Thursday, June 30, 2011

Welcome new followers ! - have a puppy........



I am the Accessory.....

It may come as a shock to some of you that not every social occasion that The Goddess and I attend will be of my request or invitation. This is because The Ultimate Organised one has a social circle that puts Zuckerberg to shame and to top that off is also on more committees that any current sitting senator.

So on many occasions I will be / am known as the handbag.
"What " I hear you say,
 "An accessory ?"
Yup , you heard me correctly. Arm Candy, Handbag call it what you want.


Pic courtesy of 320636.spreadshirt.com


It's not a bad job actually and there are many benefits. Free food, free drinks, you get to go places that I'd struggle to get to under my own steam. I have actually met some Olympians and minor celebrities at these occasions so by default that makes me at least a C or D lister. (take heed PR companies).

And really all I have to do is meet people, say hello , make polite conversation and describe what I do in 5 seconds or less. Over and Over and Over and Over again. I'm not being funny about the number of people who know the Organised One.

I still remember one function several years ago that went like this.

" and this is Lachlan, he is married to Suzanne" pause 
 "you know The Suzanne" (what ? does she have impersonators attending other functions on her behalf ?)
"oh The Suzanne ! oh wow , so you're her husband !" ( well that's what the certificate says)
"Wow the husband of Suzanne ! " , pause ,
" Whats that like?" 
I go to tell her what its like and before I have drawn a breath, they are already dragging more people over with the phrase :
" and this is Lachlan, he's married to Suzanne !"

Image courtesy of heedthedub.blogspot.com

Anyway it gave me enough to really have some fun at home.

So now when functions come up I always prepare my self for what I think will happen  (secretly knowing/hoping  that it probably won't ) and then I'm prepared either way.

and every now and the some thing really cool happens.....

Disclaimer -  I am not now or have I ever been a male model. I got this job through sheer good fortune.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's official , I am a Golf widow

I feel so lonely. It's now every Wednesday that The Beloved plays, as well as competitions and its not just the playing of the game. There is discussions about golf, trips to see what specials are on at Drumonds Golf and a once a year golf trip that is only for other golfing mums.

And to top it off she is starting to get placed in the competitions.



I do get invited along if there is a weekend spot available , but lets be honest here,  my handicap is my swing and I don't really care for all the rules there seems to be , for example :

Don't put your club on the ground in a bunker ( I spend a lot of time in these pseudo beaches),
don't step on the other players line (which is everywhere on the green)
you can't retrieve your ball from there, (why ? I bought it !)
you can't move your ball from the huge divet it landed in left behind by the last player (grrrrr !)
and on it goes.

The boys certainly enjoy playing so I can't really complain about them not wanting to do the same things as us and I do feel their frustration when we all tee off and try to follow where the ball is probably going to land whilst The Beloved tees of down the middle of the fairway. Its absolutely fair to say that we do guiltily enjoy her bad shots but she determinedly soldiers on.

So I'm resigned to my fate.

I think I'll just stick to being the caddy that way I get to enjoy the walk and keep my blood pressure in check.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I got it, No, Wait I got it, No , Wait I got it , No , No I Don't.....


and the Benny Hill version



sniggers

Speed Camera Lottery

Now that's some clever thinking.....

Well Being study.

With all the talk around the interwebs at the moment about how  "Happy or Unhappy" we are  it got me to thinking :

does any body actually measure this ?
and how on earth would they do it?


Image courtesy of blog.ipoque.com

With interconnectivity at an all time high by both fixed line and mobile devices, getting the data shouldn't be too hard. It should be just a matter of collating data and then the results can be published by country.

It didn't take to long to find this : http://www.wellbeingstudy.com/index.html
I participated in this study on how I feel about a range of of scenarios that apparently contribute to my well-being with the results available in about a month or so.


Interesting study. Have a go , it won't hurt.



I promise....

Monday, June 20, 2011

You want me to build what ?

As a dad you are expected to have a working knowledge of just about everything and I don't just mean knowledge to win at Trivial Pursuit (that's a whole different issue) You will need to amass an encyclopaedic knowledge of cooking, engineering and general knowledge.

The thing I seem to get relied on for the most is fixing/building. There is nothing like the pressure that occurs when when the little dudes stand in front of you with a broken item and that look of desperate hopefulness that "dad can fix it". It's not easy and lets face it the way they manufacture some stuff these days it's far cheaper to just buy a new one.

So when I was asked by the in-marriage designer to build a set of stairs to the recently completed deck, I looked at her with a raised eyebrow ( It was all I could do to stop my my heart rate from causing my heart to explode from my chest in fear)

The deck itself was a mammoth job that everybody in the family had helped with, took months to build,  had 1000's of tec-screws in just fixing the decking boards alone and that even the in-marriage designer had to help with. There's nothing like some construction to get everybody outside and having fun.

I had mistakenly assumed we were done and we would just buy some pre-made stairs and bolt them on. Then sit back and have a beer and laugh at how clever we were.

Not a chance ! To get 5 steps built at a custom width, ready to assemble, costs $700 - $800 dollars.
So armed with some brochures and some sneaky measurements from other neighbours steps while they weren't looking, off we went to Bunnings. After buying $200 dollars of very blokey looking timber and bolts
we were ready to go.
This is the start.......


Grandpa looking like he knows what he's doing 

It went pretty well - Considering we got rained out a couple of times , found out that the measurement on the timber that you pay for is not what you actually get and wet timber is very, very hard to work with. The smallest dude was in charge of bolting and spanners not falling in the mud and he loved it. 
And quite frankly Grandpa's suggestion that we start at the top was sheer genius.

We ended up with plenty of timber left over so the end cost came out at $96.00 of timber and 6 hours of construction time.

So below are the finished steps and I hereby dedicate them to all Dads facing their own DIY challenges !!



Disclaimer : All builders did their own stunts. 
No animals were harmed during the making of these stairs. 
The stairs do contain traces of sarcasm and frustration.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ring Art

Bring back the tradition ( please ? )

When I was a youngster there was a tradition. It occurred on Sundays and it was never missed. No , I'm not talking about church (its not that kind of blog) I'm talking about the Sunday roast. Served up sometimes for dinner but mostly for lunch. There was a great deal of formality around this , the arrival ( dressed nicely of course) the pre-meal catch up , the seating and finally the ceremony of carving at the table.

Picture courtesy healthyfoodguide.com.au

It used to vary between Chicken , Lamb and Beef, but the method and the output was always  the same.

Picture courtesy themeatbarn.com.au

Now my Grandparents struggled a bit with the concept of how much food  two growing grand children (both of whom were training in a swimming pool 6 days a week ) can consume. I remember they once served 1 roast chicken to 8 people.
It did not end well , Mum was scraping food off her plate surreptitiously to my sister and I ( we kept returning the brussels sprouts )  whilst trying to keep her wine glass full.
So it was not uncommon for my parents to purchase more food (usually McDonalds) on the way home to keep us quiet and interested in maintaining the tradition.

You all know that I love gourmet cooking and you all know my wife is a kitchen goddess so please don't think I am saying lets get plain , no all  I'm asking you to do is put down that  "Sugar Cured King Fish with a Mussel  vinaigrette " for one day and bring back the roast  (ensuring enough for all ) and celebrate being together with the people that mean the most to us over a simple and nutritious meal.

 And hey, if you cook too much , don't worry,  the leftovers are just as much fun as the roast itself !

The Bike lane


One cyclists ode to why sometimes the bike lane isn't the best place to be.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Picking up Tomato sauce.........



Now that's impressive 

My kids and pocket money

When I was a kid, I got 20 cents a week for doing chores around the house, it was great way to earn the money I wanted for the things I desired. As I got older I got increases until I realised that getting a job was going to be a much faster way of getting much needed funds. So a paper boy I became. And life was good.

So what about my two little guys. Well I figured what worked for me would work for them. As a fan of Freakonomics and exploring the hidden side of everything and incentives , we settled on $1 for each year of their age and there is a set of chores that needs to be done to earn the full amounts. I also had set a cut off of 15 as, by then just like I did they will be able to get a job ( I actually was working earlier but that's not the point ). At the start it worked really well.
Freakonomics recently had this short discussion piece on chores and income for them, and it made me think about how I paid pocket money to my two blokes.And more importantly ,

why aren't all the chores getting done ? 


For a start we decided that unless all the chores on the list were completed that the money wasn't paid. This didn't work and as I started to look at other ways to motivate them to do the actual work I find out that it's flawed to try to do so.
Here and Here are just a sample of the evidence on why rewards for effort can be flawed.

So then I thought "what I need is a way to calculate what chores have a real monetary value towards the running of the house and pay the little dudes for those"  Meh, I'm going in circles here.
Then quite by accident I discovered that introducing fun/technology into the task paid dividends.

Example  : Sweeping the leaves up. Very difficult to get interested in this as a broom and leaves are not fun or interesting, until that is until I introduced the leave blower/vac. Now its funny to chase the leaves around and vacuum them up. (Its also funny to take the catcher off and spread mulched leaves all over the back yard !

So now I'm off to try and find fun or unusual ways to get the rest of the chores done. And what do we pay them  as pocket money ? Well I figure it's nice to have some spending money when on holidays and frankly thats the only time they really need it. So that's what we do; give them some spending money at the start of each holiday and encourage them to learn manage their money.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

The blender and the indestructible mobile phone

This is the supposedly indestructible phone that a journalist smashed at CES 2010. Looks like the blender couldn't do what the journo could !

Friday, June 3, 2011

Email doesn't go that far.......

My youngest son was in the car with his mate from school and they were discussing a friend of theirs who had moved to Germany.

Son - " we can email him you know "
Friend - " Nah, my email didn't work because he lives to far away."

The Inside Totem pole

In many indigenous cultures throughout  North America  it's believed they used totem poles to communicate a wide variety of messages. The Wikipedia entry on Totem poles states:

"The meanings of the designs on totem poles are as varied as the cultures that make them. Totem poles may recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events."


I humbly submit that there is a totem pole in every families kitchen. It looks something like this :



That's right , your fridge. The humble refrigerator. 

First commercially available in 1915 and well established  by 1930 with almost 60% of American households having one to replace their old  "icebox". I'm here to tell you that your fridge is no longer just for housing leftovers of indeterminable age.

If your family is anything like ours each week we have around 20 events for that week that need to be accounted for and planned logistically. This doesn't include school and work ! (They just happen.)

And as most of you  know my wife is a organisational genius, so each Sunday there is a quick planning session where all information added to the desk planner (month at a glance) during the week by family members is added to the master plan for that week which is then posted on the fridge. Shopping lists and chores have their own permanent spot .

And it's not just "what's on" that's posted on its shiny metal surface, art,  achievements and even photos are put up and we always celebrate the wins and the milestones. 

So I say to you that, without realising it all of us have created our own totem pole and continue the practice of passing on important events and notifications.

With all the different activities in diferent places, meal creation becomes a challenge as there is usually precious little time to make them. Planning the meals for the week has helped immensely, ( both from a budget and nutritional perspective) I can tell you Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals is a life saver, good food, prepared inside 30 minutes allows us to continue our dinner time. Other helpful sites are Donna Hay, and the good old Women's Weekly. 

Again the totem pole is used to publish what will be available and what the people getting home first will have to do to get it to the table.

So post up your own totem pole and lets celebrate families and communication ! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whitelion Bailout wrap up

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in this years Whitelion bailout . The event focuses on the effects of the criminal justice system on juvenile detainees and the struggle they face to break the cycle they are stuck in brought on by their personal hardships.This statement from Whitelion pretty much sums it up :

Each year thousands of young people are disconnected from our community due to abuse and neglect , drug addiction and poverty. These young people have often had horrific life experiences with few positive role models and very little family support. They often find themselves caught in a " cycle of disappointment" that is very hard to break. 


The aim for each participant is to raise $1000.00 as "bail" and this money goes towards helping the fund the programs Whitelion run. I went in with really no understanding of what was going to happen and whilst everything was done with a pinch of humour, each different cell we were put in had a story and underlying each of these was a real message that I was receiving loudly and clearly : there are kids at risk and they need all the help we can muster.

The one thing that did jump out straight away was that quite a few of the people participating, had raised their funds independently of their work. I felt an enormous amount of respect for these guys as all my fund raising was done through work and I'm lucky, its a big company. We raised $1200.00 through a series of events ( food days , dress up days and raffles) held and it really was great to see so many people participate and genuinely want to help out.

 I saw this This article article on Crikey in response to a proposed Government push to make sentencing mandatory for up to two years for offenders as young as 16. After hearing the stories that these kids go through and the things they are subject to , the article is absolute right and I seriously hope the government changes it's mind, as when even the lawyers are concerned about the change and can demonstrate it's not working elsewhere,  we should all be concerned.
From what I saw and heard, throwing  kids in jail isn't working. They need help and it's up to us.

This is the moment they closed the door and left us with just our thoughts............


Whitelion are out there helping the kids that really need it and we should give them all the help we can.
I will be doing this again next year.


8 bit lego trip

I know its been around for a while but its old school and I love it.