Mum of adult kids

Running through life after school lunches, mum's taxi and kid's sport

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Not quite EASY and not much PEEL

You know when you go to open a packet of something and it has a corner marked ' EASY PEEL', but it isn't easy and nor does it peel?
I hate that. 

I am not entirely sure what 'EASY PEEL' actually means, but I know what it doesn't...
It doesn't mean that the packet is easy to open. Believe me, it's not.

It doesn't mean that the packaging peels off. It never does.

It doesn't mean that your attempts at sheer force won't make the package burst open and spray its contents all over the bench, and the floor. Not quite easy, but at least it's open.

It doesn't mean you won't need a knife. In fact you probably will. Scissors will usually do the job too.

It doesn't mean you won't want to throw the packet (or the knife) across the kitchen. I've NEVER done that. Really, I haven't.

It doesn't mean you won't scoff and mutter "Bullshit".

Have you ever met an EASY PEEL package that was easy?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Under-age drinking, is there really a solution?

And yes, I drank this beer
There's been some discussion in the media over the past few days about the O'Farrell government's plan to introduce tougher penalties for parents who supply alcohol to any minor that isn't their own child. The objective is to reduce tolerance of under-age drinking among parents, by way of changes to the NSW Liquor Act 2007, to make supplying alcohol to a minor a criminal offence.

Umm... I thought it already was!

The following was copied from the NSW Police Website, you can read at the source here, if you like.

Liquor Act 2007
Part 7 Special provisions relating to minors (those aged under 18 years)
Section 117 Offences relating to sale or supply of liquor to minors

(1) Selling liquor to minors
 A person must not sell liquor to a minor.

Maximum penalty: $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both), or an on-the-spot fine of $1,100.

(2) Supplying liquor to minors on licensed premises
 A person must not supply liquor to a minor on licensed premises.

Maximum penalty: $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both) or an on-the-spot fine of $1,100.

(4) Supplying liquor to minors on other premises
 A person must not supply liquor to a minor on any premises other than licensed premises unless the person is a parent or guardian of the minor.

It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence under subsection (4) if it is proved that the defendant was authorised to supply liquor to the minor by the parent or guardian of the minor.
Maximum penalty: $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both) or an on-the-spot fine of $1,100.

(6)Obtaining liquor for minors from licensed premises
 A person must not obtain liquor from licensed premises on behalf of a minor unless the person is the parent or guardian of the minor.

It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence under subsection (6) if it is proved that the defendant was authorised to obtain liquor on behalf of the minor by the parent or guardian of the minor.
Maximum penalty: $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both), or an on-the-spot fine of $1,100.

I'm not a lawyer, but I am guessing the bit they want to alter is in the areas I have highlighted above, because the rest of it is pretty clear that supplying alcohol to a minor carries harsh penalties.

My kids are adults now, they drink. Sometimes too much. I'm not happy about that, but there isn't a whole lot I can do about it. They are adults.

But I never let my boys drink at home when they were under-age. I never purchased alcohol for them. Never. Not once. And I wouldn't dream of supplying alcohol to someone elses child. Even if they said I could!

I know that both my boys participated in under-age drinking.

I remember collecting my youngest from a party when he was about 16. Drunken kids were all over the street (police cars too), he got in the car smelling like a distillery, but trying to act like nothing had happened. Did he really think I was that stupid that I wouldn't notice?
I must admit, I didn't think HE was that stupid.

You see, I am the sister of an alcoholic and my kids are fully aware of the impact that alcohol has had on my brother's life. They knew that their uncle had started drinking when in his mid-teens, they knew that his life was controlled by alcohol by the time he was in his early 20s.

They knew my position on under-age drinking, and the reasons behind it. But that didn't stop them.

That night, after I lectured discussed with him (again!) the dangers of under-age drinking, my son brought three unopened cans of bourbon & coke to me, saying he didn't want them. I didn't want them either, but I was pleased to see he was listening. Although I'm sure the lesson didn't last long.

When the same child was turning 17 he wanted to have a party at home. He told me there would be alcohol.  I told him he could have a party, but no alcohol. Most of his friends were over 18, but many of them weren't. I wasn't going to be responsible for a bunch of kids consuming alcohol on my premises.  So he held the party somewhere else! There was, and will always be, a parent who thinks differently to me.

I had my reasons for my strong stance against teens consuming alcohol, I'd seen first-hand the damage it can cause to young lives, to adolescents who are not physically or emotionally equipped to deal with the consequences. It breaks my heart. Every day. Starting early can not only increase the risk of addiction in some people, but the adolescent brain is still developing. Now I'm not suggesting that once a child turns 18 something magic happens and suddenly they are fit to drink. In most cases they are not. And while 18 is the age that is determined legal, in my perfect world young adults would go easy on alcohol into mature age. But of course that will never happen.

I don't have the answers to the problem of under-age drinking, although I am pretty sure they won't be found in sending parents to jail.  But I don't believe they will be found in permissiveness either.

Perhaps my position on the issue had little impact on the behaviour of my own sons, but who is to say they wouldn't have consumed more alcohol more often if my attitude was more relaxed?  I will never know. But one thing I do know, is that I remain true to my own convictions, even if it made me unpopular. It was my job to be their mum, not their friend.

I don't really understand what the hurry is. I don't understand why parents would encourage their children to drink alcohol. Who really wants their child to grow up faster than necessary? Granted, it is difficult to stop your teens from drinking (and smoking) if they really want to do it, but that doesn't mean you should supply it to them! I'd be willing to bet that being allowed to drink under the supervision of their parents doesn't stop a kid from drinking without that supervision, so why make it easy for them do both?

Your teens will be 18 soon enough, and then they have the rest of their lives to legally, and responsibly, enjoy a drink. What is wrong with that?

I don't usually write such long posts but I obviously had a lot to say. I'd love to hear your thoughts, even if they are different to mine.

Linking up with Jess at Diary of a SAHM for

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The heat is on

Space HeaterI live in a Sydney suburb that is over 200m above sea level. It's not quite the mountains, but it still gets damn cold at night. Every year I try to wait until the official start of Winter, that is 1 June, before I put the heater on in the house.  Of course my intention is to save on the Winter power bills, not to torture everyone who lives or visits here.

Every year, I cave and crank the heater up sometime during May. Like this week. As I write this, the hum of the reverse-cycle airconditioner is like music to my ears and I can almost hear the 'ca-ching ca-ching' as the kilowatts (or whatever they are) are added to my electricity account. But we are warm, sort of.

The good thing about the reverse-cycle aircon is that I can set the temp to 21 degrees and once the room is warmed up, it simply works to maintain that temperature. I like to think this saves power. Please don't tell me any different.

We also have blankets on the lounge, to snuggle under while watching TV, and I've discovered that my laptop makes a great lap warmer. A bit like the cat, but minus the claws! Ignore the fact that it uses power.

Yesterday I put flannelette sheets on my bed. Don't you just love the warm softness of flannelette? My ugg boots and scarves are already in use, my trackies are getting a work out and I've even been wearing my gloves on the way to work in the morning. Did you know you can't use a smartphone through woollen gloves? I discovered that last week.

So although I hate dislike Winter, I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Except I am wishing that I had organised myself to get my bare floorboards polished and buy some rugs while the weather was still warm, so we didn't have to endure another Winter with an unfinished floor. Seriously, what was I thinking?

What heating options do you use at your house?  Are you a fan of Winter, or do you count the weeks until it's over like I do?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Grateful for blogger to blogger recognition

I have to admit, these peer blogger awards are just a little bit cheesy, and yet to receive one is totally cool! I mean, it's a great feeling knowing that people read my little blog, and comments are usually the highlight of my day. But when a fellow blogger recognises and refers my little blog to others as a great place to visit... well that's just totally and completely so full of awesomeness! These awards give us little guys that extra boost of encouragement, and that's so cool!

With that said, I was a little surprised, very excited and a whole lot grateful when K. D. Storm, from the blog A Coffee Driven & Adventure Bound Life bestowed on me a lovely blog award.  All I can say is, after THANK YOU, she must recognise a fellow coffee-addict when she sees one! Go visit her blog, and tell her I sent you.

Like with most of these peer-nominated blogger awards, the idea is to pay it forward. So now I get to answer the 10 questions, list 10 random facts about myself, and then nominate 7 other blogs that I enjoy. Go ahead and visit each of them.

The Ten Questions
1.What is your fave song?  It's always changing, but right now anything from U2 would be at the top of the list.
2. Favorite Dessert? At the moment it's the world's best apple crumble. Although Chocolate Mousse is right up there too!
3.What ticks you off?  Liars. Don't people realise it's it easier in the long run to just tell the truth?
4.When you're upset what do you do? Sulk first, rant later.
5. What is your favourite pet? In my house we have a cat and a rat. The cat wins.
6. Which do you prefer black or white? I'd have to say black, because white shows the dirt.
7. What is your biggest fear?  Confined spaces. I. Just. Can't. Breathe.
8. What is your attitude? Do the things you think you cannot do.
9. What is perfection? There is no such thing.
10. What is your guilty pleasure? Red wine, coffee, chocolate. Not always in that order, and sometimes all at once.

Ten Random Facts About Me
1. I am a middle child
2. I don't believe in the middle-child syndrome
3. My favourite colour is yellow, it's just so cheery.
4. I have owned two cats, both of them black
5. I am not superstitious
6. My YOUNGEST son, at 21, is older than I was when he was born
7. I learnt piano for 8 years and can't play a thing
8. I've had one hangover in my life. One was too many
9. I often get so focused on a task that the building could fall down around me and I wouldn't notice
10. I was never 'in love' with a Brady or a Partridge, but I may have had a small crush on a Keaton.

Seven Blogs that I enjoy
1. Octavia and Vicky
2. Stuff no-one told Mandie
3. Six Degrees of Laura
4. Billy & August
5. Bbeingcool
6. Blundermum
7.My Journey - Am I there yet?

And... I'm linking up with Maxabella over at Kidspot for 52 weeks of Grateful! There's even more awesome blogs to check out there. Happy reading!

All I want for my 21st birthday is to see my teeth

The night before the great unveiling!

After almost two years enduring sore teeth, bleeding gums and the taunts that come with a mouth full of metal, my baby son got his braces removed yesterday.

It was exciting! And yes, I accept that my reaction may be an indication that I lead an otherwise slightly boring existence. That's ok.

However, any parent of a child who has had braces will know what I am talking about. Maybe.  Otherwise, I may be on my own here, and that's ok too.

Anyway, seeing my boy go from hideously crooked teeth, to a mouth full of metal, to a beautifully straight smile brought me joy.  The bills from the orthodontist didn't bring such joy, but they were worth it.

This child of mine turns 21 next week, which made the braces removal all the more significant. This period of orthodontic treatment (he'd had top braces as a young teenager too) was late to start. Partly due to the particular issue with his teeth, but a broken jaw in the weeks before the braces were originally scheduled threw a spanner in works (if I can use a metal analogy!) 

His greatest hope was that the treatment would be over before his 21st birthday. He made it, with a week to spare.

Last night he was brushing and flossing and swishing mouthwash. Hopefully he'll keep up the effort to look after those pearly whites, they cost a bomb and they have to last him the next 60 years!

Happy birthday kiddo! x

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Technology in the bathroom

Apparently*, in line with the increase in smartphone usage, people are beginning to access the internet from their bathroom more than any other room in the house. Reading the paper perhaps? Just saying.

But this post isn't about smartphones, the internet and the bathroom. It's about other technologies and their use in a bathroom, a public bathroom.

Seriously, how many ways can there be to turn on a tap or flush a loo?

Going to a public bathroom is stressful enough, without the pressure of trying to work out how to actually wash ones hands!  I don't know about you, but I miss the good old days when the hand basins sported shiny (ok, sometimes grotty!) tap handles.  We didn't really want to touch them but we all knew how they worked!

How do I make the water come out?

Now, you go to wash your hands only to stand at the basin and wave your hands back and forth under the faucet, trying to work out where the sensors are, all the while hoping no-one is watching you because if they were they would think you are stupid because you don't know how to turn on a tap!

It's enough to make me break into a sweat.

And the hand towel dispenser with the automatic sensor that no longer works, so you have to make do with a 2cm square of paper that you managed to rip off a fat roll of paper that Just. Won't. Budge. Frustrating!

But the one that really unnerves me is the toilet that flushes by itself.  After flushing for almost 40 years I find it unnatural to just pull up my pants and walk out.  Like nothing happened. I swear I hear my mother's voice in my head saying, "Did you flush the toilet?"  Like mothers do did. Apparently that is no longer mandatory.

Seriously, I realise that eliminating the need to touch surfaces in a public bathroom is all about hygiene, but isn't that why they invented hand sanitizers? And immune systems?  Besides, you still has to open the latch on the door to get out of the cubicle.  What are they going to think of next, a door that opens on command? Come to think of it, I have been into one stand-alone public bathroom that announced to me on entry that the door would open automatically in 10 mins.

Lucky I don't take that long.

*At least according to my Advertising lecturer

Linking up with Where's my glow? for
Where’s My Glow?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grateful for Determination (mine)

DeterminationToday I attended my very last uni lecture. YAY!

I spent half the afternoon trying so hard to listen to what the lecturer was saying (especially while she was outlining the upcoming exam!),but my mind kept wandering to the fact that this was my final class. Like, forever. It's almost unbelievable.

My thoughts were taken back to the start of my post-graduate course of study. To my very first class, when I sat in the back row, hoping no-one would notice or speak to me. I remember thinking that I didn't belong there... 

"I've never been to uni, I don't have an under-graduate degree, I'm not as smart as these people. I'm just a mum, what do I know? I can't write an essay. What if someone speaks to me? I don't have the right clothes, I just don't cut it. I should go home. What the hell am I doing here?" 

I think at one point I felt like crying. I was shit-scared.

Well, I went back to class the following week. And the next, and the next... And what do you know?... I passed my first class with a Distinction.  Far out!  Whoever would have thought it? It was then that I realised not only could I do this, I would!

There have been times over the past 4.5 years that I've felt out of my depth, that I wanted to hide in the back row again. But I kept going. I wasn't about to give up. My goal was to complete a Master of Business Administration, and that's exactly what I was going to do.

My determination to achieve my goal was stronger than my fear. That's pretty awesome, considering I was world's biggest chicken. I used to be scared of everything, sometimes I still am. But there's a vast difference between being afraid, and acting afraid.

My very first post on this blog was about overcoming fear and doing what you think you can't. You can read that here, if you want. Life experiences, including the one I referred to in my first post, have shaped my determination and taught me that I owe it to myself to rise above my fear. There is so much to be gained!

One strategy that helps me to beat my fear is to think what is the worst that could happen, and what is the likelihood of that actually happening? Usually it isn't so bad, or so probable, after all! Also, I think about what I will miss out on if I succumb to my fear. I don't like to miss out. That's where my determination comes in.

Without determination, I would not have made it this far (not just in study, but in the whole of my life). I am also very grateful to my family, friends and colleagues who encouraged me, helped me to stay motivated and who cheered me on. To everyone who reminded me that I can do it.  I ALMOST have! I've got one essay to write and one exam to sit.  Then I will be able to say, "It is finished!" And that will be an awesome day.

Does fear hold you back?  Is there something you are determined to achieve? I'd love to hear about it, and to join your 'cheer squad'.

Or maybe just zip on over to Kidspot to join in with Maxabella's 52 Weeks of Grateful.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So, what would you do?

 Picture this...

Your child (albeit an adult) brags about sharing 1 3/4 bottles of spirits with one mate on a work night, before managing to put in a full day of work, and then proceeds to check the house when he arrives home to ensure there is no vomit (remnants from the night before).

Do you
A) Congratulate him on the accomplishment?
B) Tell him to invite you to the party next time?
C) Assist in checking for vomit, wondering if that was the funny smell that greeted you when you arrived home?
D) Scold him for being irresponsible on a work night?
E) Freak out and call the local branch of AA?

For the record, I chose D). But I don't think he was paying attention.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: After Focus

Last week Kylie over at Octavia and Vicky published a post about the Android app After Focus. You can check it out here.

I love photo apps and am a new convert to Instagram (I downloaded the Android version the day it was released and haven't stopping playing with it since!) so I could hardly wait to get my hands on After Focus!

Consequently, I downloaded it and have been playing around with the features. After Focus is my current commuting entertainment (commuting by train that is, not while I am driving!)  This is some of my before and afters...

Thanks so much for the tip Kylie, I'm loving After Focus.... So I think I'll keep practising!

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

What's your fave photo app?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Three Shires in one day

Me & my mum
Don't know about you, but I am glad that Mother's Day is over for another year. True.
This year Mother's Day was hectic. Almost as busy as Christmas, just with slightly less food. And less presents.

First it was a family breakfast of bacon, eggs, grilled tomato & toast, and then crepes with the {other} man in my life, his parents and siblings, at his house in the Warringah Shire. The morning was filled with much chatter, amongst much cooking followed by much cleaning up.

Then we scooted down to the other side of the city to meet my mum and older brother for coffee and cake in the Sutherland Shire (aka THE Shire). We are regulars at Strawberry Fair CafĂ© in Cronulla Mall.  Great coffee, great service and the Works Burger is... well...  the works! But yesterday it was just coffee and carrot cake, which was delish.

I finally made it home to my house, in the Hornsby Shire, by about 7:30pm. Exhausted. I felt like I'd driven to the ends of the Earth. And back.

Upon arriving home I was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of flowers resting on my pillow, although the greeting from my boy went something like...

"Happy Mother's Day mum. I'm tired. When's dinner?"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I have a mum to visit on Mother's Day, and I have a son who buys me flowers. I know I'm one of the fortunate ones. I know there are many people who would drive to the end of the Earth to see their mum one more time, and that there are many women who desperately want to be mums, but for various reasons are not. Not yet. Some, not ever.

I'm sure there are many people who, like me, are relieved that Mother's Day is behind them for another year. Just for different reasons!

How was your Mother's Day?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grateful for Friday night housework

Late Spring cleaning
So it's Saturday. Squee! My first day off in two full weeks. Well, I kind of get a day off, just because I planned it that way.

Friday night saw me cleaning like a demon - clean bathroom, clean kitchen, clean clothes... After attending uni lectures last weekend, followed by a full working week including study in the evenings, I was NOT going to spend my Saturday doing housework. So I did it Friday night instead. And then I collapsed on the lounge with my fave easy dinner and a glass of wine, or two.

This morning I've got a few hours to work on my very last uni assignment (see... I 'kind of' get the day off) and then the weekend begins!

Lunch and an afternoon movie with my homegirls ( aka my former work collegues whom I miss so much!), an evening with the {other} man in my life and Mother's Day coffee dates tomorrow.  That is what weekends are for.

Do you spend Friday nights doing housework, just to get it over with?

Linking up with Maxabella over at Kidspot Village Voices for 52 Weeks of Grateful... 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A parental rite of passage

Squeee! My baby son is having his 21st birthday party in a few weeks. 

That means only one thing...  well, maybe several things but there is one particular aspect of his party that I am really excited about. And I don't mean the alcohol tab.

I get to create a Powerpoint presentation full of incredibly embarrassing photos from his childhood. Isn't that a parent's rite of passage?

Back in 'my day'...  it was common to see a few pieces of cardboard adhered to the wall of the 21st birthday party venue, all covered with photographs that made the guests chuckle...  and the birthday boy/girl (and their siblings!) cringe with embarrassment.

Now that it's the 21st Century, us parents go one step further and project life-size images onto the largest empty wall, with a slide show on perpetual repeat. Often to hideous music.  Can't wait!

I'm planning to include photos like this...

Every little boy wants to be Superman, even me

And this...

My first day of school
and this...

Deep in thought
and this...

I drank too much at my 18th birthday party

But I'll also include photos like this...

Hangin' with my gorgeous mum and my big bro on my 18th b'day

I've got so many incriminating photos of this young man, his 21st birthday photo slideshow is going to be magnificent! Too bad most of the guests probably won't remember much the next day. Perhaps I can send them home with a DVD. You know, in lieu of a lollie bag.

Did your parents embarrass you at your 21st?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's all about the shoes!

OK, so the other day I arrived home after a long day at uni to find someone had left a pair of shoes on the floor in the kitchen.

As I headed through the family room towards my bedroom, I stepped over a pair of shoes left on the floor (in the doorway!)

I walked up the hallway, past another pair of shoes (please disregard my unfinished floorboards...  I'm getting there!)

They say that things come in threes...

Do you have 'shoe issues' at your place? Are you tired of telling your kids to put their things away?

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday

...And now with Glow for The Weekend Whine

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's Sunday Night

No beating around the bush on this post. I don't have the energy or the brain capacity.

It's Sunday night, and I am SO grateful for that.  Before you throw things at me...  let me explain. Briefly.

I've just spent three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) in law lectures, learning about the Australian Legal System, Contract Law and Consumer Law. Best weekend ever. Not.  Although I did score a perfect 10 on a test this morning, so it wasn't all bad.

I'm back to work tomorrow, for a rest. But right now I am parked on my lounge in front of the TV, watching the first episode of the new season Masterchef, for as long as my eyes remain open.

So that's my contribution to 52 Weeks of Grateful this week.  If you head on over there you are sure to find many 'gratefuls' that are much more interesting than mine. 

P.S.  I told you I'd be brief.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Sunday 29 April

I studied

I ate sushi

...went to the movies

and drank wine
The end.

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday (I know, it's Thursday!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who's that girl?

How often do you see a familiar face, but just can't place it?  That happened to me last week, and it's still bugging the crap out of me.

While on a therapy visit to my local shopping mall on Anzac afternoon, I stopped by Gloria Jeans for a coffee. As I do.  After I collected my regular latte I headed toward the seating section. I had decided to sit down for a minute to change my shoes.  I'd just bought new shoes and wanted to wear them immediately. Like a child.


My eyes caught sight of a lady seated at a table. I know her.  I know I know her, but I just can't figure out where I know her from.

She didn't see me, or at least I don't think she did. I wasn't in her direct line of sight. So I had no chance of observing any facial expressions of recognition. Did she recognise me too?

Over the past several days I've caught myself going through a mental check list. Often at random times. Like after I got off my train on Friday morning, and when I was watching TV on Saturday. And now.

Do I know her through work?  No, I don't think so...  From uni?  Nope, doubt it... Is she from the past, like from the boy's school? No, I'm sure it's more recent than that...  Do we have a mutual friend, perhaps we met at a social event?  Gosh, I haven't been to a social event for so long... Does she serve me in a cafe or shop I visit regularly? Not likely, I don't shop regularly. Is she someone famous?  No, I don't think so...  And the list goes on...

So just to distract myself (and now you) from my annoying questions.  What do you think of my new shoes?

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