Monday, May 14, 2012

Weird dreams. Seriously weird dreams.

I've had a couple weird dreams over the weekend. I don't know exactly what they mean. Usually I can figure it out, but these two dreams leave me confused. And a bit grossed out.

First dream, I was back to my childhood home, in the restaurant across the street from the town library. Except it was different; open and had a big outdoor seating area with a large open BBQ (That's an Aussie inspiration). It was dark and there was a bonfire going. It was late autumn and cold. Getting near the first snows. I was talking to some generic dream people when my brother staggers over. I was surprised to see him, I'd had no idea he was coming back home, too! I was happy to see him, but noticed he was scruffy, bedraggled. He was carrying a large box and was staggering about like he was drunk.

I asked him if he was ok, and he insisted he was. He told me he has to show me some amazing rocks he'd found. These were super important rocks. He was getting a bit frustrated, shooing other people away and insisting I see these rocks! Someone commented on the bad smells. Something did smell awful, and when I looked I noticed my brother had vomit all down the back of his coat. I asked if he was sick, but he waved away my concern and said he'd clean it later. People scurried away from the crazy man. I said I'd love to see his rocks. Then he opens his box and starts showing me some pretty normal rocks, going on about where he found them. In the box, are cut up portions of someone's foot. random toes, the top bit and ball of a foot, heel and ankle bone. All frozen, with bits of ice crystals forming between the toes. I was about to ask him whose feet those were when I woke myself up. That was too weird to keep going with.

Last night I dreamed (dreampt) I was back working at the bank in Scotland. One of my co-workers (Who I had been talking with on Facebook during the day so I know why he featured in the dream) walks by and sits in a chair opposite the desk from me. He looks very sad. Very depressed. I ask him if he's ok and he says he doesn't think he can go on. I asked if he wasn't happy with his job and he says he's not happy with anything. He can't make anything work. I feel sorry for him and ask if there's anything I can do, even just listen if he wants to vent. He says he's stressed and sick. He's so stressed out he's starting to break out in sores all over his skin.

He pulls up his sleeve and shows me he has a painful looking ulcer on his forearm. About the size of a silver dollar/50cent piece. I'm just looking, thinking 'this poor guy, what could I do for him?' when he starts to kind of smile, like he's thought of a funny joke, and smirks to himself. Then he pulls a teaspoon out of his pocket and digs it into this ulcer on his arm, spoons up a bunch of scabby, pus-filled tissue and then eats it. I wake up as he's about to dig the spoon again, all the while he's smiling at me.

Seriously folks - what the fuck does that mean?!?

Also, it seems, my last post was my 1000th post. Boy do I talk a lot of shit!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I don't really have to...

I work because it gives me my own money in my pocket. I don't really have to work. I know that's a bizarre thing to confess but Husband gets paid very well and we don't live beyond our means. I do have a part time job, because I like people and I like interacting with people and being a housewife is isolating and lonely. A few days a week I go and work in a small shop. Purely for my own amusement and for shoes money. I don't have to go to work. I could live the 50's housewife lifestyle; I have that luxury. It just doesn't appeal.

I work in an easy job and get paid a silly amount of money for it. Australia pays casual employees very, very well. I have no idea what minimum wage is here, but it's a lovely amount of dosh for work I'm very good at and actually enjoy. It's all rather wonderful. Except for the Office Gloom Regulation Emissary (OGRE).

Isn't there always an OGRE? Isn't there always someone who thinks fun should be banned unless it's focused solely around them or started by them? Someone who frowns, storms and sighs all day just begging someone to ask "What's wrong?" Someone who's always sicker than anyone else, harder done by than anyone else or who's worked to the bone far more than anyone else is worked to the bone...and in a cushy job that's a real challenge. Someone who has the manager on speed dial where than readily express their feelings and pass on information regarding all other employees. Narcissistic, needy, controlling fun haters?

There have been movies with these people and you know who they are. Remember Roz from 9-5? She was so annoying they sent her to France. Sigourney Weaver's character in Working Girl; there's an OGRE with power no less! They don't all mope about moaning and whinging, some of them manage to bully and demean and charm all around them yet ultimately sucking the fun and life out of everyone. Office vampires.

We got one of them. We all dread sharing shifts with them. No one dares critique them either, or they throw a tantrum and threaten to quit. (I would like to see that happen myself because it's an obvious empty threat). Until then, I amuse myself by watching the new and wonderful ways they find to waste massive amounts of time creating problems for themselves and then (joyously) bemoaning the fact they have so much to do ...without getting on with doing any tasks. Their life is so much worse than anyone else's, after all.*

It's been almost a year. I'm starting to tire of it all now. It's becoming very boring. Last shift I counted how many times they sighed while walking past me (14) and how many times they muttered to themselves under their breath (7) and how many customers they actually managed to serve (2).

I have, in the past, come up with bizarre questions to ask them to see how they react. They always react; it's compulsive. This particular OGRE lacks the ability to comprehend sarcasm. One day when I was particularly annoyed with the excessive sighing and I asked "Did you used to smoke?" and they told me their history of smoking and how they struggled to quit. When they asked my what prompted me to ask I answered "I noticed you exhale a lot." They then told me about their asthma history. I know we should not supply them with avenues to talk about themselves but it had been a rather dreary day and I was bored.

I'm just competitive enough to keep going to see who quits first. But then I also know letting such ridiculous behaviour go unchecked isn't my fault or responsibility and the company gets what they deserve. I'm sure they'll do fine on two sales a day.

I have to find pastures new. Life's too short to work for fun with a dreary, dreadful OGRE who can hold a store to ransom with the threat of a tantrum.

*how annoying to speak in the plural of one. I should just call them Pat.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I've gone "No Poo" and it's been great!!

I'm not talking about my bowels! You'll be forgiven for thinking I was because quite honestly it's a stupid name this trend has claimed and I worry it could not be taken seriously as a result. You only have to say "I've gone No Poo," and you will get weird looks and people think your new diet is dangerous.

The No Poo Movement - seriously, they call it that - is about giving up the harsh detergents and chemicals in commercially produced shampoos. If you take a day to pay attention to advertising, you'll be amazed just how many shampoo or conditioner ads you'll encounter. Not to mention the sales push when you go to the salon to get a trim. We are told a lot and often that a new product could help our flyaway, dry, oily, flaky horrible hair. The thought behind No Poo is that it's the shampoo causing all our hair troubles in the first place.

I have for years thought, jokingly and to myself because no one appreciates my sense of humour sometimes, that who would order oily hair? Or dandruff? This bottle says it's for dry, flyaway hair and I don't want that. Normal is great. I'll take normal. Seems that way of thinking is not too far from the truth.

The past 6 weeks I've been washing my hair with a solution of 1TBS of bicarbonate of soda mixed in one cup of water. I then use 1TBS of apple cider vinegar diluted in one cup of water for a finishing rinse. That's It. Once a week I'll add a bit of conditioner to the ends of my hair because I have curly hair and it's prone to frizz and splits.

I was extremely skeptical when I first read about people using bicarb and water to wash their hair - mental! Right? Let me tell you: it fucking works! It works awesomely. It gets all the styling products out, greasy roots cleared and leaves the hair squeaky clean. Squeaky! I put the solution into an old plastic spouted honey bottle and use less than half the solution (my hair's short) and rub it gently into my scalp, squeeze it through the length and finger tease it through the curls and rinse. Amazing. You'll have to give it a try yourself to prove my words. The other thing, the bicarb makes my skin nice and soft so whatever drips on my face or shoulders, is not being taxed. I've always had dry, flaky skin and it's been put down to genetics and diet and now I'm wondering if it's detergents in shampoos and body washes.

The vinegar rinse I'm not as in love with, Yes it leaves the hair shiny but I notice the vinegar smell after it's dried. I do add a couple drops of essential oil (Rainforest blend) to make it smell better but I still find I need a bit of styling product to scrunch my curls. On days I don't scrunch, but just blowdry - it's amazing. I just don't like the vinegar smell.

Overall it's been a positive experiment. I've used the same products with Sassyface who has problems with adolescent hair; greasy roots, dandruff and frizz. Poor lass. This has cleared up her dandruff substantially. Hardly a flake and what is there is very small and I'd almost say completely normal. Yes she needs to wash more often - every 2-3 days - which is more normal and it's control the greasiness. She's completely happy with the results. We can only conclude that the dandruff and frizz was made worse by the dandruff shampoos. They're just too harsh for her.

Lastly, it's cheap. So cheap. How much is a box of baking soda? A dollar? Two? Even if you bought brand name and used special filtered spring water it'll be cheaper than most shampoos.

Me in January just after my birthday
Me in Jaunary

Me in March, just this week. See my streaks?
Me in March

(My hair is not green, it's the photo fringing in green from the background light. Top one notice how crunchy the curls look, recent picture is blown-dry and no styling products)

Be skeptical, give it a try. Find an old squeeze bottle and have a go. Let me know what you think. What I have noticed is my hair is growing fast - that could be seasonal. The grey is really shining and sparkly. Now I know most people do not want to draw attention to their grey, but I do not colour my hair anymore so it's out there for all to see.On reading other people's comments, this is a good option for those wanting to preserve their coloured hair as detergents strip colour faster. I can't say one way or the other, that would have to be your test.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I must diasgree...

I love The Oatmeal but today's comic is not me, and it's not my Husband. I know because we talk at length about how we behave in the gym. Husband and I are not very alike in personality even though we like a lot of the same things; he tones down my more brashness and I lift him out of his insular nature and force him to play and make friends.

Today's Oatmeal was about people looking at each other in the gym and making assumptions about them, all the while those people are looking at the next guy and thinking their lives would be better if...and so on. I'm not going to say that doesn't happen - of course it does! But not like depicted in the cartoon. I'll see a really fit person and think  "Wow! They put a lot of work into looking like that, I wonder what thier routine is." If I'm on the treadmill I will look at the display panel of the people around me and compete with them. I will say shit like "They're running at 9kmph? I'll run 9.5." "Tjhey quit at half a mile?! Wow that's weak, I'm running a mile just to show them." Completely disrespectful of the fact they may have been in there for an hour already and this is a finish.

I have thought to myself that if so and so wants to lose weight they should up their cardio and stop swinging those tiny half kilo weights around. I have looked in utter despair as some women contort themselves into yoga positions I'd dislocate a hip if I tried them. For me they gym is competition and pushing myself. To be better than I was the week before, and to be better than the person jogging beside me for that short time they are beside me. Not a better person. I mean a better runner, biker, weight lifter whatever. Just for that set. I could care less about their lives at that moment. After workouts, then I'll chat with them and all that competitiveness disappears. In fact I'm thankful to them for being there to help me challenge myself. I've been humbled and humiliated many times too by those who are slick gym masters. That challenges me more. I love those people, not envy their physiques in a way that I pine and moan over, but wonder if I push myself could I get that too? Then I tell myself they probably only eat egg whites and oatmeal so no.

Then again I've not been to a gym in six months so...

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I'm probably alone in this, but...

I'm often confused by people who speak of cities and locations by saying "Down in" or "Up in" and then geographically get the location wrong from where they are at that point in time. I recently had a conversation with someone who lives far north of Scotland and we were just talking weather, when someone else said "We've got snow up in Manchester!" and My mind has to think; where? Because Manchester is south of Scotland. She should say "Down in Manchester". The other person knew she was speaking to northerners (OK, I'm not northern but the person leadin the conversation was), but deferred to "Up in"

I Live pretty far south globally, really any more south is Tasmania and then the Antarctic. I would say "Up in" for most places "Up in Brisbane they have floods" "Up in Darwin they have too many crocs" "Up in Japan they love fish" that kind of thing. I can pretty much defer to to "Up in" all the time, but I still say "Over in Perth"
"Over in New Zealand," I even get the rare ability to say "Back in America" because I'm originally from there. I can do that. I can even say "Back in Scotland," but not "Back in France," because I don't feel I have the right to as I've only had a brief holiday there once.

Locally I would place myself as center and then say other locations as up from, over in and down in in relation to where I am. I know that must mean I know roughly where I am in location to these other places but for me it's important to differentiate. Not just say "Up in" when the place you're talking about is south of you. I think "Over in" is a good get out phrase if you don't know where the place you're describing is in relation to where you are at the time of the conversation. It's not like we'd ever say "Under in," now is it?

Yes, I have the compass app on my phone. Yes I've used it for this purpose.

I'm just saying, as I swig my first cup of coffee before a Sunday laden with chores before a busy week, people who say "Up in" when they're really "Down in" should stop acting all superior. OK... Maybe it's not superior - that's a grumpy morning, pre-coffee, stretch perhaps. I suppose the real superior take would be "We in." Doesn't that make an unctuously smug comment? "We are not amused" the speaking for all thing is the exclusive to the Queen. As Thatcher found out.

It's one of those things that bugs me that I can't tell others about because they'll think I'm a crazy person!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Holiday summary and book review

Damn that was a fucking boring title for a blog post - I bet you three are completely riveted by that effort.

We had a great Xmas/New Year here. The weather was favourable apart from a scary downpour on Xmas afternoon that had lemon-sized hail elsewhere in the city. We only got pea sized so that's my car saved.

Writing has become painful. I know it's all in my head, but physical pain starts when I try and write anything. Like  roach clips being applied to various parts of my brain. My eyes ache, my teeth gnash my shoulders tense and ache. It's why I've not been doing it so much anymore. Still want to, still have a constant dialog running in my head that I don't know how to get out. Perhaps the idea of a dictaphone isn't a bad one after all.

When Husband asked me this year what I wanted for Xmas I said "An e-reader" and left it at that because I knew he'd go and research and find the best one. If I'd come out and said "Kindle" he'd have talked to me about the pros/cons of the various types vs Sony and I'd have had to kill him. But since this was a present and the element of surprise was allowed, he did not talk about it apart from the occasional "I think Kindles are the better choice..." then I could say "Yes I think so too." or if he'd said "I think Sony has the best e-reader" I could then suck in breath between my teeth, make a face and shrug and he'd know that would not have been the best option in my opinion. It's a balanced game we play. I do think eventually I said "I really like the Kindle, I think it's the simplest option."

So, LO! I have a Kindle Fire.

Days before Xmas, Christopher Hitchens died from his esophageal cancer. (I spelled that right without spell check! Woohoo!) which was expected as he'd been quite ill but sad all the same. I read the reflections from Stephen Fry on his friendship with Hitchens and he mentioned what bonded them was a love of P.G. Wodehouse.
"And I can claim too that I call him “old horse,” like Stanley Ukridge, or “old crumpet,” like Barney Phipps and Oofy Prosser—for we shared a love and passion for P. G. Wodehouse and such things form a bond. Wodehouse, who adored the Pekingese breed of dog, liked to judge people on whether they were sound on Pekes. Evelyn Waugh, who like the Hitch and myself, revered the Master, judged people on how sound they are on Wodehouse. To paraphrase Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice, “the man that hath no Wodehouse in him, nor is not moved with concord of sweet phrases, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; the motions of his spirit are dull as night, as his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted.”
Such judgment laid at my feet to know I've not read Wodehouse and therefore could not be considered acknowledgeable by these men who I admire!  Whom I admire? Who cares, I lost all respect by creating acknowledgable. So my first downloads from Gutenberg Project were Wodehouse; The Adventures of Sally. Can you imagine my surprise when reading this that I noticed many familiar plot devices. I started predicting what was to come because, hello! It's a romance! Hitchens? Fry? Admiring above all a writer of romance?! I was happily stunned.

All that stuff aside, I truly enjoyed The Adventures of Sally. It's a great story and one where there isn't even any kissing and yet men are throwing themselves at the incredibly thin, egg only for dinner, ex dancer for hire who recently inherited $25K, plucky, straight speaking Sally. It's short, it's extremely readable. At times I had to remind myself that Sally is very unusual for the way she speaks so openly, wittily and freely with people because it's a turn of the 20th century and most women do not behave like that. She felt extremely modern so when she has very, of her time, reactions to things like; since she agreed, albeit grudgingly and in the heat of the moment, to marry this one guy she really finds icky when she truly loves another but will not go back on her promise and resigns herself to the fact she will marry the wrong man and be miserable for the rest of her life - then I wanted to shake her. But it was a very true to character thing for her to do - it was very hard to pull her into my 21st century thinking of "Fuck him, he's icky, go marry the guy you love and raise Pekingese dogs with him!" and then realise I can't she's stuck there in early 20th century.

I was struck by the way Sally was described as small, dainty, childlike throughout while her brother was described as becoming ever increasingly fat. The constant attention on her tininess and his bloatedness made me wonder if 90 years ago people really did comment this much on figure. I suppose it's not too dissimilar from today, but it was interesting from a cultural history perspective. My favourite line which made me laugh out loud was in describing the waddling Fillmore went something like "If he continues in this fashion his new bride will be called a bigamist."  I thought it was a clever insult.

I really liked The Adventures of Sally and I hope you go get it - and why not, it's free! I also got The Scarlet Pimpernel series and a few more Wodehouse titles and a couple of Dumas but not the Musketeers, I will sometime but wanted something else. Husband just finished The Count of Monte Cristo and loved it , so I'll read that and we can talk about together.

New Year was great too. I got especially spoiled as it was a special birthday for me; I turned 40.  This is me at 40:

Me at 40

 Those are not highlights, that's my hair au naturale - I stopped colouring it year ago in October and those highlights are my silver streaks. Biggest one is at the parting on my left temple. Yes I admit the greys were photoed first then I ran and put on a wee bit of make-up for the full face. And teeth! I rarely let my teeth get photographed because my front ones - which are built-up because I broke them when I was 9 - are different colours because they were done by different dentists and one of those dentists was quite colour blind. If I get my teeth bleached, then I'll have to get my front teeth replaced and colour matched will cost about $700. So, I'll just suffer it as there are more important things needing paid for than my vanity.

Can you see my Silver Streaks?

 Where the current rage is Pandora charm bracelets, by family bucked the trend and got me a Swarovski charm bracelet instead and three charms. Mine is much cooler. I am going to try and get a nice gold chain for one of them; a sparkling little goldfish with moving fins because he's so delightful. I also got a tomato and a pink heart. What I'll do is, I have a couple of old broken gold chains, I'll sell them and use that money to get a new one. Why hang on to broken gold?

There it is, all of us happy as pie, enjoying summer - which was just pretty harsh with a few days in the 90s-105. Work will settle down and be quiet soon, the kids are on Summer vacation and it's been busy and we could do with a couple of sloth days. Will be hitting the beaches soon for some much needed surfing.

Hope you all had wonderful holidays, too. Happy New Year!!