Sunday, 27 November 2016

Ugh!

I was rearranging the ironing pile yesterday when I came across two perfect little white orbs.
Photo of two little gecko eggs in palm of hand
Gecko Eggs
Now I've seen a few strange things in my time in Australia but nothing like this. So, like the curious fool I am, I picked them up! (Well they LOOKED harmless!) At first I thought they were tiny white pebbles but then I was struck by their symmetrical perfection and that's when it occurred to me that they might be "organic"... So, I tried to squish them. Why I did this - I have absolutely no idea! Because the possible ick factor was high - very high! But they didn't give, so I examined them again. I was impressed - they were hardy little things - whatever they were.

La-la came into the room and saw that I was looking at something in my hand.

"Whatchya got there, mother?" she asked.

I showed her what I'd found and, her being the National Geographic / Discovery Channel eco warrior, animal loving princess that she is, I was pretty sure she'd know. She scrunched up her face.

"Hmmmm... eggs," she said, "definitely some type of egg but what type of egg - that is the question."

I looked at her, not quite sure now about holding something in my hands that had the distinct possibility of a creature hatching out of it!

"Well what do you think?" I asked, just a hint of panic in my voice now.

"Could be cockroach," she replied.

She said something else too but I didn't hear it. I'd heard the word "cockroach" and that was it! With my hand stretched out in front of me as far as it would possibly go - without actually dislocating my shoulder - I ran down the hallway. I may even have been screeching and ughing - yes that's now officially a word! I reached the back door and wrenched it open. With one final, "Ugh!" I flung those babies as far as they would possibly go!

Photo of cockroach
Ugh!

I turned around to find a disgusted animal lover looking at me with a shocked look on her face.

"Or gecko eggs," she said, "they just might have been gecko eggs! But I don't suppose we'll ever find out now."

I narrowed my eyes to slits.

"You said the cockroach word," I informed her, "you know what even just the mention of those vile things does to me!"

"Humph! She announced, "I'm going to get the ipad now and find out exactly what poor creatures you have thrown into the wind!"

By the time I had sufficiently recovered and joined the rest of my family upstairs, the general conclusion was that they must have been spider eggs - like giant spider eggs! Visions of waking up during the night to a super-sized Huntsman on my face looking for revenge for her babies sent a shiver down my spine. I was secretly planning on moving out when Big Daddy whispered in my ear, "we're only having you on, you're okay, they're not giant spider eggs."

Photo of the Huntsman Spider
One of The "Locals"! The "Giant" Huntsman Spider
Ugh!

It's not in Big Daddy's nature to admit to a prank so now I was even more concerned!

A snake! I thought to myself, that bastard knows they're snake eggs!

I called La-la over.

"Is there a chance those eggs were snake eggs?"

She ponders my question.

"There's a possibility..."

"Sweet Jesus!!" I exclaim. I now had visions of a mama snake sinking her fangs into me in the middle of the night (cuz everything horrid happens in the middle of the night!) in retribution for throwing her babies away. At this stage I was moving out and taking MY babies with me.

"But more than likely gecko eggs," La-la reassured me.

I located the ipad and stabbed the words, "gecko eggs" into the google search engine.

I sighed with relief when images of the perfect little orbs I'd held in my hands appeared on the screen. A revenge seeking gecko, I could deal with.

Only thing is, I betchya any money it's supposed to be lucky to find gecko eggs and I've probably gone and thrown it away! Ah well at least I can stop worrying about being poisoned to death by a snake or giant spider in my bed - if I can avoid that, then I'll count myself lucky enough!

Monday, 21 November 2016

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There But Santa Is Simply Everywhere!

I was walking along the local strip of bars and restaurants the other day with the kiddies when the Dude suddenly grabbed my hand and said, "don't look now but Santa is sitting at that restaurant."

Photo of a nice urban corner with coffee shops and high end retail stores
Part Of The Local Strip

I immediately started "looking". 
"Mum, stop!" The Dude demanded.
"Why?" I asked, "why do you not want me to see Santa?"
"Because," he replied, "I haven't exactly been on my best behaviour in the past few days and if he sees me he might be able to tell."

I struggled to hold back my smug grin.

"Ok," I said, "you walk on a bit and I'll have a peek and see if it really is him."
The Dude was thrilled with this idea and immediately skipped away.

However, at this stage his sister was wondering what the hell was going on. He hadn't got far when she turned around to say something and obviously spotted "Santa".

"Oh my God!" she announced, "there's a guy over there that looks just like Santa!"

At this point I just HAD to see this guy!

I turned and my mouth dropped as I confirmed with my own eyes that Santa was indeed having coffee in the local 'hood. He was dressed in a mustard yellow shirt with light brown trousers but there was no doubt this guy was Santa! I turned back to The Dude to tell him he was right, only to discover my son beaming brightly and waving at Santa! On being spotted, he'd obviously very quickly changed strategy!

Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus in the movie Miracle On 34th Street
In His Usual Guise of Red Suit
The One & Only
 Santa Claus!

I turned again to look at "Santa" who was now smiling and waving back at the Dude. He then gave a special wave and a nod and a wink in my direction and a mutual understanding passed between us. I nodded and smiled back and I laughed all the way home.

Ah Santa - they seek him here and they seek him there but Santa?  Santa is everywhere!😀

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Together Forever

I was sitting on the couch with the Dude cuddled up to me last night and as is his way - he started asking random questions...

The Dude: Mum, how old will I be in fifty years time?
Me: Well you're eight years old now so add fifty years on.
The Dude: Fifty-eight?
Me: Yes.
The Dude: Can people live to one hundred?
Me: Some, but it's not common.
The Dude: Will you and Daddy live to one hundred?
Me: I don't think so but we'll give it our best shot.
The Dude: Oh.

Photo of elderly lady with happy 100 birthday card
The lovely Dorothy Howe - who credited
her reaching 100 years to drinking
a generous amount of whiskey!

At this stage I realised there was something going on and I could almost hear the whirring noises inside his brain. I paused the new Star Trek movie we were all supposed to be watching, reasoning that I could wait another few minutes to see where Captain Kirk and his crew would, "boldly go where no man has gone before."

Me: What is going on Dudey? What's on your mind?
The Dude: I'm just trying to figure out how old you and Daddy will be fifty years from now and how old I will be.
Then his little voice faltered and I could see his eyes shining bright with unshed tears, "I just want us all to be together forever," he whispered.

photo of woman with young boy who is making a strange face
The Dude And His Mammy

I looked into those eyes - so full of pure love and for a few seconds my heart stopped beating and my whole body felt as if it had melted. However, behind the love I could see a glimmer of fear and I knew I had to reassure my boy.

"It's not whether myself and Daddy live to be a hundred or if you live to be fifty-eight," I assured him, "the important thing is to love each other in the here and now and not to worry too much about the future. We just need to take each day at a time and get the most out of being together and have lots of fun."

He smiled a watery smile and slid his little arms around me. "Okay Mummy," he said, "I'll do that but can you try to live to be a hundred anyway?"

I smiled and promised him I'd give it my best shot!

Fifty years from now I'll
be digging into one
of these!

Monday, 24 October 2016

How Your Inner Cynic Can Guide You To The Things You Need To Hear!

This morning I was taking my usual cursory glance at the headlines over my morning coffee, when, one in particular, caught my eye.  "Is THIS the secret to happiness?"  the attention grabbing headline asked.  As one who is on a constant quest for any scrap of happiness I can find, I immediately zoomed in a little closer on the seductive sentence...  It was accompanied by a photo of an attractive brunette in oversized glasses and with bright red lips.  Further perusal of the rest of the headline informed me that the lady in the photo was the blogger who has come up with a fifteen point plan to guide you to happiness.

It was at this point I had to ask if I'm the only over-weight, plain looking blogger on the planet! Any of them that go viral always seem to look like they could do modelling on the side. But I digress... Not only was this lovely lady a blogger and personal development guru but she was also described as a "happiness guru".  A happiness guru!  What the hell is a happiness guru and why the hell aren't I one of those???

photo of attractive brunette in over sized glasses and with bright red lipstick
The lovely Luminita
I have to admit at this point that my inner cynic jumped into action.

"For fuck sake!" It announced loudly, "here we go again, some self-appointed personal development quack, calling herself a bloody happiness guru, feeding us all a load of trite bullshit about what we need to do to be 'happy'."  I swigged my coffee, ready to move on to the next headline but my inner cynic wasn't quite finished.  "Spare me!" It announced in an even louder voice.

So, of course, always up for pissing my inner cynic off, I clicked on the headline. If there was a chance that there was even one nugget of advice as to how to improve my chances of happiness in this lifetime then I wasn't going to risk passing it up!

And I am so glad I did!  Because it would seem the lovely Luminita - also known as The Purpose Fairy - is onto something...  Below is her list of the fifteen things you need to give up in order to achieve happiness.

15 THINGS YOU NEED TO GIVE UP TO BE HAPPY 

1. Always being right
2. Always being in control
3. Apportioning blame
4. Self-defeating thoughts
5. Limiting beliefs
6. Complaining 
7. Criticising
8. Impressing other people 
9. Resisting change
10. Labelling people
11. Fear
12. Making excuses 
13. The past
14. Attachment
15. Living up to others' expectations

The article went into each point in more detail and the more I read the more I was impressed.  I've come to all these conclusions myself over the years.  Every experience I had to go through to finally arrive at these conclusions was a painful lesson and I instantly recognised that Luminita hadn't come to creating this list without a significant amount of pain in her own life.  No-one does.  I have to admit I still struggle with understanding some of these truths and applying them on a daily basis - especially number fourteen - attachment.  However,  I continue to explore their meaning.  I've been sidetracked and sidelined in recent months from this sort of exploration and feel I am none the better for it.  So, despite my inner cynic's objections, I am very glad I clicked on this headline this morning as it provided a very timely reminder to take a step back and have a look at the bigger picture.  And I would add another point - always listen to your inner cynic and then do the exact opposite!

Luminta has written a beautiful book entitled "Fifteen Things You Need To Give Up To Be Happy - An Inspiring Guide To Discovering Effortless Joy."  It will be going on my bookshelf very soon.  


Image of a  book entitled Fifteen Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy
Luminita's Book
The article appeared in the Daily Mail.  The link is below.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3867048/Blogger-reveals-15-things-need-happy.html

Monday, 22 August 2016

Pretty Fucking Awesome!

Sooooo, we're sitting having dinner and as per usual The Dude decides to cut right to the chase and ask one of his "no beating about the bush" questions.

Big Daddy's Goulash


"Dad," he says, "did you always want to be a Dad?"

Big Daddy ponders carefully and then replies, "no, not always but I am glad I am a Dad, especially yours and La-la's."

The Dude considers this response.

"Dad," he says, "when you decided to become a Dad, did you think you'd become such an awesome Dad?"

Big Daddy ponders the second question and replies.

"No, I didn't. I'm not sure I'm such an awesome Dad but I am trying my best."

The Dude fixes his eyes on his dinner and indulges in a bit of pondering himself. This is followed by a sigh as he announces, "I don't think I'll become a Dad, I don't think I'd be very good at it."

This astounds me, as this is pretty much the reason why I am a geriatric mother - for most of my life I thought the whole mammy scene wasn't for me. I believed I wasn't cut out for the demands of motherhood. Children were like foreign objects to me - strange creatures in constant need of attention and care that didn't seem to obey the laws of anything - merchants of chaos! And I felt I didn't have the necessary talents to deal with such creatures, so the world would be better off if I left the mammy box unticked.

Yup! Kids Are Crazy!


Thankfully I had my road to Damascus conversion once I became an aunty and I figured maybe I could handle this mammy gig after all. Luckily I hadn't left it too late. Nearly but not quite...

So here I am sitting opposite my son who has the same ideas about becoming a Dad as I had about becoming a mum and I don't want him to go through life with that idea in his head. I want him to feel that he has as much potential to become a Dad, and a pretty awesome Dad, as the next boy. I don't want him plagued by the same silly feelings of inadequacy as I was for most of my life.

I sit bolt upright in my chair and announce, "hey, don't feel like that! I never thought I'd become a mum and I thought If I did then I'd be crap at it but you know what, I am a mum and I'm a pretty fucking awesome mum!"

There followed that enormous silence when someone has said something completely incongruous and then everybody around the table exploded into laughter.

The Dude's eyes were out on sticks.

"Mum!" he exclaimed, "you swore! I'm not sure that makes you awesome."

The Dude & His Eyes!


La-la was laughing so hard at this stage, she had tears in her eyes.

Big Daddy was shaking his head.

I was sitting there thinking how over forty years worth of self-doubt had just been obliterated in that one comment and it felt good! I looked at my two children laughing their heads off, their beautiful faces the picture of happiness and I said to myself, "yeah, I'm a pretty fucking awesome mammy!"

As La-la sees me! 
All singing, all dancing Mum!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Batman, Sex And A Little Dinner Conversation

It was just myself and the kids the other night sitting down to dinner and having a chat about how their day went when La-la dropped the bomb on me! It went like this...

La-la: "I'm not really sure what sex is but I've a funny feeing there's more to this business than I think there is."

The Dude: "Oh don't worry - I know all about it! Just ask me what you need to know and I'll tell you."

La-la shoots him a doubtful look and then looks at me. (I was sooooo hoping she wouldn't look at me. I was quite happy for the Dude to handle this one!)

La-la: "Mum, I'm not sure if I really want to know but what the hell is sex and have you done it with Daddy?"

The Dude swings his head around in my direction, his eyes huge with curiosity as he pops a piece of sausage into his mouth and proceeds to chew it slowly just as I suspect he is chewing over La-la's question in his mind, especially the last part.

I feel like the proverbial rabbit caught in the headlights.

Image of rabbit looking shocked holding a carrot
Me Be Like The Rabbit!

"Erm...sex is like... erm... when you... erm are naked in bed with someone..." I garble.

This is where the Dude bursts into the conversation with his specialist knowledge. He simply can't hold back from contributing any longer!

"Yes!" he announces, "it always happens at night!"

La-la scowls at him.

"I think you might be wrong there Buddy," she informs him, "I'm telling you, there's more to it than what we know and I'm not even sure I wanna know!"

"How is everybody's dinner?" I ask, "carrots okay for you both?"

It's like I haven't even spoken.

"I think boys' willies have something to do with it," La-la announces.

"Nooooo," the Dude informs her, "how the hell would they come into it!"

"I don't know," admits La-la, "but a boy at school said to me today that if I wanted to have sex with his friend then all I had to do was poke his willy!"

She then stopped eating such was her disgust at the prospect.

The Dude looked at me, horrified!

I'm sitting there thinking right about now would be a good time for something to go on fire in the kitchen.

Photo of pan on fire in kitchen
Something Like This Would Have Been Good!


The Dude speaks.

"Mum, what do you think of that?" he asks.

"What?" I ask in return, desperately playing for time.

"The willy thing!" he blurts at me, "the willy thing and sex! Willies have nothing to do with sex, do they?"

"Erm... technically they do..." I answer and watch as La-la's face scrunches in disgust.

The Dude's face is a study in surprise.

"Oh," he announces, "tell me more."

Tell him more! Is he kidding me! I've already had quite enough of this surprise conversation! I decide to turn the tables and try and get this discussion to head towards the exit.

"Never mind me telling you more," I say, "why don't you tell me where you got all your info on sex."

He pops another piece of sausage into his mouth and I could never have guessed what he came out with next.

"Batman."

I positively choke on my chicken!

"Batman!" I declare, "Batman told you all you know about sex?"

He looks at me as if I've lost my mind and shouldn't it have been obvious to me that Batman would have been his source.

"Yeah," he says, his voice dripping with, "of course!"

Dark Image of Batman
Batman - The Superhero Who
Gets Most Of The Action -
Apparently!

I ask him to tell me more.

"Batman is always having sex, especially in the Dark Knight!" he announces, somewhat emphatically.

I frantically run scenes from the movie through my head and breathe a bit more easily when I realise he is referring to the scene where sex is suggested not actually depicted! But it's obvious both characters are naked. The Dude has obviously drawn his own conclusions.

At this point I'm fighting an uncontrollable urge to giggle. La-la spots my smirk.

"What's so funny?" she asks, "this is a disgusting conversation and I'm kinda sorry I brought it up. Ugh! I can't believe I'm talking about boys' willies and eating my dinner at the same time. And mum, please tell me that sex is for adults only. I don't know why that guy said that to me today."

This wipes the smirk off my face. I don't know why he said it either but if I catch a hold of him he won't be saying anything like it to her again.

I look at my beautiful daughter who is as innocent as a ten year old girl should be. I look at her and I'm sad we live in a world where she is exposed to such a comment from a boy who is the same age as her. But this is the world we live in, a world where childhood is under constant assault and innocence is increasingly under threat.

Photo of young girl making giant bubbles in the garden
My Beautiful Girl - As Innocent & Carefree
As A Ten Year Old Should Be 


I look at her and it's clear this comment has troubled her. I don't want her to be bothered by it for another second. I smile.

"Don't worry about it," I reassure her, "sex is for adults only and you don't have to worry about it for a long time to come."

She's visibly relieved and resumes eating her dinner. That is until the Dude adds his tuppence worth.

"Yes," he announces, "and when you're eighteen you can have lots and lots of sex, just like Batman!"

With that I set fire to the kitchen! Not really but I sure put a fire under my kids to finish their dinner so I could get them to bed. I was done with talking!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Seek And You Shall Find!

It was free dress day today at the school which meant the kids got to wear anything they wanted and not their uniforms.

"I want to wear my Super tee-shirt and my blue shorts with the white stripe down the side," the Dude announced at approximately thirteen minutes past eight.

The Super Tee-shirt!

The Super tee-shirt was lying proudly on my bed and I felt somewhat smug at being one step ahead of the Dude. My smugness was short-lived though as I realised I had no clue as to where the shorts might be. I spent the next five minutes trying to convince the Dude to wear his Avengers tee-shirt and a cool, camouflage type pair of shorts. I thought I had succeeded and congratulated myself on my powers of persuasion as we made our way upstairs for what I hoped was going to be a quick breakfast. I was just putting the finishing touches to the lunches when I noticed the Dude sneaking, ninja-like, down the stairs.

"Where are you going?" I enquired, "and what are you doing?"

"Nothing!" came the reply.

"Will I come and help you?" I asked, which was code for - "you'd better not be down there looking for those damned shorts with the stripe at 8:20 am when you haven't even had breakfast yet!"

The Dude understood my code perfectly.

"Nooooo!" he commmanded, "you do NOT come down the stairs."

I went down the stairs.

I found him him in the laundry.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I told you not to come down here!" he announced.

"Well I'm here now," I informed him, "so you may as well tell me what you're up to."

He grimaced.

"I'm looking for the shorts," he admitted, the frustration at his interfering mother oozing from every pore.
I looked at him and I looked at the Everest-like pile of laundry and I looked back at him again.

"Really?" I asked, "you really want to tackle that."


The "Other" Everest!

"Not really," he snorted, "but what choice do I have? They have to be in there somewhere!"

I should state here that our laundry room is known as the room of no return, as in, items of clothing go in there and never come back out. It's actually possible a small child went in there once on a playdate and is still in there...

The Door To The Room
Of No Return

I fixed my steely gaze on the Dude and announced, "you do realise it's nearly twenty-five minutes past eight?"

"Is that a rhetorical question?" he sneered.

I turned on my heel.

"Be upstairs in two minutes, " I warned him, "do NOT make me come and get you."

Approximately two minutes later a very smug eight year old boy waltzed past me sporting the biggest, dirtiest grin you've ever seen. Thirty seconds later he presented himself to me in the kitchen, "ta-dah!" he announced and flung his hands in the air before twirling and walking off.

I was gobsmacked! As long as I live, I will never know how he found those shorts in under two minutes.

He has kept this seek and find talent well hidden up to now but the next time he wails, "mum, I can't find..." I'll be ready! He he he... I'm off to practice my evil smirk :-)

The Absolute Must Have Shorts!







Friday, 29 July 2016

Tears For The Turtles

I was in the kitchen  - doing the usual - emptying the dishwasher, prepping dinner, putting shopping away etc. etc.

The kids were watching television and, as is her way, La-la had it tuned to some nature programme. I was vaguely aware of its contents hearing various references to dugongs and turtles.  Now, the Dude loves nature and is very respectful of the environment but by and large he would rather be watching a programme with turtles of the ninja variety.  Therefore I was waiting for his inevitable appearance in the kitchen to lodge his usual complaint about his sister watching "them nature programmes" again!

I didn't have to wait long.  Five minutes later he appeared before me but this time, instead of launching into complaint mode, he asked me a question.

"What does extinct mean?"

I looked at him.

"Extinct?" I asked.

"Yes," he replied, somewhat impatiently, "what does it mean?"



I wondered where this had come from and concluded it must be something he had seen on the T.V.

"It means when there is no more of something on the planet, like no more of a certain creature."

His little face creased into a frown.

"What do you mean no more?  Like none at all?  Not even one?"

"Yes," I answered, "not even one."


His eyes teared up and he looked stricken.

"You mean," he choked out past the lump in his throat, "you mean there won't be any turtles left?"

I was at a loss for words and caught completely off guard by the extent to which he was upset.

"Well, I'm not sure what the exact story is with the turtles," I started to explain, "but..."

I didn't get any further before he exploded at me, "but the guy on Bushwhacked just said they are in danger of becoming extinct!"

I was silent.  I didn't know what to say.

A tear slid down my son's face.

"Why?" he cried, "Why? Why are we killing the turtles and their friends the dugongs?"

I stood there looking at my son and I didn't have an answer because I have no bloody idea why we are killing the turtles and their friends the dugongs.  I was under the impression that things were improving.  I thought we were turning this situation around.  I thought there had been a collective cottoning on as to the fact that instead of destroying this planet and all the creatures on it, we've got to start saving it.



I stood there in the face of the Dude's anger and confusion and I said, "I don't know.  I don't know why so many of the turtles are still being killed.  All I know is that there are many people trying to save them and protect them and those people are doing great work."

Somewhat mollified, the Dude considered my response before coming to his conclusion, whereupon he looked at me and stated, "well they need to do a lot more, because we need them to not get extinct!"

With that he turned around and headed back to his position in front of the T.V.

The whole situation bothered me today so I checked out what the status of the sea turtles is. Sadly it's perilous.  Here are the stats:

GLOBAL STATUS

The world's seven sea turtle species are classified as follows according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:

 

IUCN DEFINITIONS:

Critically Endangered: Species is considered to be facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
Endangered: Species is considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. 
Vulnerable: Species is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

I'd no idea things were this bad!

So what can we do? Sadly, there's not a lot we, as individuals, can do about more traditional societies in Asia and Central America who eat both the eggs and the meat of the adult turtles but turtle conservancy groups are doing what they can to change these practices and have experienced some measure of success.  The same goes for the illegal turtle-shell trade and the effects of commercial fishing.

We, however, can clean up our act!

The Sea Turtle Conservancy states:
"It is estimated that more than 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. More than 80% of this plastic comes from land. It washes out from our beaches and streets. It travels through storm drains into streams and rivers. It flies away from landfills into our seas. As a result, thousands of sea turtles accidentally swallow these plastics, mistaking them for food. Leatherbacks especially, cannot distinguish between floating jellyfish - a main component of their diet - and floating plastic bags. Most of the debris is recognizable: plastic bags, balloons, bottles, degraded buoys, plastic packaging, and food wrappers. Some plastics aren't so easy to see, so small, in fact, that it is invisible to the naked eye. If sea turtles ingest these particles, they can become sick or even starve."  


Photo of plastic bags in marine environment looking like jellyfish
Plastic Bags or Jellyfish?

Imagine if we just got rid of plastic bags - what a difference this could make!

Coastal erosion, marine pollution, oil spills and coastal development are all areas being dealt with by turtle conservancy groups - who need our support.  However, another area where we as individuals can make a difference is to keep our vehicles off the beaches!

"Tyre ruts left by vehicles can extend the time it takes a hatchling to reach the ocean and increase their chance of being caught by a predator. Driving during the day can cause sand compaction above nests resulting in lower nest success. Additionally, beach driving contributes to erosion, especially during high tides or on narrow beaches.  Night time driving can disturb nesting females, disorient emerging hatchlings, and crush hatchlings attempting to reach the ocean. "  - Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Also, we can burst our balloons! Yes, you read that correctly.  This was one that surprised me but the air-filled spherical rubber accompaniments to most human celebrations is yet another threat to the turtles.  When released into the air they don't stay there - most of them eventually end up in the ocean where the turtles mistake them for food.  So burst them or deflate them and take them home because I don't think any of us will be celebrating the day there are no more of these beautiful and wonderful creatures left on our planet.

The Beautiful Leatherback Turtle








Monday, 18 July 2016

Oh Mrs. Brown!

I have to admit to being somewhat confused as to Australia's film and TV classification system, especially the M category.  There is a plain old M and an MA both of which are aimed at "mature audiences" of fifteen years of age and over.  It's the plain old M that confuses me the most as it applies to some TV programmes where there is nothing that could be deemed offensive and then it applies to others that most certainly could. Please bear this in mind as I tell you the rest of my tale...

Graphic of the Australian Film Board's M rating
The Mysterious M
Sooooo, being from Ireland, a little bit of bad language is nothing out of the ordinary.  Whereas there are those that may find it offensive back in the ould sod, as a nation we are generally more accepting of it.  Now, as TV programmes go, it could be said that Mrs. Brown's Boys has an excessive amount of bad language and that observation would probably be correct.  However, as an Irish mammy, I don't have a problem with it and most certainly don't worry about protecting La-la and the Dude's little ears from language they will most certainly hear walking down any Irish street.  

Mrs. Brown can also be somewhat rude on occasion but usually in such a way that younger viewers don't get the full meaning - at least not on any of the episodes I've previously watched.

photo of the television character Mrs. Brown holding a banana
Mrs. Brown and Banana!
La-la and the Dude have fond memories of our last trip to Ireland, sitting in their grandparents sitting room laughing themselves silly with Grandma and Grandad at Mrs. Brown's crazy antics.  So last night we were looking for something to watch on the TV and they spotted Mrs. Brown's Boys and shouted with glee, "Can we watch it?  Can we watch it? Puhleeeeeese!"  Somewhat wary but also somewhat homesick and craving a bit of Irish humour, I agreed.

The title of the episode was Mammy Rides Again and that's possibly where I should have taken my first clue from...

It was the episode where Dermot is getting married and Mrs. brown is banned from the hen party. But that doesn't stop our girl - oh no!  She discovers the venue and hatches a plan with her ever-ready partner in crime, Winnie, to crash the party in grand style.  This is where I should have taken my second clue that things were about to erm... how shall I put this... turn raunchy.

There were also plenty of other clues, such as her "innocently" offering the plumber part-payment for the installation of her new toilet with a blow-job!

I was somewhat alarmed at this but assured La-la and the Dude that I hadn't a clue what that meant or why it was so funny!

We continued watching, me content in the knowledge that the worst had already passed.  Then the action switches to the pub and just as Winnie discovers it's not actually the venue for the hen party but a funeral is being held there, our heroine - the one and only - Mrs. Brown, comes riding into the party with a giant inflatable penis between her legs!

photos of characters from the irish television show Mrs. Brown Boys
The Moment Winnie Discovers There Is A Funeral
Going On And Not A Hen Party!


My eyes pop and my mouth drops!  I look at the kids to see if they have any understanding as to what they are looking at.  Both of them look puzzled.  La-la looks at me and says, "what is that?"

I look at her, dumbstruck, not sure what to say.

"I don't know," I reply, "I think it's a giant worm."

The Dude looks at me. "That's not a worm!" he announces.  "It's a giant willy!"

I didn't think my eyes could pop any more but they did!

"Don't be silly," I announce, with more than a nervous tremor in my voice, "why would she be running around on a giant willy."

"I don't know," the Dude replied very matter of factly, "adults are weird and she's crazy!"

Thankfully the on-screen action switched back to the morning after, back at the house, whereupon Mrs. Brown announces, "oh shit, I left my dick in the taxi last night."

La-la's eyes go wide and she declares, (totally bewildered) "oh my God, it was a willy!"

At this stage I suggest it's time to go to bed but my children are having none of it.

So far my feigned innocence and lack of alarm has resulted in them having no idea as to the sexual meanings of any of the terms or props being used and I suspect if I start making a big deal about going to bed they (or at least the Dude!) will smell a rat.  So, I tell myself that surely the worst really is over and there's only a few more minutes to go so what else could possibly happen?  What else indeed...

A few minutes later Rory's boyfriend ends up with his trousers around his ankles, revealing his fishnet stockings and suspenders.

The Dude looks at me with a "what the hell" expression on his face and La-la is open-mouthed and can't take her eyes off the screen.  It's obvious she is trying to make up her mind as to whether to believe her eyes or not.

God only knows what I look like at this stage.

La-la turns and asks, "what the hell, why is that guy wearing women's stockings?"

I decide there's nothing for it but to tell the truth, after all these are the kids who wanted to know why the lovely lady serving us lunch talked like a man when we were on holidays in Thailand.

"I don't know," I reply, "some guys like to dress like women, just like some women like to dress like men. It's no big deal."

La-la looked back at the television nodding her head slowly as if she needed to give this some more thought.

The Dude announced, "I'm never wearing those things!"

I started to laugh and soon the credits started to roll on the screen.  The kids thought I was still laughing at Mrs. Brown's new toilet exploding, and I was, but it was as much from relief that the whole roller-coaster of a show was over!

I've since given the M rating a new classification - Maybe Not! Especially when it comes to crazy Irish mammies.

A photo of Brendan O'Carroll  from Ireland and the cast of his television show - Mrs. Brown's Boys
Mrs. Brown & Her Crazy Crew!






Friday, 24 June 2016

The Things We Do!

The Dude took me aside yesterday evening and with his most solemn face took a hold of my hand and explained he had something big to ask of me. I looked into his huge, hypnotic eyes wondering what on earth was coming next.  
He took a deep breath, glanced at the floor, then back at me and let it out.
"I need you to bake some brownies for the Italian celebration at school tomorrow."
Photo of two chocolate brownies on a white background
The Dude be looking for some of these!

He squeezed my hand for effect, as if the plea in his eyes wasn't enough.
I inhaled sharply.
La-la looked on - shocked.
I should mention that the kitchen is not where I shine... and I find baking particularly erm... challenging...
The Dude stood there looking like the decision to go on with the rest of his life or not rested on my answer.
"Me?" I squawked.
He nodded his head. I'm not sure if he could have squeezed any more solemnity into his expression.
I looked at La-la.
She returned my horrified expression.
I looked back to the Dude.
"Do you think that's such a good idea?" I asked him.
"Yeah," La-la announced, "do you think that's such a good idea?"
The Dude slowly turned his head and looked at his sister.
"I'm not sure," he admitted, "but everyone else is going to be bringing something in so this is my only hope..."
He then proceeded to look at the floor, still holding my hand.

This kid is good.

"Okay," I informed him, "I'll give it a go, but only if we have the necessary ingredients here."
He beamed at me.
"Oh we do!" he declared and ran to the cupboard whereupon he produced a packet of Woolworth's Brownie Mix.
I fixed him with a suspicious look.
"Oh imagine that," I announced, "we just happen to have a brownie mix in the house."
The Dude's face split into a grin.
"Yeah, we do," he laughed.

Three eggs, a lump of butter and forty-five minutes later we had a brownie cake and a very happy little boy as he and his sister licked the bowl clean.
photo of chocolate brownie cake
Chocolate Brownie Cake


He headed off to school this morning with quite possibly the least fancy offering of all for the Italian celebration but there was an extra pep in his step and a bit more puff in his chest at the fact that this time he could proudly announce his mammy had baked brownies!
Black and white photo of young boy with money and a chef's hat
Happy Little Boy With His Euros
All Ready To Buy The Goodies!
Oh the things we do!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Happy Mother's Day

They found me this morning, in my office, with a cup of coffee and getting a bit of work done before they insist I relax and "do nothing" today on my special day!

Then they scurried off to wherever they had their little surprises hidden and came back, their gorgeous faces aglow with happiness.

I opened La-la's first.  A beautiful handmade card, bookmark and necklace telling me to, "Enjoy The Little Things."

Handmade Card with flowers and love hearts saying happy mother's day
Handmade By La-La
Handwritten message on pendant saying, "Enjoy The Little Things."
The Necklace

The Dude was jumping from foot to foot with excitement! I took his gifts of little handmade boxes and a notebook thinking that was it but the true gift was in the inside pages of the notebook.

"Open it! Open it!" he exclaimed!

I did and I found a list of words.  Not just any old words but a list of words about how I make him feel.  Here they are:

"Happy. Joyful. Glad. Delighted. Loved. Believed. Gleeful. Angry (sometimes but not that much!) Excited. Thrilled. Supported. Cared For. Cheerful. Surprised. Powered Up! Super. Terrific. Magnificent. Brilliant. Awesome. Cool."

I was floored!

And then I looked up and saw the love and joy beaming out from their beautiful faces.  These two little beings - so happy that I am their mother.  And I at once felt humbled and tiny and all-powerful and ready to take on the world.

Child's Drawing Of Her Mum With The Words, Best Mum Ever, And Sequins As Clouds
How La-la And The Dude See Me


Being a mum will challenge you in ways you never dreamed of but it also means being loved in a way you can't possibly ever imagine.

To all the amazing mums out there, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day.  Enjoy.

Text of child's handwriting sayin Happy Mother's Day

Monday, 4 April 2016

Two Girls And Their Tits!

Okay, a few weeks ago Kim Kardashian posted a pic of herself in her bathroom, naked, her modesty (?) preserved by a pair of well placed black bars .  I, along with a lot of other people, had a lot to say about this particular photo.  And whereas I reserve Kim's right to do whatever she wants with her body and share as many naked snaps of it as she likes, I have to say I fell unequivocally into the Better Midler camp and thought, "really?  another naked selfie?  All alone in your bathroom?  Is it not getting a little boring by now?  A little sad even?"

Colour photo of a blonde haired Bette Midler in a black chiffon dress
The Divine Miss M

Judging by Kim's inflamed responses apparently she doesn't think so.  And then the other day herself and her bestie, Emily Ratajkowski, go ahead and post a pic of the two of them naked from their waists up, their breasts covered by the obligatory black bar and the two of them flipping the bird to the world.

Ratajkowski & Kardashian

Apparently this photo was all about female empowerment, and in responding to criticism, Emily Ratajkowski had this to say - "'We are more than just our bodies but that doesn't mean we have to be shamed for them or our sexuality."

I'm sorry but have I missed something?  Did I miss photos of either of these women being involved in charity work?  Did I miss either of these women using the huge followings they have to further the cause of women affected by life-crushing issues such as poverty, sexual violence and gender inequality?  Did I miss where either one of them produced a coherent, constructive analysis of the issues affecting women today?

I'm sorry Ms. Ratajkowski but when you and your pal Kim make it all about your bodies - all the damn time - then I'm afraid we can draw no other conclusion other than you are just your bodies for we have no other evidence to go on.  Furthermore, since when were either of you "shamed" for your Hollywood physiques?

I doubt if anyone has snorted behind you as you approached a buffet.  I doubt if anyone has shouted, "quick get to the food before Ratajkowski!" I doubt if anyone has laughed openly at you as you changed out of your swimming costume in the changing rooms.  I doubt if you know the real meaning of being "shamed" for your physical appearance.

So excuse me if I think your rally cry for female empowerment rings strangely hollow and if your actions speak louder to me than your words.  I see a photo of two incredibly beautiful women involved in an act of gratuitous self-promotion and that I am afraid is it, no matter how you might like to dress it up.

When I see photos of you involved in activities other than promoting yourself then I might be more inclined to listen to what you have to say about female empowerment but until then I'll take my lead on these matters from any number of women who choose to empower us all with their clothes on.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Who Needs To Be Nice!

December and all its threats of, "you'd better be good or you won't get anything from Santa!" seems very far away now in the run up to Valentine's Day but for me it is a month when I am glad to have that little something extra in my arsenal when it comes to managing the Dude.  I don't know what it is about December but the Dude's behaviour always takes a dive towards the mid-way mark which traditionally sees him firmly placed on the naughty list.  The second half of the month is usually a focused effort on behalf of myself and Big Daddy to get him on the nice list with lots of cajoling, gentle reminders, pointed discussions and outright threats.

So far we have been successful and every Christmas morning the Dude has awoken to gifts under the tree for him instead of a lump of coal.

Photo of little girl opening a Christmas present and her baby brother smiling in delight
The Dude Has Always Delighted In
Presents Even If they
Weren't His!

However, I have often wondered to what extent we are successfully managing his behaviour or to what extent is he just playing along - letting us think we are in control!

The other day I may have gotten my answer....

It was something of a dodgy weather day so I decided to head to the hairdressers at the local shopping centre and Big Daddy took the kids for a much requested play at the indoor play place. Two hours later I emerged from the salon, thankfully looking more Glammy Mammy and less Granny Mammy! The kids announced they were hungry so we went in search of food (a tad more challenging now since we have a vegetarian in the family).  

We sourced some garlic bread and ordered two portions. The bread looked delicious and La-la shared some of hers with Big Daddy. Not wanting to eat all of hers, Big Daddy asked the Dude for some of his. (Now, it should be stated the Dude has only ever seen food as a means to an end. Eating just gets in the way of his schedule and interrupts all those important things he's got to do, so the Dude only ever eats just enough to take the edge off and keep him going and the rest is usually left there.)

The Dude informed Big Daddy he was starving and he couldn't possibly spare a piece of the garlic bread.  
Big Daddy was shocked.

"What?" he asked, "are you refusing to share your garlic bread with me?"

The Dude fixed him with a, "don't even think about it," glare and said, "yes, I'm hungry."

Still in shock, Big Daddy pressed for confirmation.

"So let me get this straight, I've just spent thirty dollars on taking you to a play place and drinks and another twenty dollars on garlic bread and you can't share some of it with me?"

The Dude looked at him.

"You can go and get your own garlic bread," he pointed out, "I'm eating all of this because I'm hungry."

Big Daddy pointed out that he never finished anything and if he finished the garlic bread it would be the first time in his life he finished a portion of food we bought for him.

The Dude fixed him with a belligerent look and announced, "well I'm eating all of this."

Photo of young boy stuffing his face with bread
Go To Hell Daddy - This Bread Is Mine!

Big Daddy fixed him with an, "ok kid you're on," look and informed him that he'd better finish it or he wasn't getting any ice cream. He pointed out that the Dude could give him a piece of garlic bread now, when it was hot because he wasn't interested in eating a cold piece when the Dude couldn't eat any more and decided to offer what was left to him, just so he could get an ice cream.

The Dude looked Big Daddy in the eye, no overt defiance, nothing, just a quiet declaration, "I'm eating it all."

Big Daddy sat back, sure in the knowledge that in ten minutes we would be dragging a disgruntled seven year old to the car without an ice cream and he would have won this face-off with his son.

An hour later myself and Big Daddy exchanged glances as the Dude sat there quietly getting through the garlic bread. Big Daddy had settled in with some beers. I sipped my water. La-la wondered when we could get ice cream. The Dude looked like he was fit to burst but still he kept putting bite-sized pieces of garlic bread into his mouth. His face was a mask of innocence but I could almost hear the cogs of his mind working overtime. This was a big "screw you" to his parents!

Black and white photo of a young boy fit to burst from eating too much
The Dude Was Starting To Look Something Like This

A half an hour later he was reduced to tearing the garlic bread into tiny pieces and then popping them into his mouth. I've never seen him eat so much food in one sitting before and I knew he was struggling but it was obvious he had no intention of stopping until there wasn't a crumb left. I glanced at Big Daddy who gave me a, "what the hell" look. I tried to hold back the laughter.

The Dude sat there, still with the look of innocence on his face, no defiance, no hint of what he was really up to, except for he was starting to look a little uncomfortable.

I decided to give him an out.

"You know, I'm sure if you apologise to Daddy for being so selfish and explain to him that you won't do it again, he might consider buying you a small ice cream."

The Dude looked at me, curiously, and then proceeded to keep breaking the garlic bread into tiny pieces and forcing them into his mouth.

Fifteen minutes later there wasn't a crumb left. He turned to his Dad and announced, "I'm sorry Daddy but as you can clearly see, I really was very hungry."

Big Daddy was somewhat at a loss. It was obvious we were being played.

Before Big Daddy could say anything, I jumped in.

"Hang on," I said, "are you apologising because you are really sorry or because you just want an ice cream."

He looked at me, a little squeeze of his eyes telling me he resented me calling him out on what he considered the perfect play of his parents.

He hesitated, wondering what was the best way to answer my question. My gaze was unflinching and direct, warning him in no uncertain terms to tell the truth.

He dipped his head.

"Well, I wanted to say sorry but I was angry so I didn't but now I've thought about it and I am really sorry and I won't be so selfish again."

He flicked a look over at his Dad.

"Sorry, Daddy," he said.

"Hmmmm...." Big Daddy replied

"Am I allowed an ice cream?" the Dude asked.

Big Daddy looked at me, with a, "what you wanna do" look on his face.

I asked the Dude if he could possibly fit an ice cream in after all that garlic bread?

He enthusiastically nodded his head.

I waited, letting him stew and then handed down my decision.

"You can get a small ice cream today, you were obviously very hungry (the last comment was to give him the impression we hadn't seen through his actions, I think it's very important for the future that he thinks we're a pair of eejits who he can pull one over on, otherwise he might up his game and then we're totally screwed!) and you told the truth about being angry and I believe your apology to Daddy was genuine. However, you need to lose the selfish 'tude. If there's any more of it going forward then you are going to be a very sorry little boy."

He nodded his head very solemnly but..... I can't be sure, but there may have been a hint of a grin lurking at the edge of his lips.

It's going to be an interesting year.....