Monthly Archives: February 2010

12 years

So I started this whole post with pictures of Oscar through the years and the whole grim triumphant (of sorts) journey that it’s been since he was born all those years ago on 25 February 1998 and well, SNORE.

Instead I thought I’d give you 12 things I’ve learnt in the last 12 years because let’s face it, it is all about me.

1. You will never get enough sleep in the early years of your children’s life. In fact, your sleeping patterns are basically fucked for at least the next 20 years. Get over it.

2. Your husband is your partner in parenting. It is not a competition (as to who got less/more sleep, who does more/less).

3. You must always try and find the humorous side. This is particularly important when a) the family is struck down with some dreaded lurgy that involves having to handle/smell/touch/deal with way too many bodily fluids that are not your own or b) it has been a particularly stressful moment due to multiple children having monumental meltdowns simultaneously or c) it’s 3am and no-one’s getting any sleep because the baby is screaming and no-one knows why and wow who knew you could be this tired and I could really go a cheeseburger.

4. Don’t ever say you don’t have the time to do something for yourself. Organise it and it will happen.

5. Schedule everything. Sex, exercise, time alone, you name it. If you don’t schedule it then suddenly your husband is looking forlorn and you’re inexplicably narky. Well, more narky than usual.

6. Learn the phrase ‘this too shall pass‘ and remember to repeat it, out loud if necessary, as a mantra when the going gets tough. That can be when you can’t make dinner fast enough and children are melting faster than the polar ice cap; when you literally have no money to buy food, petrol or pay for the school excursion; when your child’s most funnest game in the world is pulling every single DVD/book/toy off the shelf/out of the box and then walking away; when one of your children breaks one of your last remaining things of emotional or financial significance; when your kids decide to put their ride on cars through a car wash and use motor oil as the shampoo; or when every surface in the house is deemed worthy of an artwork, in a Sharpie.

7. You are not alone. Pick up the phone. Get out of the house.

8. If ‘it’s’ not working, change ‘it’. ‘It’ being how you’re trying to teach your kids to be nice to each other, or right from wrong, or that the toilet is a much better place to take a dump than the back verandah, or that sleeping through the night in their own bed is an absolute trip, a fun trip! with fairies and unicorns and rainbows and chocolate! lots and lots of chocolate!

9. Pick your battles and turn off the television. Oh and always be willing to say you’re sorry and/or admit you were wrong. Even to your kids.

10. Kids do this ridiculous thing where not only do they get bigger they develop, as in, their own character and opinion and ideas. This can catch you off guard. Just accept you have to change your parenting as your kids get older. It makes everything easier.

11. Sit on the floor. Avert your eyes from how filthy it is down there and play a goddamn game with your kids. Yes, 28 games of Connect4 when they don’t even play it right will make your brain bleed from your ears but your kids will love it. That’s right, the train-track could be better designed and that’s way too many carriages for one engine to pull and yep it is always going to fall off the track on that corner for that exact reason but let.it.go. OH come now, just how many marbles can there really be in Kerplunk! See #6.

12. The activities that you find the most painful/boring/least rewarding/intellectually debilitating will be the ones your kids love the most. See #6.


Today is Tuesday

I have this post written in my head which is quite serious and weighty but today, after a shocking night of little sleep due to the weather not children (February, you are SO fired) I am feeling abnormally chipper and frivolous. Lucky we’re stony broke as otherwise I’d probably be at the fabric shops and the bookshop spending up b.i.g.

*****

Did I tell you I’ve started swimming laps again? Man it feels good. And bad in that ‘so this is what having a heart attack feels like’. Last week I got up to 40 laps in the 25m pool which would have been awesome had the day before I’d been swimming in a 50m pool and could barely muster f.i.v.e. paltry laps without my heart simultaneously bursting out of my chest and liquefying out my mouth. It wasn’t that I was stopping at the end of each lap in the 25m pool, I was doing blocks of 10, but there’s clearly a difference when you get a micro-stop at the 25m than just having to slog it out to 50.

Today I did 50 laps in a 25m pool. You know the first 20 laps were hard and then something just clicks and I kind of feel like I could just become a swimming Forrest Gump. The water doesn’t resist me anymore, it sort of carries me along, I feel it rush over my lips as I exhale with each stroke. Bubbles rush down the length of my body as my hands push through the water and I just keep going, lap after lap, breathe one two three, breathe two two three, breathe three two three. . .  

Anyway, I’ve decided to invest in some short fins because, according to she-who-knows-everything-about-endurance-swimming Fifi LaStupenda, they are good for building up your fitness.

She has also made me do something really stupid. I’ve said that I will swim the Curl Curl to Freshwater ocean swim in April. Being the type to barrel into things without clearly thinking through the ramifications I said yes before really thinking about what would be involved (swimming! in the big blue ocean! with the sharks! and a gagillion other people who have been training! with a swell! and waves! no ends to rest at! and oh man I’m screwed!) or the cold hard reality that it’s 2km. TWO FUCKING KILOMETRES! See you in May! Just look north for the Rescue chopped hauling me out of the water in a big net. OH THE HUMANITY.

*****

So I’m enduring Eddie McGuire interviewing Wayne Gretsky (at one point Eddie refers to the puck as a ball. God help us all) and I ask Chef, ‘so who’s Wayne Gretsky?’ and Chef, being a bit of a die hard baseball and ice hockey fan (I know, if someone wants to sponsor us to move to Canada or the US just call me) does the whole wide eyes and head shaking caper and just says more slowly, ‘Wayne Gretsky, Poppet, Waaayyyne Gretsky’.

I point out that saying his name slower is not actually revealing any more detail to me about who he is so he tells me he’s simply known as ‘The Great One’. OK, but why? WHY?

Then he tells me in language I understand, ‘He’s like the Gary Ablett of ice hockey except without the dead hookers. Or Tiger Woods without the mistresses‘.

That man of mine, he cracks me up.

*****

I just watched Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir score 110 something in the most beautiful routine AND she was wearing what can only be described as a gorgeous classic costume. Apart from being a classical beauty she skated beautifully and Scott Moir – man, is he the only clean shaven male partner? He is a total package.

I think I missed the Russian (?) couple doing the Aboriginal dance, which might have been a good thing. Putting the whole cultural insensitivities to one side, by all accounts it took the concept of  a nude body stocking to a whole new level. And not in a good way.

The Americans are on now and are dressed to do a Saturday Night Live homage to John Travolta but Ave Maria is playing! They seem to be handling the monumental stuff up well and the routine seems to fit to the … wait. They’re meant to be dancing to this? Then what the hell are the costumes all about? In the kiss and cry and MAN someone attacked them with the Bedazzler.

Oooh, here are the Russians. She looks like she’s got a bad case of varicous veins while he’s come off second best from a battle with the American Werewolf in London, which the music seems to confirm. Their costumes are very distracting. And I’m with Belinda Noonan, the best commentator ever – perfunctory at times, incredibly knowledgeable, sometimes scathing and occasionally generous with the praise –  the whole routine seems slow.

And the Canadians win it!!! WOOT!

*****

You know how Felix bought his own guinea pig from the boys across the road? Well the other two babies died – well, one died overnight after falling ill during the evening (they think it was a tick although couldn’t find one on her) and the other is missing so there’s a happy cat or dog somewhere in the neighbourhood. Suddenly CocoTaco feels very special indeed. Photos to come.

*****

We had a conference call w/ the physio and OT of The Spastic Centre and the physio and OT of Sydney Children’s Hospital to discuss all things OO (Oscar’s Op). You know, the closer it gets the less anxious and stressed about it I am. I’m sure it should be going the other way. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve known this was coming since your kid was 18 months old. Oscar was there for the tail end of the phone call and the girls at the hospital wished him a happy birthday for Thursday (I KNOW! 12 on Thursday!) and asked him if he had any questions. And bless him if he didn’t ask about what he’d get to eat when he was there! The fact it comes around on a trolley was a winning answer!

Surgery is tentatively Tuesday 20 April. In for a few days until pain management is under control. In old-fashioned casts from knees down to toes for three weeks then back to outpatients to take them off, do castings for new AFOs (aka super legs) then new casts (the more lightweight fibreglass variety but still not waterproof due to there being wound sites) back on for another three weeks. No weight bearing whatsoever during that time. At all.

*****

I’m organising our 20 year school reunion and today saw me bed down the date after some discussion with friends – the last weekend in October will see many of us to gather and be totally weirded out that we left school 20 years ago. Crikey.

*****

Onward!


Olympic highlights

One of the most common refrains from me during this Winter Olympics, apart from my wailing and gnashing of teeth abuot the woeful coverage Channel 9 is providing as the free-to-air TV broadcaster in Australia and just how inappropriate Eddie McGuire is as the host, is how awesome the US snowboarders uniform is. 

My first reaction was, ‘HOW COOL IS THAT- ski pants that look like jeans’. Apparently my intelligence far outstrips many others because apparently many actually thought they were jeans which is, you know, just plain stupid. 


As with many other lounge room experts I adore the figure skating. The ice dancing, meh, but the figure skating – HOOOO BOY I am addicted. This is a strange addiction in that getting to view any ice skating action on Australian TV is as likely as a champagne fountain at a Mormon wedding. (Wait, they don’t drink do they?)

It is my firm opinion that Johnny Weir was robbed of a medal – he should have been on that dais instead of the Japanese competitor from my highly educated and insightful knowledge of ice skating scoring and competition. I mean, his music was rousing. His jumps and expression were outstanding. The Japanese dude fell over. The end.

And tell me, while this was not at the Olympics, you can not tell me Johnny Weir is not a supreme athlete while also being the consumate performer:
 

Some of been a bit icked-out by Yevgeny Plushenko’s subtle campness, preferring his persona to mirror more Captain Ivan Drago than say, oh, I don’t know, Johhny Weir. I thought it was fun and cheeky and perfect with his music choice. Regardless, dude got silver just for doing that quad so many other men find impossible. 

He’s also done more for the resurgence in the mullet than re-runs of Lethal Weapon 1,2 or 3 could ever do.   

Oh, and the GFY girls once again outdid themselves with this coverage of outfits at the US Championships – I am busting for their round-up of the Olympics competition. 

Meanwhile, if all of that is just too much for your liking, how about throwing yourself down a tube of ice head first at heart-stopping speed. I mean come now, as if that couldn’t be deemed a sport. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the skeleton. I mean, if the Summer Olympic Committee knew a jot about getting in the crowds they’d develop something similar for the London Games. You know like Jamberoo Recreation Park* but a bit more classy. ‘n that.

It’s not for the faint at heart or indeed the modest. And well, we all know what my greatest fear would be:


There also seems to be a hell of a lot of jiggling going on once they’re on that sled (sleigh?) – I reckon there should have been some spanx embedded in them there body stockings

Another realm of the body stoking is the speed skaters. I doubt I have the coordination or commitment to be involved in such shenanigans – all that get down low and go go go but do it going around and around would just give me the shits. 

When it comes to designing the outfits I understand the thinking behind GOLD! what a spectacular idea! what a metaphor! but surely someone on that committee pointed out that creating the impression of an in-built g-string while cutting edge was perhaps more mardi gras than intended. 

  
More delicious treats of this visual here.


And while I love to think I have the guts to snowboard I know I would be as hopeless strapped to a board as my experience strapped to two skis has been. But if I had an ounce of the talent ‘our Torah‘ I would want shiny gold boot straps and a diamante strap on my goggles too:

Image from SMH website
and while we’re here, here’s some of those awesome US uniforms:
Image from SMH website




Onward!   










* Where you control the action!

Don’t believe the hype


In which I vent my frustration with Channel 9 and disappointment with Eddie McGuire




As anyone who has watched mere minutes of Channel Nine’s coverage of the Winter Olympics can attest, it’s a complete hatchet job.

Last night’ s coverage saw them repeat whole swathes of material they had broadcast the night before (of the women’s 500m speed skating and luge).

Perhaps they could have shown a number of complete routines in the men’s ice skating which many of us were hanging out for rather than the number they decided was enough. Two. Channel Nine deemed that the return of champion skater Yevgeny Plushenko from retirement and the only man attempting quad jumps as only worthy of coverage in their ‘updates’.

If the appalling programming wasn’t enough, Nine has kicked the boot in well and truly in having the mess hosted by Eddie McGuire. One search on Twitter of his name will reveal the depth of anger and hatred viewers are feeling about Eddie’s delivery. A Facebook page has even sprung up as another forum for people to share their displeasure.

Eddie McGuire is one of those personalities on Australian television that polarise people more than most. His background and main stomping ground of experience comes from hosting the Victorian version of The Footy Show – the last bastion of inappropriate jokes at the expense of homosexuals, women, immigrants and any other section of the community that does not drink beer and watch a minimum of three footy matches a week. While he has moved on his attitude – from his performance hosting the Winter Olympics – has not.


Patronising toward women

One Tweet said “The only way Eddie McGuire could be more patronising to (Australian competitor) Jacqui Cooper would be to pat her on the head.” (Twitterer: indefensible). His demeanour interviewing Katarina Witt was bordering on school boy with him mentioning the Playboy shoot she did once and then raising it in a question further down the uncomfortable track. While interviewing two of Australia’s youngest (and female) competitors he made a grossly inappropriate comment along the lines of it ‘warming his heart to be sitting next to two young girls’. Last night in his intro to Leila McKinnon’s update he referred to her sporting a ‘power ponytail‘. The mere fact he did that reveals that he just does not get what is appropriate and what is not. She could barely stop her eyes from rolling.


Poor interviewing skills
No one questions the fact Dale Begg-Smith is a hard person to interview but any journalist worth their salt will attempt to tap into his nature and make it work – something McGuire’s attempt was not. Eddie McGuire’s behaviour for the first hour of that evening’s broadcast was an embarrassing, unsportsmanlike, oafish ‘we were robbed’ (of a Gold medal) tirade. Alyssa Camplin looked clearly uncomfortable with his relentless pen-tapping-the-table pen-gesticulating rant. When he interviewed Katarina Witt he asked he the same question in three different ways – how does someone who has won Olympic gold go on to live – which Katarina somewhat expectantly answered the same way. In a forum highly inappropriate to bring it up she answered his questions about posing for Playboy with grace and goodwill. A less media-savvy individual may have told him to shove it.

And don’t get me started on the pen tapping on the desk or at the camera, the obscenely large wristwatch or the use of phrases like ‘climactic finish’. A fellow Twitterer also swears they heard him say Canadia.


Offensive

The greatest complaint most have levelled at Eddie is – apart from his complete lack of knowledge about winter sports and clearly being out of his depth commentating on anything other than AFL – is just how offensive he is towards segments of the population and how willing he is to sacrifice them for a jibe, quip or poorly delivered joke. The banter between him and fellow fish-out-of-water member of the Channel 9 Winter Olympics team Mick Molloy on the competitors in the men’s figure skating on last night’s broadcast was inappropriate, offensive and incredibly disappointing. All it did was show McGuire for the homophobe juvenile puerile individual he is.

Meanwhile, apparently there is an event taking place called the Winter Olympics. While Channel 9 fill rafts of their broadcast with commentary from this ill-informed, close-minded, homophobic, misogynistic individual viewers are missing out on airtime that could be filled with the actual sports.

*****
Update: Crikey.com have posted this story.
THe SMH: Here, here (great insights from Michael Idato) and here

Some more thoughts on the matter, originally posted on the Facebook page:

I’m not sure if any of you watched the Four Corners report about the NRL, Matthew Johns (amongst others) and the sexual assault on the girl in NZ?

In part of that report they showed NRL players having classes on what was sexual assault and challenging their attitudes towards women. In it they presented a scenario that went along the lines of some footballers going out on the turps, bringing a girl back to their place and then assaulting her. They then presented the same senario but it put them in the place of the woman.

Of course, when asked what they thought about the woman’s predicament it was all, ‘she deserved it’, ‘she had led them on’ and so on and so forth.

When asked what they thought when it was the footballer who’d been assaulted by the men they were all, ‘he didn’t deserve that’, ‘he’s been violated’ and so on and so forth.

As totally disheartening as this is – that these young men needed to be taught this, that they had not been brought up in an environment which had taught them this already, that you could see the discrepancy so markedly in their minds – Eddie McGuire is the pin-up boy to this type of male. Where women are there to run the home, perform in the bedroom and ideally have a good pair of tits. The faster the car the better, the bigger the drinker the more of a man, the ‘no son of mine is goner be a fag’. Of course the slipperiest part of this slope comes out in things like the Cronulla riots and the hijacking of the Southern Cross to become the symbol of close-minded rednecks rather than representing a land where all are welcome and equal and no one gets left behind.

The most puzzling aspect of all this is that Eddie McGuire managed to rise from the muddy bank of The Footy Show and walk on two feet into positions of relative power and subsequent wealth.

So here we have a free-to-air TV channel paying an absolute fortune for the broadcast rites of the 2010 Winter Olympics. You would think that would ensure a team of sports reporters rich in knowledge and experience and perhaps one or two ‘lifestyle’ reporters to give us the fluff and bubble pieces about the Olympic experience. You would expect a tight broadcast of live action and pertinent replays that respect the fact we now live in a highly connected world and while we may not know the ins and outs of ice-hockey, the luge or speed skating we have a deep respect for what it takes to reach Olympic standards and indeed have a national identity of loving sports whatever they may be.

They got it partly right with one of the fathers of Australian sports reporting Ken Sutcliffe hosting the morning/daytime schedule. Indeed, that broadcast can be quite enjoyable and slick (although even he has come unstuck in the last few days with a jibe about the mens double luge which would probably have otherwise gone unnoticed was it not for Eddie’s previous foray into the gay gay). Leila McKinnon seems to have the right level of enthusiasm and professionalism to pull off her role in the team and it strikes me she has realised this opportunity to be the Johanna Griggs of Channel Nine and is running with it. Hard.

But then ‘they’ (they being I’m not entirely sure but some sort of senior management committee because only this sort of decision could come from a committee) made the fatal decision to put Eddie at the helm. The poster boy of Channel 9’s Olympic team. And well, it was just an out-of-control downhill ski from there. Crashing into gates and fences by trying to bait the unbaitable in Dale Begg-Smith into some uncomfortably narrow-minded ‘we was robbed’ beat up. Going head over tail by gushing like a schoolboy over Katarina Witt and making her clearly uncomfortable in raising a playboy shoot she did when? decades ago. Smashing into barriers with his deeply patronising exchanges with every female sportsperson he’s interviewed and revealing his own pathetic, antiquated and completely inappropriate attitudes towards homosexuals with his gay gags about the male figure skaters.

Oh sure, we all chortle at the flamboyance of those guys – similar to our reaction to ballroom dancing competitions I imagine, but there is a time and a place and a way to do it where people are not offended. Where it is obviously coming from a place of a ribbing not a derision. Where it is a dig not a revelation of your own hang-ups. The saddest part of that incident was at no time did Eddie acknowledge the incredible athleticism and skill of those ice skaters. As if somehow the fact they wore costumes and danced! on ice! completely discredited the ability and hard work it took for them to reach that point.

And so here we sit. A man with an attitude clearly more at home in Australia in 1970 than 2010 but with more money and subsequent power than the rest of us will ever see.

And I guess that is the most depressing part of all.

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