Low Hanging Fruit and Horse Race Wrap Up #NaBloPoMo

Thank you for all of your wonderful tips from the Horsing Around With A Race That Stops A Nation post.

The race has now been run and the winners and losers sorted.  Champagne has been drunk and bunions have been formed. Time to put the fascinators away for another year.

After the resounding Tres Blue backing from the blogosphere, I placed a small bet on the horse. You’ll be happy to know he finished 22nd out of a field of 24. So I guess the trainer and owner are now Petit Blue.

But fear not, dear readers for that is not where the story ends.

After a more thorough analysis of the form guide and deciding that the pink stripe on the jockey’s fabric of Fiorente was more purple than pink if you squint hard enough and look at it in a tunnel, I placed a bet on the favourite.

AND SHE WON!!!

In addition to that I drew another horse which came second in the office sweep, so a somewhat profitable day all around.

low hanging fruitWhere things get a bit murky is the somewhat predictable love note I found from the local council placed under my windshield wiper when I returned to my car after my hard day at work. After running a little late for work that morning, I went through my usual routine of parking my car near the bus stop.  The bus stop happens to be near a racecourse. Parking is usually tight, but on Melbourne Cup day it is at a premium. Lucky for me I still scored a spot in the morning. The kicker is that parking in this street is two hours only for non-residents. Normally, I run the gauntlet and park there anyway as the street is seldom monitored. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Being late it only occurred to me that my parked car was really low hanging fruit for the parking police when I was half way into work. Plump, juicy and ripe for the picking on race day. And plucked it was.

The state of the ledger is therefore:

  • total family winnings on Melbourne Cup  – $152
  • total payment to NSW State Government for the privilege of going to work – $101
  • funds available for the Curtain Raiser retirement fund – $51

My family has kindly donated their winnings to the fund which will be used to increase parking restriction awareness in its members and avoid any more contribution to the low hanging fruit crop.

There was a sad postscript to the race. One of the horses, a mare, was put down immediately after for a broken leg. The decision for the horse to be euthanized was not without controversy. To get the fully story, click here.

RIP Verena.

Of Razor Blades and Memories #NaBloPoMo

It’s funny what banality can trigger memories.

Sometime in the coming weeks, I will undertake a ritual for the very last time. A ritual that has always connected me to my father. A ritual that was ours when my father was alive.

old style rego stickerWhen I was little, I used to be dad’s 2IC when it came to replacing the annual registration sticker on the family car. This used to involve razor blades, hours of concentration, methylated spirits and cut fingers. Back in the day, the Government used to issue each vehicle with a registration sticker which showed the month of registration, the year of validity and the registration number, make and VIN details of the vehicle.  It was up to each owner to apply the sticker to the windshield of the car after removing the pervious year’s version as it was an offence to leave the old sticker visible. So dad and I would set off to laboriously scrape off the old sticker which was made of a thin plastic film and applied to the window with a coat of glue. It was a transparency sort of affair which we could only remove using methylated spirits and razor blades. And the reward for persisting? A formerly whole registration sticker now hacked to a million plastic bits all through the car.

Whatever was involved, I loved this father/daughter time. It was him and me against the world.

As I grew, Dad anointed me in charge of the great registration sticker exchange. Out would come the razor blades and the metho (Aussie vernacularnewer style rego sticker for methylated spirits) and out I’d go to the car and do the deed. By this time, adhesive technology had evolved to the point where the registration sticker was less transparency, more sticker in the traditional sense. No water was required to activate the adhesive. This made old sticker removal somewhat quicker and easier, although the razor blades still came in handy.

Every year I change my registration sticker I use the same tools, the same methodology and I think of my father.

Our Government has finally decided to come into the twenty-first century and will from this year rely on its computer records as proof of registration. There will be no more registration stickers to apply and only this last one to remove.

My kids will never experience this ritual.

I will miss it. As I miss him.

In the coming weeks, my final peel will be for you, dad.

father quote

 

 

 

Costco Capers #NaBloPoMo

This past weekend saw us set out on our biannual Costco run. The Italian Stallion and I do not engage in this sport lightly. The visit is a culmination of weeks of precision planning, pantry reconnaissance and rigorous training. The training consists of pushing dollar bills in and pulling them out of wallets and speedy mathematical value assessment. Apart from this physical and mental preparation, there is always the the issue of what to wear to resolve. I mean who wants to end up on the hypothetical Costco equivalent of People of Walmart.

Walmart e card 1To us non-Americans the Wal-Mart phenomenon is curious indeed. We have no real Australian equivalent that has spurned a whole subculture. In fact, I was so curious that I asked a friend to take me to a Wal-Mart in Tennessee last time I was in the States to pop my Wal-Mart cherry. It must have been a slow day because it was nothing like what I expected to see having regard to the Wal-Mart mythology from the Internet. People shopped whilst fully clothed and there were no sprawling cash register lines. Talk about underwhelming. I didn’t buy anything.

But back to Costco. For us Costco is a pilgrimage and something not undertaken lightly as it is a least a half day event. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly there is only one Costco servicing Sydney. Sydney has a population of about two million, so our Costco sees plenty of action. Secondly, the store is about an hour’s drive away and that’s not counting the time it takes to find a parking spot. Thirdly, given there is only one store social encounters are unavoidable even for a city of this size. You will always meet someone you know at Costco, which of course then ties into the whole fashion thing. This weekend’s excursion didn’t disappoint as we bumped into two of the Italian Stallion’s colleagues and their spouses.

And everything about Costco is BIG.

Big quantities, big deals, big checkout lines, ginormous trolleys and big bucks.  Costco have these great little dinner rolls that I have longingly wanted to try for the past year. I have picked up a pack every time I have been to Costco, but the thought of what to do with 36 of them has always led me to leave them on the shelf. This time though I bit the bullet bread and took the BIG small dinner roll plunge.

And the act of lovingly placing in my trolley the 3 kilos of chicken thighs that will grace our dinner plates for the next little while next to that piece of outdoor furniture that I had to have is worth the trip all on its own. I like an eclectic, variety filled shopping basket.

The fun continued with the post Costco run packathon. Getting the stuff in the car took the patience of the Dalai Lama and the precision of Tetris. Luckily for me the Italian Stallion is really good at Tetris which is positive news indeed because the whole Tetris thing had to be repeated in the pantry at home. As for finding the stuff three months down the track when we need to use it… yeah.. good luck with that.

Which leads me to divulge Fascinating Costco Fact No. 352: After buying cling wrap in bulk at Costco last year, we have figured out we use 300m of the stuff in a year. Costco therefore not only assists with inventory control but also gives good trivia.

So now we are back in training for next year’s biannual Costco run. Should be just in time for Easter.

Dinner roll anyone?Bread Rolls

 Do you ever shop in bulk? Do you have a special shopping experience you could like to share?

November is Here So Let’s #NaBloPoMo

Nano NanoWoke up this morning to social media buzzing with the sounds of NaNo NaNo. This is not be confused with the traditional Orkian greeting of Nanoo Nannoo, although as the month progresses, we will see writers increasingly engage each other in monosyllabic tones.

If you have never heard of NaNoWriMo, it is the chant of writers everywhere as they gear up to participate in National Novel Writing Month. The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel of 50,000 words from start to finish in November. If you are interested you can sign up here. To all of you are attempting NaNoWriMo you have my complete admiration. Please remember to eat, move and breathe whilst you coax your characters to life, they are counting on you.

Whilst writing a novel was briefly on my bucket list when I was ten, that’s way too ambitious for me at this point. The only chapters I am able to write at the moment are called ” How to Survive Parenting in The Teenage Years With Your Hair Intact” and “Existence for Dummies”. Certainly not enough on which to base a whole novel, although there are enough dilemmas and plot twists to keep readers engaged.

My plan to write the next great Aussie novel therefore remains dormant for now. Despite this, I have decided to get in on some of the NaNo action by participating in NaBloPoMo. Despite what it sounds like, it has nothing to with blowing one’s nose. It is in fact the bloggy cousin of NaNoWriMo. National Blog Posting Month means thirty blog posts in 30 days during November. It is run by BlogHer and you can sign up here until 5 November 2013. Whether you run with a theme or post 30 unrelated posts is entirely up to you. The BlogHer site provides daily prompts which you are free to follow or you can write about whatever floats your fancy. At the time of posting, there are about 1200 blog participating. By contrast, there are about 245,000 writers participating in NaNoWriMo. That’s some serious verbage and means that we are in for some fantastic reading in December.

NaBloPoMo_November_small

Please come and join me for my NaBloPoMo ride. This will be the allsorts of blogging challenges with a bit of this and a bit of that. There is nothing like spontaneity to keep a blogger on her toes. Blogging challenges are great for getting into the blogging groove and really test blogging boundaries and for this one I’m leaving my little black dress at home and going themeless.

So lets NaBloPoMo… it’s just a jump to the left and then a step to the ri, ri, ri, ri, right. With your hands on your hips, you bring your knees in tight. Ok, you can even thrust your pelvis if you really want to.