Thursday, September 30, 2010

WIN an HP ePrinter

Sponsored by Nuffnang

Well, Snappy September was one hell of a month. Putting up photos every single day for thirty days – and solving – the mystery of just who Mrs A Gooch was (still is, actually) – has been exhausting.

But the idea of photos lingers, as I often found myself sneaking a photo of someone or object and thinking how great it would be if it could be sent to our main printer at home.

Crikey, Mavis, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you at aqua-aerobics class!

The same thought crossed my mind a few times when Love Chunks and I were sitting in a couple of serious financial planning meetings. Yep, we’ve decided that we need to make our money (didn’t know we actually had any) work for us or work harder; or work out just how we can pay the bills and manage to eat for longer than twelve months after retirement. There were all sorts of documents and brochures that would have been brilliant to have waiting for us at home the second we arrived, heads still full from talk about tax incentives, stamp duty savings, longer term property goals and diversified investments.

Then again, there was one time I wanted to print out a list of jobs for Sapphire to do before I got home. I knew that LC would be in the shed working out in our tiny gym and she’d be glued to the computer, so the list of:

• Don’t forget to put Skipper back in his hutch because he can’t yell out loud enough to let you know that he’s still outside in his playpen, feeling cold, hungry and slightly annoyed.
• Did you put the toaster away?
• The recycling box needs to be emptied before the tuna tins start to stink.
• Have you got dressed yet – it’s 3pm!

HP have developed a fancy schmancy ePrint-enabled printer that allows you to send the photos or documents you want to print from your mobile to a home, office or public print location. Anytime, anywhere baby! I may possess the cyber skills of a corn cob, but HP offer heaps of advice on how to do it – there’s talk about clouds, apps, news, customised pages and being able to avoid the PC entirely (that’s computer on the desk, not political correctness).

Love Chunks – I’ve found THE hat to wear to your work’s skiing party this weekend. With this and my witty conversational skills, that promotion is in the bag!

I’ve been lucky enough to host a competition for HP. All you have to do, in my comments field, is answer this question: ‘How would you most like to use the HP e-Printer and why?’
You have until the 22nd of October to put in your entry and can do so as often as you like.

Nuffnangers will be trawling the selected blogs participating in this promotion and will be selecting the answer that most appeals to them. Go for funny, heart-warming, intense, nerdy or all-out crawling – I have no sway in the decision but will publish the winning entry. There's a mere nine of us Aussie bloggers selected to host the competition, so you're in with a pretty decent chance.

So go for it!

Any resemblance to a Nuffnang judge is entirely coincidental and no further correspondence will be entered into.
Snappy September - Day Thirty - Alice

Yes, the mysterious tennis goddess first revealed to you on the sixth day of Snappy September - The Mysterious Mrs A Gooch - has a name.


Aged nineteen, 1955 at her friend Lorna's in Brunswick
Isn't she beautiful?

After ringing the secretary of the Parkville Tennis club and searching online, I reached Mrs Gooch's son first. He let me blather away first and promise to email him a link to this 'ere blog so that he could feel (partly) reassured that I wasn't an axe-wielding maniac looking for a new victim.

When Alice and I got to talk, I was struck at what a modest and lovely lady she was (is).

My guesstimate that she was twenty years old when she won her first club championship in 1957 was almost correct - she was twenty one (having got married to Keith two years earlier), which means that she was forty four when she won in 1980. That's an incredible achievement!

Alice grew up in Brunswick and from the age of eight she'd play tennis at a nearby asphalt court with her friend Lorna. She and Lorna grew up together and Lorna was one of her bridesmaids. They are still in touch today.

Check out Alice's groovy glasses!
And the legs on both ladies!

When she married Keith they moved to Glenroy, but Alice continued to play for the Parkville tennis club. She had four children between 1961 and 1966; and between her 1963 and 1970 club victories she played at a club closer to home where Keith also coached.

The Gary Ablett junior of her day, Alice was encouraged to venture back and play again for Parkville in 1970, winning again before then being invited to play for Hawthorn by now-club president Robert Payne. "He has a dark history, Kath. He worked at Cheeky Chaps in Brunswick as a stripper in his younger days." (whatever you do, don't Google 'cheeky chaps' when your daughter is in the next room).

Crikey - maybe Alice's association with such an unsavoury character was the reason she never made it to Parkville's Life Member board?

If fraternising with a male stripper wasn't enough, there was other dirt to dig up. During all her tennis glory days, Alice was....

... a smoker.....!

Sadly, Keith passed away due to a chronic obstructive airway caused by years of smoking and working in the munitions and ballistics industry in Maribyrnong. That was enough for Alice: "No smoking when Keith got ill. I've been pure ever since."

Now living by the sea, she still plays tennis at Rye. Alice and her friend Norma took out the gold medal for Doubles Tennis in the over-seventy division at the Masters Games. Seventy four and still a winner.

She's a dead-set Legend. I'll never be a champion in any sport, but if I can remain as active, friendly and happy as Alice in her eighth decade, I'll be very grateful.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Snappy September - Day Twenty Nine - Strazat

The final 'Wednesday Word Verification Explanation' for Snappy September is one that is common to all neighbourhoods except the very, very wealthy.

A Strazat is the indoor lounge that, once worn, out of fashion and stained beyond social acceptability is moved outdoors to the front of the house.

The strazat is infamous for lowering the tone of a home, street or even neighbourhood, particularly if it is actually used as an outdoor lounge. Those found on a strazat tend to have lots of time on their hands, are frequently inebriated and prone to giving unsolicited 'advice' and 'compliments' to passersby.

People wishing to sell a house nearby one that hosts a Strazat should either arrange for a crowd of friends to turn up to the auction and block the view from potential buyers or take matters into their own hands and have it removed by stealth.

Alternatively, people have bribed Strazat owners with a free slabs of VB for each time it is removed for an Open Inspection, with the additional sweetener of helping them install their own brewing operation next to the strazat after your property has sold.

Once the paint thinner and elderberry skins are ready for drinking, it won't be your concern any longer.
Snappy September - Day Twenty Eight - Free-ranging Flemington

My suburb is fairly densely populated and the roar of traffic, trams and train horns is a constant background soundtrack but I'm here to inform you that it does have its fair share of animal life.

(Apart from the wandering drunks who like to leave their kebab wrappers on top of our car early Sunday mornings that is).

The first animal is the one who works hardest on my heart strings.

Milly hasn't been able to go running with me for the past three years and the lurching stop-start, turn around on a five-cent-piece and stop-start again motions required to fetch tennis balls is also something that she'll enjoy for a few minutes and then painfully regret for many hours afterwards.

So, as I unlocked our tiny shed in readiness for my run and then dashed inside to answer the phone, this is the heart-rending scene she presented to me:

Tough luck Mills. However she always gets a nice ambling walk every day and later on I had a few errands to run, so she came along too.

We had to pass several lions:

And two uncertain Corgis who were staring at the automatic doors of the shops to make sure their owner would return.

I popped into Pepper Cafe to chat to the owner, Simon, about interviewing him for an article and left Milly outside. A couple of minutes later I noticed that she'd been given a white scarf to wear and looked pretty unsure about it.

When the owner of the scarf gave her a few pats, everything was okay in Milly's world again.

We walked past Alex's menagerie; all animals found and adopted from the streets of Flemington:

And a circa-1960s air hostess, because someone has to feed them I guess. Since this picture was taken, Sapphire was touched and impressed enough to ask Alex if she'd also consider adopting a Schleich Jack Russell and Rex from Toy Story. Alex agreed and now they too live on her window sill with their new friends.

This groover resides near the Communist flag and a cartoon thong riding a skateboard.....

.....but is considerably quieter than these three, who were keen to see me and let me lean over the fence for a pat and a photo but hadn't forgotten that Milly is evil.

She is evil, in all honesty, to other dogs.
What she does is wag her tail and look friendly and just as her canine cousin wanders up to touch her nose and sniff hello it's ARR ARR ARR GRRRRR as Milly lunges forward to try and rip the poor creature's face off.

Such encounters always involve me yanking her away, apologising profusely and yelling - as we move further down the street - that "Milly's a people dog, not a dog dog."

There are still a couple of working stables in Flemington, so Patto was giving his granddaughter and a mate a lift back home from the race course:

...... and Ros's dogs Charlie and Little tried to figure out if they remembered me or not. Charlie wasn't so sure, but Little was open to the idea of a greeting.

Sheep and cattle passed through these gates right up until 1987 and in its heyday, Newmarket was the largest stockyard in Australia. It now houses human stock only, with a few cats and fluffy dogs thrown in for good measure.

Out on Flemington Road, the din of the city-bound traffic and airport-bound traffic is deafening and Milly's ears flatten against the strain.

Despite this, we both hear the raucous screech of a Cockatoo perched on top of a light pole in the middle of one of the busiest roads in Melbourne, proudly calling out to his buddies pecking nearby on the lawn.

These fellas could barely be bothered to move when Milly and I stopped to look.

Back into the quieter side streets, we noted with relief that it was a good thing that they weren't hawks, or they'd never belong here.

Flemington. There's always something that tickles me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Snappy September - Day Twenty Seven - Putrid Porridge

Like most people older than Justin Beiber, I'm on Facebook.

I don't play poker, send virtual flowers or win baby foals on Farmville, but I'll admit to enjoying reading about what everyone else is up to.

I'll also admit to reconnecting with more friends than I'd ever be able to do in real life and defend my willingness to do so in this soulless, technological age of constant communication versus declining face-to-face interaction by saying that in one application I can see what 150 people that I like are up to and that's a helluva lot easier than enduring the mindless agony and boredom of hand-writing 150 Christmas cards (or receiving them, especially with those photocopied 'Dear whoever' annual summaries inside) or trying to visit around 150 different locations.

Whilst I'm in a confessional state of mind, I'll also tell you that you're free to be my
Facebook friend. Hey, if you're here reading my writing, then I'm honestly really pleased, flattered and not a little proud that you are, and I'd gladly want to have a coffee with you in real life or cyberspace. I've got nothing to hide other than my naked body and even bits of that has made it onto this blog of late.

Okay. Facebook. I'll post an update every now and then, but it amused me recently that the one that got the greatest response - 2 'likes' and twenty six written comments - was one about porridge.

I wrote: 'Katherine Lockett (yeah it's my full name on FB) believes that porridge is just God's own vomit and should be banned from being considered a breakfast food!'

The sentiment expressed was true. I know that porridge is considered a superfood and has a low glycaemic index and no fat and some kind of amazing ability to soak up scary things like carcinogens and cholesterol and low self esteem and instead provide the wise eater with wisdom, long lasting energy and an enviable sense of style but it tastes like lumpy clag to me.

John is Scottish and used his heritage as an argument: "That's no' how you make porridge. You have it with salt. My grandfather used to pour the leftovers into a drawer and eat the hardened stuff later on for lunch."

Katie tried to sell it as a convenience food: "It's soft and mushy, so I don't have to be very awake to eat it, unlike muesli which is just hard work."

Carmel tried to sweeten the blow by suggesting that I should "Just add chocolate and stir." Little does she know I've tried that many a time (also with meusli - add a few chocolate chips to the general nuts and bolts in there so that all that time spent chewing has the occasional bright spot).

Two correspondents went so far as to say that porridge for breakfast 'rocks' (hello Simon and Paul) and six friends said they 'love' it. Yes, they went on a public forum and said loudly and proudly that they love love LOVE it - Lynda, Jill, Wah Chin, Karen, Paula and Lucy - really? You love it?

Mostly though, the comments gave me ways to disguise the texture and taste of God's vomit - blueberries, rosehip jelly, honey, flavoured sachets, yoghurt, cinnamon and sultanas.

Dear, sweet, intelligent and full-of-empathy Angus said it best: "If it WAS actually God's own vomit you could sell it on eBay to any number of US casinos for a lot of money. But yes, given the choice between eating porridge and eating my own rancid faeces, I'd have to think it over carefully." He's a karate black belt too, so don't you dare argue.

I'll keep trying though. *sigh*

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Snappy September - Day Twenty Six - Learning for myself

We know that billionaires and millionaires and playboys and heiresses and internet marketing genuises and falled movie stars always tell us that money can't buy happiness but I'd really like to find that out for myself.

I'd also like - during those heady times when the price of passionfruit goes down from the ridiculous $1.69 each to a crazy and Kath-affordable-every-now-and-then-as-a-treat-and-departure-from-chocolate-price-of-$5.99-for-a-bag-of-ten - to cut them open and find that all of them have actual, well, fruit in them!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Snappy September - Day Twenty Five - Carn Tam!

Now, you might remember - let's face it, how could you forget - Tam, my Collingwood-loving friend from around the corner?

Well, since writing about her on Day 21, she's done more.

More to the house.

More to her hair

More to celebrate.

It's gotten so serious that I even heard Love Chunks mutter, "I hate Collingwood, but Tam loves them so much so I ---" his teeth grinding was audible to me, several metres away " ---- perhaps.... maybe...... won't mind if they win."

With that admitted, I also hope that they win. For TAM!

Snappy September - Day Twenty Four - Unaccompanied Minor

Sapphire's leaving us today, her first trip alone on a plane, over to see her grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins.

For a whole week.

She's been saying every single day, "I can't wait, Mum, I can't wait!"

When it came to packing, she started five days ago.

When it came to checking what she'd packed, we found that half of it didn't fit anymore. The jeans that were roomy were now comically short and way too tight. Growth spurts are almost visible to the human eye.

We went shopping yesterday and found that she's now in that awkward, halfway stage of clothing sizes - not much available that fits in the junior section but too low cut, hilariously large fits in the womens' size 8 range.

My heart hurt as we ventured into techno-thumping jeans stores and cheap girlie dress shops - life would be different from now on.

Even so, she's still a little girl.

Heading off on her own.

With airline stewards who won't fully realise just how valuable she is.

Dad will be waiting for her at the other end, documentation on hand to prove to Qantas that he has been approved to have her in his care.

For a whole week.