How do you explain?

Long time readers might remember I have an 11 year old cousin, whom on this blog I call Jewel, who has special needs. She's on the autism spectrum basically, with a diagnosis of speech dyspraxia and some muscle tone / motor function problems thrown in as well.

GG and Jewel get on famously, GG being fascinated with older kids, especially one so into music and dancing as Jewel, and I sometimes think Jewel loves GG because she doesn't have any expectations to live up to with her, plus her behaviour is often a lot better around GG, almost like she is enjoying the fact there is someone who she can be better at at different things.

The girls see each other probably a few times a week, and GG often stays over at Jewels house, where they have a great time.

Jewel asks, probably every time I see her, if she can stay at my house one night too. To date, she has only stayed a handful of times with me. Not because I don't want to have her, but because at the last minute, her anxiety gets the better of her, and she doesn't want to go.

This is rough on GG. She gets excited at the thought of having Jewel stay at our place, and quite upset when it then doesn't come to pass. It's not Jewel's fault of course, and I don't want to drag her when she clearly is upset at the prospect, although I wonder if she would have a bit of a meltdown and then be fine, if we really pushed the issue. I suspect I'm falling into the trap of thinking of her like a "normal" toddler, who doesn't want to do something, which would be a mistake. I can't pretend to know how Jewel's mind works, even her own Mum doesn't. I once said to her when we were considering this approach, "You know her better than me". To which she replied, "Well no, I don't really know her at all". I was struck with sadness at that sentence, but didn't really know what to say in reply.

Yesterday, we had another go at having Jewel come stay. Last time, speaking as if it was simply a done deal, "okay it's time to go" throwing her stuff in the car and going seemed to work. She had about a day knowing about it, which gave her enough notice that it was going to happen, but not enough time to work up a lot of anxiety about it. Well, it must've been a fluke last time, because this time it didn't work at all.

Jewel became very upset at the thought of going, yet every time we said "Okay, you don't have to then", she would immediately say she now wanted to. I don't know if she was trying to please us, saying what she thought she wanted us to hear, but then getting scared and saying no, or whether (and this is what my gut tells me), part of her does want to come stay and play with her friend, but her anxiety makes her pull out at the last minute.

Through out all this, GG had been cajoling Jewel to come with her, "Yeah, c'moooooon" and getting visibly excited that Jewel might be coming to stay. These days I prep her that it's only a maybe, Jewel might not come, etc., etc., and she is pretty good, she no longer gets too upset if it doesn't work out.

As we were leaving from Jewel's yesterday, GG seemed fine, until a few minutes after we left, her bottom lip started wobbling and she asked in a plantive voice, "Why Jewel no come stay?"

"Well, you remember that sometimes Jewel gets a bit scared of not staying in her own place, and decides not to come. You can still see her on the weekend and have a play."

"Yeah, but why she get scared? I no get scared staying over."

And there's the thing, how do you explain something as multi-faceted and delicate as autism and mental health to someone who is only 3?

I gave it a try, anyway...

"Well, Jewel's brain doesn't work like yours and mine..."

"What a brain?"

"Umm, it's what you think with, in your head, and it's how you learn things. So Jewel doesn't think and learn quite like we do, and some things that don't worry us, upset her quite a bit, like staying over. So we have to be a bit patient with Jewel, because she can't help it."

"Something wrong with her brain?"

Of course the easy answer here would be "Yes", but I don't want GG thinking there is something 'wrong' with her friend and cousin, because really, I don't like that connotation, and she won't get the subleties involved.

Instead, I go with, "No, there's nothing 'wrong' with her, she's just different. It doesn't mean her brain is worse, or better, than ours, just different. Like your dollies, Raya and Prinny, one is cloth, and one is plastic, but you love them both, even though they are different, right?"

"Oh, yes!"

"Well, there you go, Jewel is just different."

"Whycome she different?"

"Well, that's just the way God made her."

"Oh, God like different dollies too!!"

Sometimes, I really feel very small and humble when speaking to my daughter....


Thursday, August 12, 2010

You know what?? I don't care about the boat people...

Or more to the point, I refuse to submit to the scare campaign Gillard and Abbott are trying to turn this issue into during their election campaigns.

The way they carry on, you would think we were being inundated by a maruading hoard of "illegals", constantly streaming over our coastline.

It's rubbish, of course.

The human element has been completely lost on this issue, we are encouraged to think of these poor souls not as fellow humans beings; men, women and children fleeing unimaginable horror, taking a chance on a new life in what must seem like Paradise to them, but as a threat. A threat to what exactly is never made clear, but it's always easy to play on people's basic fear of the unknown and xenophobia. Plus there is always the vague allusion that every 'boat person' is a terrorist. The reality is that due to having one of the most stringent check procedures in the world, this is actually the most risky way for a terrorist to enter our country.

Let me be clear. When I say I don't care about the boat people, what I mean is I don't care about stopping them. Let them come. When I think about the conditions these tragic souls have come from, the pain, fear and horror they have seen, I want to get down on my knees and thank God I was born in 'the lucky country'.

The facts are, Australia accepts one of the lowest amounts of refugees and asylum seekers per capita in the developed world. In the last 34 years (1st January 1976 - 30th April 2010), Australia has received a total of 23,024 people. In 2008, Australia received 2,496 refugees onshore, and allows only 13,750 spaces in it's combined offshore refugee programs (run in conjunction with the UNHRC). In 2009, Australia received 6,170 asylum applications, just 1.6% of the applications received across 44 developed nations.

As reported in The Australian's article, "Whose afraid of 4,500 boat people?",  Australians shouldn't be afraid of refugees coming here, because with our geographic location, the numbers will always be small in relation to those of the rest of the world.

Graph from Chas Liccardello's tweet.
Chas is of The Chaser fame, and can currently be seen
on the political commentary/sketch show Yes We Canberra 

To put it in simple terms, at the current arrival rate, it would take 20 years to fill an MCG crowd with refugees.

And I can't believe how so many of the myths surrounding asylum seekers are allowed to persist.

Firstly, that they are illegal. Wrong. It is not illegal to turn up to a country and ask for asylum. It is not illegal to turn up without documentation and passports etc. As the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951 explains, many of these people have no means of obtaining these, so how on Earth can we expect them to arrive like a tourist? These people are not queue jumpers - there is no queue! These people are poor, desperate and fleeing war, persecution and horrendous living conditions. I don't know about you, but if it were me, and my children, I would do whatever it took to get out, I'd hijack a damn plane myself, let alone fly here without a passport, or take a risky journey on a leaky boat made out of mainly rusty tin and duct tape.

And I am so sick of the phrase 'boat people'. For a start, over 90% of Australia's refugees arrive by plane. Of these arriving by plane, about half are granted refugee status. Of the remaining 10% who do arrive by boat, 85-98% are given refugee status. So it would seem that 'turning back the boats' would be sending true refugees back to their deaths Mr Abbott. Great plan.

 As for a lot of the other myths out there about refugees, check out this Mythbuster fact sheet from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

So enough with the scare tactics and talk about 'turning back the boats'. Why don't you try running the country effectively, and give this magnificent country a chance to provide a new home and new life to some of those who most desperately need it?


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Family First, closely followed by Evil...

If you are voting in the Australian election this August, you may be aware of the Family First Party, their current representative in the Senate, Steven Fielding. You remember him, he's the guy that opposed paid parental leave because, and I quote, "Drug addicts and welfare cheats can go out there and get themselves pregnant and then after 20 weeks have an abortion and still pocket the Government's cash".

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Umm, Senator, were you perhaps asleep during the bit where they explained that you are eligible for this paid leave only after birth? A stillborn birth may still eligible, but a late-term miscarriage, let alone a termination, would not be eligible. No? Maybe you were busy texting your mate Wendy Francis. Which is quite an acheivement actually, given that you both seem to live in the 1950's.

You may not be aware of the current Queensland candidate for the Senate, Wendy Francis. Nor was I. Until a story on and also Mamamia ran yesterday. Seems Wendy decided to share her view on same-sex couples having children via Twitter:

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Picture from the Mamamia story

When the majority of Australians (including the "mainstream Australians" who Wendy claims she is representing) reacted with (appropriate) outrage, Wendy took the time-honoured, classy tactic of ... blaming someone else. Yes, apparently "someone in her office used her Twitter account to share her views on same-sex parenting". The tweets have now also been deleted.

And when David Barrow, the Family First candidate from La trobe, Victoria, posted the following comment on the Mamamia website stating:

"My understanding of what a couple means, and my personal interpretation of Family First policy on this or what it ought to be, is that a family couple is a committed co-dependent relationship between two adults in its widest sense.

At Family First, we say that a family couple is a committed relationship between a man and a woman: Adam and Eve.

And it is also Adam and Steve — gay and lesbian couples — and Eve with Eve (even Eve with Eve if you will). So when it comes to families, Family First is a “broad church” (in the modern secular sense of that term): heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples, as well as bi, trans, and intersex.

Within hours he had been disendorsed by the Family First party.

Wendy also appeared on breakfast television last Monday, in a debate on Sunrise (I missed this because I would rather open a vein than watch Mel and Kochy chortle away, lost in their own self-congratulatory orgy). The debate was against Fiona Patten, of the Australian Sex Party, a stupidly named party apparently with it's beginnings in the adult sex industry that came about in order to fight proposed internet censorship laws, which, of course, Family First is all for. During this debate (clip below), Wendy further elaborated on her stance, and demonstated at the end her ability to neatly give a non-answer to a direct question:

If you don't want to throw something by now at her constant interuption whenever Fiona speaks, you're doing way better than me, consiering that vapid twit Mel was doing about as much moderating as a ball of wool does between two cats.

Meanwhile, I think I like Fiona Patten. If she ran as an independent and lost the Sex Party thing, she'd be a real contender.

So when it comes to filing in the Senate voting form, yes, the big fuck-off complicated white one, please be aware that if you "vote above the line", you may unwittingly be giving the Family First party more preferences than you would like. If you have no idea what "voting above the line" means, check out Julie Cowdroy's awesome cheat sheet on the Mamamia website here. I learned more in the 5 minutes it took to read this than I ever did in Social Studies at high school. There are also a whole bunch of excellent cheat sheets on hot button issues and other political topics there too.

Never has there been a better reason for separation between Church and state.

Seems like Stephen, Wendy, and their homophobic and just plain hate-filled party only care about putting familes first if you fit their bigoted, far-right conservative Christian, extremely narrow definition of a "family".


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Proud to be a Crackpot!

I don't usually like to share emails, I prefer to come up with my own nonsense drivel words, but this one is just lovely....

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An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots,each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its complishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?" "That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them."

"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

Each of us has our own journey to walk. And its the cracks and flaws in that journey that lets in enough light for us to take the next step.

Believe in yourself and follow your own path.

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So, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great weekend and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - only with lots of words...

God, I love where I live...

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See that beach? It's gorgeous, it's 5 minutes from my house and it makes it so easy to stay grateful and focus on being happy, no matter what stressful situation I'm in (which is a lot at the moment, still no work, money very tight, bills getting scary, had to give up the job in Brisbane as I would've had to be waking GG up at 5.30am, then waking up Grandma to leave her with her!!).
Thing is though, on the Gold Coast, this beach is only good for...

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Yep, it's only good enough to be a dog beach, it's not even the best we have to offer. But it's my favourite. It's not tacky and showy, like some people think the Gold Coast is. There's no posers, walking back and forth til you notice them, no drunk backpackers, no grim faced runners. Just ordinary people, their dogs, and their smiling faces.

And a Labrador who's learned to bodysurf...

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Look close; he's there, just behind the wave.

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Paddle, paddle, paddle

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Saturday, July 31, 2010


Here's the thing, I don't think I've ever had a job I really loved. I've had jobs I really enjoyed, and felt good about, but nothing I've ever been truly passionate about.

I can enjoy aspects of it, and I can make the best of whatever I am doing, but there's not a lot to love about being an admin pleb. I sort of fell into doing secretarial work after a checkered job history that involved retail and hospitality as a teenager, a stint in my 20's where I considered myself employed by the Government to party and get a bitchin' tan, then the agency I went to to help me find a job employed me as their receptionist, I moved up through the ranks into Accounts Clerk, PA, and then swapped over into consulting myself.

I worked as a Recruitment Consultant for about 3 years, for about 4 different companies (no, that's not unusual in recruitment). Then I got made redundant and as no-one was hiring in Recruitment, took a temp maternity leave contract that turned out to be last job I really enjoyed.

It was as State Sales Secretary for a pharmaceutical company. I worked for a great bunch of people who appreciated what I did for them, and gave me the autonomy to just get it done.

From there I worked as an Executive PA in a few different roles, and then I have been doing part-time admin since having my Gorgeous Gal. Recently, I have been doing full time temp work to help with our finances.

I have always regetting not going to University after I finished high school. At the time, I was so over schooling and desperate for 'freedom', plus I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I just binned the idea and moved in with my boyfriend (I know, I know, quit groaning...)

I have always felt less than adequate about that. I know I am intelligent, capable and hard-working, but really feel inferior when I am around people who are 'educated'. Even when it's apparent I'm probably just as smart as them.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about what I want to be when I grow up (no, you don't need to remind me how old I am). This has been a bit of a tricky subject for years, as there have been so many things that have interested me over time: law, journalism, psychology, policing, teaching, but have lost their sheen the more I thought about it: defending crimals, harassing people, being shot at, dealing with other people's bratty kids all day. Not sure which is worse out of those last two.

You know how often in life, the Universe will keep throwing things at you until you finally sit up and notice? I have been having that a lot lately, all around career fulfillment and seeking menaing by what I do.

It has lead me to a conclusion I didn't expect.

Given that's it probably to late to become an international secret agent, I have been spending the last few months thinking about what it is I really want from a job. I don't need a job to define me, and my family is still the most important thing to me by a mile, but I do feel like I need something more now. So here's what I've come up with, what really matters:

I want to feel like what I do makes a difference in the world. I want to make a meaningful contribution.

I want to work closely with people, and feel like I have helped them, not just with little things, but at important moments in their life.

I want what I do to give me flexibility to enjoy my family and my life.

I kind of want my job to be a 'real' job. This is a hard one to define, but a job that needs a qualification. One that as soon as you say what you do, people know what that is and that you went and got an education to do it.

Once I had defined these things in my head, the answer kept being shown to me, by the friends I kept thinking about, dreams, bumper stickers I would notice, t.v. shows, even the articles I would randomly flick to in magazines.


The more I think about it, the more passionate and excited I become.

I ran into a friend I haven't seen in ages yesterday, and she is now also studing nursing. We got talking and she was full of information. I had assumed that I would need to keep working admin roles until I could not only afford to take time off to study, but to afford the tuition. I have since learned that as early as your second semester, you can work in Assistant in Nursing roles, and that I might be eligible to have my fees fully deferred, like a student loan. That hadn't even occured to me.

So I am off to Griffith Uni's Open Day next Sunday, and ready to start changing my life! Maybe this will be the kick off we need to bring about positive change in the rest of our life, we seem to have been stuck in Groundhog Day lately.

And you know what else is funny? This fits in perfectly with another little dream I have. When GG is a teenager, I want to take her and go do a 'volunteering holiday'. This is where you travel to a developing part of the world, and volunteer your time and services; you might help build a school in Africa, work in a medical clinic in Peru or teach English in a Cambodian orphanage. Can you imagine how valuable it would feel to immunise babies in a village in a third world country?

So I have been doing a lot of research, and speaking to a lot of people, trying to find out as much as I can, and here's what I'd like. I know a few of my readers are or have been nurses, and I'd love to hear what you love and don't love about your job. Actually, whoever you are and whatever you do, I'd love to hear what you love or hate about it.


Friday, July 30, 2010

The Universe's Plaything

It seems once more I find myself caught in a plot twist in the cosmic sit-com I'm sure my life actually is.

The contract I had with Centrelink that I had to guarantee I would be available for to see out the entirety of? Til October? Gone.

Yep, on Wednesday we were all (20 odd temps in 2 teams) called into a meeting and told that due to operational requirements we would all no longer be required as of close of business the next day.

Talk about stunned.

Some people got upset. A few cried. Some people got angry. A few people walked out.

Me? I went and got back on the phones. I needed the money.

By the time I got home Hubby had gotten over being angry on my behalf and was actually quite Zen about the whole thing. Sure, financially we were screwed, but hey, as a family we weren't coping so well with me working full time, so maybe this was for the best. Hubby has a tendency to focus on the negatives of a situation, so you can imagine how proud of him I was, and how supported I felt. You can also probably imagine the reward it got him. (Hey, we were too stressed out to sleep anyway...)

So I spent Thursday night doing the job search hokey-pokey and made plans to spend today with GG, catching up with some friends and their kids I haven't seen for ages. We decided to focus on part-time roles, as that's really is what's best for our family. I talked myself back into a state of positivity and convinced myself this was all for the best, something would work out.

Then, this morning I got a call from the agency that placed me at Centrelink offering me a 4 week contract. Cue immediate relief.

A 4 week contract a mere 2 hours travel away. Would take 2 hours by train or even if I drove. That's 2 hours each way. Cue terror.

Thing is, I can't afford (literally) to be picky. I need to be working right now. And there are just no jobs available on the Coast. Even though it means catching the train at 6.30 in the morning and not getting home til 7pm. Sigh. I took the job.

Then I panicked at 5 minutes to 5.00pm and nearly pulled out. Then I convinced myself it'd be okay. Then I panicked again and convinced myself GG would hate it, I was a horrible Mum. Then I went a little nuts. Then I called my husband.

He talked me down off my little ledge, reminded me that we had already talked this through, re-assured me he would re-arrange his days so that he could drop GG off on her kindy days as well as pick her up.

In the end, we decided that I would do it for a week. The agency rep is doing a site visit Thursday, and if I'm finding it too much, I will let her know then, so she has 2 days to find my replacement. That seems fair. I can do one week at least, even if it is Hell on Earth, I can do one crappy week for the good of my family.

So I enjoyed every minute of my day with GG today, and will continue to over the weekend. This afternoon, while she rode her bike at the park with me walking beside her, I bought up the topic:

"GG, you know how Mummy has been working a lot the last few weeks?"

"Uh-huh. Hey! Look! A puppy!"

"Yeah, lots of puppies here, it's a dog park remember? He's a cutie isn't he?"

"Yep. Cute."

"Yeah, anyway, so you know how Mummy has been going to work?"

"Uh-huh. Oh! Look! Another puppy!!"

I'm gunna fast forward a little here...

"Do you miss Mummy when she goes to work?"

"Yeah, sometimes."

"Yeah, I miss you sometimes too. Well, for the next few weeks, I'm going to be working even more, but only for a very little while. You'll still see me every night, and of course weekends, but you might have dinner at Grandmas before Mummy gets you sometimes."


"But remember, it'll only be for a little while. And we'll still see each other every night."

"Oh. I still see you ebry night?"

"Yep, every night. And don't forget the weekends. And, after that little while, Mummy is going to take a whole week off, and we'll do heaps of stuff together! What do you think?"

GG turned to look at me, her little face incredibly thoughtful, and unless I'm deluding myself, very wise.

"Oh-tay. Oh look!!! A puppy!!!"


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not really the message we're looking for, folks.

So we're all aware that Tony Abbott has trouble winning women voters over, yes?

So are the Today Show apparently. During their show this morning, they decided to go out into the world and interview women on their opinion of Abbott. Great idea.

What was not a great idea however, was their choice of venue. A hairdressers salon.

Really?! How patronising! Like that's the only place women go during the day... once they've finished all the housework of course.

How about go to a hospital, and interview the female Doctors, nurses and staff there. I'm sure they'd have great opinions, given Abbott's previous role as Minister for Health. For that matter, ask the patients, still dealing with the problems he left behind.

Or what about go into the business district, and interview women on their lunch break. Oh that's right, they're too busy grabbing 10 minutes to eat something before rushing back to work so they can earn less than their male counterparts before rushing home to get dinner and run the kids to basketball practice.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The lighter side...

Working at Centrelink Call Centre is many things. One thing I didn't expect it to be was funny.

I'm actually quite enjoying it - mostly the people are pleasant to deal with, and I do actually feel like I am able to connect with and help people. Even if I can't do what they want, I can advise them of what do do next etc., where to go to get more help, things like that.

I'm also enjoying the company of people I work with, it's quite a good mix and we all catch up on our breaks and share info and tips, things of a valuable workplace nature.

We also like to laugh at people.

We share stories of nice people, angry people, people we've caught out trying to dupe the system, and just plain funny stuff. We don't use their names obviously, and it's not done in a mean way, it's just a way to spice up our day, which can get pretty monotonous.

Some of the better stories that I've come across, either by speaking to the caller directly or from these 'team meetings', I've decided to share for your enjoyment.

Like the girl today who rang to claim an advance. She was receiving a benefit for people who are looking for work, and was receiving the rate of a single person living in a hostel. After checking through all her details with her, during which she again confirmed she was still at that address, I processed the advance. She was so happy to have made it through the whole process, she then went on to tell me how much it will help her, given that she's pregnant and that she and her boyfriend want to set up the spare room for the baby. To listen to her backpedal and try to stick to her original story when I questioned what hostel had built-in boyfriends and spare rooms available, and what sort of work was she looking for now that she was pregnant, was almost too funny. Almost.

Then there was they guy who I told would be receiving a call "within two working days". His reply? "Yeah, but I'm not working, hey?"

Then there was the guy who rang up the day he was released from prison, and got stroppy when told it would take up to a week to get him on benefits. When he snapped at me, "I just got outta jail, I got no money, what am I s'posed to do?", it took all I had not to snap back, "How 'bout not committing a fucking crime!"

But my absolute favourite?

Watching my colleague try and keep a straight face as she collected a caller's details. Surname? Taylor. First Name? Jenny. Go on... say it out loud...


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are you a Rocker or a Roller?

There are a million different "types" of people and personalities out there (or 16 if you ask Myers-Briggs) but for me, they all boil down to two main aspects. When faced with a challenge, or something new, people either react positively, or negatively.

Some people react like a rock, refusing to budge in their ways and their thinking, staying obstinately in one place and letting life bash away at them until they are eroded away.

Others prefer to roll with it; they go with life's flow and adapt to changing situations.

There are some things that are worth refusing to budge on of course; you shouldn't compromise or change your core principles just because they are hard to stick to. But in my experience, Rockers tend to view everything negatively, fearfully and with suspicion.

Rollers tend to be more positive in general, sometimes naively so, but view the world with enthusiasm and relish new things.

I seem to have come upon a lot of Rockers lately, and find myself very drained by them. I have quite a bit on my plate at the moment, and don't have the energy to expend on fighting off their bad ju-ju. It has gotten to me a little of late, and I've fallen in the trap of thinking negatively, expecting the worst.

I have learnt through bitter experience how poisionous negativity can be; how it can lead to depression, anger and hopelessness. So I am not going to let it take hold. I am going to continue to enjoying the work I'm doing, it's not all beer and skittles, but I do feel like I am helping people, and enjoying the human aspect of it. I refuse to be sucked into bitching and moaning about things. As Alice Grist writes via her post on Sharnanigans, life could be a lot worse, I could be buried in sand up to my neck, being stoned to death.

I'm not going to moan about how I miss time with GG, instead, I am going to be grateful I have a lovely, healthy, clever, happy and adaptable child to snuggle up with and breathe in her delicious smell. I'm going to be appreciative of my wonderful husband, who works so hard at two jobs and look forward to the time very soon we can spend more time together, proud of how hard we have worked for our family.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Can I just say...

how very chuffed I am that you guys are still with me!!

No-one has dropped off my followers list, even with my abysmal posting record of late. Thanks so much everyone for sticking with me, and I will have some stuff for you later today (hopefully, depends on family co-operations!!!). In the meantime, have a cute Mum (or Mom, depending on where you live) song . Enjoy...

Oh! Also, the other day I was contacted by a woman setting up a website for Gold Coasters, and she asked me to be a regular contributor!! Yay me! Might be a big ask, considering I haven't even managed to put up a blog post in the last two weeks, but I love a challenge! Stay tuned for details...


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Workin' 9 to 5... and then some!

Oh man! This week has been FULL ON!!

I started my full time job on Monday, which will be in a call centre for a Government department, and the training has been... umm, intense. We are not only receiving training in the computer system, but the appropriate programs, benefits, eligibility, rates, thresholds and legislation that apply. Plus, I've never worked in a call centre before, so I am getting my head around the computerised phone systems, workflows, scripts etc. My brain is f.r.i.e.d. Plus I am pretty daunted by the fact that tomorrow afternoon I will be finished training and out there on the phones! Eeek! People, calling, and expecting someone who knows the answers!

I'd love to tell some funny and entertaining stories about the people in my training group and the stories we have been told as dire warnings about why not to do a certain thing, but to be honest, I am so tired and have so much still to do, it's all I can do to just check in with you guys. I have some stuff planned for the weekend though, hang in there!

I don't know how Mums work full time without help, I really don't. GG goes to kindy twice a week, and my Mum has risen graciously to the occasion and looked after her the other three days. As of next week, my Aunt will look after her Tuesdays. Without them, and their valuable help, not only would it hardly be worth me working after the cost of child care, I don't think I would like GG in kindy for a full five days; I feel much better about her getting one-on-one, loving attention from a family member she knows and loves, plus who knows and respects how I raise her.

My husband works a full time day job with big hours, plus a night job two nights a week and Saturdays, so I don't ask him to help out at home at all, though he likes to give GG her bath to help me out, and of course he can play with her while I'm cleaning up after dinner etc., which makes life easier.

Of course, I am still having to cook dinners (except for when Mum gives it to me like tonight, thanks Mum!!), do dishes, laundry (and of course it's rained all week), ironing, prepare lunches and make sure the poor dog, who has been cooped up inside all day because it's been raining, gets walked and has a chance to run in the park. At the moment, I drive straight home from work, pick up the dog, drive him to the park, let him have a quick ten minute run around while I review my training from the day, get back in the car, go pick up GG, come home, spend some time re-connecting with GG, then get her settled and off to bed (easier said than done, for the last few months we've been back to letting her fall asleep on the couch), then try and get some housework done.

Aside from all this, I have been dealing with helping GG deal with now having a Mum who works full time. She has done really well actually, I explained to her earlier on Monday that as well as going to kindy and playing with her friends like normal, for the next little while, her Grandma and Aunty were going to be looking after her a lot more than usual, but we would still be having dinner together all the time like usual, and have time to play in the evening. She took that in pretty well, though this morning when she woke up to find me getting ready for work, she did ask, with a sad little face, "Mummy, are you going to work again today?"

I replied that yes, I was, but Grandma was going to take her to coffee this morning (we usually attended this regular Thursday morning coffee group of Mum's friends together) and then she would get to go to the shops. Then I reminded her that it was only a couple of days til the weekend, and distracted her by getting her to think up some fun things for us to do together then.

This worked reasonably well, but didn't stop me feeling guilty about spending so muhc time away from GG. She's a pretty obliging kid, but she's definitely a Mummy's girl, and I hope she continues to deal so well with me being away, and doesn't get upset when she realises it will be this way fro quite a while (4 months). I feel guilty giving GG this extra thing to deal with, but I must admit I feel so much relief that I will be earning really good money for a while, which will let us catch up financially and is desperately needed.

Geez, I hope this gets easier!!


Friday, July 2, 2010

For your viewing pleasure...

Sometimes I am quite sure my life is some sort of cosmic sit-com, a la The Truman Show, where I reel from one crisis to another, all for the entertainment of some faceless, feckless deity who's sitting there mindlessly eating Pringles and texting their mates.

There's no other explanation really.

Remember this post, where I was getting all panicky and panty-twisty (thanks Gucci) about returning to full time work? Sure you do. I worked myself up into a total state, wracked with guilt over leaving Hannah, twisted with self-doubt as to whether I was even capable of the job.

Slowly, I came around, got down off my little ledge, convinced myself that it would be fine. No Bad Things would happen. I wasn't a bad, neglectful Mum abandoning her daughter; she would be in loving family care, except for her normal kindy days, I would be showing her that women can be mothers and have jobs outside the home, and I would be putting food on the table. We would all be fine and certainly, the bank balance would be a lot healthier.

Then, the Government department I was going to work for scrapped the project I would have been part of. Job gone.

I was flung back into a despair so angsty Edward Cullen would've eaten his left arm to be with me. I felt like a failure yet again for not being able to contribute financially to our desperately lean household. I felt desperate, scared and kind of pissed off. How can it be this hard for an intelligent, capable and willing woman to find a bloody job!?!?!

Then, there was probably an ad break.

Next, like a little ray of hope, I was asked to come for an interview next Monday for a part-time job I had applied for. Awesome!!! Now, your sit-com heroine has learnt her lesson though, people; I remained calm, I did not pin all my hopes and expectations on this interview. I did not take it as a forgone conclusion that once they had met me they would ask, nay beg me, to join their team. I played it cool, but secretly, was really, really hoping it would pan out, as the job is practically perfect for me.

I did however convince myself that it was all a sign, the Universe telling me that I wasn't meant to be working full-time, especially not so far away from home, and that it must mean there was something even better out there, just around the corner.

The more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that I would stick to the search for a part-time job, it was only responsible after all, to be present more for my daughter's sake.

Just before the credits roll however, we need to have a twist. My trusty employment agency guy, who I had forgiven for the scrapped job dealy, rang and asked would I like to be put forward for another contract role he has just been given, this time as a customer service officer for Centrelink and Family Assistance (welfare office for my non-Oz homies). It did cross my mind that perhaps that's a bit like working in the unicorn section of a pet store, but hey, a job's a job! I'm actually a bit of a customer service nut, and thought maybe I could be a shining beacon of change for a jaded organisation, revolutionising the entire system. Humble I'm not.

Of course, this role would be full-time, but not as far from home, located only about 20 minutes away (in Bogan Headquarters, but I'm hoping this will just mean more blog fodder!!). I now needed to re-evaluate - did I want to stick with the program of looking for part-time work, or chase the prospect of a real, live job? Again I gnashed, worried, umm-ed and aw-ed, and decided to ask to be put forward. I am simply not in the position to not try my damndest to get any job going.

So he emailed me some testing and aptitude stuff, I did it at the kitchen table after I'd scraped off the dried up Play-Do and sculled a coffee for confidence.

And today, I was offered the contract! Full-time until October, possibility of being hired on by the Department if I am a go-getterer type, and full training provided at the outset.

Of course, my first day of work co-incides with the day of my interview for the part-time role, doesn't it? Of course it does!!!! Of course it bloody does!!!!

I tried sussing out whether I would be able to start the next day, or have the afternoon off (I used a Doctors appointment as a reason), but to no avail. I rang the company I had an interview with to ask if I could re-schedule. Left a voicemail message for the HR chick with no reply so far.

Gah!!!!!! Could someone give me next weeks script please, so I can at least be prepared?


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Slackness, thy name is Quixotic

So about a million years ago, Soy Mami y Mas awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award.

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There. Innit pretty? I'm really still thrilled to get these little awards, even though *polishes nails on her lapel* I've gotten quite a few by now. And Versatile certainly sums up my schizophrenic subject matter.

I have enjoyed Connie's blog for quite a while now, and after wondering for ages what the title meant, and thanks to Google Translator, was very pleased to find out it means "I am Mum and more". This sums her up very well, she writes beautifully about her miraculous blessing of a daughter, as well as some really deep stuff.

Now, the rules that are bestowed along with this blog say I have to tell you seven things about myself, but honestly, there's not a lot I haven't covered before. Which is why, lucky reader, I have decided to take up Tulpen's tag on her blog, Bad Words. This chick is seriously cool, hilarious and refuses to let raising two kids, one with special needs, make her grow up. She recently tagged me to answer eight questions of her own making, so you are getting real value for money here people!

1: Desert island time: What kind of chips do you bring?
You read my mind. I have been totally craving Pringles chips (original flavour, sour cream at a pinch) lately, and have been known to destroy a whole tube in one episode of House.

2: Speaking of chips. Double dip: Yes or No? Come on, nobody is watching.
At home, absolutely! Out, only when my margarita intake has surpassed my social conditioning.

3: You can only have ONE; your computer or your TV?
Duh, the computer, cause I can watch TV on it anyway.

4: Cheesecake: Proof that God exists and wants you to be happy, and fat. Yes or no?
Hmm. Proof that God exists and wants me to be happy, and proof that the devil will always punish happiness!

5: Farts are always funny. Yes or no?
Sometimes funnny, sometimes a Career Limiting Move. Depends on your boss. No, I don't want to elaborate.

6: Got kids? Watch Disney or Nick? What's your favorite? Don't got kids? You're watching way better TV than I am. You suck.
Ah yes, kid's shows. The only thing I seem to get to watch regularly these days. I am quite partial to Jane and the Dragon, and the old favourites Sesame St and Play School. My 3 year old Gorgeous Gal's favourite show? Masterchef.

7: Glee?
Yes please. Why couldn't my school have had show choir? Oh right, it probably did, but I was too busy being a bad girl and smoking and kissing boys behind the bike sheds.

I wish more of life was narrated by a nifty song choice and my friends spontaneously bursting into choreographed back up dancing. Not that that stops me bursting into song on a regular basis, it'd just be nice if people stopped looking at me so strangely when I did.

8: Really embarassing guilty pleasure. I'll show you mine if you show me yours. And mine is pretty embarassing.
You mean other than the fact I eat a whole tube of chips, douple dip them, once farted in front of my boss and burst in song at random intervals? hmmm...

Oh! I got one. I totally love to watch the TV show Wife Swap. The U.S. version. It's hideous, trashy, horrible, horrible T.V. and I love it!!! If you don't know what I am talking about you haven't lived! They take two familes, diametrically opposed in their lifestyle and beliefs, then make the women live in each others homes for two weeks. Just sit back and watch the familes implode! I call it Train Wreck T.V., I know it's awful, and I shouldn't look, but I am morbidly curious and can't look away.

So there you go folks, more useless random triva about me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Move over Rachel Zoe...

What does one wear to a family birthday dinner at the local Sizzlers family restaurant?

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A pink fairy princess outfit of course.

And how does one accessorise such an outfit?

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With pink suede and sequin cowboot boots, naturally!

P.S. The chihuahua in a handbag is so like, last year. Bored Labradors are the new black!


Take that Beyonce!

I don't usually like those posts where all they show is a video clip, but this one demands to be seen, deserves to be seen, and needs no more words....

Anita is a former stay at home Mum, turned comedic phenonmenon. She is a writer and performer, and most recently, winner of the Georgia Author of the Year. More awesomeness can be found at her website.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Panic Stations!

So it seems I have found myself a job. Well, really, it found me. I went along to an employment agency (actually one I used to work for when I was a recruiter!) for one job; a temp admin officer role for my local City Council and ended up with a whole 'nother job! Turns out just before I turned up for the interview, they had gotten a role in that nicely combines my training credentials (that I've barely used) with my knowledge of bookkeeping software (that I haven't used for years. Ahem).

So now I'm panicking on two fronts, possibly three. Actually, more like four.

One, I'm not totally convinced I'm up for the job. Sure, I will be given a crash-course in the software, and I do have the theoretical knowledge of how to train, but still. Eeek! I am trying to remind myself that I do best when given a challenge I need to live up to, and having faith that my brain and ability to take advantage of other people's skills adapt quickly will see me through.

Two, it's a full time job. The first I've had since having GG. This is what really scares me. Yes, I know she's three now, and it's not like she's a tiny baby anymore, but I am really worried about how this will affect us. I know I will miss the time away from her, and I know I am lucky that instead of having to put her in kindy full-time (thus negating it even being worth working anyway), I have a great family who are willing to look after my little Gorgeous Girl, and so I am slightly reassured that she will still have that loving, one-on-one care that young kids need.

But I'm still going to be basically giving up being the main person responsible for caring for her, day to day. Up til now, even though she has been going to kindy two days a week since she was about a year old (three days for a while there when I was living in Brisbane and working part-time), I have been the person responsible for those little ways we all have, the little rituals and sayings and ways that become our memories of our childhoods. I have been the one to teach her and encourage her, read to her, all those things. I have been the one to set the limits of how I would like her to act, and to reinforce those, now I'm giving up control of that, and relying on others to shape her behaviour.

Having just re-read this, I'm aware of how melodramatic I am being, and how I am over-reacting, but it's how I feel right now, like I'm about to give up a big part of being a Mum.

The good part is I guess, is that I am the one who will suffer the most being away from GG. She herself will be going to play with her kindy friends like always, and hanging out the other days with some of her favourite people, no doubt being spoiled and indulged.

The saving grace of all this (apart from the much needed financial boost of course!) is that it's a contract role. We're still hashing out the details of how long for etc., and it's true I am hoping it will convert into a permanent role, but I will probably try to negotiate a part-time role moving forward, once the money earned by working full-time has helped us catch up.

So the third reason I'm panicking? It's nearly an hour's drive away. This means not only am I away from GG every weekday, but for a significant length of time each day.

Four, what the hell will I wear?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Does this mean I'm a columnist now?

I am delighted to announce I have been asked to be a regular contributor on the wonderful Sharnanigans website!!

World domination here I come!!!

The contributions will focus a lot on my more spiritual side, my search for Zen and examining some of the issues affecting women today. Given an outlet for this side of me, this will help me get this blog back to what it orginally was, a light-hearted look at motherhood and other stuff that amuses and confuses me. Plus of course, the odd rant. Hey, I'm Quixotic, I've got to tilt at the odd windmill or two, right?

To check out this month's column, an exploration of negative self-talk and snarkiness towards other women, go here. If you're new to my blog, and want to check out the columns that got me a regular gig, check out here and here.

So go show Sharni some love, and congratulate her for recognising my genuis thank her for giving me a go!


Monday, June 21, 2010

And the winner is...

The winner of the $60 voucher for is...



envelope please....

Hke68336!!! As decided by the random number generator.

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The first two commenters weren't in Australia, so I couldn't include them, sorry. :(

Now here's the tricky part. I'm related to this commenter. I was tempted to run another draw, and also exclude the other family member who commented, but I don't want to punish them just for being related to me (some would say that's punishment enough!!).

So, even though it feels a little hinky, I am going to leave the results as they are, but promise you it was truly a fair draw.

So Hke, get yourself a proper name and email me for the details. And congratulations!


Friday, June 18, 2010

I have so many issues with this.

Fellow Gold Coaster Jesinta Campbell has just been crowned Miss Universe Australia 2010.

I kind of have an issue with the whole Miss Universe thing anyway. Firstly, why is it always an Earthling who wins? Rigged much?

Then of course there is the whole judging women based on their looks issue. Now, now I know it claims to also rate them according to their poise and ability to promote World Peace or whatever it is Miss Universe is supposed to do. If this is truly the case, please see below:

Now, watch this clip of Jesinta completely fluffing her answer during the "interview" section:

And the winner is??

Of course! The beautiful girl who can't string a sentence together!

Okay, that was a bit nasty, yes she did completely stuff up, and even when she kind of pulled herself together and give an answer, sun protection (a very important issue for all Australians) became skin care (a very important thing for beauty industry advertising) and her message lost all it's power. She did however, show some sort of grace in realising she had stuffed up and when she first seizes up and looks plaintively out at the audience, you do kind of think, "Oh, bless her little cotton socks, poor dear."

Given that this pagent wasn't televised, I don't know how well or otherwise the other girls did in their interview section, but given that they are all stunningly gorgeous and know how to work a swimwear and high-heels combo, are the Miss Universe Australia people sure they couldn't have picked a girl who actually managed to speak coherently?

Ah well, all the best Jesinta. However much I detest beauty pagents, I'll be happy for you if you win.


P.S - Don't forget to check out my giveaway - over here!