Thursday, May 13, 2010

We were broken into again yesterday. It's been 18 months since the last time and this time the little bastards kicked in the laundry door. Shane discovered it this time as he beat me home but I was the one who rang the police and I was nearly hysterical, as at the same time I was wondering around the house trying to work out what was missing. And of course they took all my gold jewellery again.

They stole all 3 of my cameras. One is my first digital camera, a Ricoh, that I was trying to sell, so no loss. One was the new Canon Powershot that we'd only bought last year while my camera was in the shop, so we called it Shane's camera and it had an SD card in it. I can't remember what photos were on it though. But they also stole my really good, expensive Canon Camera and an SD card that had lots of photos on it and those I do remember. I took some of the girls last week dressed up alike and got copies printed directly off the card for the Mums for Mothers Day. I have 2 copies myself, so now I am keeping them instead of sending them to someone as I don't have the originals anymore.

I'm devastated. And I'm awake at 5.20am as it has just occurred to me that we don't have anyone housesitting for us when we go away in 3 weeks for our wedding. The laundry door needs fixing but I don't think they'll replace it and Charlie said there's nothing we can do to stop them kicking it in again. And how do I advertise for a housesitter while saying, look, I'd prefer someone who doesn't work and can be home all the time to make sure the house is safe? We can't stop it happening while we live here, so I will be worried about it the whole time we're away.

Shane spent nearly all last night outside, pondering what to do and stressing over it. He wants to put flatbars on the frame from the inside to stop them getting the door open but the frame around the door is so old too that it will probably just splinter if they try hard enough, as the house is so old. I suggested tech-screwing the crappy screen door shut from the outside but we have to keep the door accessible in case of a fire. So what do we do?
I know I feel like I never want to leave the house again. Today is my shopping day and my brilliant Mum has taken the day off to come and sit with the girls while I race up and get food and buy birthday presents for 2 parties we're going to on the weekend. But I'm not going to the family one now, I'd rather stay home by myself and have Shane take the girls to his family's do, especially as I yelled at Cheryl while Shane was on the phone with her. I am very angry with her as I have been making steps to get our contents insured in the last couple of months and told her she needs to come over to do it, as we can't get it in our names while in her house. But of course she keeps leaving it and it wasn't done. I'm blaming her but it's just because I'm upset.

The worse is knowing they were in our house, they saw what we look like from all the photos, they were in our little girls rooms and took them apart too and they probably don't feel any remorse. Where they've touched clothes, I've put them in the wash coz I can't bear to wear them until they're clean. And none of us touched our toothbrushes last night, I'm going to buy all new ones. I just hate that our private personal space has been violated.

I've now advertised on Facebook but the one girl on there who does it is due to have a baby and probably won't be able to. I won't be able to enjoy my own wedding if I'm stressing over our house. I hate this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Street Gang.

The Book Thief with Pride...

We had our book club meeting on Sunday at Jo's house for The Book Thief, and I'm pleased to say it went very successfully. Jo had invited another couple of girls to join the group, as both Lisa and Bec didn't attend this time, they were both busy. We had Rebecca and Joanne, who I think are both teachers at Cassia Primary and they seem like really nice girls too.

Jo had googled the book and found some learning questions online, which she sent around to each of us. It had discussion points such as the significance of colours in the book, who was your favourite character and why, why was this character like this, and so on. It was really helpful as it gave us something to get focused back on as we continually wandered off the subject!
I really enjoyed this book. I liked that it was written from the point of view of Death, during World War II and the cleansing of Germany by Hitler. He wrote, "I carried the souls of the dead over my shoulders and in my arms, but the children were the only ones I would carry in my hands." Very sad. I can see why it was so popular as he has a real way with words, and it sparked a lot of discussion amongst us about the Holocaust and Hitler. One of the girls had seen Mein Kampf (My Struggle, written by Adolf Hitler) in a bookstore years ago and wanted to buy it out of interest, as she'd visited a Death Camp in Europe years ago on holiday. But she was too embarrassed to because of the social connotations of buying a book written by Hitler. We all agreed it would have been an interesting read. We discussed movies that also covered this subject, as I was interested in seeing Schindlers List but it wasn't at the video store. Shane said this is probably just as well as it was a pretty depressing movie. Britt suggested A Beautiful Life which won an Academy Award in the 90's, so I might try that one.

We of course discussed every other book and movie under the sun. Jo and her mum Jennifer are prolific readers and we were all throwing book names around like anything. We are swapping books at Book Club, as I lent Jo my copy of Edgar Sawtelle, and Jo lent Britt her video of the movie Roots. So we are going through other books even while reading the Book Club book nominated!
Yesterday at Kmart I scored a movie book package for $20, which had Revolutionary Road, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Slumdog Millionaire. I saw Revolutionary Road on DVD recently and couldn't stop thinking about it for days, it was quite harrowing at the end. Jo has recently read Striped Pyjamas and recommended it to me and I loved the movie for Slumdog, so I'm looking forward to having all these read over the Xmas period.
I also recently bought Stephen King's new one, Under The Dome. It's like the Simpsons movie, where a dome is lowered over a town in Maine, except this one chops a woodchuck in half, cuts off a gardeners hand and causes a light plane to crash into it and fall burning in pieces to the ground... very good so far!
We decided this time it was Jennifer's turn to nominate a book as she'd indicated she was going to return to a classic. As neither Rebecca nor Joanne had read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jennifer decided to go with that one. Also, as Xmas is coming up, we can't meet now until January, so it will give everyone plenty of time to read it. Unless you've read it a few times, the elongated way that she writes takes a fair bit of concentration. Jane Austen takes 50 words to explain something it would take you or me 20 words to do! I re-read this book just last year, so I'm not in any hurry to read it just yet. I'll wait til I've finished the 3 on the go I have now!

My picture this post is of the iconic Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy. I really didn't like the Hollywood film version of this movie with Kiera Knightley. Not when you've seen the BBC version above, with Colin First and Jennifer Ehle. It's about 6 hours long and it's just a beautiful movie. They are appropriately subdued, as you imagine the English gentry to be, and the scenery and filming are just stunning. I have seen it hundreds of times, and I'm not joking!

So I shall check in again on this story, once we've met on 24 January, Jo's birthday, so discuss why we love this book. As I already know I do. So much. TTFN.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Could If I Wanted...

The Reader and The Book Thief

Rather than give excuses about why I haven't posted for so long, I'm going to say 4 words - we bought a house. And leave it at that. I've been very busy!

So we had our next Book Club meeting a few weeks ago at Jo's house, hosted by me. It was a long time coming, as we scheduled, rescheduled and rescheduled and we just couldn't agree on when to meet because someone was going away and this person was doing this or that or whatever. And in the end Britt helped me decide by telling me that Johnny's transfer had come through and he and Alice were leaving. So we made it for the weekend before she left and there were only a few of us - myself, Britt, Jo, her mum Jennifer and Alice. Bec and Lisa were both away, in fact, I haven't seen them for months so I don't know if they even got the email about reading The Reader or have started on the next book yet. It had been about 2 months since our last meeting.
Jennifer couldn't get into the book so hadn't read it, but the rest of us had and we all seemed to enjoy it. I liked how it was such a short book but packed a lot of punch. The story is based around a teenage boy who meets an older lady one day, Hanna Schmidt and they begin an affair. He begins to read to her during their meetings and falls in love when inexplicably one day, she is gone. Years later as an older student, he is stunned when attending the Nazi trials for inhumane treatments to the Jews, that Hanna was being tried for being a German guard being held responsible for the deaths of over a hundred people in a fire. Refusing to admit she cannot read or write, she takes the blame and is sentenced to prison, and he sends her books on tape while there, which she uses to teach herself to read and write. They meet again as adults, upon her imminent release back into the world she doesn't really want to be in anymore.
The writing was well done and I also watched the movie soon after, which jarred my memory of it when attending the meeting, but this was also because it had been over a month since I'd read it by the time we met. I really enjoyed the movie of course because it starred Kate Winslet, who's a very giving actor and I felt it followed the book well. But nothing can beat a good story and I would recommend this book highly.
Jo has picked our next book, The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. She had reread it recently and loved it. It's a really popular book and I'd tried reading it years ago, only to give up after the first few pages as it was really hard going. Britt has mentioned the same thing when I've seen her, so I was trying to finish the great book I was reading (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle) so I could get onto it before our next meeting on the 15th. I've just started it about 5 days ago and am happily engrossed so far, about 100 pages in. The story is about a young girl in Hitler's Germany (yes, the Holocaust again) who craves knowledge and how she obtains the books that are so important to her. It's actually written from the point of view of Death, as in, He first saw her when coming to take her brother and kept an eye on her, being very busy when Hitler first started 'cleansing' Germany. He sees her steal a book from a book burning held by Hitler's youth. Good stuff so far. I'll keep you posted.
And I was devastated to see an ad on TV this morning for the new movie 'The Time Travelers Wife'. I sat there quite stunned for a few seconds, wondering why it bothered me? Because from the ad, it looks okay; it stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, both actors I like. But I'm not sure they'll be able to convey Henry's tired, helplessness at his uncontrollable time travel and Clare's ultimate contentment at being mostly alone. It looks very... relationship-ey, rather than concentrating on the journey of what happens to him which I found fascinating. I'll watch it for sure at any rate, so we'll see.
Okay, am off to read more. And see what Death has to say on Leisel's latest book.... TTFN.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Waiting for the When.

I, like a close friend of mine, am coming to an awful gut renching realisation that I need to get a life. I need to do something to pique my interest more, that explores the foundations of me, who I am and who I want to be. I'm hoping to God it's not the samedom of being on maternity leave and having each week the same that is getting to me, as I love being off work and having time to scrapbook, organise or do nothing. Since moving to Hedland, everything in my life is When. When we move to Gero. When we get a brand new house. When the girls are bigger.

I don't feel there is any point spending money on nice furniture when the girls are small and spill food and drink on it all, when Saxon as a dodgy bladder and wees on everything and when we are just going to have to pay to move it all to Gero when we do go, rather than buy it when we get there and leave our current crap behind at the dump.

We desperately need a new bed. I've had our current base with slats under the mattress since I was in Perth and it's old and rickety now. The slats move and the mattress is so bad I have almost a constant backache. Going to the chiropractor does no good. I want to upgrade our next bed to a King Size and I don't see the point of getting one now as it will not fit in our bedroom. Let alone a whole new bedroom suite and actual wardrobes to match. So we'll buy a new mattress and hope that will cover us until we do move.

Next year we are going to Phuket for our honeymoon, and our plan is to go to Surfers Paradise and take the girls in the next few years after that. But while Devon and Cassidy are so small, there's probably no point as they won't be able to ride on anything and they'll be too small to remember anyway. So we'll probably stick to travelling around WA, although we've promised ourselves a trip to Darwin before we leave the Pilbara to see what all the fuss is about. All our friends go to America. But those friends don't have toddlers or babies.

Last year we got a new fridge, knowing a new baby was on the way and we'd need the room. This month we bought new IKEA shelving for our CDs and DVDs. And unfortunately, as fantastic as they are, they just make our other old furniture look worse.

We've bought an investment property in Geraldton; settlement was just yesterday. This makes me feel like we are finally adults and are taking care of things financially. Yet we are tearing our hair out over finding a decent tenant to go in the house. The stress is unsurmountable. I keep thinking I must ring the property manager, then I just ignore it because I can't handle dealing with it. We have life insurance but Shane doesn't even have a will.

So I feel like for nearly 5 years now, I've been putting everything on hold, waiting for When. And as you can see above, I have plenty of excuses why. Like my wedding dress, common sense overrules what I really want. Because what I really want is to move to Geraldton now and be with my sister, knowing my parents will soon follow and I can't do that. That would mean doing without Shane as he would then have to do fly-in, fly-out work; the money's just too good. And I can't do without him.

So I balance it. I justify why I go without now with what is yet to come, and buy small, crappy things to make do, hoping to God I get the chance to do the big things later. Funnily enough, with refinancing my unit, we actually have the money there to be able to do these things too. Am I just in a rut? Because this rut has been gnawing at me for 4 and a half years.

A few weeks ago, my cousins 21 year old son committed suicide. I hadn't met James as an adult; I only remember him as a dark haired little kid running around with us all at the beach. He was so cute, and pictures of him as a adult showing a really good looking guy, someone I would have been glad to know in my family. But now he's gone and I had to put a death date on someone young in my family tree. What if something were to happen while I waited for the When? I don't want to regret sitting around.

I feel like I live my life waiting for the When to happen. I'm 37 next year. When is my life actually going to start? When will I have the nice house, room to scrap, and a comfortable lounge and bed? A big kitchen with a dishwasher and beautiful patio area? Built in robes, going to the movies and coffee with my sister and big family Christmases without 40 degree temperatures? Contentment and achievement in my life? When?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Doctor in the House!

Dresses done and Invitations to think of.

I have had a very lucky score on the wedding front by finding the girls flower girl dresses in one of the last places I would look. I'd been investigating some online but was worried without seeing them myself first.

Jodie was in Best and Less in Gero looking for a dress for Tayla and sent me a text of 2 dresses they had there which would be perfect. As you can see, Cassidy's dress has the gold sash belt which pretty much is the same shade as the gold of my dress. The embroidered flowers all over match the flowers on Devon's dress, which is in black and white. As the wedding party will be dressed in black, gold, cream and white, they'll both match perfectly.

The total of the dresses was $63.00 and Jodie sent them the day she bought them, so I had them 2 days later. Good old Australia Post. So a major part of the girls preparation is done now. I will need to get tights, hairpieces, shoes and cardigans, depending on the weather, which will be easy enough done next year.
I've been starting to think about my invitations too, as I want to start on them in the new year. I already have some gold edged RSVP cards to include and some shell picture cards to use for decoration, so I am going to start planning how to put the program together. Yes, I said program! I'm including the invitation, the wishing well poem, the list of accommodation and the RSVP card and envelope, so I decided to put it all together in a mini booklet. It will look tidier than sending 4 separate items in one envelope. I also have some little tidbits to include, such as the fact that we're not allowed to use confetti or flower petals at the ceremony (public area) and also I got the idea from The Knot website that I could do a little list of my something old, something new, etc for people to know.
I have already ordered some address stickers online as I'm running out of my current ones, so I just made sure they were in the colours of gold and white and I'll use them for my RSVP cards too. It was only $14.95 for 140, so they were only 10c each, not bad.
My friend Andrea (who got married in Broome in July) has offered to help me make them, so now it's just a matter of buying some flash A4 card and designing the layout. Lucky for me I have a printer of my own to use. I want them to be inexpensive but not look it, so we'll see. Luckily in Port Hedland, The Emporium carry a lot of paper supplies and metallic envelopes and the like, so I should be able to get supplies no worries.
So things are bobbling along. In a lot of ways I wish the wedding was sooner so I could get more stuff sorted, but I know I should stop wishing my life away! TTFN.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

They went that-a-way...

The Wedding Dress post. Just one, I promise.

Okay. I am going to write this now and then not mention it again. I myself am OVER hearing myself talk about it, let alone think and stress about it, so this blog is the place to vent and tell all, then leave it be.

On the Friday I arrived in Perth, Ani and I went straight to Legends Bridal in Joondalup for me to try on wedding dresses. I was stressing about this due to having a limited time frame in which to buy a dress and also because I didn't want to have to come back the next day to keep going.

Ani and I were so excited, especially considering Ani already had her bridal gown and was only helping me! We got chatting to the lady who offered us help, Lisa, who was magnificent and she said to start choosing what we were interested in and she'd put them in a changeroom.

I'll admit I was a little disappointed that there were other people in the shop with noisy kids running around that didn't give this special occasion for me any of the respect it deserves; however, I shall move on. Without saying anything about fat wog girls trying on dresses that were way too small. Ahem.

I had to wear a thin piece of cotton over my face when putting the dresses on so I didn't get any makeup on them, which was funny. The first dress was a champagne coloured strapless number that laced up in back. Ani and Lisa immediately liked it but I was very unsure. I didn't particularly want a strapless dress but decided to try it for the fit and colour. I pretty much was saying no while they were saying yes as I felt I was all bust and that I was going to fall out of the top of it. So on with the next few and some I didn't even bother coming out to show Ani as they just weren't what I wanted or didn't fit properly. I started getting a bit nervous internally as I was running out of dresses already in my size, even though Lisa had gone off to grab some others in the meantime.

Then, suddenly, I tried on the princess dress and knew as soon as Lisa started doing it up that it was perfect. I'd grabbed it to try on even though it was $1440 as it was just the style I liked. (My budget was for $500 although Shane had set it at $1000.) Lisa did it up and said it was a size too big and I needed the next one down but I came out to show Ani and we all immediately agreed it was a great dress, and likely to be 'The One'. I was very pleasantly surprised that white looked so nice on me as I thought I was too pale. (Now here I mention that getting some Hedland sun has NOT worked for me as yesterday I got a mole cut off and it fucking hurts, so a spray tan will be the go, if at all.)

What do you think? Nice huh? Now for the killer. I know I set a budget and that it shouldn't matter if you just LOVE a dress but the problem with this little number is that it was about 4 inches too long. And I knew I would not be wearing massively high heels at my own wedding because I wanted to enjoy the day and not be in pain. And because the lace overlay (the doily part) was so intricate and hemmed about the bottom, it would have needed a professional dressmaker to alter it and would have cost over $500. Debbie was the dressmaker/tailor at the shop and she would have done this for me, increasing the cost of the dress to $1950. Added to that is the fact that I would have had to return to Perth to get the dress fitted again before the wedding once the alterations had been done. Now on the day I thought that this might have been impossible, although Shane has since assured me it would have been okay, and workable. It had cost me $360 to fly down this time and I was lucky to get that so cheap; I would have been unlikely to pay less than $500 to fly down again in the future, let alone the trouble of getting Mum to have a day off to watch the girls during the week and Shane managing them over the weekend, which involved a lot of prepping beforehand by me!

So I started to sweat, thinking that my beautiful dress was going to cost me in the realm of about $2500. And beautiful as it was, I knew deep down inside that although I would look great and love it on the day, come the next day I would be stuck with an extremely expensive dress that I might be lucky to get $200 bucks for. The common-sense part of my brain started to take over the dress-loving part of my brain... And the winner? Try on more dresses.

I continued with a couple and then referred to an electric blue bridesmaids gown we'd picked out. I'd seen this on the website and loved it, especially as it only cost $330 and in my still-in-hedland, not-yet-seen-any-white-dresses frame of mind, it was perfectly what I wanted. So I put this gown on and Wow! We had another freakout; it looked so nice on me. I needed to have some of the cleavage stitched over as I showed a bit too much, but you could see this would be easily done and the colour looked amazing on me. But not bridal enough. The next decision was, white? Or gold? I tried on both and Lisa and Ani decided gold was the one. I wasn't convinced either way but apparently the gold looked better with my colouring.

As you can see in the background of the photo, there is a cupboard of tiaras, feathers, combs, hats and whatnots to choose from and next to that a big array of veils. We immediately found an elbow-length veil that was gold with a silver wave along the bottom (matching my beach theme) and Lisa attached it with a little tiara. I hated this immediately as I was looking for something different, like a flower or little hat. Ani and I sussed it out and found in a box a bamboo and ribbon fascinator coloured gold and black. We put this to one side of where the veil was attached at my crown and VOILA! The look was complete.

The dress had to be ordered in my size and colour so I won't get that til Xmas and I brought the veil, $190 and fascinator, $60, home with me on the plane. And the next day I was lucky enough to find the most gorgeous black long-sleeved Alannah Hill cardigan with embroidered flowers on it that would be perfect to give me the warmth I would need over the dress during the after-ceremony, before-reception travels and whatnot. Let alone the fact that this cardigan is so gorgeous I would live in it otherwise, $200 bucks or not.

Now all I need it a black pair of shoes (and I have heaps of them) and my outfit is done. So far I am at $799 for my 4 purchases and am really happy with them. Well I was until I got home and suffered an agonising few days of indecision and whether I'd done the right thing. I was torn up inside, had a good cry and decided to forget about it til tomorrow. The next day, I rang Legends and was told, changing my mind or not, the gold dress was mine and I could order the other but my deposit could not be changed over. And that made my mind up for me. There. Enough.

My sister is excited about my decision as this means her bridesmaids dress can be black. Then all we need is a black waistcoat for the best man and a gold one for Shane and the wedding party is done. Black and gold doesn't really go with my beach theme but my colours are gold (sand) and blue (sea) so at least the golds will match. Plus I think the room would POP a bit more with blue accents throughout the white tablecloths and gold sashes and whatnot, rather than black which could look a bit dank. Hmm, not sure. It's hard as I can't organise centrepieces and things from afar, this is something I'll need to do in Geraldton at a later date.

Anyway, this is my dress journey. I am glad to share it. I have been told by a few people that I will only get married once and I need to get the dress I love, but I know myself too well and I think I would regret spending so much money on one thing, when that much would go towards so many other items that would make our wedding day so special. TTFN.