Thanks for stopping by. Mummy Mayhem is no longer updated. I now have a new, albeit smaller blog over at www.jodieansted.blogspot.com.au.

Drop by anytime. :)


Monday, November 30, 2009

Yearning the Simpler Life

You know how sometimes a certain smell, sound or situation can remind you of a time of the past? Kind of like a de ja vu thing? Well, I feel that occasionally, and yesterday I went for a walk, to collect dinner of all things, and I was transported back in time.

When Hubby and I first moved to Sydney almost 14 years ago, we lived in Neutral Bay, which is close to the city and is full of young, professional couples and restaurants. We really didn't have to go anywhere if we didn't want to, it was all there. Even many of our closest friends lived nearby. And I remember walking along the main road that runs through Neutral Bay on more than one occasion, window shopping and trying to choose where we'd eat that night.

We ate out a lot. Especially on weekends. We'd often grab a DVD afterwards (a video back then actually), and settle down in front of the tv and munch on Maltesers. The film would finish late, but that was ok, we could sleep in the next day. And we did. We often wouldn't get up until well after 9am on weekends, probably closer to 10am in fact. Then we'd head off for some brunch somewhere. Manly Beach was a favourite on a Sunday. Afterwards we'd walk along the beach and then maybe take a look at the shops, grab an ice-cream and slowly make our way back to the car. If we'd eaten a late lunch, we'd sometimes skip dinner and just grab some toast or something instead.

Exhausted after brunching, lunching, shopping - or all three - we'd often grab a nap in the afternoon. Then we'd get up and do it all over again. Dinner, movie, catch up with friends.

Back then, if we didn't feel like cooking, we'd just head up the road for some takeaway. And if we felt like a walk after dinner, we'd go. Off in to the night, walking along the busy main road of Neutral Bay, and along the streets close to our apartment.

At a moment's notice, we could get in the car and just drive. Maybe throw a towel and our bathers in the back, in case we decided to take a last minute swim at the beach.

Life was easy. We just went with the flow.

And so last night, as I walked along our main road where we live now, towards the restaurants, and with the warm Spring weather around me, it was a combination of the weather and the sound of the busy street that reminded me of the time Hubby and I lived in Neutral Bay. Without kids. Without much responsibility. Able to drop everything and do anything we wanted to at any time. And last night, on my way to collect our food, I missed that.

When you have kids, you don't often do things last minute. For the most part, every aspect of your life is kind of planned, and you have to work around children's nap times, bed times, meal times and scheduled activities. There are no sleep-ins either. A sleep-in these days is 8am, and it's rare. Or you stay in bed whilst your partner attempts to keep your kids quiet, and that's not often too successful.

If you take an afternoon nap, you're almost always woken by someone. In fact, you never really sleep completely relaxed anyway, at any time, because you know that at some point, you'll be woken by a child calling out, or coming in to your room to stare at you until you wake, or climb in to bed with a book, asking you to read it. Even when it is only 5.30am.

Brunch is replaced by an early breakfast, and perhaps grabbing some morning tea somewhere, where at least one of the kids will spill their milkshake or fight over the last piece of banana bread. Or both. And forget reading the paper, because you'll be interrupted every couple of minutes by a question from your toddler or you'll need to referee and argument between someone.

And taking a drive in the car? Only if you have no problem with being driven almost to the point of insanity by being asked constantly, "When are we going to get there?" which is almost always followed with, "I'm bored."

And what about a quick swim at a nearby beach? Forget it. If you haven't packed the swimmers, the goggles, the towels, the nappy change bag, drinks, snacks, a beach tent - more than likely the "quick swim" will turn in to a disaster.

And you might feel like a walk after dinner, but there's always bath time and the need to get kids in to bed, because if you don't, they'll be a nightmare the following day and you'll regret every minute you let them stay up after bedtime.

And then last night, as I walked back from collecting dinner, I thought about all of those things I miss when it was just Hubby and I. And though I had a feeling of yearning for those days within me, I also felt a sort of empty feeling inside when I did think back to that time. I think it's only a feeling you have in retrospect, once your children are born. Before Hubby and I had our kids, I never thought my relationship with him was missing something and I never felt our life had any sense of loneliness about it. I knew I wanted kids, and felt a yearning for them when we eventually started trying for a baby, but life was full. And of course, if we hadn't had children, I'm sure we would have found other ways to fulfill our lives and move forward in our relationship. Plenty of people do.

But now I have my 3 boys, I can't help think that our lives back then were lacking something. We were happy, but we are far happier now that we share our lives with our boys. And whilst I have had, and will continue to have, many times where I long for that simpler life, I would never want to go back to it. Ever.

As I returned home last night to hear the sounds of my children running around before bed time, their voices high with excitement and the noise flowing easily out the front door, I realised the relative quiet I had enjoyed during my walk was now over.

But I couldn't help but smile. I was home.

Ever yearn for your life before kids? Or if you don't have kids yet, a simpler life?

Until next time...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Story of My First Deodorant

At the age of 13, I suddenly noticed something the other girls were doing that I wasn't. Using deodorant. And, like most 13 year old girls, I wanted to be just like everyone else.

And so, after watching all the other girls in my class spraying themselves with cans of Impulse and Rexona one afternoon after school sports, off I ran home that day to ask Mum if I could get my own deodorant. I guess it had never crossed my Mum's mind to buy me one before that. Besides, I'm quite certain I didn't actually need it at that age. Um, pretty sure anyhow.

Anyway, off we went to the local Coles so I could choose one. Now, it should be noted at this point that Mum wasn't big at purchasing aerosol deodorants or perfumes and the like. She has an incredibly sensitive nose, and if said items are sprayed, she'll sneeze until the cows come home. Same with carnations. It's a hayfever related thing. Anyway, suffice to say, she was no help at all with any advice on which deodorant I should buy. Having said that, I was a 13 year old girl. I doubt I would have taken her advice anyway. I believe at that age, I thought I knew everything.

So it was up to me to choose. I vaguely remember choosing my deodorant based purely on the packaging. (A marketer's dream, I am. Believe me.)

And so the very next day, off I went to school with my new deodorant. I remember being so pleased with my choice. It had a beautiful, flowery and powdery smell about it. I couldn't use it enough, and I couldn't recommend it enough to every other girl I passed in the gym locker room.

Then one day, I was at my bestfriend's house and I was, once again, talking about my wonderful new deodorant with my friend, when her mother overheard me. She eventually asked, "Jodie, what's the name of your deodorant?" She had a sort of half smile on her face as she asked.

"Femfresh," I replied proudly. Her half smile turned in to a full one.

"Honey," she said gently, "that's a deodorant for, you know, down there." And she pointed to her you-know-whatsie.

Yep. I'd purchased an "intimate hygiene" product. And had been telling EVERYONE about it.

How embarrassing. Needless to say, I switched my deodorant after that.

Until next time...

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Creative Space (A One-Off)

Last night, I let my (very limited) creativity flow. For the first time in my life, I assembled and decorated a gingerbread house for Christmas.

Tara at Waffling Along has a regular post called "My Creative Space". She really is a creative person. Check out her last post on that here. (*I have since found out, since publishing this post, that Tara is contributing to another blog, Kootoyoo, which initiated the Creative Space concept. Every Thursday, you can add your creative space piece to a list. Everyone can share their creativity and link to others.)

I am borrowing her title (or blatantly plagiarising it, however you choose to look at it), with the added addendum of "A One-Off" because, quite frankly, the chances of me displaying any creativity from hereon on this blog is about, ooh let's see, 200 to 1! (And that's being generous.)

To give you a clearer picture of what I'm talking about, I've included below a couple of things I wrote in my sons' school newsletter, where I write each week, that will give you an idea of who I am, and how (not so) creative I am.

In June this year, I wrote the following referring to the children's artwork:
They say that, within all of us, lies and artist. Well, if that's true, then in my case that inner artist of mine is buried way, way down inside and is refusing to come out.

It's not that I can't be "artistic". I can. I played the piano growing up, I took a pottery class some years ago, and I completed a really great latch hook once (it was a bubblegum machine). I even made some of those topiary trees. You know the ones. The little miniature trees you make from a round ball of foam that you stick flowers in to. I made three of them, and they were...well...pointless quite frankly, but kind of artistic right? (In fact, one of them I kept in my bathroom for years - it was all pastel colours - until, after fading over time, it started to resemble an oversized toilet brush, and I had to throw it out in fear that someone would eventually use it.
And I also wrote this later on in the same newsletter, referring to baking for our kids' fundraiser:
My Mum's cooking has always been good, but it's her baking that's outstanding. You should have seen some of my birthday cakes when I was a kid. Amazing. A-MA-ZING! (My personal favourite: a maypole with six dolls circling it with butter cake skirts, each individually iced in a mix of pastel colours.) You know that old saying: The apple never falls far from the tree? Well, unfortunately in my case, the apple fell about 50 metres to the left.

Baking is not my forte. Every year, I think I'll try baking and decorating my children's birthday cakes, rather than do the last minute dash down to Michel's or The Cheesecake Shop, but I never do. I even have those Women's Weekly Birthday Cakes for Kids type publications, but I never use them. My friend, Jen, is a bit of a cake decorating extraordinaire herself and she always encourages me, even offers her assistance, but then I opt out in the end. Why? I don't know. Maybe I'm worried I just can't do what my Mum did or Jen does, or maybe (and probably more likely) I'm just too lazy.
And so, dear readers, you will now understand that I'm not what you would consider to be any Frida Kahlo or Martha Stewart clone. Not even by a long shot. But when I was offered the opportunity to decorate this gingerbread house (and admittedly, I didn't even know I was going to have to assemble it - I thought just ice it) I decided to give it a shot.

And you know what? I surprised myself. I imagined I'd sit there and throw some lollies on with wild abandonment, and spend most of my time chatting (which would definitely not be out of character). But I found myself so focused on the task at hand. I had to think every movement through. Was the balance right? Did I have enough on my house?Too much? And whilst people chatted around me, I was so busy concentrating on what I was doing, I could hardly hear the conversation. I was in the ZONE.

And then when I stood back and admired my handiwork, I have to say, I was a little chuffed with my effort. Was it the best on the block? Not by a long shot. (You can tell some of the mums have done this before, and they know all the tricks of the trade.) But it was a pretty bloody good effort. And I reckon if Mum could see it, she'd be proud.

And so, I present to you my Christmas Gingerbread House...

And now wrapped and ready for Christmas...

I've already decided I'm going back again next year. And this time, I'm going to do my research. I want to know how to make icicles and I'm going to buy a little Santa and Snowman figurine. And maybe even a tree! Because I want the best bloody gingerbread house my kids have ever seen!

Until next time...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Wife's Revenge

Although I'm not a huge fan of emails with jokes and clips etc (and please don't send me chain emails - zero interest), occasionally I receive one that I really like. And the following is one of them.

A friend of mine emailed the following to me this morning. I loved it, so thought I'd share. (Thanks Mary!) Make sure you check out the "PS" on the end.
My Darling Husband

Before you return from your overseas trip, I just want to let you know about the small accident I had with the pick-up truck when I turned into the driveway. Fortunately, it's not too bad and I really didn't get hurt, so please don't worry too much about me.

I was coming home from Sylvia Park, and when I turned into the driveway, I accidentally pushed down on the accelerator instead of the brake. The garage door is slightly bent, but the pick-up fortunately came to a halt when it bumped in to your car. I am really sorry, but I know with your kind-hearted personality you will forgive me. You know how much I love you and care for you my sweetheart. I am enclosing a picture for you. I cannot wait to hold you in my arms again.

Your loving wife

PS Your girlfriend phoned.

What else can I say?

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spitting the Dummy

The 2 year old uses a dummy. And up until now, it hasn't been an issue. At all. But recently I've noticed the love for the dummy has increased. Dramatically.

I was never one of those mums, rightly or wrongly, who said "I will not use a dummy." Quite the opposite in fact. Before my first son was born, and along with a box of nappies, wipes and nappy rash cream, I bought dummies. Ready and waiting for when Bub (or probably more specifically, I) needed it.

When I was in hospital after my 7yr old was born, the midwives were quite insistent that I should wait to introduce the dummy, in case it messed with his breastfeeding. Wanting to do the right thing, I put the dummies on hold, forgoing sleep and my sanity in the process for the good of my newborn baby.

For the first two weeks anyway.

After a particularly long and stressful day filled with tears (most of them mine, many of them his), Hubby and I decided to give him one. I held it in for a few seconds, praying that he would take it. At first, he seemed to want to spit it back out. And then suddenly, he had it. Almost instantly, he fell asleep. At last. Sleep. Relief.

When my second son was born, I had Hubby bring the dummies in to hospital. I wasn't going to muck around that time. (And we had no problems with breastfeeding either.) And the same with the third.

But I've always had strict rules with the dummy. They are not for anything but bed time. Of course, this rule was slightly relaxed in that as long as they were physically on their bed, they could have the dummy, but once off it, the dummy came out and was left there.

My 2yr old, who will be 3 next month, has also followed this rule, but he has started to challenge it recently. I've noticed him straying from the confines of his bedroom, dummy in mouth, to watch tv or lie on the floor with his beach towel. (Yet another comfort item - he slept with this as an alternative to a pillow until he moved in to his "big boy bed" and we convinced him he needed a "big boy pillow" to go with it. Not that I can blame him; wanting to lie on a beach towel all the time. I'd like to feel permanently on holiday as well.)

Anyway, these recent turn of events have made me realise; it's time. Time to get rid of the dummy.

With my first son, it was something I knew we had to do, but I was reluctant. He loved the dummy too. I was afraid to remove it. Would he sleep without it? God forbid. He could keep it until he moved out of home if that was the case. I didn't want to go back 'there'.

We decided to offer him a bribe. A packet of toy cars for the dummy. He handed them over willingly, his eyes eyeing off the 6 pack of shiny new cars in front of him. And then when he lay down for his first afternoon sleep without his beloved dummy, he started to cave in.

He begged for it, pleaded for it, promised he'd be a "really, really good boy" if we gave it back to him. I likened it to a drug addict going cold turkey. I had to be tough. Strong. Willing to see him through it. And you know what? Within five minutes, he had gone off to sleep. He woke after an hour, calling out for the dummy. I repeated the mantra I had the first time, "You're a big boy. You don't need a dummy. Remember: you get six new toys cars to play with later." And it worked. He went back to sleep. And we never looked back.

It was that easy.

It was just as easy with our now 5yr old. But the 2yr old? Well, let's just say I'm bracing myself at the very thought of going through the same process with him.

My youngest is the most determined. He's also very vocal. And I'm worried I've left it just that little bit late. Many years ago, I read somewhere that the best time to give up the dummy is between the age of 2 1/2 to 3 years of age. The reason being that up until that age, they really don't understand why you are taking this comfort object away from them, and any later than 3, it becomes habit forming. Both the first two boys gave theirs up during this 6 month period, but a little closer to 2 1/2 than 3. I have precisely a smidgen over 1 month left to complete this task. Time is ticking away. And I just can't wait any longer.

And so, I am giving myself a deadline. No more dummy by the end of next week. Going, going, gone.

Now I just need to find an item to bribe him with. Wish me luck!

Until next time...

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Wanna Get Physical

Last year, after sitting around eating slice after slice of brie on a cracker biscuit, and indulging regularly on chocolate cake for morning tea and meat pies for lunch, I started to think that perhaps these acts were not assisting me in losing the extra weight I was carrying after the birth of Son No. 3.

Not that I was what you would call 'overweight'. In fact, I really wasn't sure what my weight was back then, because I had broken the scales at the end of my second pregnancy. Oops. But I certainly was a far different body shape than what I had been after my first two sons were born. And, yes, of course, your body is never quite the same after your first child. The hips widen, and all of that. But I had bounced back in to shape fairly quickly after the first two. But not with my third.

My mother's words were constantly ringing in my ears during this time: "It's the third one that does it. There goes your body!" Aaaagh!

And then one day, waiting around in a store whilst my children were fitted for ski hire equipment, I noticed some scales and thought I'd check out my weight. *Gasp!* I was the heaviest I had ever been. EVER. Well, except when I was pregnant.

I've always been very fortunate with what I'm quite certain is a high metabolism, and therefore I don't gain weight easily. In fact, when I was younger the weight problem I had was trying to put weight on. Which all sounds rather "lucky" to you no doubt, but to be honest, I wasn't happy with my weight at all. I hated being thin, and getting called "skinny" was, well, a whole other post I will do some time.

Bottom line: to suddenly be carrying weight I didn't naturally shift through my "good genes" was unusual. And so, around October last year, I decided enough was enough. I was sick of my clothes not fitting and looking at myself in the mirror and not seeing 'me'. I had to do something about it.

Hubby had bought a treadmill years prior, but had started commuting on his bike to work a lot more, therefore, utilising his commute as his 'work out'. He wasn't using it. And because I wasn't using it either, he started talking about selling it. I decided it was time to get on the darn thing and walk.

And so, I started walking for 30 minutes a day, 5-6 times a week. To be honest, I wasn't certain that doing such a small amount of exercise would make much difference, but figured it would be a good start. I also reduced the amount of crap I was eating (but no diet - I don't really believe in them. Just eating the right foods, drinking lots of water, getting adequate exercise - things I should do more of myself), and before too long, I started to notice the benefits. So did my Hubby and my friends.

I also felt great. I had much more energy and could make it through the day far easier and required less sleep. I started to crave the exercise, and should I miss out for some reason or another, I felt anxious to fit in a walk at some other time. I wasn't obsessed by any stretch of the imagine. I just had a healthy joy for my new found fitness.

Then towards the end of last year, I got busy. I took a role on the school's P&F committee and threw myself in to it. Then it was school holidays, Christmas, and well, before I knew it 6 months had passed, and apart from a couple of workouts on the treadmill and the odd walk here and there with the dog and/or 2 year old, I wasn't doing my regular exercise routine.

And then I had the realisation the other day that it had probably been about a year since I'd stuck to my exercise regime. But the real clincher, was when the warm weather arrived, and I pulled out some favourite shorts of mine that I had finally been able to wear at the end of last year - comfortably - and pulled them on to find I couldn't even get the top two buttons done up. That's the first time that's ever happened. *Sigh*

Then yesterday, I read a post on Natelle Archer's blog - Quest for My Best Life - about her same desire to get back in to shape (read that here), and well, that was the final catalyst I needed to do something about this lack of exercise = lack of energy I've been experiencing as of late.

I'm getting back on the treadmill people. I am! It's time. I'm not getting any younger, and it's not going to get any easier, so here I go. I vow that by the end of January, I WILL fit in to my favourite shorts. I will. And I will keep you 'posted'. You can count on that.

I'll, um, start tomorrow. Promise.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A List of "Don'ts" from 1913...Part 6

Well, I don't know about you, but I am picking up some super tips from Blanche Ebbutt from her Don'ts for Husbands and Don'ts for Wives. Could she get any more helpful? Yes siree, I think she can.

Don'ts for Husbands

I. General Habits - Part 5
Don't delegate the carving to your wife on the pleas that you "can't" carve. You should be ashamed to own that you can't do a little like that as well as a woman can. It is just laziness on your part. Besides, a man ought to take the head of his own table. (Also, if you're sitting around whilst wifey is cooking and she asks you to do something as simple as carve a roast, and you try and get out of it and in the process annoy her, just remember this: she has a carving knife in her hand. Just sayin', that's all. - JA)

Don't always refuse to go shopping with your wife. Of course it's a nuisance, but sometimes she honestly wants your advice, and you ought to be pleased to give it. (Of course, sometimes she just wants your credit card, or to hint at what she'd like for Christmas. "Oh, honey. Look at those GORGEOUS Pandora bracelets in the window of that store. And located in such a handy spot too! On the 4th level of Westfield right across from Rebel Sport! Well, how 'bout that?" - JA)

Don't be conceited about your good looks. It is more than probable that no one but yourself is aware of them; anyway, you are not responsible for them, and vanity in a man is ridiculous. (Yes gentleman. Time to stop the "How you doin'?" commentary in front of the mirror. Besides, when you wink like that, your wrinkles stand out more. - JA)

Don't refuse to get up and investigate in the night if your wife hears an unusual noise, or fancies she smells fire or escaping gas. She will be afraid of shaming you by getting up herself, and will lie awake working herself into a fever. This may be illogical, but it's true. (And believe me, it's totally coincidental that during those times we ask you to check for fire or escaping gas and the like, that one of the kids is also calling out. Since you're up.... - JA)

Don't hang about the house all day if your occupation does not take you abroad. Spend regular hours in your study or "den", or go out and play golf; but don't inflict your company on your wife during every minute of every day. She is fond of you, but she wants to be free sometimes. And she has business to do, if you haven't. (Amen to that, Blanche! Oh, and gentleman? If you're hanging around the house, try using just the one glass all day, and one tea cup. If you wouldn't mind. - JA)

Don'ts for Wives

I. Personalities - Part 5
Don't put on airs with your husband. If you can't be natural with him, you shouldn't have married him. (Exactly why I took the first leap in our relationship to break wind in Hubby's presence. I just wanted to act "natural" around him, that's all. - JA)

Don't expect your husband to be an angel. You would get very tired of him if he were. (That's, ah, within reason, of course. Taking up dodgy added "extras" at hotels is not acceptable. - JA)

Don't boast of your husband's money or birth or cleverness to your friends. It is nearly as bad as boasting of your own. (Well, I suppose it's fairly obvious how clever Hubby is, seeing he married me and all. - JA)

Once again, words of wisdom from Blanche. Really, how much better can it get?

Until next time...

For previous Don'ts from 1913, click on the links below:

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Having a Rant: The Service Industry

What's wrong with people who work in the service industry these days? I mean, yes, some are great. Helpful, smiling, couldn't do enough to ease your consumer pain. But all too often these days, I come across some who really just don't give a...well, you know what.

Take the woman who served me the other day from behind the counter at a local cafe. You would expect a greeting something along the lines of "May I help you?" But what did I get instead? A look. Just a look. A look that seemed to say, "Whaddya want? God, I'm so bored. Just give me your damn order so I can go in the back and shoot myself."

And then, after I ordered, and changed my mind (a woman's prerogative, you know), I received no comment. No, "No problem." Just a sigh and a pause whilst she no doubt attempted to decide how on earth she could possibly change my order from a smoothie to a cup of tea? I mean, I felt for her. Really, I did. Making decisions like that are right up there with, "How do I solve world hunger?" and "How can I promote world peace?" No wonder she wore a pained expression on her face when she eventually served me my tea.

It also bugs me the way in which how many of those in the service industry ask if you need assistance. When I worked behind a reception desk, about a million years ago, I would greet each customer paying their rent with, "May I help you?" AND a smile. Here's the normal question I hear these days when I'm waiting for assistance: "Are you right?"

I'm always so tempted to say when someone asks me that, "Well, you know, no one can be right 100% of the time, now can they? I like to think, that when I give my opinion on something, I know what I'm talking about. I mean, don't we all? (*wink*) But, no. I'm not always right. Am I right at this very point in time? Well....oh. I'm sorry. What was it that you were asking me if I'm right about? I've forgotten." (insert sarcastic smile)

Of course, there's also the more direct answer to that question, being, "Well, do you think I'm 'right'? I mean, considering I've been standing here in this line for the last 10 minutes, behind this sign right here that says, 'Please wait here for assistance' with a shoe from your store in my hand, and my toddler having a tantrum over there because I won't let him wear those $249 pair of boots you've got on display..do you think I'm 'right'?"

Whatever happened to, "May I help you?" or "How can I help you?" Is it really that difficult, people?

And don't get me started about standing in line, waiting for ages, whilst the person behind the counter serves someone else for what seems like an hour (or chats on the phone - ugh!) with not even so much as a "Sorry to keep you waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment." That's all I want. Just a little of acknowledgement that I'm there. They notice me. They WANT to serve me, and I will be served.

And it would be nice if it was done with a smile too.

What about you? Any horror stories you want to share about the lack of customer service I'm talking about? Come on. Make me feel better. It's not just me, is it?

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Hotel With Added Extras?

Hubby is travelling in the US for work this week. In a few days, he'll be staying in Los Angeles, in a hotel recommended to him by a friend. I have a feeling it's not just any hotel.

The other night he showed me the website for the hotel. As we were flicking through the photos on the website, I started to think that perhaps this hotel was appealing to the gentlemanly crowd. And I started to question just what "services" this hotel offered. (And I'm not referring to drycleaning.)

As always, a picture can say a thousand words, so, allow me if you will to show you what it is I'm referring to. (I have decided to keep the name of the hotel omitted.) Then you can make up your own mind.

This one is on the welcoming page:

And this one was on the intro to rooms and suites:

And this one is for some venue within the hotel:

And this one is for...oh, I can't remember. But look at all those fluffy cushions will you?

And this one is for the hotel bar:

And this one is for reception:

What's up with the gloves? And what exactly is in the bags?

And this one is for the penthouse suite. It's the only photo I can find with a bloke in it (apart from a guy in the background of the dancing shot, and the guy at the reception desk). And my guess is, this guy "works" at the hotel too. Doubt he'd look that bored otherwise.

But it gets better. We started searching through all the details of the hotel and found the section on Exploring LA and "Things To Do During Your Stay". The first thing I noticed was a description of what appears to be some sort of service which helps gentlemen in social situations. Called Social Primer at Alpha, it talks a bit about the services before going on to say the following:
"Step inside Social Primer at Alpha, a gentlemanly new pop-up shop in West Hollywood. Alpha's already your go-to when you need a pair of good jeans, some futuristic gadgets or a bit of highbrow smut."
Hmm. 'Highbrow smut'. I think that's a fancy way of describing "girly magazines". Don't you think?

There's a few other listings, like a painting exhibition, another Chinese artist, and some festival by the "Actor's Gang" called the WTF? Festival. Interesting. There's also some dance club called 8HILL which, apart from the mention of "the walls adorned with snapshots of anonymous flesh", sounds fairly tame. But then there's this. A club called Voyeur. (Are you seeing a common thread here?) Here's the description for that.
"Some people watch Eyes Wide Shut and decry the dark vision of depravity and alienation. But you always thought the parties looked like a good time. Welcome to Voyeur, a lavish new nightspot suggesting that highbrow elegance and a bit of S&M are not mutually exclusive. Gotta say, you couldn't agree more. Behind dank casement windows salvaged from the original New York City building, there awaits a dark lounge filled with corset-backed chairs and antique sofas made from bounced-against headboards."
Oh dear. Need I really say more?

Am I worried Hubby is staying at such an establishment? Nah. For two main reasons.

1. He worries about catching a cold from his beloved family members.
2. If the "services" cost more than $50, he's out.

Oh, and there's a third. He LOVES me!

Dontcha honey?

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas: Like or Not, Here it Comes!

Whether, like me, you're willing to face this fact or not; Christmas is upon us. I was blissfully unaware of this little fact up to a couple a weeks ago, until I walked in to my local Westfield.

I was there to run a few errands and pick up a couple of things and within a few minutes I noticed Christmas decorations everywhere. Instinctively, I looked at my watch. Which was silly really, because it only tells me what time it is, not the date, and it certainly doesn't have a screen that flashes messages like, "YES YOU MORON. IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS. GET WITH THE PROGRAMME!" It's just that, you know, I'm forever living by the constant movement of time on my watch, my kitchen or bedside table clock. Like, if I see it's 8.30am on a weekday, I think, 'Only 20 minutes until the first bell at school goes.' If it's 11.52am, 'Almost time for lunch.' 2pm? 'Far out. Only 1 hour and 15 minutes until school pick up.' And so on. Dinner: 6pm. Kid's bedtime: 7.30pm. 10pm: Need to make sure dishes are done and have shower. In other words, my day is constantly broken up in to small increments of time. Hanging over my head like a guillotine. Miss something and....CLUNK!

But anyway, I digress.

So, looking at the decorations, I immediately did the numbers in my head. How many weeks until Christmas? Surely, it's not that time yet? Is it? (And, ok, I couldn't work it out in my head so I had to check the calendar when I got home.) At the time: 8 weeks to go. My next thought was, 'Oh great. Now I'm going to have to start listening to my kids giving me gift ideas and asking when the tree is going up for the next two months.'

And then, within days of my Westfield trip, I received my first store Christmas catalogue. And then Hubby came home with a shopping bag from Lincraft - a Christmas inspired one. (I should point out that Hubby wasn't stocking up on fabric or scrap booking material at the time. Halloween stuff for the kids was his aim. Not that, if he was in to making clothes and decorating family photo albums and the like that there'd be anything wrong with that. Ahem.)

By the following weekend, we had about 6 store Christmas catalogues in total sitting on the hall table. My 7yr old discovered them, and quickly began to flick through them, making a list of gift ideas to send to Santa. Before too long, he came to me, envelope in hand, addressed to "Santa - North Pole", carefully decorated with scrolls and Christmas colours.

"Here's my letter for Santa, Mum. Can you post it?"

"Well, sure," I replied. "But, did you remember to enquire about Santa's health and well-being before you put your list together?"

"Huh?" he replied, looking confused.

"You know," I explained, "Did you ask him how he was? Say anything like, 'I hope you've enjoyed a bit of a break before all the preparations for this year started?' That sort of thing."

The 7yr old looked sideways, twirling his hair in sudden concern. "Um, noooo. I forgot."

"Did you just give him your list then?" I asked.

"Ah, yeah," he replied sheepishly.

"Well," I replied, "I don't think that's a very good idea. It's a bit rude to send Santa your list without so much as asking him how he is. Don't you think? If I were you, I'd open up your envelope and attach a separate letter to it. Or something."

The 7yr old looked thoughtful. I could see him weighing up his options whilst mulling over what I'd just told him. Did he A) chance it, and not bother opening the envelope and add the letter (after all, that would mean more work on his part) and hope Santa would, like, read his mind or something?; or B) write the extra letter for fear of Santa forfeiting his requests and sending him the obligatory sack of potatoes sent to the "naughty children" his Dad had told him about in previous years?

"Ok," he said. "I know what I'll do. I'll open it up, and I'll write something on the back, and have it facing the way he opens the envelope, so he can see it straight away." Good solution. Maximise the impact, and minimise the work. That's my boy.

In actual fact, that he hadn't included a letter was a blessing for me. Of course, I wanted to see the list. That way, I knew what his expectations were, and perhaps get a couple of ideas for pressies. Unfortunately, I had not expected his expectations would be quite so high. After giving me his letter to reseal with tape on his behalf, I perused the list. He had no less than 29 items on it. And some of his requests were, to put it lightly, um, unrealistic. Including an iPhone 3G, a Mario Nintendo DS Lite and an iPod Stereo. Ah, yeah, I don't think so.

Both the 5yr old and the 2yr old have also, on their own part, started to get excited already too. The 5yr old insisted the other night that his bed time story from Hubby be a Christmas book, even though Hubby tried to convinced him it wasn't even December yet. And the 2yr old keeps insisting I "sing San-ya cors coming to town song Mum." And even though I felt silly doing it on the way home from school the other day (walking past other school mums as I did so) I couldn't help but oblige.

You see, I can't really blame them, because I think they get their excitement for the silly season from me.

I am, I admit, quite a sucker for this time of year. I'm the nutter who writes an annual newsletter for friends and family, including a Christmas card containing a photo of all of us, our outfits colour coordinated, which also match the chosen paper and envelopes for the card (with new colours each year - although, Hubby usually has to break the rules and find a way not to wear what I have picked out for him. Sheesh). I put the tree up on 1 Dec, no later if I can help it, with Christmas carols playing in the background, carefully re-arranging the colour-coordinated decorations (of course) that my boys have hastily thrown on the tree.

But this year, I just don't feel quite ready to 'do Christmas' yet. I'm not organised. I haven't even started the Christmas newsletter, nor have I come up with a colour-scheme for our family photo. And the thought of heading out to go shopping gives me the heebie-jeebies.

But I have a feeling, my boys will soon get me motivated. Their excitement reminds me of mine. And my mother's. It's obviously genetic. Who can ignore that?

And so I've found yet another reason/motivation to get organised, and put my Martha Stewart hat on in the process (sure). Wish me luck with that one. Because like it, or not, the Christmas countdown is officially ON!

Until next time...