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Monday, March 29, 2010

Not in my backyard!

What is it with intolerance these days? Here in Melbourne our population is growing beyond all expectation. Someone told me there is the equivalent of a Jumbo jet full of people arriving every week to make Melbourne their home. The city is bursting at its seams; even the ever expanding suburbs are reaching their limits. It would be nonsense to further increase the geographical size of Melbourne. The people in the new, outer suburbs already have to deal with a lack of public transport and a lack of services. Releasing more land would simply be a ridiculous decision.

Yet still, the people in the inner city suburbs and those in suburbs up to 10kms away from the city refuse to allow changes to zoning. They don’t want to accept any form of housing development in their leafy, tree lined suburbs with the quarter acre blocks and the multi-million dollar houses. Oh no, not in their backyard!

It’s the same in the next suburbs out, the suburbs that have been proposed as traffic hubs, with direct public transport to the city. No one there wants development in their backyard. Heaven forbid that a few more dwellings get built to house the expanding population! The great Australian dream of a big house and an even bigger back yard might disappear. That would be unthinkable!

What is wrong with people nowadays? What are they so scared of? Does no one want to help their fellow man?

Charity begins at home, or so we are told. Yet we are more than happy to throw a few dollars at charity so long as they keep the needy away from us.

What could possibly be so bad about building apartment blocks? What evil could possibly exist in developing more public housing to look after those less fortunate? Are we so selfish that we really don’t care?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In a Perfect World

My children would do what I told them to, when I told them to do it. There would be no more “yes, but just wait”, “I will, just hang on”, or “yeah sure, in a minute”. I would ask them to get their dirty laundry out and they would leap out of their seats, run to their room and get it. I would ask them to take out the garbage and I wouldn’t have to wait until the bin started to overflow before it happened. I would say “jump” and they would say “how high darling mommy?”

There wouldn’t be any road rage and all drivers would drive courteously. What is with those people who think they can weave in and out of lanes, narrowly missing cars along their way? What is so important that it can’t wait for them to drive safely and stay in the speed limit? And don’t get me started on truck drivers! After all, who died and left them ownership of our roads?

I could stop nagging my youngest son to study. He would come home from school, have a snack then get out his books and complete all his homework without my asking him to. He would do a brilliant job and get straight A+s for all his subjects. Do teenagers realise how tiring it is to yell and nag and nag and yell all the time? Do they think we enjoy it? Because of course we have nothing else to do with our time, do we?

My finances would cover the little luxuries that I wish I could afford. I don’t need to be filthy rich, but I would like not to cringe when my son tells me he needs new football boots, or a haircut. I would like to have a manicure now and again, or eat out maybe once a month.

Of course in a perfect world there would be no poverty. We would all look after each other like we would our own family. There would be no wars either, or terror attacks, or torture, or assault, or violence of any sort. In a perfect world we would all live in harmony, no matter our gender, age, race or religion.

I guess I’m just going to have to put up with nagging my children, crazy drivers and tight budgets!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The music in my life

For a very long time in my life I knew every song on the charts. I could name the songs, the singers and their bands and most of the time I knew the lyrics. From about 8 years old music meant the world to me.

When I was about 8 or 9 I would go into the barn on our property and, skipping rope in hand, with the handle as a microphone, I would sing “Hey There Georgie Girl” and “Where Have all the Flowers Gone”. I rapidly progressed to the Monkees and even perfected the Monkee walk.

At around 11, I was riding my bike singing “American Pie” at the top of my lungs. I still know nearly all the words.

As I grew older, I became fixated on “Stairway to Heaven” playing it over and over and over again. It’s a wonder the tape never broke. For a few years I loved Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heap. Led Zepp’s “Laguna Sunrise” still reminds me of playing pool at my friend’s house with the rays of sunset streaming in through the tinted windows of her rumpus room.

Later on I revisited Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell and Marianne Faithful. I loved and still love strong female singers and their lyrics. Faithful’s album “Broken English” is always a favourite of mine.

In the last year of high school I couldn’t get enough of Queen. I remember going to one of their concerts with a couple of my friends. After the concert we hatched a plan to see them at their hotel. We somehow picked the right hotel in the city and managed to get past the doorman. He assumed we were there with our father! We even got to the right floor of the hotel and, with our na├»ve confidence, began knocking on doors. Imagine my surprise when my girlfriend knocked on the right door and Freddy Mercury answered! Imagine my dismay when she stuttered “oh, sorry, wrong door” and moved away! I still can’t believe she did that. I’ve seen Queen twice in my life and I’m sure they were the best group I’ve ever seen live. Not that I’ve seen many concerts, but two memorable ones were Meatloaf and Dr Hook.

By the time I’d left school, Meatloaf songs started to mean a lot to me, as well as Ol ’55 and Dr Hook. There was a song for every important moment of my life. I lost my virginity to Dr Hook’s “A Couple More Years”, I danced with a lover to Joe Cocker’s “You are so Beautiful”, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” was very special to me and still is, as it reminds me of one of my more memorable boyfriends.

Then I discovered disco (somehow I fitted into a pair of Grease pants - remember them?) and RnB and gospel and rap and the whole range of “black” music, which I still love.

For the last six years I’ve lost touch with the whole music scene. But the other day, as my youngest son played his guitar and I sang along, my love of music came back to me and engulfed me like a huge sound wave. I now play the video hits on TV every time I can and I went out and bought JayZ’s album, The Blueprint 3 as I love the remixed version of Forever Young. I’m back in the groove and I don’t ever want to be left behind musically again!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Home Invasion!

Yes, we have been invaded. The little monsters took over the kitchen. I woke up last Sunday to find my kitchen bench turned into a black wriggling mess! We had ants…

The traditional Sunday morning pancake making was put on hold as I had a quick shower and raced to the supermarket. I bought ant baits, ant granules and outdoor insect spray. By the time I got home my youngest son was out of bed. He hadn’t even noticed the ants! I enlisted his help. Together we laid the baits, sprinkled the granules around the house and sprayed the spray around every window, vent and doorway. The bastards hardly noticed.

Eventually their numbers began to diminish. By Sunday night I was convinced we had beaten them. By Monday evening I realised they had won the first battle.

Back to the supermarket I went to get indoor spray. I sprayed the kitchen bench (who cares about where the food is prepared in times like these?). I sprayed on the sides of the bench and on the floor along the bench. I sprayed the doorways. I took immense satisfaction in watching those black wriggling insects die.

Tuesday we were ant free.

On Wednesday evening they had returned. Can you believe it? This time they made their way up the ducted heating vent in the kitchen and were busy scaling the kitchen wall. I grabbed the spray and attacked. I must have looked like the ultimate mad woman, spraying wildly around the vent and up the wall while chanting “die, die, die!” It’s a shame my son’s friend had come home with us after football training…

It’s now Friday evening and, so far, the ants have not come back. I have a sneaking suspicion there is an ants nest under the house, probably under the kitchen. However I have no intention of crawling under there to check it out. Instead I’ll make sure the can of spray is always within reach!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Emotional Rollercoaster

The last week and a bit seesawed between the sad and the joyful. It has been an interesting and somewhat challenging time, although as I write, I realise the emotional highs and lows might not be as apparent to the outside world.

Firstly, just over a week ago, we found out that one of the players in my youngest son’s football club committed suicide. We didn’t know him well. He played last year in the same team as my eldest son (who has moved to another town and changed clubs this year). He was one of the players we cheered from the sidelines. He was a good player, fearless and a hard worker. We would call out his nickname, encouraging him as he gave his best. He was 26, or thereabouts, and far too young to die. Apparently he had family problems, issues that must have become too huge for him to deal with. Even though we hardly knew him, his death made us all stop and think and wonder what could have been so difficult to bear and why he had no one to talk to.

On Tuesday my youngest son came home with an invitation to attend a Future Youth Leaders breakfast at a local tertiary institution. I am so proud of him. He has obviously proved to his teachers and mentors that he has the potential for leadership. What a wonderful thing for a mother to know!

Throughout this week and indeed in the last few weeks, my youngest son and I have been wrestling with the dilemma of which football club he should go to, or whether he should stay with the one he is with. It’s a bit complicated to explain here, but boils down to whether he should move to another club in order to play with his own age group, or stay where he is and play up a grade – potentially with adults. This is quite possibly the first time in the 10 years since I separated from my husband that I have missed having an adult male in my life to talk to, preferably someone who knows football. There are so many things to think about and politics in play that it has not been an easy decision to make.

Luckily my son put his leadership qualities into action and basically made his own decision, carrying two of his friends with him. I was amazed, still proud and delighted that he took it upon himself to source other clubs, talk to other coaches, talk to his teachers and his current coaches and finally weigh up the pros and cons after much deliberation. In the end he will stay with the club he is with.

Meanwhile my two older sons have achieved their own milestones. My middle son has finished the first year of his apprenticeship and moved into his second year. My eldest son has been learning to drive and race a horse. They both love what they are doing and, once again, I am so proud of them.

So, its been an interesting week and a bit. I wonder what next week will bring?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Self questioning

There are times, such as now, that I reflect on decisions I’ve made and paths I’ve taken. I question whether the choices I made were the right ones or simply the right ones for that moment in time. Or were they choices that I made based on selfish desires or only on the degree of difficulty they required. Was it easier to make the choices I made than to choose other possibilities?

There are times in my life I would love to travel back to and experience again. Memories which are still sharp, bright with color and explosive to my senses, movies in my mind played back in 3D.

But decisions I’ve made mean I can never travel back to those particular times again. I will never be able to recreate those memories or feel their warmth or color or hear their sounds again. I know I am now creating other memories and I will continue to all through my life. But sometimes I just want to relive those special times.

Some people believe our paths in life are predestined. Some believe we are free to make our own choices. My beliefs lie somewhere in between, although it is difficult for me to articulate exactly what I mean. I believe each of us is predestined with a certain life, but along the way, as we crawl or walk, or leap or run or skip towards our destination, there are a myriad of paths which intersect our journey. Ultimately each path will reach the same destination, but our choice of path dictates the experiences and the memories we will have. Some paths are easier than others, some are more colourful, and some are more dangerous. We don’t necessarily know what we will encounter along each path. We simply have to have faith in our decisions and in our own God or guardian.

These times of reflection I wonder if I had taken another path, what would my memories be now?

Friday, March 5, 2010


I haven’t had time to write anything here for a long time. I seem to have been caught up in the cycle of work, home duties and mother duties – not necessarily in that order. The small amount of time I have to myself, I am sorry to admit I tend to lie in front of the television watching one of my favorite shows. A waste of time yes, but still I enjoy mindless entertainment at times.

I’m watching one of my favorite shows at the moment, but it has gotten too violent for me, so I’ve retreated to the computer, just glancing up at the television now and again when I think it is safe. The show is called “Silent Witness”. It is British and about forensics. It can be quite interesting, but sometimes violent as it is now.

I’m not good with violence. I’m also not good with anything scary. This is true for television shows, movies and books. I’ve read awful passages in books, purely by accident, and they have stayed with me for ages, the dreadful, tortured images sometimes popping into my brain for no reason at all. At those times I have to try to think of pleasant things to wash my brain clean.

Because of these images that live in my head, these tortured, dreadful images of horror and terror, I have to be very careful what I allow myself to read or watch. So when there is violence or horror or torture on the television, I sit with a cushion over my eyes and ask my boys to tell me when it has finished. I don’t have the same luxury with a book and I don’t like putting them down half read, but sometimes I have to do just that.

I guess I’m too old now to “grow out” of this aversion to violence and horror. I don’t really think I want to anyway. I would rather not be immune to the brutality of the world.