ipe Daily Bliss: May 2006

Daily Bliss

Today's lovely moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories

Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday again!

Paul and I slept in the youngest princess's room last night. The painting is done in there except for the trims.

Today I’m starting on our bedroom. We moved everything out of it yesterday, and found lots of treasure – except the metronome that went missing when me moved into Castle Bliss. After emptying the room, we popped over to Oxley to the hardware store for more paint. On the way we stopped at a couple of furniture shops. Don’t be surprised if we have not only a new bed but a new bedroom suite at some stage in the next 6 weeks.

Apart from painting, I’m also revamping curtains. I didn’t realise that the pelmet on the spare room window was hiding a roman blind so I’m going to revamp the pelmet and get the blind cleaned and put them in the youngest princess's room ready for her return in a couple of months. It should be quite a nice place to sleep when it’s all done. She also appreciate the reverse-cyle airconditioning we added after her departure.

Note the word ‘sleep’. I haven’t set up the room with a desk etc. Have you ever noticed how kids do homework on the bed or in front of the television and use the desk as a junk store? This is going to be a sleeping room with clothes and stuff kept in ‘house and garden’ state. Yeah, right! Pigs might fly too.

Gypsy, our cat, is spooked. She was fine with all the unusual house activities until I came in on Saturday and threw something along the floor towards the kitchen on my way down the corridor to put my handbag away. I’ve also tripped over her a couple of times when she has got in the way during the last few days. She thought something negative obviously, because she has been uptight ever since. She can’t understand at all the movement of stuff out of our room, the new paint smells, etc. To make matters worse, I bought her a new bed for the laundry in preparation for going to a cattery. She happily sleeps on it, but it’s new in a new environment where it’s cold because Winter has set in. The only thing that makes her at all cuddle-able is the fact that mama and daddy seem really happy, not at all put out which is how she is expecting us to be with the chaos. She’s currently sleeping beside me on the bed while I type this to you.

The list of jobs for this week is long. While painting and sewing figure prominantly, there is also sorting and packing to do. Ah, but what fun!

I'd better get to it.

Happiness and laughter always,

Bliss

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Boys!

Kids! We always love them. Sometimes we wish we could send them back or trade them in. What a damned shame we can't! A word to those who might be offended, I'm feeling very frustrated about being a parent and am about to whine, whinge, moan and bitch about how the youth of today - read that I am talking specifically about 5 of our 7 off-spring - are ungrateful little beasts who want it all, want it now and then have the audacity to abuse the parents who worked so hard and went without so for themselves to make their kids' lives work out well. If you think that you might take offence, stop reading now.

Generally, kids are self-centred. That's pretty normal at certain ages and stages of youthful life. Some kids carry it too far and will try to screw parents for whatever they can get and abuse the parents when parents cry uncle. This is what has worn very thin in our family life. It seems that this generation is much more into taking than making stuff happen for self. If someone else can do it for them rather than them doing for themselves, today's youth will make a parent's life miserable to achieve youth goals.

Don't get me wrong. Paul and I love our kids dearly. At the moment however, I don't pretend that I like all of them all the time. All parents feel that way about their kids. All kids feel that way about their parents. It's normal.

You see, now and again, kids do something or don't do something that makes you either wonder where you went wrong in the parenting department or wish that they were some else's kids. Experience of the last couple of years and seeing the good times makes me realise that, for the most part, I've done a good job of parenting. Sure there have been issues I wish I could turn back the clock and resolve differently but those issues took place in contexts where I felt I was doing the right thing at the right time, armed with as much information possible in hand. Then again, perhaps gut instinct should not be ignored either. Perhaps these 'failures' might have turned out worse!

Take, for instance, the day a toddler nearly lost a finger in the cot. Dad insisted that I leave baby to cry because kids turn into whimps by pandering to their needs every time they squeek. Thankfully, I didn't listen to dad. I knew my baby was crying for a reason. It turned out that the poor possum had wrapped a string belonging to a 'pull-string-down-play-music toy' around a finger. The baby had then fallen over with string still stuck on finger and said finger was turning a nasty shade of blue. How was I to know that that day gut instinct and knowing the sound of the child's crying would save a professional music career of the future? Dad did seem harsh at the time, but was equally upset about the finger when he realised the situation, so I give him credit that he thought he was doing what was best for the child.

That example was a baby and mother love. Nowadays, sometimes letting the little bastards sink would be the better option for parent love. Erm I think the politically correct term is 'tough love'.

We have two boys who have been lent money (about $7,000 each) to buy a car. Both promised to re-pay the money but neither one has. Both have abused the lending parent saying that we can afford to wear it. What a crock! If these young men want to be treated like adults that they are, they need to act like and follow through consequences of actions. If they owe money to someone, regardless if it is a parent, they pay it back!

I could not believe the nonsense that spewed from one son's mouth last night. He was angry because his father asked about making payments on the $7000.00 loan. The son says that that his father had done nothing financially for him in his life and that Paul deserved to be screwed out of his savings. This is the same son who was given an enormous sum of money to set up his tool box for his apprenticeship last year, who had been financed to stay in Mackay at aged 15 years (he tried to commit suicide because he didn't want to go back to Brisbane when his father was transfered - poor kid) and who was recently given $1000 'danger money' - which was then spent on grog, cigarettes and paying fines after being arrested for bad behaviour in public places.

Another son felt that it was his father's duty to keep the son in comfort after he finished school. He tried the line about that's what parents 'do' for their kids. The 19 year old was most put out when his father refused him more money after he wrote off his car, dropped out of university and refused to go to work because wanted to play and chat on the net all day. He told all and sundry how his father was a tight-fisted shit head who did nothing for any of his kids. This same son is the one who needed his father to help him stay out of jail after being charged with fraud. At 22 years old, this son has at least got himself together somewhat. Yes he still changes his job every 6 months, but at least he has a job. Good on you, kiddo!

The youngest son lives with his mother and refuses to visit because he has better things to do with his time than come over and spend time or go out and spend time (if he's not interested in seeing me) with the parent he doesn't live with. For a 16 year old that's normal but somewhat selfish. Paul misses him. Even a phonecall from the son to his father now and again wouldn't hurt. The son likes the living arrangement because he finds it easier to manipulate his mother by threatening to break something when he isn't getting his way than facing being given responsibilities by his father (I will never forget the incident with the hammer and the bonnet of the car and a frightened mother begging for help on her mobile phone nor all the screeming phonecalls from hysterical mother or so over some issue or other). This son told Paul he wanted to be an architect. To do so one needs an OP of 3 (a very high OP) to get into the course. The son criticises his father for doing a parent's job (encouraging his son to do well at school rather than just kicking around with the kids in the complex he lives in and chatting the night away on the net).

Do you want to know what scheme this little monster cooked up to try to black mail Paul into giving him more money? Shoplifting. Yes folks, no 3 son has also had his brush with the law. He's angry with his father because dad only pays a $100/month pocket money. The mother gets the maximum amount a man pays for child support here in Australia - something to the tune of $3000 a month - but she doesn't give her son pocket money because he refuses to help around the house at all. Anyway, to punish the father, the son told Paul would that he would go to work part time and fail school. The silly kid! It's not hurting Paul but it's hurting the son. Let him go to work and get some experience, I say. I figure that the son needs the experience because he's going to be serving behind shop counters (or behind bars if his brushes with the law escalate like his brothers) all his life if he doesn't pick up his game!

We've had enough of bad behaviour from our sons. Hence fairly recently, all of them have had a well-deserved 'talk' about their actions from their parent (my son from me, Paul's sons from him). It's called parenting. It's about letting kids know in a diplomatic (albeit sometimes less than subtle way) that some of their behaviour is not acceptable even if all their friends are doing it. As this is my blog I'm not going to beat around the bush (pardon the pun). If I had all the boys here what I'd really like to say is:

'If you make arrangements of any sort, don't make half-hearted ones you don't plan to keep. You don't like it when people don't do what they say they will do for you. If you are coming to spend the night here or with your grandparents, for example, don't back out at the 11th hour unless it's for life-threatening reasons. It's not polite. Someone else has made plans about those arrangements too. It might not cost you money when you change your mind like this, but it does cost you respect.

'Boys, it's never OK to use the 'boys will be boys' attitude to how you treat women. It's wrong, wrong, wrong to lie and tell someone you love her just so that you can get into her pants. Nor is it right to 'take time out' from your girlfriend to see how you feel about her especially if you want to break up for a short time because you want to snog someone else but don't want to lose the regular sex with the regular girlfriend (I can just imagine how many of our sons are squirming over that last sentence - at least three of them from recent weeks). Sex is not a sport. It's a myth that it's universally & socially acceptable to spread the legs of every female you possibly can. If you want to fuck a girl, save up your money and pay a prostitute. Most of the young women who you kinds of men meet in your daily lives are the kinds of women who believe in relationships with commitment, maybe even marriage and babies. You are not only playing with their clitoruses, you are playing with their heads and hearts - and not playing fair! You don't like soiled goods so don't do your share of soiling.

'Boys and girls please be aware that when you reach 18 years of age we are willing to help with university and further expenses for the first degree or trade qualification. However, be aware while we try to be very generous to you all, neither Paul nor I are charitable institutions nor do we have a money tree in our garden. Also, be aware that there are 7 of you kids. If we do something for one of you, we do try to do something similar for all of you. That is no mean feat on our part and by no means ungenerous. If you want something that costs money, either be patient and live without it for a while and then save for it, or go to work and earn it (I don't know why I don't apply this to living with us in the family home until university is finished - nearly every cent I have earned in the last four years has gone to the coffers of my university aged son and daughter and their desires to be 'independent' in their own home).

'Be aware that Paul and I have taken a life-time of hard yakka to get where we are. Don't look at our life-style now and say that you want the same one at 20 that we have at 50 years of age. We did not have handouts from parents after we left school (in fact my mother left me in the hands of social security - as it was called in those days and gave me 30 cents for a phone call home to let her know that I was fine - I don't quite recommend that drastic stingyness). We saved and paid for our own education etc and studied like there was nothing more important when we were at university. Let me tell you that in the long run it's much more satisfying doing it for yourself.

Maybe William and Kerry, the other parents of these 7 off spring, got the better deal by simply washing their hands and walking away from parenting their offspring. Neither of them make the time of day for their children unless coerced, but neither of them get abused for not doing stuff. It's just us mugs who try to do our best who cop flack.

My apologies for the whine. I needed it and I did warn you. I should now get back to painting what will probably be my second spare room.

Happiness and laughter folks.

Bliss

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Renovating Castle Bliss

I don't know what lie I told myself that made me believe that I like painting, but it must have been a whopper. I probably wouldn't have attempted it but for the fact that my ex-husband is walking in Tuscany and not in Australia to talk me out of it. He and I renovated and built several houses between 1980 & 1992, and while the outcomes were works of art, there were moments between starting and finishing projects which I wish simply did not happen.

So why the paint-job now? It's the domino effect. Paul and I need a new bed; the old bed has been claimed by the youngest princess; the spare room (something I haven't had in a home since I started having children 25 years ago) gets the twin beds currently in the princess's bedroom...

When we signed the contract to buy Castle Bliss in June last year, Paul and I had no plans to do any renovations for quite some while. At the time, the house inspection by a building expert indicated that the paintwork, floor coverings, kitchen and other facilities were in good nick albeit a mishmash of merky colours - depression green, turquoise, sunflower yellow and glowing apricot. What no one counted on was the bad sportsmanship of the vendors who ripped shelving & pictures off bedroom walls leaving holes of up to 20mm in diameter in several rooms. Sadly, after we signed the contract, our palace was not cleaned again by the vendors. Their two small kids left marks everywhere and I'm convinced one of them peed on the carpet! By the time the property settled in August, the place was a tip!

Professional cleaning again made habitable our wee palace (pardon the pun), so why the need to paint now? Until now, the spare room has been empty of any furniture. With the youngest princess coming home after a nine month sejour in Austria and the fact that she will be with us for many years, this fore-mentioned furniture rotation means that room for movement to get in and paint easily will disappear, so before delivery of our new bed, the job has to be done.

To be honest, once I start, I DO like painting. Renovations as 'works of art' was a good analogy at the beginning of this blog. Castle Bliss has a nice structure to it. It's light and airy with room for entertaining and for off-spring and parents to visit often without being too oversized when Paul and I are home alone. It also has nice gardens. Dressing it up in colours of our own taste gives it that definitive and wonderful feeling of 'home'. It all adds to daily bliss.

The choice of colour was an epic tale of possible woe! I liked the idea of British Paints 'Crystal Blue' or a neutral all-over Taubman's 'Canvas'. Blue's calming and, like the canvas, goes with everything including pinks and apricots. When I met him, Paul lived in a house that was once the rather flashy show-piece of a builder. Said house was painted in contemporary colours with feature walls - mud oranges and purple, if I recall. When I asked him what colours he liked, Paul told me that I could choose. Then without a breath, he told me that he painted all his previous houses white.

And so Castle Bliss is gradually being transformed with Dulux 'Aran White'. Paul gets his so-called white paint and I get my neutral non-colour with some blues thrown in with the use of soft furnishings. We are both happy. It looks spectacular with our dark brown timber bookshelving and furniture, apricot tiles and Gabriella's lollypop blue, green, white and pink bedspread.

On that note, the putty is dry and ready for sanding. I'd better get back to it

Happiness and laughter always,

Bliss

Monday, May 22, 2006

This and That

Where are the weeks going? Already it's Monday again and, although it's barely 5am, I've kissed Paul goodbye and packed him out the door to catch a plane to Sydney. The working week has begun!

Last Tuesday's lunch was the highlight of the week. Gosh I love those kids of mine! The Crown Princess is enjoying having her suitor home in Brisbane for a few weeks, the student prince and princess are getting ready for end of semester exams which come up in mid-June.

During the week, I was also lucky to catch up with a former work mate. This lovely lady is encouraging me in many directions. She's a dynamo of energy herself so she inspires by actions - my kind of friend, I must say.

On Saturday afternoon Paul and I went to the Brookfield Show. It brought home to me how unique our little community is and how 'tucked away' it is from the rest of the bustle of Brisbane. I like this fact. It goes with what Paul describes as my 'batcave' tendencies. I wouldn't go as far as thinking 'dark, damp and gloomy' with that analogy, folks. It's more a simple need from time to time to pull up the draw-bridge of Castle Bliss and enjoy my own company for a while. In a family where we have seven off-spring and both of us usually work full time, this opportunity doesn't come along too often.

It's only three weeks until our trip to Europe. While I'm really looking forward to the holiday, I have a list of jobs as long as my arm to do before I go because when I get back I'm heading back to school again. They are not boring jobs per se. Some are quite interesting - painting a couple of rooms, planting the last of the rose bushes we purchased on Mother's Day, finishing my cross stitch project (check it out at Blissful Creations) ... Some, however, are the activities of daily life which keep the household flowing. Anyway, the upshot of the list is that the life of 'leisure' as I have known it since February is over.

And on that note, the sun has risen so I'd better get to the list. Have a good week.

Love, happiness and laughter always, folks.

Bliss

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day to all my readers, and to the mothers, wives, daughters, or sisters of readers who are mums or stepmums. It's a tough, but important, job, and while Mother's Day has been Hallmarked to excess, I do agree that we should give credit to those in our lives who have nurtured us, fed us, disciplined us when need be, and whose influence on our lives has been so important.

You'd think since I have so many offspring (biological and step) that it would be a big event on our family's calendar, but it's not. I assume this is a result of having Easter & a birthday in late April. Mother's Day seems overkill so soon after. Anyway, it was a nice day. All the biologicals kids rang or visited and we have lunch planned for Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This is My Life Rated

This Is My Life, Rated
Life: 7.7
Mind: 8.1
Body: 7.7
Spirit: 6
Friends/Family: 8.1
Love: 9.1
Finance: 6.9
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Analysis of My Life Score Results

Life: Your life rating is a score of the sum total of your life, and accounts for how satisfied, successful, balanced, capable, valuable, and happy you are. The quiz attempts to put a number on the summation of all of these things, based on your answers. Your life score is reasonably high. This means that you are on a good path. Continue doing what is working and set about to improve in areas which continue to lag. Do this starting today and you will begin to reap the benefits immediately.

Mind: Your mind rating is a score of your mind's clarity, ability, and health. Higher scores indicate an advancement in knowledge, clear and capable thinking, high mental health, and pure thought free of interference. Your mind score is within a healthy zone. This means you have achieved a level of mental balance and harmony consistent with living a healthy, happy life. Continue doing what works, and keep your focus. In our fast-paced world, mental clutter is all too common. Be vigilant in maintaining healthy mental function.

Body: Your body rating measures your body's health, fitness, and general wellness. A healthy body contributes to a happy life, however many of us are lacking in this area. You have a rather good body score, which is an indication that you take care of yourself. There is room for improvement, however. Please keep doing what works. Eat right, exercise, reduce your stress, treat any illness. Doing these things will help ensure your body will be in good working order for a long time to come.

Spirit: Your spirit rating seeks to capture in a number that elusive quality which is found in your faith, your attitude, and your philosophy on life. A higher score indicates a greater sense of inner peace and balance. Your spirit score leaves room for improvement. Consider making a concerted effort to redefine your attitudes and focus your beliefs. Boosting your spirit will lead to greater life satisfaction.

Friends/Family: Your friends and family rating measures your relationships with those around you, and is based on how large, healthy, and dependable your social network is. Your friends and family score is quite healthy. You have a social network you can depend upon. Count your blessings, but never forget that these bonds need to be maintained. Keep your friends and family close.

Love: Your love rating is a measure of your current romantic situation. Sharing your heart with another person is one of life's most glorious, terrifying, rewarding experiences. Your love score is very high, which means you are in a very happy situation right now. Do all you can to keep it strong. Finance: Your finance rating is a score that rates your current financial health and stability. You have a rather good financial score, which is not all that common these days. Keep doing what works. Avoid common pitfalls and save for the future. You will be glad you did.

How I compare to Others

This average is generated from 8,765 quiz scores.

Life: Me: 7.7 ... Average: 6.3

Mind: Me: 8.1 ... Average: 6.3

Body: Me: 7.7 ... Average: 6

Spirit: Me: 6 ... Average: 6.8

Friends/Family: Me: 8.1 ... Average: 5.5

Love: Me: 9.1 (bloody lucky!) ... Average: 5.5

Finance: Me: 6.9 ... Average: 6.6

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Beautiful Sunday

Today was lunch with friends at Eve's on the Brisbane River.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

9 Months Already!

Paul and I have been married nine months today.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day Weekend Activities

It’s May Day weekend – a pinch and a punch for the first of the month (white rabbits), Gabriella. In Queensland where I live, we have a long weekend to celebrate Labour Day. On Saturday, the extended family (my siblings and most of their children, Paul, my three eldest children and I) went to Palmwoods in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast to help celebrate my youngest sister, Carla’s, nuptials. What a glorious day it was! The weather was warm and sunny, the views from the top of the hill were spectacular, the champagne flowed and the bride simply glowed with happiness. I caught up with my mother’s sister and brother-in-law and their daughter, son-in-law and grandson and many of Carla’s long time friends and all their latest gossip. I have to admit that I was pleased to go simply to ‘show off’ my darling new husband to everyone (hehe).

It rained yesterday afternoon for the first time in 25 days. It was so soothing and created the perfect ambiance for Paul and me as we wobbled our way through our first Body Balance class at the gym. Body Balance is a mixture of yoga, pilates and tai chi. Anyone who knows me at all will tell you that anything that calms my mind must be good for the rest of the world. Ha! Anyway, as a result of this class (which I plan to return to again on Tuesday and maybe Thursday depending on other commitments), I’m expecting an improvement of balance, strength and muscles tone and flexibility as well as relaxation therapy. I felt great afterwards!

This morning, we are ‘doing’ the postponed birthday breakfast from last weekend. Birthday breakfast traditions started way back in 1993 as a result of wanting to celebrate my ex-husband’s 40th birthday. William had decided earlier four months earlier that daily family life was not for him and he had moved out into an apartment around the corner. The children were aged between 4 and 11 years so birthdays were a big deal. The complication to the day was that we had lots of things on that afternoon/evening (ballet and music classes from what I remember of the era) and we were not sure what Will had planned for his special day, so I ordered a pink-iced heart shaped cake from the baker (even after all these years the probability of my getting a cake out of a cake tin without breaking are not high), bought a packet of salt and vinegar chips, a selection of the children’s favourite lollies, some cheerio cocktail sausages, a tub of ice-cream and a bottle of red creaming soda and descended on chez William at 6am.

Hence, a Sue Yek family tradition was born. Nearly every family birthday since has been celebrated in this fashion. The best part is, of course, that the birthday person feels special from the very beginning of the day and thus the day seems to last longer than it otherwise would (let’s not let logic come into this and mention that 6am starts to the celebration means that someone or a group of people were out of bed at 5.30am to make pancakes, so of course, the day seems long for everyone concerned). This year, I found myself willing my whole birthday away just so that I could get to birthday cake with the children at the other end. What a waste!

Surprisingly, the sophistication of birthday breakfast has not evolved a great deal. Red creaming soda will always be on the menu of any special meal we have (I’m not sure how it became the choice of beverage for the family – Coca Cola was never allowed to be an option). So will cheerio cocktail sausages, birthday cake and ice-cream. If it’s a weekend, champagne, bacon and eggs and toast are added and friends and family invited.

Life’s too short not to ‘do’ birthday celebrations!

Happiness & laughter always,

Bliss

Copyright © 2007 Bliss Davies.

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