Friday, July 22, 2005

Nothing exciting to report. It's Friday and I'm feeling like I've caught up on a fair bit of work (which is a relief... around this time of the year I always feel like I've "missed something" and the piles of paperwork really scare me... but enough about my tax related anxieties).

It's been a fairly quiet week. I've got back on my walking machine (4 x 1/2 hour sessions this week) so I'm feeling like the blood is pumping again. Moving it into the spare room was a great decision. Now I can go in there, close the door and put the tv on loud (so I can hear it over the annoying squeaking noise the walker makes) and do a good half hour without being disturbed or disturbing anyone else.

We finally got some guys in to fix our tv reception. That was a wise investment. We've been "suffering" from poor reception for a very long time but it just never seemed a good time to spend the money. Well, I had enough the other day and rang one of those tv antenna companies and two young men turned up yesterday morning. Now we have a brand new, digital ready (??) antenna and a box which allows us to watch our Foxtel tv through all the tvs in the house. It's cool! Also the nice young men tuned in our super-duper-need-a-university-degree-to-figure-out-how-the-hell-to-use-the-damn-thing DVD/VCR recorder/player. Now we can tape the Swans' game on Sunday while we're enjoying our lunch at The Summit for Jay's birthday. Life is good!

A cute Will story: Last night Will came into our room about 2:00 am. We are prepared for this and have a little child's sofa bed made up every night next to our bed. Generally he comes in to our room at night about 50% of the time. He has his own little bed and just climbs in and goes to sleep - everyone's happy. Lately he's been a bit "scared" of this and that so he's been wanting to sleep in our bed which we discourage as much as possible. Anyway, last night he lays down in his little bed. After five minutes he says "Mum, I'm scared." I say "Why?". He says "Because of the monsters." I say "There are no monsters, sweetie, go back to sleep." After another five minutes he says "Mum, I'm scared." I saw "Why?" He says "Because someone's coming." I say "There's no-one coming, sweetie, go back to sleep." Another five minutes "Mum, can you tell dad to go sleep in my room and then I can sleep on his pillow?" That cracked me (and cracked me up). Poor Jason was relegated to Will's bed and the little monkey was peacefully sleeping on "dad's pillow" within a few minutes. If only I could be a tough parent like on "Supernanny".

Well, time for lunch. Speaking of lunch, it's big Jay's 36th birthday next Tuesday and we're in for a week's worth of celebrating. Yum yum - I do love eating out... and eating in... well, generally just eating. Better keep getting on that walking machine or I'll need to be booking two seats for myself on that plane to Colombia.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A quick catch up...

Will is back at school - yippee! Don't get me wrong, it's great that he's had a break and has enjoyed time with his baba and his dodo and with me and catching up with some of his "outside of school" friends... but I'm way behind at work and I need to do some serious catching up on the paperwork front. Which is why I'm sitting here at work doing my blog ???!!!

Mental health has been much better this last week. Perspective back in place and equilibrium re-established... well, sort of...

Have had a cool week. Visited Rosalie and her brood of three on Thursday. Will and Andres enjoyed some "rough play" and I enjoyed cooing over gorgeous little Jorge - poor Estefenia just got stuck in the middle (the woes of the middle child). Friday took Will swimming with my friend Marg and her girls Lili and Ella. Had a great time (didn't scare any of the other swimmers, no beached whale alerts issued, did well). Thank goodness for indoor pools. Spent a few hours gossiping at McDonalds while the kids played [can recommend their new cappucinos - really good for a fast food joint].

Weekend started on a good note - yum cha. Note to self: have yum cha every Saturday to ensure eternal happiness [a billion Chinese people can't be wrong!]. Communal yum cha with Brett, Therese and their girls, Kimberly and Claudia, was great fun. Will is really doing well with his chopsticks.

Saturday night watched (on TV) the Swannies kick some serious Melbourne butt. It was good, reeeaaallllyyyy GOOD! Melbourne are above us on the ladder so beating them by a good margin is very reassuring. This Sunday we're up against the West Coast Eagles who are at the top of the ladder and either undefeated or very close to it. Scary! but not for us Swan supporters. By the way, did you know that swans are the only birds with a penis? There you go, you learnt something.

Sunday we did more socialising and more eating. It is really great to have wonderful friends with whom to while away a fine Sydney Sunday, eating good food and chatting.

What was even better about Sunday was that Dean was evicted from Big Brother. It was so cool seeing that smug little shithead getting the heave-ho. Boy, was he surprised. Unfortunately we had a power blackout for 1 1/2 hours right after he was evicted so I didn't get to see the rest of the show, which was disappointing as I really wanted to watch that SOB squirm.

Monday was work but since Will hadn't started school (don't get me started on "student free days" - what the???!! - I know teachers work hard, have a tough job, blah blah blah, but give me a break...) he came to the office with me. Luckily dad took him to see "Because of Winn Dixie" [apparently not recommended for six year old boys] in the morning and I was able to get the wages done. At lunchtime we met up with my friend Lori and her little fellow Enrico at the local park for some lunch and a good catch up (I haven't seen Lori for a long time).

A quick movie recommendation: Last night we watched "The Forgotten" on Home Box Office. I love Julianne Moore and had been wanting to see it for some time. It was a really good thriller. I can't go into it too much but we both thought it was well done and kept you guessing all the way. Good cast, decent script, great "look". As an aside, I have to say that Julianne Moore's role as the mother who doesn't love her son in "The Hours" was one of the most memorable and powerful performances I have ever seen. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. I really think she should have been up for the Oscar for that role - she was amazing. She was great in "The Shipping News" too.

Well, back to the salt mines...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well, the last post finished abruptly because I ran out of time and planned to return to it to finish it off but the end of last week sucked so I didn't bother.

To be blunt last Friday I "hit the wall" with our second adoption. I got some news that we still have a few months to wait (after already waiting 19 months since our papers were sent + 15 months for the actual adoption approval process - at this point we are 34 months from the day we lodged our initial paperwork to start this adoption) and I blew a gasket. I did this in a very similar way when we were waiting for Will so I recognised the symptoms. All logic, common sense and perspective goes out the window and a horrible sense of self-pity, anxiety and doubt settles in. Tears follow. Then the realisation of how selfish and self-absorbed you are being, how there are people with "real" problems in the world, blah blah blah. Then more tears follow as you think about what a terrible person you are. Then you think some more about how "unfair" (as if you know anything about unfairness) this horrible long wait is, how your life is on hold and how you're becoming a terrible, whinging fishwife and making everyone around you hate you. Then you cry some more. Then you think about London and the poor people who have lost their lives and their families who have lost loved ones and about how much you despise the terrorists and their patheticness and their viciousness and their total devoidness from humanity. Then the tears turn to sobs. That was pretty much Friday in a nutshell.

Needless to say I didn't get much work done and made my poor, beautiful sister very anxious with my carry-on. Thanks for putting up with crappola, Jules.

Thanks also to my dear friend Claire who caught the end of the my bad Friday when I stopped by her place on my way home to unload a little on a fellow adoptive mum. The bottom line is that only adoptive parents really understand other adoptive parents, especially when it comes to the actual adoption process and the WAIT. It can not be truly comprehened by anyone else, no matter how close a friend or family member. Also, thanks to Marlene who rang me on Friday night and listened to some more of sad-arse whining.

Of course thanks also to Jason for putting up stoically with my unbearableness and my demented ranting and raving. He really is my rock (I said ROCK, Jay) and I don't know what I'd be doing without him.

Saturday I awoke feeling somewhat more human and with my perspective on life back in gear (maybe not in high gear but kicking in, nevertheless). It was a very productive morning with Jay and I clearing out the junk room (aka the guest bedroom). It is amazing how no matter how many bedrooms you have there must always be one room that accumulates crap. Since we've been in this house (4 years) that room has been the smaller bedroom which is now the [EMPTY] baby's room. A few months ago we pulled out all the stops and got that room prepared. May I say it is a lovely baby's room and all it needs now is a baby.

However, the aforementioned crap was then distributed to the large and quite gorgeous front bedroom which has always been our guest room. This crap was then added to when I took on the job of fundraising co-ordinator for our adoptive families support group ACC (Australians Caring for Children - ). This involved taking custody of boxes full of miscellaneous "stuff". So our own crap with the addition of the ACC stuff added up to one hell of a mess. I lived in dread should someone ask to stay the night as the bed could not be seen and it was almost impossible to even access the bed from the door. It was a major disaster.

So we got stuck in and we did it! A van full of stuff went to the tip (is there anything which typifies male bonding more than a father and son trip to the tip?). A van full of stuff went to St Vinnies and a half dozen items went to the mysterious place known as "under the house". There are still some boxes and bits and pieces in the room but it is now a tidy room. The bed is not only visible but completely free of crap. It is ready for guests - any takers?

After all that hard work we had a much too big for lunch lunch at Tony Roma's in the city. It is right near Jason's office and was one of his favourite haunts when he worked with Gavin but since Gavin moved onto bigger and better things Jason hasn't been indulging in all those ribs nearly as often. So I guess he was missing them when he suggested TR's for lunch. Look it was OK but I'd still prefer yum cha.

After lunch I dropped the boys off in Paddington - they were going to the football (Rugby League this time) to see Cronulla (Jay's team) get whipped by Souths (contenders for the wooden spoon). Not a good result and Jay was not a happy chappy when I picked the boys up later in the evening. I spent the time shopping and having coffee with my dear sister so I got the better end of that deal.

The only thing that salvaged the day for Jason was coming home and watching the Swans on TV. Not only did they play superbly but they very convincingly beat Geelong who are above them on the ladder, thus giving us hope that they can make and stay in the top 4 as we go into the finals season.

Sunday was an enjoyable day starting with golf for Jason (best score ever apparently) and cooking for moi. Our good friends Aila, Craig and Craig's daughter Madison, as well as Paul, Natalie and their two girls, all joined us for lunch. It was lovely. Good food and good friends, can't ask for more than that on a Sunday afternoon, can you?

Jules dropped in to take Will to mum's so we decided to go to see Bewitched. Yes, I know ... but we love Will Ferrell so we wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. We shouldn't have. Very few movies have NO redeemable features - this is one of them. It wasn't even BAD (which may have given us a giggle at its "badness") it was just nothing. It was so poorly written it was laughable (which was the only thing that was). Will Ferrell was so funny in Saturday Night Live and I loved him in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Old School and even Anchorman but he was totally neutured in Bewitched. As someone who is interested in scriptwriting I find it truly mind-blowing that someone could present such a lame script and have it produced into a major, multi-million dollar Hollywood movie. It is truly an insult to scriptwriting and movie making.

So now it's Tuesday morning. I'm at the office waiting for Jules to turn up with Will. I miss him so much, even when he's only been away a day and a half. Can't wait to see him.

Before I sign off a big congratulations to my cyber friend Julie and her husband Marc who have just been been allocated a baby boy from Guatemala. I don't know any details yet as it is early days at the moment but I'm so very happy for them. I hope all goes well with their adoption process and that their little son is son home.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It's Thursday morning and I'm back at work. Will has gone for a day at the Sydney Aquarium (and other Darling Harbour delights) with his wonderful Dodo (aka Henry aka my dad aka Will's grandfather).

We are so blessed to have a loving family who are always willing and very happy to spend time with Will. It is probably the most precious resource parents can have and we really appreciate that both my mum and dad and sister are always enthusiastic about spending time with Will, whether it's for an afternoon or for the weekend. Sadly Jason's family live in Perth which makes it impossible for them to have the same amount of contact but it must be said that we are so very lucky to have wonderful family who love and support us, even if it is from a distance. I see friends struggling with the balancing act of children, work, household chores, not to mention a little bit of adult/sanity time without family support and I really offer a great big "thank you" to our own crazy family who, despite their little eccentricities, are always there for us.

It's been a busy week so far. Monday night was so a bit bizarro! Will was at mum's so we decided to go out for a quick meal. We were originally going to see the new Oz film The Oyster Farmer but I was feeling tired and thought a nice dinner out might be the way to go. Decided on The Ranch bistro - it's nothing flash but it's quite a decent bistro and not far from home. We got there at 6:05 pm expecting to see tumbleweed blowing down between the tables - I mean, who goes out on a Monday night? Well, apparently half of Sydney. It was chock-full! They have "mums eat free" on Monday nights and everything points to there being a lot of hungry but cheapskate mothers in the north-west area of Sydney. We decided not to wait.

So we get back into the traffic to head home and decide to pull into this weird little area between Marsfield and Eastwood where Jason thinks he's seen a few restaurants. We drive up to this intersection and yes, there are a few restaurants - including something called Ray's Chinese Restaurant. We should have been warned right then and there but it looked cosy and there were a few people in there eating. I decided it looked like one of those "local secrets" and that all the locals were in on this great little restaurant and we'd stumbled upon it - lucky us! NOT!

Once we were inside I decided it was actually a set from a David Lynch film. While it was called a Chinese restaurant there hardly any Chinese meals on the menu. Everyone around us seemed to be having huge plates of lamb cutlets with prawns and honey-mint sauce (this was a blackboard special). We stuck to our guns and ordered Chinese. Really it wasn't too bad but the plate of pork chops we ordered was HUGE. Never seen anything like it before. I have a feeling that next time we drive past it won't be there, that it was just some strange illusion.

Tuesday night we took Will to the Sydney Swan's Kids' Night at the SCG. It was basically a training session for the Swans and afterwards they came over and signed the kids' shirts, caps, autograph books, whatever. Will was thrilled to meet some of his heroes like Barry Hall (Big Bazza), Michael O'Laughlin and Adam Goodes. It was funny when Ben Matthews came over; Will isn't that familiar with Ben (who has played with the Swans for a number of years but isn't one of the "flashy" players). Will says to him"what's your name, mate?". Everyone had a laugh but I thought - Will is really a chip off the old block, so much like he's dad it's a bit scary. It was a great night and I'm very impressed with how patient and good natured the Swannie boys were with the kids.

Monday, July 04, 2005

That was a fine weekend, a damn fine weekend. Let's see now...

Friday: Nice dinner, early to bed with BB on the TV. Jason stayed up till all hours watching the footy and then Wimbeldon. Is it unpatriotic to be glad that Lleyton Hewitt (major pratt) lost? Either way, I'm glad - he shits me!

Saturday we were all up bright and early - well, later than we normally get up but early by most people's standards anyway. I dropped Jason and Will in the city for some father/son bonding at the movies (the new Herbie movie - Hollywood recycling strikes again). I picked up Jules and we headed to Darling Harbour for the Good Food and Wine Show.

What fun! Stall after stall of yummy food to try and showbags to buy. It was crazy: we were trying yoghurt, then chili sauce, then cheese, then crackers, jellybeans, pizza, nuts, juices... whoa! The worst thing was we went for the showbags too early. I never learn. The showbags are heavy and after carrying a few around for a while you loose the will to live and just want to curl up in the corner. We have made a pact to either bring an old lady's trolley or my husband with us next year. Since there are lots of wines and boutique beers to try I'm sure Jason could be tempted. By the time we returned to the car, laden down like pack mules, we were cursing the Food and Wine Show, ourselves and anyone who walked past us who WASN'T laden down like a pack mule. We were even cursing the demise of chivalry and the rise of feminism - where were the gallant men eager to carry our bags? Not a one in sight. Tragic!

Well, we left the bags in the car and, nursing dislocated shoulders, wandered the two blocks (OK, Jules it may be 3 or 4) to Chinatown for yum cha. Don't you just love yum cha? What would the world be without it? A soul-less place to live, a place devoid of humanity, of joy... hell on earth - that's what the world would be without yum cha!!! Happily Will feels the same way. We have been bringing him to yum cha since he was 18 months old and now he slurps up his soy sauce noodles and man-handles his prawn dumplings like a champ. He's still struggling with the chopsticks but I didn't master them until my early 30s so he's doing a million times better than me. [Have you tried the mango pancakes? If not, drop what you're doing right now and head to your nearest yum cha restaurant. Don't waste your life like I did. There I was, a foolish egg tart addict, wasting my life, not a clue as to what I was missing. Then one day mango pancakes came into my life and I've never looked back. Praise the yum cha lord!]

OK, where was I? Saturday night was quite. After taking Jules home we returned to Pomona Street and I spent a fun evening unpacking my showbags and wedging all my new sauces, sachets and spice mixes into my already chockers pantry.

Oh, I forgot the Saturday afternoon shopping expedition. On the way home from dropping off Jules we did a detour to WBJ (Westfield Bondi Junction for those not in the know). Jason had a dire and drastic need for a new pair of shoes (he is such a princess in the body of a 6' 2" ogre). Of course the shoes he "needed" eluded him but I did come away with two gorgeous cardigans, a pair of earrings, a necklace and two fabulous jumpers for Will (half price, who could blame me?).

Sunday started with a family cleaning session. Our cleaner Sandy missed her usual fortnightly visit due to illness so we had to do it ourselves. Not so bad really. Amazing how quickly you can do a clean when you get stuck into it!

Then we went to lunch. It is tradition at Oztech, my faithful employer for the last 14.5 years, to have a staff lunch or dinner to celebrate the end of the financial year (as well as the end of the year, i.e. Christmas). So around the 30th of June each year we do something "fun". OK, I try to organise something "fun" but usually it ends up a shamozle! Last year we went bowling and then out for a steak dinner. Sounds good so far?! Bowling was fine, it was the dinner which was horrendous. Food lousy, service terrible, waiting time - forget about it!!!

This year I wanted to make a better impression. Did I? Shit no! We went to the Gladesville Hotel, a pub with a reputation as a good family venue. Well the "family" part was fine - there was a great kids' area and a clown for face painting, etc. However, the food and service were terrible. As an example, we ordered a variety of different steaks - some had a scotch fillet, some had rump, etc. all with different sauces and sides. The waitress turned up with the first steak and just plonked it on the table. Didn't say this is a "...." or ask who was having a "..." - just sat it down on the table and walked off. We had to crash tackle her to ask her what it was and she didn't have a clue. It was chaotic, slow and most of the food was disgusting. Well, back to the drawing board.

We then did a whirlwind visiting tour of both of my grandmothers. Nothing significant to report there. Then a super quick dinner at mum's and then the much anticipated trip to Gold Class at Greater Union at WBJ to see Batman Begins. What can I saw about Gold Class cinemas? It was pure heaven. The most amazingly comfortable armchairs I've ever encountered in my 37 years. A hot chocolate and a bowl of caramel popcorn (too sweet, for future reference). Just bliss. Thoroughly recommend it for a luxury night out.

The movie? Not bad at all. I like Christian Bale. He's a bit brooding, a bit interesting and ever since he had sex with Ewen McGregor in a bathtub on a rooftop in Velvet Goldmine I've been hooked. He was fantastic in American Psycho. Just something about him... The story was good, well thought out plot but poor dialogue, generally good cast except for Katie Holmes (she's like 12 and really can't act, not my idea of a romantic heroine at all). Gotham City was a little disappointing. I loved the way it looked in the first Batman movie - very gothic and dark. This time it just looked dirty and it rained continuously - very depressing.

Saw a short for Dark Water, a new horror movie with Jennifer Connolly - written by the same guy who wrote The Ring. I love that creepy Japanese horror stuff. This one looks amazingly scary - I can't wait. It's a really love/hate relationship with me and horror films - I love them but usually watch from behind my fingers.

OK, this epic better come to an end right now. Have a great week.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Ask and ye shall receive! Wouldn't it be cool to spend a day just speaking like they did in the Bible? On the other hand "ye" is probably the only term that springs immediately to mind so it would be a pretty boring day just saying "ye" all the time. But I digress...

Yesterday I asked for some blue sky and.. guess what? Woke up to a beautiful, cloud-free blue sky day. A week's worth of heavy rain has washed the world clean and it's all shiny and bright today. Beautiful! I love driving across Gladesville Bridge with that view of Sydney across the glistening water and all the boats bobbing around... makes me so proud of being a Sydney-sider.

Anyway, here I am on a beautiful blue sky-ed Friday looking forward to a nice weekend. Tomorrow Jules and I are hitting the Good Food and Wine Show at Darling Harbour. I've got a 2 for 1 ticket, so what the hell! I am a sucker for the showbags with all the little samples in them - I don't ever get around to using half of them, but it's so much fun getting home and getting all the little bottles and satchets and recipe booklets out of the showbags.

Sunday we have a work lunch to celebrate the end of the financial year. Then we're dropping Will off at mum's for a couple of days (school holidays start on Monday). We're hoping to see Batman Begins at the Gold Class cinema on Sunday evening (I got the tickets for my birthday in March and still haven't had a chance to use them). I love the Batman movies and I really like Christian Bale - we're both really looking forward to it. We rarely get to go to the movies together these days.

Sorry, another BB incident... This week's task is they have to attend the BB school; so every morning they put on school uniforms, etc. They have like a class, where they sit at school desks and BB ask them school-type questions. Last night he asked "Who said "Let them eat cake" ". Christie (competing for the world's dumbest bimbo title) answered "Jesus". I just about had a meltdown. What the??? Surely that sort of information is embedded in our DNA; we're born knowing the answer to that question. Right? Anyway, it was poor old Tim (the only one with anything approximating a brain in the BB household) who had to answer, as he always does, "Marie Antoinette".

I really don't know why I keep watching that show... some sort of masochist urge I'm sure. All it does is give me indigestion and adds to my dread about the future of humanity. If these young people are our future we're all in deep poo. Hopefully there are a whole lot of much nicer, smarter and generally better young people out there who are busy leading nice, smart and generally good lives and haven't got time for crap like Big Brother.

There is virtually nothing left to watch on TV at the moment. I have tried watching "House" which started this week but after only 2 episodes I can already see the pattern and that it's just going to be same thing week in week out.

I guess I can just get more reading done. I have been trying to finish "Widow for One Year" by John Irving for a few weeks now but, like all his books, this one is dense and it takes me a while to get through it. That's not to say I'm not enjoying it, I am, it's just not an "easy" read. For those who haven't seen it I recommend "The Door in the Floor" which was a recent movie with Jeff Bridges (love him!) and Kim Bassinger. It's based on the first section of "Widow for One Year" and it's a very good movie with great performances - especially from Ms Bassinger who I never spotted for a great actress.

On my list of books to read is "Post Mortem" Ben Elton's newie (a Mother's Day gift) - I'm really eager to get into that one. I've also just picked up "Times Square" on DVD - this is a movie from the early 80s which really defines that time of my life. It's about a rich girl and a "loser" girl who run away from hospital together and have a wild time in the New York underworld. It's got a kick-arse soundtrack with The Ramones' "I wanna be sedated", "Life during wartime" by Talking Heads and "Pissing in the river" by Patti Smith being a stand out tracks for me - the whole soundtrack is amazing.

Have a great weekend. K