Category Archives: Random

Stuck in traffic – roar!

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Traffic slows to a crawl on the Monash Freeway...

Look a little closer 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Excuse me Mr Nissan-Pintara-Driver. Are you aware there’s a zoo in the back window of your car? And it seems to be slowing you down.

In the last eight minutes stuck behind you in traffic, I’ve counted no less than 14 animals calling your car home.

Not live animals, mind you. This menagerie consists of a stuffed penguin, several rubber snakes, a crocodile, a fluffy bear and one rather irate-looking tiger, among others.

But wait! What’s this? I’ve spoken too soon. There IS one live animal in the mix – a pigeon perched on the passenger’s headrest. And by the look of it, he doesn’t appreciate all your stopping and starting either.

Ahh. We’re making progress now. I think you’ve found the accelerator, Mr Nissan-Pintara-Driver. And you’re turning off. Sadly, I need the same exit.

Whoa! What’s this? It looks like you’ve got a dog in there too. He just poked his nose out the open window as you took that rather wild corner. And it’s a Jack Russell, no less. My respect for you, Mr Nissan-Pintara-Driver, has been restored.

Oh, looks like you’re home. And now it all makes sense.

You live in that crazy old, tumble down shack with a giant spider welded to the front wall, CDs strung from every tree and more cats than I can count as I drive by.

Thank you for that entertaining drive, Mr Nissan-Pintara-Driver, albeit rather slow.

Now I really must get home and raid the cupboards. I always thought window decoration could be my forte, and now I know just the place to try it.

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Birds? I’m driving . . .

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Australian Wood Duck

Australian Wood Duck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, I’ve learned three things:
1. Don’t let the bird-watcher drive the car;
2. If the track looks like no-one uses it, there’s probably a reason; and
3. You’re never too old to be car sick.

I’m writing this now, so you can rest assured, it didn’t end too badly. But there was a moment I thought we were coming unstuck.

It was meant to be a pleasant country drive. A few hours out in the bush looking for birds and finding that perfect picnic spot. The reality became a mixture of terror, frustration and shallow breathing.

The so-called ‘track’ provided a perfect view over the nearby river. All good. Unfortunately, my husband was busy looking at the treetops and not overly concerned with the direction we were taking. Not so good.

Then the single-vehicle ‘track’ started getting thinner and the only way out took us down a 45 degree slope toward a watery canal. Again, not so good.

“We’ll have to go back,” I said.

“Not likely,” was the reply.

And looking back along the ‘track’, I could see the sense in that statement. Sadly, the alternative was no more enticing.

I braced myself for the worst as we made the death-defying descent.

I think I heard my husband laughing, but I can’t be sure. I couldn’t look at him. We got to the bottom and suddenly another track materialised. “Oh, there it is,” was all he said.

An hour of winding bush tracks followed. Around this time, lesson three made itself known.

All I know is this – birds may be beautiful. The bush may be too. But bitumen, sweet bitumen, is my best friend.

Working it!

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Stress

Stress (Photo credit: topgold)

Phew! This week I was NOT sacked.

But if you’d asked my inner pessimist what the outlook was on Friday, she probably would have sighed and reached for the nearest super-sized chocolate bar. Why?

All it took was a single, solitary phone call.

My usual employer had his personal assistant call to arrange a meeting. That’s not too shocking, I hear you say. Except, I rarely have contact with my work via anything but email.

“The boss wants some changes,” said the PA.

“He’s getting a bit bored,” said the PA.

“Tell me more,” I implored.

“Oooooh, he’d just like to see you,” fudged the PA.

Earliest available time? Monday. Two full days and a little bit more of anxiety, second-guessing and self-doubt. Good times!

If the weekend was anything to go by, it seems I was raised to find a hidden meaning in the most innocuous of conversations. I was definitely being fast-tracked to the unemployment lines.

Monday rolled around bright and sunny. My sense of dread only increased.

I walked into the office wearing my most patriotic business colours (bright green) and my power boots (suede, in case you were wondering).

“So,” he said. “I’d like to make some changes. I’m getting a bit bored.”

I’ve heard that before, I thought. Here it comes.

“What can we do to really stand out from the crowd?” he said.

“We?” I asked. “Oh, we!” Reality was dawning.

So, I was not sacked. Two and a bit days of worry had been in vain.

That sunny day turned out to be a good omen. I’ve never been so happy to check my emails and find work waiting.

Fashion forays . . .

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Talons hauts

High heel heaven. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live in a very image-conscious town. If you’re not wearing the right fashion brands by the time you reach pre-school, the other kids notice. Give them a few years, and it’s not uncommon to see local youngsters teetering down the street on a Friday night with hair that could knock out an overpass, eyelash extensions that could maim the unwary and skirts that would make a mother blush.

Now this may come as a shock, but I’m not one to worry much about brands, trends or fashion in general. Skinny jeans were my one concession. Most of the time, comfort is my top priority. If I had a style, it would lean more toward casual chic, smart casual or snappy casual.

Let’s face it . . . my wardrobe is casual.

So, when the opportunity arose last week to glam-it-up for a night on the town with my husband, I responded with equal parts excitement and trepidation.

I headed to my usual shopping centre but soon realised that while it’s crammed with fashion outlets, not all of them want me wearing their clothes. It was evident from the moment I walked in the door. One shop keeper saw me arrive and instantly disappeared out of sight. Another just turned her back.

I’ll admit I wasn’t dressed to impress and I chose not to wear makeup because I didn’t want to mark the clothes I was trying on. I did, however, have plans to purchase an entire outfit including shoes and jewellery . . . but apparently they didn’t like my money either.

On the flip-side, one shop assistant was particularly lovely. She gave me loads of advice and, as a result, I spent the bulk of my budget there. She directed me to her favourite shoe shop and there I found a set of heels higher than I’ve ever worn before (but not as high as some of the princesses I saw later that night staggering and lurching atop their five inch perches of peril).

In the end, my foray into the world of fashion ended quite happily. I think I rocked my chosen outfit and, to top it off, we had a great night out.

Next time the bright lights of the city’s night life call, I will be ready.

The case for cats . . .

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English: Young male tabby cat

English: Young male tabby cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Owing to the backlash from last week’s blog, I have decided to dig deep and balance the scales on the whole ‘dog versus cat’ debate. I can’t make any promises, but here goes . . .

In my lifetime I’ve known several cats. There was Gustav, a white cat with shoe-polish ears; Symphony, a long-haired tortoise-shell with questionable night-time habits; Adolphus, a tabby with attitude to spare and his adopted brother Patches, a black and white feline – deaf as a doornail – who spent his days either sleeping on top of the fridge or taking pot shots at passers-by. As cats go, they were . . . cats.

My sister (the main source of last week’s backlash) was the owner of two more felines – Tinkerbell and Jakey. If there was a cat that was going to swing my opinion it would be one of those two. Before there were kids in my sister’s household, there were cats and as they grew so did the family. They were a yardstick – and occasional gearstick* – in her happy home.

This, I understand. Cats and dogs are there through all the good, bad and middling bits. Their presence is attached to memories of all sorts of events that span the years. Whether they’re watching from a perch on top of the fridge, curled up at the foot of the bed or laying claim to the best seat on the couch, they are still a member of the household.

In my sister’s words:

“It’s not that cats are better than dogs, they’re just different.”

Besides, no-one said you couldn’t love a furry tyrant bent on world domination.

Meow. 🙂

 

*I searched high and low for a picture of a cat in the gearstick pose. Sadly, no luck. You’ll just have to imagine it for yourself.

Dogs vs cats – it’s simple really

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101 Uses for a Dead Cat

101 Uses for a Dead Cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s those quiet moments – when the head-rest doesn’t quite do the job, when the pencils need sharpening or the cleavage needs a boost – that I often lament not owning a cat. A dead one.

One of the greatest books ever published takes pride of place on my bookshelf. Created by Simon Bond, ‘101 Uses for a Dead Cat’ was the starting point for my lifelong aversion to felines.

And if you need convincing, you have only to consult my extensive collection of anti-cat/pro-dog literature to confirm the extent of this loathing.

Cats are evil and I have the research to back me up.

Everyone knows that a cat only loves you when it’s hungry while a dog will give you endless devotion no matter what’s on the menu.

The relationship between a cat and a cat owner is largely one-sided, fuelled mainly by insecurity, loneliness and sheer volume of numbers.

A dog is your equal – it will give you more than you ever give to him or her while a cat is just a sponge – it takes and takes and then it dies.

A cat will slink away (as only a cat can do) when the going gets tough. But a dog? Well, a dog will be your fiercest protector in the face of pure evil (which is often a cat).

The only bad dogs I’ve ever known had bad owners while the only cats I’ve ever known were . . . cats (and you know what I think about them).

And yes, I know there have been instances where cats walked miles to find their owners but the cold reality of this scenario comes back to those fickle feline stomachs. I’m sorry to say, but your cat – it never liked you. He thought the tuna would be pinker on the other side of the settee and only came back because he realised he already had you trained.

Dogs by contrast, are loving, loyal and delightful. They make you a better person and they know that any person who’s a dog person is a person worth knowing.

Join me in a toast to the dog!

Let’s talk skinny jeans!

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It’s official! Skinny jeans are out. How do I know? I just bought a pair.

It’s taken me years to get on board this particular fashion bandwagon, mainly because I like my jeans to wear out before I replace them.

So, while my faithful bootlegs have hung in there, I’ve studiously ignored the skinny-legged stylings of all those around me.

That was until a fateful day one week ago when a breeze at knee height caught my attention. A hole! At last I had an excuse to go shopping.

It took some convincing on the part of the sales assistant but I finally broke the habit of the last three years and traded those bootlegs for skinny jeans. And yesterday, I wore them for the first time.

I can’t say it was a particularly pleasant experience. It reminded me of my very first training bra and that awful strangling sensation that persists until you get changed or get over it.

I found myself wondering if the air force could make use of skinny jeans to deal with all those extra G-forces you hear about. No more fancy pressure suits. Just wear skinny jeans!

Until I hear back from the defence force I will continue my own skinny jean trial knowing full well that the trend will probably end next week and my jeans will end up being filed alongside the shrug that I bought too late, the ra-ra skirt I coveted for months on end, the scrunchies I saw too much of and the hyper-colour t-shirt that lasted one wash (but I never could bring myself to throw away).

Now, you’ll have to excuse me while I go and loosen these jeans and take a deep breath.