Too Many

Yes, it has been a while – not because I have nothing to say, but because I have far too much to say and not enough time and energy to say it.. :)

Recently we did a redesign of The Mudflats. I was very nervous about this however it turned out awesomely.

There has been much kayaking, many summer type outings, a lot of cooking and chores done. We went on holidays back to Twin Waters at Maroochydore. We went to Adelaide for a flying visit to go to the birthday of a very good friend.

My nephews have been to visit a couple of times, and we went to visit them. We took them to Laser Skirmish which was awesome fun. I used to go to the laser skirmish in Adelaide when I was probly mid teens and they had an overnight lock in session, you would stay there overnight and play laser skirmish the whole time.

Serverguy dropped in from Japan, and got hisself married to a gorgeous and awesome lady. They visited us here and we spent several days “toodling” as my mother likes to call it, eg visiting local beaches, markets, little towns with shops, winerys. The other half is sadly not cut out for toodling, it exhausted him!

While in Sydney we took them to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and managed to get charged $32 for parking, for a total of maybe 20 minutes. The place we parked was I believe the Opera House parking lot. They had a sign saying flat rate parking for $15 when we entered, and yet when we left the machine charged us $32. It seems the flat rate was for the night before. Well how about getting rid of the signs then, geniuses?

Although I will say I don’t mind paying it because the 20 minutes we spent there was somewhat magical. There was a dj playing in the bar right next to where we ended up and the music was awesome. I kinda wish we’d stayed for longer.

Now the plan is for me to get a car. In some ways I like this plan, it will be handy for doing my local errands and I think I will try to get out for a beach walk each day. The best beach to walk on is quite a few kms away from here even though we back onto the water, that water doesn’t feature any beaches.

In some ways I do not like this plan – we have one garage and I’m going to have to learn to reverse into it. For this reason I am trying to get the smallest car imaginable. The other question is, do I want a manual or an automatic? I can’t quite decide.

The other half found a game on Wii that I have become quite addicted to. It is called Rune Factory Frontier.

We have had some visits from lizards recently and the cats have been encountering them in the garage as a surprise. I am not certain whether they like this surprise or are scared by it. They fluff up for hours afterwards and jump at anything touching them.

There is a new icecream shop not far from here which has gelati and it is awesome. For anyone reading this who is actually in Sydney, you want to go to this website – Pure Gelato. They deliver! And they have a massive range of flavours. And they have a learn to make gelato night. I want to go to that! ;)

Tonight we are off to Sydney to pick up some family who will be visiting for a few days. We’ve done the Sydney/Home run quite a bit lately.

Oh, and here is something *incredible*. Last weekend the nephews were visiting, and the oldest nephew had just got a new pair of skate shoes. Very pretty they were also. I liked them a lot, and I thought just for fun I would try them on. THEY FREAKING FIT ME. He is maybe 14? And I have size 10/11 womens feet, which is like a 8/9 mens. Jeebus!

It seems to me that with all the earthquakes, volcanoes, and the fact that my nephew now has feet the same size as me, that the end of the world is nigh. Prepare yourselves for eternity, or whatever they reckon happens next! ;)

family, General Chit-chat, stuff

Losing My Memory..

The other night when we were in Sydney we went to dinner at The Rowers – Me, The Other Half, Mum and Dad. As we were going there Mum was saying “I’ve never been to the Rowers before” and the rest of us were swearing that she had been there.  She’s known to be a little forgetful at times so we all thought it was her and she’d remember it when she got in there..

But she didn’t, and for the entire time we were there all of us were trying to work out when we could possibly have been there without her. Because it isn’t quite normal for us to go anywhere without her.

I’ve been there so many times that I honestly was getting the different times confused. But I am starting to wonder if maybe my middle term memory has gone on vacation.

I remember things from a *long* time ago, and I remember things from a short time ago. There seems to be a huge chunk of time in the middle where everything is just cloudy. In fact I can’t remember being a smoker, which I was for about 8 years or so.

I guess it’s ok, as long as I live a little longer, the middle term memory stuff will become long term memory stuff, and I’ll remember it again.. ;) But I’ll have forgotten that I forgot it, and I will certainly have forgotten writing this post. :)

Maybe I’ll have forgotten having this blog as well!

family

Christmas Sucks.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas. I think if you ask anyone who worked in a retail store for a number of years during Christmas they’d say something quite similar. Many people think Christmas is a great time for retailers but most retailers despise it. With a passion.

And my Christmas is made even more fun by the lack of enthusiasm in general by my Mother, my Father and The Other Half. All of whom are working in retail, and who get two days off from the extended Christmas shopping hours chaos before diving back into the extended shopping hours chaos that is after Christmas sales which leaves them all cranky – and makes me cranky by extension. They’re lucky to get two days off – most people in retail get Christmas Day only.

If we’d been in Adelaide, we’d have gone to my Uncle’s place for Christmas. He truly gets into the spirit of the day. I believe my Uncle may be one of the first metrosexuals of his generation. That is saying something because he is over 60. He was once a hairdresser, and then he was a chef. He is the most amazing cook but you never get boring and expected from my Uncle.

Food –

Christmas Lunch has been many things during the years I have been going to his place for Christmas – curries, Nasi Goreng, fiery casseroles, generally scary food which makes you fear for your bowels. You rarely see any kind of roast. If there is seafood it will be unusually presented – never your prawn cocktail with thousand island dressing, you’d get a prawn and mango salad with an amazing unpronounceable dressing that tasted like nothing you ever imagined possible.

Decoration –

There would always be a tree, the table would be beautifully set in a style to shame Martha Whatshername, Christmas Crackers on the table, the works. Sometimes there would be a surprise visit from Santa (my Uncle in a santa suit) for the young kids. There would always be a present for everyone and spare presents because they never knew who might come to Christmas Day as a surprise.

Atmosphere –

Carols by the old time greats like Dean Martin and Bing Crosby – and as the day goes on some of the more scary Christmas CD’s in my Uncle’s collection would find their way to the CD player. If I felt like I would like to break that Mariah Carey one in half, it was a sign to look for more alcohol. That was ok because I never drove there and there was always a designated driver to drive us home. Lots of people, many of whom I barely knew and only ever saw on Christmas Day. Happiness overall because nobody argues in our family these days.

As The Years Went By –

When my parents moved we got into the habit of travelling to see them at Christmas. So much so that now I don’t feel like it is Christmas because we haven’t packed up the car, put the cats in to boarding, and traveled 1600kms across the country. Christmas would be celebrated more because we had driven so far, and my nephews were usually there.

Now –

I feel homesick for some sign of Christmas.  I miss the extended family gatherings. It is a time of year I could happily skip entirely. And there’s my whinge. Now I’ll build the bridge, because it is mostly over.

Christmas, family

The Worst Year At School

When I was 9 years old, I was very excited about the next school year. Two weeks before school starts they would put up the lists of which kid was in which class. There was a teacher who I adored and I had been assigned to his class. For the next two weeks, I was floating in a happy daydream of the school year ahead of me.

On the first day of (Grade) Year 5, I was nervous and excited and I had butterflies. These had settled down somewhat by 10:30am, which was recess time. I happily headed out to play, not knowing what unpleasantness was looming like gathering storm clouds.

When I returned to the classroom, the headmaster was in our room and he said “I need these 5 students to follow me to my office”. My name was one of the 5. Not knowing what was going on, I was very surprised to find my Mother waiting in the office, with 4 other parents. We were told as a group that the Sunney Twins had enrolled late – on the first day of school, and this meant they had to do some shuffling of classes.

The five of us were considered the most “brainy” in the class, so they wanted to bump us up to make a Year 5/6 class. The tears began not long after this – for all five of us. None of us wanted to change classes but our parents were then told – in front of us – that if we refused to change classes we would be expelled from the school as they would be unable to fit us in as students.

Even worse, we would be made to do homework – Year 5 was the last year of freedom in this country back then, Year 6 was when they started sending work home after school. This made me fall to a crying lump on the floor and not long after that I was utterly hysterical.

The headmaster was not impressed or sympathetic, and he said we had to go to our new classroom now. The parents told him to wait until the kids had time to get used to the idea, or even let them take us home and start fresh tomorrow but he was stony faced and said no. All five of us were still in tears.

I do not recall anything about leaving the office but I do remember right in front of my new classroom there was a fence. When I got near it, I grabbed on to it for dear life and refused to move any further, crying, screaming. When the headmaster came over to dislodge me from the fence, I kicked him square in the face. Yes, you read it right, ladies and gentlemen. I kicked the headmaster in front of all my new classmates. This I did not live down.

The girls in the new class were pure evil. Beeyotches of the highest order. I hated all of them – and they hated me equally as much. I only had one friend in that class, my Chinese best friend Ellen. We tolerated the other three only because we were forced to stick together – they were boys and therefore not the kind of people we hung around with. Everyone else was an enemy.

Even the kids I used to be friends with became distant – we tried to play with them at recess and lunchtime but they were talking about things that happened in their class and we were not included in that – we had not been there. The frames of reference were completely different.

Homework was an enemy too. I refused to do it at all. When the teacher gave me homework assignments, I would scribble all over the page as soon as she gave it to me, grade it myself with a fail mark and hand it back to her with a smirk.

Mother was called in many times to discuss this, and she was enlisted in the war to make me do homework – so she soon became an enemy as well. I felt she should have told them I wasn’t going to do it and they should not expect any of us year 5’s to do it when nobody else in the other Year 5 class had to do it.

I remember many nights where she made me sit in my room until I finished my homework. I never did any of it. Not once. I would just sit there and scribble holes into the page. I was so angry. With her, with the school, with the beeyotches, with the inferior teacher I hated, with everything. I believe now this is the point at which I just gave up on caring about success or good grades – I hated everything about school. The only thing I liked was reading and the minute my Mother would leave the room, I would open a book and escape.

Mother said to me years later that she felt she should have taken me out of that school that day – I wish she had – but she didn’t know what was the right thing to do. The results caused long lasting effects in my school life, my relationship with her as a parent and my personal life. My grades went downhill and never recovered. I became angry with being smart, and decided I would simply refuse to be smart. I ignored maths completely because that was supposed to be a smart subject – and four years later in Year 9 I failed maths because I never had that solid grounding in the subject.

I was one of the brightest kids in that school but I decided to become unbright. You know what they say about use it or lose it? I lost a lot of my skills in various areas. Art was another one. Sport was when the year 6 kids got to push us around and beat us up without getting into trouble and they took great delight in it so I found excuses not to play. I began to put on weight as a result of this – and the long nights spent refusing to do homework when I should have been out playing with all the other kids my age.

The next year, I thought we would be placed back in our normal years – but no. They put us in a split 7/6 class – the five of us who clung together like rats on a sinking ship, and the same people I’d hated for the last year. This caused already shaky friendships to become non-existant with the students of our year level – so the following year when we were all in the same class, the five of us were outcasts, ignored, and teased.

This post has been a Hump Day Hmmm post. Feel free to join in the Hump Day Hmmm anytime!

bitches, embarrassing stories, family, growing up

The Only Thing Stopping You..

butterfly
My Grandfather started a business in his shed many years ago, not long after the 2nd World War. By the time I was 13, it had built into a successful business with 5 stores. My Dad was the general manager. Of course I spent a lot of spare time at the stores, and in school holidays would go to work with my Mum, who was the courier for the company and took stock from the central warehouse to the stores.

Coming up to Christmas that year, I begged to be allowed to work in one of the stores. I *said* I would wrap Christmas presents, but I had a secret hidden desire that nobody knew about. My parents finally agreed to me working in the main branch, where my Dad was, so he could keep an eye on me. On the very first day, he had a meeting and left the store shortly after it opened. By the time he got back, I had sold $500 worth of small appliances. I’d written down each item I sold on a little piece of card. There were 28 of them. Dad hit the roof! I was supposed to be wrapping presents, not selling things.

I knew then that I was born to be a salesperson, and this was just second nature to me, and I explained it to him, and the next day there was no more talk of wrapping things, I got out there on the floor and sold stuff all day. A passion was born, and I was hooked.

I learned a lot from my Dad. He was the best salesperson I ever knew, but he was also one with plenty of bad habits, all of which I picked up. The good did outweigh the bad and I survived for years on what he’d taught me, working in several of the family’s stores. There was no mention of training, because I was doing just fine.

There came a point where I had to go out on my own. If you can sell, you can work pretty much anywhere, but I was drawn to the same things the rest of my family was. Electronics. I went out into the real world to discover that the place my parents had owned was unique in terms of looking after your staff, being as loyal to them as they were to you. In the real world, someone would have a knife in your back while smiling to your face.

I’ve done a lot of training over the years now. You can approach training from several angles but the two most common are – this is a waste of my time and I’m not going to get anything out of this so I’m going in with closed ears – or – I’m willing to listen and try new things out to see if they work for me. I always chose the second path. I have seen many people choose the first and I always find it hilarious when they get left behind because everyone else in the store is trying the new stuff and it WORKS.

One thing salespeople hate to do is “ask for the sale”. It’s something I have struggled with all my life and it really is ridiculous. Imagine for a moment that you were the customer, and I was serving you. You wanted a washing machine. During the time we spend together, I would ask you a number of questions. It’s sort of like a funnel. We salespeople ask all the questions, we listen to the answers, and then we think about what product is best going to suit you – and that is what pops out at the end of the funnel.

So by the time we get to asking for the sale, I probably would have asked things like –

– How often do you wash?
– What kind of washing machine do you have now?
– Have you been happy with that machine?
– What do you most like about that machine?
– Would you prefer a front or top load machine?

All those, and probably a bunch more. So a salesperson will have been asking questions for a good 15 minutes, then they show you the options you have. At the end of all that, many salespeople are too scared to ask the most important question, which is essentially do you want one? Though you have to find the right way of wording it.

I struggled against it like a fish trapped in a net. I would just rather not ask. I felt like if someone appreciated my service they would buy from me. Until one day I went to a training session and finally understood it when someone explained that I’d already asked them a lot of questions, what is the harm of one more? I just had to find a way of asking the question that I was comfortable with. And I did, and my sales figures went up and up.

Sometimes it is about someone presenting it to you in the right way.

Sales is a bit like sport, many people compare it to that and they are right to do so. You can not improve unless you are willing to try new things, experiment. And one of the things so important to a sports team is to think positive. Imagine if you went out onto the field thinking “I can’t win this game”. Imagine if when you lost you took it very personally and that negative self talk starts up in your head. “I’m no good at this game. I lost last week, and I’ll lose this week. I’ll always lose. I’m a loser”. You’re defeated before you even walk out onto the field.

This quote from Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” explains my philosophy on negative thoughts in your head..

“I made up my mind to be like the fisherman who hour after hour scoops out fish with his net. Whenever thoughts of the Chairman drifted up from within me, I would scoop them out, and scoop them out again, and again, until none of them were left.”

You have to scoop those negative thoughts out, or else you end up dwelling on them. But you have to replace them with something, too. My preference is to replace them with a positive thought.

So, in light of this, each day from now on I will be posting a “thought for today” as well as my usual blog post. They might come from the cards I use here, they might be quotes from books or other places. I hope you might find them useful. If any of them really speak to you or you feel like you want to work on that thought, it might be an idea to write them down and put them in front of your computer screen.

If you have any thoughts to put forward, just email them to me.. ;)

family, work

I’m a bad daughter.

Yes, the final in the series of internet security will turn up sometime this week. I’m sorry but it’s been a crazy weekend in many ways. Including my parents buying new tv sets and cabinets and other oddness.

So when I was over there yesterday, I set some reminders on the Austar box for shows that would be on while I was there. For those from overseas, this is pay tv. You can basically go ahead a day or more and choose programs and when the programs are on it pops up a little reminder.

Mum complained about the little popups, saying “how many did you set?” Well at the time only two, but when she went back to the kitchen I proceeded to set popups for almost every show that was on over the next 2 days. She’s still getting them now, more than likely cursing my name.

Especially the ones I set for desperate housewives, a show she utterly despises. I set reminders for it on the normal channel as well as the +2 channel, so there were at least 4 for that show. ;)

About Snoskred, Bad Snoskred, family

Opinions Needed

paint2007

The above is a painting for my Nephew. It is metallic red, not pink as it seems in this photo. He chose the color the last time I saw him, and the rest has been my invention. The stencil is an African art symbol –

DENKYEM = “crocodile” = symbol of adaptability
The crocodile lives in the water, yet breathes the air, demonstrating an ability to adapt to circumstances.

And the dots (which are silver) are inspired by some Aboriginal Art, which I’ve got in my head recently. I love dot paintings.

The question is, do I put more dots on the painting to make it look more like the one below – as in fill in the space between the Denkyem and the border with more dots? Not all silver ones because that would be too much, but maybe graduating shades of silver to white, or silver to black? Can you let me know what you think in the comments?

I really love how it looks now but I think more dots could work really well too.

arty

family, Snoskred Art

Elvis has left the building

Last weekend when we went to our usual Saturday Chinese, there were a lot of cars in the carpark. This was unexpected as school holidays had just ended. When we walked in to the club, we were surprised to find what seemed like a function going on. Loads of people eating prawns, and some bloke on the stage singing, he had a lovely sequinned red shirt on.

On closer inspection it seemed that this was actually Neil Diamond. Mother and I spent some time arguing as to whether it was the real Neil Diamond or some kind of tribute show. The guy was so Neil Diamond like, he really sounded like him. Lucky for us we had a table in the Chinese where we could watch the whole show – for free, but we had to pay for our own prawns. ;) Probably those people out there had paid bucketloads of money to see this show!

He played many Neil Diamond songs and we were much entertained, much swaying in the seat went on. I was mesmerized by the sequinned red shirt and suggested to Dad the next time they are looking for a new uniform at work that a sequinned shirt could be a brilliant idea – how can you miss the salespeople if they’re all sparkly?

After about half an hour and our entrees, Neil left the stage to much applause. Once the Entrees were gone, Dad went out to play the pokies and returned with the news that Tom Jones was also going to be putting in an appearance. This sounded quite nice, so we waited.. and waited.. and suddenly Elvis showed up instead!

This led to discussion of the Elvis festival in Parkes, NSW. For those who don’t know, there’s a large dish at Parkes, it’s one of the things the town is famous for.

Parkes

The dish featured in a movie called, surprisingly, The Dish. But Parkes wants to be famous for more than that, so they created the Parkes Elvis Festival. Looking at the program they have combined The Dish with Elvis very nicely. I had heard that in Parkes they had up to 1,000 Elvis’s all in the same place at once and while watching this Elvis mentioned to the other half that maybe more Elvises would show up in the building we were in now, and he said no, we don’t have the dish here, that is what attracts them. :) Or something along those lines but whatever he said was so funny I completely lost the plot. Lucky I wasn’t eating or drinking at the time!

Elvis actually seemed to be Neil Diamond only with a different wig. He sang only two Elvis songs, which seemed like a bit of a waste to do the whole Elvis wig thing just for that. Then he vanished again, much to my dismay. We thought maybe Elvis needed to take a leak and that he hadn’t actually left the building at all, so for some minutes were watching to see if he returned. The other half hates Elvis. I don’t know why. I have asked. He can’t come up with a good answer.

Some time later, our meal arrived, and not long after that Tom Jones arrived. All Tom Jones songs seem to have sexual overtones, which is slightly not great but seemed to drive the elderly women out in the function quite crazy. I’m surprised underwear was not thrown. This Tom Jones looked awfully wrong in his wig, it just wasn’t right. Maybe that’s why the underwear wasn’t thrown.

We exited the building to the sounds of Delilah, or something like that. A happy though somewhat strange evening was had by all.

However, there has been one side effect. A Tom Jones version of “You can leave your hat on” has been in my head ever since. I am hopeful it will go away soon but I’ve tried playing other music and it hasn’t worked. :( Any advice?

family, music

Nuclear Missile Launch Codes

Yeah, I’ve had that in my head all day, for no good reason, so I thought it’d be a blog title.

Two days ago my Dad was asked by head office to do a stocktake in a store about 6 hours drive away. To get out of having to do it, he decided to take holidays. This will be the first extended time away from the store since they got here a year and some many months ago.

When my parents decide to do something they like to do it fast, so last night I found both of them here in my office room, where they (actually I, with their supervision) managed to get some frequent flyer tickets. That was the quick and easy part, it turns out. The longer part was finding accommodation. After one hour, I was beginning to crack under the pressure of trying to find something reasonably priced with air conditioning. My Mum was lying on the floor trying not to fall asleep, and Dad was at my shoulder, pointing, reading, and complaining that I scroll too fast for him and that things he wanted to read kept vanishing off the screen. I believe it was another half hour of hell before I found something but I can’t be sure, I blocked a lot of it out.. then the computer would not book, and I freaked out and had a meltdown. The Other Half had to come in and save the day.

They leave on Thursday for 6 nights. I am hoping I can talk the other half into driving them down there, and we can visit… the place I love and adore… actually two places I love and adore.. Lone Star, and Ikea. I might finally manage to drag my Mother into Ikea after at least six months of trying to get her to go there. If I achieve this feat I can truly be known as a miracle worker. She won’t have anything to do all day while Dad has a business meeting, so there’s a good chance I can swing it.. ;) It will cost them a mint to put the car into long term parking. They can catch the shuttle bus back here when they get back. All signs point to YES. And now she’s seen the catalog, she actually *wants* to go there.. yay!

family, IKEA