Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So I know you've all been hanging out for my review of Paul Blart: Mall Cop... come on, admit it.

Wait no longer dear readers.

When we saw the shorts for this film Big Jay and I turned to each other and said "Will is going to LOVE THIS!". This is the kind of slapstick physical humour Will loves (and let me just say, so do I).

This is worth seeing if only for the magnificent Segway transporter action. I seriously love these things. There are a few around the Olympic Park precinct where we live that are used for tours. Every time I see one zipping around I dream of owning one. To be honest I think that would be a total disaster because my lack of balancing prowess is well documented so I'm sure I would crash the thing into a tree within 20 seconds.

But I digress. Mall Cop was really just a fun and funny family film of the old fashioned variety. I enjoyed every minute. Marianna was a bit restless (not enough Wiggles and/or mermaids for her liking) but Will giggled all the way through.

Also this is probably a good time to confess a soft spot for Kevin James. Sure, he's no Robbie Williams, but he does appeal to the significant part of me which likes big cuddly slightly dopey blokes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm in love with my new iPod Classic (and yes, I would marry it if the laws of this state allowed such unions!). From the meditation music which helps me relax at bedtime to the Ricky Gervais podcasts which keep me laughing on car trips I love everything about it. It is one clever little technological gadget.

What I particularly like is the ability to download ONE song for a modest cost. I haven't bought actual singles for a decade or more. Born with a tail (by a Kiwi band I can't remember the name of right now) was probably the last one I actually purchased.

Yesterday I downloaded the semi-new Ben Folds with Regina Spektor song You Don't Know Me. What a fine bit of pop song that is. I want to listen it to it over and over.

I have also purchased the new Ben Lee CD The Rebirth of Venus and, as with his previous offerings, it is music which makes me happy. I think I like Ben Lee so much because he is an annoying optimist like me. He isn't the best singer in the world, nor the best musician or songwriter. But he does put together a catchy pop song and the sentiments are very much up my alley. Life can suck, things can be shit but it's all we've got so cheer up and be happy, enjoy, live life, get stuck in, be kind to each other, be kind to yourself. What more can one want from life and/or a pop song?
My almost 90 year old grandmother moved into a retirement home a few weeks ago. It was inevitable and a couple of years overdue. I won't go into the boring family saga behind this move.

It has been interesting to watch Will's reaction to our visits to the home. Whereas before, when he was much younger and we would visit my other grandmother at the nursing home, he would simply be bored and uncomfortable. Now he is thinking about the meaning of this place; a place filled with old people. "Why are there so many old people here?" he constantly asks.

I can feel his brain working things out. He has asked if he'll be living in a place like this one day. As a parent it is difficult and confronting to discuss such things with a 9 year old. I believe in simple honesty with children. Not too much information but small facts and the truth about not knowing what the future holds.

I don't want to fear old age and death; they are a natural part of life. The alternative is dying young and that isn't any better. When I talk to Will about old age and sickness and death I want to give him a simple version of my beliefs without making it sound scary. Sometimes I feel the words weighing heavy as they leave my mouth and I wonder what he makes of them. But I am never tempted to shy away from the truth or to sugar coat it for him (too much).

Possibly believing in God and a Bible-inspired afterlife may make such conversations easier but I don't have that crutch to lean on. I don't wish for that support structure in my life (though I do have moments of envy for people who have it).

My dad said he admires that I take the children to visit my grandmother and talk to them about aging and death. He says when he was a child (and even when I was) adults kept such things away from children, afraid of superstitions and jinxes, tempting fate, etc. I simply can not see the point of shying away from what is an inescapable part of life, though I do see it would be easier for me not take the children to the old people's home, not to talk to them about such sad things. But happiness and sadness are all part of a rich life; like day and night and Summer and Winter.

I wonder whether us weird and wonderful human beings would treasure life quite so much if we were immortal, if the end point of death was not in the equation. I think not. I hope for my children a love of life, an enjoyment of the everyday and an acceptance of the brief and temporary nature of our individual existence.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Here's another sweet family anecdote to add to my Mother of the Year nomination application.

A couple of weeks ago Marianna woke up and came into the kitchen where I was fiddling with Will's school lunch.

"I want to give my daddy a hug," was her opening line.

"He went to work early this morning sweetie, you'll have to wait until he get's home this evening," I said.

"NOOO, I have to give my daddy a hug NOW," she retorted.

"Well, daddy isn't here. If you want we can call him on the phone and say 'good morning'. Otherwise you can give me a hug or wait until tonight."

She was quite for a few moments. Then (in case I had misunderstood her previous requests):

"I WANT TO GIVE MY DADDY A HUG NOOOOWWWWW ... [significant and ominous pause] ... YOU SHIT!"

Look, it's hard to shift blame for my angelic little cherub knowing such words. She would certainly have heard me uttering the odd "shit" here and there. But in my defence I should say that it isn't my fault that the roads are so heavily populated by moronic arsehole shitheads who so obviously found their driver's licences in Corn Flakes packets.

I do need to give her points for using it so well and in proper context. Despite the initial shock I was suitably impressed.

A moment any mother would be proud of.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've finally finished Stieg Larsson's second Millennium instalment, The Girl Who Played With Fire. After reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I couldn't wait to get into the second book but time has been against me. I just couldn't get around to it and I didn't want to read it in 5 minute incriments.

So I took it up to the Gold Coast with me and spent my evenings reading big chunks at a time. Then last Friday night I finished the final 150+ pages.

I had it on good authority that this second book was better than the first and it's so true. Like the first book this one starts off kinda slow and builds up to the point where you can't get your eyes across the words and across the lines fast enough. Never mind a page turner, this book was a bloody runaway Mack truck and I was strapped in for a huge ride.

This book gives us much more background on our heroine Lisbeth Salander and she keeps being an oddly endearing and totally fascinating character. So good to have a fantastic, strong, take-no-prisoners female character.

The ending left me satisfied but certainly hanging for the next book (which won't be released until early 2010). I can only hope that the third book ties things up at least a bit and doesn't leave us in suspense like this one because sadly there won't be any more.

As Will would say Lisbeth Salander ROCKS!
Some photos from our anniversary day lunch back in January which I thought were worth sharing...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

As a birthday treat mum looked after the kids last night and Big Jay and I went to a Gold Class* session of He's Just Not That Into You. Just the cinema experience was wonderful: comfy recliner armchairs; nachos and a giant Coke in a chilled glass brought to our little table by a polite waiter. Heaven. Better still we were lucky enough to share the cinema with a group of quiet, well behaved patrons who were there to actually watch a movie and not make mobile phone calls, chat to their friend and/or rustle wrappers and/or cough constantly.

The movie itself was average. Reasonable bit of entertainment but without anything much to make it memorable.

The best thing about it was Ginnifer Goodwin. I have to admit to having a good, old-fashioned girl crush on her. She is too cute for human comprehension. She first caught my attention in Big Love and she is even more adorable in HJNTIY.

Now what are my chances of seeing Confessions of a Shopaholic while it's still at the cinema?
Tomorrow is my 41st birthday and I've treated myself to a shiny, new iPod Classic. It suddenly occured to me that I really, really needed one.

It's a great little toy with amazing technological features. Mind boggling really for a Gen-Xer like me.

I spent last night fiddling with it.

What does it say about me that my first two purchases from the iTunes Store were:

1) The Cure: Greatest Hits

2) Meditation and Relaxation Music
I wasn't going to write about my trip to the Gold Coast last weekend at all. My first reaction to the trip, upon getting home on Wednesday night, was to curl up in the foetal position in the corner and rock myself in a self-comforting manner. A few days later and some perspective has returned. After all, I have survived with some semblence of sanity, so all is well.

There is absolutely no need to go into details. I went to the Gold Coast for 3 nights and 4 [horrificially long] days with mum and the kids while Jason was at a work-related (sort of) golfing trip to Coffs Harbour. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It wasn't. I'll stick with the positive. Sea World was great fun and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those with younger children. George's Greek Restaurant at Sanctuary Cove is great. Good food, great value. When was the last time you paid $14 for a whole dozen oysters at a restaurant? (Some thieving scumbags are charging $35 here in the Emerald City.)

Lesson learnt: Do not go on holidays with the children without the physical and mental presence of their father. It won't end well.

Here are a couple of pics to capture the happy memories...

Doesn't look like the human incarnation of Lucifer on earth, does she?!

Two's company, three's a pain in the backside...