Monthly Archives: January 2013

I’ll have what he’s having . . .

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Biscuit Plate

Biscuit Plate (Photo credit: Caro Wallis)

I give up! I can no longer handle the responsibility of deciding what to eat and when. The whole concept of dieting and fitness just makes me feel tired and a wee bit disheartened. So I’m handing all the food-related decisions over to my husband. I’ll have what he’s having.

When it comes to good health, I think you would be hard-pressed to find two more contrasting characters.

I love cake. I love biscuits. I love chocolate. I love chocolate biscuits. But I especially love bread with a generous scrape of butter on it. My husband, on the other hand, is a salad fiend, never touches bread, eats fruit regularly . . . and jogs. In fact, last week he competed in a triathlon. Meanwhile, I’m getting tired just typing this. Sigh.

Both literally and figuratively, I am being left behind. So it’s time to take action (of the most inactive kind). Henceforth, I am absolving myself of all responsibility when it comes to food.

If he’s going to eat corn crackers instead of bread, so will I. Sniffle.

If he’s going to eat apples instead of cream filled biscuits, so am I. Sob.

And if he’s going to eat muesli instead of thick fresh bread loaded with lashings of peanut butter and honey, so . . . will . . . I. Burst into tears.

Here’s hoping he takes the hint and discovers the block of fruit and nut chocolate I have stashed (rather obviously) in the freezer.

If he’s having that, there’s no way I’m missing out!

White hi-tops and lost love . . .

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English: Richard Dean Anderson on the set of &...

English: Richard Dean Anderson on the set of “MacGyver” in British Columbia, Canada, circa 1985 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the retro-crush that keeps me glued to the idiot box six days a week, month after month.

MacGyver (yes, I heard you sigh) is being replayed Monday through Saturday, 2pm til 3pm, attracting a whole new generation of admirers and reigniting the passion of a few older ones.

Ah, the things he could do with a roll of duct tape and a piece of string. Adversity was just an opportunity. The brink of disaster was merely a stage to show off his survival skills.

He was the ultimate in multi-layered, unattainable, slightly reluctant, roguish heroes – equal parts crusader, daredevil and deep-thinker (sigh).

No-one wore a mullet with such ease and aplomb.

But there was one thing I always wondered about – those white hi-tops.

Yes, they were the fashion of the day, and lord knows Richard Dean Anderson could make anything look good. But they stood out like a penguin in the desert. Their luminous glow would surely have given him away.

But that’s enough of that. I can’t doubt MacGyver’s integrity (fashion or otherwise) for long. I have too much respect for his unending talent with wires, mirrors, lasers, light bulbs and paper clips.

The man could do anything. And six days a week, he proves it!

How do I love thee?

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Let me add up the vet bills.

My dogs pre-ceded my husband, my children and my house. They were my first introduction to responsibility and an eye-opening door into the world of pets, pet accessories, pet diets and pet obsession.

But puppies inevitably become teenagers before cruising into adulthood and hobbling into old age. And that’s where we are now.

Both the girls are a little greyer than they used to be and not so nimble on the stairs.

Perhaps it was naive, but I had always imagined them running and jumping to the last before slipping away peacefully, with a smile on their furry faces.

But it’s not to be.

While Tess, my mini Fox Terrier/Jack Russell, has been suffering from arthritis for some time and is regularly dosed with pain relief, my Maltese, Maggie, had until recently been ridiculously puppy-like despite her 15 years.

That all came to an end while we were away on holidays. Suddenly she was in pain with a suspected back injury. Or was it pancreatitis? Or maybe even an enlarged liver? Some $750 later we settled for an enlarged liver and a course of antibiotics with daily pain relief. Two weeks later and another $200 she’s been given the all-clear and is back to her effervescent self.

Meanwhile, Tess sleeps her days away. She still has her appetite and a keen sense of smell but she can no longer hear and her vision is minimal.

Some days I feel like a pharmacist, a physiotherapist and a dog psychologist all wrapped into one.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way . . .

He picked wildflowers for me . . .

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It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s the thought that comes to mind when something else has been forgotten. And it all dates back to a hot and dusty weekend in our first year of marriage.

We were both working full-time – sometimes weekends – so we could save our pennies and pay off the house.

It was a Saturday afternoon. Dust hung in the air and a storm was brewing. I’d spent the day pottering about the house while my other half was at work.

I heard the ute before I saw it and flicked on the kettle before going out to meet him.

What happened next was unexpected and, perhaps, that’s why it was so memorable.

There he stood with a giant bunch of wildflowers in his arms – hand-picked just for me.

They lasted for a few days but I kept them until a layer of dust weighed them down.

You might think that’s the end of it. But no.

Ever since, if there’s been an anniversary or birthday forgotten, it doesn’t seem to matter quite so much.

After all, he picked wildflowers for me.

Things I’ve learned on holidays . . .

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  1. A five hour car trip never takes five hours.
  2. When a five-year-old says he’s busting to death, it’s serious.
  3. When he says it’s serious, it really is.
  4. Telling him to hang on until we reach the zoo will only work for so long.
  5. However, the sight of an elephant pooping will have him laughing for hours.
  6. On the flip side, seeing gorillas in captivity is depressing.
  7. Meanwhile, a dog left at home – alone – can be expensive.
  8. Back to the zoo and . . . entering a butterfly enclosure behind a man with body odour issues tends to distract from the beauty of the butterflies.
  9. Awful odours won’t stop an eight year old from noticing two butterflies getting ‘friendly’.
  10. And asking questions loudly.
  11. Meanwhile, a dog left at home – digging up pot plants – is expensive.
  12. A side trip to the old sewerage treatment plant is very interesting to grandparents. Grandkids? Not so much.
  13. Meanwhile, a dog left at home – falling out of pot plants and injuring its back – is expensive.
  14. That same dog, now found to have an enlarged liver – now costs more than the holiday.
  15. It’s nice to get home.
  16. It hurts to pay the vet bill.

I mean it, I really do!

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The trial is over, the results are in – empathy (as a parenting technique) really works!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog called ‘Parenting . . . like you mean it’ – about a revolutionary* technique to restore peace and understanding to my household.

I’ve gotta say, I had my doubts. For months, we had all been living on edge, only moments from full scale meltdown if someone said the wrong thing or looked like they were going to. I was tired of living in a war zone. It was time for a reassessment of my parenting techniques.

So, instead of responding to all those quibbles with “you’ve got to be kidding”, “build a bridge” or “just stop it” I tried a little empathy. And the result was instant!

My youngest was on the verge of losing it. I tried to understand . . . and, as a result, so did he. There was no door-slamming, no tantrum, no need for time-out. Peace ruled, at least for a little while.

Other opportunities soon presented themselves. We talked through the options. Tried to understand the other person’s point of view. Took on board whatever emotion was bubbling at the surface. And peace ruled.

I’m not saying the process has been without its problems. There’s not always time to talk through the issues and my level of patience can be a little prohibitive every now and then.

But I’m loving it. We seem to be making more time in other areas as well and the kids are responding.

This household ain’t perfect. But I like it a little more these days.

* 😉

Toys at war!

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The Daleks have Barbie holed up in the dollhouse. She’s hiding out in the attic with only a Zhu Zhu Pet and a stuffed elephant for company. There’s not much space. Apparently Santa couldn’t afford the actual, full-sized Barbie house, so she’s having to make do.

Lego bricks

Lego bricks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there isn’t time to dwell on the shortcomings of her lodgings with the unrelenting chant of her attackers – “Exterminate, exterminate” – ringing in her ears.

If that wasn’t enough to make Barbie quake in her ridiculously high heels, a collection of toy soldiers also lies in wait. And there’s a back-up battalion leading from the battle ground to the top of the stairs. Watch your step! They’re armed and dangerous.

But the threat doesn’t end there.

Every pillow in the house has been strategically positioned on the stairs so any attempt at escape comes with its own set of risks. One wrong move and anyone caught in the crossfire will be seeing the floor close up in nanoseconds.

Suddenly, there’s a cry for help from the kitchen. A four foot warrior wielding a neon lightsaber has his sister cornered. Her only options are to turn the nearest cookbook into a makeshift weapon or attempt hand to hand combat. She opts for the latter (of course).

Then out of nowhere comes the distinctive sound of Nerf gun fire. The rebellion has begun! Those who were enemies are now kin in the fight for survival.

“Into the fort,” cries one, diving for cover beneath a precarious pile of doonas, cushions and assorted furniture.

Anything that comes to hand is now being hurled into the fray – Lego bricks, a beloved Sherrin (it’s sacrilege just saying it, I know), a plastic triceratops skull, a forgotten Christmas bauble.

“You can’t escape!” yells the youngest.

“Pause!” says the oldest, retreating to the couch.

“Victory is mine!” says a muffled voice from the fortress, before the stronghold comes crashing down (softly) on her head.

Ah, holidays . . .