Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shopping daze


Do not fear, my lovely readers I have not gone all cheesy on you. I am not attempting some sort of corny title. I do truly mean daze, not "days" in a bad ad kinda way.


What I am talking about here is the sort of deer in the headlights reaction I tend to have when faced with a supermarket or any large shopping centre. I find that if I do not pack myself a neatly drawn up list of things I have to buy and where I have to buy them, then I always find myself frozen and stupid. Frozen by the lights? The noise? The people? I do not know what it is exactly but it is quite strange. I can enter a supermarket with my IQ in tact, withing 2 minutes I am reduced to a fumbling idiot. I can wander aimlessly up and down the aisles. Staring at things on shelves not really even thinking about whether I want to buy them, just staring off in a daze.


I go completely stupid! For a while there I thought it was my eyesight not adjusting well to the bright lights. Then I considered the temperature changes. So cold in the dairy aisle, f-f-freezing in the ice cream section then warmish around the rotisserie chickens. I can't blame the little Tinker because my shopping daze problem existed well before her arrival.


I have been known to pop down to the supermarket to buy 3 things and come home with about 13 bags of things. None of them anything to do with the three I actually set out to buy. Time slips away when I am at the supermarket. I don't know where it goes. Maybe I lose it in a particular aisle? Is the aisle with the eggs? There are so many different eggs now. Did you know you can buy free range organic eggs grown in Queensland by Japanese farmers? Well you can at my local shopping centre.


It isn't just the supermarket either. It is the rest of the mall as well. I am completely unable to go shopping without a target. I can get lost in the mall all day long and come home with absolutely nothing but a pair of black socks for my husband. Of course these day long trips to the mall are a thing of the past now that I have my Tinker but you know what I mean. Now I just get 20 minutes trips to the mall where I wander aimlessly and leave with a Teletubbie or something.


When I had money and or time to burn my shopping daze wasn't such a disability because it didn't really matter that I set out to buy a raincoat, wasted 8 hours at shopping centre and came home with a bag of broccolini and a manicure. These days however it is important that I get what I set out to buy and for this reason I am one of those anal shoppers who takes a typed out shopping list sectioned off into aisles and even separated into sides. For example at supermarket A.) I know that eggs are in the 3rd aisle on the right opposite the tinned tomatoes and at supermarket B.) I know the chicken consomme is in the 5th aisle on the left opposite the cous cous. On the days where I have not made myself a list I always come home with crazy things like weird sausages.
That was Monday night. My reason? There was a man cooking up free samples and because I tasted one and there was nobody else there at the time I felt awkward saying thank you and walking away while he had his Madonna-type headset thing on and he was looking right at me, so I took a packet and put them in my trolley.


Is there anyone else out there who suffers from 'shopping daze'? Tell me about it!




No I shall not.

Now I know I like to save the funnies for Fridays but I couldn't resist sharing this with you.

I got an interesting email from one of my new readers. Here it is:

my name is fandy in indonesia. I am amazed to see your blog. it seems you have a lot of experience. Shall you be with me?

Now I know my blog has been all prettied up and all, but honestly this is not on!

Oink Oink am I in trouble?

So I read this:

This swine flu is quite infectious, but in some cases it might not be a serious infection. You’d just have flu like symptoms, but there is also diarrhea and vomiting in this variety too. But in the early stages it will seem just like an ordinary flu.


On the Crikey website and now I am convinced that the tortillas I thougth about buying yesterday have given me the Mexican pig flu.


Ok so I didn't actually buy them and they aren't even from Mexico but still... I looked at them on the shelf at Woolworths. The very same place I started to feel really sick yesterday and now here I am spewing into my very favourite mop bucket and wondering if I'm going the way of little porky here:



I had better buckle up and get chipper because tomorrow is the sewing class I told you all about here, and I'm not sure my husband could face another day of almost-self-sufficiency.

Oh and in other matters, a few people have asked why my blog roll keeps fluffing up -I'm working on the blog roll trying to zhoozh it up a bit so bear with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sick Note

I feel that I should show you all my sick note:




I spent my "early night" in bed with my mop bucket last night. So I'm going to be out of action a day or two. Cross your fingers the Tinker doesn't get it because the only thing worse than a sick mummy with a baby is a sick mummy looking after a sick baby.

On the plus side, my husband has learnt how to switch on the stove. Miracles do happen people!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Exciting News

This is just a quick post to say I have found the perfect seller to collaborate with for Stepford Dreams' very first prize giveaway. I'm awfully excited! Will be back with details in the next few days, stay tuned.

Now for a quick laugh or lesson depending on your feelings about folding clothes. This is a video teaching people how to fold a t-shirt:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An0mFZ3enhM&feature=related

I know, I know I should stop posting videos about folding! I just really like things to be neat on shelves. Sad I know.

Ok I'm off to treat myself with an extremely early night. Once upon a time a treat might have involved something tangible like a new outfit, a nice dinner, a day at the spa. Now it is getting a really long night's sleep. Small pleasures!

Tell me, what are your small pleasures?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Food- You name it, I'll eat it.


Since having my Tinker my diet has changed drastically.
When I was working I'd start the day with my fancy Carmens muesli. Then I'd drive to court and I'd buy myself a coffee at the cafe facing the courthouse. Not the one next door, not the one behind. I was very particular and I only liked my coffee if the older lady with the accent made it.

Then I'd slink down to the cells and see my clients while munching on neatly chopped organic celery sticks and slurping my coffee. Court usually breaks for recess mid morning and I'd have my little parcel of diced carrot and dried fruit while sipping my Evian water.

At lunchtime I'd usually eat down in the cells because time was short. I usually had a salad collected from a particular shop by one of my colleagues. While I was intensely busy I always managed to stick to my diet, and my 28" jeans proved it.
Now for breakfast I have yogurt. I lick it off my pyjama top. That's where it lands when my daughter throws it at me. Morning tea is a chocolate eaten in the pantry so Tinker doesn't see me and demand "choc-choc". Lunch is whatever she has refused, usually eaten cold, with a plastic baby spoon. Afternoon tea? Oh that is a cup of coffee if I'm lucky and she is had a sleep.
Dinner? Usually I have this at about 9pm on my own, in front of the computer. Usually a chocolate bar, a glass of wine, some toast and a piece of fruit.
Nice.

Even the 5 second rule doesn't apply anymore. It is more like the 5 minute rule. Tinker will throw her sandwich on the floor and then it becomes my lunch.

When I am out and about I'll eat anything. Gone are the fussy -I-won't eat-there!-days. I'll eat anywhere, anything. Motherhood does that to you I think. You can't afford to be fussy you have no time for such frivolity.
My little girl on the other hand, is uber fussy when it comes to food. She drives me mad. Basically she lives on yogurt, grapes, toast and cheese. I keep checking for Scurvy but so far so good.
For those with kids, what has happened to your diet following parenthood and for those without kids- sit down and have a fussy meal just for me tonight, ok?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hello Sexy!

Nope I'm not talking to YOU.

Actually I'm talking to my blog. A couple of my friends kindly mentioned my poor blog's ugly appearance and having no techno brains at all I begged for some help and as you can see it is looking pretty flash already!

Thanks again for helping me girls, I can't be seen to have a fugly blog now can I?

Very Sad News

Dear little baby Beau who I posted about yesterday has now passed away. Please spare a thought for his family and if you are the praying type please pray for the family.
Rest in peace sweet little fellow. xx

Lest We Forget

Today is ANZAC Day, a very important day on the Aussie calendar. I noticed the majority of people that read my blog are actually not here in Australia so I wonder if you know much about today?

It is a national public holiday for Australia and New Zealand as well, we are meant to stop what we are doing and take some time to remember the ANZACS who fought for us at Gallipoli in Turkey in WWI.

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Sadly, more than 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died at Gallipoli, it was a complete disaster. ANZAC Day is now not just for remembering the lives lost at Gallipoli but all the fallen ANZACs.

ANZAC Day starts with the dawn service where we pay our respects to the fallen Diggers (that's what we call ANZAC soldiers). A bugler plays The Last Post and we have two minutes silence. People lay floral wreaths on the memorials and prayers are said.

Later in the morning we have the ANZAC Day Parade where all returned soldiers from all the wars will march in each capital city. It is shown on TV and people line the streets to watch. Now many young people march, they wear their grandparents medals and march on their behalf. Some veterans don't like that and there has been some controversy in the past but I think they are over it now and every seems to march together happily.

Later in the day, people (like my husband) go the pub and play Two-Up. It is a weird gambling game that is only allowed to be played legally on ANZAC Day. I have never played it but my husband, the avid gambler, loves it and goes along every year to one of the oldest pubs in Sydney in The Rocks and plays with his mates. The way it works is one person is the spinner and he tosses two coins up into the air and the people playing will gamble on whether the two coins will land heads up, tails up, or one head up and one tail up.

One year my drunk husband came home with his winnings. I had a look in his wallet and found a few FAKE $50 notes. We were horrified that someone would be so awful as to do that on ANZAC Day. They were obviously fakes but as with most people playing Two-Up late into the afternoon, he had had a few drinks and didn't notice the scam until I showed him. When he thought about it, he remembered a few young men who had joined the game later on. "They didn't look like your typical Two-Up blokes" according to my very patriotic husband. So there you go!

Another thing we do on ANZAC Day is baking. ANZAC Biscuits are easy and fun to make and the Tinker and I will make a batch this afternoon. They came about after women used to bake them here and send them overseas to the Aussies diggers to eat at war. They keep really well! Here is a recipe for you to try from taste.com.au and some photos of the dawn service taken from News.com.au:

ANZAC Biscuits

Ingredients
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (85g) desiccated coconut
3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
125g butter
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, coconut and brown sugar.
Put the butter, golden syrup and 2 tbs water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart.
Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack so it cools completely




Edited to add a few more photos. These ones are from The Age







Friday, April 24, 2009

Kindness

One of the loveliest and most talented photographers in Australia is doing a very kind thing for a very worthy cause.

Rachel is calling for people to submit photos of their children with the words "I'm praying for Beau" a little baby boy with Type 1 SMA he is 10 months old and not very well at all.

His parents have asked for people to pray for him, so if you are the praying type please do and if not, please spare a loving thought for this little fellow.

Rachel has asked for people to send the pictures to her and if you are interested you can follow THIS link.

Rachel says I want to fill a gallery with “I’m praying for Beau” photos.
I need you to take a photo that includes the words “I’m praying for Beau”. The creativity is up to you.I want your photo to represent you or your family or your home etc. I want to get photos from all over Australia…the world.
You could have your child hold up the words on a sign. You could write the words in the sand. Your could draw them with chalk on the concrete.


Beau's parents would really appreciate the effort at what must be a soul destroying time for them so if you have the time, please do send a cute photo through for little Beau.

Life seems very unfair sometimes.

Something Sweet

As most of you know, I am a wannabe crafter. I buy all the gadgets and materials and then I either botch the projects or I just pack them away for when I suddenly acquire some talent and skill. Something I planned to do was frame some beautiful fabrics. As always I have not done this. I did start it, but I didn't finish. Ok so define 'start'?

Ok fine I didn't start it but I did prepare the project. I bought the fabric. Maybe one day.



I recently found Ish and Chi a fabulous Sydney based etsy store run by Viv the author of the gorgeous blog by the same name. She does wonderful things framing fabric so I thought I'd show you something really lovely from her Etsy store here:







You can buy this beauty HERE to hang on your wall for $25US I think it is a fantastic price for a really pretty piece of art. It isn't only something for Sydneysiders either, Ish & Chi ship internationally.

I am in love with peonies and had hoped to feature them in my wedding bouquets. Unfortunately they were not in season when I got married so ever since I have lusted after these beautiful flowers in any shape or form.

Have a great Friday folks, I'm off to prepare lunch. The Tinker and I have a lunch playdate today with my lovely friend Laura and her gorgeous girl Sophia.

xx

Fast Friday Funny

TGIF!


So here is my weekly Fast Friday Funny




Poor ol' Don, every photo I see of her scares me even more. Her tandoori tan and her scary white hair. Lips like The Joker... The plastic surgery she keeps having is just frightening. She is almost like an alien thing. Such a shame what these celebs do to themselves.

This delightful picture can be found on one of my all time favourite blogs for a laugh. Awful Plastic Surgery. Cruel but oh so entertaining.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big Wigs... asking questions.


"He is a big wig you know. He lives in America."

-"Oh."

"He is in Chicago, you know he lives in one of those fancy suburbs. Jerry Springer is next door. When I call him on Skype I hear them saying "Jer-ry Jer-ry" in the background. And Oprah, you know Oprah? She is also his neighbour."

-"wow. I'm sorry I left the baby in the car, I've really gotta go."

This is the conversation I had with the dry-cleaner tonight. Verbatim. He was talking about his son and I was lying.

My baby was not in the car. I would never leave her in the car. She was at home with Grandma but I had to get the hell out of the store, he was doing my head in.

Every week I take my husband's shirts in to be pressed. I am never going to do them myself. No way. That's where the buck stops I'm afraid. I may wear an apron but I won't iron his shirts. Why waste an hour per shirt when I can pay$2.50 a shirt?

The dry cleaner and his fanciful stories that never seem to end just keep coming back week after week got me thinking. I am such a talker. When in doubt, I talk. I feel awkward and rude asking questions and prying so I tend to overcompensate and just spill my news instead.

It's not that I don't care or I am not interested I just feel rude prying into others' business. I hate it when people pry a lot but then I reckon people might think I share too much.

As with everything in life I suppose you have to find the balance. Maybe I should try harder to ask more and tell less.

What are your thoughts? Are you someone who asks or tells?

Now before you point this out, yes I realise that *if* my dry cleaner's son did in fact live next door to Jerry he wouldn't hear the sound of the audience because Jerry's silly show is filmed in a studio. I really wanted to say that, but it is probably the 10th time I have heard that story so I was forced to lie about the baby instead of engaging further.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mrs Mop

Ok so the Americans have Roswell, Australia has the Dingo that stole Azaria and the Brits have Princess Di's death ... and I have a conspiracy theory of my own.

It may not be as flashy or as interesting but I tell you, it is sooo real. On the edge of your seats?

Mops. I reckon that all mop companies have colluded to pull a massive swifty over me and every other housewife who likes a clean floor. They want us to buy a new mop a month. Not just a new head but an entirely new mop.

Back in the day, I had a very efficient cleaning company who'd handle all manner of mop related issues. I had nothing to do with how my floors were cleaned, they just got done. Yes I paid for this to happen but that was as far as I involved myself. However, when I was pregnant and unable to continue working anymore (long story, think spew and lots of it and then think how that might work with gaol cells and courtrooms and you get my drift) we put our house on the market in order to get us a "family home".

Suddenly how clean my floors were and how shiny they looked really mattered to me. I became fixated on mopping. I was sure that each potential buyer that came through and didn't make an offer was horrified at the non-shiny floor. So I decided to mop the floors a couple of times a day as well the myriad of other chores the nesting pregnant person deems essential.

When we moved to our current home I brought the mop with us. It was an Oates brand sponge head mop. Just in case you were wondering. It died just after my daughter was born. So I went to the supermarket to buy a replacement head for it. They didn't have the right one. So I went to KMart in the same mall. Nope, they didn't have it either. Frustrated and hot because it was January and I had a newborn attached to my chest by way of a sweat factory I mean a Baby Bjorn carrier, I just decided to ditch the Oates mop and buy a Vileda mop.

Obviously I wasn't in too much of a new baby daze at that moment because I was smart enough to buy every single replacement head the store had for that particular mop. I thought I was quite clever. That lasted a while. Until recently when the last mop head went to its final resting place. I went back to KMart. Nope they didn't have that head anymore. So I went to the supermarket, Bunnings, another KMart, BigW and two different branches of Woolworths. None sold the stupid Vileda head to fit our mop. I refused to be beaten again.

So I drove all over Sydney on the Easter weekend in search of this stupid mop head. I refused to be beaten by the conspiracy. Woolworths, Bunnings, Coles, Target, KMart and even The Reject Shop. I tried them. I rode that wave. And I was washed up.

Sad and beaten I limped home and admitted defeat. My husband looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. There was a time when I'd be broken by a really difficult criminal case or some awkward office politics but no not this time. I was broken by a mop. A mop conspiracy I tell you. And a big one at that.

So I walked up the road and I bought one of those old fashioned cotton mops at my local grocery store. The next week I realised I needed a squeezy bucket for it. Without the squeezy bucket you are just dragging a dirty muddy flood through your house. Because I left the mop soaking wet for a week it was ruined and I had to throw out the head and get a new one.

I went to Bunnings and bought a special squeezy bucket that came with two free Oates mop heads. Came home, tried to fit the free head onto the grocery store mop and of course it didn't work. So I went to Kmart. Nope no corresponding Oates mop there either.

So what did I do? Did I fall on the floor in a heap crying at KMart? No I did not. I stood tall. I bought 2 new mops. Yes two. One an Oates one, one a Vileda, I bought 8 replacement heads. A large Swiss Meringue and a large latte. I sat on the massage chair (you know the types at the shops where you pay $2 and sit on the vibrating chair like a freak?) and I ate my meringue and I drank my coffee and then I left.

I came home, kissed my husband, hugged my daughter and smiled. I was practically new age. I was practically one of those revolting happy positive idiots that read The Secret and other self help books. I was not broken and bitter because the mops had beaten me. I had surrendered myself to the mop conspiracy and I was no longer broken. So what, I have to spend a small fortune every month on mop supplies. I do not sweat the small stuff. I am a housewife extraordinaire.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is a yummy mummy?

Is it this freak below?



Or this one here?



No. I think a yummy mummy is one that actually eats cake! So if you are like me and you actually bake cakes for your kids and then actually God forbid... eat the yummy cakes afterwards then you might like this cute necklace here:



I found it on Etsy this morning, you can buy it for $65US from a seller called sudlow. I think it might be a really fun Mothers Day gift *hint hint* husband hello?

Here is the link:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=23822831

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wrong baby?


I've just read this article, linked here:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25350189-2,00.html

I must say I'm a little surprised. Not surprised that hospitals have tagged the wrong babies, or brought mothers the wrong babies from the nursery. I can totally see how that would happen from time to time. The ankle ID tags that my Tinker had when she was born would often fall off all the time in the hospital.

What surprises me is this bit:

In one case, a mother had to have HIV and other tests after being given the wrong baby to breastfeed.

So the nurse hands the mother the baby (the wrong baby) and the mother attaches the baby and feeds him/her. How could the mother NOT see that it wasn't her child?

Is it just me, or does that seem strange to you? I mean the minute I saw my daughter's face I recognised her. Not from the weird squiggly ultrasound images I'd seen but just... because. If you had taken her off me, even 5 minutes after giving birth (when it was fair to say I was in one heck of a state) I still would have known right away if you'd brought back the wrong kid!

There is no way I could have looked at her face as I fed her and not realised.Is it because my Tinker had a mop of flaming red hair? The only baby with hair that colour in the nursery? No. It was just that as soon as I saw her, I knew who she was. Sounds completely soppy and irrational. I know.

And I'm definitely not one for soppy or romantic. But that is the honest truth. Tell me, are there any other mothers out there who agree with me on this one? Isn't it odd?!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Invisible Gift

My husband and I have recently celebrated our two year wedding anniversary and we were chatting today about some of the funnier elements of weddings and we ended up talking about wedding gifts.



I'm sure you all have some funny gift tales to tell? Please post them here. I love hearing about strange wedding gifts. We had a bridal registry so the majority of our gifts were things we actually picked out so none of those were funny. Well maybe a few of them were but that was just because I chose them in a semiconscious state thanks to my pre-wedding diet.



The funniest gifts of all were the invisible gifts. Also known as the thin air gifts. Two lots of guests actually attended our wedding and didn't bring a gift, not even a card, not even a sticker, not even an email. For me, and the way I was raised, this was ghastly behaviour! See it isn't about what the gift was, it was the fact that these two groups of guests (who are actually pretty close friends of ours) didn't even have the manners to write a quick note saying congratulations.



When it comes to etiquette particularly with weddings and so on, I am very particular so as soon as we got back from our honeymoon I was fastidiously handwriting our thank you cards. Making sure I thanked each guest for their gift and I went into detail about how wonderful and thoughtful each item was- I made up a spreadsheet so that I wouldn't make any mistakes with who gave what.



When I finished my list I noticed we were short a few gifts. I began to panic, had the gifts been left at the reception? Had I attributed the wrong gifts to the wrong guests? What was I going to do? I must have messed up the list! I was ever so stressed about it. (yes, I know. I needed to get a life!) After some very George Costanza-ish moments I decided the thing to do was to thank these guests for something that didn't exist.



That way I figured they would reply and say "oh no I didn't give you the knife sharpener, I gave you the BBQ tongs". I thought it was such a clever plan. That way I'd get to the bottom of the mystery and I could thank people for the right gifts. It never really occurred to me that this particular investment banker who earned close to a million bucks a year could have attended our wedding without even a card.I was certain it was just a case of "mistaken gift" not invisible gift.

Well I sent out the thank you card. Dear Mr Big, thank you so much for sharing our special day. We cannot wait to use the stunning decanter, perhaps you will join us for dinner and a good drop of vino to christen it? Lots of Love, blah blah.

Well what do you know? Mr Big replies. I'd love to come for dinner, how is next Sunday? I'll bring Miss So & So my new girlfriend. P.s I didn't get you the decanter, actually I didn't get you a gift. I totally forgot, sorry!

So he came to dinner and there was no mention of the gift. The next time we saw Mr Big following the dinner at our home he actually picked us up in his car. I sat in the back next to a large box, beautifully gift wrapped. I assumed it must have been our gift. After dinner he dropped us home and I invited him in for coffee. he came in had his coffee and left. The gift wasn't for us.

Yep this is a totally true story. Strange, yes? Please share your wedding gift funnies with me!

Feeling crafty?


*image from clothkits.co.uk*

Thanks to a comment by one of my new readers "mom seeks life " and the lovely Wynona from Ivy Designs who found the link, I thought I'd do a quick post about Clothkits.
This cute little pair of overalls (aka dungarees for the Brits) could be yours, all you need to do is buy the kit and follow the instructions!
What a fab little gift for someone who likes making their own things but doesn't have the creative talent equal to the likes of Wynona. The kit comes ready for you to get sewing, or as the site says you can buy them ready made (but that would be cheating now wouldn't it?)
I love crafting kits! I'm hopeless at cutting and I need to be spoonfed when it comes to sewing or I go off on very very ugly tangents. I really enjoy making things for my little girl, because she is so young I can get away with dressing her in my creations before she realises her Mama is a dork and the clothes I make are wonky!
Anyway thanks again Wyn and Mom Seeks Life for mentioning Clothkits.
Find them here:
Edited to add an Aussie link thanks to Miss Rosie:
I think I may develop an addiction to Larkmade. What a great online store, thanks again for the heads up, 5 mins into it and I have already broken my online shopping ban. I bought two kits, nobody tell my husband!

Have a great Sunday. xx

Cough up cancer money!

"Tissue timing is crucial when you have a runny nose and no nostril hair."

This is what my best friend just said to me. Funny, yes. The fact that she has to have chemo and it makes all her hair fall out- not funny.

Please, please please donate some money. The more money we raise, the more research can be done and the closer we are to a cure so that nobody else has to go through this.

Sure nostril hair can be unsightly, but losing it should be a thing of choice dammit.

Here is the link- the thought of me of all people attempting a 4km run is funny enough, the fact that I'm actually going to post pictures of my humiliation is even better. Worth $5 surely?

https://mothersdayclassic.trickytix.com.au/sponsor/view/1768/carolyn-galvin

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wisdom & Fashion


“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird?”


I am definitely not an owl. I am more like a woodpecker, banging on all day not really saying much but making a lot of annoying, repetitive noise. For someone who so admires wise folk it is a shame I don't strive to be more owl-like. I speak before I think and I disappoint myself a lot with my overly talkative nature.


Really I think I should try a lot harder to be more wise. Now that I have a child I often think about the example I am setting for her. So many things I'd like to change about myself, one of them being my big mouth!


Anyway on the topic of owls I thought I might take the opportunity to show you all the work of a very wise lady. Wynona is terribly modest and oh so talented. She has a childrenswear label with her sister Anna, it is called Ivy Designs. A beautiful Aussie handmade-with-love brand that is close to my heart. Their much anticipated winter range has just been released and it did not disappoint. My very favourite is the Owl Pinny pictured below:



Image taken from here: http://www.ivydesigns.bigcartel.com/product/owl-pinny


Oh how I love owls, they are so beautiful and perfect for this little frock. The fabric is ever so pretty and so stylish without being an adults dress in a tiny size. I am very particular about the way I dress my daughter, I am of the belief that children should enjoy their childhood in gorgeous playful clothes. I see no room for children to dress like adults, in clothing designed to makes waistlines look smaller and chests bigger.

I know these days kids are being forced to grow up so quickly. The sexualisation of children worries me greatly, little things like babies in bikinis and mini skirts might be harmless fun to some but to me symbolises a step away from what a childhood should be all about- nice, clean fun! You can get about in skanky attire to your hearts content as an adult why not wear the superman cape to the shops with rain boots and a cute sunhat now? I love pretty childrens clothes but I have no time for sexy or tweenie.

I really think it is a shame to miss out on your only real chance to be playful and innocent. Why start wearing midriff tops and hot pants with lip gloss and trashy shoes when you are 6? You have your whole lives to do that. I'm not into awful dowdy clothes, I love fashion and I love stylish little outfits, I just like them to be fit for children.

What are your thoughts?

It's friday night now and I think I might sit back and read a few magazines I treated myself with this week. Have a lovely weekend everyone. I'm off to a funny store called The Foam Booth to collect my foam order tomorrow. Yes I have some crafting in store, I will definitely post photos when and if I achieve anything of note, I promise!

Like Mother Like Daughter

Tinker and I have a playdate filled day today so I'm just going to post a Fast Friday Funny for you all rather quickly.




Now lets just look past the bad shoes, and scary blonde extensions that look like a pair of cheap barbie wigs. What on earth is going on here? Clearly the mother has a case of Gerontophobia- fear of growing old but heck she has some other crazy issues too. Oh so so wrong.


HOw shocking, imagine having your mum turn around and say "you know what darling you are so much better looking than I am. I think I'm going to spend my life savings on plastic surgery so I can look JUST LIKE YOU."



Noooooo. This is just all kinds of wrong and I don't have anything to say, I'm just going to have a little vomit in my mouth and move on with my day.


Image from http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/i-barfd.jpg

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Expat Dreams...

Image from http://thevolabroad.blogspot.com/2006_04_16_archive.html

For years and years I have dreamt of being an expat, in some far off place drinking Pimms and feeling all colonial and fabulous. It started with my dream of becoming a diplomat. I was all set to give it a whirl until I found out in second year uni that it is the career diplomats who get the crappy postings and the political appointees who get the swanky roles. Not one for politics I soon ditched that plan. became a criminal defence lawyer and never looked back...


Well I did, once or twice but then I reminded myself if I joined DFAT I'd be posted out to somewhere like The Sudan and it wouldn't really be all Pimmsy there now would it?!


Lucky for me my husband also has a love of travel and he has also wanted to nab an overseas posting. Just when we were ready to transfer offshore with his job, we went on our honeymoon and as fate would have it we fell pregnant with our little Tinker. A wonderful blessing! Suddenly our plans went from wanting a funky OS expat life to wanting a house in the suburbs.


Now we have the big old suburban home (with all its dramas- don't mention the slate roof leaking) we are starting to itch again for a move offshore. Somewhere different, somewhere foreign not a culture like ours... Asia maybe? Thailand? Hong Kong? The idea of a live in domestic helper is very appealing when you have young children.


Often I like to excuse my housewifery failings with thoughts of 'well if I was in Singapore with my live in helper I'd totally have time to make a 4 course meal' and so on. Anyway I was faced with some rather overdue chores today and instead of actually doing the pile of handwash-only items I sat down and read the news and stumbled upon this article here about the maid who laced her employer's meals with her own menstrual blood.

Apparently she believed it had some medicinal powers to improve the relationship with her employers. Ok so I've totally gone off my expat idea for the time being. Convenient really because there are no jobs offshore so we are stuck here anyway!


Article in full here: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25342581-13762,00.html

Welcome!


Gosh I'm so surprised. I dashed out to buy some foam (more on that later) and came home to see my blog following had doubled today. Wow! Something to do with being a Blog of Note for today, not sure how/why that happened but I'm very flattered so many people are interested in my little blog. Welcome to all the new readers, thank you for all the nice comments and fabulous tips as well. I hope you stick around. xx

I like trees, but not this much!

A follow on from my post about needing a modern hat stand for my handbags. Vanessa came up with this cute tree, it seemed perfect really. So I phoned this morning.







Unfortunately it is $437 +GST. Poo! I need more IKEA pricing if I want to convince my husband that we need a giant fake tree to house my bags. Back to the hunt.

I do not have a juicy bum

I have an almost large for my frame, dimply flattish bum so no thank you I do not wish to wear anything from Juicy Couture a la fellow mummy of a 1 year old Christina Aguilera but I wonder, is there a great tracksuit/sweatsuit alternative for those of us who don't want to get about the burbs with the word "juicy" written on our posteriors?

Jeans? Yes they used to be my never fail emergency pants. Unfortunately since having my daughter the only pair of jeans that I can get over my thighs are my maternity jeans. Last weekend I made my husband confiscate them and hide them downstairs in the mancave so I wouldn't be able to find them again.

It is not ok to be wearing maternity jeans when you are 15 months post baby. It's just not ok but I refuse to buy a new pair of regular jeans 4 sizes bigger than the 23 pairs I own that are NOW way too small. So what to wear on those cold ratty mornings when you need to whisk the baby off to the supermarket for a grape emergency. (more about my daughter's grape addiction another time) could I really venture out in a pair of trackydacks?

I have always been against them in public unless you are A.)Paris Hilton B.)An athlete (maybe after my 4k run I will qualify as an athlete? or C.)A middle aged housewife who has given up on trying to look presentable.

Please don't let me be C.) already? How did that happen? One day I was in The Maldives on my very luxe honeymoon and the next day I am here searching for a pair of tracksuit pants to wear in public. Oh gosh!

Any other pudgy mamas out there who are struggling to hang onto the old pre baby body and not be tempted to buy a velour leisure suit with juicy on the bum?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So close!

Ok so I'm back. We had a couple of days without Internet. I survived. Just...
The linen press looks a whole lot more Martha-ish and the bookshelf in the guest bedroom is now arranged in alphabetical order. Amazing what you can do when you don't have emails to send and mindless blog posts to write. I actually used Tinker's nap time for productive things, I even did some weeding!

While I was away I noticed so many of you have been onto my sponsorship page. Thank you all so very much for getting behind me and helping to raise money for cancer research. I must say it has me worried now, with so much support I may actually have to live through the run to come back and tell you what it was like. I was counting on collapsing about 200metres into it.

If you are wondering, I'm now at $919. Amazing! Almost at a thousand dollars... so close- anyone else feel like pitching in? It would be nice to get to the $1000 mark by this weekend.

The site ranks you according to funds raised, being the type-A personality that I am, this has me itching to win. Right now I'm at #6, a few thousand behind the top spots. We all know that the combination of my inherent laziness and the 10 kilos I've still got to lose post-baby means that I'll never win the run but wouldn't it be nice if I raised the most money?

I always wanted to be a doctor. Shame I'm not smart enough. This may be the closest I get to finding a cure for cancer. So since my best friend now has cancer on her lungs I thought someone else might like to *COUGH COUGH* cough up some money!

Nothing like a lame joke for the cancer patient. Pretty please, help me get to a thousand by the weekend.

Click here to sponsor me in this humiliating run for cancer: https://mothersdayclassic.trickytix.com.au/sponsor/view/1768

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ambition

As usual, I have bitten off more than I can chew with my latest crafting adventure.


Again I think it boils down to my penchant for idealism, I had this idea that being the clever housewife that I am, I could reupholster a chair. Umm yeah right.


Why someone with absolutely no experience with anything remotely crafty could do such a thing I do not know. Anyway Last night at about10pm I decided it was the ideal time to get going on the chair project.


So this is the chair before:



During:



And after I had finished ripping it all off and removing the leg that I can't reconnect...




So now I'm totally regretting it and I wish I'd just put the new fabric on over the original mustard velour. I have no idea how to make it all smooth again, I guess I'm going to have to find some sort of filling and interfacing?

I have no idea whether I should get rid of this gross stinky brown stuff? I don't really even know what it does, it seems to be the cover for the springs... Anyone know anything about chairs?



What a dill I always do this. Now I suppose this poor old chair will have one of three futures:

1.)Death by way of council pick-up

2.)Life imprisonment by way of being banished to the cellar room where all my unfinished projects go

3.)Resurrection and new life by way of me taking the bloody thing to an overpriced upholstery store

Hmmm do we choose life or death?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

...and I'm a chocoholic



Happy Easter everyone, I hope you all enjoy the long weekend.




I have decided that once the current batch of chocolate in our house is all gone, there will be no more. NO MORE.




Seriously. It's crunch time. Bugger. That made me think of A.) a Crunchie bar and B.) a Crunch bar you know those rice crispy chocolatey momentos of the late 80's... or is that just me?




Anyway I've had it with my post baby body and I think it is time for me to cut the cord, the chocolate has to go.




Wish me luck, this is going to be tricky.


In other Easter news, I'm wondering what you all do in terms of decorating? I don't have any childhood memories of decorating the house for Easter at all but it seems to be the thing now. Or is that just amongst the modern Martha types?


I haven't really done anything here other than put a pot of yellow tulips on a window sill in the kitchen. my Tinker has a little baby watering can that her best friend bought her at Christmas time so I help her to water the Easter tulips with it. Then I added a little bunny toy to my lemon bowl and voila ... a haphazard Easter ledge.


If any of you have actually gone to some effort or perhaps you have just shoved a plastic bunny onto a shelf somewhere, I'd love it if you sent through a picture for me to post here next to my sad little shelf.



Friday, April 10, 2009

A Bird in the Hand...


Just sharing this lovely little bird with you.
He is a little grey Titmouse bird made entirely of 100% felt wool. All handmade and so so pretty.
I'd really love one for myself but we are on an economy drive right now so I thought I'd share this great gift idea here. So sweet, so delicate. Who doesn't need a tiny little birdy like this? You can buy this for $12 US from this very talented Etsy seller here:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

MONEY MONEY MONEY- I want yours


Ok people, the time has come.


I hate exercise more than anything but I have agreed to do the Mothers Day Classic, a 4km run.


My best friend has cancer and she only has one half decent lung working and even she is particpating in this event so how could a lazy so & so like me get out of it?!


Now comes your role in all of this craziness.


I really need sponsors.


Please please please even if you can only spare $2, would you please sponsor me to run this event?


Just think... How lame would it be if I didn't even raise some money for cancer research AND I collapsed after a minute of jogging?


I am so unfit and I hate running so please think about donating money, I promise to post pics of me looking like a sad red faced tomato doing the run. I even bought one of the poxy t-shirts to wear.


Here is the link to sponsor me:


MY BEST FRIEND HAS CANCER. So I think you should all cough up and sponser me to raise money for cancer research. I'm running the Mothers Day Classic for Alli. You all know how much I hate exercise so please donate some money and support cancer research. Do it for Alli. Pretty please? Here is my link:


Mothers and babies

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about homebirths, freebirths and hospital births.

A lot of people think how a mother gives birth to her baby should be entirely her decision.

They tend to use the line the pro-abortionists use- "her body, her choice".

For me personally, a woman's body is her own. Yep I agree...UNTIL she becomes pregnant. Then she is also the guardian of her child's body as well.

So she must always make decisions in her child's best interest. That is what being a mother is all about.

So in my mind it is insane that any mother would choose NOT to be as close to a neonatal intensive care unit when giving birth to her baby.

Fortunately very few babies need admission to high dependency units like the NICU at birth, but some do. And often there is no indication prior, often low risk mums can go through very normal labours only to deliver a baby who requires life saving treatment immediately.

Why take the risk? Why deprive a new born of immediate access to this type of care?

I will never understand it.

Way off in the Antipodes

I hate it when I find something gorgeous to buy my Tinker but it is usually unavailable here. I do have a US based parcel forwarder but at the moment I can't justify the cost. There aren't that many Australian made things I actually like. Sorry Kevin but you didn't give me the $900 bucks so I am not stimulating our economy.


Here is another example of some sweet baby clothes goodness that we can't have shipped here:


Wild Dill


"Wild Dill products are organic, fair trade, sweatshop-free, natural and/or recycled. We help you be kind to the earth while caring for your little one!"




This sweet little onesie is made from soy fibres and it is a fair trade product from China. I really like the puff sleevs, the colours are sweet and I really like the soy fibre fabric. Love to support fair trade where I can. It is cheap too at $14US.


Unfortunately Wild Dill won't ship here.
Any just thoguht I'd post it on here in case any non-antipodean wants to buy one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whooping Cough

It is going around at the moment and I am going to have my vaccination next week. I urge anyone else who has contact with babies and children to do the same.

I got a copy of this letter on Facebook and it sent shivers down my spine. I'll copy it below, please take a few minutes to read it. For those who read my blog from outside Australia, The Northern Rivers area is very popular amongst hippie communities. Need I say more?

Anyway I don't need to say anything else on this topic, see below:


AN OPEN LETTER FROM TONI AND DAVID MCCAFFERY

We write this letter broken hearted and feel like we failed our daughter.

Before 9 March 2009, we were happy and complete following the birth of our third child Dana. Today, we are shattered at the preventable death of our beautiful girl.

We moved to the Northern Rivers to bring our family up in this pristine environment. However, we did not realise this was a hotbed for contagious and potentially deadly viruses.

Our sweet Dana is the innocent victim of dangerously low levels of awareness and even lower vaccination rates.

Instead of her photo winning baby competitions, she is the tragic face of a Whooping Cough (Pertussis) epidemic and sparked a national vaccination debate.

Our two other children are immunised. Dana never got the chance.We did everything by the book while pregnant: checked Rubella immunity, took Folic Acid, avoided high-risk foods, and monitored glucose.

Dana was born a perfectly healthy 7 pounds, 4 ounces. And her beauty took our breath away.We breastfed, sterilised and followed SID guidelines.

But, we were oblivious to Whooping Cough and the rate of notifications on the NSW North Coast. Yes, we saw some posters, but it beggars belief that not one health professional warned us about the risks, scale of the epidemic or precautions to take – not the GP, the obstetrician, the hospital midwives while the epidemic raged in the children’s ward, or the early childhood nurse.What started as a blocked nose escalated into our worst nightmare.

From 11 days old, Dana became more unsettled at night and started to cough from three weeks of age. After she tested positive for Pertussis, we went straight to the hospital.However, we were not alarmed because we thought antibiotics could treat it.

Wrong. The antibiotics only stop you infecting others. There is no treatment to cure Whooping Cough and we had to watch in horror as the Pertussis took its course.

First, our tiny daughter coughed uncontrollably until she turned blue and required oxygen to regain her breath. She was fed through a nasal-gastro tube, was given fluid via a drip and placed in an oxygen headbox. The paediatrician told us that when Dana could recover without oxygen we could go home, but she would continue having coughing attacks for up to 100 days and possible respiratory complications. However, this is for the ‘lucky ones’.

Dana developed Pneumonia on the third day. She was placed on a ventilator and airlifted to Brisbane’s Mater Children’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. We still did not panic, on the advice she would be there for a week until she was strong enough to breathe on her own.

On the fifth day, the Pertussis took an unexpected and deadly turn. In what seemed an instant, Dana had an aggressive reaction to the toxin, which attacked her immune system and heart. The Pertussis blocked every drug or treatment that the team of specialists could throw at it.

We were powerless to save her. After nearly 10 hours of desperate blood transfusions, Dana’s beautiful heart stopped beating and she let out her last sweet breath.The only thing that could have saved Dana was preventing her catching Pertussis.

We wrongly assumed our family was protected because we were all vaccinated at birth. However, we did not know that:- The Northern Rivers region has one of the nation’s lowest childhood vaccination rates- The vaccination wanes after 10-12 years, so almost 90% of adults are no longer immunised- Vaccination is only effective if the majority of the community does it.

This means that if you are immunised, you can still contract Pertussis from the high number of people that don’t vaccinate or are no longer immune.

Many people carrying Pertussis don’t realise it – they may have an irritating cough or no symptoms at all.Newborns are helpless and it takes just one breath to infect them.

Dana contracted Pertussis in the first weeks of her life. No one else in our family has tested positive for Pertussis or had a cough. We have tortured ourselves with questions: Was it in the hospital? Was it from our son’s school or daughter’s childcare centre? Was it at the GPs? Was it at a birthday party? Or was it a loving relative or friend who doesn’t know they have the bacteria?It doesn’t matter… we are all innocent victims in this.

We are devastated that Dana’s death is the catalyst for change and dearly wish we had the chance to wrap her in cotton wool as families across Australia are doing now.

Lismore Base Hospital has been admitting up to two children per week for Pertussis and Dana was the third newborn airlifted from this region to Brisbane in as many weeks.

But, no one in our community knew.The day after Dana died; NSW Health issued alerts and provided free boosters for new parents and grandparents.

The Minister for Health then advised that public health officers were writing to all new parents to advise them of the free boosters and we also understand information packs have been produced. This is too little too late for us.NSW Health should have proactively alerted the community of outbreaks and precautions to take before it became an epidemic.

This requires more than just posters and media releases. We need advertising campaigns supported by vigilant screening, consistent advice from frontline health workers and free boosters for all adults.

However, the efforts of a few are futile. Everyone in our community must work together to increase vaccination rates to protect our most vulnerable.Please learn from our past. V

accination was introduced because there is no medicine to stop these bacteria that killed and maimed thousands of children. Now, these third-world diseases are on the rise again. In NSW it is Whooping Cough. In Queensland it is Measles.Do you want to live in a country where we are too scared to have friends or family visit our babies or we won’t leave our homes?For anyone that dismisses the facts, please walk in our shoes.

We cry ourselves to sleep with memories of our daughter coughing until she couldn’t breathe, attached to a ventilator, going into cardiac arrest and holding her bruised and swollen body after her heart stopped.

We were inconsolable as we left our baby in the hospital morgue and drove home from Brisbane with an empty baby capsule. We weep as we explain to our children that their baby sister isn’t coming home and remember her trusting eyes pleading for help.

Our hearts broke when our six-year old son helped carry her tiny pink coffin out of the church. And when our children ask why Dana died, we falter, because it was completely preventable.We are comforted by the overwhelming support, prayers and acts of kindness we have received from across Australia and around the world.People ask how they can help ease our pain.

We simply ask that:- All parents vaccinate their children- All adults get a booster, which the government should make free for everyone- If you have a cough, get tested for Pertussis to prevent the spread of the bacteria- All levels of government and health workers improve processes to warn the community of outbreaks of any virus or disease and precautions to take.

We owe it to Dana.

Yours in Community

Toni and David McCaffery

You can see their website here:

http://www.danamccaffery.com/

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fungus?

No, it's ok I am not talking about feral skin conditions.

I'm talking about funghi! My husband and I have a lot in common. We like to argue about the same things. Ha! And we both love mushrooms, truffles... yum.

Anyway now that my dinner preparation usually involves supervising a very cheeky toddler and a pair of naughty little dogs, I tend to stick to the most basic meals. One dish that always pleases is my mushroom risotto. It's good because it is easy and it involves ingredients we nearly almost have in our pantry.

Even my fussy little Tinker loves it.

I thought I'd show you how I have altered my usual recipe which used to involve me spending a truckload at Simon Johnson on black truffles and then going out in search of 5 different types of mushrooms, lots of chopping and so on. The other day I sat down and tried to work out a cheats version.
Inspired by that show Four Ingredients I thought I'd see how few ingredients I could combine to get the risotto to taste more or less the same as it did with my original version.


As an aside, what's with those presenters on Four Ingredients? One has an extremely bogan accent to the extreme and the other has what would have to be THE most patronising voice on television. Anyway they are great on mute.


Ok so I was going to go through my original recipe and then show you the new and improved super cheats version but I've decided to cut the original because I'm sure you all have a mushroom & truffle risotto recipe with about 20 ingredients. This is about making things simple so I'll stick with the new one.

I have perfected it now and here are the ingredients, followed by my step by step photos.

Instead of 5 different types of mushroom:


* Dried porcini mushrooms chopped 50-100g whatever you prefer. I like 100g for more flavour.


(they come in 50g packs usually chopped for you)

* 150ml Truffle oil


Instead of buying the actual things. I have saved you a few hundred dollars here alone! Here I have used The Essential Ingredient's own variety from Italy. It was $59.95 for 500ml. You can buy a smaller bottle if you like but I use this A LOT.

* 1 cup FROZEN chopped onion

Instead of standing around chopping an onion, I now play games with my Tinker. Prioritise- why chop onion when you can open the freezer and grab a bag already done. If it is only going to be cooked up anyway it is no different. Finding this was a revelation! Available in your frozen foods section at the supermarket.




* 1 bunch chopped continental parsley

Not essential, if you don't have any in the fridge or the garden it doesn't really matter.

*Small packet pre-sliced mushrooms from Woolworths

*125g Lurpak Garlic Butter
This butter from Denmark comes in a small foil packet, you use the entire stick 125g, if you are counting the calories go make a salad, this isn't the recipe for you. Using this butter saves you peeling and crushing a few cloves of garlic and adding separate butter. See? Easy!



*Couple of handfuls of Gran Padano or regular Parmesan cheese (or as much as you like) Gran Padano has a great flavour and a bit creamier tasting than say a regular parmeggiano and freezes really well too.



*Bunch of baby spinach leaves

I buy a packet at Woolworths that has baby spinach and watercress, I think this is a good mix. We always have it in the fridge for salads or risotto. Whatever you prefer, really it doesn't add a great deal of flavour anyway.

*1- 2cups dry white wine

When I made this the other day we had a bottle of chardonnay already open (a friend left it here) so I used that, but really you want a nice dry white ideally. I say 1-2 cups because it depends on your taste. See how you go.

*500ml Campbells Chicken Consomme

Tastes better than the stock. I used to always have my own home made stocks on hand in the freezer. These days I have no time for boiling bones etc and this worked perfectly.

*2 cups Arborio Rice



Put the dry porcini mushrooms into a cup of boiling water with a lid. Leave for about 20 mins then drain, keep the water and add it to the consomme later.


Put the onion and garlic butter into the heavy based pan and sweat through the butter til soft.

Add the rice and stir til coated nicely in the butter. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the truffle oil.



Keep stirring til rice browns slightly, pour in half a cup of the wine stirring til it is all gone.

Add all the mushrooms.


Pour in the other half cup of wine, stir til all gone.





Add your chicken consomme and the water from the dried mushroom a little bit at a time til all gone.


Keep stirring because you don't want your rice going sticky. Test it, it should be al dente now. Add the greens and stir. Take it off the heat.



Add the grated cheese - stir through and serve.

See? Easy! You can put a little drizzle of the truffle oil on at the end.






We had it with roast chicken but you can have it as is, we just had the chicken so why not cook it as well.





Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hats, coats, bags

I'm not sure if this exists or not, but I have this image in my mind of a really funky looking hat stand, or a coat stand or whatever you call them.


I want one to hang my handbags on but I DON'T want it to look like this at all:





Has anyone seen anything like a modern take on a hat stand?

Little Black Dress

I have way too many, none in my current post-baby size but still, I can't justify another. So I'll post this gorgeous one here in case anyone else would love one!











This is a vintage dress from the 1950's you can get it for a steal on Etsy. The seller is VintageRoseClothing and she sells a lot of really lovely vintage dresses.

It is $40US, luxe black velvet and a size M, the measurements are on the Etsy ad for you. I think it would be a flattering cut for most body types and who can go past a gorgeous 50's dress?

You can find it here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=20912416