Category Archives: miscellaneous minutiae

Put another log on the fire.

So blogging has been put well and truly on the back burner round here of late.  Conscience dictates that I put my not-going-out-to-paid-employment time into more important things – like the housework, and getting going on these renovations/extensions. (Spending time on practising writing is a luxury I can’t find any justification for, sadly…)

Needless to say I still manage to spend time the ‘puter, on supposedly less time consuming exploits. Reading articles online,  and even facebooking and tweeting don’t leave quite as much of a (time-wasting) evidence trail as a meaty blog post, if you know what I mean. I know I have a bit of an addiction (but at least it’s a well-read, well-educated one!- particularly with all the election palava going on at the moment.)  I’ve also been doing P & C minutes, and stuff for the netball. It’s very easy to get waylaid with it all.

Last week got waylaid by two days in the school canteen – one of which was a whole day to fill in for a very unwell paid supervisor. I muddled through that day, thankfully with help from other volunteers who stepped up, and at the end of it wondered how the hell mums who work do it. I was bloody exhausted.

Taking Ms 11 to a school district athletics carnival put paid to another day – and my third last week of Thursday Ladies Midweek tennis accounted for another day.  (Feels decadent, but I’m adamant about being able to play my sport.)   Things were grim in the laundry department by Friday night – and the family were starting to make out that they were very hard done by. (Kind of as if the servant had absconded and not done their job for the week.)

This week things are quieter . Well, except that yesterday I had to drive Ms 17 into town to organise for her HSC art major works to be mounted, and there was the shopping to do… BUT I allocated (in my mind) today  to clean, or to paint verandah joists, as necessary.  Himself has been making practical inroads with Project Renovation, while my input has been more of a ‘holderer’ of ladders and tools and tape measures, and  a ‘passer-upperer’ of said tools. And getting on the phone to hassle plumbers for quotes, and to order decking timber, and to get quotes for this, that and the other.  None of which screams ‘accomplishment’ when you stand back and look for evidence of what you’ve done all week.

So this morning Himself expressed some concern as to my ability to set myself up to paint. (I’d like to think there was some consideration in there for a recalcitrant shoulder/upper arm too… but I’m not so sure.)  He ran around finding an old billy to decant paint into – but then expressed doubt as to my ability to decant said paint from the 4 litre can.

So I said that I could quite easily spend the whole day vacuuming. Three floors of a house well, well overdue.

He agreed that that might be a good idea.

And THEN he suggested that I wash the van as well.

Needless to say, instead of any of that,  in between hanging out washing, and doing washing up, I have been doing much teeth grinding over the pros and cons of the division of labour arrangements round here. (While I wait to drive Ms 17 to school for one of her HSC trial exams. And pick up stuff for dinner. Yes, I will cook the dinner as always, and people will  ask “What’s for dinner?” – but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post there, that is….)

Any wonder I’ve got that song playing in my head right now.

“….bake me up some bacon and some beans”


“Now don’t I let you wash the car on Sunday?
Don’t I warn you when you’re gettin’ fat?… ”



Filed under miscellaneous minutiae


We’ve been back on the tandem! Three weeks in a row now, and we hope to keep it up  -if I can wangle a leave pass from netball again that is.  A joke we made on the weekend about our (lack of) social life has led to a new (but perfect!) term for our time together on our bicycle built for two:    “Speed dating.”  (Think about it!)

So on Saturday we went speed dating – and did our ‘civilised’ ride into town to meet up with the earlybird (6.30am) Community Ride cyclists at 8.00 when they arrive back at the mall for coffee. Our ‘date’ is to ride 23km into town,  have coffee, a bite to eat, and a chat, and then ride the 23km back home up the highway again – just in time for Himself to drive the girls to netball.

Unfortunately, part and parcel of being a cyclist who rides any distance is that you cop abuse from motorists who don’t know the road rules.

On Saturday we copped a doozy, with a karmic twist, you might say. I was that fired up about it, that I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper. It is way too long, so probably won’t get published…  So, in the interests of self-publication, and lack of time (!), rather than rehash it as a blog post, I’ll copy it here:

An experience on the weekend leads me to beg all road users to refresh their knowledge of their road rules.  Like it or not, bicycles are classed as vehicles, and as such are actually allowed to be on the road. Blowing your horn and yelling abuse to a slower moving vehicle in the lane in front of you, but following the road rules appropriately, is actually not ok.

Local business owners in particular might like to take the opportunity to ensure that their employees are up to speed with their road rule knowledge.  On Saturday morning my husband and I were riding our tandem in town, obeying the road rules as we waited at the lights at [.. a major intersection], and then headed north on the highway. In the short distance under the railway bridge, we were ‘honked’ and then abused by the occupants of a truck carrying the identification of a local company, simply because we were on the road.

Karma is a strange thing. We are about to start major house renovations. Guess which company will now not be given an opportunity to quote on a significant supply and fix job? And guess which company name will inevitably be mentioned when we share that particular experience with friends and fellow cyclists?

And guess which truck just so happened to end up parked just up the road from our house later that morning?  My husband took the opportunity to let the driver know that his knowledge of the road rules needs updating.  (The passenger responsible for the verbal abuse also did not know that you are only allowed to ride your bike on the footpath – where he thought we should have been – if you are under 12 or supervising an under-12).

I am still trying to decide whether to let the business owner know as well.

Before receiving a tirade of letter abuse in response, I would add that, just as a percentage of motor vehicle drivers do the wrong thing on the road, I acknowledge that there are indeed cyclists who give the rest of us a bad name by doing the wrong thing on the roads. As a motorist AND cyclist, I’ll get cranky with either!

I would also acknowledge that when we are riding we also experience some great courtesy from drivers. A big thank you to all those trucks and cars who do give riders some room and some breathing space.

A quick Google of ‘nsw road rules bicycles’ and a read through the Bicycle Safety section of the RTA road safety information is recommended reading for all of us who use the roads.

I just sent a copy to my friend who works in the smaller local paper. Maybe I’ll get some mileage out of it.  If I can enlighten a handful of people about the actual road rules, then I will have achieved something.

I just wish I’d been a fly on the wall of the car when Himself spotted the exact same truck in our street.   He was.. what can I say .. not aggressive.. but .. ‘firm’.  And I think he may have left him stewing about whether I am going to ring his boss!

But what are the chances of seeing that exact truck a couple of hours later  – in our street?!

That’s what I call karma.


Filed under miscellaneous minutiae, on yer bike, what the???

Mystery solved!

Well, there you go. You learn something every day – and in fact one day was all it took to get a response from the Museum Victoria’s Discovery Centre. How impressive is that?

So this (from a mere two posts ago)


is a sand collar.

Sand collars are a gelatinous egg mass which has been deposited by a sea snail belonging to the family ‘Naticidae’

They also sent me a pdf attachment, but in the interests of being able to link, now that I know what I’m looking for, I’ve been able to google away merrily.

Here’s how Wikipedia summarises it:

Sand collars are the egg masses of certain sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Naticidae, sometimes known as “moon snails”.

These egg masses often wash up on sandy beaches, either whole or sometimes in fragments. When they are whole, sand collars are shaped like an old-fashioned detachable shirt or blouse collar (hence the name). They consist of sand grains cemented together by a gelatinous matrix, with embedded eggs.

A fresh sand collar feels stiff and yet flexible, as if it were made out of plastic. Each sand collar contains thousands of capsules, each one housing one or several live embryos. In species with planktonic development, these embryos hatch out as bilobed veligers. After the eggs hatch, the sand collar disintegrates.

If you google image search ‘sand collar’, you’ll get more info than you can poke a stick at!

Obviously I was holding a lot more than I bargained for in my hand!

And so… what to do with the prize I offered… ?

Noone actually got the answer as such, however Jayne, whose “Feral Beast” nearly had it.. and Jen who also suggested shark egg cases,both set me off on a non-seaweed research track.  So, Girls!  I can offer each of you a 6 x 8 inch print of any of my photos that you choose, or a full resolution digital copy of a photo of your choice (resized to whatever dimension you prefer) that you can use for your wallpaper.  Email me (see my About page) and we’ll sort it out.

Thanks for being part of my very first competition!


Filed under miscellaneous minutiae, our beach


Nothing whatsoever to do with anything over this past weekend – but before I forget to share…

This was the present Ms Just-About-15 gave her big sister for her birthday.  Well.. two months late for her birthday, but it was definitely a labour of love. She made it at school – in her ceramics/pottery class (or whatever the heck class it was – honestly, the list of Year 8, 9  & 10 electives reads like an evening college brochure..)

Ms 17, as you might deduce, is obsessed with all things Dr Who.

Pretty good huh!


Filed under kidz, miscellaneous minutiae


It appears I have forgotten how to write – except in short bursts of 140 characters. (Oh, ok.. a few more when I wander over to Facebook from Twitter.)

My conscience tells me I shouldn’t spend time blogging (I can easily lose a whole morning writing a single post) – yet I spend the same amount of time surfing aimlessly between Tweetdeck, Facebook, blogs, the news, and my favourite time-wasting sites.

I do a bit of desultory commenting – but even feel like I have failed my blog friends with my lack of involvement. I am still keeping tabs on everyone… I’m just… not quite all here…

This lack of direction probably reflects everything in my life right now. Like blog, like life – I’m lacking a theme, and a sense of purpose.

Maybe it’s the netball fatigue.

The State Age weekend is over. The 15 yr old’s team did well. The 12 yrs team didn’t win a game, and it was hard to watch. Both Netball Dad and I truly wondered if we should have got this team together. Their coach (our Ms 17) is upset with us for expressing that – she can only see positives, looks only at improvement, however small it was (and not at the million times they didn’t do the basics she’d been trying to teach them.)

Let’s just say I am enjoying the break from all things netball over the rest of the school holidays. Though trying to get the mountains – nay, volcanoes (the type that form up out of nowhere) – of washing done and dried last week was a feat in itself. (Annoying weather it was, damp, cloudy days that prevented the usual simple line-drying in a day approach. Plus the dryer died again!)

By the weekend I finally caught up – and then Himself and I dusted off the tandem (actually – he did that, after having taken it in to the bike shop recently to get something fixed on it) – and we did our first tandem ride in more than 6 months. His idea of easing back into it was a 35km ride down the highway and back. Apart from the chestiness (new medical term I just made up to describe the lingering chesty cough feeling in my lungs), I was actually surprised at how I pulled up. Now we just have to make it a regular thing again.

Next project now is to get a handle on starting the renovations/extensions. I’m dropping off the Owner Builder permit application to Fair Trading today. I made a start on trying to clear out some junk on the weekend. But I think Himself needs to take a week or two off work to get the ball rolling.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk on the beach. It’s criminal how long it has been since I’ve done that. I didn’t take the camera, and of course wished that I had. There’s a potential photographer hiding deep down within me – she just doesn’t know how to get out.

Right now I’m off to take Ms 11 and friend to the movies. Toy Story 3. I could do without seeing it in 3D, but they insist.

Regular transmission may resume again soon – once I find my writing mojo amongst the mess. Perhaps I need to go out and buy a new direction. Any idea where they sell those?


Filed under lost in procrastination, miscellaneous minutiae

If you’d told me…

If you’d told me, say, 20 years ago, that in my late forties I’d be just about living and breathing netball, I’d have laughed.  I’d never played it – and indeed, I still never have.   We were also possibly a bit wary about having our weekends tied up with sport commitments – so I didn’t really intend to get that involved.

Funny how things turn out.   I only chose netball as a sport for our eldest to try because at around age six or seven the local netball didn’t travel all over the district. Same place, same time, every week. With a husband travelling around overseas all the time, and three kids, I decided that sounded like a good idea.


So she liked it, and then so did #2. And then so did # 3.   A few years later #1 started playing rep – and so the mother with a conscience went to an AGM, feeling like she should contribute something. The Dad got interested (because he has a team sports head), and has even coached a couple of years, done the umpire exam, and gone to a couple of coaching courses.

And this year (as I’ve said before), they’ve all been playing rep, and the eldest has been coaching rep, and Ms 14 has been helping coach Ms 11’s junior team.

And it feels like it’s been carnival after carnival; we were in Sydney last weekend for the three-day State Championships for Ms 17, and there’s a one day carnival tomorrow for the younger two. In two weeks time we’re back down south again for State Age.

Just when I think that in July I can celebrate the end of the madness, I realise that there are two age carnivals to go to in August, and that I should be doing something for the netball association in the next week about organising teams for that – because it shouldn’t all be about rep.

I just feel like I bloody live at the netball clubhouse.  (I’m managing the canteen ordering this year, so I spend Saturdays in the canteen as well as ‘being there’ for the training twice a week.)

In a bit of a twist, it’s the Daddy who is the one actively involved in the game itself – he’s coached, and played a couple of mixed comps, and (as I’ve illustrated before here) gets out in the back yard shooting goals with the girls.  He has a tactical team sports mind – something that totally eludes me.

The discussion of tips and tactics often continues inside….   Did you ever see Bend it Like Beckham? There’s a scene where Keira Knightly’s character’s Dad is using table implements and condiments to explain the rules of football to his wife…

… well, we get the netball version happening here:

The glass of water and the beer bottle are the goal posts. The beer cap is the centre circle. The forks represent the transverse lines. (The hairy knee has nothing to do with it, other than to perhaps indicate the owner of the finger doing the pointing.)

I can’t see all this being over any time soon. While Ms 17 may well be going away to uni next year, there are a few years left yet with the other two…

Meanwhile this year it just feels particularly all-consuming.

Funny how life turns out sometimes.


Filed under kidz, miscellaneous minutiae

Precious moments

The girls had another rep netball carnival on Sunday. It’s the last one the three of them will be at as players.  Ms 17 heads off to her State competition in (under) two weeks time – the June long weekend –  while the other two have a few more weeks before “State Age” (12-15 yrs) the first weekend of July.  (And then they will be at separate venues.)

So, as any relatively chuffed Mum would do, I decided that the family photo archives definitely needed a photo of the three of them together in their rep uniforms. For posterity and all that. It’s been a significant netball year for the family .. right?

So…  second last time slot of the day – miraculously, all of them are off at the same time.

“Quick girls.. can I get a picture of the three of you?!!”

Pah.. sentimentality is the domain of soppy mothers, it seems.

Now I wish I’d just taken a video to record just how annoying two teenage sisters can be when you try to take a photo!

I guess this one doesn’t look quite as bad as it did through the viewer…

But Sentimental Mum thought it would be a bit nicer if they weren’t standing there like three random strangers … I mean.. would it actually  kill them to throw an arm around a shoulder? To look like they cared for each other. A bit?

Guess we mums live in the past a bit. We remember how CUTE (and snuggly) they used to be together…

And then, of course, we take a trip down memory lane.


Hmmm… There… about five years ago – a sign of things to come.  What happened to the side-by-side hug thing?

That was 2005 …

And, with Ms Eldest starting to get behind the camera herself, photos of the three of them together at all are harder to come by – never mind ones where they might actually come into contact with each other…

So.. in retrospect, it was something of a miracle that, on Sunday, I finally got this, after much nagging:

Look! Almost hug-like! (Though there’s a certain hand, belonging to Ms 17, that was on its way up to form rabbit ears behind Ms 11’s head.)

The only other consolation was that when I tried to get photos of other sets of sisters playing with the association, I had one pair standing in a similar stand offish manner… and then one sister of another pair said “no way” and bolted.

Teenagers. Gotta love ’em.


Filed under kidz, miscellaneous minutiae