Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Friday, 16 June 2017

Overrated Books

It's never been any secret that books are one of my most favourite things in the whole wide world. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many books. Also, it's not hoarding if it's books. Because I say so. And that settles the matter. 

Ever since I was a child I always had a book permanently attached to my hand. Shame it's now often a phone... but that's another story...

Even so, there are certain books that failed to enthral me. It's even more puzzling when they're books or authors that are so beloved and popular. It leaves you wondering if there was something you missed. Is it possible that you read the same book as others? It's a very curious thing. Let me assure you, I am the furthest thing from a reading snob. Read what you like, I say. If it's some sort of  Game Of  Thrones fan fiction, who am I to judge?

I've gone from a passionate love of Enid Blyton (who probably seems unhinged and secretly racist to today's kidlets), to the completely stupid Sweet Valley High series as a teen. Then onto reading Mills and Boon romances, then a tonne of dubious 'chick lit' and implausible thrillers. My main purpose in reading is pure escapism. So there will never be any judgement from me. 

However, there have been a few books I just don't get. Without further ado, here are three books I consider to be overrated:


THE SLAP BY SOME DUDE WITH AN UNPRONOUNCEABLE NAME


Yeah, that dude. How do you pronounce it?

I read it last year because I'd heard good things about it. It sounded like an interesting premise: a group of friends at a suburban barbeque where an adult slaps another person's child. 

To be honest, the only part of the book I enjoyed was the description of the food at the barbeque. Which probably says a lot about me... Ahem...

It seemed to me that every single character in this book was thoroughly unlikable.  Maybe I'm too much of a Pollyanna or something, but I need to feel like I actually like at least one character to care about what happens to them at the end of the novel. 

Another thing that disturbed me was some of sex scenes. In one, a female character fantasises that she's being raped. What the...? I don't have a copy of the novel anymore to quote the scene, but it bothered me. Maybe some women like it rough, and good luck to them, but rape? Really? 

Also, I'm wondering if there is really quite so much drug taking among the Australian middle classes? It seemed like every character was into drugs.  I dunno, I guess I just live in a bubble... In Sydney's western suburbs surrounded by druggies and meth labs... Yet I've never taken an illegal drug in my entire life. Go figure. 

Anyway, I'm sure this Christos dude doesn't care what I think. He's too busy winning literary awards and writing his next best-selling, critically acclaimed masterpiece, while I'm sitting here writing this crappy blog. Sniff. 



WUTHERING HEIGHTS BY EMILY BRONTE






Yes, you read that right. I am really going to call this classic of literature for nearly 200 years overrated.  Confession: I've never actually read the entire novel. I've tried several times during my life and I just couldn't do it. And I LOVE AND WORSHIP the Bronte sisters! Jane Eyre is one my favourite novels of all time. I could read it again and again. But not this. 

I know that Emily Bronte is considered to be some sort of incredible brooding genius; and she probably was. It's not her, it's me. For so many years I figured I had to force myself to read this, because it's such a classic. But you know what? NO. I just can't. Besides, I know what happens at end, anyway.

SPOILER ALERT: Heathcliff and Cathy die and their ghosts wander about the moors and haunt people, and then Kate Bush writes a song about it and dances about in a field or something.... Yeah, that. Overrated. Moving on. 


                            I recommend the Kate Bush song/video NOT the novel. 



ANYTHING BY JODI PICOULT




I thought I'd give this author a go because she is so incredibly popular. She's sold enough novels to fill the Atlantic ocean or the entire cosmos or the Sahara desert or... You get the picture. She's sold a shit tonne of novels. I guess people like her. I don't. The first time I tried to read one of her novels was many years ago. I picked up a novel called The Pact. It was about a suicide pact between two young people. However, I wasn't in a very good head space at the time, due to having lost a baby. Therefore, I decided that reading a book about suicide wasn't a good idea. Fast forward several years and I spotted another Jodi Picoult novel called Plain Truths on a sale table. I figured I'd give her another go.

As I vaguely recall, the plot centred around a hotshot lawyer, who somehow ends up defending an Amish girl, accused of murdering her newborn baby. Look, it was actually a good story, but it just went on and on and ON. By the middle of the novel I'd guessed the ending, anyway. So it just seemed superfluous to have hundreds more pages. I ended up skipping ahead to the ending, and my guess was right. Personally, I wouldn't bother reading any more Jodi Picoult novels, but as I mentioned, she is SO popular and famous. I guess it's just me. Shrugs.

A google search shows me that this novel was made into a TV film in 2004, starring Mariska Hargitay. It might be worth a watch, rather than wasting days or weeks on the plodding novel.
 




So there you have it. Three novels I thought were overrated.  Then of course there is 90 percent of the entire self-help, non-fiction genre...and anything with vampires... and the Fifty Shades series.. but I'll be here forever...  

What about you? Have you read any of the above novels? 

Which books do you think are overrated?

Friday, 21 October 2016

21 Random Facts About Me





1. My parents named me Vanessa after seeing Vanessa Redgrave in the movie Camelot. Almost everyone calls me Ness, except my parents and Mick who stuck with the Vanessa thing. 
2. My hair used to be straight but now it's curly because I had chemo. Sigh. 
3. My favourite drink is tea.
4. I can't wear perfume. It gives me headaches. 
5. I didn't learn to drive until I was 36. 
6. When adulting seems too hard I often fantasize about being a dog. I draw the line at becoming a Furry, though. It'd be too hot in summer. 


Image credit: https://onsizzle.com/i/i-dont-want-to-adult-today-i-dont-even-want-2681494


7. I'm struggling to get back into exercise post breast cancer. 
8. I almost never listen to the radio.
9. I prefer showers to baths.
10. I love reading but don't understand how people can read in the bath.
11. As a child I was scared of elevators and escalators. And boats, and heights and cockroaches. And people. Nothing much has changed. Ahem. 
12. I didn't realise I was pregnant the first time until around 26 weeks (approximately six months).
13. To my right there is a tall bookcase and a smaller one. Both are filled with books. Well, I did say they were random facts. 
14. I am trying to de-clutter my home. But it's not hoarding if it's books, right? (See above). 
15. I am terrible at multi-tasking. Except when I'm blogging, Facebooking, drinking wine and eating all the food simultaneously. I SMASH that. 
16. My middle name is Faye. Which sounds like an old lady name in 2016. Totally goes with my nanna curls. Winning! 
17. I don't think I'm interesting enough to make it to 21 facts. Thinking, thinking, thinking...
18. I've never had a sister or a daughter . Never will. Interesting. (I do have two wonderful sister-in-laws). 
19. I live in the same suburb I was born in 45 years ago. 
20. I'm super untidy but I can't stand having sticky or wet hands. Weird.
21. I am currently sipping a cup of tea. See point number 3. I am NOT eating cake with it. I am very sad and wistful about this. And I'm not even skinny yet! RUDE. 






There you have it. 21 totally random facts about me. You're welcome! 

Linking up for Friday Reflections. 






Are there any interesting random facts about you? 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Then And Now





Welcome to another fabulous Friday! My second favourite F word. You all know what the first one is!

FOOD! Duh.


Don't know what YOU were thinking.

Anyway, it's time to join in yet again for Friday Reflections!


I decided to merge two of the prompts because I thought they tied in neatly together. 

They are:

What did you want to be as a kid?

And...

Did you think you'd be doing what you're doing now? 

I was never really one of those kids who woke up one morning and thought: when I grow up I want to be a doctor/teacher/ballerina.

Just as well because; a) I can't stand the sight of blood, b) I struggle to even get through my kids homework, and c) I have the grace of an elephant on roller skates. 

If I thought about it all, I most likely assumed that I was going to be the next Enid Blyton. I adored her novels and read them obsessively. However, I never had a real plan.

I've always been a dreamer not a doer. Consequently I've kind of drifted through life. And here I am.

I always knew exactly what I DIDN'T want to do, but at the same time had no clear idea what I DID want to do.

As high school cruised towards it's inevitable finale, I had to make a decision. I enjoyed studying German. In fact, I was the genius who somehow failed English in my HSC and passed German. Go figure.

If I remember those heady mullet-permed days correctly, I decided to apply to university to study interpreting and translating. The only catch was, you had to be bilingual, fluent in two languages. It turns out that a couple of years of high school German wasn't enough to make me fluent. Who knew? So that idea was over with before it even started. 

To cut a long story short, I ended up studying at TAFE, something they used to call Library Practice (it's called something else now), and worked in libraries for a while. Until I didn't. Then I did again. Then I had babies and stayed home to look after them. Fast forward fifteen years. I'm still here, even though they're not babies anymore. Details...


Anyway, my point is, I now believe I was on the right track with the library thing. I always imagined that someday I'd go back to it, but now I have this cavernous fifteen year gap in my resume. Oops.

That's the thing about me. I'm not really one thing nor the other. I'm not a driven, career-oriented person, but I'm not really a house-wifey type either. It's another one of those curious dichotomies or contradictions about me: I'm a homebody and introvert, who definitely prefers being in my own space most of the time, but I'm not actually brilliant at being the person in charge of running the home. Weird. 


Hmmm, I guess I really should have been an eccentric stay-at-home millionaire or something... 




Or a professional daydreamer! Which is almost the same thing as being a writer. Well, except for the actual writing and getting paid part...

Unfortunately, the thought of being an author was always more of a fanciful daydream. A kind of 'yeah wouldn't that be nice' thing rather than having a concrete plan and goal. 

The only thing I really knew for sure as a child, was that one day I wanted to be a wife and mother. So in that sense, you could say I am doing what I thought I'd be doing. 

Admittedly, when I just thought and daydreamed about being a mother it was SO much easier! I was a perfect parent. Until I had kids! 




In my fantasies of being a grown up I was a tall, regal auburn haired 'Anne Shirley' type. I was married to my very own Gilbert Blythe. I had endless patience and wisdom to impart to my angelic fictional children.

Scenes played out in my head like something out of a movie or sit-com. I must have spent way more time watching television when I was growing up than I realised! 


To be honest, I never really thought specifically about what I'd be doing in my 40's. When you're a kid 20 seems ancient, let alone 40! 

I didn't have such a great grasp of reality.  Possibly due to all those Enid Blyton books and American sit coms I consumed. I'm sure I figured I'd be much better looking than I am and have a beautiful, immaculate home.

But you know what? Real life is way more interesting. 'Perfect' is overrated. 


As it turns out, even my childhood idol, Enid Blyton, was far from perfect. Well, according to her wikipedia page, anyway. If it's on the internet it must be true, right? Snorts.

Her novels have also been criticised as being all sorts of  dodgy things, including racist, in today's world. But they did provide me with some flights of fancy and a love of reading, so no harm done.

And while I may not have followed in her footsteps, I can still tap away here and indulge my love of words. Yeah, you're totally welcome!

Sure, there are moments when I wish I was more ambitious and goal-oriented, but for some one who has drifted and daydreamed through life, I don't have too much to complain about. 

Smashing! 

Linking up for Friday Reflections. 




What did you want to be as a kid?

Did you think you'd be doing what you are now? 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Month That Was September






Another September has disappeared. It seemed to make such a fleeting appearance. Sexy old September seduced us into spring then slunk away into clouds and wet weather. Then became all sultry again. Make up your mind, September! Oh wait. You have. And you're out of here. Just in time for October. Funny about that. 

But we were talking about September. Right. So let's get on with it.

Insert exciting September stuff HERE.  


Hmmmm, I'm sure there was SOMETHING exciting. Sort of. Kind of. OK, not really. 

But there was all the usual boring life stuff. Maybe I'll do that thing where you add 'and shit' to the end of every sentence to make it sound all cutting edge and gangsta and...erm... shit. 





Here goes:

Read some books and shit.  Did the housework and shit. Did all the usual sleeping and eating and shit. Moped and mulled, loved and lived, plodded and planned. And shit. 

Totally works! That sounds SO EXCITING! And shit. Maybe a bit more emphasis on the shit part. Oh well, I tried. 





Sexy old September did, in fact, have it's moments.

It all kicked off with Father's Day. We enjoyed a meal out at a Chinese Restaurant. Let's not talk about the resulting MSG headache  the next day. DOH. 


The month plodded on and I did so many exciting and avant garde things that I can't even remember what they are. This may sound strange to you but it happens when you're such a social butterfly.

Ok, you caught me. I'm not a social butterfly. But I'm trying. And I did leave the house each week this month! That's something. 


There was usual shopping, plus a visit to the library. Always thrilling when you're a dedicated bookworm. Look, we can't all be party animals. I stand by my love of libraries. 







In contrast with my usual ad hoc approach to blogging, this month I blogged consistently two to three times per week! You're welcome! 

September was the month I decided that I'm totally winning at life. 

I pondered on some important topics such as beginnings and life as a dog.  

I joined in for the first time with Friday Reflections and attempted some fiction. I was thrilled to be chosen for that week's featured writer! 







There was more mundane stuff when I took Mr 7 and 12 for dentist appointments. I was a super proud mumma because they handled the experience so well while I was FREAKING OUT.  Yep, I'm such a mature adult. 

However, there was some mature adulting stuff related to another doctor's appointment. It was revealed that I have high cholesterol and I started medication. I also got a referral to see a dietitian and then proceeded to eat like some sort of crazed, deprived person about to be locked up in a dungeon and starved. As you do. OK, as I do. I'm classy like that. 





Related: I did quite a bit of cooking, but then I just ate it and didn't photograph it. SO weird. 

Oh yes, I also attended a de-cluttering workshop held by my local council. More information on that and I round up of what I learnt coming soon! 

We also enjoyed a night out without the kidlets thanks to my parents. We went to an Indian restaurant with a bunch of friends. The next day Mickey Blue Eyes and I wondered what exactly it was that we  all used to talk about a decade ago. These days it seems to be about all our ailments: deteriorating eye sight, hearing, knee operations, surgeries and, of course, cancer, just to name a few. Fun times.

Related: when did we go so freaking OLD? 

Now it's school holidays! We've enjoyed some chaotic quiet days at home. Pyjama days are THE  BEST. 


However, I did manage to escape the nut house last Tuesday for a girl's day out. My friend Julie picked me up and we headed to the Central Coast for the day. We had lunch and then visited our other friend, Kim who moved up there earlier this year.

The next day THIS happened: 

A bee hive. It was in a tree in our front yard.


The Bee Movie! Right there in our front yard! There were thousands and thousands of bees swarming, buzzing and scaring the bejesus out of the boys. We had to call a professional to come and take it away. 

It's interesting because my late Pop used to be an Apiarist. Some years ago my parents also had a hive in their backyard. Look, I know there's some sort of logical explanation why these things happen. Spring. Pollen. Bees. Makes total sense. But there's a possibility that it has something to do with my Pop as well, right? 

It's been such glorious weather that we decided to end September with an impromptu picnic. So we set out on Friday, which turned out to be conveniently blustery and freezing. Oh well. We had fun anyway! 

And that concluded another sensational September! 

Now bring on the countdown to Christmas! And shit. 






Linking up for The Month That Was and IBOT

Images: Pexels; Giphy

What did you get up to in September? 

Monday, 15 February 2016

What's In My Handbag plus Shopping SUCKS

My TITS are in my handbag. That got your attention, didn't it? Okay, not my tits exactly, but my pretty pink Ipod that my brilliant imaginary friends Posski and Randa gave me was christened TITS. Perfect.

This is all leading up to today's confession, which is, most surprisingly:

What is in your handbag right now?

Allow me to tell you:

TITS (aka pink Ipod)
A purse. Sadly one that doesn't contain much cold, hard cash. Sigh
A book.
A tattered Fill-In. They're sort of like a lazy person's crossword, because they give you the answers and you fill them in in the right spots corresponding with each other. 
My adult colouring-in book.
My pencil case with pencils, pens and textas. (See above).
My lip balm. 

Normally I might have a brush, but I don't need those right now. I'm baldy. HAWT.  I now have a small collection of large handbags and a large collection of lovely hats. Awesome. 

That's about it. These items are essential for my long, boring chemo treatments and copious waiting in doctor's waiting rooms for appointments. This is pretty much my life right now.

Nothing much to report there except I had Cycle 3 of chemo last Wednesday and so far it's treating me kindly. Furthermore, I am nearly finished!!! Hallelujah! One more Cycle on the 24th and I'm DONE! 

Of course, then I will get my genetic test results back and find out what the next step is.  I am only very slightly petrified about this. Gulps.

So in order to keep my mind occupied I've been doing some of the afore-mentioned things in my handbag, reading, fill-ins etc. Additionally I've written some very dodgy poems. I won't share all of them with you (you're welcome), but this one made me giggle. I hope you do, too. 

Here goes:

SHOPPING SUCKS: A touching poem 

By Yours Truly

Shopping and cooking are a mystery to me
Yet often I drool over a recipe I see
Optimistically I set off, finding myself here at the shop
Where I frantically search for the list I forgot

It's laying at home, mocking and derisive
For even IT knows I am never decisive
Then I ponder and think, what items did I jot?
Do you think I remember? No! I cannot! 

Do I need coffee? Do I need tea?
What is the difference between camenbert and brie?
I know I need milk, but don't know what kind
We all prefer different types, you will find

The boys prefer THEIR milk to be fully-leaded
But the way that my dodgy cholesterol is headed
I am resigned to the boring old skim
Mickey Blue Eyes? It's 'light' milk for him! 

Of course I'll buy bread, but definitely NO CAKE!
Why? Because we all know I'll eat it, for goodness sake!
Did I need plain or self-raising flour?
I become more annoyed and perplexed by the hour

 I heave my clunky trolley through the brightly lit aisles
Wondering if other folk suffer all these trials
Up aisle one, down aisle two, three and four
My head is aching and my feet are so sore
Coles FM is droning on, I can't take it anymore! 

If I have to endure 'easy listening' for so long
PLEASE at least play a Carpenters song!
Then suddenly, while overwhelmed by choice
I DO blissfully hear that unrecognisable voice

Unperturbed, along I start singing
Impervious to the peeved looks I am bringing
I'm the weird woman who croons as she lingers
For slightly too long near the Birds Eye Fish Fingers

Abruptly I snap out of my Karen reverie
Feeling foolish, all eyes are following me
I must hurry up, get straight back to my task
Finish the shopping , get out of here FAST! 

There are three ravenous boys, all of whom I must feed
Even if they refuse the five serves of veggies they need
It has to be done, so on I endeavour
This is fun! RIGHT. Said no one, EVER!

Then a family reunion is starting to thrive
Conveniently clogging up most of aisle five
How will ever get out of here alive?
But I must keep going, so onwards I strive

Alas, it seems that even this isn't enough
It's just not my day. I must have no luck!
I spot some one I know, there in full sight!
An introvert's awkward and most irksome plight

I stop in dismay, watching like a hawk
Petrified I'll be cornered into difficult small talk
But when I turn to make my escape
Again I have made the most ghastly mistake

What else can go wrong? Yes, I know, I know! 
But it's torture for me in the confectionery row!
Mars Bars seem to tease me before my very eyes
As if they too know they would head straight to my thighs

Then ALL the chocolates join in and chant their evil chorus
Buy us! Eat us! Buy us! Eat us, Ness! You know you just adore us!
I'm forced to flee from the lane of all things yummy
The last thing I need is a bigger, rounder tummy

Leaving the chocolate's taunting refrain
I then reach the aisle of my ultimate shame
Yes, for me cleaning products cause genuine pain
Gumption, Ajax, mops and Pledge-Grab-Its
Remind me of all of my slovenly habits

These items will transform me into a Domestic Goddess!
Just buy us! We're brilliant! They insincerely promise.
Besides I'm aware that all you need is bleach
But how do you stand the smell, I will beg and beseech? 

Weary and bewildered, I randomly fill my trolley
A very impractical and most unwitting folly
I have had quite enough, I just can't pretend
It's time to bring this shopping thing limping to it's end

I trudge to the front in order to pay
But why is there only one cashier open today?
Once in line, the cashier is quite chatty
The endless yakking instead of packing is driving me batty

Then of course comes the inevitable price check
Isn't this all just a big pain in the neck?
Eventually my load is all finally scanned through
Then comes the terrible thing I must do

I reach for my purse and feel my hand quiver
As I hand over copious cash, a kidney, a liver
Arriving home, I unpack my all my food
And briefly relax my jittery mood

I'm pleased and relieved I've completed my feat
Then the boys arrive home and with these words they greet:

MUM, THERE'S NOTHING HERE TO EAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






Do you enjoy shopping?

What's in your handbag right now? 



Monday, 7 July 2014

I Won't Last A Day Without...

There are certain things that I would I find terribly difficult to give up. Such as:

My Family

Okay, there are certain days when I do wish I could be all by myself. Except I'd be belting out Carpenters songs instead of Celine Dion. But in reality, I couldn't live without my family. They are my suit of armour against the World. Whenever I'm feeling awkward and alien like (which is often) I can remind myself that:

a) As Dr Phil says: You wouldn't worry about what others thought of you if you knew how seldom they did, and
b) I have Micky Blue eyes and my boys who love and accept me.

The Internet

Some days I am scrolling down my Facebook feed (or typing another pointless blog post- ahem) and wondering why I bother. Still, I can't seem to hit the deactivate button. It's a sickness really. Sigh.

Sugar/Cakies/Chocolate

I tried quit sugar last year. It was the longest five minutes of my life. BOOM TISH. Seriously though, I did only last about five minutes. More recently I started the Get Healthy Programme, except I seemed to think it was the Get Diabetes programme. I have ended up delaying this for a while and am starting again soon. Hopefully I'll last for at least ten minutes this time. Shut up.

Karen Carpenter/Carpenters addiction/obsession

This fascination, which began at the tender age of 11, has only intensified with the arrival of the internet, making it even more impossible to hit that Facebook Deactivate Button, thereby quitting all of the fan groups and pages I belong to. Don't ask. I've lost count. But at least the fact that there are so many groups proves that I'm not alone in my weirdness.

Quiet Time

As much as I love my family, I do need time alone as well.  This is particularly precious due to it's rarity. I have been forced to give this up to a degree. But I'll still grab the smallest opportunity whenever I can. In fact, on our current holiday, when faced with the choice of joining my family for a stroll on the beach or staying in the apartment alone with the lap-top, I chose the latter. I justified this by reasoning that I spent plenty of time doing stuff with them every other day. And the sand. All that sand, everywhere, six months later. *Shudders*.

Cups Of Tea

I only drink one coffee a day. And about a billion or so cups of tea. I think I was weaned with a tea bag. Okay, not quite, but I did start drinking it at a young age and am absolutely addicted. The tea bag must be left in, thank you very much. I know, it's disgusting. Especially since tea bags were EVIL when I was growing up. We always had proper leaf tea in a pot. But I'm lazy, so tea bags it is now.

Books/Reading

 For me, the highlight of our family road trips involves stopping off at any available Op Shops and loading up on bargain books. This is approached with the same fervency and desperation that a heroin addict would reserve for getting their next fix. I. MUST. HAVE. BOOKS. I probably should purchase a Kindle at some point and bring myself into the 21st Century, however I’m sure I still wouldn’t be able to resist those road trip Op Shop crawls. They're much better than Pub crawls in my opinion.

Exercise

This is one I struggle with. I can easily be lazy and give it up, but my physical and mental health suffers if I let it slide. So I force myself to do sweaty aerobics on most days. I do this for the endorphins, not to become svelte and super fit with a rippling six-pack and buns of steel. I prefer buns with cream, actually. Ahem. Which is why I'll never have the former.

Blogging/Writing

I've only recently come to the conclusion that writing is kind of similar to exercise for me.  I may not be the best, most eloquent writer, just as I am not the most agile, fit athlete, but I usually feel better when I do it. Even if it's just scribbling nonsense purely for my own amusement or boring you all with this blog, I need to do it. As I've mentioned I can be lazy, so sometimes I have to force myself, just like the exercise. When I do, I feel better. The end. So, I guess you're all stuck with me. You're welcome.

And there you have it. The stuff I would find hard to give up. Now I'm off to read books and drink tea.  Oh alright, I'll exercise instead. Hmph.

Linking up (late, as usual)  for Laugh Link and also for I Must Confess.

What would you find hard to give up?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Holiday Happenings

Since our recent holiday was such a (tedious bore) resounding success, I thought I would take a break from the sweeping sagas of our past and bring you up to date with recent happenings.

Micky Blue Eyes had booked a motel in Denman in the Upper Hunter Valley for a few days.
"What are you coming here for," the man taking the booking had asked "for work, is it?" This wasn't exactly selling it as a tourist destination, but we made the booking anyway and then another at Maitland.

The drive there was actually quite pleasant. No puking! Hurrah!  The boys were delighted because they actually scored Macca's drive through. I decided to try the lamb burger only to discover the thing is as big as my head.

Driving on, we stopped at a park for a break and had a spirited game of 'tips.' I had to at least pretend that I was still getting some exercise.

Upon arriving, we checked in.
"What's on?" the woman at reception asked, quizzically "what did you come here for?"
"No reason," I mumbled.
"Just to get away from the rat race," Mick chuckled.
"Oh," she said, shortly, obviously deciding we were nuts.  Apparently even the locals can't imagine why anyone would want to go there. Interesting.

After a day or two the boys were (bored shitless) having a blast.
"Can we go in the pool? Pleeeeeease!!!" they begged.  Reluctantly, we agreed.  Trudging out to the deserted pool, we gingerly  dipped our toes in.  Holy shit! It was beyond freezing.  Master 8 and 11 were not to be deterred, however and defiantly splashed in out of the water for 20 mins, with their teeth chattering, before we all finally bailed.

The following day, we visited Muswellbrook. The boys were keen to see some serious shops. We pulled up outside a Vinnies Store. Yay! Cheap books! I weighed the pro's and cons of going in.

Pro: I could score cheap books.

Con: Micky would inevitably buy some woeful old shirts.

In the end, the lure of cheap books was too much to resist.

Half an hour later, I heaved my bag full of books back into the car, now heavily weighted down and we headed down the street. We drove past a shopping centre sporting signs for Big W and Woolworths.
"Yes!" the boys chorused "Let's go in there!"
They were hoping for a food court with a KFC.

Sailing up the travelator, we then traipsed in. It was eerily deserted.  There was the food court. Resplendent with a total of three shops, not one of them Macca's or KFC. The boys sulked and glowered.

Eventually Master 11 agreed to have a beef kebab, while the other two had hot chips. Happily stuffed with kebabs and hot chips, we then meandered around the shops. Inevitably, we ended up in the toy section in Big W, where I proceeded to repeat the word NO approximately every 2 seconds. I'm pretty sure I would have been able to experience such holiday (hell) bliss at home.

After about 16 million No's, we ventured to the front exit, where I agreed they could have a lolly/treat.  Fifteen minutes of whinging about the crap selection of treats ensued, while the cashier looked on with a pained expression.  Finally I paid for some Tic Tacs and a Mars Bar and left, forgetting to pay for a small packet of pins I'd stuffed in the pocket of the pram. Oops. I had unwittingly become a shop lifter.  Little did I know, this is apparently a common occurrence in Muswellbrook.

Next, we went for a walk down the main street, noting how deserted the place was. We came to club and decided to go in and have a drink.  This time there wasn't even the obligatory local drunk to turn around and stare at us like we had two heads. It was completely empty.  The boys had a jug of lemonade to add to their sugar high, while I mellowed out with two scotch and cokes, and Mick with a beer, before he headed back to get the car.
The Best Movie Ever

Back in the car, the portable DVD player started up with the familiar strains of Shrek 4 Ever After. Henceforth to be known as The Best Movie Ever. Not only does it have a Carpenters song in it, but the boys were so transfixed by it in the car, that we managed to drive past Macca's and KFC, then turn around and drive past them again, and they didn't even notice.

Next stop was Maitland. This time the room was exactly right for (paralysing claustrophobia) cosy, comforting togetherness.  Bunk bed battles began. As well as balcony paranoia, as they had put us upstairs. With no other rooms available we had no choice but to panic over Master 3's whereabouts at all times.

The highlight of Maitland was, once again, a massive Lifeline shop. More books! Yes, we are such classy people.
The Griswald's. We are classy, like them...

The final evening we settled in to watch  National Lampoon's Vaction starring Chevy Chase. Ah, those crazy Griswald's. And we're just like them! See, I told you we are classy people. Just like movie stars. Yep. 

The movie ended and we all settled in for the night. Except the boys decided to get an attack of the giggles.  Finally, in a frantic effort to make them go to sleep Mick helpfully made the fatal mistake of saying: "Quick! You better get to sleep, I thought I saw someone near the window!"  Good one. Great way to get kids to sleep. Scare the bejesus out of them!

The next day we arrived home (exhausted and drained) rested and relaxed, ready for them to go to back to school. Yippee!

Except...Master 8 was sick, then Master 3..and me.. boo hoo...

But, on the positive side, plans are already under way for another bogan trip in January. So move over Griswald's, it's now our song: Holidaaay Roooooaad....


Friday, 8 June 2012

Being Different & The Diagnonsense

Last year, at age 40, I found out that I officially am an Aspie.  Meaning a person with Aspergers Syndrome. Or Asparagus Syndrome as it often referred to.  When it is not being referred to as Ass Burgers Syndrome. 

Ass Burgers Syndrome is an Autism Specrum disorder (to quote Wikipedia ) that is characterised by significant difficulties in social interactions alongside restricted and repetive patterns of behaviour. That's the Reader's Digest abridged definition anyway.

I don't know at what age specifically I realised there was something slightly different about me. Most likely not until I started school. My parents probably noticed early on that my brother and I were (and  still are) vastly different temperaments.  Him being quite social, reputedly dancing at one get together as a toddler until his little legs refused to go on and then sitting down and bopping on. Me being quite the opposite and always wanting to go home whenever my parents took us out anywhere.

Samantha and I. I was about 10

I loved dogs and books.  My nose was always in a book as soon as I could read.   Especially Enid Blyton ones.  I was so quiet, Mum often had to check where I was, to see if I was okay. Usually she found me curled up with the dog.  We had a black and tan dachshund named Samantha. I'd named her that after Samantha from Bewitched which I loved.  Now it's obvious why I might not have grown up with much grip on reality loving such things, as I've mentioned before.

In spite of being painfully shy and quiet, apparently I could talk very clearly when I wanted to. So I never really had any speech or developmental delays . I was just a shy kid.

 It's true, I was and am shy.  I think that's a  different thing or trait than Aspergers. After all I'm sure that not every Aspie is shy.  So it's hard to say exactly how much of my behaviours are shyness and how much is from Aspergers. For example, eye contact.  I still find this impossible.

As a baby only a handful of priveleged people apparently had the honour of being able to hold me.  A couple of Aunties only, and my parents.  With anybody else I screamed.

Whenever Mum took me into one Aunty's kitchen I became very distressed at the sight of the very busy patterned wallpaper.  Obviously it was just sensory overload for me, however I would like to think that even as an infant I already had exquisite taste and thought: "Oh my GOD! Look at that hideous 1970's wallpaper...NOOOOOOOOO!!!"

In fact I still detest fleurescent lights with a passion.  I will often wear my sunglasses in shopping centres, receiving the odd stare from people who probably think I'm a complete wanker who thinks she's as cool as Bono.

The most noticeable Aspie trait I had ( and still have) is rocking backwards and forwards or jumping up and down on the spot. It's too bad I didn't keep the latter one into adulthood, because I sure need the exercise. These behaviours are referred to as 'stimming' in Aspie talk.

I wasn't a great student unless the teacher was particularly pushy with me.  This was mainly due to being an off with the pixies space cadet too busy daydreaming during class.  I'd only listen if it was something that interested me and tune everything else out.  I ended up being good at reading and consequently spelling and written expression.  I was fair to terrible with everything else.

Making friends was hard, but I managed to have one or two in primary  school.  At this stage when I was still interested in Barbie dolls I had something in common with other girls.  This changed later in High School where I ended up virtually friendless.  I had nothing in common with other girls who were interested in boys and liked Duran Duran while I was starting my Carpenters obsession.  This obsession has persisted to this day. Yes, I know, I am...seriously...weird.  Still at least I have my Ass Burgers as an excuse. I've met others online who are just as obsessed or worse. (You know who you are.)

More about my diagnonsense (as my friend Randa calls it)  next time...I'm going to play Carpenters.



Saturday, 28 April 2012

Books Are My Bestie

I have a book fetish.  Books have been my major companion and 'bestie' since childhood. As soon as I could read, I always had a book attached to me and would often come wandering out to the breakfast table, book in hand.

The amount of times I was busted reading a book under the desk at school are too numerous to mention. It all started with Enid Blyton, of course.  Admittedly all the constant references to characters named 'Fanny' were a bit too much for me at times, but nevertheless the stories were so entertaining that I couldn't put them down. It never dawned on me to question  how four kids and a dog could outwit hardened criminals, always remaining unscathed throughout, in all those gripping Famous Five books I read avidly.  I was rather gullible and dreamy. 

It has since dawned on me that a love of Enid Blyton books might not have started me off on the best path to having a firm grip on reality.  A situation that was made worse by a love of such unrealistic TV shows as I Dream Of Jeannie and Bewitched.  I mean, pleeease,  a beautiful witch, with magical powers that mean she can go anywhere and do anything she desires, yet all she wants to do is completely forsake those powers just to be a normal housewife.  RIIIIGHT.  I don't think so.

Anyway, back to books.  At age 10 I read 'Anne Of Green Gables' and then 'Anne' books took over from Enid as my favourites.  My friend Poss will want me to mention the 'Jill' books. So I will. They were 'horsey' type books.  And I say, they were frightfully good. Smashing and all that.  Just like Enid Blyton.  I did like the odd 'horsey' book, which is curious, because I've never particularly liked horses.

I my teens I went through a stage of reading the dreaded Mills and Boon type romances.  This horrified one year 9 English teacher, who called my mother up to the school to inform her that reading such books caused young girls to believe that if they had sex and had an orgasm, they were in love!

Books are the only thing I still hoard as an adult. With other ladies it's usually a handbag or shoe fetish, with me it's a book fetish. Everyone has their thing.  This is fortunate for my husband in that I'm happy with a two dollar book from an op shop, rather than a two hundred dollar handbag.  Not so fortunate however, in that we often need a spare suitcase to bring home all the books I buy on our holidays.

The fact that I will never have time to read all of these books even if I live to be 137 years old is completely irrelevant.  I still have to have them.   Now I still read lighter stuff. I have a short attention span and three kids, so what I am going to read, War and Peace?

 I do sometimes attempt classic authors like Austen, Bronte or Dickens, all of whom I love, but they require more concentration. So I mostly stick with frothy, girly 'chick lit' as they call it, or war time sagas, because I find it amusing how they always have to time for a brew in between all the dramas and bombs exploding, being a cuppa tea girl myself.

Interestingly, I've never read any Harry Potter books.  And I never will. As I've mentioned before, after having three sons, I'm over it.  I may also be the only person in the entire world who has never read the The Da Vinci Code.  I fear it would be too confusing for my fragile brain.  I can't even figure out how to put my sons Lego sets and other various toys together, so my brain might explode trying to decipher such a book.  I won't be reading the Twilight series or The Hunger Games either.  Ditto Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Instead, I'll just read 'Anne' again for the millionth time. Okay, trillionth....

"Mrs Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed by alders and ladies eardrops and traversed by a brook....."

Note: That opening line from Anne Of Green Gables was quoted straight off the top of my head.  Truly.  Yep, I really am that tragic.

Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths for I Must Confess.


                                                         Which books do you love?
                                      What are you reading at the moment?