Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Upright, but not awake....

I've been upright since 7.22 a.m., the time science says is the best time to wake up.  It's now 11.34, and I am still not fully awake.

Reason: lack of caffeine.  It takes me 1 coffee, or 3 green teas to become fully awake.  So far, I've had 2 teas.  No coffee.  Sheldon takes at least 3 coffees to come fully awake.

Gone are the days where I could hit the ground running 5 days out of 7.  I can still do it if I have to, but I tend to hit the wall far earlier, and a lot harder.  I blame my kids.  All 3 of them hated school, so I had to battle every day to get them out the door, this killed my ability to go go go without any help.  It just took a while to hit.

If I ever get a job that requires me to fire on all cylinders early, I'll revert to having a coffee every morning.  I'll need to, at least in the beginning.  My kidney will hate me, but my brain will be (mostly) functional.  Mostly....

Sunday, 23 February 2014

*Whine alert* Why is it so difficult to........

....... find clothes (particularly dresses) that:

  • have a waist?
  • Aren't super-short or skin-tight?
  • Don't scream 'clubbing' or 'granny'?

You wouldn't think this was so hard.  I mean, apparently the fashion world has embraced that we are all different shapes, ages, and sizes, so where the Hell is the range of attire this should produce?

I love the cut of skater dresses/skirts.  Fantastic.  But, they are all too short for my 43-year-old self to feel comfortable wearing.  Everything else is either a sack (and yes, I could wear a belt), super-tight/sparkly, or looks like something Nanna or Nan would have worn 30 years ago (I loved them both, but they were in their 60's and 70's then, so I don't want to dress like them yet).

I want structured dresses, ones with waists, that don't look like a muu-muu, a bandage or a belt.  I would like to be age-appropriate, without the need for tights.

Don't get me wrong, I love that the young can wear these clothes and look good in them - I follow one blog in particular where the 20-something owner wears clothes that I love.  On her.  She's young, cute and they suit her.  I'd look ridiculous.  Because I am something like 20 years older.  And that is a huge difference.  She rocked a little mermaid skirt a while ago, which was super-cute.  On her.  But on me, it would look ridiculous.

By the same token, there is an older lady (probably in her 70's) who lives near us, who always, always looks spectacular. Pure class.  But again, I could never carry off what she wears.  It's not age-appropriate for me.

That's all I want, age-appropriate clothing.  With a waist.  Surely that's not too much to ask?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Resolutions? What resolutions?

I didn't really make any New Years Resolutions this year.  Honest.

I did make a list of things I would like to get under control/do, but those are not resolutions.

I am thankful, because if they were resolutions, I would feel like a total failure.

I haven't managed to stay on track with any of them.

I haven't gotten back to exercise - family stuff has dragged me down.

I haven't been wearing makeup every day - see my previous excuse.

I have, however, walked every day, and made a point of doing SOMETHING with my hair every 2nd day.  So that is a start.

Getting out of Dodge and moving to Tombstone has helped me a lot though, I am not getting as anxious/tense, so I guess if I call that a non-resolution, to be less anxious/tense, I kinda win.  Right?!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

How Did That Happen?

As I sit here, zonked out of my brain with lack of sleep, it hits me - Uni starts in just over a week.  And I am not ready.  A month ago, even though I hadn't even started pre-reading, I was ready.  Now, I am just tired.

I know why this is (family issues) but I am afraid I am not going to find my 'get up and got' in a hurry.  It got up and went last week, and has yet to return.  All indications are it won't be back anytime soon.  Crap!

That being said, given that I have managed to (almost, 100 pages to go) pre-read for 2 of my 3 units (one I can't pre-read for), I should be ok until either my get up and go comes home, or my stubborn streak kicks in.  In the interim, I am going to bitch, whinge, and moan relentlessly.

Actually, no I'm not, I don't have the energy.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Creature of habit............

That would be me.  I only realised how ingrained some of my habits are in the last 6 months or so, and it was in large part thanks to my doctor.

I have to have (at least) annual blood tests to check my kidney function, and at least once a year my Vitamin B & D levels, as well as cholesterol, white cell count and other stuff is checked.  At my last check, everything was fine, except my Vitamin D, that was down to 38 (normal is 50+) and my white cell count was also down.

After some discussion, we hit on the issue for at least the Vitamin D - sunscreen.  I have worn sunscreen and sunglasses religiously 365 days a year for more than 2 decades, and this has driven my levels of Vitamin D down over winter.  Trying to not wear sunscreen for the first 15 minutes of the day, and going outside sans sunscreen for that time nearly drove me bonkers, so ingrained was the routine.  Last test was fine, back to 58.  I was still wearing sunscreen all the time (I gave up trying to beat the habit) but it was summer, and I was spending more time in the sun.  The white cell count was, we decided, just an anomoly, it tends to drop in winter (a pattern of many years).

The force of habit was further brought home to me the other night, I stepped out of the motorhome in the dark, and stepped into my 'camp' shoes, which were sitting in the exact spot where I always leave them.  Sheldon pointed out that I didn't even look, I just put them on.  Again, habit.

This got me thinking about how routinesed human beings are; we take the same routes to destinations we visit regularly, we run particular errands on specific days, we eat at the same place time and again (guilty, Thai Imperial Palace), we drink a specific drink, or stick within a specific list (skinny latte, skinny hot chocolate, no marshmallows, or skinny chai latte), or have a cigarette with coffee or alcohol.

I have become less inclined to do particular things on particular days since we got the MH, but certain habits still hold on (shoes, sunglasses & sunscreen being 3).  But, if those, and my preference of restaurant in Devonport, choice of footwear to purchase (flats) and preference of hot beverages are the worst habits I have, then I guess I am ok.  I just need to get exercise andhair/ makup into my habits, and I will be set for life!

Monday, 10 February 2014

So, yesterday I flooded half the house......

I am so clever.  In my defence, it was a genuine mistake, but it still wasn't good seeing water gushing out under the back door, or squelching through the hall at 11 p.m. last night.

How did I do it?  Well, it was a simple case of laundry gone awry.  And no, the machine didn't overflow.

Here's what went wrong.

The dog (16 weeks old) likes to 'eat' the dirty laundry, if she can reach it.  She also likes to pull the clean stuff off the line.  As she can get to the top of the dryer, I put the next load in the laundry basin, ready to load up after Load 1 was finished.

What I didn't realise was that the machine drains into the basin proper, not down the little drainhole the last 4 houses I have lived in have had.  So all was good, until it started to drain, then the water went everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  It was coming down the back step in a waterfall, the entire hallway, the laundry and part of the main bedroom were soaked.

It took all the house towels, all of our towels, wrung out and air dried several times and it was STILL squelching in places at 11 p.m.  This was all helped by the fact that a hail storm blew in mid afternoon.

So of course, instead of the 2 loads I had planned, I had 5 to do.  One of them was our sheets, which I needed dry for last night.  And guess what was on the line when the hailstorm hit?!

My son and his partner thought it was all very funny.......... no matter that their bedroom was squelchinng, they were laughing so hard they were crying at one stage.  Me, not so much.  I was so embarrassed, I wanted to cry..... my sons response was to hand me a teabag and say, with a straight face no less:

"Mum! Go have a cup of tea, and calm the **** down!"

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Being a traveller, as opposed to a tourist

We've all seen tourists, and, to be fair, we've all been tourists, at least to a degree.  But I prefer to be, and will be, a traveller.  To my mind, there are several key differences:

A tourist has a specific list of places to go, attractions to see, and misses everything on the way.  A traveller takes it all in.  A classic example is the Great Ocean Road, in Victoria.  We came back along there late in 2012, took over a week to do it, but repeatedly saw people who were doing the whole shebang in 1 day (it's a 500 km round trip from Melbourne), flying around terrifying corners at 130kmh+, just to make sure they got it all done.

Tourists like places like Lorne, full of shops, overpriced accommodation, and bustle.  There's never any quiet, it's go, go, go.  Travellers prefer the quieter spots, like Johanna Beach (picture below).  I hated Lorne, too many people, too much noise.  And it wasn't even 'the season'.

Tourists treat wherever they are as if it was their own home, leaving their rubbish laying about, carrying on like yahoos, and generally being obnoxious (and noxious).  Travellers try to leave as few footprints as they can.

Travellers are not averse to tourist attractions, like the birdlife at Kennett River (which is basically a tiny shop & a holiday park).  The picture is me, with said birds.  Travellers will go to the attractions, then look beyond them.

Tourists are all about comfort, the traveller will make do.  We travelled 4 weeks, sleeping on bus seats, and had the time of our lives.  By the end, I at least looked like I hadn't slept for a month (I have photos to prove it), but we had a great time, and even when we broke down, 24 hours out of collection, we made the best of it.  Props to the tiny South Australian town of Keith.  Great community, wonderfully helpful and understanding.  Will go back for sure.

Now, all this is not to say I will never be a tourist again, or do tourist-y things, I do the 'tourist-y' thing here, if I see a plant, flower, building I find interesting, I have to examine it more closely, or take a picture.  I have, and no doubt will again, driven through places where I could happily spend time looking around.   But I also demanded a stop for things I really wanted to see (didn't always get it), even if it was just a random roadside object, like the settler house in a paddock on the highway near Padthaway.

The figure near the sign is not an actual person, but a straw figure in colonial getup.  Padthaway is also on my list of places to go back to.  Most of the places on my 'Must Return' list are out-of-the-way towns, although I must go back to Mount Gambier for the Blue Lake....

Friday, 7 February 2014

On needing more MAC.........

I have decided that, if ever I get through the colour makeup I have, I will be replacing it with MAC, and nothing else. This is not likely to happen in a hurry, it will take me an age to get through the 12-colour eyeshadow palette I have (no-name brand, but they last really well on), and the only thing I can see me using up in a hurry is mascara, which I will buy from the supermarket.

So why MAC?  In Australia, it is a bit exxy ($33 for a single eyeshadow, and about the same for a liner pencil), but in my opinion, it is very much worth it.  I have issues with eye makeup - it tends to either fade to nothing, or walk all over my face (Urban Decay was shocking for this).  MAC stays put.  I have 4 kohl pencils, and they do not budge, even if I am melting, the e/l stays put.

I used to have a MAC eyeshadow, Vex, which was a colour-change kind of thing, silvery-gold, slight shimmer, with hints of fuschia, gold, green, purple and blue, depending on how the light hit it - it was brilliant!  Then it grew legs and walked.  I also had an olive creme liner, which I killed.


The other thing I love about MAC is their collections/collaborations are incredibly cool.  They've had Hello Kitty, Dame Edna, Barbie, Venomous Villains, Fafi to name a few.  Rihanna has collaborated *yawn* and every year Viva Glam is a collaboration with a celebrity to raise awareness of AIDS.

Fergie Viva Glam

There have been some collections which have left me cold (Alexander McQueen), but for the most part, the quality of the product, and the often awesome packaging (examples below) inspires me to love me some MAC. The thing is, even with the price-point, MAC is worth it for me - Revlon is around $20 for a duo eyeshadow, and it's useless.  I'd rather pay a bit more for something I know is going to work, especially as, once it's opened, I can't returni it.

Barbie Loves MAC

Dame Edna - Hello Possums!

Hello Kitty.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Books, books & more books...

I love books!  I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a voracious reader.  My preference is autobiographies, history books, Stephen King (especially the Dark Tower series, which, in my opinion, contain the best line ever written), and I absolutely loved Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series.  Other favourites are Bryce Courtenay (Brother Fish is my favourite, I have it in hard cover), and L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth decology (Scientology is nutty, but these books are funny).

I grew up in a poor household, in a town where, for a number of reasons, which I will not go into in depth today, my education was not a top priority.  The main reasons were simple: I was a half-breed girl.  My value as any form of intellectual was less than nil.

Anyway, in this house of half-breeds, there were books.  Shelves of them; both shelves and walls were made by Dad, from timber pulled out of old houses being demolished - they looked like the picture at the top.  My mum wasn't much of a reader, but my dad was fanatical.  It's odd really, he came from a family financially better off than Mum, but her education was better.  That's not why my dad was a big reader, he was a book fanatic his entire life, possibly due to the fact that the only time he spent with his father (who had Parkinsons) was reading to him, and, when he (Pop) was capable, discussing them.

To this day, I cannot imagine a life without books.  Take away TV and the internet, I'll be fine.  Just leave me books!

I read to and with all of my children, and encouraged them to read on their own.  Sadly, only one maintained reading into adult life, being B, who is now studying bio-med research.  But they all had a good grounding in literature, it was always there for them, and they were encouraged to use libraries and book clubs.

At present, I have 3 books on the go; a Uni textbook on European historu 1648-1815.  This is interesting, well-written, and right up my alley, so I don't mind reading it.  I am stoked I got it from the library, rather than buying it - I am a cheapskate.

I'm also reading a book called City of Evil about crimes in Adelaide.  It is very averagely written (but better than Ann Rule), but nonetheless, it's a light break for my brain.  Kind of like literary junk food.

I am also reading My Love Must Wait, the story of Matthew Flinders - kind of a biography, kind of history, but not overly heavy (3rd reading), and well written.

I should add a caveat here regarding what I regard as well-written.  Jeffrey Deaver does not write well, but his stories and characters are complex and interesting.  Ditto Stephen King.  Some biographies are horribly written (a recent example was Mary Boleyn - that was hard going), and others are well written (John Hawkyns & Jacob John Astor), which, even if you are diving for the dictionary every few pages (hello JJA), keep the interest level up.  Dry facts do not a good bio make.  Neither does a tinge (or more) of  'woe is/was me' - Susan Travers.

Oh, and in other news, I have sourced the fleece-lined tights on my needs list, and found a website (Australian) with very reasonably priced cardis.  I just have to find sheath dresses, and pants that aren't skin-tight, flared or harem-y.  I think I would rather stick to European history, truth be told, because the shopping is so damn frustrating!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The *Things I Actually Need to Buy* List...... Part the First.....

So, we have ascertained that I have must buys (boots/sunglasses) and wants (Meteorites/El cheapo Clarisonic-thing).  Now what we need to do, is work out what, besides boots, I actually need to add to my wardrobe for the cooler months.  Mind you, as I type this, I am in a sarong dress, and melting in my tin-can 'house', but if I don't get started before I actually need the stuff, I will just get all confuddled and throw my hands up in despair.  So, a list must be made.  As much as possible will be purchased secondhand, shoes will be new, as jocks.

I need the following for winter:
  • More layerable dresses, at least 2 - I have decided I really do prefer dresses to other clothing options.  They just need to be layerable, preferably structured.  Black/grey are preferred shades.
  • Layerable tops in a variety of shades.  Preferably turtlenecks, and preferably fairly lightweight.
  • At least 1 pair of dress pants - preferably 2, and preferably black, with zippers/buttons.
  • Fleece-lined tights - they have these in the US, so surely they are available to Australia? At least 2 pairs.
  • Neutral flats.  Also another pair of black flats.  Possibly a pair of patterned flats.  I currently have a black pair, and a leopard print pair.
  • Cardigans.  Black or dark grey, and a lighter colour.
  • Trackpants - 2 of.
  • Hoodies - 2 of.
  • Jocks - I have a billionty socks, and enough bras, but jocks are a bit ish......
Those are the things I know I need right now - this list may change (the links are examples only).  Today I bought a pair of $12 sneakers, if I am careful, they should carry me through for a bit. So that's it - I have no intention of buying jeans, I don't like them.  I'm sorely tempted to get a new wallet, mine is fine, but I want a new one.  This is largely because the one I currently have is the wrong shape/size to work, it takes me ages to find it in my (not large) handbag.  Strandbags are currently having a sale........

While we are on the subject of shopping, I have a question: today, after our shorebirds workshop/lunch/get-together, we had a browse around.  I was disgusted with the poor quality/high prices of a lot of boutique items - Kmart were often not only cheaper, but better made, and the fabrics felt better.  What's with that?