Showing posts with label Life This Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life This Week. Show all posts

Monday, 9 July 2018

My Home Country #LifeThisWeek



I consider myself to be one very lucky chickadee to be born here in the Land of Oz. (Wait. What? Did I just call myself a chickadee? Get a grip, Ness). Not the same Oz that Dorothy visited. There are no wizards hereabouts. (Um. Did I just say hereabouts? Oh dear).

I mean the Land down under. Australia. Although maybe we are just a bunch of wizards and witches over here. A figment of your imagination. Australia doesn't exist, according to some conspiracy theorists. Could explain why my life feels surreal at times. Hmmmm. Interesting.

Alternatively, Australia DOES exist, but isn't actually a country. This nugget of wisdom came from a former Southern New Hampshire University Professor. I could be tempted to scoff and howl with derisive laughter at such a notion. But considering my own woeful ignorance of geography perhaps I shouldn't. I'm sure there's entire countries I'm unaware of. Oops.


I would defnitely forget the VB (beer). 


According to this comprehensive Buzzfeed listicle, there are some definitive ways to know you're a quintessential Aussie.  We call McDonald's Maccas. And apparently it's Straya, not Australia. However, I have to admit that I wonder if I'm somewhat UnAustralian. Which is not really a word, but neither is 'Maccas' so I'm going with it.

Here's why I feel UnAustralian:


  • I don't like sport. Participating in it, or watching it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's all bats, balls, BORING to me! 
  • I'm not really interested in the outback. I live in suburban Sydney and I have no interest in climbing Ayers Rock. Much to Mickey Blue Eye's disgust. He'd love to get one of those camper vans and trek around Oz. Not me. Sure, I'd love to travel more. But with decent accommodation that includes a private bathroom. None of this communal stuff for me. 
  • To be perfectly honest I can take or leave the beach. GASP! I know! Shocking, really. But THE SAND! And I don't like going in the surf because I'm scared of the waves. Plus, I'm very fair skinned, so it only takes ten minutes for me to end up red raw. No thanks. 
  • Also; I can't swim. I have a phobia of putting my head under water so I never learnt. And I don't really care anymore. My almost 80 year old father has never learnt either and he's OK. 
  • I'm ambivalent about meat pies. I like them if they're made with actual meat. But the sloppy grisly goop in most of them...Yuck! 
  • I don't really get into some of the classic  Aussie rock such as ACDC (or Acca Dacca as they're known). Sure, I don't mind hearing the odd Midnight Oil song because it reminds me of my brother (he listened to them all the time when we growing up), but I'm not a hardcore fan. 
  • I've never thrown any shrimp on the barbie. First of all, we don't say shrimp, we say prawns. Second of all, I've never known this to be a thing anyway. We have steaks and sausages on the barbie. 
  • Australia has a beer drinking culture. I hate the taste of beer.
  • I DO like vegemite, but only a very small scratching of it on buttered toast. 
  • I don't say things like "G'day mate" or "Bloody oath". Or call Australia "Straya". OK maybe I do use the odd mate here and there with my boys. But only because I get their names mixed up. Tell me I'm not the only one who gets their own children's names mixed up. Please?
I'm sure there's many other things that make me "UnAustralian", but that's a brief summary.  In spite of all this, I'm staying in my home country.

After all, we have Tim Tams (chocolate biscuits), Lamingtons (cakie things) and Caramello Koalas (koala shaped chocolates with caramel inside them) here. That's good enough for me! 

Straya. 

Love it. 

What about you?

Do you feel like you gel with your home country?

How do you know you're Australian (or not)?

Monday, 2 July 2018

Taking Stock: July 2018 #LifeThisWeek




Making: I don't really make much besides mess. It's a gift of mine. Winning. 

Cooking: Lots of roast dinners and soups because winter. 

Drinking: The occasional glass of plonk. And approximately 12 billionty cups of tea. Just for something COMPLETELY out of the ordinary.

Reading:  Various library books, including:

The Lucky One by Caroline Overington.

Is it just me or does there seem to be a tendency for authors to go too overboard with twisty endings these days? I don't know if it's a post Gone Girl thing or something? Anyway that was the feeling I was left with after reading the above title. Draw your own conclusions, I guess.

Sisters and Lies by Bernice Barrington. 

I enjoyed this one. Highly recommended.


Trawling: Still haven't taken up trawling. Unless it's the library shelves. 

Wanting:  To watch Hello Dolly! starring Barbra Streisand again because I'm a dag.

Looking: For a Hello Dolly DVD at op shops. Didn't find it but did find the movie Shirley Valentine and season two of The Golden Girls. I like to live in the past. 

Deciding: Which daggy film and or TV shows to watch next. 

Wishing: Lots of things. 

Enjoying: Watching old daggy movies and TV shows. See above.

Waiting: Waiting, waiting, waiting... For what, I don't know. But if I keep waiting, surely it will come to me?

Liking: Electric blankets and hot showers. Although not together because that wouldn't end well. 

Wondering: What delectable delights we can have for lunch. It's only 11am, but details.

Loving: Hot soup and sleep ins. Although not together because who sleeps with soup? Well, I guess you never know. Have you ever watched an episode of My Strange Addiction? 

Listening: Songs from Hello Dolly which are on a permanent loop in my head. 

"We got elegance. If you ain't got elegance, you can never ever carry...

IT. OFF!"




Considering: Folding the pile of washing on the bed, but then I might be too overcome with the sheer and utter thrill of such a thing, rendering it impossible to return to normal life forevermore. Can't take that chance. 

Buying: A couple of DVDs and A Women's Weekly Basic Cookbook from a Salvos op shop. 

Watching: I think we've already covered this. 

Hoping: That my upcoming yearly mammogram will be all clear. I won't have it until August but that's coming all too quickly. Ugh. 

Marvelling: At how quickly the years fly by. Cliche, but true. See above.

Needing: To lose weight, de-clutter, exercise, fold the washing, cook dinner, hug a child. Well, at least I've done the latter. That's something. 

Questioning: Why I can't think of anything here but tonight when I want to sleep my brain will explode with ALL THE QUESTIONS.

Smelling:  Mandarins.

Wearing: Layers of clothing. Because c..c...c...cold. 

Noticing: That there's socks for cold feet and gloves for cold hands, but what about cold noses? Well, okay there's balaclavas, but I don't want to look like a bank robber. 

Knowing: I'd wear a god damn balaclava and walk around looking like a robber if I lived where it snowed. 

Thinking: I'm thinking that thinking is overrated.

Admiring: My dog. She's cute. 🐕

Getting: Ready for school holidays. 

Disliking: Cold noses. Well, I only have one. You know what I mean. 

Opening: Books, the fridge, my phone. Such a classy person.

Closing: Um. Books when I finish reading them. 

Feeling: Peckish. It's lunch time here, you see. Plus I'm always peckish. Shut up. 

Celebrating: My eldest son is turning 17 next week. Wait. What? Yep. My 'miracle baby' is 17! See? I wasn't wrong about the whole time flying cliche thing. 


Pretending:  To be a writer by participating in this Festival Of Words thing over at Write Tribe. It was fun!

Embracing: Writing more. And, I dunno, uncertainty about different things. What else can you do?

And that completes my June stock take.

Linking up for #LifeThisWeek. 

What are you loving in the month of June?

Image credit: http://hotbuysbazaar.blogspot.com/2017/07/july.html

Monday, 25 June 2018

Thank A Teacher #LifeThisWeek


It's been a frightfully long time since I was at school. Thirty years, in fact. Yikes. How did that happen?

Happen it did. Quickly. Suddenly, I was 18, with no idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Still haven't figured it out, to be honest. I guess I never will. Oh, well. Sigh.

Anyway, long story short, I ended up enrolling in a TAFE course in library practice. I schlepped into the city replete with my infamous mullet perm. The 80s were just about over, but I hadn't received the memo.

Throughout my years at primary school and high school one thing had become apparent. I was excruciatingly shy and quiet. Furthermore, this was a heinous character defect.

There must be some sort of magical spell or secret knowledge I didn't possess. Knowledge that would enable me to come out of my shell immediately. If not, I was doomed.

It seems that being quiet is viewed as suspicious in our society. Case in point: have you ever noticed that a popular trope in fiction is the killer turning out to be the quiet unassuming character? 

Likewise when a gruesome murder takes place, neighbours of the perpetrator are seen on the news, appalled. "He was pretty quiet. Kept to himself," they mumble to the camera. The subtext being, all quiet folk are psychopaths waiting to happen. HMPH. Not true. Granted, I am weird, but in a completely harmless way.

Look, I'm getting to the thanking a teacher bit shortly. The point is, I had been conditioned to believe that being quiet and shy was tantamount to a crime. A hideous, awful, shameful flaw. Something that had to be changed at all costs. If only I tried hard enough,  I should be able to do the thing that people commanded: come out of my shell.





I grew to loathe those words. Sadly not as much I loathed myself. I desperately wanted to be bubbly and outgoing. The opposite of my true self in every way.

To complicate matters, I didn't know that I'm autistic at the time. I believed that all my struggles to communicate were simply shyness. And yes, I AM shy. Like I've said before, I scored the ultimate trifecta of social awkwardness: shy, introverted (yes, they are two different things) and autistic.

But to get to the thanking a teacher bit! As part of the library practice TAFE course we had to do a communication module.

My teacher for this subject was a lovely lady with the unusual name of Gill Goater. She wore dangly earrings and a warm smile.

It transpired that one of our assessments involved giving a speech on a topic of our choice. OH. MY. GOD. Naturally my shy little soul shriveled at such a prospect. The thing was impossible. A knot of dread settled in my stomach.

The dread was also suffused in shame. Here I was, ostensibly an adult and I was no closer to 'coming out of my shell'. The very idea of standing in front of the class set me quivering.

But Gill smiled at me and said something to the effect: I just want you to know that I know you're shy and that's okay.

Wait. What?

"It's okay to do things in your own time," she continued. I was thunderstruck yet thrilled. No one had ever said such a thing to me before.

The upshot of it was, she gave me a get of jail for free card. I didn't have to do the speech if I didn't want to, she told me. A funny thing happened. I mulled it over, as I am want to do.

A number of people in the class were from non English speaking backgrounds. A speech would be a challenge for them, too. Upon reflection, it didn't seem fair that they should have to do it, while I was excused.

I went back and told Gill I'd do it. She suggested a topic I knew a lot about: Why not talk about shyness? Explain what it's like. Make people understand.

So that's what I did. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I do remember that you couldn't hear a pin drop until I finished and the room erupted into applause.

Gill was beaming. "I'm giving you an 11 out of ten because I know how hard that was for you!" she said.

Shortly afterwards, she left to go travelling and we had a different teacher. But I never forgot her. So, thank you, Gill Goater, for your acceptance and understanding. I wish more teachers were like you.

Interestingly, I googled Gill's name and discovered she is now a poet, with a book of poetry in print. Highly unlikely she would remember me, but now I'm keen to read her poetry. 

Meanwhile, I now know I'm autistic. In retrospect, it could have been an even more interesting speech! It certainly explains why I could never just 'come out of my shell'.

But I've never become a murderer either. And never will! That's something.

What about you?

Is there a teacher you'd like to thank? 

Monday, 18 June 2018

An Experiment


Good morning, dear people! Or afternoon. Or evening. Depending upon where you are in the world. Of course there's less than zero chance that folks all over the globe are reading this, but it doesn't hurt to remain delusional optimistic.

Anyway, I trust you are feeling fabulous wherever you may be. I just thought I'd check in here for the heck of it, despite having nothing monumental to report, and bugger all snaps to share. That's me for you. Always generous, and thinking of others.

Besides, according to some dude called Ralph Waldo Emerson "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." Look, it's on the internet so it must be legit.




Therefore, I may as well treat this here blog post as an experiment. I'm sure I can pull something out of nothing. That's pretty much what I always do anyway.

But today I am taking it to a whole new level. Because I have decided. Why must we always DO ALL THE THINGS? Sure, it feels good to smash that to-do list, but what if we mixed it up for a change?

Did something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Something wild and crazy. Cutting edge and avant-garde. Something so daring and innovative it's never been heard of before and likely never will again?

You with me? Good. Let's try this groundbreaking experiment: instead of the ever present, ubiquitous to-do list, let's be bold and write a to DON'T list instead!!!

Yeah, okay, you got me. I did talk the idea up a bit more than is strictly necessary. A dash of melodrama never hurt anyone. Unless it's like actual melodrama. That's stressful. Screw that.

No, I mean pretendy type melodrama. Such fun! As Miranda would say. It works even better if you imagine rousing music in the background. Something evocative and suitably atmospheric. Perhaps the Harry Potter theme? Otherwise insert your preferred movie theme of choice. Done? Good.

On with the show.

TO-DON'T LIST

  • Don't give up. Unless it's smoking. You should really give that up. Says the woman who can't even give up chocolate . 
  • Don't forget to be grateful for the little things in life. Like m&ms. They're little. Did I mention I can't give up chocolate?
  • Don't think you have to fix all the things and be perfect. 
  • Don't mull over what's already happened in the past. 
  • Don't worry about what may or may not happen in the future. 
  • Don't be a piker (pyker?). Not exactly sure what that is, nor how to spell it, but still. Don't be one. 
  • Don't watch dumb reality shows. This one is for me, really. You can watch them if you want to. I can't stop you. 
  • Don't stop believin'. Okay, that's an Olivia Newton-John/Journey song, but whatever works. 
  • Don't forget to pat your dog. Unless you don't have one. In which case I don't even know what to say to you. You PSYCHOPATH.
  • Don't be a will-o-mo-wisp. On second thought, a will-o-mo-wisp sounds quite lovely. And if it was good enough for Maria, it's good enough for me. 
  • Don't rain on my parade. Okay, that's a Barbra Streisand song, but Babs is awesome so I'm going with it. 
  • Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.
  • Don't forget to eat your five a day. Unfortunately it's not five cakies. Again, that one was for me. Sigh. 
  • Don't forget what your arms and legs are for: movement! Another one for me. Ahem.
  • Don't cry out loud. Just keep it inside. And learn how to hide your feelings. Actually, no. That's terrible advice. What was Melissa Manchester thinking?
  • Don't write to-don't lists then proceed to DO everything on them anyway. 
  • Ditto don't write to-do lists then DON'T do anything on them either. I like contradicting myself. Shut up. 
  • Don't worry about what other people think of you. As Dr Phil says: you wouldn't worry about what others thought of you if you knew how seldom they did. Besides, they're probably dickheads anyway. That last bit is from Dr Ness. 
  • Don't stay up too late. Unless you can sleep-in in the morning. Why not?
  • Don't get up too early. Mornings are stupid. See above. 
  • Don't take advice from random bloggers on the internet, who have no qualifications whatsoever to to give such pearls of wisdom, including me. Especially me. 
  • Don't begin frying an egg then walk away, get distracted, and forget about it until the smoke alarm goes off. Oops. 
  • Don't spend too much time on social media. Bahahaha! I'm so funny. 
  • Don't forget that social media is people's highlight reels. Things aren't always what they seem. 
  • Don't be cruel to a heart that's true. Okay, that's an Elvis song, but still. It's not bad advice from The King. 
  • Don't expect your folded piles of washing to put themselves away. They don't. So rude. 
  • Don't spend winter being a sloth creature on valium because summer will be back before you know it and you'll regret it. Just me?
  • Don't worry, be happy! Okay, that's some dude I can't remember's song. But it works to end this list. And now you'll have that lovely little earworm for a while. You're welcome!

Linking up for:



What would you write on your to-don't list?

Monday, 11 June 2018

The M - Z of Me


Now for the moment you've all been waiting for! Drum roll, please...

The illustrious list of all lists! The next installment of my personal alphabet.  The M - Z of Me! YAY!

Oh okay, it's not that exciting. Sniff. But since I've already regaled you with the  A - L Of Me, I may as well finish the thing.


So here we go: 

: is for Mum. These days I totally understand why my mother often said "She went mad and they shot her!" in response to my brother and I's frequent cries of: "MUUUUUUUUUUM!!"

In addition to being a mum of three boys, I'm also MARVELOUS and utterly MAGNIFICENT.  Modest, too.

Oh yeah, and I'm married to a bloke called Mick. I like to call him Mickey Blue Eyes. He does have blue eyes, so it makes sense. Moving on.

N: Now, this is a hard one. Snorts. Nah. Clearly it's for Ness. Which is my nickname. And the reason for the name of this blog.

O: Isn't it OBVIOUS? I'm OUTSTANDING.





Look, a bit of a 'dad joke' never hurt anyone. Except that one. Oops.

And there we have it. The O word that sums me up: OOPS.

Also, I'm quite odd. You may have noticed that. Case in point: I have certain obsessions: Cakies and Carpenters. Yep. I mentioned I'm odd.

: is for pretending. I pretend that I'm normal, but you've already caught me out with the odd thing. See above.

Q: could be a quandary for many folk. (Do you see what I did there?) But not for me. Because I'm quiet. Also; quirky. And very quaint.

R:  is for reading. I love it. Additionally, I enjoy rainy days. I'm reserved, often in my little own reverie and frequently ravenous. I do tend to ramble a lot here. No, I have not been reading the dictionary! Whatever gives you that idea?!

I would also like to believe that I'm much more resilient these days.

S: is for shy. Which is a shame because I'm truly SENSATIONAL. And you may have noticed that I always descend into self-deprecation. Sigh.

Seriously though, how do I stop that? Should I?

Then there is the fact that I'm a scatterbrain. I think I'm a weird cross of sweet and sarcastic. Not sure how that works. Perhaps it doesn't. I don't know.

T: is for teatotaller. Is that how you spell it? Anyway, I drink A LOT of tea. A TREMENDOUS amount of tea. I'm also very truthful and trustworthy. That's something.

U: is for unassuming and unpretentious. That's just the way I am. Totally unique, thank you very much. So ner.

V: is another hard one. Except it isn't. Because my name is Vanessa. Ness for short. I suppose you could say I'm kinda 'vanilla'. But people tend to forget what an exquisite flavour vanilla can be. Vanilla ice cream? Yes, please. Vanilla cupcakes? Now we're talking! What's wrong with a bit of vanilla?

W: is for woman. Pretty sure I am one. And I'm often wistful and whimsical. Two wonderful W words. Wow.

: is for xylophone. Which has nothing to do with me. I've never played one. I've xeroxed some things and had a few x-rays, does that count?

: is for yodeling. I can't do it, mind you. Unless you count my enthusiastic singing along to The Lonely Goat Herd whenever I watch The Sound Of Music.. Yodelay heeee! Yodelay hee heeee!! Join in! You know you want to.

Z: is for zoo. Well, I have been to one or two in my time. Plus it often seems like a zoo around here. Meanwhile, I feel like a zombie, so there's that, too.

Aaaaand, we're done here!

Cue trumpets, fanfare and fireworks!






Look, I'm just trying to liven things up around here. You got a problem with that?

Over and out.

Can anyone really think of anything about themselves for the letters X, Y, & Z?




Monday, 21 May 2018

My Biggest Fear Is Fear Itself


Fears and phobias are a funny old thing. Using 'funny' in the sense of horrific and absurd. Some folks are mortally afraid of moths. For others it's clowns. Neither bother me. Cockroaches, on the other hand: EEEEEEEEK!!!


I've blogged about my fears and phobias before. They're all fairly generic: heights, public speaking, the dentist, and of course, cockroaches. Shudders. I know I'm not alone here. Many people fear these things.

These days, I would have to say, my BIGGEST fear is something happening to my children. A close second is getting cancer again and not being around for my children. But even after saying this and knowing it to be true. I truly fear these things. I realise there's a bigger everyday fear that's always lurking.

Fear itself.

Yep. I have an anxiety disorder. My biggest fear is fear itself. This is tremendous fun. Said no one ever.

The thing is, even though I once had a pathological fear of childbirth, I faced it. Hearing that you have a cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly one of the most frightening things ever. But I got through it.

Now I am left with the fear of it happening again. Even though my current reality is that I'm cancer free and well, the fear still intrudes.

Anxiety is so strange. At times you can pinpoint the triggering thoughts, other times it just pounces out of nowhere. Of course I've learnt all about the fight or flight instinct and how anxiety is necessary for human survival.

Additionally, my understanding is that being autistic means I am wired to be more prone to or predisposed to anxiety. So I decided to  name it Agnes and make an uneasy truce with her. I don't like her, but I understand why she exists.

There's a theory I've heard of that says fear can either mean Fear Everything And Run, or Face Everything And Rise. Don't you just love inspirational quotes? Yeah, me neither. But I have to admit, when I first began having panic attacks many years ago I often did the former. Until I realised: I don't run.






I avoid my fears and problems, sure. But running is stupid.

Seriously though, now I can say I (mostly) do the latter and face things. Sort of. Kind of. Sometimes.

What I mean is, the fear doesn't evaporate but I let Agnes tag along and I tell her what to do not vice versa. Occasionally she still manages to get the better of me. She's a freaking bitch so I expect that. Dammit.

Lately I've been listening to a lot of this true crime stuff which seems to be the thing these days. This is veering slightly off-topic, but I have a point so bear with me. It seems like an odd thing to be interested in, given my anxiety and self-confessed aversion to blood, guts and gore.

However, it's not that part of it that intrigues me. It's the psychology behind the crime or behaviour. How one individual can come from a tragic background and become a criminal, while another rises above it. The other day I heard a psychologist explaining what a sociopath is like. Supposedly they not only lack empathy but it goes further into complete callousness. According to this psychologist, sociopaths also don't experience stress or anxiety like others do.

In a weird way, understanding this helps me accept the things I dislike about myself. I don't like my anxiety, aka Agnes, but if I never felt it whatsoever, then I'd be a sociopath. Or something. Does that make sense?

I mean, obviously I'm just a little self absorbed or I wouldn't have a blog all about myself (ahem), but I'm not a sociopath. 

So yeah, my biggest fear is fear itself. And I'm okay with it. 

But anyone who's okay with cockroaches? PSYCHOPATHS. All of them. I don't need a psychologist to tell me that. 

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

What is your biggest fear?

Monday, 30 April 2018

Taking Stock: April 2018 Edition


Making: Beds. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Tea. Coffee. You know, all the thrilling things.

Cooking: Cauliflower soup. Tacos. Roast chicken and veggies. Because apparently I am not very original. 

Drinking: Four dollar sparkling moscato from Aldi. FANCY. 

Reading:  Various library books, including:

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover.

Loved it. Read it in 24 hours.

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins. 

Loved this one, too. Read it in 24-48 hours.

Trawling: I do not trawl. What am I? A fisherman?

Wanting:  I pretty much have everything important in life. Family, health, food, shelter... hashtag blessed and all that. But I'll still take a truck load of cash, thank you very much.

Looking: At the ceiling fan and thinking I should probably clean it sometimes. But how would I recover from such excitement?

Deciding: Which book to read next.

Wishing: We could get away on a holiday. 

Enjoying: The cooler weather. I can wear my pajamas all day. Don't judge me. Hmph. 

Waiting: For the kettle to boil. Exciting times if I don't say so myself.

Liking: The end of school holidays. HALLELUJAH. 

Wondering: If we are sorta kinda maybe jinxed or something. Just me catastrophising again. As you were. 

Loving: Quiet time I scored yesterday while Mickey Blue Eyes took the boys to the movies.

Listening: To Mickey Blue Eyes clattering dishes in the kitchen and birds chirping (is that a word?) in the distance.

Considering: Running up and down the street stark bollocky naked. Just to liven things up. But that would be ridiculous. I don't run. 

Also, is bollocky a word? 

Buying: Groceries. Just for something COMPLETELY different.

Watching: Ridonkulous melodramatic movies on YouTube (shut up, I don't have Netflix). You know the ones. Based on a "true" story, starring Shannon Doherty or some other D grade faded television actor. I scoff and eye roll at them but then subsequently do some comprehensive research lazy internet searching and find it they are essentially true. Truth is stranger than fiction, people.

Hoping: Cups of tea can make themselves at some point in the future. Like, say, in five minutes. Surely we should have the technology by now?

Marvelling: At the word "marvelling". Isn't it MARVELLOUS. 

Needing: A kick up the ciber.

Questioning: Life, the universe and everything.

Smelling:  Tea.

Wearing: Trackie daks (Australian for sweatpants), teamed with an attractive purple jumper. I know what you're thinking. I should really jump into that "everyday style" hashtag thing pronto.

Noticing: All the mother's day propaganda in the store catalogues. As if all we do is eat chocolate in our pajamas all day. Hmph. Oh wait...

Knowing: I know nothing. Not a thing. Zip. Nada. Sweet FA, as the saying goes. Clueless.

Thinking: People are weird.

Admiring: People. They're SO WEIRD and they don't even know.

Getting: Fat. Well, fattER, if that's a word. 

Disliking: The fatter thing. See above. But apparently not enough to actually stop eating two thirds of a packet of chocolate covered peanuts in one sitting on Saturday. The final third went to my family, so I do share. Kinda. Sorta. Shut up.

Opening: Books. What else?

Closing: The fridge. Sometimes. Mostly I open it. Which answers the above question. Ahem.

Feeling: Fair to maudlin, as the saying goes. Or is it middling? 

Celebrating:  Well, I haven't eaten anything in a full ten minutes. That certainly calls for a celebration! And there's only one way to celebrate: with FOOD! 🍨🍧🍦🍩🍰🍪🍫🍬🍭🍮🍮🍳🍳🍔

Pretending:  I'm a sane, rational, functioning adult. Tricked you! Snorts.

Embracing: Mr 9. Love that kid. 

So there you have it. That is me tacking stock this amazing April. 


What are you celebrating in the month of April? 

Monday, 23 April 2018

School Holidays Memories

It's currently school holidays in my neck of the woods. Except I'm not anywhere near woods. I live in suburbia. But you know what I mean. 

So here's a lazy nifty bullet list of utterly random school holiday memories:

  • The buzzy euphoric feeling at 3pm on the last day of term. For some reason this sensation has mysteriously disappeared as an adult and parent. Hmph.
  • Staying up late just because you could.
  • Sleeping in late just because you could.
  • Me as a kid: "I'm borrrred!" My mum: "Hi, Bored. I'm mum/Alison."
  • Lamenting the fact that all my friends* had gone away for the holidays.
  • *Okay, I only had one friend. But she always went away leaving me on my lonesome. Rude.
  • Going to the movies to see such classics as Grease and Xanadu. Why yes, I am quite ancient.
  • Ditto going to the actual cinemas to see all the Back To Future films. Frightfully, frightfully ancient, I'm afraid.
  • Patting/ smooching my dog and singing a song I made up: "You're my dear darling adorable dachshund dog!" Remember, my one friend was away. And I was a weird kid anyway. Even weirder adult. Winning. 
  • Listening to endless records and cassettes. Did I mention I'm ancient?
  • Singing into a hairbrush to the above mentioned records: Abba, The Carpenters, Barbra Streisand; and shockingly, even Madonna. Surprise! Sometimes I did behave like an 80s teenager. 
  • Me as a kid: "Mum, I'm hungryyyy!" My mum: "Hi, Hungry, I'm mum/Alison."
  • A rare family holiday to the beach side town of Nelson Bay. We shared an apartment with a colony of cockroaches, sleeping on beds that smelt like congealed decades of sweat and pee. When Mum and Dad decided to end the stay early and head home my brother and I cheered. 
  • Road trips to Dubbo, Wagga Wagga or Canberra. We left in the middle of the night and my brother and I slept top to tail in the back seat of our old Datsun. 
  • When we woke up during the above road trips, we gazed out the windows exclaiming over any animals we spotted. "COOOOOWWWWWWS!!!!" "HORRRRRRSSSEEEEEY'S!!!" Fast forward a few decades. On one of our road trips Mickey Blue Eyes pointed out some cows. "Thanks for that, Captain Obvious," remarked one of the boys, his voice dripping with sarcasm. 
  • Me as a kid: "MUUUUUM!" My mum: "She went mad and they shot her!" Fast forward several decades. My boys:"MUUUUUM!" Me: "She went mad and they shot her!" 
  • Going to my Auntie Eileen's place and visiting the park and swimming pool around the corner. Then we'd get chicken and chips from Happy Harry's, the milk bar around the corner. 
  • Driving home from Auntie Eileen's, I'd fall asleep in the car and magically wake up in my own bed. It was like I could totally teleport or something!This ability has mysteriously disappeared as an adult. Hmph. 

  • Watching the US Today show at midnight for no reason except it came on then and I had to stay up late because HOLIDAYS. Also; watching the odd mini series really late, such as North & South with Patrick Swayze in it. What can I say? It was the 80s. 
  • Being totally bummed and peeved when it was time to head back to school at the beginning of the year, despite the fact that I'd just had six weeks off! This sensation has mysteriously disappeared as an adult and parent. Tee hee!
What about you? 

What are your school holiday memories?

Monday, 16 April 2018

What is Friendship?


Hello again. Here I am on a Sunday night, at home with all my friends writing on the subject of friendship.  I'm really here with Mr 14 while the rest of the brood are at a soccer game. Details. This may be a short and rambling post due to the fact that I'm trying to type this with a dodgy laptop where the backspace key doesn't work. Very annoying. Especially when you're a crappy typer like me.  But anyway, I'll try.

So, yes. Friendship. Let's talk about it.

Recently, my shrink suggested that I should make some friends. I explained that I DO have friends but the same ones for twenty plus years. I never make new friends. I certainly never belong to any mum cliques. You know, the ones gossiping at the school gates. Totally my fault. I get in and out quickly and don't hang around to gossip. The couple of times I thought maybe I was becoming friendly with another mum, I obviously misread the situation or didn't respond or reciprocate appropriately. I don't know. I'm aspie and socially awkward. I guess I come across as weird to others.

But aren't true friends supposed to accept your brand of weirdness? Luckily, I do have friends who do this, so I won't spend too much time worrying about the others. Not everyone will like you and that's fine. I'm an introvert. I'd rather have a small amount of real friends than a bunch of phonies or what I call "fair weather friends". I've definitely been there.



As a child and teen I struggled to make friends. I suffered from excruciating shyness, I was so quiet I was practically mute (not much has changed there), and as it turns out, I was autistic, but didn't know at the time. No wonder I struggled!

Typically, I would have one friend, and due to all of the above, I tended to be clingy and needy. Unfortunately I was (and am) somewhat naive and sweet. This clinginess and naivety often attracted toxic so called friends. It became particularly problematic as I progressed into young adulthood.

There was one person in particular who had been my best friend since childhood. Her behaviour towards me become appalling. Eventually I had to say something and I hate confrontations, so it was a huge challenge for me. Long story short, I removed her from my life. In a weird way I'm grateful to her. It was her actions and the dissolution of our friendship that led to me joining rotaract. This is where I met my real friends and Mickey Blue Eyes.

So thanks, former "best friend". I forgive you and am grateful. I hope things worked out for you as well and you've found the sort of friends you want. I know it wasn't me.

To be fair, maybe I am not the ideal friend for a lot of folks. Especially in the sense of being hospitable and inviting people over for dinner or barbecues. Hosting parties, that sort of thing. I'm not great at being in charge, at organising things. I prefer to blend in, so to speak, at social gatherings.

I've gradually come to realise that due to my limitations/quirks/autistic traits or whatever you want to call it, I am not going to be able to give some people what they expect or require in a friendship. I guess it comes down to this thing called reciprocity that us aspies seem to struggle with. It's weird because inside I feel like I'm a warm, sincere person and genuinely interested in others. But I guess I don't convey that in actions and demeanour.

Meanwhile, due to the magic of Facebook I've been able to reconnect with a bunch of people I went to high school with. I spent most of high school in the corner, nose in a book, being ignored. But as it turns out, I don't think I was universally loathed the way I thought at the time. When you're a teenager the word revolves around YOU! In retrospect, I think people just left me to it because they figured I was happy enough alone. Mostly I was, but even the most introverted of introverts craves friendship. '




Of course there's always online friends. This is where I can shine. And you're all invited here! .That's another question. Do you need to meet in person to be considered real friends? I've connected with people online but have never transferred those connections to real life. It's definitely easier for me to interact online, but then there's a whole new world of "FOMO"and odd things to navigate. Sigh.

I guess there will always be certain things about friendship that are confusing for me. But my short answer to this conundrum? 

In summary, friendship is accepting quirks and not being a fair weather friend. And at this point I would have to add it's also being able to go for long periods between catching up but still feeling like it was yesterday when you do. I haven't caught up with any friends since...never mind...

What about you?

What is friendship to you?


Monday, 2 April 2018

Foods I Dislike


Most weeks I schlep out to the shops with my parents to have coffee and do a bit of shopping. On one such occasion, we were unpacking groceries into the boot of my parents car. We heaved bag after bag until there was no more room. 

"Christ, we must EAT!' my mother remarked. I laughed and agreed. My life is a non-stop round of food food FOOD.

Thinking about what food to buy, buying the food, putting it away. Preparing the food, cooking the food, serving the food. Then doing this all over again infinitum. As much as I love food, it can get a bit repetitive and dreary at times.

I know, I know. First world problems, for sure. I am certainly grateful for the abundance of food available to me.  That I never have to go hungry.

Luckily, there are not too many foods I dislike. I was rather more picky as a child. This was the result of being thoroughly spoiled by my mum's superb culinary ability. I swear she could have been Margaret Fulton or someone, only BETTER.  As a child,I turned my freckled nose up at the inferior offerings others presented me with.

Store bought cakes or apple pie? Poison.

Chunky hearty soups? Yuck.

Tinned spaghetti? The HORROR.

If only such an attitude had persisted into adulthood. I'd be svelte and smug instead of plump and sheepish. These days I'll pretty much eat anything that isn't nailed down. And let's be real, probably try to prise off anything that IS nailed down.

Well, ALMOST anything. There are a select few foods that even this glutton isn't too thunderstruck about.

Such as:

CELERY

Stringy, bland, chewy and just plain BLAH, celery must be one of the most joyless foods nature provided. Naturally, celery is good for you. Low in calories, packed with anti-oxidants, and supposedly, calming for the nervous system. So the internet tells me, anyway. Must be true, right. 😉

In short, a healthy snack option.  A shame I'd rather snack on my own toe nails. I CAN eat it disguised in a stir-fry, soup or coleslaw, but it's still not my favourite. As for munching on a stalk for the sake of it  - it's a definite NO from me.




COTTAGE CHEESE

Often teamed with the above celery is this delectable delight. Except it isn't. Delectable, that is. Or delightful in any way whatsoever. I'm not going to describe what it reminds me of. You can probably guess. In a bid to be healthy, I foolishly purchased a tub of this chunder. Oops, I said it...

It's now languishing in the fridge. I need to chuck it out NOW instead of avoiding the inevitable. Why do torture myself?

SARDINES

I just don't like them. They're too... fishy...

Surprisingly, I quite like canned tuna, and even salmon. But sardines make me shudder. And just to make it worse, you can also buy them swimming in tomato sauce. Bleerrrggghhh.

Maybe I just haven't tried fresh ones. I don't know. But for now, it's not just a no. It's a HELL, NO!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS




These little fart balls from hell are no doubt packed with nutrition. I don't care. Put them in front of me and I will pout and refuse to eat them with the sheer determination laced with disgust of your average three year old.

Nope, nope, nopity NOPE.

OTHER FOODS I AM AMBIVALENT ABOUT:

TINNED BEETROOT

I must admit I have a bizarre love/hate relationship with this staple of good old-fashioned Aussie hamburgers. Once in a blue moon I crave and covet some beetroot with the intensity I usually reserve for cakies. Then, just as quickly, it absolutely revolts me. I cannot even bear to look at it, swimming in a sea of it's own crimson blood in a container in the fridge. Inevitably, the container ends up spilling and resembling  a murder scene, and I'm left wondering why I bothered indulging my short lived craving.

BAKED BEANS

More farty goodness. Don't get me wrong, a good old baked bean jaffle with cheese can be just the thing on a bleak winter's day when you feel like pretending  it's still 1978. Just me?

Then, inexplicably, it's just NOT.  Baked beans are another love/hate kind of thing for me. Sometimes they hit the spot. Other times they hit the garbage can. Fast. 


There you have it. The foods I dislike. 

There are probably others, but why waste time and energy on them when there's cake and chocolate in the world. That's what I say.

What about you?

What foods do you dislike?

Monday, 26 March 2018

The Story Of My First Name


A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...

Well, 1970 in fact. Here on earth. The  other way just sounds more mysterious. Shut up.

Oh okay, I'll start again.

Picture it. Sydney. 1970. (Kudos to Sophia from the Golden Girls...)

There was a lovely young pregnant lady. That magnificent woman was, of course, my very own mother. She had the important task, along with my father, of bestowing upon me ( the sprog percolating in her womb), the name that I would be known as for the duration of my life. 

They were already the proud parents of a son (my brother - Captain Obvious...) they had named Mark David. This was supposedly due to my mother's aversion to names that could be abbreviated. A short and punchy Mark seemed just right. 

At first, Mum was keen to name me either Rebecca or Rachel. Perhaps she hadn't considered the potential abbreviations of these very fine names. A big hello to all the Bec's, Becca's and Becky's out there. The Rach's, too. I could have been one of you.

It turned out to be a moot point, since my dad wasn't enamoured with either of these suggestions. More pondering ensued as I floated contentedly in the cocoon of my mother's womb. 

Incidentally, I have been told that Mum was quite convinced I was a girl. Of course there was no way to find out the sex of a baby back in those times. The only way was to give birth and clap eyes on it. I mean him. Or her. Mum just had a strong feeling I'd be a girl. And of course, she was right. Consequently, she says she did not give any serious thought to boys names. However, there is slight possibility I may have been a Craig had I developed a Y chromosome. 

Craig. Can you IMAGINE?  I guess it was 1970, so Craig's and Kylie's and Sharon's were all the thing back then. Hard to imagine they were ever babies though, isn't it?






So, yes. Mum was certain I was a girl. Rebecca and Rachel were rejected. Another name was very briefly agreed upon: 

Monique. 

Still. It just wasn't quite right. I was due to make my arrival into this dark and dangerous bright and beautiful world in early 1971. 

Apparently it was around this time that Mum happened to see the 1967 film Camelot, starring Richard Harris as King Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere,  and Franco Nero as Lancelot. 

You can see where this is going, can't you? 







Mum thought Vanessa Redgrave was lovely. Moreover, she was quite taken with her name. "What a beautiful name," she thought. This time, Dad agreed.

Side note: I'm glad she didn't go with Guenevere, because I would have spent my entire life spelling my name to people. It sometimes happens with Vanessa, but not TOO often...

My reluctant arrival into the world occurred on January 15th, 1971. Mum endured an epic and traumatic labour.  I didn't want to be born and kept swimming back the wrong way to stay where I was. Look, it was all warm and floaty in there. Who'd want to come out? Eventually, I did. Around 6pm. Just in time for dinner. Prophetic. 

And it was settled.  My crumpled little yellow and jaundiced features looked like a Vanessa. For a middle name I was given Faye, with a rogue E on the end. Simply because that's Mum's middle name (Alison Faye), so she gave me the same one as hers. I mention the rogue E because I'm quite proud of it. It reminds me of Anne Shirley insisting her name be spelled with an E in Anne of Green Gables. 

Again, it would appear that Mum was oblivious to the potential abbreviations of Vanessa. These days I'm often known as Ness or Nessie (hence the name of this blog). Mum, Dad and Mick always call me Vanessa, but everyone else (mostly) calls me Ness.

Shout out to all my fellow Vanessa's and Ness's out there. I imagine you've also been called Vanessa the Professor, Vanessa the Undresser (useful if your career is stripping), or Messy Nessy in your life time. The latter being particularly apt for me. Ahem.

Oh, and my brother? Who was named a short and to the point Mark? In primary school he was nicknamed "Jaffa" due to his red hair resembling the lollies. It's stuck ever since. Even my boys call him Uncle 'Jaf'. Names are a funny old thing, aren't they? 

And just for another interesting anecdote, I noticed a curious coincidence. For three generations in my husband's family, dudes have married ladies with names beginning with a V.

Mick's Grandmother's name was Violet and his mum's name was Verna. Then he married me, a Vanessa! Just a funny coincidence. But it will be interesting to see if one of our boys ends up with a partner whose name begins with a V... We'll have to wait and see. 

I'm pretty cool with my name. Vanessa Redgrave  is a pretty rad namesake. These days she's known as the narrator on Call The Midwife, among other things. 

And  while I was born here on earth (surprising, since I feel like a creature from the planet Zorg...), 1971 is certainly a long, LONG time ago. Just like Craig, there aren't many babies named Vanessa now. Or at least, I don't hear of any. It's becoming a middle aged/old lady name. Sniff.

But a very good one. Thanks, Mum and Dad. 

And  that is the story of my first name. 

What is the story of your first name? 

Monday, 19 March 2018

From My Window







From my window, what can be seen?
Freshly mowed lawns, a blanket of green.
Billowy branches of myriad trees
Lazily loll in a summery breeze

Suburban houses stand in a row
Windows like eyes, what do they know?
A car whizzes past to the end of the street
Birds flutter by with a chirrupy tweet

Telegraph poles against a cloudless blue sky
A man on his Iphone slowly shuffles by
Shade from a tree falls across the road
A van is parked, neighbours empty a load

Summer lingers, the sun fierce and intense
No one is keen to chat at the fence
I keep to myself, I like staying inside
Watching, wondering, weary yet wired

The road is now searing in the midday sun
Doors and blinds close, air conditioners hum
A grey car appears, a curious cube shape
I stand at the window to goggle and gape

A haughty cat defies the sultry heat
To silently slink along the quiet street
Tail arched she stops to choose
A shady spot where she can snooze

Visitors pull up and walk into next door
You rarely see children outside anymore
Our road curves around like a horse shoe
Some homes are old, others brand new

The gate is shut next door at number nine
Across the road there's a for sale sign
The people in these houses I hardly know
What do they do? Where do they go?

I stare out the window and wistfully wonder
If it will rain, bringing lightning and thunder
No, it won't, I think this out loud
The sun is too bright, I don't see a cloud

Yet there's the promise of a violent storm
It's autumn now, and the weather's too warm
Everything is brightness, mission green and baby blue
Bushes, branches, leaves becoming a rusty gold hue

I reflect upon this mundane suburban scene
Where things aren't always what they seem
There are stories out there, of this I am certain
One more glance then I slowly close the curtain.


What do you see from your window? 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Taking Stock - February 2018 Edition


Making: An effort to be (reasonably) tidy, organised and have a morning routine. I didn't even make that up. It's true! Seriously. Stop laughing! Sniff. 

Cooking:Lots of really nice recipes out of books from the library. I like to pretend it's still 1990 and there's not billions of the things on the internet. Works for me. 

Drinking: Recently I switched back to decaf tea. Because that's how exciting and cutting edge my life is. Be very jealous. 

Reading:  Various library books, including:

Tales From Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920's Kitchen Maid by Margaret Powell. 





Quite an interesting and easy read, especially if you're a Downton Abbey fan like me. The author also wrote several other books  including a cookery one which would be interesting to have a bit of a gawk at. 

Did She Kill Him? A Victorian Tale Of Deception, Adultery & Arsenic by Kate Colquhoun. 





True story of Florence Maybrick, who was convicted of poisoning her husband with arsenic in 1889. In my humble opinion, I reckon she was completely innocent, which makes it a heartbreaking story. Although she escaped being hanged (Eeeeeek!), she spent fifteen years in prison. She died in 1941, penniless and living in squalor. So sad. 

Six Degreess by Honey Brown. 

Fiction. Sex, sex and more sex. I didn't even fathom this from the title of the first chapter: Threesome. What am I like? 

Trawling: Library Books. Obviously. Just for something different. 

Wanting: Rain! Lots of it. Pouring, soaking, glorious RAIN. Side note: it did start pouring after I wrote this! Perhaps I'm a witch or something. Muahahaha! 

Looking: Like a potato with grey hair. So attractive. 

Deciding: What to type here. Hmmmm. Decisions. Decisions. Nope. Got nothing. 

Wishing: THIS: 


Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mayaishappy/


Enjoying: A nice hot cup of decaf tea. Because I like to do wild and crazy things on Monday mornings. 

Waiting: For summer to be over.  Today is actually giving me the illusion that it is. But it will spring back from the depths of hell to incinirate me one more time, I'm sure. 

Liking: Inane things. Like the word 'inane'. Love it. 

Wondering: Why I have such demented dreams. And why I'm demented in general. 

Loving: Snuggling in bed when it's raining. 

Listening: To the rain. A dog barking. The tap tap of my own typing. Blissful silence. 

Considering: What recipe to cook next. Feels like good soup weather today. 

Buying: Food, food, food and more food. And then, five minutes later we need food again. I never have money to buy anything else because it's all spent buying food. 

Watching: Bits and pieces of the ice skating in the winter Olympics. The only sport I can watch without nodding off. 

Hoping: We can go on a holiday some time this year. 

Marvelling: That we can eat quite so much food. 

Needing: According to my shrink I need to make friends. Bwahahahahahaha! She doesn't know who she is dealing with here. Besides, doesn't she know that I have lots of imaginary friends inside the computer? They count, don't they? HMPH. 

Questioning: How on earth you make friends?

Smelling: Pain Away Arthritis cream. Because I appear to be a 95 year old woman called Ethel. 

Wearing: Stretchy 'yoga' pants that I never do yoga in, sexily teamed with a fleecy pyjama top. Tousled bed hair completes the look. Nice. 

Noticing: I have a sore throat. It's so sad. A very tragic situation. And now there is violin music swelling in the background. 

Knowing: Knowing Me, Knowing You! A-HAAAAAAAA! 
Okay, that's an Abba song, but that's what came to mind. And it's mixing it up from Carpenters songs, so shut up. 

Thinking: I need to exercise. I have a sore throat. Why did I put that Abba song in my head? I love the rain. I hate other shit. Where did I put my phone? What day is it?  I wish I could stop thinking...

Admiring: My family. They're pretty awesome. I think I'll keep them. 

Getting: Myself sorta kinda reasonably organised and tidy. Wait. WHAT? Yepski, it's true. See: Making. No idea how long it will last but it's good shit at the moment. 

Disliking: Unspeakable things. Hideous, vile things. I not only dislike these things, but hate them with a passion. You don't want to know. No really, you don't. 

Opening: My mind. To trying to be tidier, kinder to myself and more positive. Something like that anyway. Oh, shut up.

Closing: My eyes for a snooze. 

Feeling: Tired.  See: Closing. 

Celebrating: Mr 13 will be Mr 14 in a few weeks. I also like to celebrate the small wins. Like getting out of bed in the morning. That's something, right? 

Pretending:  I've got my shit together. 

Embracing: Home hacks. Well, some of them. Others are just STUPID.  

So there you have it. That is me tacking stock this fabulous February. Side note: it's only fabulous because it's over in a few days and, with it, summer. Good riddance! 


What are you celebrating in the month of November?