Voices in my head. Again.

All my words have dried up like autumn leaves, laying shrivelled on the ground.

(Hey, that’s a bit melodramatic, mate.)

Ok. How about a lack of things to say? A dearth? I have a dearth of words to share.

(Woe is bloody you, orright!)

No, no, not that bad, not really… just well. Can think of plenty of things to write about, it’s just that nothing is coming out.

(Perhaps it’s yer fingers then? Have you broken them all? That would make it hard to type?)

No. All present and accounted for, last time I checked.


It’s NOT a tumour!

(It could be a tumour.)

It is not a tumour.

(Are you sure?)

It’s not a tumour. YOU are a tumour.

(Nah. Just an irritating voice in your head)

Shut up will you!

(You start writing. I shut up)

Bloody hell. Harsh task mistress you are.


You know I’m writing this down, don’t you.

(You’re not.)

I am.




More than 160 words.


Nudging 170.

(That’s not breaking the drought. That’s not even a sunshower)

Almost 180…

(Chocolate would be nice. Do you fancy some chocolate?)

Don’t side track me. Yes I would like some chocolate but I’m not wearing any shoes.

(What’s shoes got to do with anything?)

Hey! More than 200 words. I’m putting my shoes back on.

Random thoughts are random…

Not blogged for a while because, well – nowt much to say. Little bit to say about this, little bit about that, little bit about not much in particular. Even though the little bit of rage and horror isn’t really a little bit of rage and horror, this isn’t where I write about rage or horror. So not much to say in general.

Or so I thought. Strange things happen, however, and one discovers when one pops together a series of little bits – one will get a bigger bit. And maybe even enough for an actual blog post (there’s no particular reason why I write around 1,000 words. I just do – and maybe I can consider writing 500 words or 200 words or 100 words or something or other so that a) I continue to write and b) you lot don’t think I’ve abandoned you for my castle (which is looking delightful actually – just needs about a million more rifting sceptres and I’ll be able to renovate to my heart’s content. And I may or may not have aquired a farm. And a restaurant). I digress. How unusual. (And of course once I get started…)

So, what have I been up to – because honestly, I haven’t been lolling on the couch playing silly games on the Farcebook ALL the time. (Just umm most of the time…)

Cooking – up a storm to be frank, I used the new whizz ‘n’ chopper to make the bolognaise sauce (grated zucchini, carrot and mutilated onions beyond recognition quick as blinking, it did) and to grate the vegies for hamburgers. Used the stick blender mini food processor attachment jobbie to whizz up some thyme I’d dried (dunno why I didn’t think of it before – and you know how icing sugar is always hard and lumpy and a bugger to sift? Stick blender mini food processing attachment jobbie and VER-WAH-LAAAAAAAAAA (I know it’s voila. Poetic licence and all that, mkay?) lump free icing sugar and the cocoa is all uniformly mixed through in way less time than sifting sifting sifting. Been making cakes (Merle’s Kitchen again. Love that book. Buy it.) Butter cake this time, with the chocolate butter frosting from the chocolate walnut cake recipe. Mmm mmm mmm. And the obligatory slices – hedgehog is on high rotation again.

Speaking vaguely of cocoa – can I just say that the proper Dutch stuff is TEH AWSUMNESS and if it’s good in the chocolate pudding, never going back to the Cadbury Bourneville Cocoa again. The Plaistowe one that I have been using has cocoa in it. That’s it. And it tastes divine. The end.

Houseworks – been resting on my laurels since the Great Spare Room Clean Up of a couple of weeks ago. I don’t see why not… I’m having a couple of days off in the next week or so, so the cunning plan is to get rid of the bags of stuff in there; but because the room has been quite nice, some other stuff has magically needed to be stored inside for a week or two (no prizes for guessing WHERE!) The rest of the house is maybe a six and a half out of ten. But I need a proper bit of time off to have a crack, I think.

Washing – it’s getting done. More or less. There might be a bunch of towels that are going to need re-washing that I might have forgotten in the dryer for a week.

Food – Um. Mother Hubbard’s house is us. I haven’t so much been refusing to go to the shops, I have just decided to shop from the pantry for two weeks in a row (aside from F&V… my last F&V list consisted of Fruit and Vegetables and Eggs and Bread. I forgot bread.) and while nobody is starving, supplies are depleted somewhat and the natives may be getting restless.

Meal planning – sort of. Shopping from the freezer works like a semi-automated meal planner. We have X, Y and Z, so we’re having X tonight, Y tomorrow night and Z the night after. Works a treat.

Bicycling. I have been doing some. And why you may ask?

Because I have a new bike!

It is lovely. And smooth. And a bit fancy. And has a very pointy seat. Leading to rather tender lady parts. And a distinct feeling after two days that my bicycle seat had been replaced with a cunning facsimile made from brick.

However, after four days, the brick impression seems to have worn off – the only thing stopping me from making it five in a row was the thunder and lightning and torrential rain on Friday morning. That and the pile o’ crap I had to take home (too hot to ride home in my coat on Wednesday, too hot to ride home in my cardy Thursday… bloody freezing and wet Friday morning. Love it. Side effect was that I almost had a complete skin out change of clothes available to me this morning on arrival. No shirt though. And that was the wettest bit.) While I probably won’t get another ride in until the week after next, I still have to get a stand (ordered) and investigate the gear carrying options available to the lady rider.

While a front basket would be my preferred option, apparently having all those gears and levers and the like (not to mention the flat handlebars that are not round) make a basket on the front more trouble than it’s worth and why don’t you get yourself a nice back pack, hey?  So I am investigating the back rack and rear basket.

Reading – well, I’ve been doing enough of that to warrant a seperate post, so seperate post it is.


Dear iPod, how do I hate you? Let me count the bloody ways you piece of over-rated junk…

I’m up to the letter I.

There’s a lot of I songs, I tell you what. However, the bloody iPod is doing its damndest to make sure that I either get stuck in a vortex of H songs or return to listen to my tunes on shuffle, Starting with Dancing Queen. I turn it on, it starts playing, I’m all wait a minute… I’ve heard this before… yesterday. Sure enough, it’s started playing some random song (usually Dancing Queen) it thinks I want to listen to. So I stop, fiddle with it, put it back on where I was up to and listen away for a bit. Turn it off to do something, turn it back on and it’s on SHUFFLE!!!! Or it starts playing in my handbag even though it’s off. Ok, it’s a reconditioned one from ebay BUT STILL. All I should have to do is press play and be done with it!

I am contemplating popping tunes on my new phone. (Yes, got a new phone, no it’s not an i-one, funnily enough) as it has the memory capacity for probably 20GB songs before it gets cross or concerned. But I like having seperate things, so I guess I am stuck with the bloody useless i-thing until I crack it. Talked to the man at the shop and his awesome suggestion was to upgrade to a better iPod that’ll be a coupla hundred bucks thank yer mother for ther rabbits.

Orright, I’ve cracked the baby grand, I’ve got another post to flesh out a bit in the next day or so… And hopefully, I’ve broken the drought.

By George, I think she’s done it…

Done it indeed I have. Done like a dinner. Yes, the bloody spare room has been given a right royal seeing to and is done like the proverbial dinner. Ok, maybe not the whole entire dinner, but the amuse bouche has been consumed, as has the entree and the main course. In fact, I do believe the sorbet has been demolished as well… This just leaves the dessert and the cheese platter and maybe a rather cheeky port to finish off, and it really will be done like a dinner indeed. In case you’re interested, the following are some spare room cleaning facts:

  1. Time taken – approximately four and a half hours
  2. Bags of rubbish – two
  3. Television sets – two (one was a 21st gift. I haven’t even been in my 20s for a VERY long time)
  4. Deceased printer – one.
  5. Dirty washing – ahem. It wasn’t all mine.
  6. Mysterious pieces of foam – one. Large. Currently working its way to the shed.
  7. Bags for the op shop – two bags and a couple of small boxes
  8. Stuff to be re-homed – two bags and two boxes
  9. Inches of dust – Several. Not kidding. It was inches. And seriously gross under the bed.
  10. Colour of carpet – coffee coloured

Feels good though, even though I still have to get rid of the stuff for the oppy and deliver the other stuff to the people who are (semi) expecting it.

Now, aside from finally getting the BIGGEST job on my to-do list well and truly underway (challenge is to finish the job and not let it happen again), and totally neglecting my blog…what else have I been up to? Let me see…


Cooking. Yes, I’ve done a bit of that. I finally cracked it with the crappy food processor (ironically handed that one along to Mrs Bloke – it’s normally her giving us stuff!) and acquired a more substantial Whiz ‘n’ Chopper. Probably the very most whiz ‘n’ chopping Whiz ‘n’ Chopper I could possibly acquire. It is MASSIVE. And I had to completely rearrange the contents of my kitchen cupboard to find it a home.

While it moved into Chez Archer last weekend, it wasn’t until the weekend just gone that I was able to fully pop it through its paces and see what it could do. And can I just say it can do LOTS of things. I didn’t try every single attachment, but I tried enough of them to realise that whizzing and chopping has become a whole lot more fun!

And quick. And savage. And there’s a distinct possibility for bloodshed. It is really rather powerful and slightly ferocious. Now, of course you want to know what I made…

  • Lemon slice (biscuits chopped and base mixed)
  • Fritatta (grated all the vegetables in about two seconds flat – well, maybe not quite two seconds, but man it was FAST. Oh, and the old one always left a big chunk of vegetable. This one – pfft. Is whizzed. And chopped.)
  • Hoummus (or however you fancy spelling it) – not made this before, but hey, this beastie has a little tiny bowl for chopping little tiny things.
  • Sour cream pastry

Not bad for an afternoon’s work. The small boy also made a cake – with a tiny bit of help from moi. He’s too little for ovens (actually, he’s probably just the right size for an oven… he fits in the washing basket, after all. But I digress…) and he’s not tall/strong enough for the lifting of the bowl of the stand mixer. Merle’s Kitchen strikes again, though – simple, fairly awesome recipe, used a different recipe from the same book for the icing – selected by said small boy on the basis of ingredients available to the mother.

So that was the weekend that was… along with a tiny bit of social life, a nice walk in the sunshine, and the normal weekend shenanigans at Chez Archer.

i (like) tunes.

Yes. Bit partial to a good sing-along, I am. Just because my singing voice sounds not dissimilar to that of a cat with its tail shut in a door does not mean I don’t like giving the pipes a jolly good clear-out whenever I get the opportunity. Fortunately, I like the sound up LOUD as well so that I don’t frighten the neighbours. Although the kiddies (who have been blessed with rather sweet singing voices) have been known to tell me to STOP SINGING!!!! But that’s mainly in the car.

I first discovered music when I was about   five or six years old… My grandparents brought me back a Philips transistor radio when they came back from a holiday in England. Before that, it was the sing-along sessions at school and the Collected Works of Peter, Paul and Mary.  But in this teensy little box was a whole lot of wonderful. One of my earliest memories was laying on my bed on a sunny afternoon, with my little tranny plugged into my ear and hearing that the Beatles had broken up and the radio announcer playing song after song (shh. I am OLD, ok).

Actually, I’m still mildly astonished that they gave me the radio in the first place, because I was really very young indeed. I remember revering and treasuring that little box and the music that was inside it, and when I was a bit older, delving into the parental record collection to discover Magical Mystery Tour, the soundtrack from Hair, Jethro Tull (on reel-to-reel, no less) Carole King, James Taylor (and the collected works of Peter, Paul and Mary).  As soon as I started getting any say in presents, I requested a cassette player and cassettes (Tom Jones was the first one I got – not my choice, I wanted Suzi Quatro, tyvm) And my Other Nana gave me both Howzat and Ego is Not A Dirty Word (thus confirming my position as favourite grandchild as she Did Not Approve of either!)

Fast forward a million or so years, and I am still as keen on the Tunes as ever before. However, it has been said by more than one person and in my hearing that the words Harriet, musical and taste should NEVER be seen in the same sentence. I really don’t know why… Just because I have a fondness for music from every decade I’ve lived in (as well as a couple of decades I haven’t) and I like to sing along – they are Good Songs, orright?

I’ve had a variety of music players since the original trannie… I’ve had boom boxes, Walkmans (walkmen?) portable CD players, digital music players with a 1GB capacity (that’s like ten songs, mate!) and I now have an iPod. I originally got it because there was a person I worked with who liked bursting into song quite regularly – and suffice to say while my singing voice is fairly ordinary, hers is more akin to steel fingernails down a chalk board (made your back quiver, didn’t I?) And her speaking voice? Well. Shrill. And Loud. So, iPod was purchased and copious tunes installed. I was going to do that fandangled thing where you show the top 25 songs that you play. This was not a successful plan on a number of counts:

  1. I tend to have my iPod on shuffle so it’s like a Greatest Hits from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and 10’s without the overly enthusiastic, perky djs or endless advertising of products I don’t need (or advertising telling me that radio advertising is Ace and I should get some.)
  2. I’m currently playing the songs alphabetically. I’m up to the Ds.
  3. There’s close to 1000 songs on there (Yes, I probably have a bigger playlist than the greatest hits radio station, too)
  4. For some reason, it turned itself on in my handbag, selected a song (All Day And All Of The Night by the Kinks) and played it non-stop until its poor little battery went flat (it must have played all day and all of the night. Ironic, really)

What sort of music do I like? Steady rhythm, decent tune, good back beat and the chance for a sing along and I’m a fan. I have to admit that I turned into a bit of a Voice tragic when that was on – and the only reason why we even watched it was I was folding the bloody washing, six baskets or something ridiculous, it came on, I couldn’t be bothered getting up off my arse to change the channel and this scruffy chick came on and sang. By crikey, that was enough to get me to sit up and take notice. I may or may not have purchased her album when she finally won (see, I do have taste.) and a couple of songs on said album may have been on highish rotation for a while (although it starts with M, so it will be a while before it comes up again. Who would have thought there were so many songs starting with the first four letters of the alphabet!)

Not the hugest fan of the iPod, I must say. Not only because of its tendency to turn itself on in my bag (it’s done it a few times. It’s a bit disconcerting to be driving along in the car and hearing a tinny little tune coming from somewhere); but the headphones are crapola (and the kids keep stealing the new proper ones I buy!) and iTunes is a bit pants (you know what it did to me??? I popped a CD on called 18 Explosive Hits and One Real Loser. 18 individual artistes. And it’s installed as 18 INDIVIDUAL albums, all with the same name, but by 18 individual artists. Annoying? Much. Oh, and mine is only an 8GB iPod, and I have about 17GB of music. So it’s not big enough to have EVERYTHING on it. Sigh. I will either have to get a bigger iPod, or keep my fingers crossed that Android will develop a Droid-Pod. Pleeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssse!

Junkets, shenanigans and mixing it up with the slightly infamous.

Yes. That’s what I’ve been up to, so therefore feel quite at ease not blogging about my housekeeping exploits of late. Well, that and being forced to watch WAY more sport than a Lady such as myself should have to bear – sport requires mindless shooting of bubbles, and not so much of the bloggings. But I know the reason you all adore my blog so is because of the aforementioned housekeeping exploits. So, in summary…

  • Food – we have some. Not much. I’ve heard grumblings from the family about things we don’t have. May need to shop again soon
  • Meat – sacking the butcher. Meat slow cooked for eight hours shouldn’t really be tough and chewy (final straw in a long line of individual straws…now looking for a new purveyor of fine meat to satisfy our discerning palates.)
  • Housework – eh, it’s ok.
  • Spare room – I’ve opened the heater vent – so when I finally do get around to it, it won’t be like working in Antarctica (I had plans for today – but some quality time with the kids won out).
  • Spontaneous combustions – decided to wash the cushion covers. Now in search of 10-12 new scatter cushions for the couches (three couches now have three cushions. Not quite enough, really.)  And tidied up the linen cupboard. Can I say that while flannel sheets are luscious in winter… they take up WAY TOO MUCH ROOM in the off season. What will I do when both sets require storage!?
  • Washing – yeah. It’s all done. And on the airers gradually getting dry. I HATE WINTER.

But on to the Junket!

NO!!! Not that sort of Junket! Not the slightly wobbly and really a bit rubbery chilled thingy whatsis dessert that didn’t taste of anything remotely resembling the package label. And in hindsight, I think I possibly would have preferred to eat the packet.

The sort of junket that one has when one treks off interstate for a couple of days for work, gets fed delicious meals and plied with tasty wine all in exchange for sitting through a couple of days of presentations about this and that and the other. Yes, I’ve been on one of THOSE junkets. I’ve been off to the Really Big Smokey for a couple of days. Now, while I am quite partial to my Big Smokey of choice, I have to say that Sydney is really quite a lot different. Granted, my exposure was limited to train from the airport to Museum Station, then walking from my hotel to the conference to Darling Harbour and various combinations of the above… I can say the following with a degree of certainty:

  • Traffic is NUTS
  • Cars don’t like pedestrians
  • Taxis don’t like ANYBODY
  • It’s really smoggy
  • And dirtier than Melbourne
  • And loads more people smoke


  • The shops stay open REALLY late
  • I felt quite safe wandering about on my own at 11pm at night.
  • Mainly because there’s heaps of other people wandering about
  • And the one chap who thought about starting something or other swiftly changed his mind and ran off.
  • And I would like to go back to explore in the daylight

Now, the conference was really quite good – not the best organised one I’ve been to, in that when changing from room to room, you’d almost guarantee you’d miss out on part of the presentation you wanted to see. And the dinner… Well. Delicious. And funny. A very funny night – not the least because of a certain rather tanned and toothsome chap who’d been asking rather insane questions in a number of presentations. Well… it turned out that he was the fellow that used someone else’s material on some talent show! Of course, once we discovered this, there was no end to our amusement. He ended up coming over for a chat and told us a bit about himself. We weren’t totally convinced he was there for the conference, though…

Getting home was an experience.

It was a teensy bit windy-pops in Sydney on Friday. And apparently those pesky pilots don’t really like flying their little aluminium cans in 90+km/h winds. Wusses. This resulted in a little mayhem and chaos at Sydney airport on Friday afternoon and evening, with flight cancellations and passenger rearrangements and you name it, they had it. Now, I’d already confirmed my booking on the way up, so thought I’d go for the emergency seat again (long legs. Is good.) Hand over my boarding pass to discover that my flight was cancelled. And not only that, was cancelled at about noon.


Cancelled, you would have been emailed or sent a text.


Oh you would have… Except that I was booked through work. So I imagine there’s going to be an email at work when I get there tomorrow. (There was a missed call on my phone that I can only assume was the travel agent… but hey, you’d think it was important to leave a message when a FLIGHT has been cancelled?!)

ZOMG. But my flight was the LAST ONE for that airline for the day?!

Yep. So, we can book you on the first one tomorrow…

(Turn away, you do not want to see a grown woman’s face crumple like a wee baby when you take away its favourite toy)


They tried to squeeze me on the flight that was about to leave (I only had carry on)  to no avail, but YAY, got me on a later flight on a different airline… PHEW. But the shenanigans didn’t end there – flights were still being cancelled, my 7pm flight was boarding at 7.25pm, and at 7.15pm didn’t have a departure lounge! And at 7.25pm still didn’t even have a plane! Finally on a plane just after 8pm, and walked in the door at 11pm, a mere SEVEN HOURS after I left the conference.

Bloody glad to get home, though… and technically, I was only two hours later than expected, because had everything gone to plan, I would have been collected at 8.15pm. Wasn’t as bad as two families that were trying to get back to Melbourne… they’d had two flights cancelled, and third time lucky was on its third delay. They’d been at the airport since 2pm. And probably, in a day or two, it might even start being funny. But now, I’m still a wee bit traumatised.



Grumpy Old Woman

I’m a Bit Cross.

It’s possibly over-egging it a bit to say that I am grumpy, when I’m really quite cheery more often than not – definitely most of the time – well, except for when suffering through the commentary on the Bloody Olympics. Talk about suck the life out of it, mood-crusherise it into a   grim shadow of what could have been. Hello, coming second by a nano-pifteenth of a microsecond means you’re really quite good at sport, and NOT a failure. Hey, you should be grateful you’re allowed to compete and that you’ve been given the opportunities you have. And the commentators should be doing a lot more “YAY, look Wallace Plonker has beaten his own personal best AND got a silver medal” not “man, what a let down for Australia, he should be so disappointed he’s let his country down”. And the banging on and on and on about that poor little Chinese girl and how she must be on drugs… because there’s never been any other teenage swimming stars who didn’t do drugs, have there?

Now, I am not a massive fan of sport in general (no? Really? I never would have guessed?), but I live in Man’s Land, and despite being the Mother of the House; apparently I am only entitled to one measly vote when it comes to the television remote, and when there’s sport on, I don’t even get to SEE the remote! (I may have to confess here that I may have stayed up ’til the very bitter end of the men’s cycling road race. It was very exciting, and when we were allowed to watch it and not switch between endless heats of other boring sport (probably swimming), it was really quite thrilling.)

But the swimming bores me to tears (up and down up and down up and down); and sporting commentary in general makes me want to hurl things at the television. I think rowing could be vastly improved by making the rowers do up then down – turning around would be a great leveller. And the people they have commentating…WHERE did they get them from? Really? And an ex-football player commentating on the Equestrian dressage? Ok, he probably was a bit of relatively normal relief from the woman whom I was quite sure was having inappropriate thoughts about some of the flesh prancing around the field. And I am not talking about the flesh sitting on TOP of the saddle, either.

The best part about the athletics is that it’s generally bloody quick and well and truly over and done with in a reasonably short amount of time – although if someone would care to explain to me WHY the bulk of the women are running around in their underwear, I would in fact be quite pleased. The chaps are sufficiently aerodynamic in their shorts and singlets, so I don’t see why the ladies have to wear those tighty tighty pants and bra-tops. They’re endlessly picking at their bums. Most unappealing from ANY gender!

In fact, the only sport I am remotely interested in is wrestling. Don’t ask. Even though I know you want to… I doubt I could give you a sensible reason anyway. No, it’s not the costumes, either. But when the Australian team consists of ONE chap, well, you know there’s a 99.98% chance you’ll never see him on the telly.

Ok, enough about that – it’s nearly over, and I am pleased to discover that those pesky Bloody No Good Terrible Failures at Sport In General Australians got more gold medals than Kazakhstan, and I think close to 2/3 of the medals were won by the chicks.  Now, hopefully, the Powers That Be at Channel OMG FAILURE have a long, hard look at themselves and hey, maybe start concentrating on the POSITIVE every now and then. And perhaps the AIS could throw a buck or two at the some of the other sports we’d never heard of prior to these Games.

One last thing to watch, though…

Marathon… In particular Guor Marial, a chap from South Sudan – a country that didn’t eve exist a couple of years ago. He’s the one running under the five rings and he’s the one I’ll be barracking for!

50 shades of books…

Let me start off by saying that I have not read 50 Shades of Grey, and nor will I be reading it. Ever.

Ok, I’ve read the first ten or so pages (they were still in the office – that’s as far as I got) and I couldn’t read any further. It hurt my brains, and I tell you what, my reading standards are fairly low (I’ve read ALL the Sookie Stackhouse books and I get a bit excitement when the new one comes out. Standards. I have them. They are LOW). If it’s entertaining and well written – eh, I’ll read it. This was neither, therefore I won’t. In fact, if this were an essay produced by a hormonal teenage girl (which is what it reads like) in year ten – I’d still be sending it back with a lot of red pen and ‘please try harder’.

However, in saying that, I really don’t mind that it’s more everywhere than Eddie McGuire. You know why? Because even though it’s badly written drivel – it’s getting a whole lot of women who have, for one reason or another, lost the time or the interest in reading and getting them picking up a BOOK. And reading it. And talking to their friends about it. (And according to at least one friend, gettin’ jiggy with it. Which was way too much informations at the time, I fair give you the tip. Sometimes having a very visual imagination is NOT a good thing.)

And because this book is classified as “mummy porn” – I dare say I would be quite within my rights to assume that it’s a whole lotta mummies with their paws on it (and the odd granny or two as well. TMI, peeps. TMI.) And mummies have kids and the best way to get kids to read is to well, read in front of them! Even if it’s badly written, loosely disguised fan-fiction masquerading as porn (or the other way round – ten pages, remember?) You never know… maybe, once these mummies have rediscovered the joys of a book in hand, so to speak – they’ll hit up the interwebs and discover Jacqueline Carey and Anne Rice. Much better written filth, I give you the tip.

Now, what HAVE I been reading, seeing as I’ve not been reading 50 Shades of Grey?

Let me see…

Book 17: Insurgent – Veronica Roth. Good, but a) not as good as the first one, and b) a little disappointing. And less than memorable, too.

Books 18 and 19: Books 10 and 11 of The Dresden Files. I’ve told you about those before, so more of the same. Less dinosaurs, more swordfights. As an aside, I finally got hold of the TV series and I was a little disappointed. They’d played fast and loose with the characters and the car and the locations and everything – in fact, the only thing the did well was BOB! Disappointment. Again, perils of the strong visual imagination.

(Struggling a bit to remember what else I’ve been up to – e-reader is FLAT, damnit!)

Book 20: A paper one! Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch. This is the third in a series about a policeman who discovers magic is real when he tries to interview a ghost at the scene of the crime. They’re good. Read them. And read his blog as well. He has a really cool series about how he was inspired to write The Folly series, and the books he read that inspired him in some way. This includes a couple of my absolute favourite books (Roofworld, Christopher Fowler; William Gibson – can’t remember which one). Oh, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous (hence my buying an actual book! I fell for the cover of Rivers of London, then, when it was good, followed it up with the rest of them. He’s also written some more sword and sorcery stuff, and some Dr Who books as well.)

Book 21: The Mother’s Group –  Fiona Higgins. You know what? It was crap. It was well written, but the story? Cliche ridden, totally predictable AND well left open for an sequel. Didn’t like it at all. There was something missing from all of the characters, and it took a really really long time to get to the Bad Thing, which seemed to be glossed over instead of being the main focus of the story. Don’t go there. Please.




Currently, I’m reading a couple of books – A Game of Thrones by George Martin is the main one holding my attention. This is REALLY good. However, I am finding it a bit too exciting for before bed reading and I’ve been having a few quite interesting dreams as a result. Interesting – and not in the slightest relaxing! So I’ve been reading something else in between times – and the name of that one escapes me. And because the e-reader is flat, I will most likely be thumbing through the CWA cookbook which is also on my bedside table.  So, it’s the end of July and I’ve read more than TWENTY books! I think it’s probably 22 or 23, as there’s a couple I can’t remember. But hey, it’s a load more than I thought I’d get through.

Dearest Diary….

Monday: Commenced regret of slacker weekend at 6.38am while constructing a week’s worth of Vegemite sandwiches, snacks and assorted kid-feeding paraphernalia. Actually managed to leave the house before 8am despite having to drag Offsprings kicking and grumbling out of bed and suggest to them firmly that neither eating breakfast nor getting dressed were optional activities. Possibly would have left earlier had I been able to find matching socks (or any socks for that matter) or my strapping tape (I am the only one who uses it, so it was my fault I couldn’t find it) and left without strapping the Toe. Discover that Small Offspring has left his carefully constructed at 6.38am sandwich at home. Do not have time (or inclination) to return home for sandwich and order emergency lunch order from school. Vegemite sandwich, drink and piece of fruit. Busy day at work, coupled with complaints from toe(s) and the necessity of purchasing new socks at lunch time. Not one but two holes. Not repairable. Home to confront pile of unwashed washing and dinner. Left over roast chicken and vegetables for children; whipped up an awesome pasta with the rest for us. Washing done and on the airer, gigantic shopping list constructed but decided to not do a grocery order due to the general pants-ness of the Tuesday night.

Awesome pasta recipe:

  • Shred left over roast chicken
  • Chop a couple of rashers of bacon into strips
  • Chop up half an onion
  • Crush some garlic
  • Heat up a decent sized pan and at the same time put on a pot of water
  • Fry off bacon and onion and garlic
  • Add tomatoes (either a couple of tins of crushed tomatoes, or fresh – whatever you have)
  • Let simmer for a bit
  • When the water boils, chuck in some pasta – make sure you keep your eye on it as you will be taking it off the heat as soon as it’s cooked
  • Add the shredded roast chook into the sauce and give it a stir
  • When the pasta is almost cooked, add a couple of good sized handfuls of spinach to the sauce and mix it through
  • As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it thoroughly and add it to the sauce and mix thoroughly
  • Simmer for five minutes or so
  • Serve and eat. Yum.

Tuesday: General Pants-ness night. Morning was relatively smooth though, and handed over to Mrs Archer at approximately 8am. Discover that, most annoyingly, the bodgy car park nearest work is now a ticket machine car park instead of a Dodgy Man. Dodgy Man has change. Machine does not. This means I will need $7 in coins for parking once a week. Annoying. Or pay $15 at the other car park where I don’t need change. Busy day at work, coupled with the need to leave at 4.45pm to collect Offsprings from swimming lessons. Leave work just after 5pm due to waiting for three emails to arrive – all of which had to be acknowledged and all of which arrived between 4.56 and 4.58pm. Collect Offsprings, deal with Traffic on the way home. Bloke has lasagne organised for Offspring, we are having chilli-citrus chicken stirfry. Mmm. Finish folding washing and put it all away. Clear off kitchen table. Discover lost library book and strapping tape. Contemplate the wisdom of doing gigantic grocery order and fruit and veg order however, Wednesday night is generally spent running about getting organised for the cleaning fairy, and the online F&V boxes aren’t what we want, and doing the individual order – waaaaay exxy and and and… I am sure we will survive with three apples, two manky mandarines and a couple of black bananas until the end of the week.

Wednesday: Even better morning than the two before. This is awesome. I doubt it will remain that way. Out the door before 8am again. This is getting to be a habit. Yet another busy day at work. Funny about that. Spilled stuff on pants – really should take them to be cleaned AND really should find another pair of work pants (close but no cigar the other day – my size, in stock, on sale… no hem. Can’t let ’em down, so no point buying them). Called The Bloke from the supermarket in the middle of the afternoon. I want meat. You want meat? Got meat. Despite leaving a note the size of a dinner plate on my computer, managed to leave it at work. Therefore, late home. Again. Ran around sorting washing, tidied up lounge room and kitchen. Again. Hamburgers for the Offspring with no vegetables because we don’t have any. Well, there were two growing potatoes, an onion and some frozen peas. And the potatoes were earmarked for the Grown Up dinner. Steaks, scalloped potatoes and peas for us. Still don’t do groceries – this time because I will be too busy packing to go away to be bothered with putting away the shoppings.

Thursday: Got breakfast. This is unusual for a Thursday. Ok, I always have breakfast – it’s just that umm. Sometimes I have carrot cake. It has vegetables in it, so it must be good. Three mornings in a week out the door on time. This is probably some kind of world record and I shall appreciate it for the unlikely event that it is. Come home to a deliciously clean house and promptly trash it, packing to go away. Going away in the middle of winter with two small boys Quick Spag Bol from the freezer for dinner. It’s good. And we now officially have Nothing To Eat. And not home on Friday night so there’s no point buying any food, is there?

Friday: Left everyone at home, went to work for a couple of hours, sorted a few bits and bobs and came home in time to pack the car and go away at lunchtime until Sunday afternoon.

Sunday: get home, unpack car, unpack bags, add to gigantic shopping list, take large offspring to party, go to fruit shop, spend ridonkulous amount of loot on fruit and vegetables, go to butcher, ditto on meat, get soup for dinner and bread, come home, make bloody sandwiches (learned my lesson, I did) and round up snacks, go and get large offspring from party, collapse on couch and count sleeps til next weekend!

Stuff an’ that…

Hooly dooly… STUFF. That? Me? Other stuff? Pfft. Lalalaaaaa In fact, I think I suspect I have indeed moved to LAZY TOWN.

Yes, this severe overcapitalisation is there purely to emphasise the fact I am going to totally and unequivocally regret this weekend in so many ways. However, we’ve had a bit of a memory making weekend so I am going to remind myself of this when I am kicking myself for having such a ‘do nowt’ weekend, instead of thinking of all the things I should have done but didn’t.

In fact, let me count these things I should have done but didn’t…

  1. Shopping. Serious lack of food here.
  2. Washing. I still have two loads to go, and will probably be putting out wet washing for the ironing fairy in the morning.
  3. Don’t even TALK to me about folding stuff
  4. And there’s a pretty good chance stuff that needs ironing won’t make it to the basket
  5. Meal planning. Well, see item #1 on the list
  6. Haven’t made school lunches  because – well, see item #1
  7. Or delicious home made treats.

Ah well, you get that on the big jobs (or should I say when you don’t do the Little Jobs, hey?) We did however spend a bit of serious quality Family Time together though, and hopefully that will sustain them all when we’re eating two minute noodles this week!

No excuses at all, really, either. I’ve even had a couple of days off for the purpose of the Kid Wrangling during the school holidays. But best laid plans and a faulty battery or something or other meant that instead of shopping and doing fun stuff like going to the movies, there was a bit of trekking about to mechanics and a wet weather day inside at home because we had no car. And hey, my plan to clean out the dreaded spare room was put on hold because of the whole BLOODY COLD IN THERE thing.

While the house is centrally heated, we make a concerted effort to not heat the rooms that aren’t used regularly, including the bedrooms. Doors are shut and heating vents are only opened a couple of hours before bed, rather than heating up rooms that have no people in them all day. The spare room is rarely used (and should currently be renamed the Crap Repository as it’s been where I’ve shoved stuff when other areas have been cleaned up with the view to going through it and sorting out properly) and the vent is well and truly shut and I think I would have had to leave the vent open for ohhhh six hours to even get the chill off, and by then – well, it would have been time to get the car from the mechanic, so what would be the point of that!

I’ve been putting in a few long hours the last couple of weeks, either by intent or accident as well. This, of course, is no real excuse for not doing the house work or going hunting for the family or making sure they’re all clothed, although it does make me realise that having a wife would be quite nice. One of those ones who does all the washing and the dishes and the shopping and the picking up of the stuff and the – well, everything really.

Oh, before I forget… one, no TWO things were achieved in the last week. One – the laundry got a spontaneous clean out, and all because it’s been raining again and because we’re a good, water saving family who have been diverting grey water for oooh, since before we moved into this house (so probably 15 years or so – since just after it stopped raining, anyway). Anyway, the natural precipitation levels recently have meant that the back yard is WET ENOUGH*, without the addition of 6-8 loads of washing water and 28 showers worth of water a week. Bit tricky to redirect the water back into the sewage system hey? And NO idea where the thingy to hook up the hose was – never used it, had we? So, in the course of finding it and detaching things, laundry got a swish up. Not a bad thing.

And the other…

Wait for it…

I roasted a chicken.

This is in fact an event of some note because I’ve never done it before. Mr Woolworths cooks up a rather nice one, and Mr Lenards isn’t bad either. So why on earth would I bother? Well, we decided it was a nice day for a nice roast dinner with all the trimmings and the Bloke sent me off to the butcher in search of a nice rolled roast. Nice. Except they’d run out! Aghast. But there were chickens. Free range organic chickens no less. And SIX BUCKS! Compared to a lamb roast which would set us back $25 or something – a bargain, and honestly, no pressure if I stuffed it up.

Which I didn’t.

It was DEEEEEEEE-LICIOUS. Even if I do say so myself. No recipe because a) I think I am the only person in the universe who has never roasted a chook before and b) not a lot one can say about rinsing off a chook, shoving a lemon up its clack and sticking it in the oven for an hour and a half with some vegies. Probably do it again, now I have a bit more of an idea how to do it (see above instructions. And yes, I consulted at least THREE recipe books and google before I decided how to do it!) And hey, for the frugal types, chook is cheaper than lamb, takes about the same length of time, and we probably get just as many meals out of it.

So, family stuff done, a clean laundry (to not do washing in!) and a home made roast chook. Not a bad week, all in all!

Please feel free to remind me of this when I am freakin’ out dudes next week when I am attempting to run a household with no food or clothes AND we’re away again next weekend too. Regrets, I’ll have a few….

*No matter how wet it is at the moment, it really has been about 15 years since we’ve had a proper winter. And despite all the rain, it’s only been this week that the cracks in the park have close up and it’s been wet underfoot. It’s taken two YEARS for that to happen. The climate has changed. Whether the change has been caused by human activity or Calathumpian aliens doing clog dancing on the Planet Spod is completely immaterial, and as an aside, we is not rooooned and the world didn’t end on 1st July 2012. End of feral lefty mutterings.

I want to ride my bicycle….

Bicycle Bicycle Bicycle
I Want To Ride My Bicycle Bicycle Bicycle
I Want To Ride My Bicycle
I Want To Ride My Bike
I Want To Ride My Bicycle
I Want To Ride It Where I Like…

Specifically, I want to ride THIS bicycle…

It’s AUBERGINE. AND CREAM. And I swooned a little when I laid eyes on it while walking home on Friday night. It had a BASKET and everything. And the heart of the little girl inside me almost skipped a beat…. It was such a pretty bike, I could just imagine myself cruising along the bike paths waving gaily as I pedalled along…

So I went into the shop to check it out. And yes, it was definitely a swoon-worthy bicycle – imagine that, even more glorious in the flesh than just through a window. The only hitch was… the one that I fell in love with was sold; and the supplier was sold out completely. That’s ok, there’s always the interwebs for the investigation of the beautiful girlie retro bicycle.

Now, I do have a perfectly serviceable bike. It’s a quite sturdy mountain bike and while only 14 of its 21 gears are available to me, it’s not as if I ever really go fast enough to need the other seven gears. And it does make the odd squeaking sound, but aside from that… it’s a good, solid bike. So, why on earth would I be looking for another one?

Did I mention that it’s a MANs bike? Not that there really is anything wrong with that – it’s just that I like to ride to work in summer and I tell you what, trying to ride a mans bike with a crossbar while wearing a short skirt… No, don’t try to imagine it, it’s just full of fractal wrongness. It really is. You don’t need to take your brain there. At all. {Ok, I’ll wait while you go and wash your eyeballs with Dettol. And I did warn you, so it’s not my fault. Be grateful I don’t wear lycra, ok. The world is NOT ready for the sight of me in lycra. Actually, the world is not ready for the sight of many, if not most people in lycra…}

But yet again, I am digressing. I am good at that. Anyway, I’ve been thinking for a while about looking into getting an actual ladies bike with a step through so that I can wear a skirt to work if I so desire. And one of those super cool super girlie retro style bikes would really be quite awesome. Of course, I knew there was a fair to middlin’ chance that I wouldn’t be able to get a fancy ladies bike for the exact same reasons why I have a man’s bike in the first place.

I may have mentioned before about my ridiculously long legs. They’re not just annoying when it comes to buying trousers, they spoil all my fun when it comes to riding bicycles as well! When I bought my last bike, there was one size and one size only when it came to ladies bikes. And if you were over about 5’6″ tall – why on earth would you want to be out riding around in public you FREAK SHOW!!!!!! So, I wanted a bike, I got a bike, and I got a man’s bike (it’s not even a SMALL man’s bike. It’s a large one.)

Fast forward several years, I’m finally actually riding my bike reasonably regularly (I think it slept under the house for about six or seven years!) and in thinking about what was stopping me from riding more… having to get changed when I got to work, then get changed again to ride home. It’s annoying – and without fail, you come out of the bathroom in your going to go home now gear, and someone will always say “Hey Harriet, can I just ask you this one thing…”

If I had a LADIES bike, I would be sashaying out that there door and down to the bike lockers faster than you can say “See ya later!” and on my bike and pedalling off into the distance, streamers flying from my handlebars and spokey-dokes clattering as I go. I should probably just interject here and say that I have NEVER had a bike with streamers or spokey-dokes…  but this is my fantasy exit, so you’ll have to grant me poetic licence. My first bike was a honkin’ big ladies bike that I wasn’t tall enough to ride until I was 10, then I had another bike from when I was about 15 until I started driving and had a final growth spurt finale when I was around 19.

So after my little love affair with the Schwinn I first pictured, I hit up Mr Google and discovered that the delightful Schwinn only has seven gears, and for my style of riding (involves a lot of the death grip and a few swears), the more nuance I can get from a gear box, the better thanks very much. In fact, most of the funky cool retro bikes have only between three and eight gears. Damnit. BUT I have discovered there is now such a thing as a step through ladies bike with a frame size bigger than 17″.


(That’s me being quietly excited).

I dragged the entire family off to a bike shop today and test drove several – don’t like the traditional full step through bike. It feels a little… unstable. Awkward. Weird. I dunno… Wrong, I guess. Then I think I tried on maybe another six or so bikes. Of course, the prettier they were, the less likely they were to fit me… but I really wasn’t all that surprised about that to be honest. The strange thing about trying on bikes (and you really are trying them on) is that it is really about the ‘fit’. The wrong bike feels like wearing the Wrong Undies under trousers. They go on ok, it’s just the more time you spend in them, the more time you spend picking them out of your bum.

I did discover that I likes myself a 19″ frame, and I need a 24″ horizontal top tube or something. The top tube can be smaller (but only slightly) but the frame must be 19″ at least.  So, progress has been made and the time will come (very soon, I think) that I will be the proud owner of a sparkly new, albeit somewhat dull comfort bike. It also appears that the larger framed ladies bike are in fact few and far between unless I want to spend about a squillion bucks. But I have found ONE that fits and will be hitting up a couple more bike shops in town over the next couple of weeks and we shall see. (And dear little chap at Anaconda – just because YOU don’t stock 19″ framed ladies bikes doesn’t mean they don’t actually exist, orright!)

And because I couldn’t find a kitty on a bike… I leave you with some Queen and a bike… (Caution: Copious boobies. And rest assured I will be wearing something on my bicycle!)


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