Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Movember!

As October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, drew to a close, men everywhere started baring their faces in preparation for Movember. "Movember?" you ask. "What is Movember?"

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Australia and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men.
Of course, there is a lot more information on the Movember website.

In Australia the funds go specifically to Beyond Blue and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. This initiative is particularly important because, as we know, men generally aren't exactly keen on seeing Doctors or asking for help. It's all about awareness.

Obviously growing a mo isn't for everyone, let's face it, there are some men who struggle in the facial hair department. And most women would have a problem too. But there are other ways you can help. You can donate money to someone you know who has registered to grow a mo, to a team, or make a general donation. You can also contribute by purchasing Movember merchandise.

I'll be donating to a few friends for their efforts, and even Thing1's male teachers have formed a team to join in! If you're on Twitter, here are a selection of tweeps who are doing their bit. Why not make a donation to one of them?



@greyko Donate here

@scuzzi_au Donate here

@PuppyOnTheRadio Donate here

@GhostofSirJoh Donate here

@LaceySnr Donate here

@matchtrick Donate here

Coolum State School team

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Some people think breast cancer awareness is one of the "nice" causes, everyone supports it and it gets plenty of publicity. While this is true, it's hardly nice for the women (and men!) affected by this insidious disease. Like with all cancers, the treatment is often worse than the disease itself, and there can be far reaching consequences of this treatment.

One of my favourite bloggers @YogaChikk has written a powerful post about her experience on her sex & relationship blog Naughty Time. Since her site does contain graphic adult images, she's given me permission to repost it in full here for those who might not appreciate those images (or who want to read it with the kids around!). You can find the original post here.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month--My Story

This post is going to be different from my others in that I will reveal something that has been a very private and emotional thing for me.... 

I have had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. 

I am doing it solely to help other women and the men in their lives to understand the emotional and physical upheaval that goes on once there is a diagnosis of breast cancer. Because my blog is about sex and relationships, that is how I'm going to discuss this..

As women we see our femininity based in those things that are completely female.  Our breasts are one of those things.  Our breasts can feed our children,  and bring us and our partner pleasure. There are very few things that say WOMAN like your breasts do.  Undergoing a bilateral mastectomy was...traumatic.  Suddenly instead of round breasts and perky nipples...there was just a flat chest and scars.  My path was a rocky one and it didn't go well.  I spent a year, having repeated surgeries.  In that year, not only was my health impacted, but so was my relationship.

Its hard to feel sexy and feminine when a part of you has just been amputated.   Your clothing doesn't fit right...you have numbness and pain.  Your body has become almost the enemy...something you are fighting against.  Everytime you look at yourself in the mirror there is the glaring evidence that you are not whole.  How you and your partner deal with that will go a long way towards your emotional health during this traumatic time.

During my personal journey I met a lot of other women.  Some had supportive partners and some didn't.  One story stood out to me among all others.  A woman said that after her mastectomy her husband didn't even want to look at her chest until her reconstruction was complete.  I was personally horrified by the lack of caring and compassion he showed his wife.  She was basically undergoing a radical change to her body and self esteem and her partner was concerned with only himself and her final outcome.  Don't be THAT guy.

I know its not pretty.  There is nothing sexy about a flat chest and scars and the expander process is far from a walk in the park.  However, if your partner realizes and verbalizes that their love for you is about more than just your breasts.  That the loss of those symbols of femininity doesn't make you any less feminine.  That you are still desirable and loved.  Then you will be able to cope so much better with the whole process. 

When breasts are reconstructed, there are aspects that men are not aware of...like your new breasts will be numb. Nerves are cut and you will likely have very little to no sensation in your reconstructed breasts.  Nipples as well have to be reconstructed and they also will have no sensation, are typically flat and do no react to temperature changes or desire.  The areaola is tattoo'd on, this is typically the final step in the reconstruction process.  Some women choose not to have a "realistic" tattooing, they may choose to tattoo their breast or mastectomy scar with a symbol of beauty to them.  I say that whatever they choose ...their choice should be supported. 

You may not wish to engage in breast play the way you did prior to your mastectomy.  Your partner sucking on  your reconstructed nipples may cause you more distress than pleasure, because you may feel awkward about having him touch these reconstructed breasts in a sexual manner when they still feel more prosthetic than a part of you.  When you show your newly reconstructed breasts to your lover, you may be scared of their reaction...that they won't see you as sexy or beautiful anymore.  That your breasts which are a source of pride for most women will never be what they were...and this impacts your relationship and self esteem. 

The fact that the reconstruction process is typically not a fast one, means that for months you may have no breasts at all.  This may dramatically change how you interact with your lover.  You may wish not to take off your shirt during sex...or you may refrain from sex altogether out of embarrassement or fear of his reaction. I say this...love shouldn't be about your breasts.  Love is about your sense of humor and intelligence, its about your laughter and being a good mother/sister/friend/lover. Your partner fell in love with you because of WHO you are...not what cup size you wore.  So, don't give up sex, and don't underestimate its ability to bond you, reassure you and reconnect you when you need those things the most.

Know that this is your journey..and even with a supportive partner, you take it alone.  No one can undergo the process for you, each step you take is towards a goal of health, and you should be proud of that.  Be proud of your strength and determination.  Be proud of the fact that you met the battle head on.  The scars we have, show that you are a fighter.  Yes, your body has changed, but you stood your ground and you have nothing to be ashamed of. 

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month...I ask that all my female readers, do a self breast exam monthly and get annual mammograms.  The guidelines say to start them at 40*, but if you have any family history of breast cancer or you feel anything abnormal in your monthly breast exam, then please consult your physician.  Don't wait. 

You are a unique jewel in an ocean of bodies on this Earth...and you would be greatly missed by the people that love you.  So, for them, as well as for you..please get checked.

 *US.

A very different perspective to those we usually read about. There is no excuse for being ignorant about breast cancer and early detection. There is so much information readily available, and many organisations ready to help should the unimaginable occur. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Bird, Bees and Elephants



As a parent of growing children, one of the things that has terrified me is the thought of The Talk. Yes, The Talk. I'm sure most of us can remember when we got The Talk from one of our own parents, that's if they had the courage to and didn't leave you to your own devices. I seem to recall that I only got half the story. Mum told me about girls and their periods, but I don't think she ever mentioned why it happened, let alone the intricacies involved. I have no idea what my older brother might have been told!

I've been lucky so far. Thing 1 is 10 and never shown any interest in knowing where he came from. Plus, given that he and his 2 younger sisters were caesarean deliveries he knows how babies get out of mum's tummy. He's never asked how they got in there. Phew!
He started an innocent conversation with me in the car the other day. (Why always in the car where you can't escape?!) No one could have seen the turn the conversation would make. It went a bit like this:

Thing1: What country does our family come from?
Me: Mostly England, Great Grandpa's dad was Scottish.
(various unimportant mumblings)
Me: Nana's mum was born on the boat on the way from England.
Thing1: That's cool.  <Pause>  But how did she come out, there's no surgeons on boats?
Me: <stalling, desperate for a meteor to hit the road in front of us> Not all babies are born that way.
Thing 1: Oh yeah, sometimes they come out the bum.
Me: <hoping we'll have enough money for his future therapy> No, they don't come out the bum.
Thing 1: What? So how do they get out then?
Me: Girls have another hole, next to the bum. (Really? That's the best I could do?)
Thing 1: Eeeeewwwww! But still, how do they get out? Like elephants, does a baby elephant come out its mum's bum?
Me: No, girl animals have another hole too.
Thing 1: Eeeeewwww! But how can they? How do they fit?
Me: Kill me now.

So, that went well. He's actually getting closer to 11 now, so I guess we really can't avoid The Talk for too much longer. Plus, he watches Glee so he's probably got half of it figured out anyway. My plan will be to allow The Chef the honours with the boy child. That will mean I have to deal with the two girls when the time comes, but maybe Thing 1 will help me out with that. 

If, for some reason, I'm lucky enough to have to do it myself I will be following Mrs Woog's experience, as detailed on Woogsworld. Surely nothing could go wrong there?

In the meantime, I'd love to know how it went for you. Have you had to have The Talk in your house? Is it ever easy?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Are two really better than one?

A duet can sometimes be a fabulous collaboration between talented musicians. Other times it can be an absolute tragedy. A while back my local radio station was talking about the most popular duets. I can't recall over what time frame, nor whether it was all Australian artists. But when they announced their number one as Kylie & Jason "Especially for You" I lost all faith in humanity. 

The other interesting thing I discovered when researching this topic, is that Americans have (generally speaking) rather insipid music tastes compared to Australians, when you look at their corresponding lists. I am more than happy to be proven wrong here.

Anyway, in an effort to make things right, I've decided to share some of my all-time favourite duets. Some are classics, some are a little more obscure, all are awesome. At least in my opinion!

Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush (1986)
Perfection in a duet.


Under Pressure - Queen and David Bowie (1981)
Queen. Bowie. That is all.


Walk This Way - Aerosmith and Run DMC (1986)
Rap meets rock 'n' roll. Great clip too.


Where the Wild Roses Grow - Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue (1995)
Kylie scored some credibility for her collaboration with Cave.
 

What Have I Done to Deserve This? - Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield (1987)
No one did disco in the 80s like Pet Shop Boys. Bringing in Dusty was genius!
 

Kids - Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue (2000)
Kylie gets raunchy with Robbie. 
 
 
No More Tears (Enough is Enough) - Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer (1979)
So Babs isn't for everyone, but this is a classic disco tune. And find me anyone else who can hold a note like she can!
 
 
When You're Gone - Bryan Adams and Melanie C (1998)
Not sure who's helped out who here, but a fun song with a clever video.


Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart - Gene Pitney and Marc Almond (1988)
This one is a bit obscure, but one of my faves. Hands up if you've heard it before!
 
 
These last 2 are current favourites.
Jet Lag - Simple Plan feat. Natasha Bedingfield (2011)
Nothing complicated here, but the best pop song I've heard for ages.
 

Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye feat. Kimbra (2011)
Another amazing video, teamed with a great tune. Sounds of classic Gabriel.


Do you agree with my choices? Disagree? What have I missed? Would love you to share your favourites here!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

R U OK?

“In the time it takes to have your coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life. 
On R U OK?Day, who will you ask?"
Gavin Larkin, Founder R U OK?





From RUOK? website: Thursday 15 September, 2011 is R U OK?Day. It’s a national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones.

Despite the increase in public awareness of mental health & depression, it's still not something that is talked about enough. Too many people suffer without the support of family or friends, and in many cases, despite awareness campaigns, still don't know where to look for help.

I doubt there's anyone who doesn't know somebody suffering from depression. That is, if it's not themselves. I think I know more people affected by it, directly or indirectly, than those who aren't. I was diagnosed with post-natal depression after the birth of each of my kids. I've been lucky compared to so many others, having a GP I trusted without question who picked it up even before I realised something was wrong.

Often all a person needs is to know that someone will listen, that someone cares. That's part of what R U OK?Day is about. Ask someone you are worried about if they are really OK. But be prepared to deal with the answer. If you are the person being asked, be honest. Speak up and be truthful. The R U OK?Day website has some tips on the best way to go about asking someone. The organisation is also on Twitter and Facebook.

So on September 15, ask someone if they're OK. If someone asks you and you're not OK, tell them. They care, and they want to help you.

Thanks to Lori at Random Ramblings of a SAHM, whose own posts prompted me to blog about this.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stop. Nana Time!

As we get older our priorities change, our wants and needs change. As I flew past 30, and rushed downhill towards 40 I realised that a lot of times the mind was willing, but the body said "not likely, buddy!". That's kind of hard to cope with sometimes, since I still feel about 25 in my head.

I love being social. I love meeting people for a meal or a drink. I can still cope with that. It's the big nights out that I struggle with. The night clubs and overly noisy pubs aren't as appealing as they used to be. Makes no difference whether I'm drinking or not. I discovered I'm truly a Nana a few weeks back when I met friends for a drink at a popular nightspot. We managed to find a comfy couch to sit, then realised that it would take a week to wade through the crowds of people to get a drink. So we sat and chatted. Or tried to, over the noise of the crowd and the pumping dance tunes. That was a big night, we headed home by about 9.30pm. Yes, pathetic!


So this leads me to my Top Ten Ways You Know You're A Nana (in no particular order):

Gone are the days where the kids eat early then you enjoy a quiet meal with your partner after the kids are in bed. Instead you eat with the kids. At 5.30pm.

You count down the minutes until the kids are in bed. Only so that you can go to bed too. And not for Extreme Cuddles, for sleep.

At 9pm, when you used to be heading out, you're sitting on the couch with a cup of tea.

And a blanket over your knees.

If you do head out for a big night, you're home by 11pm. Any later and it takes you 2 days to recover.

You find yourself watching more ABC.

You watch SBS for the fascinating insights into different cultures. Instead of the soft porn.

You watch controversial programs just so you have an excuse to yell at the TV.

You listen to Classic Hits radio stations, or talk-back, because current music is awful.

You can't get through the day without a mid-afternoon nap. But you're still considering bed by 9pm.

Are you a Nana? When and how did you realise that your youthful ways were long gone?

Monday, August 15, 2011

I love equal love!

You'll notice a new button on the right bar of my blog. It was created by the lovely Bianca at Big Words to show support for marriage equality. Instead of paraphrasing what she said, or writing my own version of the same, I will copy her brief post here.


The Right for Equal Love


Apparently, I am in a "normal" relationship and because of that I am afforded the right to be married. I have a husband, three gorgeous girls and we even have a white picket fence. I didn't have to fight for my right to marry. I didn't have to march the streets pleading my case for protection and recognition under the law. We stood in an olive grove in front of our loved ones and were married by a celebrant. We are now legally bound to not have as much sex as before, argue about finances and have stretches of silence between us like other married couples. I simply can't understand why people from same sex relationships don't have the same legal rights. Why can't they stand in front of their most dearest and be legally bound together in love? Their love is as strong as heterosexual couples. Love is love is love. I could write forever on the subject of equality. It's time Australia gets with the program. It's time Australia recognises, rejoices and supports marriage equality. Equal love for all.

So, in my own small way I wanted to show my support. I made an "I Love Equal Love" button for my blog. If you feel the same, I'd love for you to grab it and pop it on your blog too (you can find it on my sidebar). We have a strong voice us bloggers - let's use it! Equal love for all. xx
 If you'd like to show your support too, head to Bianca's blog and grab the button for yourself.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A weekend by degrees

Last weekend I was in Melbourne to attend Blogopolis. The conference was full of great, useful information and tips, presented by talented & experienced bloggers and professionals. It was also an opportunity to meet so many fabulous bloggers I know from Twitter, and to catch up with friends I've met previously. But this blog isn't about that. I realised when I started making some plans that a common theme was occurring, purely by coincidence. You'll soon see what I mean!

My flight into Melbourne was delayed which meant I missed dinner with @TwitchyCorner, @easypeasykids & @denwise1. Instead it was me, terrible TV, Twitter and barely adequate room service.  The time alone was awesome!


65 Degrees. Photo © Melissa Hobbs
 The following day started with a much sought-after sleep-in, followed by meeting up with @melhobbs at the fabulous @65Degrees. This is where my Weekend by Degrees began.
After coffee, I headed for lunch at Three Degrees where I finally got to meet one of my very first tweeps, @seanbradford and we spent 3 hours talking and tweeting. 


Photo www.eurekaskydeck.com.au
The degrees continued after the conference Saturday night with a visit to @Eureka_Skydeck. 88 floors above the city, with 180 degree views. Fantastic views, and very calming. Next time I visit during the day!


Sunday I scored another sleep-in! I was picked up from my hotel by @crazycuddles, and we headed for a leisurely breakfast. Next stop was Gasworks Arts Park for @melhobbs's photo exhibition NYC -6 degrees. 
 


By then it was time to head for the airport. So much fun, not enough time, but I loved the coincidence of it all! Can't wait to see you again, Melbourne!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What the f*#k?

Last night on Channel 10's new show "Can of Worms" the question was asked "Do Australians swear too much?". It just so happened that 2 of the guests had opinions at opposite ends of the scale where this subject was concerned, and it made for hilarious television. (You can view the segment here. It does contain swearing!)

I'd also noticed similar discussions on Twitter over the last few days regarding acceptable or unacceptable swearing. It's interesting to see where people's thoughts differ on the subject. At a brief glance there doesn't seem to be any pattern with regard to acceptability, aside from, what is generally regarded as the worst, the C-word. Generally speaking, it seems that women have a bigger problem with that word than men, although many men find it offensive too.

Personally, I don't have a problem with swearing. I do draw the line at the C-word though. But even there the line has blurred a little. I still won't say it, nor probably even write it, but some of the people I follow on Twitter do use it, some frequently, and I've become accustomed to seeing it used. Sometimes the context is even funny. I'm not so keen on hearing it, however.

Having spent most of my adult life working mainly alongside males of varying ages, sometimes in relatively high pressure situations & often being the sole female, I've gotten used to people swearing a lot. And consequently I probably swear far too much now. The F-word comes out often, as well as shit, crap and other less offensive words. I do struggle to keep the swearing under wraps when I'm dealing with the kids, not always successfully. I'm sure many parents have had "those" days, where they've let the odd inappropriate word out when totally frustrated with their offspring. I'm not proud of it, but it happens.

Where do you draw the line? Is "bother" the extent of your swearing? Maybe you're comfortable with the C-word? If you don't swear does it bother you if others do? It will be interesting to see how feelings differ!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I can't go a day without...

Everyone has their own favourite things, whether it's a feeling, a place, a person, an object. Some of those things are just nice and we feel blessed when we are able to experience them. But there are others that are our lifeblood. Things that we must experience everyday or life becomes a struggle. Obviously there are times when some things might not be possible, but go without for too long and I notice a difference.

I can't go a day without:

Tea or coffee. I'm definitely not a morning person, never have been. So don't expect anything useful from me before I've had a hit of caffeine. Of course, the trouble with trying to get 3 kids organised and out the door on weekdays means I don't often get what I want. Fortunately, my favourite coffee shop is only a block from school and they take very good care of me!

Hugs and kisses from my kids. The unconditional love from my kids can get me through the worst of days. From sleepy morning bed time snuggles with Thing 3, to my favourite big boy hugs from Thing 1, they're precious moments that can't be taken for granted.

Sunshine. Of course, this one is a bit out of my control, but there's no feeling that sun on my skin can't improve. Some days it might only be whatever rays I can catch while driving around. Others I might have the luxury of just sitting for a while, feeling the sun on my face. Overcast days are my nemesis!


Internet time. I know this one is very superficial, but as the saying goes, so many of my friends live inside my computer. I get my news and weather from the web. My work involves the internet. But mostly, it's the interaction from Facebook and Twitter that I need. Since most of my conversations during the day are with small people it's nice to be able to chat with other adults!

Clearly, food and sleep are necessary every day but in both cases it can often be poor quality and less than I need! 

So tell me, what can't you go a day without?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Everything old is new again

It seems to me that a lot of people around my age have particularly fond memories of their childhood & teen years. I don't know if it's more than other generations or if it just seems that way because I can relate.

That being said, I think we can all agree that the current trend of rehashing old movies & songs has really gone too far. There's nothing worse than singing along to a "new" song, only to have your child question how you know the words, then arguing that <insert current pop fad> was the first and only person to sing the song. And don't even get me started on Glee!

Even so, I can kind of deal with that. It's when they start messing with our classic movies that I have a real problem! The latest to get the Hollywood bastardisation is Footloose. I might be lost in nostalgia, but you don't go messing with Kevin Bacon.


And now I've seen that Leo DiCaprio is in talks to remake The NeverEnding Story. What kind of crack would you have to be on to think that would be a good idea?! Some things are sacred, for example no one has tried to remake Casablanca. You just wouldn't go there. But it doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon as this article shows.

I think I need a Bex and a good lie down, this is all too much for me. But first, I'll reminisce a little more...


What do you think of remakes? What do you hope they don't remake? What remake would you like to see? 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home is where the heart is

Home.

The word can mean different things to different people. What or where is home to you? Is it where your parents live? Is it where you were born, or where you spent most of your childhood? Is it where you've mostly lived as an adult?

I'm a bit unsure. I guess these days for me, home is where my kids are. Before our recent interstate move I'd lived in the same city for most of the previous 30+ years. It's where I grew up, where I have many memories. But I don't think I call it home, it's familiar and comfortable, but not quite home. 

We haven't lived here for long enough yet for it to feel like home, but who knows, in the future it might feel that way. I think part of the reason I don't have that strong feeling of home in any particular place is because my parents moved a bit. There isn't the traditional family home to return to on visits. 

The closest thing I had to the traditional family home was my grandparents' place. They bought their house in Sydney when they were married in the 1930's, and lived there until they no longer could around 2004. The house hadn't changed at all in my memory, although there are photos to show otherwise. It, and my grandparents, were a constant in my life for over 30 years. As kids my brother and I would spend our school holidays there, our grandmother taking us on trips into the city or to the zoo. I think these special memories, and others created there over the years, is what makes Sydney feel like home for me. Even though I haven't lived there since I was 7, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling arriving in the city and I can't help but smile.

 
One thing I have to do every time I visit Sydney is head for Circular Quay. As soon as I catch a glimpse of the Bridge, the ferries, the Opera House I relax. I call it my spiritual place. Despite hundreds of people rushing about I can sit and watch the world go by, oblivious to the noise, and feel an incredible sense of peace. It's not exactly most people's idea of peace, but it definitely works for me.

Do you have somewhere that is truly home for you? Or a more spiritual place? What does home mean to you?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An end... and a beginning.

This week saw the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. How you refer to his death is a matter of perspective, and I don't want to get into the political aspects of the event. But I think it's safe to say, that depending on that same perspective, how you feel about it will likely differ from the next person's.
I do understand, however, the feelings of New Yorkers, and many other Americans, that it was not only justified, but necessary. NYC, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania needed that closure. They need to know, that despite whatever may come, that chapter is closed and they can continue their healing.

My friend Mark from Thoughts from the Dark Side is a native of NYC. His post The Day That Changed Everything documents what he witnessed on September 11, 2001. Please, read it.

I've heard this story so many times from him now that I could easily retell it myself. But I still can't come close to grasping the feelings that would have surrounded Americans on that day.

I never saw the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in person, but I will never forget the feelings that I had the day I visited Ground Zero last year. It was surreal. You can almost feel the pain and fear that will always be a reminder of the tragedy of that day. And you can't help but shed a tear as you think about the people who lost their lives that day, and the families who were left behind.

These families will never fully recover from the loss of their loved ones in this way. But the death of bin Laden will surely help them continue to move forward.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's in a name?

As I talked about briefly here, I attended the launch of Kerri Sackville's first book in Sydney last week. It was an amazing night, an opportunity to meet so many wonderful tweeps in real life, to get to know properly people you'd been tweeting with for ages. But most of all, to celebrate Kerri's fabulous book!

Amidst the cries of "Wow! You look just like your avatar", "Great to meet you!", and "Look at those shoes!", the question I was asked most is "Where did Macsnorky come from?". After being asked a few times, and being the lazy person that I am, I decided it would be easier to blog it than to repeat it a dozen times in one night.

I hasten to say, it's not a hilarious story, and probably not even particularly interesting to most. But I have been asked, so I will explain.

When Thing 1 was a newborn he used to make a strange snorting sound, like a cross between clearing your throat and Peppa Pig, when he was working up to a cry. This earned him the nickname Snorky which we still torture him with now.

Back in the days of build-your-own-PC (who'd bother now?), a friend rebuilt a PC for us and named it Snorky. Since then there have been several variations on the Snorky theme for PCs including Snorkzilla, MiniSnork and Snorklet. A while after Snorky was built, I got my first Apple machine (a Mac G4 tower), which the same friend then named MacSnorky (of course).

Like everyone, I've use many different nicknames over the years for forums and blogs, but given  my Apple fascination, and lack of creativity, Macsnorky has stuck. And seems it's here to stay.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lyin' Eyes

Girls, I need you to be honest with me. Have you ever cheated? I think it's safe to say many of you have. Sometimes you don't want to but you're forced into it. Maybe being away from home causes it. Or perhaps the timing of things means you have to look further afield. Sometimes it causes you angst and guilt, other times it might lead to more permanent change if you discover something that's been missing. Regardless, it's not a situation you enter into lightly.

I'm talking about hairdressers, of course. What did you think I meant? I've been unfaithful to hairdressers in the past and it rarely ends well. Instead of a slight trim you end up losing inches and need to wear a hat for weeks until it grows back. Or they do such a bad job of matching your colour that you look like your 4 year old did it at home. But sometimes, seeing someone new is entirely unavoidable.

I'm up against this right now. School holidays and public holidays means I've run out of time. I'm jetting off to Sydney for the launch of Kerri Sackville's first book When My Husband Does The Dishes this week and I need a hair cut. My choices are to go and meet a bunch of fabulous tweeps in stylish venues and attend the launch looking like bedraggled street urchin, or take the risk and have it done in Sydney. Neither is an appealing prospect but I fear I have no choice but to go with the latter.

I'm not comfortable with this scenario. One of the worst things is getting caught. You know what it's like, you stray, and when you next see your regular hairdresser they know you've gone somewhere else. They can spot it straight away. You tell them what happened, but it sounds like a feeble excuse, you feel ashamed and unable to make eye contact. Which is really unfortunate given my current stylist is a 21 year old, straight, footballer with abs of steel. But that's beside the point.

So, Sydney folk, I need your help. Save me by recommending a hairdresser in the CBD who can squeeze in a procrastinating, disorganised prospective street urchin at very short notice. Otherwise, the results may be disastrous!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(Blog) Love is all around

My friend Mark at Thoughts from the Dark Side has kindly opened his blog to others, all in the name of introducing bloggers and readers to blogs they might otherwise have not known about. Since he was nice enough to mention me in his post I thought it only fair to do the same here.

Since Mark has already mentioned my friends Feral, Jack, and Kerri I won't go into detail about them here. You'll have to go and read his blog. Also, in the name of more equally sharing the love, I'm not going to mention some of my absolute favourite blogs because they already have more than their share of adoring followers and they're in my blogroll (but they're welcome to give themselves a plug here!).

Instead, I'm going to share a few of my new-found faves. Meet Nicole at Ironing and Apostrophes as she talks about her two big passions, and other stuff too. Stella Orbit talks about motherhood, friendship, the painful and the joyful, with total honesty. Visit Twitchy Corner to learn about her take on parenting and having a good time when you're on the outside (might be time for an update though Twitch!). And lastly, have a look at 4 Kids, A Dog and a Blog as she settles in to living in a new country with her family.

I don't have time to read all the blogs I like now, but I'd still love you to give yourself a plug here. So, who are you and what do you blog about? Let's share the blog love a little!

A change is as good as a holiday

Unless you're really not paying attention, you will notice that there's been some redecorating going on around here. The fabulous new colour scheme is courtesy of the totally gorgeous Sass at Life of the Bees and her new venture MooZoo Designs. She designs all kinds of pretty Blogger templates, and can do custom blog designs too.

The best part of this redecoration is that, not only did Sass take care of everything for me, she didn't expect me to move any of my techy toys nor remove the accumulated dust bunnies. A win all round, I'd say!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

iGeneration (or My Kids Need to Get Outside More)


Do you ever get the feeling that your kids might have inherited a particular gene from you, rather than their other parent? I'm not talking about hair or eye colour, or height, or skin tone. I'm talking about one of your traits that may, or may not, be a positive attribute. Maybe you're a neat freak and your child is showing similar tendencies. Or maybe you have to read the last chapter of a book before you decide whether to read it or not (yes, I have a friend who does this. Weird!). 

As for my kids, let me put it to you this way, all 3 are more likely to be found in front of some kind of techy electronic device than lovingly stroking a motorcycle with The Chef. Now, I know kids these days need to be computer savvy, 10 year old Thing 1 uses one at school and often for homework. This doesn't explain how Thing 3, by age 18 months, had worked out how to unlock my iPhone. At age 2 she recognised the app icons for "her" games (mostly games sourced for 4 year old Thing 2), and could even navigate to the video files and find an episode of In The Night Garden to watch. All without direction. I'm not sure whether to be stunned by her obvious genius, or concerned for her future.

Friends were stunned when, during a visit just after Thing 3's 2nd birthday, she trotted out of the room and came back with my backpack. Before I could ask what she was doing, she'd unzipped it, pulled out the iPad and, in one smooth movement, was on the couch watching ITNG. Surely that's not normal?

I do admit, though, that I indirectly encourage her because it's so cute. I probably spend more time looking for kiddy friendly apps than I do useful, grown-up apps. I swear they're for the kids. Really truly!

I fear we may have crossed the line though. Thing 1 asked for Plants v Zombies, so I downloaded it for him for the iPad. Thing 3 can now often be heard calling "Zombies ate my baaiins!!". Should I be more worried about being questioned by her daycarers, or the future therapy bills?

Friday, April 1, 2011

The one who dies with the most toys wins

Yesterday I got a new toy. Well, in truth the new iMac will be used mostly for work, but as with all techy goodies it's still a toy.

That I got a new toy isn't an especially huge revelation. What is extremely earth-shattering is that it wasn't unpacked and set-up immediately. Especially when the new desk had even been cleared of the AFS filing system and was itching for a new tenant.

It did eventually get taken out of its spunky white box and put in place yesterday. Oh how she sparkled! The reason it didn't get fired up yesterday is because I had work to do. We all know how long it takes to get things going by the time you do the important things like download software updates, import all your old bits and pieces, sort all your settings, and choose a screensaver. So the machine I had bought to do work on couldn't be set up because I had work to do. The irony wasn't lost on me.

So today as soon as I was able, it was time for the great unveiling. Removing the keyboard and mouse from the small box. Peeling off the protective plastic coatings (and let me just say there's a whole other post right there!). And finally turning it on with the sound of the familiar Apple chime. I was in geeky heaven!

Of course, things never go as you plan when it comes to technology, and the same was true today. I got an email. That email. From the ISP. "You have used 100% of your quota." NOOOO!! My morning of downloading and updating and sorting and organising my new puter was out the window with the words "we will apply shaping". The only bright side being that the new month begins at midnight tonight. *sigh*

So, my new precious and I are halfway there. First thing tomorrow I'll be hitting the "Software Update" button and off we'll go. I might even stop procrastinating and do some work!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Those were the days

I know I'm obsessed with technology, and Thing 1 seems to be following in my footsteps where that's concerned. He would spend all day, every day, in front of the computer if given the chance. Of course, I can hardly criticise. You know, pot - kettle and all that. Often dragging him away from the computer means grunts, grumbles and 10 year old attitude. The plus side of his attachment to the little white laptop is that we have the perfect punishment on the occasions that the need arises.

But today, today things have been different.

Today Thing 1 has had a friend over. This friend comes from a normal household. One where they don't all sit around tweeting, Facebooking and blogging. OK, perhaps normal wasn't the right word to use in this instance, but you get my meaning.

Today the kids played like we used to. They played outside, kicked balls, jumped on the trampoline, rode ripstiks. They even played nicely with the little kids. They played board games (classics like Monopoly and Battleship). There was no unnecessary yelling. There were no fights. There was laughter and smiles. And all this time the tv was off.

It was bliss. Pure bliss.

Now I'm desperately trying to find a way to make "play like the kids in the olden days" a regular occurrence. I'm thinking there will be many more play dates with this particular friend, or I'll have to find a way to clone him. Unless any of you are specialists in genetics I'm thinking the first option is all I've got.

I wonder what sort of miracles he can produce if he sleeps over? I'll be sure to let you know when that happens. 

I have to admit, I'm sometimes a bit hesitant to host play dates because they're often more trouble than they're worth, depending on the child. Are you a happy play date host? Or does the idea of other people's children chill you to the bone?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Of Mice and Men

I have a confession to make. Gadgets are not my only obsession. I know, you'd never believe it, right? 

Who am I kidding? More obsessions just means more ways to avoid tackling the housework. Yay for me! I think the weirdest thing is probably that my obsessions aren't at all related to each other. This obsession is mice. OK, OK, I see where you're going with this. Not that kind of mouse, this one has nothing to do with technology. Rather, in particular two special mice, and their associated counterparts.


Yes, I am a Disney fanatic. Admittedly, not as much as some others I know, but I'm fairly sure more than most people would consider healthy. I have been to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, needing to buy more luggage to bring toys souvenirs home each time. I also have friends who visit one or the other parks often who spoil me with goodies. 

With Thing 2 and Thing 3 at daycare I did some tidying up. Of course, I was only doing that because I was avoiding doing some work. Amongst my AFS* filing system was one such shipment of goodies from Walt Disney World, and something else that I'd been putting off doing. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to avoid both housework and work, I grabbed what I needed and headed to the car.

Ten minutes later the job was done. We had joined the ranks of those irritating people who put stupid stickers on their cars. 

Introducing, my family.

 P.S. Oh My Goodness! Whilst searching for images I came across these. What were the odds?
*Any Flat Surface

Friday, March 11, 2011

Derailing the train of thought

Do you have a morning routine? Do you find when you're getting ready to leave the house that you have to do things in a particular order? I know I do. If I don't follow my usual routine something is always forgotten. If I get interrupted in the middle of my bathroom routine (teeth/moisturiser/hair) I will inevitably forget to do one of those things. Or I'll forget to go back and put my watch on, which will drive me nuts for the rest of the day. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not totally obsessive about the way I do things. I think it's more that early in the morning my brain is a bit "wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead", and any alteration to routine can't be processed. You know how your GPS gets upset if you don't go the way it tells you to? Then you get the cranky "recalculating" speech?  I guess my mornings are a bit like that. If I take the left fork instead of the right, the rest of my day can go totally pear-shaped. Alright, that may be a slight exaggeration but it can cause some hiccups along the way.

This morning was one of those days. Fortunately for the general public, it wasn't brushing my teeth or using deodorant that was forgotten. I even remembered to pack Thing 1's lunch for school. No, it was far, far worse than that. I'm just very grateful that I was only doing the school run then coming back home. There could have been tragic results otherwise.
You see, I left my iPhone at home. I know! I can hear your shocked responses from here! I may as well have left one of the kids at home. In fact, I think I might have been more comfortable if I'd left the house without pants. 

Thing 3 had been playing with my phone and had put it down somewhere other than its usual place, so I didn't pick it up on the way out the door. That hour I was without my lifeline was the longest hour of my life. The stress knowing I couldn't text, or tweet, or update my Facebook status was almost too much to bear. I just thank goodness that I don't do Foursquare. Knowing I couldn't check in to my coffee shop would have tipped me over the edge!

Luckily, I made it home without incident. And there was my phone, sitting contentedly on the coffee table where Thing 3 had left it. Phew! That was a close call. I can't imagine the consequences had I been out for the entire day!

Are you like me? Is there something that you absolutely can't leave the house without?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meet the family

No, I'm not talking about the kids and the dog. Although these family members are almost as important as those ones (just don't tell them I said that!).

I'm talking about my toys. OK, my family's toys. They make me share :-/

Let's start from the bottom and my very first, and most treasured, item of Appley goodness. An iPod 4th Gen U2 Special Edition 20gb. It has a shiny black front with a red Clickwheel which looks fairly smart. But it's the stainless steel back, laser-etched with the band members' signatures that's really cool. I remember seeing it in an Apple Store catalogue at work one day in late-2004 and I nearly fell over at its price of near $500. That didn't stop me leaving the catalogue open on my boss's desk with a sticky note alluding to the fact that Christmas was coming and that perhaps a bonus may be in order. To my shock, he came up with the goods!
We have 2 4th Gen iPod Nanos.
One 3rd Gen iPod Touch, one 4th Gen iPod Touch.
One iPhone 3GS, one iPhone 4.

You'd think that would be enough. No, of course it's not!

There's also a 2006 MacBook, and my newish toy a 2010 13" MacBook Pro.

And finally, a 64gb iPad. 

There's also a Dell notebook but that's barely worth mentioning ;-)

Now, just to keep my blog totally on topic, I have to confess that all of these items have screens that need cleaning, and the laptops need dusting. But you wouldn't expect any less, would you?

I did say my obsession was unhealthy. Looking back at that inventory it seems I may be in need of some professional help. Although, iPad 2 is coming soon. And really, let's be serious, you never know when a girl might need one, right?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hello and welcome!

Welcome to my blog! I am a mum who has an unhealthy obsession with just about anything computer related. I love techy gadgets, social networking, and other kinds of geeky goodness. Especially anything that comes to us from Cupertino, CA with a picture of a piece of fruit on it.
 
I hate housework, and the above obsession gives me the perfect distraction from doing all the domestic things that I should be doing. Unfortunately with tiny humans in the house, even the most fastidious of housekeepers would feel like they were shoveling the path while it was still snowing, trying to keep the house in a state fit for human habitation. That means that I occasionally have to drag myself away from my beloved MacBook Pro to wash clothes, sweep floors, and scrub toilets. My 2 yr old, Thing 3, has never seen an iron. At least, not in my house. I'm fairly sure we still own one... I love that my washer and dishwasher have 2 hour cycles - they give me the perfect excuse to just have a quick look at Twitter or Facebook while I'm waiting for them to finish. Surely you don't expect me to use that time constructively? Oh, I should probably mention at this point that I am also terribly lazy.

Then there's cooking. I hate it almost as much as ironing. I can do it, and I'm reasonably capable, but I hate it. Fortunately the Universe was on my side around 16 years ago when it led me to The Chef, who soon become my husband. Clearly I knew when I was onto a good thing. No doubt The Chef had no idea what he was in for when he proposed. The Chef is also a terrible enabler of my obsession. He will say to me "Just go and buy it!", which is awesome, but since I'm the Minister for War & Finance in our household I know it's not possible. It sucks to be so responsible sometimes.

What's your obsession? How's your motivation towards housework? My guess is, if you're reading blogs right now, that you're either one of those annoying people who get stuck into it to get it out of the way, or your house has gone to hell in a hand basket while you drink coffee and stuff around on the interwebs. 

Now, it's time for me to put another load on so I can return to sit on my rear for another 2 hours...