Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Are you looking for my blog with the thank-you letters on it? If so, this is the wrong blog. They are at Check it out!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gold Coin Feng Shui

We're broke again, but that will change soon because I'm gluing another gold coin by the door.You'll laugh, because I think it's silly too, but the coincidence is amazing. On our flight back from Canada I read in a magazine that it is good Feng Shui to glue a gold coin in your doorway to make the money flow in. It didn't say which doorway so I glued a looney on the floor of the doorway in the back and an Aussie $1 coin in the front one. And the money started pouring in (thanks to the Mullet God). Of course it was flowing out just as quickly so I always wondered if I should have the coin in only one doorway. Then Blue hurt his leg and the money stopped. A week or so later I noticed the front door coin was gone. It took me another week or so to make the link and glue another coin there. Days later, Blue got the farming job and I gave the coins all the credit. Yesterday, I noticed the front door coin was gone again! Blue hasn't worked for the last 2 weeks because it's been raining heaps and the cane fields got flooded. All the planting work they have done up until now has been ruined and they have to wait for at least 2 days of sunshine before the fields will be dry enough to plant. Yesterday I couldn't find a $1 coin and I was too cheap to use a $2 one, so I just laid the $2 one there and am gluing a $1 there today. Luckily, for my coin theory, we're on our second day of sunshine today. But the forecast is for a rainy summer so maybe the coins will help keep the rain away. I crazy glued the last two coins on so will try a hot glue gun today (it's heating up right now). I used crazy glue on the back door one too and it's never moved but that could be because it's Canadian and not spendable here. The front door one would get walked on more. It tricks lots of people too, who bend down to pick it up. I'll have to start being more observant of them too, so I notice right away when they disappear... There, I glued it on. Open the dams. Let the money flow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dream Come True Board

Jozien’s blog, "Steep Learning Curve", got me thinking. Are we too busy dreaming of what we want to appreciate what we have? “The Secret” tells us to make a ‘Wish Board’ to put pictures on to help make them come true but what about a ‘Dream Come True’ board? I have both. At the moment the only things on my ‘Wish Board’ are a picture of the log house Blue and I would love to have on our property in Mendenhall, a tiny LOTTO cheque that I added a bunch of zeros too and two tickets to win luxury apartments on the Gold Coast (to help achieve our dream of financial bliss). My ‘Dream Come True’ board has a picture of my family on a beach in Oz -representing our move here, a picture of our beautiful golden Labrador Prince who we found at the pound and my newly released book.

Ten years ago, when my kids were 5 and 6 years old, I was feeling overwhelmed by the whole motherhood thing. So I joined a writer’s group to try and find something special just for me. At my first meeting we were given an assignment – to write a song. The song that came out of me really put things in perspective and after that every time I started feeling sorry for myself I’d sing that song and feel much better. Here it is.

Housewife Blues

I’ve got the cutest little kids that you ever did see,
A hard working husband making money for me
My life’s just how I planned I couldn’t ask for more
Then why do I feel like walking out the door?

I’ve got the housewife blues, I feel like such a fool
This is my dream come true - my happy little crew
I’ve got the housewife blues

My friend’s make it sound easy when we talk on the phone,
“Gotta get out there girl and get a life of your own,
Must be nice,” they say “to get to stay home all day”
No one understands that I don’t want to play!

I’ve got the housewife blues, I feel like such a fool
This is my dream come true - my happy little crew
I’ve got the housewife blues

If this is my dream come true then why
Why do I have…the housewife blues?

My sister Carolyn put it to music for me and added the last 2 lines. She was childless at the time and I don’t think she really understood but I bet she does now! As she was living on the other side of the country I recorded her singing and playing it on the piano (she has an awesome voice) and showed up at my second writer’s group meeting with my daughter’s Fisher Price tape recorder and blew everyone away.

After that one miracle followed another. I found a free holiday care program for the kids that gave me a much needed break, I started writing kid’s books instead of just talking about it and we met a stewardess who gave us buddy passes to move to Australia for $150.00 each. Just goes to show how changing your perspective can change your world.

Give it a go!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Harry the Hug Monster is born!

I'm pleased to announce the birth of Harry the Hug Monster. My first book!

I don't actually have it in my hands yet, but I found it on the internet and my copies are in the mail. It is part of the Giggler's Blue 2 series which are 8 school readers for 7 year olds. You can find it on Blake Education's website but only apparently only schools can order them through there. I'm buying a bunch, so if you want an autographed copy let me know. It is selling for $10 plus postage and handling.

I am living proof that dreams come true if you don't give up. I wrote Harry 9 years ago at a cub scout camp I was volunteering at. Blake Education was the 16th publisher I had sent it to.

This is just the beginning. To make a living writing kids books you have to write heaps of them. Many people are surprised to hear that most writers only get paid 7% of the net price of any books sold. Luckily, Blake Publishing is a reputable company with a huge clientelle (schools).

I am now trying to get an agent and or a publisher for an exciting historical fiction series I have written for 8 to 12 year olds called Jinx Jinx Down Under. I have 3 written already and lots more planned. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anzac Day

It's Anzac day today – April 25. Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps that was formed in 1914 to fight in WWI. April 25 marks the anniversary of the corps first big military action in Gallipoli. Aussies also celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11, like Canadians, but not with the same exuberance as Anzac day. Remembrance Day isn't a national holiday and they don't have a march, just a ceremony and 2 minutes silence, whereas Anzac day is a national holiday and there are 2 ceremonies, a march plus lots of drinking and gambling afterwards!

The day starts with a Dawn Service where the keeners gather at the cenotaph at 5:30 in the morning, have a service and then go to the RSL (Retired Service League - big fancy club) for breakfast and beers. Then at 11:00 there is a march down Main Street and another service at the cenotaph for the rest of the population. Then the families go home but many adults go back to the RSL, or their favourite pub, to drink a toast to the dead diggers and play 2-up in their honour.

2-up is a gambling game the diggers used to play that is now only legal on Anzac day. It involves everyone standing around in a circle with one person in the middle holding a flat wooden paddle with 3 coins on it. Before that person flips the coins in the air everyone places bets with the people near them as to if the majority of coins will come up heads or tails. The coins are tossed, the winners cheer and collect their money and the game continues. After the flipper has had a few turns somebody else is chosen to flip. It is quite exciting when you get into the spirit of it. Good fun.

It's so typically Australian. Instead of being quiet and respectful for the fallen, they drink and gamble in their honour. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Liard Hotsprings

If you ever travel the Alaska Highway you absolutely must plan your trip so you can stop at the Liard Hot Springs during the day. It is a once in a lifetime experience you don't want to miss. Liard Hot Springs is on the Alaska Highway, somewhere halfway between Edmonton and Whitehorse (in the middle of nowhere). There is a campground and lodge nearby but they are only open in the summer months. The access to the hot springs is free and open year round.
Our family stopped there in January 2010 on our way back to the Yukon after visiting my family in Calgary. We didn't realize it at the time, but it was 37 below zero! There were some locals there who were much better prepared than us so I'll include some tips we learned from then later in this blog.
To get to the hot springs you walk down a long boardwalk - probably about 500 metres. I love the way they have left it in as natural of a state as possible. There is a changing room and toilets but, be warned, they aren't heated. It is a beautiful experience no matter what the season, but winter is absolutely amazing because the condensation turns the surrounding trees into a winter wonderland. As you can see from these pictures, the trees aren't the only ones affected! Erik dunked his head in the water and then we gave him a mohawk. Check out the frozen drop on the tip of his fringe. It was stuck there the whole time. Before I took these pictures my hubby and daughter hadn't dunked their heads, the frost is just from the condensation. The water is very hot but varies depending on where you are in the pool. The trick to making it to the hottest part is to swirl the water with your hands in front of you which mixes the comparitively cooler water from the top with the hotter water from the bottom and makes it bearable to walk forward.
In the winter, the hardest part is getting out! Your feet try to stick to the ice as you gingerly run back to the changing room. Then your hands freeze as you quickly dry off and get changed. I got out first so I could take these pictures and then walked instead of ran back to the truck (to reduce the wind chill). I must have dryed off and rugged up better that the rest of my family because by the time I got back to the truck everyone was screaming in agony as they thawed out. It feels like you are being burnt by a hot poker. The tip of my daughter's nose and ears were white which is a sure sign of frostbite. She must have let her scarf and hat slip off them while she was running. The best part was she gained a healthy respect for the cold after that!
It seems like a crazy thing to do, but once the shock wore off we were glad we had the experience. Here are some tips we learned for next time, from some locals:
Bring thongs to wear when you first come out and a mat to stand on
Have your bathing suit on under your clothes so you can strip down right beside the hotsprings and leave your clothes and towel on the mat near the hotsprings instead of in the changing room. That way you can stay in the water while you dry your hair and dress the top half of your body.
If you're not game to take your wet swimmers off, make sure you have a dry set of clothes in the car to change into or you'll never warm up.
In the winter, leave your car running with the heater on high and doors locked while you go to the hotsprings.
Make sure you dress really warm for the walk down and back...long underwear, scarf, hat, gloves etc.
Make sure you time your road trip so you get there in the daylight because it is so far from any town that it's often dark by the time you get there. If you're travelling in the summer, stay at the campground or lodge (you can google them). It's an experience you'll never forget!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Aussie chores

Today I scraped snails. I used a fly swatter to shave them, and their piles of poo, off the inside of our shed wall into an empty ice cream bucket. I took a short break to vacuum up some spiders and their webs. When I got back the sneaky snails had slid up onto the flyswatter, that was balanced on top of the bucket, and had formed a snail chain to lower themselves down to the ground. I couldn't resist calling the kids to see the clump of snails hanging from the swatter. A few of the quicker ones were already half-way up the wall, and I had only been gone for five webs. I quickly emptied my vacuum into the wheelie bin before the spiders got the same idea.

As always, I quickly flipped the lid of the wheelie bin and carefully peeked into it's depths before dumping the vacuum. One never knows what might be lurking in a wheelie bin. I'll never forget the huge carpet snake that my hubby rescued from his mother's bin. He tied it in a burlap bag, popped it in the trunk so we could drive it out to the sugar cane fields where it could go to work eating mice and cane toads.

Can't get rid of enough cane toads. Ugly, rotten things. They were introduced to eat the cane beetle, which they did, but now everything that eats them dies. They have a poison sack on their back which they squirt for defense. If that doesn't work they still get the last laugh because their poison kills anything that eats it. Including pets.

Cane toads breed like rabbits and are spreading throughout Australia with a vengeance. A good reason to make sure you don't take out the garbage at night in your bare feet, especially after the rain. They are everywhere.

Which brings us to another Aussie household chore…killing cane toads. The traditional way is to pour Detol on them. But if you give a man the job they'll probably opt for the more productive way – practicing their golf swing with them. Nothing quite as satisfying as the squelching splat of a good square hit as the feral vermin sail into a distant neighbor's yard. The most humane way, they tell us on TV, is to put a plastic bag over your hand, pick up the toad, tie him up in the bag and put him in your freezer. The trick is remembering to take him back out on garbage day.

Doing laundry is different here too. Most everyone still dries their clothes the natural way, on the good old clothesline. This puts you at the mercy of Mother Nature which makes the already dreaded chore even more of a challenge. Being a naturally frugal person, I appreciate the cost effectiveness of this approach. It is also very thought provoking. Once of those mindless chores that give you plenty of time to muse about life. As a matter of fact some of my best blogging ideas come to me while hanging laundry.

Or scraping snails.