Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Driven To Distraction

Yes, I have been very distracted over the past couple of weeks and haven't settled down long enough to blog. But then something happened last night and I got a super dose of distraction that has bumped me right back into the blogging zone.

You see this...

...this is not a cute face. Geckos are not cute. They, and frogs/toads, are what make me scream and jump sky high. Anyway, this was the closest image I could find of the view I had of a gecko last night. Also, it wasn't green but the creepier looking colorless variety. See here...

Oh AND, it didn't have a tail.

So, last night, after clogging, I went to my car, sat down and started the engine. As I started to drive, I see something flip flopping around my windscreen. Thought it was some dead leaves. But no....the thing kept flipping over and eventually, it got a good grip of the area right at my eye level - where I need to look out at the road. EEK! No, I didn't say that but I made some other noises that I just can't spell here. Sounded like a cross between a scream, a squirmy sound and a gasp.

This gecko held on there with its sticky feet and stared at me. I could see its black eyes and its stumpy fallen off tail area. Every so often, it would get flipped over but it always managed to right itself and get back to looking me in the eyes. Its eyes were huge and it looked like it was trying to communicate with me - "Please stop the car!" How was I supposed to concentrate on driving?

I didn't stop the car. I tried to speed up whenever I could but it stayed for almost the whole way home. Then it got flipped to the roof area and I thought I saw it fall down again to that area at the bottom of the windscreen with the holes that lead to the engine.

I couldn't be sure of where it was. If it was on the roof, how would I get out of the car? It might fall on me when I opened the door. If it went into those holes, it might work its way into the A/C ducting and then crawl in to the interior of the car some day. What can I do? I have spent today exiting the car quickly and looking around carefully before getting in.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Personal Petting Zoo

On the weekend, we went to visit one of our clogging friends, John. He moved here from Yorkshire, England in the 1960s but still has a very strong accent. He is an extremely funny man once you figure out what he's saying. My father doesn't have an overly strong Malaysian accent when he is in Australia but sometimes, John can't understand him. They often end up asking each other to speak English! 

Each week, John brings fresh, free range, organic eggs to clogging class to sell and we always get some. He told us that he's got chickens, ducks, geese and 'a few other animals'. And, he has often invited us to take Aaron and Adrian there to look at the animals. 

When we got there, we were amazed at the variety of pets he had. When I asked him how he started this huge collection of animals, he explained that he grew up on a farm and its just part of him. Some of these animals were purchased by him but others were given to him by other people that just couldn't look after them anymore. 

The first 'wow' moment came when we drove through the gates and saw that he had several alpaca lazing around in the shade. Supposedly, they are the least affectionate of all his animals and actually spit at people. One of them did try doing that but thankfully, it only managed a sort of dry spitting noise. Phew! I thought they looked a little strange because their necks appeared to be the same length as their legs.This baby one was the cutest.

As he brought out the food to feed the animals, several little ponies trotted up. They were Aaron's favourite. 

As if the ponies weren't enough of a surprise, eighteen deer suddenly come out from behind a shed. They were very nervous to see us and stayed away most of the time but they were beautiful, my favorite. This isn't a great photo of the deer but it shows you part of John's property. I like all the space and all the old farm equipment that he has used to 'decorate' the place with. 

Apart from these, he also had peacocks, goats and turkeys. All the animals were well cared for and, as he puts it 'half human'. He had a sort of 'best buddies' relationship with them all, including one particular chicken that would obey his commands. The goat couldn't get enough of his petting and just stayed by him the whole time we were there. 

It was wonderful to be as delighted as my children were to see all these animals. Its not that I haven't seen them before but I did not expect to see them here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

'IM' in My Life

Does anybody else remember IRC-ing with cyan font on a black screen? The black screen in front of a huge, bulky monitor? 

I know my first taste of IRC was in the computer lab in my first year of university. My nick was 'Forever' and I somehow found myself an IRC friend called 'Endlessly'. I had no idea at all who this person was and of course no way of knowing if whatever he/she said was true but we IRC-ed every single day, for hours. This person was a buddy! Eventually, I started chatting with my real life friends as well. And now, much older, I definitely don't chat with anybody that I don't know in the real world. 

I don't know about other stay-at-home moms but Instant Messaging is my best friend. Some days, its the only form of adult conversation I have. I don't do Facebook or Twitter and blogging is for other reasons so IM is where I go to virtually hang out with my friends. There are a few that I chat with on a daily basis and then a range of them that I check in on every once in awhile when I feel like having the 'Its been awhile, what have you been up to' type of conversation. 

My 'Daily Friends' are all overseas but its as if they are in the house with me. Its easy to have an easy conversation about nothing or a more meaningful one about the stresses of the day. I like to be able to provide some sort of support and a 'listening ear' (or at least a responsive IM screen) to my friends as well. And its also nice when they give me a little encouragement for my day.

Just the other day, I had Aaron and Adrian making a mess of the place while I was trying to get dinner ready. An old friend was online and telling me jokes that I would go read in between cutting up the carrots and celery. It was as if he was right there in the kitchen with me, lightening up a stressful, end of day, situation. 

What I don't do is a video chat. That would just put the stress straight back into my life. I would have to look good. The background would need to be presentable. And, I can't be shoving the kids away when I want those few extra minutes of chatting. Come to think of it, I don't like using the voice function either. I just like the flexibility that typing my words gives me. 

So, thank you to whoever it is that invented IM-ing. It supposedly pre-dates the internet but I don't have time to do thorough research for that name now. What I can tell you is that, according to Wikipedia, a man named Alexander 'Sandy' Trevor created the first dedicated online chat service in 1980. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Shipards Herb Farm

For those of you that have been faithfully following my increasingly sporadic blogging here, you'll know that Aaron has been having a lot of ulcers on his tongue. After many visits to the pediatricians and multiple blood tests, they still have no 'answer' for me. In fact, they are giving me the "some people are just that way" line. 

Well, we're not going to give up so easily. According to the 'schedule' that his ulcers seem to follow, Aaron should be getting them anytime this week. So last week, we took a drive to Nambour to visit Shipards Herb Farm. It looks messy but there were hundreds of herbs there. This photo shows the area for visiters to walk around. 

Here's a photo of the rest of the farm that was off limits to visitors. 

Isabell Shipard is supposedly Australia's most knowledgeable person on herbs and has been researching and working with herbs for the past 30 years. She certainly was very helpful and offered many suggestions for how we could try to help Aaron. 

I bought some Herb Robert tea and some Licorice. We also bought the Licorice plant and I've also gotten some seeds for the Herb Robert from my aunt so we've started growing them in our garden as well. 

The information on Herb Robert (and the other herbs on the website) was very interesting. Briefly, when used regularly, it enhances the immune system. The germanium it contains provides an "antibiotic, antiviral, antioxidant arsenal". Sounds good doesn't it?? If you have the time, have a browse through here 

We got the Licorice to help make the Herb Robert more palatable for Aaron but it also has many medicinal properties. I've heard about Licorice before in Chinese herbal remedies  but I never bothered to read about it until now. There is a long, looong list of ailments that it is supposedly good for coughs, colds, wheezing, lung complaints, hoarseness, mucus congestion, tonsillitis, abdominal pain, nausea, poor appetite, fatigue, food poisoning, fevers, fluid retention, edema......and the list goes on and on. Check out the full details here

I'm not a total believer yet and I don't have high hopes that this will help Aaron avoid his ulcers this month but I think I believe that there will be long term benefits to taking these herbs regularly. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When Did I Become A Referee?

I don't like barking like a dog or stomping around like the irate mother that I sometimes am. Despite the age difference I have seen them play extremely well together. So, its not like I'm asking for the impossible. But these two boys! Why don't they just do that the whole time? Why do they need to provoke each other? Isn't it more fun when you have a happy playmate? And then, why change a calm and peaceful game into some risky, jump off the side of the house, super hero game? (No need for anybody to answer these questions...)

Anyway, I often find myself suddenly jumping up and yelling out commands. Or stomping up to them and taking something away. Its not a nice feeling and I'm sure it doesn't look pretty. Yes, there is always the option of calmly voicing my opinion but I'm not good at that yet. There is good news though...

I had a brilliant idea this afternoon. And I think that they (or at least Aaron), might think its a fun game to play for awhile. 

Firstly, I realized that I have a new role. Take a look at this definition from Wikipedia...

referee is the person of authority, in a variety of sports, who is responsible for presiding over the game from a neutral point of view and making on the fly decisions that enforce the rules of the sport. 

Supposedly I am the person in charge here and the antics that these two boys get up to each day can well be classified as some sort of sport. I try to be neutral and the decisions are definitely on the fly. The rules are probably not as clear cut as professional sports but everybody knows there are rules. 

Now back to my latest parenting idea. Its a small step and is extremely simple but I think that with the right introduction to it and a few fun rounds, it might help me out. I'm introducing the Yellow and Red card system. 

You don't think a whistle would be too much like Captain von Trapp do you?