Sunday, September 22, 2013

I've moved!

I've taken the plunge I've been thinking about taking for a while now, and have re-established my blog on Wordpress.

This one will stay here for now, as there are lots of links in my previous posts that still link back to here, but I won't be posting any more new content for now.

So please come and visit me at pastpresentfuture's new home.

I hope to reconnect with you there.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

30 days of lists - days 9-12

Carrying on with the catch up theme, here are the next 4 days of 30 days of lists.

Day 9: Weird stuff that makes me cry. 

Someone asked me why the Melbourne Cup makes me cry. I know there is lots to dislike about the racing industry and most horses are not as lucky as these elite racers, but there is something that really moves me seeing these magnificent animals give their all in such a huge race. I loved watching Makybe Diva race and I think I cried every time she won.

Day 10: Meaningful gifts given or received.

  • Photo shoot and photos (coordinated by Lil Sis) for my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.
  • Engraved cake knife for Juniordwarf's first bithday
  • 40 years album for Slabs' birthday
  • Brooch Slabs gave me for our 10th anniversary
  • Everything Juniordwarf makes for me

Day 11: This was meant to to be "things my family taught me" but I decided to make it more relevant to me now, and included my (work in progress) list of 12 commandments, as inspired by Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project.

Day 12: Favourite things about this month - which could be this month to date, or this month in general. I guess I included a bit of both

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

12 of 12 september 2013

Another catch up post. This time it's September's 12 of 12 post (see the August post for an explanation of what 12 of 12 is all about).

Thursday the 12th of September and Juniordwarf woke up very mopey, and said he didn't feel normal. We let him stay home and he rested most of the morning, and even had a couple of sleeps. We had soup for lunch and by mid-afternoon he was much better, which was lucky because we were going to take cupcakes to school on Friday for his birthday.

1 of 12 - One of Juniordwarf's jobs is to let the chooks out in the morning, collect the eggs and shut them up in the evening. Today letting them out became my job.

2 of 12 - It was cold this morning. I had to get the ice sheet out of one of the chooks' water dishes.

3 of 12 - This was taken at 8.25 am, so I expect it was colder than this earlier in the morning.

4 of 12 - I also got to collect the eggs today. This one was a bit weird.

5 of 12 - The little boy in his dressing gown, asleep in Mum & Dad's bed. No light, hence the grainy photo.

6 of 12 - I see these bright yellow flowers out of the kitchen window every morning. I have no idea what plant this is, but the flowers come before the leaves, so there is a sea of yellow outside.

7 of 12 - An absolute disaster. I had "buy coffee" on my to-do list today. Luckily my local coffee shop sells beans, but I wasn't able to get there until after lunch when Juniordwarf was feeling better and we had to go out and get cupcake supplies. So I had to survive the morning with only two coffees. Unthinkable!

8 of 12 - By cupcake baking time Juniordwarf was much better. He definitely needed the rest. I'm not so sure about eating the drips of cake batter from the bench though.

9 of 12 - Juniordwarf used to teach Teddy School for ages. Then earlier this year, Teddy School stopped. But it's going to start again this weekend. There will only be six teddies at school (because that's the number of hooks he has behind his bedroom door). There are five hooks already allocated: Billy Noisy, Kangaroo Cook, Dan, Pete and Zoe. The other one is reserved for James, who is Danielle's (the teddies' mother) new baby, born after the teddies' father Winston died. (James looks exactly like Winston - would you believe it.) It doesn't matter that babies can't actually talk and don't go to school. The other teddies will look after him.

10 of 12 - Cupcakes. Experiments with various mixes of flours and sugars (and possibly lacking some baking soda in some cases).

11 of 12 - Cupcakes. The finished product.

12 of 12 - It's getting late and I'm running out of ideas for photos. I've fallen in love with leggings lately. These are from one of my favourite stores, Keshet, in Hobart. They might or might not know me by name in there now.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

30 days of lists - days 5-8

A lot has been happening, so the next few days will be catchup posts.

To start with, here are the next four lists for my 30 days of lists project. (Days 1-4 are here). I'm having fun with this challenge, even though I've dropped a few days behind.

Day 5: Things I tend to worry about:

I tend to worry big. There wasn't enough space to fit in all the small stuff . . . As for making mistakes, I think I have to re-read my own post on the subject several times. One day it might sink in.

Day 6: Rules to break:

This one was hard. I'm not very good at breaking rules. But I thought of another one to break: "Keep up to date with the challenges". 

Day 7: Today I saw:

Day 8: I changed this one to suit me (that's one of the great things about this challenge - if you don't like the prompts you can change them). It was originally "childhood chores", but I though it would be more interesting to make it more current, so it has become "Saturday chores":

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

30 days of lists - days 1-4

I recently heard about 30 Days of Lists and decided that it might be fun to join in.

It's a 30 day journalling challenge, where you get a prompt for a list every day, that you can record in any way you like. It could be as simple as writing each list down on the back of an envelope or as complicated and arty as you want to make it.

There are no rules, and you can even change the prompts if you don't like them. There's an online community to join if you want to chat to other listers, you can post your lists on your blog or do whatever you want with them.

And what you end up with is a nice little snapshot of your life in lists.

I didn't want to make it too complicated for myself, so I decided to use my Clairefontaine mini-reporter pad, which has lovely thick lined paper, perfect for my growing collection of Lamy Safari rollerball pens. (Many thanks to my lovely family for buying these for me for Xmas.)

I came in a couple of days after the challenge started, so I'm a couple of days behind. I've been posting my photos on Instagram (using #30lists) and am going to post them here every few days.

So to begin, here's Days 1 to 4.

 Day 1: What's new so far this year. This one's pretty self explanatory.

Day 2: Projects I'm working on. Basically some of the things from my 100 things to do list that are on my to-do list right now.

 Day 3: Things younger me would like about current me. 

  • I still watch Doctor Who
  • I have a garden with a couple of potential secret garden spots
  • I still have my favourite childhood teddy (when I can get him away from Juniordwarf)
  • I have my own radio show
  • My iPhone

Day 4: Favourite time wasters.

Funny that one of the things on this list is "making lists" . . .

And as for being nit-picky and not finishing things - I'm forcing myself to not make these lists perfect, and to do one each day so that I do get them done, rather than think about it and decide I can't do it because I don't know what to write.

Stayed tuned for Part 2.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

post-election hangover

So the election is over.

We’ll have a new Prime Minister, leading a party that for the most part has policies and philosophies that I’m very much opposed to, and the thought of these people being in power for the next three years scares me.

To be honest, there was a lot to dislike about the previous government too, but I think they were mostly taking steps in the correct direction (with some very notable exceptions). Yet they managed to rip themselves apart and turn voters off in droves. Certain elements of the media didn’t really help their cause either. 

I hope that they use this result as a chance to re-group, rebuild and come back as a united, genuinely alternative party to the government-elect.

I don’t want to dwell on why we got the result we got. I don’t want to dwell on why I disagree with the incoming government on so many things. That would take forever, and I’d start to get stabby and angry.

The election is over and done with and I have to live with the result. There’s nothing I can do about it.

So I decided to look at it like this. I have two choices. I can get angry and complain about how much I despise the incoming PM and focus on all the things I dislike about him and his party, which is tempting because I do like to complain. (And I’m not going to kid myself that I’m never going to say a negative word about him over the coming three years.)

Or I can take the disappointment, anger and disgust that I feel and channel it into fighting back and standing up for what I believe in. Turn it into something positive. Find ways that I can make a difference.

Right now I don’t know what form any of this will or can take. 

I haven’t thought much beyond my initial realisation that there are options other than feeling down about it - which came as something as a shock to me, because I expected to be feeling totally miserable today. This is the first time in my life an election result has made me feel strongly about actually doing something to try and make a difference, and that feels kind of good. 

So while the election didn’t go the way I would have preferred, I’m going to look for things that I can do that will help me express my disappointment and disagreement in positive and constructive ways. And if I can do this, then in some way, the election will have had a good outcome for me.

Onward and upward. And maintain the rage.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

hamilton show layout

On the occasions I actually sit down and do some scrapbooking, I've been going back to some old photos and making some fairly simple layouts just to get the pictures out of the box and into the album.

Here's one I finished recently. It's a double layout from the 2007 Hamilton Show. 

I used some old Kaisercraft papers for this layout. I had some papers from this collection ("Party Animals") in my stash, but not the one I wanted, so I had to dig through a rather huge pile of papers that no one wants any more at the scrapbooking shop to find it. The alphas are also by Kaisercraft, coloured with a combination of paints that I mixed for ages and still didn't quite get to match the paper.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Week - the result

Since I wrote about the fun I had with making Juniordwarf's Book Week costume, I thought I should post a picture of the result.

So here it is.

Hat by Spotlight. Makeup by Slabs. Cat-like outfit by me.

Unfortunately the photos don't show the tail. The skill, imagination and improvisation used to create the final part of the costume should put me fairly and squarely in the running for Crafty Mama of the Year.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This week is Book Week. Juniordwarf’s school is having a Book Week Parade and the kids are all encouraged to dress up as a character from their favourite book.
Two years ago he wanted to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I did this.

Last year he was a pirate, which was easy because he already had a pirate costume.

This year he said he wanted to be The Cat In The Hat. 

I figured this wouldn’t be too hard, and set about planning how I was going to do this

I always thought one of he fun things about primary school-age kids would be doing stuff like making costumes. You know, in all that spare time I have. Yeah.

I can remember my mother making me a Wild Thing costume in primary school for something our class was doing around the book Where The Wild Things Are.

(It looked like this:)

I assume I could actually breathe in this outfit
I figured if my mother could create such a thing out of an old blanket, I could come up with a cat costume pretty easily. Black pants, a black and white top, a tail and OH MY GOODNESS HOW THE HELL DO YOU MAKE HATS?

(Luckily a nearby craft supply store just happened to stock red and white striped hats exactly like the one the Cat in the Hat wears, which I discovered when I went in to get my supplies for this crafty endeavour. Enormous relief.)

I got out the sewing machine. Yes the very same sewing machine I got for Xmas two years ago and had not actually used. The same sewing machine listed at Number 24 on my 100 things to do in 2013 list (24. Sew something. Anything. Just use the damn sewing machine!).

Once I worked out how to thread it (which could be a whole post in itself – my mother’s old basic Bernina it is not), it was time for action.

The black pants were going to be easy. I based them on the same pattern I used for the caterpillar costume. 

OK, not quite so easy. Fluffy polar fleece isn’t quite as easy to sew as I thought it would be. I mean, it moves when you sew it. What kind of sorcery is this?

Anyway, I got there eventually. The pants were done. I’m totally rocking this crafty mama thing.

I didn’t have any sweatshirt patterns. No drama. How hard can it be? It’s just four pieces right? A front, a back and two sleeves. So I can just trace one of his sweatshirts and copy that.

Seam allowance? Pfft, who needs that? It’s a cat outfit. It’s meant to be tight.
See, it fits him.

Oh, you know what? You should have sewed the sleeves into the shoulders before you sewed up the side seams.

Well I’ll just trace the top of the sleeve using the arm hole as a guide, extend it to the length of his arm, and narrow it in at the bottom. Then I can just sew the sleeve in to the arm hole. No worries.


True. In most garments the sleeves actually join up under the arm. 


By this time I was getting somewhat frustrated at this whole exercise. Who said the crafty mama thing was fun? I actually wanted to do this? What was I thinking?

Juniordwarf was watching me. “So I don’t think this is going to be a very good costume,” I said to him.

He looked at me.

Then said, “I don’t mind. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, I don’t want it to be perfect.”

I thought back to where I’d heard this before. It had come from Juniordwarf’s teacher. His class is doing Art this term, and the teacher has been stressing the point very strongly that their art doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look exactly like what they’re drawing and painting or if it doesn’t look the same as anyone else’s work. The idea is to capture what they see and reproduce it the way they see it themselves – so how one child sees something and draws it will be different to how any other child sees it.

The displays around the classroom are testament to this, and it’s fascinating to see each child’s style in their work.

While I was thinking about this, Juniordwarf then proceeded to quote what I’ve often said to him, right back at me. “It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn.”
And you know what struck me most? That while I’m encouraging him not to be hard on himself and not set himself impossible standards, I continue to expect myself to be perfect and to never make a mistake.

It’s not going to be enough for him to hear these messages is it? I can’t really tell him not to seek perfection if I continue to expect it of myself. He’ll catch on to that one day, and how am I going to explain that? 

“Well . . . it’s OK for you not to do things perfectly, but I’m different. I have to.” 

Not really convincing is it? I’m not different. 

So for him to truly embrace these messages, he has to see them in action. That means he has to see me make mistakes and see how I learn from them. He has to see me accept less than perfect. He has to know that I believe what I’m saying. And therefore, I have to believe it.

Maybe I should go back to Grade 1. 

(P.S. Costume is not quite finished . . . but it will fit him and I expect it will hold together for a day. So all is well.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

12 of 12 August 2013

This is my first 12 of 12 post. I heard about 12 of 12 from my friend Snuva, who has been doing it for several years. 

Basically what you do is on the 12th day of each month you take 12 photos of your day.

Snuva says, "Sometimes the 12th falls on a special day; sometimes the 12th falls on just a normal day you wouldn't otherwise document.  However, even ‘just a normal’ day can be interesting to other people or to yourself later on."

It’s like a snapshot of your life, but much simpler than the 365 Project I did in 2011 because you only do it on one day.

And that’s it.


Sort of. I kind of forgot to take any photos in the middle of the day, so there was much cramming to be done towards the end of the day.

Monday the 12th of August was a pretty normal day for me. Catch the bus, take Juniordwarf to school, go to work, follow Juniordwarf's routine on the way back to the bus, come home, and that's about it.

I've been trying out some of the new "Hollywood" filters on the Camera+ app. They looked good on the phone, but I'm not so sure now I see the pictures a bit bigger. It will be interesting to see how they print.

Anyway, here we go . . .

1 of 12 – This person hasn’t had enough sleep and needs coffee.

2 of 12 – This tree still thinks it’s winter (it is).


3 of 12 – I love the contrast between the leafless trees and the blossoms just starting to show up all over the place.


4 of 12 – I decided not to post this one because work-related.

5 of 12 – A streetscape that won’t be around much longer. The two buildings towards the right of the picture will be demolished.


6 of 12 – More blossoms.


7 of 12 – Very excited to receive this diary today for a cool project I’m planning.

8 of 12 – Monday is a day of much walking. I need to be properly equipped.

9 of 12 – On our way to the bus Juniordwarf and I stop off at the hot nut bar (in the “mall” as he calls Centrepoint) to get some nuts.

10 of 12 – We also stop into the ABC Shop so he can check out his favourite characters and DVDs – including Zoe.

11 of 12 – His latest obsession is the TV show Eggheads, which he now acts out with his teddies. Billy at the front is the quizmaster. Juniordwarf is always on the challengers team. Unlike the real show, the challengers always beat the Eggheads.

12 of 12 – I totally want this for my desk at work! 


Monday, August 12, 2013

missing in action

Yes I'm still here.

Look! I'm working very hard:

I have a couple of posts in my mind. They just have to be translated into something that vaguely makes sense. I'm rethinking what I want the blog to be about. I hope I get my thoughts in order soon so I can start posting more regularly.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

roller derby

We had a fun time at the Roller Derby in Hobart last night - even more so once we figured out what was going on.

This bout between the Convicts (orange and black) and the Chiko Rollers (red and black) was part of the Victoria/Tasmania tournament held over the weekend.

Afterwards, Juniordwarf said he wanted to learn to roller skate.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

FFS Friday - cuttlebug edition

Yesterday morning I was thinking that nothing had happened that had even remotely made me want to think ‘FFS’. I thought I wouldn’t have a post for FFS Friday. 

I needn’t have worried.

I thought I’d have a nice relaxing evening doing some scrapbooking.

I got out one of the pages from my Work-in-Progress album that I’d started last week in scrapbooking class and had intended to finish when I got home, because I was sure there would be some alphabet stickers I could use for the title at home. There weren’t any that suited the page.

Never mind. This happens a lot. ... slight FFS.

So I got out my Cuttlebug to cut out the letters. (If you’re not familiar with a Cuttlebug, it’s a bright green machine that you can cut (and emboss) by jamming the dies between two plates and winding them through the machine. Very high tech.)

I started to wind the first set through, when there was an enormous snapping sound and nothing happened. The plates were stuck and the rollers weren't moving.  …. FFS.

Unsure of whether this was a terminal condition, or whether it could be easily fixed, I googled “broken Cuttlebug”. Nothing matched my problem, but a few people mentioned they had taken the end panels off to fix various problems.

OK, well that shouldn't be too hard should it?  So I started to unscrew a few parts to try and get into the ends to see what was going on. Nothing I unscrewed seemed to help me get to where I needed to be. 

 I realised I didn’t have to unscrew anything. No. I could just slide a screwdriver in and clip the end panels off. … FFS.
This is what the inside of one end of a Cuttlebug looks like.

End panel #1

The small gear at the top fell off as I was opening the panel. Easy enough to put back on, but there was still rattling from somewhere else in the machine. So that wasn’t the problem.

Attempt to take the other end off. A screw and a washer fall out. This must be the problem. So all I have to do is remove the end panel, screw the screw back in and put the panel back on. Yay.

This is the end where the handle is, which had originally been attached with an Allen key. The end panel won’t come off without removing the handle. None of the Allen keys I have in my drawer will fit the handle. …. FFS.

You know how you always keep the Allen keys that come with things in case you ever need to deconstruct them? The one for the Cuttlebug was nowhere to be found. … FFS.

I had to go out to the shed in the cold and rummage through my disorganised tool box to find my set of Allen keys. None of them fit. … FFS.

Did I mention there is a lot of grease inside a Cutttlebug, which is now all over my hands and my desk. …. FFS.

Ok, so if I can manoeuvre the end panel out of the way, I can just get the circular screwdriver into the centre of the screw and screw it back in. Fiddly, but it can be done. But the screw doesn’t want to actually go in. It sits there, and if I turn the handle the rollers work, but how do I make it stay there? … FFS.

One little screw. One big problem.

Nothing seems to want to stay in place. I email the manufacturer for advice. I put the machine back together and turn the handle just to see what happens. The machine works. After I have sent the I-am-ever-so-slightly-annoyed email to the manufacturer. … FFS.

I cut out the letters I need and then realise I don’t feel like scrapbooking any more. I need a wine or two to relax and something to get the grease off my hands.  Not the relaxing evening I’d hoped for. …FFS.

Then, as I was putting the machine back into the box after I'd finished, what did I find but the original Allen key I used to attach the handle. ...FFS.


Monday, May 27, 2013

and so, this self-care thing is hard

After yesterday's post about how I'm not looking after myself (I'm starting to sound like that frozen meals ad, yeah?) I got a lot of supportive comments from my friends, both real life and online. I felt very touched that people were concerned about me.

They all said pretty much the same thing. I have to take better care of myself or I'm not going to be any good to anyone.

I know in my heart of hearts that this is true. Or at least Me-two does. Me-first (or perhaps that part of me should be called Everyone-else-first) is somewhat reluctant to accept it, and thinks that I need to keep going until the job is done, without any let up. And then keep going some more.

It's going to be difficult to overcome Me-first's drive and determination, especially when she is in the 'zone'. But I need to find a better balance and I need to give Me-two what she needs as well.

Today I didn't do very well at this.

But tomorrow is another day and I will try again. Some things I need to really pay attention to first are to have a proper lunch break and regular breaks during the day, to drink more water and less beer, and to get a massage.

One thing I'm quite proud of is that I haven't resorted to stress eating or going back to cakes and sweet things. That's an area I think I've made a lot of progress in.

So if I can do that, there's no reason why I can't take other steps as well. And one step at a time I will get to where I want to be.

And thank you everyone who sent me supportive messages. I appreciate you taking the time for me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

the conflict within

The last few weeks I've felt like I'm two different people.

I'm very busy at work and the end date is rapidly approaching. Things need to be done yesterday and somehow, the two elements of the project that I'm responsible for have both ended up needing to be finalised at pretty much the same time.

I'm struggling, because it's been very much: do this, send it back, next thing comes in while I'm doing the first thing, do the second thing, send that back, in the mean time the third thing has come in, then the first thing has come back and needs revision . . . and it doesn't seem to stop.

Me-first is driven and determined to get this all done, and done right, and won't stop until everything is perfect. My part-time hours mean I haven't been there at some critical times, which means delays that I can't really afford. The days I'm supposed to leave at 2.30 to pick up Juniordwarf from school have been the hardest. Just because I've left doesn't mean the work doesn't keep coming in. So I've been taking work home to make up those hours.

Taking work home is something I said I'd never do, but Me-first is taking some kind of delight in working so hard and getting things finished. It must be the adrenaline rush or something, because Me-first has really been getting into the zone at these times. Working at home has become such a habit that last Wednesday, the first Wednesday for a few weeks that I didn't need to take anything home, I was wandering round the house feeling completely lost because I didn't have any work to do. 

I know!  That has to be the saddest thing ever, right?

The second me is feeling very very pressured and scared and overwhelmed and like I'm about to hit my breaking point. Me-two hears people tell me to ease up on myself, to relax and to take time for myself. Me-two knows that I need to do this, but Me-first is committed to the task and says that there is no time to stop now, I can rest when this is all over. It won't be too much longer, it really won't, and the pressure will be off.

So this inner dialogue between Me-two and Me-first is going on all the time, making me feel even more anxious. So now, not only am I feeling stressed about the work itself, which is bad enough, but I'm also feeling stressed about the very fact that I’m overdoing it. I think I'm just holding on by the skin of my teeth, so that I can have this break some time in the near future. At which point I will probably collapse.

Me-first decided to make things worse yesterday when Juniordwarf and I were watching a DVD, by telling me I really should be doing something more productive with my time with him rather than watching a DVD or letting him go on the computer. 

Thank you Me-first. That is Not Helpful.

I think part of this stems from the way I think about myself at work - or more accurately, the way I think other people see me at work - that is, that being part-time means I don't really pull my weight. So Me-first is determined to show them that I can contribute just as well as anyone else and not let the side down. Everyone else is under pressure too. Others are working full-time hours, some of them have kids too and they’re all coping. I just waltz on out of there at 3 pm, so what do I have to complain about?

Of course, no one has ever said that they think I’m slacking off because I’m part-time, and the majority of feedback I have received is that my contributions are valued and that being part-time hasn't affected my work performance. Some things might take longer for me to do because I'm not there all day, but this is generally factored into my time frames.

So it's a flawed argument, but it doesn't stop me feeling guilty every time I leave work at school pickup time. 

It would be easy enough for me to lay all the blame for this on work, but that’s unfair. When I took on the extra work, I expected it to be a lot less work than it became. I've been fairly relaxed about waiting for other people’s feedback and contributions – someone told me I was far too nice in this regard – and I don’t like to ask for what I need even if, by failing to do so, I inconvenience myself. I’d rather put myself out than someone else. It takes me quite a while to settle into the flow of a project and get really focused. And I’m a very good procrastinator.

Fingers crossed that the worst of this is now over. There is still more work to be done, but I’m quietly confident that the craziness that was the last few weeks has passed. And what I have to do once all this is over is to make an effort to sit down, not in judgement of myself, but in a self-compassionate sort of way, and work out where I went wrong and come up with ways I can learn from this.

I also need to take some time off. I think a week away somewhere in the mountains with no phone, no internet, a stack of books, pens and paper and some yoga DVDs would be just what I need right now.

Me-two is nodding furiously.

Friday, May 24, 2013

ffs friday

I’m new to this FFS Friday thing, so bear with me as I learn to rant on the internet. 

FFS Friday is all about what has pissed you off in the last seven days. My lovely friend Mrs Smyth has encouraged me to participate and link up with DearBaby G.

So here we go ...

Work has been flat out crazy busy to meet a very inflexible deadline. This is proving to be very difficult to manage with my part-time hours and I’ve been doing something I said I’d never do – taking work home. More than once. … FFS

Driving home from work, Juniordwarf and I both fell asleep in the car (obviously neither of us were doing the actual driving). Try as I might, I couldn’t entice an extremely sleepy little boy to get out of the car when we got home, so I went inside, assuming he’d follow. A couple of minutes later, Slabs went out to find out why Juniordwarf hadn’t come inside. Had he fallen asleep again? Why no, I’d forgotten to open his door. … FFS

On Sunday night I noticed one of my ear pirecings was sore and a bit lumpy. This didn't exactly excite me as last time something like this happened, it got infected, requiring a trip to the GP, a scalpel, a local anaesthetic that didn't have any effect, hence an agonising cut to the area that hurt more than the actual piercing, followed by walking round for a few days with a bandage on my ear looking like I'd been attacked by a dog. I do not want this to happen again. This is a 20+ year old piercing. How can that get infected? ... FFS

I almost went into a major meltdown at work when I thought that the week after next was actually next week and that I’d run out of time to get everything done and that the world was going to end and and and ....... Thankfully someone pointed out this minor miscalculation before I completely lost the plot. This is why I need a calendar. … FFS

Juniordwarf: You were in my dream last night.
Me (isn't that sweet?): Oh, was I? What was I doing?
Juniordwarf: You were spewing. … FFS

I bought a TV that is eventually going to be the monitor for my future new computer. I figured I might as well set it up to work as a TV as well (because Eurovision) in my study, which is downstairs and primarily lined in Besser blocks. I've been referring to it as "The Bunker". In order to get the ABC, I needed to get a rabbit ears antenna, connect it to the antenna booster and set it up as close to the window as possible, balancing it delicately on top of my scrapbooking stamps, which required the use of three antenna extension cords. I now have ABC. And a whole lot more cords … FFS

Thursday, May 23, 2013

yoga boy

I bought the yoga DVD so I could keep up with a structured routine after my teacher left.

Someone else decided that they would like to do yoga as well. He's started getting up early to do the routine with me and he knows a lot of it off by heart.

Now he's now created his own "DVD" and his Hairy McLary toy, in the background, "helps" him do the poses, just like the instructors do in the DVD.

Monday, May 20, 2013

they might be giants

I’m fortunate enough to have seen three of my all-time top-five musical artists live. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen Paul Kelly live – the most recent was in 2011 for one of his A to Z shows. I saw REM in Sydney in 2005 on their Around the Sun tour.

And I saw They Might Be Giants in Canberra in 1997. 

Yeah I've held on to this for 16 years

I’ve been a fan of They Might Be Giants since my friend Liz introduced me to their 1990 album Flood. The TMBG recordings, while not at fan-girl completist levels (largely because I’m missing a lot of their podcasts), make up one of the largest collections in my CD library.

Since 1997 I think they have been back to Australia only once, in 2001. When I heard earlier this year that not only were they going to tour Australia, but there was a possibility Tasmania might be getting a concert, I was pretty excited.

The initial tour dates were announced . . . and Hobart wasn’t included. I wasn’t altogether surprised, because we often miss out on acts coming here. But as time went on, more dates were added to the tour and (to screams of excitement from me and some Twitter friends) a show in Hobart.

Tickets were promptly purchased, and then the long period of anticipation before the show began. Perhaps what made this more fun than most loooong waits, was the ability to follow TMBG on Twitter, tell them how excited we were that they were coming, and hear about the tour preparations and, closer to the date, how the other shows on the tour had gone.  

That’s when it started to get really exciting: hearing about the set lists from other shows and wondering which songs we’d get to hear.

To get ready for the show, I devoted my entire radio program the week before to TMBG and played some of my favourite tracks dating back to their first releases in 1986. 

I asked John F on Twitter what is one thing TMBG would like me to say to my listeners, and he replied, “Melody is where we’re at!” And indeed it is – one of the band’s slogans is “Installing and Servicing Melody Since 1982”.

And finally, after weeks of anticipation, They Might Be Giants Day was here!

The show was at the Wrest Point Show Room, which is a venue I’d never been to before. By the time we got there, the centre of the room was pretty full, front to back, so we found ourselves a place off to the side of the stage, almost but not quite behind the speakers, but close to the front. The best thing about that spot was being able to see some of the behind the scenes activity and also the fact that no one else really wanted to stand there, so we had a fair bit of space to dance in. (Yes, I actually danced. In public.)

So what about the show?

Dodgy iPhone photo

Well, my first reaction was that it was amazing. I was so pumped. It was the most fun I’ve had in, like, forever. Really. The set list was a great mix of old and new songs, and I knew them all. 

There were a couple of songs that stood out for me as highlights because I especially wanted to hear them played live, and TMBG did not disappoint.

Best shot I managed to get from our vantage point

Firstly, Fingertips, the composite song made up of 21 individual tracks from the album Apollo 18. I noticed it had cropped up in some of the earlier shows, so I was really hoping we’d get to hear it too. (It’s the perfect song to use to introduce Juniordwarf to TMBG and he’s become quite attached to it.)

An unexpected, but very much appreciated treat, was the instrumental version of The Famous Polka (I deliberately didn’t examine the previous set lists too closely so that there would still be an element of surprise for me). Highly energetic and infectiously so. 

And a song that I’ve only recently got to know well, The Mesopotamians, which is just so cute. Can a song be cute? Surely. Well I think I have a little crush on Sargon, Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal and Gilgamesh now.

Flans in action

The band really rocked the whole show. What a fantastic evening!

The full set list (100% accuracy not guaranteed due to a mild case of over-excitement):
When Will You Die
Don’t Let’s Start
Memo To Human Resources
Call You Mom
Circular Karate Chop
Birdhouse In Your Soul
Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Dr Worm (featuring John L on the accordian)
The Famous Polka
Cloisonn̩ (the song that features the bass clarinet РJohn F told the story on a radio interview of how previously they had toured with a bass sax, which in hindsight had been a bit big to be transporting all over the place for only one song, so this time they were bringing the bass clarinet. It sat there all evening just begging to be played.)

The bass clarinet has its moment in the sun
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Eye Of The Tiger (instrumental)
He’s Loco (performed by the John and John Avatars of They on screen while the band had a short break)
Lost My Mind
Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head
New York City
Ana Ng
You’re On Fire
Damn Good Times

Encore 1:
Clap Your Hands
The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas)

Encore 2:
The Mesopotamians

I liked the book-ending of the show with songs referencing death. I also thought it was neat that they played The Guitar, with its spaceship references, on the day that the crew from the International Space Station Mission 35 returned to Earth, though possibly that was just good timing rather than a deliberate inclusion, as the song cropped up on other shows during the tour.

(Speaking of space missions, I also found out, while I was researching my radio program, that NASA had asked TMBG to be Musical Ambassadors for International Space Year in 1992. Cool.) 

So – this ranks right up there as one of the most fun nights of my life. Thank you John and John for including us in your tour and for putting on such a memorable show. Please come back soon!