Thank Smurf We are Still Standing


It had already been a hectic and strange – even for us – day in the Cabana of Chaos.  Gigantor and I were chilling as Australia came in to bat against the Pakis, when he dragged me outside to look at “the amazing sunset”.

With vibrant orange illuminating puffs of cloud, it was no sunset.  The bush behind the houses on the street running along the end of ours was ablaze.  I checked the police feeds and sure enough, a fire that started west of the Sunshine Motorway earlier in the afternoon had jumped the road and was heading for us.

When I saw a map on Facebook that included us in an advised evacuation zone, I had to stare at it for a few minutes until the streets that I had driven and dog-walked resolved into any sense.

Gigantor has obviously watched enough American Preppers because he had his bike – and school supplies, bless – in the car while I was still wandering in circles trying to find the cat carrier (still on loan to a friend).  In that time the wind dropped, the apocalyptic glow had moved north-west of us and we decided to stay put.

I’d like to thank the crews, and relief crews, of firies that battled all night to defend us.  Most of those blokes – and sheilas, if applicable – are volunteers, who, as Gigantor said, would have been having a beer or so watching the cricket until called to risk their health and lives so we could continue to enjoy ours.  I was given 3 copies of the Firies’ Calendar this Christmas and wasn’t sure what to do with the overflow.  Now I don’t think that was enough!  Thanks, fellas.  Nice work.



161 Responses

  1. Ye gods! So very very thankful you’re all OK. And that Chaos Castle is still standing, but mainly that you’re all intact. Scary as all hell. Big props to the firies. Must check the news for damage etc.

  2. Huzzah for the firies! May their posts be never abandoned – their shirts, yes, but their posts never. I’m so glad you’re safe. Mwah!

  3. Yikes indeed.
    I woke up at 4am & reached for the iPad to tell me if Trump’s nuclear winter had begun, & instead twitter told me that Coolum was alight & evacuated.
    Glad to hear you are all safe, non-crispy, and accounted for.
    LOL to the firemen calendar surplus, now that I know this, next year I’ll get you kinky circus freaks instead.

  4. I went up the coast a bit to survey the damage on my way back down to work – a lot of Wallum Scrub gone. Poor little froglets and etc. We were very lucky. And well protected.

  5. Firies are wonderful! But, poor froggies.

    Q, I hope you get those calendars autographed.

  6. Q – that is completely hilarious because another calendar I was sent was – you guessed it, carnivals! A friend in the US is a graphic designer.

    Send me all your love. And maybe a box of ammo.

  7. LOL. You really need to select friends on a pattern of greater diversity if you don’t want ten of the same thing arriving for Xmas.
    No worries – Ammo should get cheaper now that Trump is in charge, you can’t have an efficient End of Days Nuclear Apocalypse without ensuring maximum production, marketing & sales of guns & ammo to the seething masses.
    Although the Boylans should have easier access to it – I’m sure it’s been discounted down in Walmart so everyone can make the most of inauguration day.
    (Cue the gunfire & USA mass murders, in 3,2,1)

  8. It’s mind boggling, isn’t it? And has put my US travel plans on hold for the next 4 years, or as long as he lasts anyway.

  9. The pre-inauguration concert has all the performers behind bullet-proof glass, according to the news reports. Personally, I feel that the anti-Trump hype is just media-generated hysteria. Seriously, I have not seen a single Trump plan that is even close to as bad as the abhorrent clustersmurfs our own PM has forced on us. Every day, I see people screaming in terror at the latest Trump threat, while our own politicians pass laws and introduce policies that are another nail in our collective coffins. I truly believe that the only reason Turnbull is still alive is because Howard took all our guns off us.

  10. Although so far as I know, Big Mal has yet to publicly threaten to launch nuclear missiles at the middle east, eastern Europe, and the Pakis if they get above themselves.
    How is the cricket going, anyway? Any reason to press that big red button in disgust, yet?

  11. We trounced the Pakis last outing, hands off the button. In local cricket news the Brisbane Heat lost by one run last night but are still in the finals which will now be played in another state. Which according to Gigantor means they are more likely to win.

    Well, still safe but my word the smoke is thick today. Had to cut the dog walk short, it was tearing my throat and she seemed to be panting excessively as well. Hope it rains!

  12. Oh you poor love. You were very brave to take the dog out in that. I’ve been wishing and willing some of our lovely rain towards you.
    We had to come home early from the Currumbin twilight markets last night to race the storm that swept through from the west. It was filthy hot & didn’t cool things down much but rain is rain. I woke up to more of it just after 3am, looked at the radar & saw a lovely blob building which pattered down on us around 4.15am. I do hope you get some. It’s misty here, so we’ve got that magical up in the clouds feeling.
    What the hell is it with rain that it just manages to miss the bit of the country that’s on bloody fire?

  13. Oh, that will clear the air nicely, and it will give you an excuse to spend the day on the couch with a good book and the Wildebeest. Bring on the rain!

  14. 90% chance of rain, possibility of severe thunderstorm. I suppose that would be irony if we survived the bushfires to get incinerated by lightning strike?

  15. With creek water lapping at your front door.

  16. Good gracious, I hope not. Now I’m worried about you again.

  17. We are fine, please don’t worry. I hope it’s been as close as it was going to get on Thursday night. The fire and the backburn would have chewed through most of the nearby fuel with any luck.

  18. That’s good to hear. Some good news this morning anyway. And the survivors in Italy.

  19. JK Rowling tweeted that it’s time to step up & form Dumbledore’s army.
    Repeat after me…’I solemnly swear I am up to No Good…’
    wait…that’s Donald’s inauguration speech.

  20. Oh, dear. I just caught myself checking out my own hard rubbish pile. Is there a medical name for that kind of thing? Because I have it bad.

  21. Q – hehehe.

    Hoardophilia, colloquially known as Bower Bird Syndrome, Catty.

    Huzzah, when we came home from the 60th extravaganza … Q, have you eaten at a Mediterranean place right on the beach at Sutton’s, the food was AMAZING. Pipisomething… it had been pouring rain, and the fires are out.

    Thanks all for your support, and let’s hope that’s it for this summer.

  22. Huzzah indeed for pouring rain & that you aren’t walking around over hot coals, MM.
    Yeah we have eaten at that restaurant but I thought it was called Sails, back then. It must have changed hands, but it had a great reputation among the locals even back when we used to hang around there.
    Although generally we had the dog with us so we couldn’t go to nice places, because we’d much rather have been with our dog than in some place that’s nice but where you can’t take a dog.
    I’m missing him really badly this week.
    I just packaged up all his leftover food so I can give it to a friend. Cleaning out all the kibble tuppeware was even harder than getting his little cremation box back from the pet cemetery people.
    We’re off to the Bangalow markets today – still haven’t been down there since the move as we wanted to make sure little Diggy Dog had maximum fun packed into his weekends, and crowds weren’t fun for him in that final year.
    Still glad he had such a fabulous final year of his life but oh, I can’t imagine life without a dog.

  23. Say high to Bangalow from me.

    You will need a new dog, otherwise you’ll never go walkies. That’s mostly why we have Sari. Well, that and the relentless campaigning for a puppy from the boys. I know you don’t like barking, so have you considered a Basenji?

  24. Markets are marvellous! And so is rain. Huzzah for No Fires! I am so glad you’re safe now, Madam.

    Q, I reckon you should hold off on getting another dog just yet. From what you’ve said about your vet friends, I’m pretty sure someone will come across a rescue doggie before long that will be just perfect for you.

  25. Bangalow says High, right back atcha.
    I’d forgotten how flakey the Nimbin hippies are, we overheard some very cosmic conversations from the flower children’s grandchildren. Still, they make amazing food so more power to them & their crystals & their fairy-filled organic gardens.
    As much as I miss our darling boy, I think it might be wise to wait a while before the next dog. It’s just so time-consuming training them, and I want to do a good job of it with the next one. Obedience, agility, maybe join the fly-ball club. It’ll suck up a lot of my time.
    I’ve got a busy year of study ahead of me with double the workload for Spanish, and while I’m dogless it might be a good opportunity to do one of the 4 week student exchange units in Spain or Argentina.
    As lovely as the dawn dog walks were, I’ve got the dawn SUP thing to keep me busy now.
    When it seems like the right time, I’ll get another papillon from the same breeder.
    Riley never barked, her dogs were far too well trained for that, and our cats won’t tolerate noise of any description, so I can count on them to give a dog what-for if it thinks it’s going to bark.

  26. Ooooh, four weeks of tapas and sangria! Sounds wonderful, Q!

  27. Ole!

    You’re only allowed to go if you share every moment with us vicariously via photos and blog.

  28. Yes, it is very, very tempting.

  29. Madam, do we still have that giant suitcase we can hide in? I could use a holiday.

  30. Last time I saw it the Wildebeest was asking Juan if he could saw him in half.

    Which reminds me, has anyone seen Juan? The Venetians are thick with Italian lace.

  31. Oh no, he’s down at the brothel again, isn’t he? I thought my purse looked a little empty this week.

  32. Yep, the dust bunnies are proliferating under the sofa again. I see a day of washing, cleaning & vacuuming rising up to suck away at my book reading time.

  33. I see my house as an ecosystem. I don’t want too much effort on my behalf to ruin any fragile flora and fauna.


  34. I have more baking to do for the CWA citizenshit ceremony & I don’t want any fur babies emerging from the Anzacs, on the day.

  35. Speaking of which, Mother says would you like her to make you a frilly apron? She’d love to make you a frilly white apron. Just specify bib or no bib.

    • Hold that very generous thought, MM, and I will ask the Coven if it’s a membership requirement. I suspect that all of their aprons are identical and deviation from the Standard is probably a Ducking offence.
      Your mother is such a love. Next life, she’s mine – I call dibs.

      • To be fair, it does sound pretty ducking offensive…

  36. I have several aprons. One has CMOT Dibbler on it. “Onna stick, inna bun”.

  37. “The glistening tubes in the tray around Dibbler’s neck smelled appetizing. They always did. And then you bit into them, and learned once again that Cut-me-own-Throat Dibbler could find a use for bits of an animal that the animal didn’t know it had got.”

    Yep. Sounds appropriate for a GB apron.

    • (grins evi, er, sweetly)

  38. Thanks for the reminder, my next Kindle read will be Sir Terry,

    Who would like to recommend a fave?

    • I love Pyramids because it’s the first one I read, and there are assassins in it. But my favourite Discworld novel ever is Mort.

      If you want something not-Discworld, there’s Nation, and there’s also Good Omens, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman. It contains my favourite nursery rhyme ever:

      This little piggy went to Hades.
      This little piggy stayed home.
      This little piggy ate raw and steaming human flesh.
      This little piggy violated virgins.
      And this little piggy clambered over a heap of dead bodies to get to the top.

      • We just got a new copy of Good Omens for Jen. Her old one had been read and re-read to death.

  39. Ooh, tough call. I think the DEATH stories and the Witches ones are my favourites. But I would totally be a Wizard. Comfortable robes, apparently few if any duties, 8 or more meals a day, unlimited booze, hideous monsters, strange contraptions…

  40. Falling off the edge of the disk, being followed by a sapient pearwood chest with hundreds of dear little legs, frequently finding yourself in battles started by Cohen the Barbarian, being the magical equivalent to the number zero, eating WowWow sauce without precautions, running away from danger on a daily basis (including exploding WowWow sauce)….

    • This isn’t putting me off I’m afraid.

  41. I like the Death best, too. But I’ll follow-up on Equal Rites.

  42. Did I mention that I got a DVD copy of The Colour of Magic last year for my birthday? Tim Curry is amaaaaaazing, and oh! His hair!

  43. I love that. Also Going Postal, But my fave is Hogfather.

  44. LOL I must read and watch all these things, I’m missing out on far too much here.

  45. Yes. Yes you are.

  46. I do miss having all my books out on my bookshelves.
    One day we’ll get our act together for that.
    The library down at Elanora really is lovely, and so nice not to see my holds stacked up against NTO’s.
    I googled houses for rent in Toad Park yesterday – remember the Not A Room that she added, in which she never sealed the (external) slab concrete floor & she never removed all the asbestos, and she swore on her mother’s soul it was only ever going to be an office/storage/closet?
    Yeah you guessed it, she’s just reduced the rent on it to $155 pw.
    I still can’t believe those stupid drunks across the road fell for her charm & supported her DA to add ‘storage rooms’.
    I wonder how they’re liking the parking there, since she added three extra rooms to that dump under the guise of ‘storage’.
    I suppose the silly council should have listed items that she’s not allowed to store in there – like Irish ratsackers who’s visas have expired and poorly documented ‘students’ from the subcontinent.
    Gosh I’m glad I’m out of there.
    Burleigh beach last night – bewdiful. And then my pair of sulphur-crested cockatoos that turn up at dawn every day & screech for wild bird mix, and eat it right out of my hand.
    So much better. 🙂

  47. A couple of years ago, one of MIL’s neighbours (near the end of our street) sold her house to developers who wanted to knock down her house and build 6 townhouses on the property. Everyone complained – loudly – so council said No. The developer changed the proposal to 8 townhouses and complained to VCAT, who overturned council’s decision. Council met last night, and have voted to not only to overturn the Three-Maximum townhouse rule, but also to allow high rise apartment buildings. One is already being planned just around the corner.

    Council had to allow this or face massive fines from VCAT. *sigh* There goes the neighbourhood.

  48. Think of it this way, Catty – ca-ching! You can sell to developers and move out of Murder Street.

    Q, make sure those cockies don’t go for your veranda rails. Oh, btw I’m meeting Ildi at Southbank in a fortnight if you want to come with? We’re going to explore GOMA’s 10th birthday exhibition.

  49. GOMA sounds fun. So does getting out of Murder Street. We had the police helicopter hovering over our street again last night, and three times last week. There are some nice houses appearing online in our preferred area. We saw one we really liked advertised on Friday but the Boss forgot to call them (he was dealing with the car fiasco – still) and within 24 hours it showed up as Under Contract. Typical.

    On the car front, one assessor has announced that the repairs will be significantly more than the book value so they will probably write it off. They want to re-assess it first, so the Boss has to take the car in on Friday for a third assessment. *sigh* Meanwhile we’re getting by fine with one car, but that will change next month when school is back in and I have a slew of medical appointments to attend.

  50. Bugger. Although it will be much cheaper only running one car. Could you maybe borrow one of the in-laws fleet as required? i hear you can pay them in moonshine.

  51. I do try to avoid the in-laws’ cars where possible. So do local thieves. Not that they could steal FIL’s cars. He’s installed a bunch of stuff on the Kia, including a choke (haven’t seen those since the 70’s!), and the Calais has an 8 step process just to start it. That man loves to tinker with stuff, and he is totally addicted to bypass switches. But if I must, I must.

    Meanwhile, I’ve spent the better part of the day driving all over Melbourne in search of text books. I got all but one! It’s not one they need for homework, so I’ve ordered it on eBay – $20 cheaper than the shops (who were out of stock anyway), free delivery, expected to arrive on their first day back at school…. sounds too good to be true, so you can guarantee something will go wrong. The online company must have gotten sick of my whining and nagging, so they offered a full refund, which I agreed to with some relief. They’ve already sent that off, so it should be in my bank account by the end of the week. Yay!

  52. Result! Except for the running around, poor you.

    Let’s make a pact to do something about their booklists in good time this year. I sent Mum off to Officeworks at the last minute, I much prefer it when the little rodents get me their lists in time for me to get the school to fill a box, instead.

    Poor Mum already does enough for us.

  53. Oh your poor mother. My GF with the custody thing was in there a week or so ago and it made her day disappear.
    It looks like she’s decided to fight the 3 nights every third weekend access thing.
    I’d take that and run & be glad it wasn’t worse.
    Oh well.
    Not my problem.

  54. One thing about access, the selfish twerpy type often loses interest after a while, unless it’s a revenge thing. One of Fifi’s nieces was dumped without warning* by her selfish-git husband after three kiddies. He had weekend access to some degree, and on holidays but he’s largely lost interest afaik.

    *Except for going to the gym a lot, getting buffed up, going out on his own(?), putting “look how young and fit I am” shots on FB, etc, etc.

    Having encountered his parents, I can’t say I’m very surprised. They probably approve.

  55. Oh geeze. I was quite sorry for Melania Trump already (crap husband, slut shaming) but now I think she needs a rescue.
    Check that footage. Poor woman.

    • Yes I saw that Melania GIF on twitter. The Trumpscapades are making for hilarious twitter viewing, we should be well entertained unil he turns on his best buddy Putey & nukes Moscow, that’s for sure.
      And yes that was my advice, GB. She’s fighting the Monday night sleepover & the husband dropping her off at school as the child isn’t up to dealing with it. Or so she says. My advice was to suck it up and focus on teaching the kid some resilience through a really good program like the Triple P at UQ. And to sit back and giggle whien he starts bitching about the gold coast school drop off traffic on Mondays, as that’ll prompt him to drop his end of the rope faster than anything she can say or do.
      All of her friends are telling her the same thing – stop fighting with him, let it go, focus on creating a harmonious fight free life for the child for the 70% of the child’s life where she is living with you.
      I think sometimes when people can’t stop fighting with their exes its just because deep down they aren’t ready to let go of the relationship & move on, and the fighting is just a way for them to stay engaged with each other.

  56. Ugh. I still have the Officeworks visit to face. The kidlets have been trying on uniforms and it appears I also have to replace at least half of their clothing. They grew so much! I’m going to have to stop feeding them.

  57. Gigantor was not happy with the current length of some of his school shirts. I told him we’d revisit that issue after another couple of week’s pays. I’m haemorrhaging money, it’s like shark week has come early.

    If you’ve got a Payless near you Catty – school shoes! I got a pair of black Dunlop Volleys to use as school shoes and a pair of Slazenger runners for $57 total! Poor them going broke but I’m happy to be the vulture at their liquidation.

    Q, I think you’re right. Once the love – or whatever it was – relationship is ended, the kids are the only power each has over the other. If she keeps pushing she might end up with week on, week off and studies show that damages kids more than the odd weekend.

  58. I think I’ve told you about the girl up north whose husband left her for another woman, and she ended up marrying the other woman’s husband. The original couples had two kids, so after the reshuffle, they’d take all four kids every second week, Brady Bunch style. It seemed like the ideal solution, but these things never work out in practise. From what I’ve heard, I don’t think any of the kids turned out very well.

  59. Constant fighting and conflict is never good for anyone. You’d think the entire point of splitting up would be so that you can all put it behind you, but obviously that’s not a process that’s going to suit everyone.
    I’d take the deal and be grateful that it’s not far, far worse.
    Sounds like she’s decided to fight it. I’ve told her that I don’t expect that to go well but hey, who listens to me?

  60. I think you’ll find we do. Especially when you’re talking about food.

  61. Seconded.

  62. I’m going to see Hughesy and her partner at the Bison Bar tonight! Not only am I excited to hear them play again, it is know for it’s cocktails and desserts! I will report back in depth.

  63. I just googled that & note with envy that they have Thursday night Drag Queen Bingo, hosted by Mellony Brests & her mate Sall Monella.
    Oh to be awake to attend such things, that bar sounds awesome.
    I don’t think I can talk about food without feeling queasy – I’ve been following up with the family research to dig up more info on my aboriginal ancestry from Dad’s side of the family. My great, great grandmother was married off to a white man at the age of 13 & one month & within a year she had the first of her 13 babies, born every 2 years apart.
    Her mother had her first baby (again, to a white man) when she was 11 years old.
    No wonder they didn’t put that stuff in our primary school readers.

    • Just appalling. And largely swept under the historical rug.

      • The other side of that GB, is that because the half-caste population were so much healthier than the full bloods, (inherited immunity & hybrid vigour) the population of them soared.
        As it takes 4 generations for the colour to disappear, that means that within 50-60 years, their descendants were passing themselves off as white.
        Nobody really knows how many of us have Aboriginal ancestry because it’s been so well hidden, but given the way the population exploded & the fact that in the early days there were no white women around – well, you’d have to think that there are far more of us walking around with an Aboriginal ancestor than with a convict ancestor.
        If people would only own up to it, and suddenly it became personal, by the realisation that ‘holy shit this was my great-great grandmother that got passed around like a packet of biscuits to these syphilitic European marauders’ there’d probably be a whole lot less virulent racism around.

  64. When I was in Cairns Base maternity ward to have The Gimmee, one of the girls in the next room was a week overdue. She had been bussed in from the mission, and was just 10 years old. She looked so world-weary and defeated I wanted to cry for her.

    Say g’day to Hughesy for me, Morgana. Also, don’t let the Wildebeest start a bar tab. I had to pawn the family silver to pay for his last binge.

  65. That’s horrific, and typical of bloody queensland in the era that she wasn’t given a termination. Meh. I just read the news about Trump & co taking an anti-abortion stance for NGO aid agencies so that particular tragedy is about to be repeated x infinity the world over.

  66. 13? 11?! 10?!!! Some of those are younger than TGP. That’s terrible.

    The launch was awesome and the venue was amazing. The seating was groupings of Genoa lounges and other old school couches around coffee tables. That plus the blue velvet curtains, Art Nouveau lamps and the odd flying duck on the wall and it was like a concert in your lounge room. Only better because we explored their mocktail and milkshake menu as we listened.

    I’m totally going back for Drag Bingo. I’m Fb friends with Melony Breasts.

    • LOL.Tell her I want her to sign my brassiere, as well as my bingo cards.

  67. That sounds great! The old GB pub (Great Britain, not me) had that atmosphere. Lots of old genoa lounges, rickety coffee tables and fireplaces. It was as comfortable as an old pair of trakkie dacks.

  68. I haven’t worn trakkie dacks since Q sent me these marvellous assinine pants. I’ve been living in them. The Boss had to stop me from wearing them when I went out on my textbook-hunting excursion.

  69. I’m so chuffed that you like them, Catty.
    Colour me happy.

  70. Genius. That’s our winning business idea – The Pyjama Bar!

    You can come in your pyjamas, the staff all wear pyjamas, and for people who don’t want to drink there can be a gourmet hot chocolate menu.

  71. Only if it has comfy recliners and a reading area.

  72. Recliners?! Obviously there have to be beds.

  73. There’s a pyjama bar here at the gold coast, but it’s for the sexy young thangs that are into popping a few Es & skolling the night away.
    My idea of a pyjama bar would have a dress code for flannelette Eeyore variety pyjamas, and they would serve cinnamon toast & hot chocolate in lieu of the intoxicants.
    Although I’ve got that here at home, and no pesky humanity to clutter up the zen of it for me.

  74. You’d love the Bison Bar. You’ll have to some up some time.

  75. The problem is staying awake.
    I’m pretty much stuck on the 4am wake up schedule, now. Which is fine because dawn is hands down the best time to be out on the water with my SUP. But that does also guarantee that I’m hanging out to fall asleep by 8pm at night.
    I don’t know how I’ll ever manage to stay awake for anything after 7pm again, ever.

  76. Same. But I powered through with the aid of my caramel malted milkshake, and helping the young uns Tinder.

  77. Mmmmm…. malted milkshakes….

    I once had an urge to make malted caramel fudge, but could not find malt anywhere. Not even the health food shop. The closest thing on the shelves was malt syrup, which was basically just corn syrup with malt added. I figured I’d just have to make Milo fudge, but when I went to the Milo aisle the strawberry Nesquik was on sale so I made strawberry fudge instead. It was very good. I never did get around to trying the Milo fudge idea.

    • That’s odd, I’m sure I’ve seen it.
      I just checked with Coals online & they’ve got something called Saunders Malt Extract topping.
      We stocked it years ago when I used to work Saturday mornings in the local health food store. I just checked online – I think the company is still operating, it’s called Bintani. Take a look online.
      Not a fan of malt, personally, unless they are the teaser variety. That said I endorse all manner of fudge production, so go for it.

  78. Bleargh. It’s not 7:30 and I’m up and dressed. Totally uncivilised but I have to go and get ALL the blood tests and an ultrasound. (NO. I am not pregnant.) Went in yesterday with some annoying vertigo and they realised I haven’t had tests since the heart thing. Naughty me. Blood pressure was 120/70 so I got a gold star for that though.

    • My BP a few weeks ago was 93/58 & my GP of 30 years told me to get out of his clinic & stop cluttering it up for the sick people.
      Here’s hoping you generate similar levels of disdain in your examiners, Khan GB.

  79. If you have anything serious wrong with you you’ll be in big trouble GB. Don’t be naughty.

    Catty … what about malted milk powder?

  80. Yeah, GB, suuuuuure you’re not pregnant. Good news about the BP, though. You’ve been avoiding Facebook, obviously.

    I should look again for the malt. Either I didn’t know what to look for, or they might have just been out of stock that day. Or maybe I’ll just stick with the Milo idea, because it does sound yummy. Mmmmm…. Milo….

  81. They do put these things in weird places and not every store stocks them. I’d phone first and ask a few stores if they stock it, as they’ll look in the computer system first before they send some flake out to find it on the shelves.

  82. In my Woolies it’s next to the Milo, so you can’t lose in that whole aisle.


  83. I get a bit pedantic about going up every aisle at the supermarket, because these days I’m doing well if I remember to wear pants, let alone take my list.

  84. You need list pants. Made of whiteboard fabric. The only downside is you need a mirror or the help of a stranger to read what’s written on your arse.

  85. It’s the stress, Catty. Since stress is such a big thing with IBS it’s going to be really important for you to try to reduce the adrenalin surges down.
    Did you ever read that book on CBT that I suggested?
    The Sarah Edelman one. It’s really good.

  86. I know it seems impossible when you’re stressed, and you’ve got a houseful of people who seem like they’re trying to break you on the hour every day(families – if they didn’t make us so tired there would be more axe murders) … but a little mindfulness meditation makes everything so much easier.

    You don’t have to wear lycra and sit on a fancy mat. Just stop for a few minutes, breathe deeply and slowly and ground yourself in the now. As worries come into your mind, notice them and let them float away. Notice the sights and sounds and smells that are around you. Do;t judge them or try to feel anything about them, just be aware of them. The more you do it the easier it gets.

    Literally the only thing that stopped me going mental after we fled Idiot Face.

  87. I read up on mindful meditation last year, and have been doing that ever since. Some days it’s marvellous. Other days are a complete failure and I end up even more stressed when Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’ won’t stop playing in my head. Someone once told me that this is common in neurodivergents.

    Quokka, I never did chase up that book. I always meant to, and then just didn’t. One of these days I will.

    • Do you have a Kindle Catty?

      • I have an iPad, but I can’t read books on it. Within half an hour my eyesight is wrecked – not much chop if, like me, your reading sessions tend to stretch past the three hour mark. It’s something to do with light sensitivity (common with Fibromyalgia), so I just use it for the occasional bout of Candy Crush, and to blog when the computer’s not working. Oh, and Simpsons Tapped Out. Yes, I’m still playing that.

  88. Oh, good. Keep going, I really think it’s good stuff. I don’t know about ‘Baker Street’, but then again it’s not a bad track.

    Kindle Catty sounds like an old folk rhyme, GB.

    When they play at kindle catty
    And the trees are brindling low
    Comes a postman feeling batty
    and a milkmaid warbling slow

  89. Warble. It sounds like it should mean the confused, disjointed comments of a four year old who is about to go somewhere really fun and they are too excited to speak clearly.

  90. Or me when I see cheesecake.

  91. Mmmm….Cheesecake.
    I had a salad sanga for lunch with a glass of juice & I could use a high fat snack around about now.
    Catty, your local library should be able to get it: Sarah Edelman ‘Change your thinking’.
    There’s a lot of good strategies in there to stop you talking yourself into an even bigger state of distress & FWIW I think every human being on the planet should read it.
    I’m tempted to bash Wendy Whiner over the head with it, in hopes some of the wisdom therein will penetrate her thick skull.
    Truly…that woman’s levels of negativity are phenomenal.
    We spent four blissful days leaving the house at 6am to adventure on the creek & then out in the glorious rolling green hills.
    When we left, it was to the sounds of Wendy waking up and warming into her latest grievance. When we got home 8 hours later it was to find her still yabbering on her patio about the same damned problem.
    I can’t believe that we live in such a glorious part of the world & all she can do is sit there & complain about it.
    It is rather hilarious & she would make a good sketch for a truly horrid character in a novel. Ladies, feel free to borrow her personality to install into the Villain Of Your Stories.
    She spent three days bitching about how some kid had asked to be transferred out of her class (Only one?) & how aggrieved she was by the rationale for this.
    Even though, the week before she’d announced to her own child that she’d pulled some strings to yank him out of the class he’d been so happy in last year & which he was so excited to rejoin this year, because she doesn’t like the teacher.
    Anyway, here’s the link again. I’d encourage you to read it & adopt some of the strategies – your kids will be the big winners with that as there’s nothing like a parent role modelling constructive new patterns of behaviour.

  92. Thanks, Q, I’ll try the library. Right after breakfast. MIL must have heard you, Morgana, as she made cheesecake and gave half of it to us. Yay!

  93. I’m a little bit bummed to think my magical power is manifesting cheesecake for others … but if you’re going to be the beneficiary Catty then so be it.

    Q, some of the nastiest personalities I’ve ever encountered have been teachers. I often wonder if the job twists them or if the idea of dominion over littlies appeals to psychos.

    • Umm… Some cheesecake would be nice here too. Just sayin’

      • OK, just fetch these magical ingredients. 2 or 3 lemons, tin of condensed milk, pkt of Philly, bit of butter, packet of Ginger Nuts.

        Now melt the butter, crush the bikkies and combine then press into a flan dish, while muttering eldritch verses.

        Juice and zest the lemons, beat in the condensed milk and softened cream cheese, then pour into the crust and chill offering thanks to the Elder Gods.

        Serve when the moon is full and Saturn is in the eight house.

    • My year’s intake at teacher’s college were lovely – there was only one nut job & she stood out from the pack as someone we all wanted to quietly shun.
      I think these days they’re hard up getting good people into the job.
      Back when my sisters & I were young, the only options from family for career choice were secretary, teacher & nurse. All other options were viewed as UnWomanly & as such, any other options were scoffed at.
      I think that was very common & it meant that you probably got the cream of the crop in all of those professions.
      These days women have better options, and they know it, and they take them.
      Because Wendy is so damned loud that we can hear her over the AC, when the house is sealed, we can’t help but overhear things that make us just boggle at each other.
      I think the lack of emotional intelligence is the worst of it, though.

  94. MIL puts jelly on the top of hers. It’s very good.

  95. This has gotten amusingly tangled. I’d start a new thread if anything ever happened. Maybe I’ll go out in public and commit a nuisance, just for the blog value.

  96. You could, but that would involve putting on pants.

    • Oh not at all. Simply going out in public, sans culottes, would surely be a public nuisance. Well maybe not nuisance but it would certainly create a disturbance in the farce.

      • I answered the Postman’s knock in my skimpy summer pyjamas last week. The poor man hasn’t been back since. Stress leave, perhaps?

  97. Sigh. Pants, you are my evil nemesis.

  98. Bras are my nemesis. I don’t know why anyone would complain about pants when breast harness is so vexatious.

  99. Let it all hang out. Literally. It’s too darn hot for any smurfing garments.

  100. It’s 23 here and I’ve just taken a chocolate cake out of the oven. Made with some stirring and whisking assistance of course. Later we’ll ice it and cover it with blueberries for grandma’s birthday (which was yesterday but she had a cupcake for that).

    We’ve had a guest for about a week – the daughter of one of Fifi’s oldest friends who’s moving to Melbourne for a Uni course. Already has Hons from UQ but still going. Madness (and indecision) I think. She’s agreeably nuts and no trouble at all but it looks as though she’s found a room in a converted church with a couple of other loons. Sounds great in an odd way, or odd in a great way. Not sure which. The migration south continues. Funny when you remember her as a baby and owlish primary school kid but I am NOT getting old. Nope.

  101. Happy belated birthday, Fifi! When should I come over for CAEK? All we have here is vanilla sponge with jam and cream. No chocolate CAEK at all. *sob* A chunk of birthday noms should see me through until the red velvet cupcakes I’m making tomorrow are cooled and cream-cheesed.

    House guests are like fish, GB. You have to keep cleaning the tank, and they have an annoying habit of eating each other’s fins.

  102. Hmm? Two daughters, two grandchildren, one guest (who never eats our fins), Fifi, me and He Who Must Be Fed (aka son in law). Not a hope. I shall pass on your birthday wishes to Herself. (I wonder if Fifi would like to nibble my fins?)

  103. Sulk. I always wanted to live in a renovated church. I’m sure I’m crazy enough.

    Happy belated birthday, Fifi!

    And keep your fins to yourself GB.

  104. I knew a guy who lived in a renovated fire station. The funny thing about it was that he was a Pole. This is actually true.

  105. LOL. We’re going to need more veal this week, I see.
    I wouldn’t be too jealous of the habitat, MM. Churches were designed to be big airy halls & it’s very hard to convert one into housing without turning them into dark airless little grottos. Church renovations are number one on the loathing list for architects, Queenslanders running a close second.
    If you want a house to be comfortable for this climate you really don’t want anything the colonists thought would be a good idea.
    You know the one I love – the Glen Murcutt secular-monastic. Light in winter, breezes in summer, nature all around, so you feel like you’re a part of it.
    I have never felt comfortable in churches – I find them far too claustrophobic.
    I think it’s why I like the state library building at UQ – it brings the outside in. It was lovely to be there the other day & watch the people & the river, moving on with the day.

    • I’m looking forward to seeing this one Q and I suspect your description is spot on. The two rooms for rent are up on a mezzanine and lighting is mainly via a skylight or clerestory window – not clear which. The roof pitch means that storage is on a mini-mezzanine/large shelf. I’d probably have loved it in my 20’s. Actually it would be better than the crappy, cold water hotel room I lived in for a year.

  106. Catty, if you didn’t exist we’d have to invent you.

    Actually that whole complex is a complete winner, Q. I love GOMA, and the space adapts really well to all sorts of wildly different exhibitions.

    That deep dark corridor near the Museum, with the suspended humpbacks, is also a family fave.

    • And the echoing whale song in there. Great place.

  107. I love that whole cultural precinct. I ventured briefly into the library in Brisbane Square the other day & it was gorgeous, too. I’ll have to go back with more time to appreciate it properly. Flying visit, as I had BCC library books to collect & the Bloke, who would normally do that for me, didn’t have a free moment this week to get into the city.
    Cost planning & hospital budgets take precedence over my reading requirements. A shocking imposition on my R&R time but there you have it.

  108. It’s an outrage. I thought he knew which side his brushcetta was oiled.

  109. If those workmates of his want the steady stream of tasty noms to continue unabated, they better start organising themselves better so the Bloke has more time for the important stuff.

  110. Yeah, they need to update their Noms & Motion policy.

  111. Actually, I’m not sure the Bloke even needs anyone to cover for him, if our local hospital is anything to go by. Whoever designed that did NOT bring their A game. Unless, of course, the game was to utterly confuse and infuriate outpatients and visitors. In which case, they win.

  112. You don’t want to get your Shopping Apocalypse – no windows, no clocks, and no smurfing way out! – designers confused with your Sensible Corridor and Orderly Layout people.

    • Ye Gods. Picturing the IKEA hospital, it’s giving me palpitations.

  113. This is what keeps me eating my muesli & the lentil casseroles, people. Chronic loathing of having to go to the damned things that pay for our existence.
    Meanwhile, Catty, The Bloke has just emptied out the freezer box of brownies that I made with your clever brownie tray & has demanded Moar Brownies. He’s unwilling to share the noms with his workmates at the moment & in any case they are all trying to lose the weight they gained over Xmas.
    One of his colleagues had a massive heart attack on Monday night – only 55 & quite fit, so they think it was congenital – so that has scared the pants off of all of them.
    I was speaking to one of my GFs up at Caloundra the other day & her sister has been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition too, so they’re freaking out because she’ll need surgery & they don’t know what’s going on, yet, as it’s all so new. She said there’s no justice in the world as her sister has always been the one to not drink or smoke, to follow the healthy lifestyle & stay fit & eat well, whereas Deb’s idea of exercise is to drive to the shops for another packet of smokes & uncork a fresh bottle. And Deb is fine. Well, apart from the food allergies & the niggling autoimmune stuff & the worry of caring for their elderly father.
    Life, it’s a funny business.

  114. Yes, if I had a dollar for every super fit person who suddenly dropped dead … meh, whatever. Pass the brownies.

  115. S is designing a clinic at the moment and it’s surprisingly(?) complicated. All this stuff about correct flow of patients through from reception to ‘dressing in humiliating garments’ to ‘machines that go splurt’ and back out again without frightening the ones in the holding pen. And the waste flow (not actual flow but you know) and then the samples/specimens. There’s a massive set of Rools for how everything has to connect, move, not mix etc. Whodathunkit? I asked where the conveyor belts and the rotating knives were but she covered the screen. Apparently I haven’t taken the Architects Hypocritic Oath (ask the Bloke Q).

    This is what happens while we’re playing with innocent kiddies.

    • No, no, GB. The machine is supposed to go ‘Ping’ I saw it on that Monty Python documentary.

      • (Not in *this* clinic)

  116. Thanks to the vast array of illnesses I have inherited from my family, I don’t expect to live long enough for the ciggies to kill me.

    I’m booked in for an Echo next week. Apparently Doctor Delete wiped all the info about my leaky heart valves off the medical centre’s computer, so my GP has to run the test again. *sigh* They sent all that info to the hospital before DD wiped it, so I don’t know why they don’t just email a copy back to the GP. But, no, that would be too freaking easy.

  117. Oh dear. Well at least it’s painless and non invasive. I suspect the reason the hospital can’t just send a copy back is that they are so smurfing short staffed all the medical records clerks are emptying bedpans as we speak.

  118. Or, as they usually are when I’m waiting in line to check in, standing around the photocopier talking about their social lives.

  119. Nurses have social lives?

  120. Yes, but they are chiefly conducted in linen cupboards.

    Brace yourselves, lovers of filth – I’ve sold another story! $150 US this time. If this keeps up I’ll be able to retire in 30 years or so.

  121. I am inordinately proud of you, MM. You are incredibly talented, and I’m so happy you’re getting fiscal recognition to add to the unadulterated adoration of your fans (me included).

    But hold off on the retirement plans. In 30 year’s time they’ll have probably lifted the retirement age to 95 and added more taxes to superannuation payouts. The only people who are going to be able to afford to retire are politicians, landlords and drug dealers. I would have said movie actors too, but I just saw Johnny Depp’s bank balance.

  122. You make an excellent point. Pass the smokes, I’m scared I’ll live too long.

  123. Woohoo!
    Well done, MM, I’m proud of you. We’ll have you sitting on stage at the writer’s festival in no time.
    Where’s this one going to be published?

  124. In Great Jones Street again – which is now a (free to download) smart phone app. I think they’re doing a Valentine’s Day special (hence the call for erotica). I’ll let you know when to look for it.

  125. Well done, You.

  126. I don’t know how to break it to Mother 🙂

    • “I have good news and interesting news”.

    • ‘Your book club will never look at you the same way after reading this story.’

      • Well they can hardly blame Mother. One look at her and they’d know any erotica genes must be recombinant.

  127. Erotica genes. Aren’t they the arseless ones the gay guys wear in the nightclubs?

  128. They’re the ones, draped with Chaps.

  129. There’s no more veal, and the kitchen staff have called in their Union rep.

  130. Speaking of union reps, did you see that thing on TV last night where they said unions were driving up the cost of construction by 30%? They reckon some bloke was getting $90K a year just to flip a slow/stop sign. I want that job.

  131. Yes having spent the summer listening to Wendy shout at her pool builders, I had heard that the stop-go man who let me & Madame Tussauds in & out of our driveway was on a higher rate than her – and she has a doctorate.
    Hey, a round of applause for Madame Tussauds – she got her first listings this week and she’s sold both of them within a week of putting them on the market.
    How good is that?
    She’s cleared out all of the pilates stuff from her garage & she’s converted it back into an actual garage, so she’s storing the audi in there now rather than on the street.
    I do wish I’d had the sense & the effervescent personality to go down that career track twenty years ago.
    Pity it involves being nice to the populace, before you screw them out of their lifeblood.

  132. That IS impressive, seeing as this is the slowest time of the year for real estate. Well done MT! What’s her trick? I know some real estate agents suggest baking cupcakes just before the OFI so the house smells good; maybe she’s offering her vendors chickens to roast instead?

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