Too Many Feels
21 December, 2014


The inevitable has happened and Gigantor’s got a girlfriend. To protect the innocent, we’ll call her Mothra. I’m not sure whether to feel pleased that he’s playing nicely with others, or horrified that he might love Mothra more than me.

Too paralyzed with horror to write more.

Zombie Scrub Turkeys Attack!
3 October, 2012

Well, that was fun.  We enjoyed a relatively uneventful trip up to visit Uncle and Aunt and all the tiny horses at the miniature stud, earlier this week.  Well, you know, I still had to drive through Gympie but since we were enthralled by a game of ‘I Spy Something That’s Not A Gun Shop Or A Redneck” I was too busy to even wince.

The journey home was strange, though, at a bare minimum with surreal flashes.  There was debate at the gate, which I won with my “If it’s shut when you get there, leave it shut” argument.

Rarely do I taste victorious vindication at all, let alone almost immediately, but less than 30 metres down the track we encountered a heifer who was reluctant to share the road.

“Lucky I made you shut the gate.” I observed, smug as a cat with a mouthful of budgie.  I crawled the car up, to ease past her.

“See, Mumma – I told you there were feral cows!” said Elf Boy, who’d spent a chunk of the day chasing the neighbours’ cattle out of Aunt’s mini-horse paddocks.

“Arrgh! It’s got horns! It’s going to charge the car!!” screeched Magic Man, who has inherited his Great Uncle’s distrust of large livestock.

“Blow the horn!” cried Elf Boy.

“Don’t blow the horn!!” countered his brother.

“My paintwork!” said Mother.

Maybe it was the horns on my radiator grille (Toyota symbol on Mother’s wagon), or perhaps the steely glare I fired at her through the windscreen, but the heifer grudgingly shuffled to the side so I could pass.

All good through the level crossing and past the pub, until we got to a stretch between farms, about halfway to the highway.  It was wettish from the showers, and the usual narrow, patchy, soft shouldered goat track, but conditions were no worse than usual and I know the road pretty well.  Round a gentle bend, four scrub turkeys seemed to be having a union meeting, right on the verge.  Well, that or they’d heard about vultures and thought they’d give it a try – there was a lot of road kill scattered about.

Having learned not to underestimate the ability of the scrub turkey to annoy – and destroy – I slowed down from 80 odd clicks to just over 60 to pass the . . . what’s the collective noun for scrub turkeys: a scraping; a cabal?  I think I’ll go with “devastation”.  Three of the turkey’s high-tailed  it for the paddock, away from my vehicle, but the forth, either braver or much, much stupider than his mates ran out under my wheels.  He fluttered up in a flight attempt that was more like something you’d see from a septuagenarian gymnast trying to relive the glory days.  He achieved just enough of a twisting leap before I hit him full on, that he smacked into the windscreen dead ahead of me.  I hunched down, sure he’d shatter the glass, yanking my right foot back to resist the urge to slam on the brakes on the wet.

The score:  No skid, no screams, not even time for me to curse, no damage to Mother’s car, journey continued without further incident.  And our feathered friend?  According to Magic Man, who watched his dismount through the rear screen, he shook himself to settle his feathers back into place and wandered off, not only unharmed but seemingly unperturbed.

Maybe it was just a random event.  Perhaps this turkey’s turkey was just a very dull example of a species known more for persistence than intelligence.  Or his acquired taste for carrion caused a strain of Mad Bird Disease to express itself in suicidal behaviour.  I can’t escape the gnawing suspicion that we survived a deliberate – hell, orchestrated – plan by Greybeard and his evil minions to wipe out, not only me but all of my offspring and even the Mother who bore me.  Revenge for a certain Medieval Archery Incident of more than a year ago, a vengeance so cold they probably hired Ötzi The Glacier Mummy as a consultant co-conspirator.  Try again, big fella.

For Her
29 August, 2012

Seriously, Bic?  I know the biro was invented by a bloke – but it’s hard to understand what the smurf the people… well, I say people but I think we can safely assume that they’re men of a certain age… at Bic were thinking.  This is the sort of crap that leads to this:

and this:

and then this:

And, ultimately, this is why women still fail to recieve equal pay for equal work.  The same sort of mindset – admittedly at several removes – is directly linked to idiocy like Representative Todd Akin and ‘legitimate rape’ .

I’ve never been so glad my kids are both boys.  As much as I revile the facts and wish things were different, they’ve got a better chance of achieving their goals than their friends who are girls.  Not because they’re smarter or stronger or morally superior, but because their dangly toilet parts put them first in the queue.

Over the last few days I’ve admired the merciless lampooning dished out to this product by comedy sites such as Regretsy and some of the Cheezburger offshoots – but the funniest material are the “product reviews”  submitted by thousands of pro-feminist well-wishers. Make sure your Depends – and let’s hope they’re floral pink, ladies! – are in place, follow the link – if your soft, girly ladybrain can coordinate clicking your mouse (it’s the little pointy thing) – and enjoy comedy gold:

My Chookyard: Colditz by the Coast?
5 June, 2011

Poultry facilities: Note adequate food and shelter. Water (not pictured) also clean and ample.

I have previously alluded;

to one of my chook’s remorseless attempts to burrow out of the yard.

Chooks aren’t noted for their sharp wit, or propensity for forward planning, or reasoning… actually, chooks are pretty much noted for egg-laying and being tasty seasoned, crumbed and fried.

But still,  I keep questioning the motivation of this chook. Known as “Briana” by her former owners, we call her “Rooster” since she moulted her tail feathers, grew in a new more impressive set practically overnight, beefed up her comb and then turned on “Tikka”, who used to rule the roost.

Inside the yard, there is food, water, shelter, congenial company and plenty of opportunity for scratching, sunning, dirt-bathing and pecking. In case you’re not up on poultry husbandry, that sums up the whole gamut of chook behaviour other than rooting – we don’t have a rooster.

In fact, my chookyard has got it all over a Malaysian immigration detention facility – the only bamboo canes used in my yard prop up the tarp.

Despite her freedom to live a life of luxury, troubled only by wondering how many bacon rinds might be in the kitchen scraps and when they’ll be tossed at her feet, Rooster insists on staging elaborate breakouts.

Chook tunnel: note the use of sticks as buttressing

Pictured is Rooster’s latest tunnel. Note the use of native sticks and garden debris as buttressing.

"Cover for me, you two. Look innocent while I go under the wall!"

Why, Rooster, why?

Is it because, now you’re a drag king, you share some men’s misapprehension that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence?

Do you find it funny when the cry “Chook’s out again!” goes up, we corral the dog and all rush out to round you up again? Do chooks even have a sense of humour?

All I know is, if this keeps up, Rooster will get to experience the novel delights if being inverted in a killing cone… just before I slice off her ungrateful, tunnelling head.

Cause and Effect
26 April, 2011

Christopher Walken as the Angel of Death.

In a lyrically traditional piece of symbolism, the Angel of Death passed over my house on Easter Sunday. We enjoyed a low-key and major-incident-free celebration with family and close friends. As one might expect from the events of Christmas, though:-

for those of you whose merciful memories have suppressed the Yuletide incident – we came unstuck yesterday.

Magic Man, like the proud little digger he is, shed blood on ANZAC day. It all started when I was at blissful repose, inside the makeshift cone of silence I’d cobbled together from headphones, my internet connection and Youtube. Magic Man came rushing into the room, face twisted in anguish, gabbling something or other than for some reason I couldn’t interpret. Oh, the headphones – right. When I took them off, I heard:

‘A chook’s gotten out of the chook yard and The Dangerous Dog is out, too!’

Since the Dangerous Dog was doing his best to trip Magic Man up – i.e. arguably inside at the time – I failed to panic.

‘Settle down, mate. The chook’s gotten out before.’

And it has. My chook yard might as well be Stalag 13, the number of times this chook has escaped. It may be that Tikka is so stupid – even by chook standards – that she can’t realise we’ve got a free-ranging hound out here and she’s got food, water, shelter and companions in there. It may be that she’s a poultrine freedom fighter, protesting her interment at Villawood by the Sea. It may be chaos theory in action. Whatever the root cause, the kids and I have got re-capturing and returning her down to a fine art. We sprang into action.

Livestock corralled, we conducted a forensic assessment of the scene of the crime. There was clear evidence of dog-digging along the front fence line and a new gap along the back fence.

‘Aha!’ we concluded, ‘DD tried to dig in and Tikka panicked and fled out the back through a tunnel she’d made ready.’

The bloodshed came when he tried to patch up the yard. To cut to the chase, Magic Man stumbled backwards and stepped hard onto the upturned edge of the Weber lid. Which, as it happens, is sharp enough to gash a gusher into the sole of a 10 year old’s foot.

There was wailing, there was a great deal of invective hurled at Elf Boy – who was blamelessly on the other side of the backyard at the time, there was limping, there were tears. I got him in the shower first, to rinse off the archaeological layers of mud, blood and chook poo.

Elf Boy tried to help by yanking his brother’s dick ‘To distract him from the pain in his foot.’

I responded with a string of curse words delivered in a tone of voice so many octaves below my normal pitch that for a moment I wondered if I’d finally been possessed by an incubus.

In conclusion, I patched Magic Man up and after another day’s rest and elevation of the affected limb I hope he’ll be fit for camp. Some of it, at least. They’re only travelling 40 clicks or so south from us, so I can always go and change his dressing if required.

Needless to say, though, I’m fearful of the terror the Labour Day long weekend might hold. Stay tuned.

Oh Goddess, the Horror!
25 December, 2010

As my mother said – reaching for a glass of red wine with a barely perceptible tremor of her hand – “I’ve never known a Christmas quite like it.”

Soon after the gift unwrapping, Magic Man, lurching around the lounge room in an excess of festive spirit, smashed my table lamp. The hand-blown glass table lamp I had travelled all the way to the wilds of darkest Springwood to purchase from IKEA. That table lamp.

“Oh well,” I told myself, trying to be philospophical as I swept the floor for stray shards, “Some people will lose loved ones these holidays. It’s only a THING.”

As it happens, only a very minor thing. Little did I know, the real horror was just around the corner.

First, a little background. Magic Man decided, back in October, that he dearly wanted a couple of scorpions for Christmas. His doting Grandmother was happy to oblige, and together they purchased a little glass tank in anticipation of the happy event. Regrettably, the Creepy Critters pet store in our town went out of business just before the school holidays – taking with it both the scorpions and, even more crucial, the live food they needed.

Plan B. Magic Man decided that a siamese fighting fish could live in the little glass tank just as happily and Miss Fish arrived on Christmas Eve.

For a brief, golden time, both Magic Man and Miss Fish were as happy as the proverbial weasels.

Early in the afternoon on Christmas Day just as everyone was relaxing, full of prawns and goodwill to all men, Elf Boy wandered into Magic Man’s room. We’ll never know what actually happened next, but allegedly Miss Fish became startled at the sight of Grandpa’s dog and took a frantic, suicidal leap into a nearby bucket of Lego. How the glass lid that covered about 85% of the tank’s surface became dislodged is still a mystery. Grandpa’s dog may strike fear into the hearts of fish, but he lacks opposable thumbs.

A frantic search through 50,000 bits of Lego ensued. Magic Man wailed “Siamese fighting fish can last out of water for up to five minutes. We’ve got to find her!”. But, even after we’d turned his whole room upside down, we couldn’t find so much as a scale of the late and much lamented Miss Fish.

Some say Grandpa’s declared-dangerous dog swallowed her whole. He’s got form, having terminated a couple of cats before his death-spree was curtailed.

I think Miss Fish was a magical Christmas fish, sent to torment me within a hairs-breadth of my ever precarious sanity. Smashed lamps, kamikaze fish and Aunt Irma, too.  Merry freaking Christmas!

How NOT to be a teenager: The art of remaining tolerable while your peers whine, demand, sulk and smell
11 April, 2010

Catty has teen trouble. Apologies for the redundancy; if I’d just written ‘Catty has a teenager’ the trouble  could quite easily have been inferred. Because ‘yoof’ are appaling, aren’t they? Demanding the world but not even prepared to get out of bed before midday to get it.  Convinced they know everything and anyone older than mid-twenties is a hopeless dried up old fossil who, if they ever had a clue, lost it years ago. And they’re as dangerous to themselves as they are irritating to others, displaying a breath-takingly alarming combination of risk-taking with lack of judgement and tendency to experimentation with alcohol and drugs. What’s there to love?

Recent advances in neuroscience are interesting, if unhelpful. It seems the teen brain devolves to the level of a two-year-old’s… “Mummy, want dat! Want dat now!! Waaah”… before achieving a more sensible grown-up organisation. (Note: Those of you married to, or familiar with, men may have noticed that the final ‘maturity’ phase of development is frequently dramatically delayed. In some cases, death of advanced old age will be achieved before the ‘grown-up’ phase is reached.) Still, the knowledge that your teenager’s brain circuitry is as scrambled as the eggs going cold on the breakfast table while you invite, cajole and then threaten them to get out of the damn bed and get ready for school is of little consolation or practical benefit.

That’s where we come in. There must be a cure, I reckon. Or, if not a cure, some guidelines for ameliorating the condition until maturity – eventually – emerges. Here are some of mine:

  1. Shower or bathe thoroughly, at least once a day. Pay special attention to your stinky feet and lank greasy hair. No-one but you enjoys the way you reek when you don’t.
  2. Ask yourself, “Would I get a toddler drunk, give it the car keys and then hop in the boot while it drove me around late at night at high speed?” If the answer is no, then ask yourself why, when your mate Davo… whose brain is currently functioning at the level of a two-year-old’s…  is driving, are you stupid enough to believe that this is a hectic way to spend Saturday night?
  3. Only have intoxicated, meaningless sex at 3 a.m. with people you’d be prepared to have sex with while completely sober in broad daylight. And, anytime you fornicate, make sure you and your partner are safe. STD rates are through the roof, again. If you lot are so smart, what’s with that?

What are your anti-terrible-teen tips?

Women Who Do Every Damn Thing
10 February, 2010

In the last couple of weeks, a prevailing theme has emerged from my interactions with other women… we’re all exhausted. Drained. Tired all the time. Rooted – and not in a good, covered in chocolate sauce and licked clean by Jason Statham way, either.

It doesn’t take rocket surgery or elaborate time and motion studies to work out why. We’re all scheduled within an inch of our lives, straining to meet unrealistic expectations.  And I’d love to insert the phrase “society is to blame”  here somewhere, but you know what? Ladies, I’m inclined to think WE’RE the ones to blame.

Look at men, bless them. For the purposes of this illustration, make him a fairly able-bodied and at least partially employed bloke. Having put in a day’s or week’s work, what does he do? Either he spends his leisure time amusing himself –  salsa dancing, mountain biking, re-imagining Aztec tapas in his gourmet kitchen, fishing – or he just plonks himself down in a recliner to watch his huge plasma screen until next called to gainful employment. He doesn’t agonise about whether little Johnnie needs a NINTH extra-curricular activity to round out his holistic development (note: Little Johnnie just started prep THIS YEAR). He doesn’t try to amend injustice, from tuckshop overpricing to the suffering wrought by the Haitian earthquake (unless he works for Red Cross, in which case he will address these issues… in office hours). He doesn’t keep in touch with 42 close friends and family members, and take it upon himself to make THEIR lives hassle-free and beautiful.

Nah, our bloke relaxes. Amped as a cattle dog or leisurely as a stoned koala, he knows the value of “me” time and the joy of unstructure.

Women can’t have it all, can’t do it all, can’t BE it all. And I don’t even care anymore. This is what I’m going to do about it… get more sleep. Eight hours a day, thanks, more if I can swing it. So don’t call me after 9 p.m unless you ‘ve  got a crush on  my answering machine robot and, unless either of my children is acutely unwell with more than just a sniffle or a graze – DON”T WAKE ME UP!

Happy Thingy
18 December, 2009

Got over Christmas at about the age of 9, when it became my job to be woken by the little kids pre-dawn. Armed with only stockings, I then had to keep them quiet until Mum and Dad rose at their leisure. Spent my teens and twenties Grinching it up, big time. But now I’ve given birth to Magic Man and Elf Boy, I’m feeling… well, not exactly stuffed with Christmas Spirit (hold the sage, it burns!) but… fractionally festive.

If you hive off the rampant consumerism, forget all about Merry Old Cola Beverage Marketing Man and the fact that Down Under, December and January are months best spent in a polar bear enclosure –  rather than frolicking in the UV radiation turning your own back-yard into an all-you-can-eat buffet, minus the food safety standards – then it’s not such a bad little festival. Poor kid is born to a single mum, grows up and instead of setting fire to things, smoking all the hashish he can steal and hot-wiring the neighbours’ donkey carts chooses instead to teach us to be nice to people and peaceful. Fair enough – I’ve heard worse messages (for the purposes of this blog we’ll pretend the Book of Revelations never happened, ‘kay?).

Be safe and nice, people. And I hope 2010 is terrific, for you and yours.

Thanks for Thanksgiving Blog
28 November, 2009

Haven’t really got a clue about Thanksgiving, and what it means to Seppos. Extensive sitcom viewing in my undergraduate years has produced a few by-product factoids – I gather it’s got something to do with Pilgrims, Native Americans and Turkeys.

Ignorance and disinterest notwithstanding, by clicking on random links in the NY Times Book Reviews, I found this little gem:

Enjoy your sweet potato and marshmallows, y’all.