Life Under the Iron Dome, MH 17 and a Tonne of Gratitude

Well, here I am back in the land of the roo and once again pumping out my words to the blogging kingdom.

And I am grateful, so very grateful.

I will be blogging in more detail about our trip over the coming weeks. Each place we visited had its own unique hum and gifts to share and each is worthy of a mention. I could talk about the food, the architectural beauty, the culture and our experiences, but not in this post.

Today, I want to write about geographic boundaries, dodging missiles, coming home and gratitude.

When I left these Australian shores a month ago it was with the knowledge that I would be vigorously attacking the travel part of my bucket list. There were places we visited and almost visited that have been in my personal bucket for decades and they were finally going to be red penned with much excitement.

Travel is inherently risky. We could talk about statistics and probabilities and compare travel to other activities, but that would mean reducing feelings to numbers and introducing too much logic into what ultimately is a personal decision. Whatever the case, it’s a risk I have always willingly accepted.

For the first two weeks of our travels in Western European countries, we ate, we walked, we toured, we ate, we saw, we ate, we slept and we ate. This is not to say that all we do is eat on holidays. It just seems to be that when travelling one tends to have more encounters with food than usual. So I have a perception that I ate a lot, although my clothes seem to have forgiven me.

route map

During the third week however, the news about the conflict in the Middle East became more extensive and urgent. For the most part we were stuck with the BBC news coverage, which seems to be the English news service of choice amongst our chosen innkeepers. We also knew that we had to make a call at the end of that week as to whether we would continue with our planned flight to Israel, a flight we booked a year ago. Making this decision for oneself is hard enough, but to also have to make it for your children raises the degree of difficulty exponentially. I can only imagine what decisions Palestinian and Israeli parents have to make for their children every day.

Whatever the merits or demerits of the current Palestinian/Israeli conflict, we were about to head straight into it.

I have discovered that Government travel advisories are only of limited assistance if you want to live a life wrapped in anything other than cotton wool. So I felt we were largely on our own in having to make the decision.

After considerable deliberation and angst we decided to proceed, having stored the email address and contact number of the Australian embassy so it was close at hand. Four air raid sirens and rocket blasts later, we observed and experienced what life was like under the Iron Dome.

And we flew out of Tel Aviv richer for our experiences – ALL of them.

It would take three flights and about 30 hours to get home to the other side of the world.

One of my favourite pieces of inflight entertainment is the route map. I love watching it in the warmth of cabin darkness, seeing the passing of time and passing of names of cities which roll off the tongues of our local news presenters with some effort. Names like Kandahar, Teheran and Jaipur. Then there are names of cities I had never heard of like Sevastpol in the Ukraine, adjacent to the Black Sea.

We were in the air at the time MH17 went down. We were one or two hours out of Singapore headed to Sydney  – a seven hour flight. There was no indication of the tragedy that was to unfold over the Ukraine skies at the time we last tapped into the news during those precious final free WIFI grab moments at Changi airport.

Touching down in the cold of a Sydney’s winter day at 6 am in the morning, we felt tired and excited whilst feasting our eyes on the familiar. Turning on my local phone, we learned of the fate of MH17 whilst collecting our luggage from the arrival carousel. A luxury not afforded to the passengers of MH17.

And then came the swift realisation that we had been flying over the same region, if not squarely over the crash site, some 8 hours before the MH17 tragedy.

We are grateful to be home, we are grateful to have had the ability to wait for our luggage at the point of arrival and we are grateful to live in a land of peace. Our thoughts are with all of the families who lost members during the last month in each of these conflicts. One has to believe that humanity will ultimately prevail.

As always, I welcome your comments on my posts. However, I have no wish to turn this into a political debate about the conflicts referred to in this post or the political views about any country referred to in this post and I would ask that you respect that. I am merely relaying my personal recent travel experiences which happen to collide with current affairs.

 

 

 

Travelling Like Its 2014

Gone FishingThe big day has finally arrived and the bags are all packed together with our family’s anticipation. In a couple of hours, we will be taking to the sky for what will be a 24 hour ride to the Continent. Thankfully that 24 hours is broken into 3 legs, because 24 hours straight in a sealed steel capsule is no one’s idea of fun except if that capsule happens to be the International Space Station.

It’s all a little surreal since the planning and booking for this trip took place about a year ago and it has all come down to this last few hours.

As a family we tend to do holidays well together. Some families implode in this thrown together 24/7 situation. We explode. We explode with mirth and banter and the need to pull together for a common goal. In some ways we work better together out of our natural environment than in it. Whatever the case, it works for us. And for the first time we are travelling with one of our children officially classed as an adult.

This is not the only first. There will be a lot of firsts in the next 4 weeks. First time in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany and first time we drive in a foreign country. First time I celebrate a belated birthday in another country and first time we will be in a nation other than Australia during a World Cup. And many more.

We will be covering a lot of ground in the time we have. If you have to travel a full day to get to anywhere you have to make the most of it.

The top 10 things I’m looking forward to on this trip:

  1. Poking around the Normandy region and checking out the D Day beaches.
  2. Seeing the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

    image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

    image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

  3. Not having to cook.
  4. Belgian Chocolate and the Last Post in Ypres.
  5. Petra.
  6. Amsterdam – all facets of it. Heard so much about it, time to check it out.
  7. Being with the family.
  8. Not having to cook.
  9. Visiting a friend in Denmark.
  10. Budapest.
  11. Not having to cook (hoping you aren’t noticing this is number 11)

And so much more.

I’m not planning on blogging during the trip, but will write about it once I return.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great month.

There’s only one thing left to do and that’s to say see you all on the flip side!!

Living The World Cup Life

WARNING: This post contains opening game of the World Cup spoilers.

I’m not sure where the last month has gone. I have looked high and low.  I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. It was not my intention to lose a month of blogging, but I’m reappearing briefly before disappearing again to lose myself in European adventure.

soccer ballBut not before setting out my observations on the opening game of the World Cup. If you have to ask which World Cup, you are clearly not a soccer/football fan, because there is really only one World Cup and that’s THE World Cup. Before I start, a warning to the football purists, I grew up in a soccer world. That’s right, a soccer world, not a football world. My dad was a soccer fanatic. Born of European origin he transplanted his passion for the game to his adopted country. This meant I grew up on a steady diet of weekly soccer games at which dad would discuss soccer politics and yell at the ref. He would also buy a bag of peanuts to eat during the game and at the end of the 90 minutes, we would find ourselves knee deep in peanut shells and exit the ground to the sound of underfoot shell crunch. Once at home, he would talk more soccer politics to his friends and they would solve all of the competition’s soccer ills over a few glasses of spritzer.

This is what I grew up with and to me “soccer” is the name of the world game played with the round ball. Football on the other hand was something that Aussies played with an egg shaped ball whilst chasing each other around a paddock. Commonly known as rugby – whether league or union –  that was and is the dominant sport in this country. It’s really only in the last decade or so that the term “football” has been also used to describe soccer, bringing us in line with the UK and other soccer playing English speaking nations (are there others?). So soccer it is in this post.

I have just finished watching the tail end of the opening game of the World Cup. An exciting matchup between Brazil and Croatia, with the home team coming away with the win. Love the colour, the spectacle and the knee-high socks that stay up against all odds. I might even admit to admiring the odd highly toned striker/midfielder or two, but only because of their *cough* fancy footwork, *cough* grace and *cough* athleticism.soccer bonding

The game had the usual volume of on field machinations. It set me to thinking about what would happen if we applied some of these techniques in our day to day lives. So, what if we could see more of the following:

  1. The own goal recovery – Brazil is one of the classic soccer nations. Kids learn to dribble a soccer ball, well… before they learn to dribble and every kid dreams of making it to the national team playing in a world cup. Of course, this current one also happens to be before a home crowd on home soil with the eyes of the world watching. The anticipation and drama around Brazil being ready to host the event have been building and the opening game is finally here. And the first goal scored? An own goal by one of the Brazilians. Can you imagine the thoughts that would have run through that guy’s head at the moment? I’d venture to suggest that “oh crap” doesn’t come close. However, there were no open recrimination, the dude got a tap on the back by one of his team mates, they avoided the psychological black hole to win the game. What would life really be like if team work was more than a term in a managerial manual and people actually lived by that credo?soccer team
  2. The Clayton’s foul –  A stray foot or hand and suddenly there’s a player on the ground acting as though was run over by a semi-trailer. All in the hopes of scoring that penalty to give his  team the edge. And when the ref flashes that yellow card he is more than half way to victory. The recovery rate and speed of these players once a penalty is awarded is nothing short of miraculous. Coupled with that if every soccer player had the injury he enacted on the field you would need 4 times as many players to complete the 90 minutes of game time. Perhaps we should all have academy award training for unintended slights, paper cuts and directed passive aggression. Thankfully, this is not the way most of us live our lives, although we have probably encountered people who do.
  3. The goal scoring pile up – this is my favourite. One of the guys scores a goal and he is squeezed, squashed and piled on. I’m sure this is a macho technique to hide all of the hugs, kisses and tears that is the consequence of a goal having been scored. You don’t fool anyone, guys. We know you just bonded in that 10 second pile. Imagine what life would be like if every time you had a small victory your “team” came and piled on top of you? Might be a mother of sons thing, but I think the pile is a very under utilised technique for showing appreciation.

Soccer fans are in for a real treat over the next few weeks, with many more Oscar winning performances to come.

Australia will face its first opponent, Chile, in the next day or two. We are the firm underdogs. But there is something to be said for being privy to a great Aussie pile. May the Aussie boys experience their fair share in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I will be watching for more pointers to add to my life manual called Living The World Cup Life.

On Bodies and Middle Age: Out of the Mouths of Not So Recent Babes

In the land of the future it’s now Sunday morning and this generally means weekend newspapers and a leisurely breakfast.

The front page of our paper today features a picture of a stunning Elle McPherson under which is written the headline “The Body at 50”. A quick turn to page 7 reveals that Elle turned the big 5-0 yesterday and that The Body still has the body. The article outlines her various business and fashion successes and notes that Time once named Elle the “body of our time”.

I am sure there was no consultation between our respective mothers back in 1964 when they chose to give birth to girls within a couple of months of each other. However, I have had the spectre of being the same age as Elle McPherson hanging over me since the dawn of my time. In what is a perfect case of ‘comparison could really be the thief of joy”, I have tried hard to avoid such folly.

There is no doubt Elle looks fabulous in her now half a century body. And why wouldn’t she? The article tells us she is a devotee of exercise via skiing, surfing, yoga, swimming and hiking, drinking three litres of water daily, completing 500 sit-ups and running up and down four flights of stairs five times every morning in her twenties – Sun Herald, 30 March 2014. If that’s the case, then Elle deserves the way she now looks.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Me? I am still struggling with the notion of being able to do 500 sit-ups and running up and down flights of stairs on a full bladder.

So in a moment of comparison insanity (because even the Curtain Raiser sometimes succumbs on weekends), I held up the front page photo next to my face and asked my eldest son “Do you think I could be confused with Elle McPherson?”

Not missing a beat, he replied “No mum, Elle McPherson is not good looking.”

Just goes to show there are some things that not even 500 daily sit-ups and three litres of water can buy you.

There are better things than being perfect, this is just one of them.

Come join me in April when I explore further the concept of being perfectly imperfect in the A to Z Challenge April Blogging Challenge.

 

Playing Ball at Sydney’s Field of Dreams #openingseries

The biggest weekend in Sydney’s baseball history is currently underway.

Since the announcement in June 2013 that the MLB was heading Downunder, Australia’s baseball fandom has eagerly awaited the arrival of the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks to its shores and it’s finally time to play ball. The hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground has been transformed for the weekend into a baseball pitch, with 250 tonnes of San Diego clay being flown in for the occasion. Our very own field of dreams.

field of dreams

Sydney Cricket Ground tuned into a baseball field for #openingseries

It’s no secret I am a baseball tragic. How fortuitous then that the MLB chose to open its 2014 season away from North America in my hometown. As this is only the sixth time this has happened in  MLB history and the first time for Australia, there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the event.

Each of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers play Team Australia (sometimes also known as Southern Thunder, but not by many) in a warm up clash and then it’s on to the main game Saturday night to be followed by a game on Sunday. That’s at least 36 innings of prime time A grade baseball.

Last night saw the first of the four games with Team Australia taking on the Dodgers. The above photo shows our view of the game. The Dodgers managed to win 4-2, but it was less about the score and more about the spectacle. The national anthems, the US flag flying alongside the Australian flag, a home run, the seventh inning stretch and classic baseball food. Like the nutritious meal below:

Pulled pork on lattice chips 'n' sides

Pulled pork on lattice chips ‘n’ sides

Scrumptious in a baseball helmet kind of way and almost resembling real food. None of that matters though, this is the MLB.

We sat behind the Dodgers dugout trying to spot baseball celebs like Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly. How close does an Aussie usually come to a $253million sports contract?  There were plenty of Dodgers fans in da house along with plenty of others dressed in their baseball kit. I am proud to say that the Boston Red Sox were proudly represented by more than a few fans in the fashion stakes (including moi) and it seemed like one big fancy dress party. As you can imagine there are usually not a whole lot of places in Australia an adult can wear their baseball kit.

It was a great night and a terrific lead in to the real deal tomorrow.

The whole event has been a long time coming for us Australian baseball fans. And when it’s all over the memories will linger and we will regale each other with stories from the great MLB opening series of 2014.

So a big thank you to the MLB, ABL (Australian Baseball League and owned by MLB), the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks for bringing the spectacle to our town. For at last Australian baseball fans can shout:

PLAY BALL!!!

Cheerio and Welcome to my Modern Day Cereal Drama

I have just finished my sixty ninth consecutive Cheerios breakfast.

Well, almost. I did break up the series one day a couple of weeks ago when I luxuriated in a breakfast of home-made fig jam. I can assure you that the maker of said fig jam did not come from this home for I wouldn’t want my image of the undomestic Goddess to be tarnished. If people know you can cook, it only creates pesky expectations even if you can only sort of cook, so better not to go there.

calm breakfast

This less than cheerful Cheeriofest started some months ago when youngest (Geekchild) proclaimed that he absolutely loves Cheerios and could I please round up some in my weekly hunting and gathering trip to the supermarket. Geekchild obtains all of his gourmet tastes from American cartoons such as the Family Guy, American Dad and the Simpsons. Thanks to Homer, Peter Griffin and whatever name the American Dad group go by we have had to try banana cream pie, buffalo wings and corn dogs.

None of these wonder foods figure on the Australian menu. And to think mindless, satirical cartoons were non-educational – ha! Judge my parenting if you must, but I’m always up for feeding (pun intended) my children’s desire to learn about other cultures and expand their taste bud horizon. And no, I don’t indulge their sweet tooth, their takeaway food tooth or give into their every whim and desire. It just so happens that I, too, have always wanted to know what in the world was banana cream pie.

Needless to say, a couple of bites in and both Geekchild’s and my curiosity and palate were satisfied. We can now tick banana cream pie off our bucket (pun intended) lists and can appreciate why it does not figure on the Australian menu.

What is this thing called breakfast?

What is this thing called breakfast?

But back to the Cheerios. It just so happens that the Cheerios request happily coincided with a visit to Costco. And there it was the beacon of Cheerios down the end of the aisle beckoning and seducing me with its corn, wheat, oats and rice, 10 vitamins and minerals and no artificial flavours. All 650 gram giant double packs of it.

Me: “Great, they’ve got it, Geekchild is really going to be impressed”

The Committee: “Two packs of 650 gram cereal is too much. Geekchild will be eating Cheerios for 120 consecutive days”

Me: “But it’s here, now. Soooooo convenient”

The Committee: “You can always get a smaller pack back at your local supermarket”

Me: “Listen Committee, when you start having to cope with the strangeness of teens eating habits, you will know that having them eat breakfast before lunchtime is a major achievement. Decision overruled”.

And so here I am some months later eating my sixty ninth consecutive bowl of semi stale Cheerios. Geekchild has had box of cheeriostwo. There’s only about 25 more to go for in one of my more particularly grey moments I bought an additional smaller box from my local supermarket thinking that Geekchild would benefit only to find that the level in the open box had not fallen in a month. You see teenagers don’t tend to tell you when their food passions wane, you are meant to pick up these vibes through subliminal mind transfer and your abilities as a parental oracle.

Uncle Tobys or Nestle if you are reading this please DON’T send me any more Cheerios. I’m grateful that my modern day cereal drama is almost at an end, the finishing line is in sight.

Things I have learned from this experience: everything in moderation and there’s no use crying over stale Cheerios.

Last night, Geekchild came to me and said “this V8 juice is great mum, can you buy another five bottles?” At which point 25 bowls of Cheerios bathed in fruit/vegetable juice flashed before my eyes and I escaped to take refuge in my pantry.

The sacrifices we make for our children…

Have you ever been the victim of your child’s food fads? Are you ever concerned about their eating habits? Would you like a bowl of stale Cheerios?

No Snakes On This Plane, There Was Only Mags

It’s amazing what can happen in a sealed capsule hurtling through the stratosphere at 30,000 feet.

storm pic

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I had just one of these experiences earlier this week on an interstate trip. Because on this flight I sat next to Mags (not her real name).

The experience started tentatively enough after a two hour delay in departure time due to weather at the destination. Apparently in these situations the destination air traffic control can determine the take off time at the point of departure. And so it was.

I dutifully boarded the plan after killing two hours watching bad television and reading even worse gossip magazines and settled into the window seat in what was a two seat configuration. Then along came Mags, worry lines on her pale English Rose features carrying three bags. She stopped in the aisle  to check her boarding pass, causing a blockage to the people behind much like a cork stopping the flow of fizzy champagne refusing to be tamed.  Oblivious to the swarm behind her, Mags checked her seat number and looked at me, before starting to unload her luggage. She looked at me again and having sensed  that she was to be my flight companion for the next hour or so I said hello as she settled herself.

“I really don’t want to be on this flight” explained Mags.

“Oh?” I asked

“I don’t like flying and now its raining and storming and I don’t understand why they are letting us fly.”

“They did say the weather was clearing where we are going to land, I wouldn’t worry so much”

“I don’t like it and my web mail is iffy, I don’t know whether my friend who is meeting me got my message that we are going to be late”

“I’m sure it will be fine”

“I hope so, my friends told me this trip was risky.”

Mags then explained that she was on the solo trip of her dreams, lasting 6 months. She had been away from her English home for mature aged travellerabout a month now and had taken off to the other side of the world to explore Australia and New Zealand. She was flying into Sydney to meet some friends before undertaking the Indo Pacific train trip to Perth (a three day journey) and would then be visiting New Zealand’s south island for a month. Being a travel tragic, I was keen to hear about everything she had planned for her travels and her expectations about her experiences so I asked her a few questions. At which point  the conversation really started to flow.

We covered all sorts of topics, England, Australia, travelling in general,  marriage, men, divorce ( Mags was a divorcee), parenting (Mags was also the mother of two sons), health (Mags had had a hysterectomy just as her husband left her), study (Mags was a late blooming student, having attended university after she had children), friends (Mags had many – it was not hard to see why), ageing, and being adventurous to name a few.

About a quarter of the way into our conversation, I knew Mags was my kind of woman.

We stopping talking only briefly with the announcement from the pilot that the plane had to circle just outside of Canberra due to delays in Sydney. And we only stopped then because we could not hear each other over the intercom.

Mags was incredible. Here was a 70 year old woman who was travelling solo on the trip of her dreams, having taken out a personal loan to do so. She was doing this despite her comfortable life back home and the advice of her friends who would never dare to embark on such a journey. On this trip she would be staying with former lodgers or family of former lodgers of hers all of whom had helped Mags pay the bills on her home to save it from her husband who tried to take it away.

This was a woman who despite her fear of flying had more courage and grit than a lot of people I know.

At the start of the descent, I turned to Mags and said ‘I’m sorry, we’ve been talking for two hours and I don’t even know your name, I’m Judy.”

“I’m Mags, I am so happy to have met you, I would have been very stressed had I not been able to talk to you.”

And with that the wheels touched down on the runway below.

My short time with Mags had come to an end. In two hours I had told Mags more personal information than a lot of people I had known for two years and felt that Mags had done the same. Maybe we both felt safe in the knowledge that apart from this brief encounter we would never meet again, maybe it was because of the brief moment of connection we had shared or maybe because Mags just needed to be distracted during the flight.

Whatever the case, I will never forget Mags. Right about now, she should be getting ready to board that train to Perth, no doubt talking the ear off the person next to her.

Mags made my trip. Her pluck, courage and welcoming visage were a gift.

And dear Mags, you thought on that flight I was doing you a favour. Ha!

Have you ever been touched by a stranger?

The Boston Red Sox, Victory and Drawers #NaBloPoMo

It’s been forever since I’ve blogged about baseball. Some might say that’s a good thing.

Boston emblemAs a diehard Boston Red Sox fan living Downunder, I can’t let the year end without acknowledging the humongous achievement that was the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. From bottom of the ladder in 2012 to top of the totem pole in 2013, we Red Sox fans rode the roller coaster with our team. Clinching their first World Series since 1918 at Fenway Park and their third this decade, it was six games of riveting, hairy baseball. The hair came from the lengthening beards of several Red Sox players who in a sign of solidarity and strength grew their whiskers as the play offs progressed and looked more like pirates than ball players.

Boston and Red Sox fans will be talking about the 2013 season for decades. In a year where the city was left reeling in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Red Sox’s dismal performance in 2012, this World Series win represents tenacity, focus and kinmanship. Something that we won’t tire telling any Yankees fan. Apart from the win itself, there were many amazing moments – from Big Papi’s grand slam in Game 2, Victorino’s three run double in Game 6 and Kuji Uehara’s closing dominance – all will be remembered, all were uplifting.

Being so far from the action and on the other side of the world, I found out the result from my good friend, Cricket who is also a passionate baseball fan and American citizen transplant to our fair shores. She sent me a text at about 2.30pm our time, which I managed to peek at between work meetings. And this is what is so great about the Boston Red Sox win, because it is more than just baseball, more than just a game, it is a bonding experience. Cricket, a fellow blogger who blogs at Cricket’s Corner of Australia, is a huge Chicago White Sox fan. So huge that she also live blogs most White Sox games for an audience through MLB.com. And that’s quite a commitment from our Australia time zone! Cricket’s technical knowledge of baseball is vast and puts me to shame, but I definitely regard her as my own Cricketpedia on the topic. So during the course of the year, we have been swapping baseball stories, sharing the victories and the defeats in what we have termed our own Battle of the Sox Drawer. She of the white, I of the red and with a cross over pitcher in the form of Jake Peavy who was traded from white to red mid-season, we have shared in the fortunes of our respective teams. Cricket of course donned the red sox in the post season in what became the year of the drawer.

Apart from this little bonding experience the win gave me an opportunity to contact a friend in Boston, also a big Red Sox fan, to share in the spoils. We had lost touch for a couple of years, red sox victorybut thanks for the Sox we have now renewed contact. That opportunity itself is worth its weight in gold. And finally, there was the play by play post mortem with my eldest son and husband and watching the games on delay after our work days. It brought us together and made us reminisce about our trip to Fenway, about hearing the crack of the bats and roar of the fans.

The big news for Aussie baseball fans is that the Arizona Diamondbacks and the LA Dodgers are heading to Sydney for their 2014 season opener next March. Our whole family will be there for both games and we will be hosting Cricket and her hubby for game two. We will be decked out in all of our Sox gear and will make the very most of this unique opportunity. I will be adopting the Diamonbacks as my team for those games as I take in an MLB baseball game on Australian soil.There was an MLB photo teaser this week with representatives of the teams standing before the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is about to get real!

So thank you Boston and thank you Red Sox. You have brought me more this year than just a world series win, you have brought me friendship and connection. And that’s a home run right there.

This is the last of my NaBloPoMo posts. I didn’t quite achieve the Challenge, but I posted more often that not.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

I’m No Turkey This Thanksgiving #NaBloPoMo

If you are a turkey in the United States of America and are currently reading this then congratulations not only have you achieved a level of intelligence that is most fowl, but chances are you will survive the next twenty four hours.

As I write this most of you are catching your final moments of peaceful rest before Thanksgiving preparations begin in earnest and the feasting begins. And then when you finish saying thanks there will be yet more feasting and probably some football watching and/or discussion. At least that’s what Thanksgiving to a non American who is far, far away seems like.

Australians don’t have a Thanksgiving, but I’m not going to let that stop me getting with the programme.

So here are my tips for a trouble and calorie free Thanksgiving:

1. Purchase only fresh, quality ingredients

turkey in a cab

2.Be sure to review the nutrition information panel to ensure that you have bought the best for your family

turkey can nutrition panel

3. Examine the produce and verify its freshness and suitability

deflated turkey

4. Toil away for hours weaving your magic to create a memorable feast that your family members will remember for years

front on turkey

5. Admire your handy work which looks even better in profile

turkey side view

Enjoy. And don’t forget the accompaniments like I did. Next year, I’m definitely scouting for inflatable potatoes, gravy and the odd vegetable or two.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

Somewehere Over The Rainbow Blue Cars Drive #NaBloPoMo

Ah, the smell and excitement of a new car, there’s nothing like it. Or so my childhood recollections tell me, since it has been more than a little while since I have driven a new vehicle. The feint lingering of car paint odour mixed in with a hint of faux leather topped off by a smidge of detailing fluid. Just enough to lull you into a false sense of luxury, unless of course you have purchased a luxury car in which case please let me know if the smell lingers for just that little bit longer.

I remember growing up that new car adoption in our family was a momentous occassion. We would stand on the street admiring the new acquisition from every angle, exclaim over its beauty, sit in it acclimatizing to the new sensation and then finally take it for a spin. We would puff with pride at the showroom shine and the immaculate tyre black knowing they wouldn’t last beyond the first month. The paper foot print mats that came in the vehicle would also remain for some months until my parents would finally concede that paper was no match for dirt stuck to our shoes and that really they didn’t need a sign post of where to put their feet.

lego carMy mother was a fairly groovy car chick. She would always pick the best colours in vehicles. All the women in my family knew without any verbal form of communication that the only two important things about a new car behind the smell was how well the radio sounded and the colour of the paint. And so she never failed to deliver. Her first car was a metallic green, sporty number with black trim. A stick shifter and with an AM band only radio perpetually stuck playing classical music or Perry Como. Yeah baby!

Her next car was a bright orange number, one again with a stick shift and black trim. It looked like an orange on wheels on a sunburned day and only had two doors.  You know who was always was the one who had to climb in the back, but by that time FM radio had made an appearance and when I could wrestle Perry Como off his perch, I had the wonderful strains of Abba to listen to.  We had this auto until the doors failed to open from the inside and dad had to finally administer last rights.

The point was though that you could see this baby coming from miles away because of its colour. My mother passed on her wonderful taste in car colour to moi, when I purchased a bright yellow hatch notwithstanding that the sales guy was a condescending misogynist who asked me why I was enquiring about the tachometer and was hell bent in showing me the make up mirror behind the driver’s sun shade. I mean really, didn’t he know the radio was far more important?

Roll the film forward and we now have more cars on the road than ever before. It seems however that our innovation in car colourscar-colors stopped somewhere around 1985.  As I survey our roads all I can see is a never ending sea of white, silver, black, charcoal and beige. The homogeneity is occasionally broken up by the odd splash of navy blue, burgundy or red, but generally not a green, yellow or orange vehicle in sight. And nary a psychedelic purple on the horizon.

Have car consumers become more conservative and pragmatic as time has worn on? Has safety and the cost of a paint job overtaken the desire to make a personal statement?

Now, dear readers a small mea culpa. My current vehicle is not colourful. But in my defence, I have had it for more than a decade and when I bought it there were not many other cars on the road of that colour. So it was seriously rad or bad or whatever back in the day, but now it is one of the crowd.

Oh, how the wheels of progress have turned to mute us all down. Bring back the colour on our roads.

New car ma’am? Certainly, would you like that in white, off white, cream or oatmeal?

Have you noticed a blending of the car colours where you live? What car colour would you choose if money was no object?