Friday, October 29, 2010

Frightful flu and other stories ...

It's been a mixed week at Chez MIA.
The kids came back on Monday morning Sick As Dogs.
(Don't ask me why I describe it like that. It was my Nana's saying. But I never quite understood why when we're feeling totally crap, we describe it as being Sick As A Dog. I mean how sick does a dog actually get? And why are the poor buggers always coming down with something?)
Anyway, 6 GP visits, (8 if you count mine), and 4 times emptying my bank account at our local chemist later, the kids are finally on the mend.
The bad news is that I have now succumbed to the dreaded lurgy.
Having woken up early a couple of mornings ago coughing up my lungs (sorry for TMI), my kids sprung into action.
Miss 7 offered cuddles and painkiller, and Mr 9 cooked scrambled eggs. (We had no bread for toast, as both kids are going through a no-bread phase at the moment. "We've gone off it," Miss 7 explained helpfully, she whose lunch usually involves vast quantities of vegemite sammies. Go figure.).
They also offered coffee, but the 'adult milk' (non-soy) was off, and I couldn't have stomached it anyway. I had no appetite, having thrown up religiously since starting my antibiotics, but I pushed the eggs around the plate again, made vague noises of enjoyment, and fairly convincingly, expressed my thanks.)
I'd been ordered to keep the kids home until  today, even though Mr 9 at least, was on the mend and bouncier than Tigger, given that he'd been put on steroids for a few days. (To clear up his asthma, not so he could build muscle and super-human, roid-rage strength.)
Magically, in the two hours spent waiting to see my GP (she is good, so is always running late), the throwing up part of the illness started to ease. (It may have been due to the stemetil I'd taken that morning - another Nana Standby - but still, I was grateful).
The kids' have officially been given the all-clear to return to school, much to my relief.  As every parent knows it's dreadful trying to care for others when you're in need of pampering yourself.
So far, I've only got to the bronchitis stage, not pneumonia, which is a huge relief. Okay there is sinus, and a sore throat and cloggy ears, but I'm going to live.
While I've been mopping foreheads and doling out medication, the kids have been asking me about Halloween, in the manner of a Simpsons episode. ("Can we do something for Halloween?" "No." Can we do something for Halloween?" "No." "Can we do" ....Well, you get the picture.)
We don't generally celebrate Halloween in Australia, but having experienced it in Auckland a couple of times, the kids love it.
In New Zealand, C. and H. loved dressing up, for school as well as for trick-or-treating. At school, everyone from the janitor to the principal wore ghoulish costumes, and passersby waved and tooted as we walked to and from school.
I was amazed at how generous and ready our neighbours were for our Trick Or Treaters. Many had dressed up themselves, and were holding Halloween parties; while the singles/no-kids crowd,  who weren't prepared, actually gave the kids money. Others, who didn't want to feed the kids lollies, had made cute cupcakes or biscuits.  Can you believe it?
I've explained that most Aussies don't celebrate Halloween. I know there are some Halloween-friendly areas, but that's usually where a few parents have gotten together and agreed to Trick Or Treat for the sake of their kids.
In Auckland, people who welcomed visitors generally put a spiderweb, skeleton, or something creepy on the door, or lit a pumpkin and put it in their windows. These were signals it was okay to knock. And the kids never did tricks to those who were unprepared, or who didn't like the concept. They thanked them anyway, and went off quite happily. Because just dressing up and going out at night was part of the fun. (Yes, even though I insisted on accompanying them ...)
After a really yucky week, we've been inspired by one of my favourite bloggers NotQuiteNigella, to hold our own Halloween party.
That gets us out of potentially annoying the neighbours by Trick or Treating, but gives the kids a taste of the fun.
I know a lot of people hate the 'Americanism' of Halloween reaching our shores, not to mention the commercialism of it all. There are others who are against on religious grounds. (My Mum is one of them.)
But I've made the executive decision, and as well as medication, we've stocked up on a few must-have dress-up aides, like fake nails and vampire teeth.
We're going to make monster pies, gravestone biscuits and other wicked treats, a'la Not Quite Nigella's infamous Halloween parties.
And hopefully we'll have a (monster's) ball!

So readers, do you celebrate Halloween and why/why not?

Trick or Treating in Auckland, Halloween 2009. H. was a princess and C. was a monster ...
The previous year, C. went as a vampire ...
While H. was a wicked witch. (This photo taken at school).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stuff that shits me

Today I've got my cranky pants on.

It's been far too long since I've had a spray in the style of 'S@#t My Dad Says'.

Usually I like to post '5 things' or some other lovely thoughts about experiencing living life mindfully. But Mindfullnes also means dealing with the crap in life as well as the good. Sitting with it, acknowledging it, accepting what we can't change, changing what we can, and so on.

But life isn't always rosy at Chez MIA, so in the interests of honesty and full disclosure, here just a few of the things that wind me up:

  • That Invisible Zinc ad where Elle Macpherson prances around in a bikini while enjoying the admiration of several guys and a girl. A girl? Either the girl is a lesbian or mad (not that there is anything wrong with either of those things, just that it's an interesting marketing idea). Quite frankly, any girl I know would be shooting daggers at Elle's perfectly toned body and wishing she would fall arse over tit, rather than smiling happily at her.
Yes, Elle, we know you are beautiful, but do you have to rub our noses in it?

(Okay, I guess you could rub our noses in the Invisible Zinc, because, well, noses get sunburnt easier but, you don't need to cavort around happily to prove it. And wouldn't the hot sand be burning your feet? And what's with the pose with the stick up your butt? Oh I see, it's a towel or wrap or something. And .... Oh where was I? See how worked up I get?)

And for the record? I actually love Invisible Zinc, it's the best I've ever used for keeping my freckles and wrinkles at bay, even though the price is nasty for a single Mum who is more used to homebrand than anything fancy.

  • Speaking of beautiful girls spruiking products, I used to be a huge fan of Jennifer Hawkins. Huge. She's beautiful, smart, funny and stuffs up occasionally like the rest of us. Who can ever forget the moments where she accidentally flashed a g-string on the catwalk, or fell over wearing heels?
I always looked at her as being a popular role model for young girls, until Jenn's recent Lovable campaign. You can check out the ad here.

Otherwise just have a perve at her promoting her fashionable skimpies below.

And yes, before any trolls and/or haters say I'm old and fat and jealous and poor and I just wish I looked like Elle or Jennifer ... Why yes. Yes that is exactly right. Okay maybe not Elle, because she lives overseas and does far too much exercise. However I do wish I looked like Jennifer Hawkins, and I wish I had her money also. And her boyfriend for that matter. But I bear her no ill-will for that. Not at all. It's just that she was so honest, and healthy and 'girl next door' before. And I just felt a bit sad that someone had advised her to campaign like this.
I mean watermelons are fantastic and eating them is rather messy. But do you really need to eat them in your undies, while sucking lasciviously on a finger Jennifer? Methinks you've been watching too many Nigella Lawson shows.
And don't get me started on what kind of adult entertainment this pose represents.
The weird thing is that Lovable supports The Butterfly Foundation, a non-profit organisation which was created to boost Australian womens' body image and self-esteem.
In fact Lovable's own website states:
"We are dedicated to changing the culture surrounding eating disorders and body image through our support of Butterfly, by using happy, healthy models in our campaigns and promotional activities and by continuing to design intimates that are not created to objectify women’s bodies but to make women look, and most importantly feel, great when they wear them."
Erm, not sure this campaign does that guys. In fact, I feel like stabbing myself in the eye after seeing these ads.
Anyway, I am aware this post has become a bit political so to lighten the mood here are a few more things that get my cranky on:
  • When you're in a queue waiting patiently and just when it gets to your turn, they close that till and tell you to go to another register.  Coles and McDonalds I am talking to you! (Except I don't really take my kids to McDonalds. Much. And when I do, they always order the healthy choices. Of course they do!)
  • When you get a soft serve ice-cream and there is a huge hole in the middle. I once asked the dude at Maccas to fill the cone with as little 'hole' as possible, and was told it wasn't their policy. What the?
  • When you let a driver in during a traffic jam and they don't acknowledge you.
  • When another driver looks studiously ahead and won't let you in even if it's not your fault you're in the wrong lane
  • Door-to-door sales people. Yes, I am certainly going to allow a strange man into my home and tell him all sorts of personal details about myself. Not.
  • People who speed through school zones. Recently a school lollipop lady was hit by a car which was hit by a speeding one. Thank goodness she is okay, but it still happens All The Time.
  • Those shopping centre touts who always smile and try to stop you to 'ask a question' when they are going to try to sell you something. I have a trolley full of groceries, and two rugrats hanging on to my tracky-dack-clad body. Do I look like I have the time or the money or the inclination to buy whatever expensive stuff you are spruiking? And if I am donating to a charity, I am going to do it in the comfort of home, when there are no small humans chewing on my ankles. (Having said that, I do know that people have to make a living so I never  rarely snarl at them. Much.)
  • When you go to a public loo and A. It's stinky, B. They are out of toilet paper. C. Someone has left a submarine in there for you. and/or D. There is no soap. And especially E. When you have to remain in stinky, toilet-paper-free, submarine-filled-toilet while small person produces a poo that is roughly the size of Western Australia. And which takes about as long to produce as it takes to get to WA from Queensland.
  • People who push all the floor buttons just before getting out of a lift. (Note: The culprits may actually have been my own children).
  • People who fart just before getting out of lift, leaving you to walk into a brown cloud. (Note: See above).
Over to you lovely readers: What gets your cranky on?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trinny and Susannah do Brisbane

My lovely friend Hsin-Yi invited me to join her on a girly day at Westfield Chermside yesterday.
I first met Hsin-Yi when I wrote about her and her gorgeous dog Honey the Great Dane for the New Zealand Women's Weekly.
Honey is the busiest and most talented dog I have ever met. She dances, she's polite, she helps sick people and troubled youths, and she even blogs!
Hsin-Yi and I had so much in common, we became friends. (We are both writers and animal lovers, we love good food and travel, and we blog. Oh and we're both models. Erm no, that would actually be Hsin-Yi. And Honey too for that matter! Yes, Honey has even appeared on television and posed for a critically-acclaimed coffee table book.)
As it happens, Hsin-Yi and her husband Paul and Honey moved to Australia just before we returned here after a stint in Auckland.
We try to get together regularly, although it's never often enough, and when Hsin-Yi spotted that Trinny and Susannah were filming a television show at Westfield Chermside, she asked me to join her.
Westfield Chermside was apparently the last stop on T. and S.'s tour to makeover Australia.
As well as transforming the looks and self-confidence of more than 100 women during the tour, the trendy pair have been filming the journey for a new TV series for Lifestyle YOU.
(Neither Hsin-Yi nor I have Foxtel, so we'll miss it. Damn)..
Hsin-Yi and I met for a delicious Sushi Train lunch and green tea before the event, before joining hundreds of other women and a few men at the Trinny and Susannah stage.
There was only limited seating, and these appeared to be for the family and friends of people who were with the ladies who were being made over.
We'd expected the television personalities to choose women from the audience to be made over, but apparently this had all been organised prior to the day.
And the women were 1 1/2-2 hours late. 15 or 20 minutes might have been okay, but I can tell you there almost was a stampede before the main attractions finally graced us with their presence.
Supposedly someone was handing out yoghurt and Uncle Toby's samples, but we never saw them. Hsin-Yi kindly offered to get some water while I minded our spot. A few women actually had to leave after waiting for ages, because they had to do school pick-ups.
It was all rather frustrating, and pretty much a missed marketing opportunity. (See this is the journo in me coming out). We were a captive audience, Westfield could have done something like use their own fashion consultants to pick people out of the audience and do mini-makeovers and/or hair cuts by their own tenants.
Or they could have presented some trends for spring and summer, featuring things that people can buy at the shopping centre.
Having made the effort to wear a dress and make up AND heels, it was pretty crappy having to wait so long.
However, when Trinny and Susannah did appear, they did look and sound lovely. And true to form, there was a lot of grabbing of boobs and butts, and statements like: 'You've got great tits', from the fashion gurus.
The women they made over were all really inspirational and deserving, and there were a few tissues being passed around.
The madeover women looked gorgeous, though we thought some of the outfits were a bit garish, and the heels, while beautiful, were sky-high, which pretty much rule them out for a lot of us. 
A few of the women looked uncomfortable walking in their heels, but overall, they looked really amazing, as their hair and make-up had been also transformed.
We didn't stay until the end ... my feet and back hurt after standing for so long, and I wanted to beat the traffic. Hsin-Yi had to get home to walk Honey.
It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and perhaps it would be fun to have a makeover too, without the having to appear on stage and on television part. (That's the wuss in me coming out.)
So readers, would you enjoy a makeover?
Trinny and Susannah finally arrive
Susannah and one of the madeover women.
Photos courtesy of Hsin-Yi and

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm in love (kind of)

It's really hard for me to type this, because I don't even seriously believe it yet. It's a Little White Lie, which I'm sharing, because it's for a good cause.
I Heart My Body.
Here's the explanation.
A few weeks ago, I discovered the lovely DiminishingLucy via the Wonderful World Of Twitter.
I was unhappy with my weight and my fitness level, and spurred on by her Fat To Fit challenge, I decided to join in.
Though part of it was about looks, my biggest wake-up call was a routine visit to the GP, where my blood pressure was through the roof. At the point of having a stroke in fact.
She asked me why my BP was so high. For a minute, I looked at her blankly, wanting to say: "You're the fricking doctor, you tell me!"
Instead, I explained that I was carrying extra weight - that was obvious - and going through a stressful divorce. Plus I was recovering from depression and anxiety, had a special needs kid, and only got to be with my kids 50 per cent of the time, whereas it had always been 100 per cent in the past. (Due to the marriage split). Oh not to mention I had next to no money because I'm off work for medical reasons.
That would make anyone stressed.
She clucked a bit, and she didn't actually tell me to go on a diet or do more exercise, but encouraged me to Stress Less. Which is of course, easier said than done.
I've been studying and practicing Mindfulness and it has made a world of difference with the way I feel, and cope, and look at life. But it hasn't helped me lose weight.
Than there is my arthritis and fibromyalgia. The pain and stiffness has been through the roof (and yeah, it can flare up during periods of stress). I knew I would have to go back to my rheumatologist who would want to put me on more drugs, when I'm already on a pretty huge concoction of pills.
(And disclaimer: A couple of the pills have caused me to pile on weight. This is not an excuse, it is proven, but at the moment my specialists say it's better to take the pills and put on weight, than not take them and maybe end up in hospital.)
So it's been a balancing act.
Prior to this, I watched what I ate and walked a bit, and did yoga stretches at home. I'd done a few casual zumba and pilates classes and loved them. But it wasn't exactly regular, and when I got tired, it was easy to pike out. They were quite expensive too, usually $15-20 for a casual session.
The local Fernwood Fitness gym was offering a free trial, and the first class we did was a zumba class for parents and kids. I hadn't intended to sign up, but the girl I talked to did a hard sell, offering me a good price to sign up on the day. (My membership costs me $22 a week, which I decided was worth the investment in my happiness and health.)  She also charged a half-price $99 joining fee, even though I'd mentioned I thought I'd seen an ad where they advertised No Joining Fee. She assured me that was out of date now, so I was a bit pissed a week ago to find the coupon in my car a few days ago  ... I still have to talk to them about that.
Anyway, apart from that, I'm happy with my gym membership.
After about three weeks. I've probably lost about 2 kg (I try not to weigh myself too much), and my clothes are looser. My body is tighter, and I've rediscovered my abs.
At first the arthritis pain was unbelievable, and almost caused me to quit, but it is finally beginning to ease. I can stretch more, move more, workout longer than I did before. I can actually shake my booty in zumba class. (Not as good as the instructor, obviously, but because my bones have fused, I could barely move it at the start).
So I'm not fit and svelte yet, but I'm feeling loads better. Gentle exercise (and zumba counts because it's low impact) is really good for my form of arthritis, so it's moving bits that need to be moved so the bones are less likely to fuse. And the exercise endorphins have helped the depression as well.
I'm still to book in for my free fitness assessment, only because I've had a lot going on in my personal life and trying to get back to work. That's when they examine your fitness, weight, size and goals, and come up with a program to suit you. And from past experience, I believe that will speed things up.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying classes, and I'm remembering why I used to be hooked on gym and working out. I love that I can take the kids at least a few times a week so I don't miss out when they're with me.
It's going to be a long time before I really love my body, but, challenged by the I Heart My Body campaign and by Good Golly Miss Holly, I'm going to find a few things I love about it.
  • I love that my body has conceived and nurtured and produced two small humans, who are the centre of my world.
  • I love my breasts. When I was younger, they were small and perky, and I was happy with that. I could get away with not wearing a bra. I could exercise without them jiggling and hurting too much. Back then, the men in my life would lie say: Anything more than a handful is a waste.
  • After kids, my boobies got bigger and nourished my babies. Since then, my bust size is still quite ample, but they are still quite perky for my age. To the extent where I've pretty much stopped wearing cleavage-revealing outfits lest I take someone's eye out and/or embarrass the kids.
  • I kind of like my legs. They are not as thin and finely muscled as they once were, but they're still pretty toned and strong. They get me where I need to go, and that's important!
  • I like my eyes. I used to hate them - they are hazel - but my daughter has my eyes, and I can lose myself gazing into hers. (Though sadly I need glasses these days).
Here's what I hate:
  • My tummy. It's so big that I feel I should wear one of those t-shirts that says: I'm not pregnant, I'm fat. Though my kids tell me I am fit and slim and the most beautiful mummy in the world. LOL.
  • I hate that I need glasses, but not enough to have laser eye surgery. Glasses can be cool too.
  • I hate my bum. I think it's too fat, though men in my life disagree. I think that's because bums are in the eyes of the beholder, more than any suggestion that mine is nice. I want less junk in my trunk.
  • My pelvis and sacriolliac joints. I cracked my pelvis having baby number one, and the sacriolliac joints are always so painful due to my arthritis. (It's ankylosing spondylitis in case you were wondering).
There's a poster at my Fernwood Gym with a photo of a gorgeous young boy wearing a T-Shirt that says:
'My Mum's Not Perfect, But She's Working On It.'
That's me.
Not that I will ever be perfect, but I'm working on it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

School days

I've been writing about school and home towns since a reunion lately, and inspired by Mrs Woogs at Woogsworld I've decided to share my own earliest memories.

I attended a small country school, and my feelings about my school days are somewhat mixed.
This is because my early memories include:
  • Being forced to drink warm milk which had been left in the bottles in the sun since pre-drawn. (This was a misguided attempt by authorities to ensure all children had one serving of milk a day). Sometimes birds had already picked through the metal lids, and the milk had gone rancid, but we were forced by teachers to drink every drop. I still can't drink plain milk, and can only drink skim milk in tea, coffee or chocolate form.
  • Our Grade 1 teacher's name was Mrs Bull, which was funny in itself. She was a single divorcee, which was scandalous in a small town back then. She also wore mini-skirts or 'bum-freezer' dresses as my Mum called them, and when she bent over we would see her knickers and laugh. I admire her guts now: Being a single Mum is hard enough without being gossiped about and criticised because you are a. single, and b. working, would have been tough.
  • Falling over and cracking my head on the cement, tasting dirt and seeing stars.This happened many times over the years. (Yes, I was graceful, even then.)
  • Falling from the monkey bars into mud, crying, and the teacher driving me home to Mum to have a bath. (I don't think Mum could drive then, she was forced to learn soon after, since Dad worked long hours and was rarely home). That would never happen today.
  • Burping the ABC with my friends. (Yes, I was all class back then also).
  • I remember a poor little boy in grade one or two pooed his pants because the teacher wouldn't let him go to the loo during classtime. He was mortified and was bullied as a result.
  • I remember being hit really hard on the back by my Grade 2 teacher after being told to do a 'connect-the-dots' picture. I connected the dots. I did not know you had to do it in order.
  • Many teachers were mean back then. In Grade 3 or 4, a child had his arm broken when a male teacher hit him. Kids were regularly sent to the office for the cane or cuts. Another teacher had a 'whacking stick' which was like heaps of newspapers taped together. Kids would be taken into the storeroom with the door closed and belted.
  • I had a year three teacher called Miss Schuler who awakened my love of reading. She was a Canadian exchange teacher and I loved her accent. Each day, she'd read us a little of Enid Blyton's books - the Faraway Tree and the Wishing Chair series. I fell in love with those books, and have never really stopped reading and writing. Quite possibly, she was my first ever Girl Crush.
  • Speaking of books, I was a library monitor from an early age. I spent countless hours before school and at lunchtimes helping the library teacher and aide fix books, file them away, and stamp the cards when kids borrowed books. Yep, bookish and nerdy even back then. And it was a kind of a haven from the other kids.
  • I was a smart kid, but shy, so I was picked on relentlessly. I was way above my class in reading and spelling so had to go up into older grades to do those subjects with them. The older kids resented me and the younger kids were jealous of me.
  • One bully forced me to help her do her homework one morning, on pain of being bashed up. But when we were busted we both got into trouble. Of course, I didn't tell Mum, but she still found out, because in a small town, life's like that. And I got another bollocking at home!
  • As I reached grade 6 and 7, I was known as one of the more responsible students, and because I was usually right up to date with my school work, I got time off to help in the office or during sweet stalls etc. Most days, myself and a friend or two would be given some money and told to walk down town and get the teachers their milk and biscuits for morning tea. Which we did. Alone. Regularly.  
  • As I got older, and I had teachers who nurtured my talents, I grew in confidence and began standing up for myself, and using humour to defuse situations. I actually became popular, although there were always a couple of bullies standing by.
  • And green ants. Lordy the green ants! The school was full of them. And red back spiders. One girl did actually get her bum bitten by a redback on the toilet seat and rushed to hospital.   
  • Oh and we always did sports in the hottest part of the day. No one wore sunscreen, and only wimps wore hats. No wonder I've got so much skin damage ...
I could go on for ages, but I think I should stop right, there don't you?

I can tell you that my high school, a different school to the one described above, was the place where I really found my place and my talents. I'll write about those years another time, but meanwhile, what are your memories of school days, good or bad?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wet and wild

So it was our school's annual mother-daughter camp this weekend.
Miss 7 has been looking forward to it for months. Mr 9 was peeved that there wasn't a similar event for boys, but brightened when he learned that his Dad would be taking him camping elsewhere.
H. and I packed together, putting in swimmers and towels, sarongs and sunscreen, in anticipation of hours of fun spent having sandcastle competitions, swimming, and catching crabs. (Actual shellfish, not the other kind. Obviously.)
Anyway, anyone who lives in the southeast corner of Queensland will know that it bloody well pissed down rained all weekend.
The rain got heavier as we drove towards the coast, where we were promptly caught in a huge parking lot motorway traffic jam.
As the rain sheeted down, and we stopped and started and inched our way ever so slowly closer, Miss 7 began to get car sick.
Then it began to get dark. And did I mention the rain?
It was then that the Very Bad Thing Happened.
Yes, I got lost.
It was my fault. Having lived on the coast for many years, and passed the very camping ground many times, I thought I knew how to get there.
But in the rain, and the darkness and the roads that never used to be there but now were, I lost my way. Miss 7 got a little teary and began making noises about spewing.
Of course my unreasonably angry GPS did not recognise the name of the camp or even the street it was in.
I phoned the very helpful camp organiser and she tried to give me directions, but she didn't know exactly how to describe getting there from where I was..
Anyway, we finally made it safe, sound and vomit-free, and just in time for the tail end of dinner.
The meals procedure was kind of scary. Seriously it was like something out of the Seinfeld Soup Nazi Kitchen (except the men running it were actually very nice, and they food was really, really bad, unless you like overcooked, fatty food).
Because the camp was full, with several groups there including eye candy for the mothers male sporting teams, there were loads of rules about EVERYTHING.
We had to line up and help ourselves to food from the bain marie, then get knives, forks etc. All in orderly queues in a certain manner.
Afterwards, plates had to be scraped, stacked into a hole in the wall, and the cutlery put into containers.
We also were expected to wipe down tables and stack the chairs afterwards.
There was a strict 'no seconds' policy. (Although, to be fair, they always offered seconds if there was any food left).
There was coffee and tea, but the coffee was those individual sachets of instant coffee. Not coffee at all in my books.
And the juice was cordial.
The general consensus was that it was fine because a. we didn't have to make it, and b. we didn't have to clean up and pack away afterwards.
We were all issued with waterproof wrist bands and name tags which we had to wear the entire weekend, or risk being refused meals or asked to leave.
It was all a bit big brother-esque but with so many groups sharing the facility - silly me had assumed we'd have it to ourselves - you could see why they have to run it like that, or there would be chaos.
After dinner, we unpacked our car, which was parked as far away as possible from our accommodation. We don't have sleeping bags, so we took bedding - pillows, sheets and doonas - safe in the knowledge we would be warm and comfy. Of course, that would have worked if it hadn't been pissing down raining heavily at the time.
It also would have been useful if I hadn't dropped my doona and pillow in a puddle.
The facilities were surprisingly nice. I knew we were staying in dorms, but we had our own bathroom with hot and cold showers. Thank goodness. So there was no middle of the night trips to the loo, dodging snakes and cane toads.
We were lucky enough to fit in a before-bedtime visit to the beach, where, armed with torches, umbrellas and buckets and spades, we went crab-hunting. The kids were so excited, and the local youths drinking and hanging out near the surf club were very amused at our activities.
Then it was warm showers, and bed. We slept fitfully, and the mothers denied categorically that any snoring came from us.
Overnight the rain got heavier, and the morning program - playing on the beach, swimming, making sandcastles - had to be cancelled.
Miss 7 was devastated.
Instead, we played ball games in one of the halls, and watched movies in another private room. Oh there were arts and crafts too.
Miss 7 and her friend spent some of the afternoon rehearsing their act for Mother-Daughter Idol, the highlight of the weekend's proceedings. They were the 'Kitty Angels' and performed an acapella song and dance performance of Katy Perry's Hot And Cold. Very cute. They got 9 out of 10 from the judges, and loads of lollies for their troubles.
The next morning was even wetter, as well as windy. Miss 7 and I went to the beach anyway. It was freezing, but she insisted. It was outstandingly beautiful despite the rain and the wind, and we stopped for a while to marvel at the power of mother nature, and to pity the local kids who were in the water doing surf lifesaving training.
Unfortunately, the moment was ruined when first one umbrella, then the other, turned inside up and snapped. We returned to camp, soaked to the skin.
Again the program was shot to hell cancelled, and we watched Mammia Mia. There were a few awkward moments, as the kids either giggled or were repulsed by the naughtier scenes.
Goodbye lunch was actually pretty good - filo pastries containing chicken and mushroom or vegies and leek. Or maybe we were just really hungry, really cold, and really tired.
I even broke standards, and made an instant coffee before we left on the journey home.
Miss 7's favourite parts? The concert and the crab-catching.
Mine. Possibly going home. (Shhh, don't tell anyone ...)
And all those hours agonising at the thought of baring my body in public proved to be a big fat waste of time.
At least we made it home safely, where I got soaked, just for a change, unloading the car. Miss 7 was sniffly so I let her stay indoors keeping warm and getting reacquainted with the cat.
And yes, I did think it was typical that the weekend I had to go camping on the Gold Coast was also the weekend that the coast recorded the biggest October rainfall on record!
To keep with my sucky run of bad luck, my camera decided to die during the weekend - perhaps it was the humidity - so I couldn't even take any photos to share!
Mr 9 admitted to being cold and wet on his camping trip too, so at least we were all a little miserable, and they are now being sick together as well.
Despite my bad luck, mother-daughter camp was a really special experience getting to know some lovely ladies much better, and to watch our kids bond over secret girls' business.
What I really loved was how the older girls really took the younger ones under their wings ... being kind to them, helping them out, supporting each other. And I like to think that will continue when they're out of camp and back at school.
Our roomies were nice, and I kind of wish there was a similar event for Dads and sons, or even Dads and daughters, and Mothers and sons.
Would I go again? Definitely. (With fingers cossed that it doesn't rain, and that there are still loads of nice men to look at).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It gets worse ....

After a few failed initial attempts to share my 80s fashion faux pas, blogger finally worked its magic for me,
Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few of my memorable fashion moments.

The paisley shirt and the high-pants jeans. Wasn't it delightful? Note the hi-top boots, bought in the US, and therefore very cool. (I thought)
This pic is memorable because the top was one of those evil bodysuits. The one you have to button up and which eventually separate your unmentionables. What the?
 Also I am doing a superman like pose on top of a mountain in Scotland. (And the orange jumper was heinous).

The paisley shirt gets another outing. Made by my own Mum. Looked like a pajama shirt, but God, I loved it. And check out the Harry Highpants jeans. And the ridiculous fringe and pose.

And before you complain about my crimes against fashion I must lay blame/credit where is is due: Bern Morley.
In the interests of winning her recent #miraclejeans competition, I spent some rather frightening hours sharing my clothing horrors with the bemused kids.
That playsuit again. Told you I got my money's worth. And check-out the fake ray-bans in the non-existant cleavage ...

Oh where to start? Bike leggings as daywear. Different colours. Horizontal lines on the top. Could I have made myself appear any bigger? I think not. And check-out the scrunchie hair-do. I was all class ...
Now, come on, surely no one has worked it worse than me?

Monday, October 4, 2010

So now what? Fashion faux pas?

So my twitter pal, @Bern_Morley, is having a competition over at her blog SoNowWhat?
Now, I love Bern and I always enjoy reading her blog.
But right at the moment, there is more to enjoy. Because Bern is running a competition for those of us who #needmiracles.
And she has a giveaway of Not Your Daughter's Jeans for one lucky reader.
Apparently these jeans lift your bum, suck in your guts, and basically turn your life around, no effort required.
So of course, I must have a pair.
Entrants need to send her their biggest fashion mistake.
Me, I could not just stop at one, so I've decided to blog about a few of my more hideous, erm, interesting fashion choices.
And here they are:

The $5 Thai bikini

My Jungle Girl phase. A $10 playsuit I got at a market in Hawaii, which was so skimpy I had to wear beachwear underneath it. I toured the US in that one. (Oh yes, I was all class. Paired the outfit with my LA Gear high-tops ...)

An 80s aubergine bubble skirt affair. Note the big hair and white skin. What was I thinking?

A day at the races in another Thai outfit and a cheap Target hat. Why no, I didn't win fashions on the field that year, thanks for asking ...
All I can see in my defence is that it was the 80s. And at least I was skinny ...?

This was a fave dress for a while. I remember the day when I put it on for a wedding, and the zip wouldn't quite do up. Oh the shame, I thought I was hugely fat and ugly! Oh to be so fat again ...

So Bern? You can see I have absolutely no fashion sense and that was when I had very little guts to suck in and bum to push up. I clearly need help!
Pick me ... please?