5

WHAM! – Its December

I’ve had a double dose of the daycare Christmas concert this week. Nothing is more delightful than seeing your own kids singing Christmas carols. The older group poured their hearts and souls into their rendition of Rudolf, amping up the attitude like they were auditioning for The Voice. Getting the Caterpillar group ( 3 year olds) to perform was like herding cats but they did very remarkably well. Only about half of them mouthed the words like footballers doing the national anthem. They all gesticulated enthusiastically to We Wish You a Merry Christmas and beamed at the parents rousing applause. In this context Christmas carols are a joy but when you are subjected to Santa Claus Is Coming To Town for two months before the fat fellow actually gets to town it becomes excruciating.

As a student Dadabulous worked in Target over the summer break. Here he was subjected to Christmas carols on a continuous loop all day. The scars of this ordeal run deep. I believe he is suffering what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The first few bars of Away In A Manger are enough to have him rocking on the floor in the fetal position covering his ears. This week the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the recognition of an independent  Palestinian state. I ask why they are wasting their time on this decades old conflict when more serious humanitarian issues are afoot? For the sake of the entire world’s sanity I propose that the UN pass a resolution banning the playing of any type of Christmas music in any public place until December 18th – exactly one week before the big day.

Think of how much merrier your shopping experience would be if you were not assaulted with WHAM!’s Last Christmas in the aisles of your local Colesworths. It is this tune above all others that unleashes the angry Grinch in me every December. Those faux sleighbells may as well be the sound of cash registers ringing. Its such a cynical attempt to bring in royalties year upon year. Do you remember the cheesy video clip accompanying the single’s  original release in 1984?  It revolves around an unlikely love triangle. A woman with a Princess Di haircut ( well it was the early 80s) has a brief Christmas fling with George Micheal then dumps him for Andrew Ridgeley* on Boxing Day. (hence the lyrics “Last Christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away”). All I can say is that the Princess Di wanna-be must have wised up to George’s homosexuality toot sweet. Looking back how could any of us ever have imagined that George Micheal was straight?

Soooo intense. George Michael in Last Christmas.

Soooo intense. George Michael in Last Christmas.

Like all Christmas classics the song refuses to die with dignity. Its been covered by a new generation of pop tarts so we can relive the the bitter sweet feeling of unrequited love every silly season. According to Wiki, Billie Piper, Ashley Tisdale, Cascada and Alcazar have all had a go. There is even a Crazy Frog version. Holy Shite! How much irritation can you wring out of one song George? Here’s tip for all you evil record company types – let 1D cover Last Christmas complete with a soppy video clip. Perhaps it could feature all five of our pre- pubescent heroes fighting over one lucky chick. Much to the annoyance of parents everywhere it is certain to be a cash cow.

My Gaydar's going nuts with 20/20 hindsight.

My Gaydar’s going nuts with 20/20 hindsight.

Are you with me on banning Christmas music in shopping centres prior to December 18th? What Christmas song do you find the most annoying?

Remember there’s 24 shopping days left.

Ho, ho, ho

Mumabulous

* Younger readers may not know that Andrew Ridgeley was George Michael’s partner in WHAM! He disappeared from the limelight when WHAM! disbanded in 1986. In a fittingly 1980s twist he is married to one of the Bananarama alumni.

Andrew Ridgeley - then and now. Cripes I feel old.

Andrew Ridgeley – then and now. Cripes I feel old.

Photo shamelessly pilfered from NME.

30

Who Do You Dress For?

I love the fashion bloggers. They are taking the esoteric world of Haute couture and demystifying it for everyone. You don’t have the connections of Anna Wintour, the body of  Gisele Bündchen or the budget of Gina Rinehart to join in the party. Whats more the likes of Kim-Marie (http://kimbalikes.com/), Rachel (http://www.redcliffestyle.com/) and Mama Stylista (http://www.mamastylista.com/) all have an infectious exuberance. I’ve not met any of them but they seem like they’d be a fun addition to any gal posse.  They obviously get so much enjoyment from fashion whereas my relationship to clothes has been fraught.

Being style challenged is a consummate first world problem. I’m sure that the boat people would love to have the opportunity to struggle with accessories.  Nevertheless during my younger days, from the black clad wanna-be gothic teen years, through to my office life where I tried to balance the corporate uniform with a touch of individuality,I could never quite “nail it”.  The thing I “nailed” was attracting boyfriends who were quick to point out exactly what I was doing wrong. I was not sexy enough for some or elegant enough for others. Some deemed my neither sexy nor elegant. For a young woman this kind of criticism is confidence shaking. I sheepishly admit that there were occasions where I put money and time into meeting my ex-paramours’ exacting standards. If I could borrow the keys to the TARDIS I’d go back and give these jerks the middle finger with a resounding STFU.

Still I learned from these experiences. My former flames’ respect for me did not increase with a make-over. They would quickly move on to something else to criticize. Also I noticed that the response I got from the wider world didn’t change greatly based on what I was wearing. A brief stint where I played the hawt babe with towering heels and short skirts did not transform me into a man magnet. My relationships with my male friends remained grounded in humor and shared interests. It didn’t seem to matter much to them whether I was wearing jeans and flats or a bum grazing mini. On the other hand revealing outfits provoked the occasional snide remark from females.

These days I dress for no one other than myself. I wear what I feel comfortable and happy in. Trinny & Suzannah, Gok Wan and Carson Kressley can all sod right off. I intend to ski the downhill slope to old age in a blaze of colors, patterns and quirky fabulousness.

Case in point.

I’ve just invested in a super sized hat. It’s the kind favored by middle aged matrons who have nothing to do but schmooze around resorts all day. You will observe the leopard skin scarf and the oversized turtle shell retro sunglasses.  This combination feels like I’m wearing a satellite dish and a car windscreen. Nevertheless it makes perving on young hunks undetectable.

I’m picking up Foxtel with this.

Shorts are mandatory for kid wrangling in the summer months. Here is my latest purchase. They were the longest ones I could find. The pattern is busier than Charlie Sheen’s dealer but at least it takes attention away from the cellulite just beneath the hem line. I ask you why hide a round butt when you can swathe it in fab and shake it about?

Hell yeh – my butt looks big in these.

I live in a Sydney beach side suburb that is not Bondi and I’m middle aged. All roads are leading to the kaftan! I’ve recently topped up the collection with these two.

I got the blues.

The next one hails from that mecca of hippidom – Tree of Life. It came with the dubious claim that “one size fits all”. On my vertically challenged frame it is more like a Mum tent but its a Mum tent of magnificence.  I can’t wait to be mistaken for the girls’ grandmother as I waft around the kiddy pool in this flowing cascade of chiffon.

Mumabulous Mum tent.

Would any fashion post be complete without footwear? Why is that even a question? Here are my brand spanking new Mary Janes from Shoes of Prey.  You can see I’m taking my style cues from my five and a half year old. Pink and silver all the way.

I heart you MJ.

Ladies, no matter what your personal style groove happens to be – hot n’ sexy, sleek and stylish, free-range and feral or retro and rockabilly I hope you’re rocking your look just for you.

Get your glam on.

Mumabulous


The Surprise Beginning
22

Sex & The Housework

I’ve recently discovered the work of  Reservoir Dad (http://www.reservoirdad.com/).  I’m slow on the uptake as he has been around for a while. Anyhow this A-list Dadster blogger is popular for a reason – he’s very, very cheeky in the most entertaining way. The thing you really have to love about RD however, is that he is a poster boy for “Mentally Sexy” dudes everywhere. Again the “Mentally Sexy” mantra is not new but I’ve only just become aware of it.  The main thrust (snigger) of the argument is that men who do their share of the housework get more action in the sack. Amen to that!

Mumrades, its in our interests to keep this message alive. Letting men think they will be rewarded with sex for doing household chores could be the best thing that happened to feminism since pantyhose were replaced by the trouser suit. An idealist could argue that guys should have purer motives for scrubbing the shower recess.  A clean bathroom should provide satisfaction in itself.  Doesn’t that sound lovely in theory? It conjures up pleasing montages of all my friend’s husbands mopping and vacuuming to the strains of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. “Imagine all the husbands, sweeping up the flo0rs…”.  You may say I’m a dreamer and you’d be right. This is a capitalist economy and our corporate warriors need incentive in the form of performance based bonuses – as it were.  At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, the economics of this falls firmly ( snigger again) in our favor.  Maintaining Chez ‘Abulous to a livable standard demands hours of toil per week. I’m sure its the same in your household. On the other hand, I’m guessing keeping your hubby happy is significantly less time consuming. A couple of hours of housework for ten minutes contemplating England is a very sound transaction for the ladies.

I’m loving this new meme.

Last Saturday evening I returned exhausted from an afternoon at the beach with the girls. (I don’t know why sitting on one’s butt on the sand watching kids is so tiring). I then dutifully prepared a pork roast with superb crackling and all the trimmings. After finishing the heavy meal washed down with two glasses of Pinot Gris, the idea of lifting a finger was too much to bear. As I surveyed the surrounding mess I thought of Reservoir Dad and wondered if he’d be interested in coming over.  Unfortunately Reservoir Mum wouldn’t be too happy with that plan. I’m sure she wouldn’t want to share all that sweet, sweet cleaning with another woman. Doing some quick mental calculations of the options in front of me, I quickly surmised that doing my wifely duty in exchange for Dadabulous cleaning the kitchen was a very good deal. Quite a bargain in fact. Guess what didn’t happen blog fans.

I think we can all agree that the Mentally Sexy theory is a winner. Its just a question of putting it in to practice. How do we communicate the idea effectively to our husbands? We could suggest that they read RD because he’s really funny and hope they get the hint. However in my experience the male of the species favor the direct approach. They are poorly adapted to picking up hints and nuances. The next time you are completely over the domestic Goddess gig I’d suggest sitting back and announcing ” I’d shag any dude who cleaned the kitchen right now”. Just watch how quickly your husband springs into action.

But I’m loving this new meme even more. Woo Hoo!

Are you on board with the Mentally Sexy concept?

Love

Mumabulous

PS: If you happen to be RD rest assured my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. If you happen to be Michael Fassbender – call me baby!

photo credit: kallidobbin via photopin cc

13

Sod Off Conde Nast

Recently much has been written about “magazine envy” on the blogosphere.  The term describes the uncomfortable feeling one gets when flicking through the pages of say Vogue Living or Better Homes and Gardens. The styled up images on the page do not remotely resemble our own domestic surroundings and this s%@ts us to tears.  One of my very favorite bloggers Enid Bite ‘Em is the queen of this type of post (as well as being the High School English teacher I wish I’d had). This chuckle worthy piece should be the definitive word on the subject http://enidbite-em.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/do-you-know-how-to-glide-in-magically.html. However I won’t balk at bringing just a little more to an overladen table.  When it comes to magazine envy the luxury travel niche gives me the willies.

Part of my routine on daycare days is to drop the kids off then scoot down the street to a new artisian bakery. Here I sip on my large skinny cappuccino and pick at my freshly made fruit muffin. A Conde Nast Traveler magazine takes pride of place atop of one of the funky communal tables and of course I pick it up. I liken the experience to watching Dr Phil. I know it is bad for me and I know I am going to hate myself for it but its pull is magnetic. I eschew the more intellectual offerings (such that they are – SMH, Fin Review and The Australian) for airbrushed, highly stylized, painfully exotic and excruciatingly priced holiday destinations.  I wonder who the target market for this publication is. Most people I know, even the well off types are spending those precious few annual holiday weeks  in caravan parks up and down the coast. The very bold and adventurous might do a week in Thredbo. Meanwhile the indulgent bugger off to a tropical resort in QLD or Fiji, dump the progeny in Kids Club and snooze by the pool. (Actually I can’t think of anything more heavenly right now).  Nobody I know is able to discuss “Madrid’s best gastro bars and restaurants” or “the lesser spotted Seychelles” with any authority.

Be spotted in the “lesser Spotted Seychelles”

Authentic Madagascar

The magazine seems to be pitched at minor aristocrats or the idle children of billionaires – those who have both the means and the time to faff about in six star resorts or pay top dollar for an authentic experience in Africa.  At present the Conde Nast website features The Spa Awards for 2012.  (Why go to a local bakery to get annoyed when you can do it from the comfort of your own desk ). The Spa Awards chronicle the world’s  Top 30 spa retreats as voted by the readership. They are are located in  disparate destinations from  New York to Nepal, Bordeaux to Barbados and Tibet to Tahiti. Sydney even gets a guernsey with CHI at the  Shangri-La Hotel. Three parochial cheers. Melbourne also makes the grade but who cares. The mind boogles that there are folk out there who would brave the arduous pilgrimage to Tibet just to get a much need pedicure then vote on it. I can’t even get the time to trek up the street to get my foils retouched. Annoying!

Six Senses Spa, Evason Ma’In Hot Springs in Jordon.

If you find the purple prose about the holistic  spa escapes cringe worthy, the fashion spreads are bound to send you into rapid convulsions. The magazine’s showcases ” resort wear” which can be divided into two categories – 1) The  lux bohemian look favored by Elizabeth Taylor in the early 1970s* and 2) the sleek silhouette of Jackie Onassis. These looks are staples of the cashed up dowager and I have no problem with them. I gravitate towards the Liz look as I have the arse for it. Unfortunately I don’t quite have the chutzpah. What I take issue with is that the outfits are unfailingly modeled by a 20 year old. I know its all about fantasy but this is a bridge too far. When 20 year old holiday at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan or similar, they get about in denim hot pants and band T-shirts as they should. As for myself, holiday wear is all about three quarter length pants, pretty tops, Vans sneakers and retro sunglasses. Its indistinguishable from every other day – a bit like motherhood itself.

Just quietly the thing that peeves me the most is that I’ve got a snowballs chance of jetting off to “the destination of the moment – The Philippines” or “undiscovered Italy”. There’s no way I’m doing a long haul flight with the girls. If my husband can tear himself away from work we might do the theme park thing at the “Goldie’ next year.  No doubt we’ll have a great time but it doesn’t quite have that glossy magazine cache. Sod off Conde Nast!

Four seasons resort Bora Bora. Shut up already Conde Nast.

Over to you blog fans. High end travel magazines – inspirational or just irritating?

Love

Mumabulous

* kaftans, head scarves and way too much jewellery.

Photo credit: All photos shamelessly plundered from the Conde Nast website.

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25

It’s Choice Sis

I’ll be honest. When I’m in the company of mothers who have managed to maintain their careers I feel like a dismal failure.  When I switch my brain back into rationale mode, I realize that nobody else is thinking of me that way. I certainly wouldn’t put such a label on other families where the mother has put her personal aspirations to one side. Nonetheless the feeling of inadequacy raises its ugly head.  These women have a commitment and determination  which I lacked. I could complain until I’m blue in the face about how the corporate world is not family friendly ( a whole other argument)  but the truth remains that I simply didn’t have the drive to keep going in my former job in stockbroking. Doubtless it would have been a difficult slog.  My husband has a thriving business which brings in considerably more than my solid but unspectacular salary ( Its a myth that everyone in finance is raking in millions). There was no prospect of him doing the stay at home Dad gig.  The long hours and deadlines make daycare pick ups and drop offs tricky. The only real solution would have been to hire an au pair which would gobble up almost all of my after tax earnings. What’s the point? Still the irritating little voice in my head says “Excuses, excuses other people make it happen and you didn’t”.

The job I left behind comes across better on paper than it actually was. “Equity Analyst” – sounds smart doesn’t it? I could talk about it socially and people would actually be interested. I got to swan around interviewing company CEOs and hosting investor presentations which was cool. On the downside, there was the lingering sense that you could never really get it right. We were in the business of predicting the future sans a crystal ball. Plus the testosterone fueled argy bargy  that went on was utterly tiresome.  The fact is I liked my job, I enjoyed the cache it gave me but I was not in love with it.

Oh no – not another blog about work/life balance!

Five years later to say “I’m looking at a smoking heap of ashes that was once my career” is not an apt description. The embers have long since cooled and blown away.  Reigniting the fire is beyond me.  I dont have the inclination to go gathering the kindling.  Work / family balance is coming down hard on the side of family like see saw with me on one end and an elephant on the other. Still this is not meant to be a post bemoaning society or about “feminism lying that we could have it all”.* The fact is that I had a choice and I willing stepped out of the corporate world. Its a choice that previous generations did not have. My late grandmother had nine kids. Who would choose to spend 81 months (that’s almost 7 years) of your life perpetually pregnant.  Nowadays many others have their options taken away by their mortgages.  Financially I had the luxury of taking several years out and I lapped it up.

I’m grateful that I’ve had the time to devote to my girls. It hasn’t been all snuggles, smiles and bliss. I had an uncomfortable waltz with PND during P2s early months and I believe 30 IQ points have been discarded along with the dirty nappies. Its easy to get bogged down in the drudgery of the housework and the kids unending demands but then I can walk outside and watch the waves crashing on the rocks at the northern end of the beach. Who in their right mind would swap that view for a Reuters screen?

Nobody has it all but I’ve had so much in my life – just not at the same time. I’ve had a reasonable career life, I’ve paid my own mortgage, and I’ve experienced a string of relationships. Now I’m blessed beyond measure to experience raising a family. Our choices are not always easy but  those of us who have them are fortunate indeed.

Love

Mumabulous

* I don’t believe that feminism claimed we could have it all – Hollywood can be blamed for that myth.

I’m not in any way trying to argue the employers shouldn’t be more open to flexible working arrangements.

photo credit: ynnejdrofdarb via photopin cc


40

Infidelity – Who’s Got The Time?

Have you ever looked at the infidelity statistics in gaping disbelief.  Its notoriously difficult to get an accurate snap shot of who is doing what to whom. People aren’t exactly going to broadcast their indiscretions in bold texta pen on the Government census.  We’re forced to rely on slightly sleazy mobs like Durex ( the condom manufacturer) and Red Hot Pie (an adult dating and social networking website) for the hard (snigger) facts on fornication. I suspect that a sluttier element are attracted to the surveys conducted by these fine establishments and we’re getting a distorted picture of what’s really going on. According to Durex 16% of us have cheated on a spouse. Red Hot Pie puts the figure at 45.1% for males and 41.9% for females. To be fair, RHP’s numbers covers all relationships from casual dating to long term marriages. Still if these figures are anywhere close to accurate the ground should be a quaking from all the shaking going on.

Not what the RHP website is about but exciting to mathematicians nonetheless.

It seems to me that even if one had the inclination to cheat, the logistics are tricky. Putting aside the small question of morality, the hassle involved in conducting an affair would surely outweigh the benefits.  Foremostly I wonder who has the time these days. Many of us are time poor. Large numbers are juggling full time paid work, commuting and parenthood. There’s the daycare or school drop off  followed by the dash to work in hellish peak hour traffic. If we’re lucky an eight hour work day is punctuated by a  half hour lunch spent stuffing down a sandwich whilst madly rushing about doing errands. Late afternoon rolls around and its time to bolt from the desk to daycare. The evening is consumed by a blur of dinner, homework, bathing kids and bedtime stories. Some folk then get the luxury of an hour or so of TV before falling into a coma. The window for extra-marital nookie in this schedule is extremely small. Perhaps people are getting it on in a broom closet at work during the 3.00 o’clock tea break. Erotic? NOT!

Even if much of the grunt work has been taken out of finding a willing partner by websites such as Ashley Madison, there’s the question of finding the time to peruse these offerings. Its not a good look to check out “the goods” at your work desk while chowing down on food court sushi and diet coke. Doing it on your home PC is far too risky, particularly if your other half is an IT guru. Perhaps all those grim faced office workers you see on the train and bus every morning fiddling with their smart phones are actually on adult matchmaker searching for a fiddle. I bet you thought they were playing Tetris.

Tetris?

Once a suitable accomplice is found, there’s the extra work involved in becoming “affair ready”. Its not like married sex. Depilation is required which means you have to squeeze in and fund regular visits to the beauty salon on top of everything else. Ten year old underwear no longer passes muster even if it actually still fits. Fresh new stuff has to be purchased from outlets like Bras and Things because Best & Less won’t cut it.  I have mornings where I leave the house without showering so that I can get the girls to daycare at a reasonable time. I surely wouldn’t get away with that it I were heading off to an assignation. The smell would be more indiscreet than my behaviour.

Your underwear collection will need upgrading.

Tending to the needs of ones own husband can be tiring enough let along having to deal with anyone else’s. I’m happy for my marriage to be like comforting chicken chasseur. In the meantime I can get all the spice I need by following the exploits of Don Draper (And what a morsel he is).

Disclaimer: After everything Dadabulous has done for us cheating would be the ultimate form of ingratitude. However in the unlikely event that Michael Fassbender knocks on the door and says “Brenda come away with me” all of the above can be disregarded.

Love

Mumabulous

Living vicariously through Mad Men.

photo credit: djwtwo via photopin cc

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

photo credit: Nikita Kashner via photopin cc

photo credit: kostia via photopin cc

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15

The Bear Necessities

The excitement that had been mounting for weeks at Chez ‘Abulous came to a head this morning. Today was the day of the girls’ lovely cousin, Miss A’s, 4th birthday party.  It was held at the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Sutherland Shire’s temple of retail, otherwise known as Miranda Fair. Other kids, stuffed toys and birthday cake are an irresistible combination for my girls.We were all smiles on the great pilgrimage south.

Upon arriving at the venue, it became clear that the humble Teddy Bear is no longer humble. The Build-a-Bear crew have brought Eduardo and Edwina Bear roaring into the 21st century in blaze of bling. The haute couture and accessories that accompany stuffed toys these days are mind blowing. They used to say that “Barbie can be anything” but I can honestly say that the soft bear species has the jump on the fantastic Miss Plastic.

The concept behind the Build-A-Bear franchise is to create your own one of a kind, custom made companion. The party goers are greeted by a host then asked to select the bear’s fur coat. Its at this point that you realize that “Build-A-Bear” is a misnomer. There’s an entire menagerie available.  Dogs, cats, rabbits, tigers, turtles, Disney characters, Elmos and Cookie Monsters are all vying for your attention. There are even more exotic choices such as wolves, seahorses and unicorns. Reindeers stand by ready to cash in for Christmas.

I was seeing unicorns on rollers skates before I had my coffee this morning.

She’s just an empty shell of a bear.

The next step is to stuff the animal. Its done with this machine. Although it looks uncomfortable and undignified, it gets the job done.

Go and get stuffed.

When the toys are properly fleshed out, red love hearts are inserted and their backs are stitched up. This just leaves the naming process and the issuance of birth certificates.  While all this is going on the children are encouraged to do traditional party stuff like playing games and singing songs. At the end of the session the birthday kid is treated to a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday and cake and lolly bags are doled out.

Parents have the option to stay or dash out for some shopping. For me hanging around was worthwhile so that I could gawk at   the store which was an over-the-top boutique of all things bear.  Teddies are no longer content with a simple bow tie. Nowadays they can dress like California guurls or guys, complete with swimsuits, flip flops, sunglasses and boogie boards (I kid you not).

The bear necessities for the beach.

They can dress like other iconic characters. I noticed Jedi, Spider Man, Iron Man, Toy Story, Disney princess,  pirate, nurse, soldier, sailor, astronaut and sporting star costumes on offer.  The bears could channel their inner glamour puss in pink cowboy hats for Mardi Gras or nerd it up with Jedi light sabres. There were cricket kits and Aussie flag hats for Australia day and even snow boards for that annual trip to Aspen. I noted with bemusement the collection of faux leather motor cycle jackets and matching bumless chaps? Here’s the photographic evidence.

Bear your bum in these.

While I found the experience a touch surreal, the kids had a wonderful time. P1 created a fluffy pink confection and aptly named it “Pinky Pie”. ( I think there is a My Little Pony of the same name but I wont bring that up). P2 made a dark brown doggy and christened it “Milo” after her daycare mascot.  Of course I was nagged to purchase some appropriately glam outfits for Pinky Pie but I was able to reason with my five year old. I asked her what she would rather I spent money on – clothes for her or clothes for the bear? It turns out that Pinky Pie will be dressed in fabric scraps from Grandma in a style that can be described as “vintage meets derelicte meets sticky tap and sequins”.

So hip its unbearable. (Groan)

Mumabulous Verdict: 8/10

A fun party option for clever kids aged around 4 to 8. It’s lovely have a keepsake to take home. My girls love the toys all the more for being part of their creation.

P1s Verdict: I liked it because I got to chose my own stuff for Pinky Pie. Can we go to Build-a-Bear Workshop again? Can we go again in the school holidays?

P2s Verdict: Me too.

For more information see: http://www.buildabear.com.au/

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10

Don’t Believe The Hype

My father is a retired teacher who spent over thirty years working with special needs children. I was recently discussing my confusion regarding the differing opinions I’d been hearing about our local schools. He stopped me in my tracks with this remark ” Darling so much bullshit is talked about schools and most of it comes from people who know bugger all about  it”. The moral is don’t believe the hype. When it comes to making the choice about where to educate your kids don’t take gossip and heresay on board. Rather do the research yourself. Speak directly to the schools about any concerns you may have.

This point was illuminated for me by a piece of disgraceful journalism in you guessed it – the Murdoch press.  On the 21st of October of this year a story ran in tabloid rag (The Telegraph) and the high end broadsheet (The Australian) titled “Class School Room Cameras Row in NSW”.* The article described how a handful of schools across the state are using CCTV cameras in the classroom as a teaching resource. Our local school was listed as one of those embracing the new technology.

Without consulting the school or apparently doing any research to clarify the facts, the Murdoch press proceeded to phone one of our local parents to ask their opinion. The parent was unaware of any filming in the classrooms and was “shocked” and “scared” that such a thing could be happening without her knowledge.

The set of the next Big Brother?

I made it my business to personally question the Assistant Principal about this matter. It turns out that there was darned good reason the parents had not been informed. This was because the story was a total beat up and not one CCTV camera had been turned on inside the school classrooms. Apparently the NSW School Education Director had brought a camera into the school to discuss the idea of implementing the technology at some point in the future. However as proper protocols had not yet been laid down the system had not been used. To quote the Assistant Principal ” No one even knows how to switch it on yet”.

Obviously the Murdoch press was trying to insinuate that our local school was filming children without their parents permission. This blatant piece of misinformation caused distress to many local families and irritation to the teachers. It was a hassle that the teaching executive did not need and a distraction from the very complicated business of running a good school. I was in two minds about writing this blog piece as I’m mindful of worsening the situation. However I believe that this pathetic attempt to inflame readers with such a glaring inaccuracy needs to be pointed out. In the words of Derryn Hinch – “Shame ,The Telegraph and The Australian, Shame”.

If he owns it, don’t read it.

I’m led to understand that the practice of filming class rooms in common place in Hong Kong and is making inroads in the UK. At the moment a handful of NSW schools are experimenting with the technology but they certainly are not doing it without the full consent of parents.

I re-iterate, when you next find yourself in a discussion about schools make sure you’ve got a salt shaker with you as you’ll need a few grains. Most importantly of all – DONT READ THE MURDOCH PRESS.

Take this along for any discussion about schools.

Love

Mumabulous

*(http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/class-school-room-cameras-row-in-nsw/story-e6frg6n6-1226499853638)

PS: I dont mean to insinuate that News Corp is the only agency that spreads mis information. Nevertheless they do have some form in this department.

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photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc


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Dear Baby G

4

Name That 80s Tune.

Following up from yesterday’s “Daggier Than Thou” post, I thought I’d have a little fun putting together a “Name That 80s Tune” Quiz. I have provided the first lines of fifteen 1980s classics. I challenge you to guess the song and the band. Be warned participating is likely to have you tapping you toes whilst humming away with a moronic grin on your face

Disclaimer: I’ve tried to give a fairly broad representation of 80s music with this choice. I dont actually like all of these songs. Not that I’m admitting to anyway.

WHAM – Not in this quiz. But how could we ever have thought they were straight?

1)

Poor old Johnnie Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio
Moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried, sang along

2)

People, wasting away in paradise
Going backward, once in a while
Moving ahead, falling behind

3)

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song
I’m twenty two now, but I won’t be for long
People ask when will you grow up to be a man
But all the girls I loved at school
Are already pushing prams

4)

Come on girls
Do you believe in love?
‘Cause I got something to say about it
And it goes something like this

5)

I guess I shoulda known
By the way you parked your car sideways
That it wouldn’t last

6)

When I’m with you baby
I go out of my head

7)

As the midnight moon
Was drifting through
The lazy sway of the trees
I saw the look in your eyes
Looking into mine

8)

Let me tell you about my mountain home

Where all the ladies names are Joan.

9)

She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene
I said don’t mind, but what do you mean I am the one

10)

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty,
Sound of their breath fades with the light.

11)

If I, I get to know your name

Well I could trace your private number, baby

12)

Thank you for coming home
I’m sorry that the chairs are all worn
I left them here I could have sworn

13)

We move like cagey tigers
We couldn’t get closer than this

14)

Clock strikes upon the hour,
And the sun begins to fade.
Still enough time to figure out,
How to chase my blues away.

15)

Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin’ to the top

Lloyd Cole – 1980s crumpet and still gorgeous

ABC – They shot a Poison Arrow through my heeeaaaaart.

I’ll love you forever Robert. But honey your look hasn’t aged well.

Debbie Harry – arguably the rockingest rock chick ever!

Answers

1) Come On Irene – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

2) Power &  The Passion – Midnight Oil

3) A New England – Billy Bragg

4) Express Yourself – Madonna

5) The Little Red Corvette – Prince

6) Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode

7 ) Slow Hand – The Pointer Sisters

8)  Boys Light Up – Australian Crawl

9) Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

10) Under The Milky Way Tonight – The Church

11) You Spin Me Right Round – Dead Or Alive

12) Gold – Spandu Ballet

13) Love Cats – The Cure

14) I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston

15) Rock The Cazbah – The Clash

So how did you go? How many of these were played at your wedding, you big dag! And what would feature on your own 1980s Name That Tune Quiz?

Mumabulous cant stop the music.

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12

Daggier Than Thou

I’ve acquired a shiny new pet peeve. It’s surprising I’ve got room on the shelf for one more given all the peeves I already have possession of.  Nevertheless this one irritates me more than shaving rash on a beach day (but not quite as much as the Murdoch press). Have you noticed the preponderance of young, painfully hip folk on the interwebs bemoaning their descent into old age and parental dagginess? It is irksome for a 42 year old to be subjected to an onslaught of thirty things before thirty lists. C’mon – I was listening to Duran Duran whilst you were being conceived, you young whipper snappers! Perhaps your parents were too.

What are they looking at?

Listen up my young padwans. When it comes to dagginess Mumabulous is your Master. Hurtling towards thirty does not mean the End of The World* as you know it. In fact you’ve still got a way to go before you reach your metaphorical peak. So don’t go worrying about the slippery slope on the other side just yet. Switching radio stations and losing interest in night clubs are NOT (repeat NOT) signs that your leading edge cool is being blunted by parenthood. You guys are still too cool for school. You are Cool McGools. You are still too hip to be square. If you are still concerned take the following daggability quiz.

- Do you Sing “Neverending Story” while you are doing the dishes or other monotonous household chores?

- Do you teach your kids puerile lyrics to their favorite songs then blame it on the daycare if they repeat these ditties to your husband? (Our latest hit is “The wee wees on the bus go pssst pssst pssst” )

- Have you instituted a new “golden rule” in your home – “thou shalt pee in the toilet before leaving the house”.?

- Do you linger far too long in the loo just to steal a moment’s peace?

- Has a trip to Target become a major retail adventure?

- Do you spend more in Office Works than you once did on shoes?

Takin’ care of business…

- Is that first sip of chocolate dusted cappuccino froth the highlight of your day?

- Upon getting out of bed in the morning is your first thought about getting the above cappuccino?

- Do you have a favorite Octonaut? Mine’s Captain Barnacles. He’s like a serious little gay man.

- Do you steal lollies from the potty training rewards jar and justify it on the basis of your superior toileting skills?

- Can you sing the Thomas the Tank theme song without the subtitles and bouncy ball? ( I know you can Grace - http://www.withsomegrace.com/)

- Do you know the names of the puppets in Lazy Town?

- Are you considering life membership with the BIG 4 Caravan park chain?

- Have you considered patenting the Weetbix crust that forms on cereal bowls as a new multi purpose construction material? Its  the most impermeable substance known to human kind.

The towers of the future shall be built from this.

- Do you listen to Talkback radio and get immensely irritated when your favorite programs are canned in favor of the cricket?

- Is the above the low point of you summers?

- If you watch TV at all are you devoted to the ABC and SBS?

- Do you find Alan Kohler oddly attractive and get a wee bit excited when he talks about rising indicies?

- Do you compulsively check the Bureau of Meteorology website even though just glancing out of your window would give you  a better indication of what’s going on?

- Do you refer to the Bureau of Meteorology affectionately as the “bom”?

- Do take an interest in the weekly fluctuations of your local dam levels. The Sydney Catchment area is down to 92.2% full as you are probably aware.

- Do you remember where you were the night Michael Hutchence had an unfortunate encounter with his belt and the back of his hotel suite door? I was dancing with a fireman at the Bristol Arms Tavern. Even 15 years ago I was at my happiest attending 1980s Retro nights. I was wearing a plastic Viking helmet on my head.

Mine had bigger horns.

- How about Elvis? I was in the school playground.

- Have you ever spent time mentally casting the re-make of Blakes 7 or a similar clunky old TV series?* Fass is a must to play Avon.

- Do you refuse to go through the self service check outs at Colesworths as a matter of principal?

- Do you collapse into bed at around 9pm of an evening?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to at least 10 of these then you may have something to worry about. Otherwise blog fans, I reserve the right to call myself “daggier than thou”.

Do you have any questions you’d like to add to this by no means comprehensive list?

Frump it up

Mumabulous

* REM – 1987

* An extremely clunky early 1980s British Sci Fi television series.

Blake’s 7 – Sex it up and bring it back.

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