Friday, October 31, 2014

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Makeup

I'm loving that Australia is getting in to the Halloween spirit. Because DRESS UPS! LOLLIES! COMMUNITY SPIRIT! Seriously, what is not to love? And blah, blah, blah, American, whatever. You know what? Didn't actually start in the USA, (and even if it did, so much you love is from there so why is this different?) so get over it already, embrace the DRESS UPS and go talk to your neighbours!

I love dressing up. Costume parties are my favourite thing ever. I'm sure there is some deeper subconscious thing going on where I get to pretend to be someone else because I'm painfully insecure, but let's forget that bit and focus on the FUN.

This year, Tricks is going as a skeleton, Bobbin is going to be a Halloween sprite (which is code for not going as an actual thing, just wearing some cool Halloween gear) and I'm going as Dia de los Muertos. Day of the Dead. Because sometimes I miss being a makeup artist and like to show off.

BOOYAH! Love it. And special thanks go to Bobbin for having a long nap this afternoon!!

Do you do Halloween?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Someone from the INTERNET came to PERTH!

If you've got friends that live far away, you'll know that it is a big deal when you get to see each other face to face. Thing is, pretty much no one comes to Perth because PERTH. I actually like this little city and think it has a lot to offer. Yes, even stuff that outweighs the exorbitantly high property prices and abundance of high vis gear.

When any of my east coast friends come to Perth it is a HUGE DEAL. There are confetti cannons, official welcomes and flocks of black swans flying in formation, spelling out your name. Or, more likely, me waiting at the airport to pick you up, with a packet of Cheezels in my hand.

Kim Foale - "professional mud hardener" and she of Frog Ponds Rock and Kim Foale Ceramics fame - headed west to the Sunset State to attend an Arty Farty conference in Kalgoorlie. I've been to Kalgoorlie and it doesn't scream conference to me, but hey, what would I know?

She got up in the morning in Tassie and had to use water to get the frost off her car windscreen, then got all the way over to Perth where we were experiencing a very comfortable 25C. Comfortable is, however, a relative term. It was just a nice way to help transition her to the week of 35C+ in Kal, though. You're welcome, Kim.

Pink hair meets Purple hair
We only had a few hours together, so a quick trip to King's Park to see the Boab Tree, have some lunch and then a detour to Freo for some hipsterwank non-alcoholic drinks at hipsterwank prices and it was time to head back to the airport. But what we did actually didn't matter. Just seeing her with my own eyes. Hearing her voice. Feeling her hugs. It was awesome. I kept thinking I was in one of those super realistic dreams. How are you here, in my car? You're meant to be on the other side of the country.

We chatted about blogs, kids, arty farty stuff (I didn't keep up very well), and the knack I have of driving terribly and becoming lost whenever I have a passenger over seven years old in my car. She let Bobbin, who she'd never met before ("you've grown a whole human since we last saw each other"), delve in to her salad at lunch. There were salad leaves and grainy things (quinoa?) all over the table and it didn't matter. Bobbin thought it was the best fun ever.

Bobbin developed a greater appreciation of quinoa at lunch
I expected to leave with some awesome memories and a cuddle, but I also left with gifts, which is great because PRESENTS! Kim had made me a beautiful glossy, swirly thing (it probably has a name but I don't know it), a pendant, and best of all, some amazing fairy houses for the kids. Tricky saw them when he got home and flipped. Real fairy houses!

Fairy houses, LEGO dude, cars, dinosaurs and a half eaten cracker. Bliss.
The best thing about this blogging caper, by far, is the people I've met. Most of those I have only "met" a handful of times, and some I haven't even "met" yet. All of a sudden, I feel like singing a Michael Buble song.

Do you have "online" friends?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The ten nursery rhymes that should be banned

Text my own. Original image modified via Creative Commons Sue Hasker.
Yesterday I heard the news that some Victorian (I mean the state, although you would be forgiven for thinking I was talking about the era) kindergartens were changing Baa Baa Black Sheep because the song had racial connotations (dear Google god please be a hoax). I'm assuming the black sheep chatted a bit to each other for a while about being targeted by four year olds everywhere and then started a petition or something.

I say good on them. About bloody time. We can't have children thinking that they can call a sheep black just because it has black wool. COME ON.

But the more you look, the more you'll see all this horrid stuff we're teaching our kids. I've created a list of other nursery rhymes that I think should also be banned or altered before they ruin your children:
  1. Ride a Cock Horse. Stop making children say cock. Kookaburra in the gumtree is no longer gay, he is fun, so this should obviously follow suit.
  2. Humpty Dumpty. This is frightening to children when they learn he couldn't be put together again. It needs to be changed that he had microsurgery or some shit, learned to accept his scars and was welcomed back to the community despite his acquired brain injury.
  3. Jack and Jill. Clear violation of OHS. I am on hold to WorkSafe as we speak.
  4. Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater. Encourages domestic violence and the objectification of women. Call the Minister for Women to complain about this. Or, um, maybe someone who actually cares about the status of women.
  5. Sing a Song of Sixpence. I've advised the RSPCA regarding my dissatisfaction that this song remains a kindy favourite. You're putting live birds in a pie and trying to cook them? SHAME ON YOU! Why would you encourage this shit?
  6. Three Blind Mice. See above. Also, the woman is visually impaired, get it right. Hey, just quietly, kids who injure animals are more likely to go on and commit violent crimes. Stop singing about it for starters.
  7. Bye Baby Bunting. This needs to be altered to make sure children know that the father has gone to set humane traps to curb the growth of feral rabbit populations that are harming the native flora and fauna after a longitudinal, independent, ecological survey found it was warranted.
  8. Georgie Porgie. No means, no, jackass. We need to educate our girls from the get go (OK I actually mean this one).
  9. There Was An Old Woman. Whip your starving children? According to this, it's just what is done.
  10. It's Raining, It's Pouring. THE MAN IS CONCUSSED! He needs medical attention not a room full of brats singing about it.
But why stop there?

Black cannot be said out loud. Like, ever. At all. Why stop with the sheep? The colour formally known as Black can be called B or finklefuvel, or have some unpronounceable symbol or whatever. Because we need to teach our children that saying a colour is a bad thing mmkay?

What about black boards and white boards? OMG if the teacher favours one over the other... NOT GOOD! Everything will now just be verbalized and tough titties if you learn visually. (edit: I'm told they're now chalkboards and dry erase boards FFS!).

Snow White. Again racial connotations. Perhaps Snow Beige? Actually, I find beige pretty offensive, so that's out. Snow Rainbow?

Where is the Green Sheep? Why are you ostracizing Green Sheep now?! Is Green the new Black? I thought it was Orange?


Tell me the PC stuff that shits you to tears.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Eat a burger and make a difference (and I don't mean to your waistline)

This post is not sponsored, unless you count the cup of tea
and macaron I had at Ronald McDonald House

Last week I was privileged to be given a personal tour of the Perth Ronald McDonald House with the always stunning Amy Zempilas (her gorgeous Chloe was born on the same day as Bobbin) and learn about all the amazing programs they have there.

When I arrived, there were some lovely ladies wearing volunteer shirts cleaning the walls. I thought walls only got cleaned when tiny mutineers drew on them, but apparently not. Way to make me feel like a bad cleaner, Ronald. If you're in a place where the family of very sick children hang out, some with compromised immune systems, then you gotta clean EVERYTHING.

Using her ESPP (Extra Sensory Playroom Perception), Bobbin found the kids toy room in about 0.03 seconds. Stuffed toys hung from the ceiling, a giant jungle mural across the wall and a few of the awesome toys they have (the rest were getting cleaned - again, thanks, Ronald for making me feel like I don't clean enough) made her eyes light up. But she held on to the remote control from the lounge room despite all the awesomeness in front of her. Sigh.

Bobbin loooooooved this room so much!
I was more interested in the teen room which may have had something to do with the magical symbiosis of internet connection and beanbags. Funky graffiti art, big screens, and gaming consoles fill the room to keep the older kids entertained. Being the sibling of a sick kid can be so hard, so it's great that they can have access to these things and be able to hang out with other kids in the same situation.

Graffiti and bean bags FTW

We checked out the rooms, the BBQ area, the education room and the lounge/dining area with the kitchens. All awesome. But then we found out that the House turns away people every day because they are full to the brim. The closest accommodation to Princess Margaret Hospital is around $160 a night. At a time when you need your family to be together and support each other, not being able to do so because it costs so much to stay is just seems so unfair. If your child needed to stay in hospital for months could you camp out on a chair in a shared ward for all that time? What about if it was a year? Some families need to stay there that long.

Small but lovely
But a NEW House is being built next to the new hospital. HUZZAH! The funds for which were raised from the WA corporate community in just nine months! DOUBLE HUZZAH! There will be over twice as many rooms and they'll be up to three times bigger and have funky hide away beds that I neeeeeeeed to have in my own house one day (that link is a video to the manufacturer - their stuff is awesome!). Plus a full size commercial kitchen to cater for everyone with a continuation of the Make a Meal Challenge (where corporate groups come in and make dinner) and the new Lovin' From The Oven (groups bake for the weekend) programs.

It was great to hear so much that I previously had no clue about. I knew people from out of town stayed if their kids were in hospital, but that is just the smallest part.

Here's the bit you probably did know:
  • Ronald McDonald House provides free accommodation to regional families of kids in hospital
And all the stuff you didn't:
  • Breakfast and dinner are provided daily, plus a fridge of snacks is available (in Perth, Harvey Fresh donate all the milk and orange juice, Lawleys donate all the bread)
  • For lunches, the kitchen can be used by the families (hospital cafeteria food is both disgusting and disgustingly expensive most of the time)
  • There are education programs for siblings including homework clubs and help with transitioning them to the local school if needed
  • There are education programs for the sick child to make sure they aren't disadvantaged by missing school - this includes speech and occupational therapy plus tutoring
  • It is run thanks to volunteers and donations
  • McDonald's is the largest corporate partner and takes care of all admin costs so that 100% of every donation goes directly to the Houses
  • They provide free retreats to the families of children battling serious illnesses and bereaved families, giving them an opportunity to relax in a supportive environment
  •  Ronald McDonald House Charities are the major private funder of Cord Blood Banks in Australia
Every year McHappy Day aims to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Now in its 24th year, you can help fund all of the amazing programs by buying a burger on Saturday, 18th of October. Or if burgers aren't your thing, you can just make a donation by purchasing a "Helping Hand" in store or giving directly through the website, remembering that every cent goes to RMHC.

Friday, October 3, 2014

10 things that prove I'm old

I went to a Courtney Love concert recently and she absolutely rocked it. It was AMAZING. When she played Violet, I was so happy I almost cried. Then she mentioned that the album it was from, Live Through This, is twenty years old. Way to make me feel old, Courts. Oh wait, you're 50? Well then.

I had Live Through This on an illegally dubbed cassette my friend gave me. I used to listen to it for hours on end and my angsty teen self would be all "Fuck yeah, I'm gonna be a rock star and take loads of drugs... if it wasn't for all this Catholic guilt. Ima just go study and play my saxophone instead".

Hearing that the album that defined my teen years was two decades old got me thinking about all the things that I do now that 13 year old Glow would roll her eyes at. 10 things that PROVE I'm old now:

1. I'm totally in to gardening now. We have a veggie patch where we grow carrots, cherry tomatoes, onions, strawberries, lettuce and chili, and a herb garden with basil, rosemary and parsley. I'm planting beans soon and I am genuinely excited by this. I potter around in it most days, snipping off dried leaves, spraying some fancy pants bio organic caterpillar napalm and picking off snails to throw over the neighbour's fence. I happy dance every time I harvest anything. Actually, I'm dancing now because I got to use the word harvest.

2. Staying home is lovely. Saturday night, on the couch, sipping wine, eating cheese and watching a movie with MapGuy is a bloody awesome night in my books. The idea of going to a club is daunting - the Courtney Love concert was at "Metros" and it was the first time I'd been inside a club in years. They are still grotty and dingy, so nothing much has changed.

3. I love the sunshine because the washing dries quicker (yet walk around in the summertime saying "How about this heat?" because I'm an asshole). I've even worked out how to set my washing machine to start at the crack of dawn so that the first load is ready to be hung out the moment I wake up. Because NO LIFE. Do you see how sad this is? "Hooray, the nappies will get a good sun bleach today!" is something all cloth mamas can relate to.

4. I strategically time when I go to the shops. I am totally one of those people now. Need something? The new catalogue is out but it doesn't start until tomorrow so I'll wait an extra day to save 13c. Then I'll buy six of whatever it is because OMG 13c off! BUY THEM ALL! I also refuse to go to shopping centres during school holidays because teenagers. Ick.

5. I avoid new technology. It confuses me. I defer all things techy to MapGuy and it won't be long before I'm asking Tricky how to do things. If something isn't working the way it should, besides doing a "power cycle" (totes the industry word for turning it off and on again), I am stuffed.

6. I screw up my nose at young people's "fashion" because a) I can't wear it without looking like a tragic try hard mutton dressed as lamb, and b) it's the exact same stuff I wore when I was your age. No, I'm serious. Everywhere I look it's like the members of Girlfriend have sprung up. Midriffs, print pants, hats. C'mon. It's Blossom central.

7. Life hacks excite me. OMG YOU HAVE TO SEE HOW TO FOLD SHIRTS IN TWO SECONDS. I found this recently and it has CHANGED MY LIFE (and is totally worthy of all caps). I used to fold shirts by holding it up with my chin, folding each side in, folding it in half and placing it down. Because some part of me wants my wardrobe to look like the shops or something. It took about ten seconds. But now? Jazz hands, baby, I'm saving eight seconds per shirt. BOOYAH. Yes, I'm sad. 

8. I enjoy the company of my parents. If I haven't seen them in a few days, I'll call them up to see if they want to go out for a coffee. This is possibly because they pay for the coffee and the extra sets of hands to look after the kids is fabulous, but I'd like to think that it means I'm mature. At least in some small way. Maybe I should stop laughing at dick jokes?

9. I sometimes Google slang words. I was in line behind some teenagers a couple years ago and one of them asked the other what YOLO meant. He didn't know. I felt so hip and cool that I knew. I had a "I'm totally one of those funky mamas who knows the lingo" moment. Then I realized that feeling that way and celebrating it meant that I was in NO WAY hip or cool.

10. I have no idea who the cool celebrities are. If I walk past a magazine rack and it says "Ariana's new 'do" I have no freaking clue who they are talking about. Who is Channing Tatum and why is everyone talking about him? I hear Channing and think of Rizzo and Kenicke. I'm so far out of the loop.

Basically, I've turned in to my mother. I don't mind getting older, because you know, the alternative is dropping off the perch. But it's quite clear I'm no spring chicken. And I like it.

What makes you feel old?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How are my reproductive organs like a Madden Brothers song?

I'm retiring my uterus.

In the words of the Madden Brothers in their little earwormy tune, we are done. Done, done, done, done, done, done, we are done. 

She has done me well. It has held two children for a total of just over 82 weeks, then pushed them out when their lease was up. It needs a golden handshake or a watch, or whatever it is you get when you retire these days.

It feels like the right thing to do. I feel finished. It isn't because I have the often hoped for "pigeon pair" (I saw myself with two boys in my dreams), it's because that urge to procreate is gone.

I don't yearn for more babies, though I reserve the right to coo over newborns in the future... then hand them back. I don't feel sad that I'll never be pregnant or give birth again, on the contrary, I don't think my hips could handle pregnancy again, so I'm actually glad.

Over the long weekend I packed up all of Bobbin's baby things, ready to pass them on. Some were Tricky's too, so there are lots of memories attached to them.

Instead of feeling sad that this chapter is ending, I was overjoyed to be getting so much junk out of my house. For such tiny creatures their stuff takes up so much bloody room. 

I watched Bumbos, walkers, rockers, toys, hammocks and stretchy wraps being loaded in to my brother- and sister-in-law's car, ready for their babe who is still a'cookin' and it was brilliant. I'm excited for them, and I'm over the moon to have a niece or nephew. Because aunties rock.

I've known quite a few people who got rid of everything and then unexpectedly fell pregnant as if the world was waiting for them to sell so they'd have to buy all that crap again. So right now I'm shit scared. Going by our track record of getting pregnant first try, every time (which is enviable to anyone struggling to conceive but terrifying for us when we don't want any more), one mistake and the pitter patter of tiny feet will be heard once more. So as I handed them over to SIL I told her they were a looooong term loan just in case the universe was listening, ya know?

Now comes the hard part. Convincing MapGuy to get the snip. Any and all advice to convince a bloke to willingly let a doctor come towards his crown jewels with a scalpel is much appreciated.

Are you "done"? Or do you still feel the urge to create tiny little poo machines? How did you know?


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