Monday 17 December 2007

One more thing that I just don't get

Hello, my name is 2BarRiff and I am an accountant.

So much so that I get the Australian Financial Review home delivered so I can read it at work with my first coffee.

Now it's not often that I find something in the AFR that horrifies me, aside from paying $2.70 for 56 pages, or the appalling website. But today on page 6 there was an article titled "Watching pay TV gets more expensive".

Within, I found that normal, basic, Foxtel was going up $1 per month to $31.95 per month. That's not so bad. What was shocking was finding out out that more than 40% of Foxtel's subscribers take the platinum package - now $105.95 per month. Eh?????

Now, granted that's 150 channels but at least 148 of them are crap most days. And the other 2 are usually some obscure sports show or reruns of Hey Dad.

To put it in perspective, for that price you could pay our monthly private health insurance, or my life insurance - yes, Madame2Bar becomes a millionaire if I kick the bucket. It also pays nearly 3 semesters of the Princess' school fees or 2 month's worth of 'Thin Review' home deliveries.

And at least those are tax deductible.

Saturday 15 December 2007

I weep for the future of mankind #833

So, I'm standing at the counter at Miss Maud's when the lady next to me orders a Chicken and Salad Baguette.

Only she pronounced it Bag-you-et-tea.

Thursday 13 December 2007

Most addictive site ever?


Find me in the easy rooms!!!

Wednesday 12 December 2007

5 more guitar tracks

I had a thought recently to revisit my list of 5 songs that were big influences on me guitarwise, mainly because the list, as presented, seemed to have shredded my indie credibility.

Plus I was stuck in a 2 day OH&S seminar. Bleah. Snore. Bleah.

So here's another list that will hopefully enhance my coolness:

The Stone Roses: She Bangs the Drum. The guitar work always sounds like 2 guitars when it's usually just one. Plus a cool bass riff as well.

The Smiths: This Charming Man. Run that intro a few times. Amazing - I can remember being so frustrated trying to learn it. Must be why I hate Morrissey.

Lloyd Cole & the Commotions: Lost Weekend: In fact, all of 'Easy Pieces' is pretty cool to play along with. The last few seconds of the video is a reminder why skinny Englishmen should not dance.

Matthew Sweet: Sick of Myself. The riff is one that I almost always play when I pick up a guitar.

James: Born of Frustration. Not a real 'guitar-y' track but a cool riff nonetheless. Anyway, it was either this or 'Linger' by the Cranberries and I like this song more. I don't know why the radio stations play 'Laid' and not this song.

Monday 10 December 2007

Note to self: Must try harder

I don't consider myself all that dumb when it comes to things internetty. What I want I can usually find. Witness, for instance, this, this, this or this - all stuff I was looking for and found.

However, when it comes to blogs about depression, I've never been able to find much that is either a) good b) updated regularly or c) both. (As opposed to this blog which is none of the above).

So it was with a tiny bit of personal shame that I finally got hold of this: The top 10 depression blogs as rated by Shame that I had missed it, and shame that I wasn't on it. Maybe if I was more depressed and could be bothered writing about it I might get somewhere in this blogging caper.

The reality is that I've been wallowing in some shallow depths of despair by letting small things get the better of me. Work, relationships, parents, church, parents, parents, kids, parents and so on. At a superficial level things look crap but, when I could be bothered to stretch my view out over a longer term, they aren't so bad. Batting away the procrastination is still harder than I though it would.

I guess I'm forgetting the lessons I'm learning about viewing time and so on. With OneBarRiff staring down the barrel of a 6 to 12 months life expectancy, you'd think I would be able to put things in perspective. Even with depression.

The good thing out of all this is that I now have about 8 new depression sites to visit to, ah, make me feel better 'n stuff.

Tuesday 4 December 2007


I can't believe it! I'm in the mood to go through my drafts and actually post something but I can't find my memory stick.

Now I have to come up with something new. Crap!

Sunday 25 November 2007

Bits 'n Bobs

My great return to blogging has been a little less than impressive. Thankfully, with Madame2Bar out visiting a friend in hospital, the kids in bed and bugger all on TV I have almost zero excuse to blog.

After working my way through the procrastination flowchart, that is (thanks Téa).

I just realised that, even though I've not been blogging, I have at least a dozen draft posts and a good size more ideas sitting on my thumb drive awaiting posting. Which makes me question whether I am a) depressed or b) just a lazybum.

The fascist Howard dictatorship has now been turfed out of office. I must admit that it would have been funnier watching Labor self-destruct after another defeat, than the inevitable Liberal 'handbags-at-dawn' fight over the tattered remains of what is left of their party. I won't cry myself to sleep that Kevni won ... the Liberals have been hard to love lately. I wonder if the party will reform under a new title or continue as Australia descends to one-party rule? Interesting times ...

My little brother, heretofore dubbed 'OneBarRiff', has been in hospital for a number of months with some pretty serious stuff. He thinks he contracted it when his immune system was low on account of depression. Wait a minute ... sister, brother, me ...? I'm sensing a pattern here. So are my parents, which brings more crap to deal with.

Owning a pool is great. I think I've assembled an inventory of chemicals that could make a serious sized explosive. (Hmmm ... I wonder if ASIO tracks these kinds of things?) Being able to take a plunge in a perfectly temperatured pool after a 39 degree day isn't too bad either. Roll on summer.

The low employment rate is starting to bite at work. At the same time, I know plenty of people who are looking around for alternate employment. It's a matter of finding the best fits, I guess. When I started work in the early 90s, you couldn't find an accounting job for love nor money. Now it's gimps straight out of uni wanting $50K per year. Pah!

I'm turning 35 soon! I've started drafting a birthday post but finding it hard to work out want I want to say (not an unusual predicament). I do, however, feel that having nothing to say would be wrong.

And finally, I picked up my guitar for the first time since the operation! Here is video to prove it.

One would have thought that a near 6 month, self imposed layoff would have inspired some creativity ... sorry.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Guess who's back ... back again? *

Not quite a month off, and I don't really feel bad about it. For two reasons:

It's been very hard to write anything. Change that. It's been very hard to WANT to write anything, so I don't know if it was hard to actually write. Also, since taking the medication (6 weeks now, I think) I have been experiencing some changes and some realisations about myself.

  • Time.
I have a different view of time now. Things used to seem to have to be done nownownow and, if they weren't, I'd get the guilts and just end up leaving things. Now I feel that I can put things in their appropriate space, but also give things their own time.

Part of this realisation came about during a trip over east to meet up with my counterparts from other states (multi-national corporate slave that I am). In terms of age, I discovered that the nearest to me is 14 years my senior, the oldest is probably another 5 -10 years older than him.

So, alone in my hotel room staring at the ceiling, I realised that I have no need to push my career as much anymore. If older people are happy doing what I am doing, then I have made an achievement and can now focus on building my career from the 'inside', as opposed to the energy I've spent trying to find the right career in the right industry.

I'll try to explore this later, because it sounds like a small thing when re-reading but I now have a feeling of peace about myself that I don't remember ever having before.

  • Jealousy
I also realised that I am a very jealous person. In fact, I would say that jealousy has been the number 1 driver of almost everything I have done or attempted. If you are a person that I have know in real (or semi-real, ie internets) life, it is almost certain that I have spent time being insanely jealous of something you have, done or said.

Having the green eyed monster as your 'coach' is a surefire way of never being happy. This attitude has not only made me focus externally, I've never really focussed internally. In the wash up, sometimes I've not even known what I've been jealous about.

So that's the two big breakthroughs that have occurred. And I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't have occurred without the medication that I'm now taking. So yay for little white pills.

Now I need to find the little pill that gets me back writing regularly.

* A measure of my success in addressing my thinking patterns is that the song came into my head during work and I immediately thought "What is Eminem doing these days?" In times past, I would not have been able to resist going on the web to find out there and then. Now, I haven't even bothered. Baby steps, sure, but steps nonetheless.

Thursday 18 October 2007


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Or is it Ewwwwwwwww?

Either way, that's the result of the surgery (approx 10cms long). I can't say whether it's been successful or not as I'm still on an enforced rest period - no lifting, gardening or playing guitar allowed. It does feel looser though. Beforehand, pressing your thumb just above the cut was like pressing wood, now it's as loosey-goosey as a normal arm. So I'm hopeful that I won't have any more issues.

The medication is going well, sort of. I can't say that I've felt depressed in the time that I've been taking it, but I have noticed some anxiety issues where I've been waking up at all hours thinking about things (that would ordinarily be easily solved) and I've had a bad stomach which is normal when I get anxiety.

The waking up issues I've put down to my procrastination (depression related) coming up against my anxiety over work. To that end, I've started using the methods from Getting Things Done which has allowed me the ability to focus on small tasks and maintain a sense of control (and get things done!). Highly recommended.

The lack of blogging has been from general tiredness and reacquainting myself with Francis Crawford of Lymond. I must say that I love these books, although Dorothy Dunnett does expose my rudimentary French in all it's crappiness. Again, highly recommended if you buy a French (and Latin, and Spanish) dictionary.

So that's the small update. I haven't really been thinking too much about depression as I wanted a bit of a rest so there's no pearls of wisdom around at the moment. Instead, have a pool shot of the Bomb and me in the pool.

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(Since that shot, the water feature is done and the headers are sitting on our front lawn awaiting installation - progress!)

Thursday 11 October 2007

Is Hungry Jacks heaven sent?

The Hungry Jacks near us had a fire go through it last week and was shut down. We drove past it tonight on the way home when the Princess noticed it had been repaired and people were eating inside again. In a very loud voice she shouts

'Hungry Jacks is fixed and working, Praise the Lord!'

I think I may have to monitor the frequency with which she eats there!

Monday 8 October 2007

Q: How dumb am I? A: Read on ...

One thing I forgot to mention about the Zoloft.

I bought the tablets and the nice young lady at the pharmacy told me to take one at night. I took one at 6.00 because I don't want to take them too late due to the insomnia-type side effects.

Only, I should have read the label, as should the nice young lady, because it was actually half a pill.

I am going to be soooo sick tomorrow.

Medication Situation

My experience with pills and depression has not been good.

Initially I was against taking medication. I had the example of my sister who also has depression. She was quite happy to take her pills and be, um, happy. But never looked to be trying to fix things. I wanted to fix myself and, I guess, the idea of not being of full faculty went against this. Was it pride? Maybe, but I did believe that I had the wherewithall to conquer this problem.

I was prescribed Endep for my arm pain a little while ago and, by the way, it should help with the depression. To say the side effects were bad would be an understatement. I felt dizzy and disorientated almost straight away. I can't recall ever feeling physically worse - it was like having a bad case of the flu. This episode reinforced my anti medication stance.

Today, I bit the bullet and got my prescription for Zoloft filled.

My reasoning is thus: I came in to work this morning and, while there was plenty of work to do, I fiddled and farted around for ages before getting stuck in. Every task felt to big and there were feelings of inadequacy and wanting to run away. Again.

This has happened numerous times in the past and the procrastination is a symptom of my depression. I decided that I needed help in getting better, so little white pills here I come!

So do I consider taking medication a failure? No. Initially in my therapy I would have but I know, today, that I can't do on my own.

This isn't the start of getting better but I hope it's the difference between walking and runnning towards the finish line.

5 Riffs you may not remember (or have ever heard of)

To show the random things that go through my head at work, here is a list of guitar riffs that I used to practice a lot that you may not have heard of:

T-Rex: 20-th Century Boy. Cunningly simple and, is it just me or does he look like Alanis Morrissette?

Judas Priest: Desert Plains. "The engine roars between my thighs". Keats, Shakespeare, Halford. LOL

Living Color: Type.
Of course, if I dressed like that I'd look like a twat.

King's X: Over My head. A guitar tone I've never heard before or since. And a 12-string, left handed bass!

Eric Gales Band: Resurrection. And he was 16 when the song was first recorded. Ouch!

Of course, my ability to solo isn't quite as good but not too shabby.

Saturday 29 September 2007


The surgery was done yesterday and, aside from a weird squelching sound every so often, all seems to be ok.

I have to wear the sling for two weeks but should then be 100%.

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Of course, one handed typing is not all that easy, so posting may be sporadic - unless I can get Madame2bar to type for me :-)

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Thanks, Princess ...

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... I think it shall.

Monday 24 September 2007

LOL - this has got to be the funniest thing I've ever written.

Sorry for the title - it's a bit misleading but if I went with the title I was originally thinking of, you would probably skip past this and I am NOT going through hassle of blogging to be ignored!

I've just been living through a very rough week emotionally, and aren't at all sure that I'm out of it yet. It's in my top 5 worse times of depression, maybe as high as #3, only because the top 2 involved breakdowns.

One of the things I hatehatehate about depression is how it takes normal thought processes and turns them on their head. Things I would not think in a 'normal' frame of mind (or would easily dismiss) are suddenly first and foremost in my thoughts and I have to fight to try and approach things, well, normally. And who's to say that the thoughts I'm fighting against aren't ones I really should be thinking about, and my depression is just a way of avoiding dealing with things that all normal people can deal with? (Twisted logic, much?)

It seems somedays that it's only my hate for my depression that keeps me going. My family, job, music etc etc etc just cannot register through the fog. I know they're important to me, vital even, but as motivators to get better, it just doesn't work. And that scares me. A lot.

When I say I want to beat depression, I mean I want to smash it's head open and watch it bleed to death. I hate what it does to me, I hate it for what I've lost, what I've risked, who I've hurt. I hate depression for making me hide in my office and bawl, causing me to turn up late to a meeting with red eyes and a weak excuse for why I look like I was crying. I hate depression for making that bottle of gin look good.

I want to be a better husband-father-son-brother-friend-employee more than anything. Coping with depression means, I guess, accepting that sometimes it's just not working the way you want it to. Coping with someone else's depression is much the same - accepting that things aren't operating on your timetable, or theirs (Mum & Dad - are you listening????). And being patient so that you can enjoy the brief periods of 'normal' that you used to take for granted.

Oh well, you'll have to hang on for a little while longer for some more pool shots. They should be more fun and more coherent than this. Just be glad Madame2Bar didn't take the camera out when I went skinny dipping.

And to any professional counselors who may be reading - while I agree that what I've written probably presents a treasure trove that you are itching to get your hands on, sorry, I already go to counseling.

Saturday 15 September 2007

More Pool

Just 'cause.

It appears that I need to do some error correcting on the camera's error correcting, because, with a flash I get thus:

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and without a flash I get thus:

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Both shots were taken within minutes of each other (just now in fact) and while it wasn't pitch black, it was the next setting up. So, back to the ol' manual for me.

All I wanted to do was show the disco lights - 7 colours and some kewl patterns (and try to get more 'swimming pool' entries than 'depression' entries.

Pool Handover

It's 7.5m long, 3.5m wide, 1.8m high and it apparently is possible to hand it over to someone. Yep, it's in and on and ours.

Since we've been slack on updating progress (and, like, how you are all so, like, hanging out 'n stuff) here's a couple of happy snaps:

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Hole dug and pool in (Couple of weeks ago)

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Full pool with yucky water - nothing connected (last week)

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Everything in and on except for the solar heating, water feature and fence - today!!!!

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Everything in, view from rear (including temporary fence at the top left) - still today!

There, aren't you less bored now?

Monday 10 September 2007

Why I like my Depression

Having depression is mostly, but not completely, bad. And stupid, really stupid - in fact I've just spent about an hour drafting an entry entitled 'Depression is Stupid' but I think it needs more work so you can't read it yet :-P

Since I will feel bad if I don't post something tonight... one of the writing techniques I've become acquainted with revolves around absurdities. By trying to come up with a list of obviously ridiculous reasons for something (eg why crocodiles make good pets), you get your creative and subconscious juices (mmm .... subconscious juices) flowing. Also Icy did inspire this as well.

So here are 4 reasons why I like my depression (not your depression, my depression. I don't like your depression AT ALL!)
  1. The fight. Something big is happening in my life. I feel like I'm in a battle for my life and that beats an in-tray full of accounting any day of the week.
  2. The melancholy. In the past, I've always had a preference for the melancholy over the, ah, un-melancholy. I've preferred quiet people to loud people, colder days to hotter days, minor chords to major chords. Must be why I hate clowns.
  3. Honesty. The self examination has made me be a more honest person, because that's the only way that I can see myself getting better.
  4. Quality of life. I'm trying more things as a way of combating the inertia that depression brings.
I was going for 5 but 4 will do. Maybe number 5 can be "I can accept my failings". Yeah! That'll do.

Saturday 8 September 2007

While I'm on my high horse ...

The state of the education system. Oh yeah, you just knew it was bound to come sooner or later.

In between showers, the kids and I were playing out the front. The Princess insisted I play some skipping rope games with her and so, naturally, I caved in and played some skipping rope with her.

She went first and wanted to do 'Cinderella' so, intrigued, I let her go and she came out with this abomination:

Dressed in yella
Went upstairs to kiss a fella
Made a mistake

Kissed a snake

How many doctors did it take?

One, two, three ...

Appalling! What's next? HollaBack Girl?

So, as any good father would do, I reached into the classics and came up with this one which works exellently with a double-tap.

The time has come, the walrus said
To talk of many things.

Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax

Of cabbages and kings

And why the sea is boiling hot

and whether pigs have wings.

Honestly, if that Cindrella crap is what passes for poetry in today's schools I think all hope is lost.

(For the record, I won with 11 doctors)

Madame, you've gone TOO far!

7. Much to 2Bars disgust I don't like guitar music. It needs someone to sing to break up the noise.

I first saw this post this morning and it's been bugging me all day. Now, while I admit that vocals are there to give the guitar player a rest, I take umbrage at what I like being called noise.

Take the power, the majesty, the mullet, that is Eric Johnson. Noise? Bah! (Warning: 6 minutes of guitar-y goodness follows)

Who needs singing?

By the way, when Madame2Bar refers to singing, she doesn't mean this:

Or even this:

Oh no. She's talking about this:

And this:


Anyway, since Youtube won't allow me to embed Rush, have some Steve Morse!

(Look! All alternate picking!)

Madame2Bar said I had to include this as well:

Friday 7 September 2007


Since I am also an author, here is 8 things you don't know about me.

1. I would rather go on holidays with my parents then my friends. Thats how great they are!

2. I have six unusual birthmarks on my body. One is shaped like a sea-horse above the inside of my right knee which is about 10cms long and 3cms wide. Another is smack bang in the middle of my chest and looks like a pendant on a necklace. If I drew a chain on my skin no one would know the difference. (unless they were standing really close)

3. Ever since I was young I have been able to touch my nose with my tongue. Only myself, my Aunt on my Dad's side and my 16yr old cousin on my Mum's side can do this. I have quite a large family so I find this fascinating that only three of us can do it.

4. I've had a personal tour of the private quarters of a U.S aircraft carrier.

5. I also get migraines from citrus fruit.

6. Have a great dislike of licorice, bananas and heights.

7. Much to 2Bars disgust I don't like guitar music. It needs someone to sing to break up the noise.

8. I am a budding artist. (Thanks to my painting teacher .)

Wednesday 5 September 2007


Téa tagged us a little while ago and, because this is the first meme in our blog's short life, I chose not to ignore it :)

Here are 8 things you shouldn't know about me. If you do then you are a creepy stalker and need to back off (does not apply to Madame2Bar, of course).

1. I have no middle name.

2. I achieved all my life's grand ambitions before I turned 30. They were:
  1. Get a degree
  2. Get married
  3. Have children
  4. Earn over $50,000 a year
  5. Own an electric guitar
3. I now have no grand ambitions outside of keeping the 2BarClan in the lifestyle to which they are now accustomed. But am working on it.

4. Though I am a Christian, I don't own any brown cardigans.

5. I get migraines from chocolate. The only other person that I know of with this affliction is Madame2Bar.

6. I am training myself to run a marathon (Hard work to start after arm surgery). This is not a grand ambition, more of a "Wouldn't it be cool if I could ..." kind of thing.

7. The best job I ever had was as a swimming teacher.

8. I like my in-laws better than my parents.

Tuesday 4 September 2007

Sometimes, things just work.

Some of my fondest parenting moments are when I act like a tool and it comes off in a spectacular way.

On Saturday, I was putting up some brushwood along the side fence. Stopping for a break, I headed for the food and decided to be funny for the kids.

Naturally this involved me lifting my T-shirt, sticking the drill in my belly button and pulling the trigger. (As I was using a hex socket driver, there was zero chance of me drilling my way to my spine).

Of course, what made it double funny was that, somehow, in drilling out my belly button, I managed to remove a fairly sizable chunck of belly button fluff.

The Princess, naturally, was mortified. The Bomb, of course, wanted a go. Cue scenes of 2BarRiff chasing the 2BarKids around the patio with a drill.

I love being a Dad.

Good News, Everyone!

It seems that, while I do need surgery on my arm (in a few weeks time), I should return to full function again.


May throw a spanner in the works when it comes to finishing off the backyard, however.

Thursday 30 August 2007

As the dove flies over, the cricket will come to nest

Madame2Bar: Are you still worrying about surgery?

2BarRiff: Yes.

Madame2Bar (Starts massaging 2BarRiffs shoulders): I wish I could say something to make you feel better.

2BarRiff: You don't need to feel that you have to say something to make me feel better.

Madame2Bar: I don't have to say anything. I want to make you feel better, to comfort you with an inspirational saying like:

"As the dove flies over, the cricket will come to nest"

2BarRiff (in a menacing tone after picking up hard object): Run.

Playing the Changes

I've had some good/bad news recently.

To background, I've played guitar (and other instruments) on and off for about 25 years. Over the last 4 years, my left (fretting) hand and arm have felt, well, weird. It wasn't pain, exactly, but it was discomfort. I found that, by the end of a session, my left hand was so weak it could barely grip. Lately it's been in the middle of a song with too many bar chords that my hand has started cramping, because I've been overcompensating with my thumb to both push the strings down and to actually hold my hand up to the level of the neck.

About 18 months ago I finally saw my doctor about it, after some initial dabbling in physiotherapy, and he referred me on to a sports injury specialist. Over the last year or so I've been through a combination of physiotherapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation therapy and lots and lots of scans. To the point where I finally cracked and said that I am willing to consider surgical options because nothing else is working.

Monday saw me go in for a pressure test on my left forearm and the results indicated that I do, indeed, need surgery. (I'm not detailing the type of problem or surgery as it's not exactly common and don't want this site to show up in searches for it - email me for the gory details).

And that's the good news - after 4 years or so, I now know what the problem is and there is a treatment for it.

The bad news is that I've had to make one of the biggest decisions of my life and hang up my guitar(s).

This is precautionary as I don't want to get any worse prior to surgery. It's also precautionary in case the result is that, even after surgery, I'm no longer able to play.

In contemplating this, I have been quite sad. See, we usually are defined in 2 ways - external (how others see us) and internal (how we see ourselves). As we try to minimise the influence of the external definition, so we try to grow the internal definition.

My big internal definition is as a musician, even though my career path has lead in other directions. No matter if I've only played for 5 minutes in a week, or 50 hours, I still see myself, in part, as a creative, musical type. Picking up an instrument and bashing out something reasonable is what I do and what I love. And now I face the real prospect of that part of me disappearing.

One of life's lessons is that we need to roll with the changes, but without losing who we are. I guess I have allowed the thing I need to look at changing to be very much part of who I am. And just when I was about to buy a new pedal to add to my collection. Sigh.

Anyway, my list of questions for the pre-surgery consultation so far are:
1. Will the procedure return me to 100% function?
2. If not, will I still be able to play a musical instrument again?
3. What is the post-op recovery time expected to be?
4. Will the scar be sexy?

Tuesday 28 August 2007

Curse you Alice!

In looking back at the last post it has become scarily obvious that I am easily influence.

I have taken it upon myself to read a chapter of 'Alice in Wonderland' to the Princess each night before bed. A dual purpose literacy expanding/father-daughter bonding thing.

What I didn't expect was the verbosity influencing my writing.

Better hold off reading any James Joyce for a while...

Of Wedded Bliss and False Economies

It may come as a shock to the casual reader, but the 2Bar household does have it's fair share of spats and arguments. Not the crockery smashing, pet kicking, punch throwing types of arguments mind you, but there are times when things between Madame2Bar and myself are decidedly frosty.

The cause of the latest dispute? A kettle.

Now, almost everyone can agree that the main cause of dispute between couples is frequency of sex money. When two people have divergent views on what should be spent, and where, arguments will arise because, with money, we are dealing with life at it's most fundamental.

Our very survival in this modern age rests on our ability to earn and our ability to spend. Not only does our ability to earn affect where we live and how often we eat, it is also seen as a cornerstone of social standing. The ability to spend one's money also has an effect on how well we live, plus the appearance of being able to maintain one's budget values our wisdom. We are familiar with terms such as 'miser', 'spendthrift' etc.

Add to this such feelings such as guilt ("It cost how much???") and desire ("We need to get it now!!!") and the mix of outside and inside pressures is heady and dangerous.

To begin the story, then, when the 2BarKettle ceased to work it was obviously time to get a new one. And so Madame2Bar did just that. Eschewing more expensive options and features, opportunity knocked in the form of a grocery store special and a replacement was obtained for just $14. A bargain! Won't 2BarRiff be pleased?

Well, not exactly. See, despite my CPA qualification, I like to think that I also know the value of a dollar and, indeed, the value of value. Purchasing the cheapest does not necessarily work out in the long run. I am often of the opinion that the middle road is best and this holds true for purchasing decisions - balance out the expensive with the cheap and then match the features of the average - my middle of the road philosophy.

Now, as a good husband, I needed to hold my tongue and encourage Madame2Bar's thrift and frugality. As a human being, however, the opportunity to make a point is very, very, VERY hard to resist. And I resisted as long as I could but eventually had to point out that I didn't think the new kettle would last long and the money spent would turn out to be wasted as the $14 would have to be added on to the cost of the new kettle when the old one soon broke down.

Soul crushing it was to Madame2Bar to find out that though she tried to do the 'right thing', it was not right. But not as soul crushing as it was when the 2BarKettle Mk II boiled it's last within a couple of weeks of purchase. And the temptation to make a point, coupled with the temptation to say "I told you so" proved intoxicating and unavoidable. So I had to make the point and tell her so.

And that, dear reader, is when arguments start.

As a mea culpa, I must humbly point out my own failings in this matter, and they are:
1. Madame2Bar was ignorant of my 'middle road' philosophy because I had never told her of it and thus she thought buying the cheapest was something I would approve of;
2. Love conquers all, except when we succumb to the temptation to score points at our partner's expense;
3. Madame2Bar was already feeling down about the expiration of the second 2BarKettle and did not need my added input; and
4. It's only a bloody kettle.

As an act of contrition, we went shopping on my day off and used a gift voucher that I had been saving to purchase the 2BarKettle MkIII. The new kettle is indeed a fair unit, melding increased volume, a hidden element and an extremely comfy grip - long may she serve the 2Bar household and all who sail in her.

New kettle, soothed egos, tears dried, lessons learned. Ahhh, in the words of Uncle Remus, everything is, once again, mighty satisfactual.

Nice Doggy!

The Bomb was staying with Nanny for some babysitting yesterday. While walking to the park two dogs were excited to see them and were barking behind a fence.

Nanny said 'Say hello nicely Bomb'

My son walks up to the fence and says ' Hello Nicely!'

Steps back and looks up at Nanny and says 'How did you know his name is Nicely?'

Just Gorgeous.

Saturday 25 August 2007

What a week, what a month, what a year ....

Great horny toads, what a week it's been for your humble correspondant. Should I regale you with the details? Why yes, I think I shall.

Sunday Night
8.00pm Resolve to go to bed early due to upcoming big week
12.30am Go to sleep after reading book

6.00am Wake up and get ready for work
7.05am Arrive at work
11.15pm Leave work
11.20pm Home
12.00pm Sleep

6.00am Wake up and get ready for work
7.10am Arrive at work
4.00pm Suddenly realise had offered to help non-for-profit body with some accounting issues tonight. Curse violently for short time.
6.00pm Home for Dinner, read kids story, put to bed
7.00pm Leave for meeting with non-for-profit body
10.45pm Home
12.00am Sleep after reading book

6.00am Wake up and get ready for work
6.50am Arrive at work
5.20pm Leave for massage
7.00pm Stop past home from massage to read kids story, kisses goodnight etc
7.35pm Back at work
12.55am Respond to cajoling from Madame2Bar (via SMS) and security (via fat security gaurd) and prepare to go home
01.10am Back home, go to bed, attempt to fend off Madame2Bar's affectionate advances
01.12am Fail to fend off Madame2Bar's affectionate advances
02.30am Sleep

6.00am Wake up and get ready for work
6.55am Arrive at work
08.30am Head Honchos from Sydney arrive for all day meeting. 2BarRiff is quietly soiling pants
11.00am 2BarRiff finishes introduction. Gets to point of meeting
06.15pm Meeting finishes. Adjourn to restaurant for quiet celebration
06.40pm Pick up new set of glasses on way to restaurant. Looking quite spiffy
07.30pm Restaurant. At table surrounded by foreigners who are far richer than I. Proceed to laugh at stupid jokes and ignore indecipherable accents.
10.30pm SMS Madame2Bar to say on way home and enquire as to her state of dress
10.50pm Arrive home, determine Madame2Bar's state of dress (or lack thereof as it turns out)
12.05pm Fall asleep after, well, ahem ...

05.45am Wake up and get ready to pick up some of the honchos from Sydney for impromptu morning meeting
07.30am Honchos are picked up and meeting has begun
10.45am Honchos depart for airport. 2BarRiff departs for his intray and emails
12.05pm 2BarRiff departs for restaurant as his staff have organised celebratory lunch over good result from Thursday
12.50pm Arrive at lunch. As host am charming, witty & erudite. Would be more so if the employees of a certain local radio station weren't so loud or so close.
02.30pm Pay bill (no tip for you, young waitress, if you continue to forget my drinks), farwell staff, leave for work as meeting scheduled for 4.00 pm
03.05pm Arrive at work, assorted paperwork: legal opinions, tax opinions, Workchoices changes, sign this, that and the other thing etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.
04.00pm Arrive in bosses office for meeting. Receive beer. Start drinking
04.05pm Meeting finished. Back to office for more paperwork: budget numbers, KPI review, etc etc etc
04.10pm Tire of effort. Go in search of people to talk to. Find Business Development Manager.
05.20pm 2 beers and half a bag of biltong later, leave for home.
05.30pm Arrive home. Leave for fast food restaurant.
06.15 pm Arrive home. Coherence starts to fade.
08.00 pm Sleep.

06.55 am Awake apparently unmolested.

And, far from being restful, today has been netball, shopping, ice-creams, lunch and quiet time for the kids as I get dinner ready (defrosting chicken for slow cooker) since Madame2Bar is at an all day craft thing and then has a movie tonight. This afternoon will be grocery shopping, refereeing children's fights and some cleaning up around the place. Have scheduled sleepy time for 5 minutes after kids are in bed.

Monday 20 August 2007

I'm SOOOO excited!

The pool is being installed on the 29th of August!!!! Thats next Wednesday!

When they said the pool would be in before summer I thought maybe end of November beginning of December but not end of August! We only signed up on the 4th of August and here's a list of what I've done so far;

  • Pulled out all the plants I wanted to keep and replanted them in the front garden
  • Organized liquid limestone people to pour limestone once pool is in
  • Pulled out rest of bushes and plants and filled a 9cubic meter skip bin
  • Had Adrian clear all the cooch away and level the backyard
I'm pretty impressed with myself. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I have. Probably because I have a plan and a goal to work towards as before it was too overwhelming. Didn't know where to start in the garden.

The Princess is even more excited about the pool as I said she could have the day off school to watch the bobcat and crane. Doesn't say much about her enthusiasm for school hey!

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Pool Update

I haven't had time of late to write much here and I didn't want to be insensitive to 2Bar as he is having a hard time at the moment. The pool is still going ahead and I have been busily ripping out and replanting our many numerous bushes, agapanthas and shrubs and relocating them to the front yard. I've had ball! As I've said before I'm not much of a gardener but by crikey I've loved every moment of ripping it all out.

Our bobcat operator Adrian (a lovely Irish man) has finished digging out the cooch and leveling the backyard ready for the pool hole to be dug out. Here is what it looks like now.

Just glorious! No grass or bushes just lovely neat dirt! The kids are having a ball. The Bomb thinks it's one lovely big sandpit and The Princess is enjoying getting dirty. Who is that girl???

Have a look at the Ponytail palm that 2Bar and I dug out of the ground. It's beautiful but it was hard work digging and pulling it out! I am told they are very expensive especially at this size so I hope we haven't killed it.

So now the finance has gone through and the backyard is cleared it's just a matter of waiting for the shire to approve our request for the pool, which will take take between 4 to 6 weeks. How many other people are applying for a pool in this shire that it takes so long???? Anyway, then the pool people set an installation date, they inspect the site and confirm where we want the pool to be put. It's so exciting!

2BarRiff notes: Click here to see the 'before' shot.

An Accidental Man - an analysis

Just posting song lyrics is probably the lamest thing a blogger can do outside of cat blogging so I thought I'd pen some, er, thoughts as I seem to be about to liveblog another bout of depression.

This was the first Marillion album I owned, even though it was a remix album, so a little later I bought the original as well.

One of the tracks that didn't get remixed was 'An Accidental Man'. It never really stood out until recently, when I heard the simple, yet effective, riff in iTunes and repeated it about 10 times to catch the lyrics.

The song isn't a 100% representation of me or my depression but it is close. If you changed the phrases 'I was taught' to something like 'I taught myself' then it would probably be more accurate.

Sometimes I do feel like I've fallen into the 'job' of being a man without really wanting it. The demands of the role aren't something that I've ever looked out for but I find myself having to shoulder regardless. Maybe it's a lack of direction or even a lack of adulthood. I guess I just don't feel together in the way I see men like my Dad are together.

My parents, and those of the kids I grew up with, were migrants who came to a new country with very little (including very little English) and so had to carve out new lives in a new land. I think that taking the big step to leave home for a new, strange place helped forge a sense of calling, which helped them through the rough times.

I can't help but think that this calling hasn't rubbed off onto me. And maybe it's helped fuel a sense of directionless that seems to accompany my more depressed moments.

Probably the lyric I most identify with is:

So try and understand if
I don't say all I can
A stranger to myself I am
An accidental man

When I'm struggling with depression I don't tend to say all that much about it. (Fortunately, Madame2Bar can pick up on the moods quite easily because she's quite smart and I'm quite not subtle). I don't like talking about it because I'm not really the communicative type to begin with, let alone trying to analyse complex feelings that relate to parts of me that I don't normally interact with. Sometimes, not being able to talk about it means exactly that - I would if I could, but I can't.

I hate depression for the disconnect and the lost feeling. I hate the way it makes me feel wrong and small and inadequate. I guess I feel like a failed person, someone who has stumbled their way into this life.

An accidental man, indeed.

Here is a a live (bad) Youtube of the song. I was most impressed that, despite my exile from the guitar, I was still able to work out the main riff in my head.

Ewww, video captured on mobile phones at concerts sucks. Here's a copy of Marillion's best known (probably) song Kayleigh so you can see how they sound with better sound.

An Accidental Man

I was taught from the much too young
To never give myself away
I was taught for every secret
Theres a price you have to pay

An accident of gender
An accident of birth
That holds me to this point of view
This time and place on earth
This time and place on earth

You ask me how I'm feeling
I only wish you knew
How hard it is for me to share
Share those kind of things with you

Its not that I don't love you
Its just I cant connect
cause I was taught from much too young
To shine and not reflect

I'm an accidental man

You ask me if I'm happy
I only wish I knew
cause happiness is not something
That I ever learned to do
Its not that I'm complaining
Its all the same to me
If everything that happens, happens Accidentally

I'm an accidental man

I was taught for every secret
There's a price you have to pay
I was taught from much too young
To never give myself away

I was born to worthy causes
I was born to take the reins
I was taught from much too young
To never give myself away

An accident of gender
An accident of birth
That holds me to this point of view
This time and place on earth

So try and understand if
I don't say all I can
A stranger to myself I am
An accidental man

- Marillion

Ooo, it's happening again

It's now past 1.00 a.m. and I'm still awake.

I finished the work I was doing about 20 minutes ago and yet, despite the dry, sore eyes, stiff neck and cloudy head I can't move myself to bed yet.

What's happening again is that I can feel the depression creeping up again. It isn't tiredness but it just hides there. I know if I go to bed I will lie awake pondering things and before you know it, it will be a downward spiral into 'that place' again. At least if I'm here blogging I won't be working up a blue funk while trying to sleep.

Thursday 9 August 2007

The Toolkit (Part 2)

The first part of this post is here.

4. 2 particular business cards
a. One is for my psychologist. While she isn't on call, she does encourage me to get in contact if things become hard and the next session is too far away. When I was in the deepest part of depression following my breakdown, she called up out of the blue a couple of days after a session, just wanting to make sure I was alright. That was probably the start of me getting better.
b. The other card is for my massage therapist. I have a regular session every 3 weeks but I can sometimes get an appointment at short notice. She is, besides being fantastic at the massage thing, also good at knowing when I want to chat away for the hour or just have a quiet session. I originally started going to sessions due to an arm & shoulder problem but the therapy has also been helpful for my depression - by relieving physical tension it enables me to feel less tense in other areas too.

5. Credit Card. I have a couple of credit cards. One, in particular, gets most of the use for bill paying and car related purchases. Credit cards have been our biggest budgeting issue as a couple and it's only recently that we have been able to control them, and ourselves. I have another one that I never really meant to get, but did anyway many years ago. It's been used for some big purchases in the past - for a brief time I was keeping a company I worked for afloat with it while waiting on some big cheques to clear. This credit card forms part of my toolkit because it enables me to pick up the phone, call Madame2Bar and say 8 magic words: "Pack the bags honey, we're going to Bali".

6. Photos. I have 3 special photos in my wallet. The main one is of the Princess and the Bomb looking all cute and is my display photo. Another is of the Princess when she was probably not even a year old - it's a period of time that neither Madame2Bar or I remember very well as we were too busy coping with PND. The final photo is now 10 years old and was taken at our engagement party, way back when we were young and pretty. I have never been one to keep happy memories, instead I've allowed myself to often become captured by bad memories or over-wrought 'what ifs'. These 3 photos represent images whose happy memories cannot be re-interpreted.

So that's my toolkit. Not very macho - sort of like depression, really - but it really is useful.

Wednesday 8 August 2007

The Toolkit (Part 1)

(Note: I'm in 2 minds over this post. While it is true and honest, I can't help thinking it reveals a side of me that is more sooky or soppy than I'd prefer. But, in the spirit of adventurous self discovery let's hoist the mainsail, damn the torpedos, set controls for the heart of the sun and straight on until morning. Or something like that.)

One way that I've found to combat my depression is to have tangible items that I can rely on. See, depression has a way of making you not trust your thoughts. What you believe is true in a normal frame of mind can seem totally not true when you're going through a low point. The stuff in your head just cannot be relied upon. So I look for things that don't give my screwed up mind any chances to second guess them. These things are simple, tactile and portable

In order to have my tangible items on hand, I have constructed a toolkit in which to carry them. This toolkit is also known as a 'wallet'. Here's what's in it:

1. $5 note. This note has a particular purpose. It is there so that, when things get tough, I can go and get some doughnuts - nature's perfect food. Doughnuts always make a person feel better and are thus one of the antidotes to depression. I know, and trust, that the sublime combination of fats and sugars will never, ever treat me bad. In fact, I often think that doughnuts were created just for me, since we are such a good fit.

2. Drawings. I carry a notebook in my pocket when at work. Aside from making me look extremely dorky, it allows me to jot down odd bits of information that I may need later. It is also useful as a way to distract the Princess and the Bomb when waiting for meals to be served (or doughnuts to be bagged). So, of the many masterpieces they have created, I have saved a couple for my toolkit. Being able to see a picture of myself as the Princess sees me is a marvelously objective way to counter the low self view that I sometimes carry.

3. Guitar Pick. This guitar pick (Dean Markley, Bright Yellow, .96mm for the trainspotters) reminds me that I can take an hour off from work, go to a nearby music or second hand shop and bash away on a guitar or two. It also reminds me that I am more than a deskfull of reports and PC full of emails. I have powers beyond mere accounting and deep within my heart lies a powerful combination of creativity, melody and rock 'n roll.

(I've split this post into 2 parts because it looks quite big and I have no idea how to do folds or jumps or whatever they are in Blogger).

Tuesday 7 August 2007

Pool Progress

We thought we'd share a bit on how the pool is going.

Currently the model and accessories have all been picked out, contracts signed, finance almost finalised and location has been set. Turnaround time looks to be about 10 weeks from when we give the word so all things appear on track for installation just as summer starts and therefore a pool party for the Princess' birthday.

Now, dear reader, please use your imagination. Currently you would be standing at the shallow end looking towards the deep end. There would be no grass, weeds, sand or bushes just sweet, sweet limestone. A small border garden. All straight lines. Mmmmmmmm.

Just out of shot to the top right will be the solar heating. And yes, we are in the middle of winter - that shot was taken 3 days ago. Since then, Madame2Bar has taken a scorched earth policy to the garden. Anything that can be salvaged is now replanted out the front while the rest is waiting for the Bobcat guy to clear up in a couple of weeks.

Anyone want a trampoline? Pick up only, $70. Perth.

Monday 30 July 2007

"You shouldn't have depression"

That phrase comes up a lot during conversations with people who think they know me. Unfortunately, regardless of whether I should or shouldn't have it, I do and being told I shouldn't doesn't help. (Especially when the tellers are smug know-it-alls who know less than they think about more than they could imagine).

But 2BarRiff is nothing if not a helpful sort. So, I have done the hard work and come up with the Top 10 Reasons Why 2BarRiff Shouldn't Have Depression:
  1. I have 2 beautiful children
  2. They think the world of me
  3. My wife is the sexiest woman you will ever meet
  4. She thinks the world of me, too
  5. I love her to bits
  6. I have a degree
  7. And 2 postgraduate qualifications
  8. I'm a member of 2 professions
  9. I earn a six figure income
  10. My life is going to plan (well, except for the depression. That wasn't in the plan)
Guess what?

It doesn't help. Not a bit. Because my depression isn't like that. It's random and irrational and just a pain in the neck. I can love something and hate something (eg my Stick) and go through all degrees between within a very short amount of time.

The good news is that the good days are generally outnumbering the bad days. I have techniques to follow (more on that later) to help me when I'm in a depressed state and I have techniques to follow when I am not. So far, I've been able to see that the application of these things has had an effect and that gives me and Madame2Bar plenty of encouragement.

I guess the lesson to learn, if there is one, is that it's no good beating myself up about having this - I have it and that's all the brainpower I need to allocate to that thought - no what ifs or shouldn't haves. Life is for living and my 'living' just happens to involve depression.

Ok, let's talk about me for a while ...

Now that everyone is hale and hearty in the 2Bar household, there is time to spend on my favourite topic - me!

One of the ideas behind me blogging is to shine a light on my journey with depression. To perhaps throw a few ideas out there, deconstruct some thought patterns and let the healing begin. Or continue. Or maybe even finish.

Of course, I could just drop it into a Word document for Madame2Bar to read, but where would the fun be if it were only her to read? So let's put it out in teh interwebs for, well, one or two other people to read as well.

I don't intend to reveal too much detail as some parts of my journey with depression have involved very public events and I do like my anonymity - on the web at least. In real life I do talk about depression a fair bit and try to encourage others rather than keeping mum. Of course, I am judicious in who I tell and in what situations e.g. private chat with close friend - yes; person next to me on plane - no.

Interestingly, since being diagnosed with depression, I've found that all my siblings suffer from it too. I have a pet theory, based on working with my psychologist, that my parents (or at least my father) have suffered from depression as well. It's not an uncommon thing to 'catch' it from your parents but it was very weird to learn and a bit of an 'aha' moment.

Along with my own battle with the black dog, I have another major concern - how do I equip my kids to deal with it, knowing that they are at least highly likely to suffer from the same thing?

At the moment, they know that Daddy is sick and/or sad sometimes, prone to spending Sundays in bed and often needs a cuddle and a kiss. Luckily, we've raised the Princess and the Bomb to be 'cuddle dependent' so close contact and frequent protestations of love between us all are the rule.

In later life, I hope to be able to talk about depression more with them, sharing my struggles and the ways I've battled and, Lord willing, beaten it. I hope to tell them how much they've been part of my healing and that they are the reason I've fought against it.

For now, it's about creating as many opportunities as possible to be well - this site being one of them.

Sunday 22 July 2007

Slack Bloggers 'R Us

Ok, maybe not Madame2Bar, but I certainly have no excuse.

Yes, I've finally started a links section. Please have a look and let us know if you should be on it but aren't.

Email to pspcsptz at gmail dot com.

Saturday 21 July 2007

Quick Update

Well the lurgy has struck and now both kids are sporting fevers, coughs and bad attitudes. Madame2Bar has been a trooper (up 4 times last night) and so all 3 are having a mid-day nap while I get the new webcam running.

Why is it that they tell you to put the monitor as far away as possible, but then the webcam, which is supposed to sit on top of it, can't pick up audio in it's microphone? Sigh.

Anyway, I, on the other hand, have had a great morning. Got tyres fitted on the car, went to the lunch bar across the road, had the biggest breakfast of my life (seriously, half a pig's worth of bacon) and got the webcam.

Friday 20 July 2007

It's moments like these you need a minti

Well, the wonderful Madame2Bar has taken to the interwebs like a duck to water and now it's me playing catchup.

I'd like to say hello to those who read these blog entries via Madame2bar's page on If you don't already know, our site,, is a joint effort between the lovely Madame2Bar and myself, 2BarRiff (husband extraordinaire and luckiest guy in the universe). So, if you are reading some of the articles and thinking 'That's weird!!", it's because they've probably been written by me, not her, and you haven't factored in the Y chromosome.

Anyway, now that I know this blog is being read by people from a parenting site, I'm glad I took down the entry extolling a regular thrashing to keep children in line and the "Children for sale! Cheap!!!" ad.

Only joking - my kids are precious. I wouldn't sell them cheap.

No Boots for me!
Awww well!! The idea today was to go shopping for a pair of knee high boots and some clothes. But forces were against me! My poor Princess came down with a temperature of 39.5 degrees, coughing and lethargy all yesterday afternoon. At first I didn't take much notice and told her to lie down thinking she was just whingey but when 2Bar came home and felt her she was 39.5! Just hand me the award for bad mother of the year right now!!!! Poor kid!

In Perth we've had 3 children die of these symptoms in the past 2 weeks. We've had warnings from the health department if your child exhibits any of these symptoms get them to a doctor or hospital. Now the children that died were all under 4 years old so Princess being 6 1/2 we weren't sure if we should rush off. The nurses on the Health direct line were fabulous and very thorough. Because she wasn't limp and alert enough to answer my questions they said we should monitor her through the night and if she deteriorates then take her to hospital.

Thank the Lord she didn't! She still had a temperature of 38 degrees this morning so I took her to the doctors and was given the same advice. If she deteriorates take her to hospital. I don't usually bother with going to the doctors when the kids have colds or fevers because the answer is usually the same 'It's viral there's nothing you can give them but panadol and keep their fluids up.' But this time with the combination of influenza A and bacteria infection going around I wasn't going to risk it. We now have to wait and see if the Bomb comes down with anything.

My shopping trip is on the back burner as I keep the Princess home from Oma & Opa's house. The Bomb has gone and is no doubt having a ball having them all to hisself. Never mind, the shoes and clothes I'm sure will still be there when I go next time.

Thursday 19 July 2007

Where has a nice coffee gone?

I thought I would take the children out today for a nice train ride into the city, have some lunch and come home for a quiet time. I knew I was headed for disaster when I woke up and it was raining! But the Bomb and Princess were excited and still wanted to go, so I gave in.

They misbehaved at our first stop in Medicare, on the train ride Bombs volume was turned up to maximum and the Princess needed glue to stick her to the seat. I was a bit frazzled by the time we got into the city. (Train ride about 15mins AHHHH!) We went to a food hall for lunch and I needed a coffee by then. I used to be a big coffee drinker before I had children but now i only have coffee when I'm stressed. So the kids had the Little Red Rooster meals and I had a latte from Aroma cafe. You think I would have had at least 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy my latte hey! My kids wolfed down a cheesburger, 3 nuggets, chips and a milk drink in about 5 minutes. My latte was still boiling hot! Then as always Bomb needed to wee and Princess needed a poo. I hope other parents go through synchronized toilet visits at meal times. Or I should say when Mum wants to eat!!

Regarding my latte, unless it is because I am predominately a tea drinker now, I haven't tasted a coffee of late which tastes nice. They all seem to taste very burnt and it doesn't matter how much sugar or milk you put in it still isn't an enjoyable experience. The only coffee I can say I enjoy is a frappe from Muzz Buzz or an ice coffee or dare shall I say it International Roast with the milk and sugar mixed in before the hot water! That will probably offended many coffee drinkers!

Well the kids made it back alive and are now in for quiet time. I was going to have a quiet time also but am now to awake from the coffee. AHHHHH! I did manage to stop at Dusk the candle shop and buy myself a 50hour burning scented candle. The scent is Santorini and is heavenly! The kids are off to Oma & Opa's tomorrow for a wonderful action packed day. While I'm off to do some boots and clothes hunting. Watch out credit card!!!!

Monday 16 July 2007

20 things about friends I learned from my son

From almost the moment our first child was born, we have been referring to the kids' character toys (teddy bears, Barbie dolls etc) as their 'Friends'. Inspired by The Bomb demanding two of his friends at 5.00 am this morning, I have compiled "20 things about friends that I learned from my son".

  1. The best friends are the ones that can be used properly.
  2. Any friend is a good friend if they can play in bed with you.
  3. You sleep better with a friend beside you.
  4. If you run out of friends, Mum & Dad will get you a new one.
  5. There is always one more friend waiting for you on the shelf.
  6. Any friend that falls apart can be easily replaced by another.
  7. Your total amount of friends is only limited by how much money Mum & Dad will spend on you.
  8. Friends don't mind if you strip them naked in front of other friends.
  9. Friends don't mind if you draw all over them after they are stripped.
  10. Friends don't mind if you leave them buried in the sand pit overnight.
  11. If your friends disappear, Mum & Dad will look for them (while you are busy playing with other friends).
  12. Chances are, you will get at least one new friend this Christmas.
  13. Friends that are no good anymore can be thrown out.
  14. It's ok to use a friend to hurt your sister.
  15. If you lose a friend, they are probably under the couch.
  16. If they aren't under the couch, look around for five minutes then grab another friend.
  17. Banging a friend's head on the table is only fun for a couple of minutes.
  18. Friends won't touch your food, your drink or your other friends without your permission.
  19. Friends will allow you to blame them for your failings.
  20. It doesn't matter what colour your friend is, it's how much abuse they can take that counts.

Friday 13 July 2007

Be Nice!

We're public now.

Thursday 12 July 2007

Pooling our resources

Last night we had the man come to measure our backyard and give a quote for a swimming pool. Our main reason for wanting a swimming pool is not for the enjoyment of swimming in summer or how the kids will love it but it's to get rid of the grass. We have cooch in both the front and back. It would have to be the most annoying grass there is. We would weed and clip back the edges one week and in a few weeks it would all be back. My husband and I are not gardening types and have no interest in maintaining a garden.

So the plan out the back is to install a swimming pool and pave the whole backyard. This is a 150 square meters. The pool is 7.65m long and 3.7m wide. This will leave a nice area to put outdoor furniture and plenty of room for traffic. If we want any greenery we would put pot plants around on wheels so we can have different look when it suited us.

Now this all sounded great but I've spent the night worrying if we should do it or not. That is so typical. 2Bar also wants a pool so I didn't have to talk him into it too much but I feel kinda responsible. It is a big decision and quite a bit of money. I think I'm just freakin out at the moment.

Wednesday 11 July 2007

Adventure Plus!

Our short trip down south turned into a great adventure!! We drove down to see Opa for his birthday and had a lovely few hours with him. When we were leaving I thought it would be a great idea to continue further down south to see my parents who were holidaying in their caravan. This was about another 3 hour drive! So I rang 2Bar and told him what I wanted to do and if it was OK . He had a business dinner to attend and said go for it. So we did!!

My parents were thrilled we were coming down. They went out and bought sleeping bags for us and the friends they were with had camping beds. So we stayed over night and slept in their annexe! Apart from the fact it was about minus 2 last night we had a blast. Pancakes, cereal, bacon, eggs, tomato and toast for breakfast. Yum! (I think Mum was missing me and the kids!) We had a quick look at a winery and playground then drove home. Fantastic!

Would you like to know my secret to quiet kids in the car for 4 and a half hours?? A portable DVD player and a good mix of DVDs. Bliss! I had what music i wanted to listen to and no one telling me my singing was awful. (The singing in the back was hilarious as the kids had headphones on. So off key!) I must admit I am now quite tired and a man is coming to give a quote for our new swimming pool and landscaping for the backyard. Quite exciting. I am definitely NOT cooking dinner tonight!

What a great adventure. Must do it again!

Monday 9 July 2007

School Holidays.

Today is the first day of school holidays and so far we are doing fine. I said the kids didn't need to have a quiet time today as it is holidays and could play to their hearts content. This was going fine until 1:30pm when the Bomb lost it. Princess could do nothing right according to him so she decided to wind him up. Well the silly talk and tears that streamed out of my baby was amazing. Princess found this highly amusing and kept winding and winding. They were fighting over the blue skipping rope which was sooooo much better than the rainbow rope. I suggested to Bomb he might like a quiet time as he wasn't behaving very well and he said 'Yes Mummy I'm tired!' More tears and snot but a huge monkey cuddle. He was asleep within minutes in bed. I forget he's only three and a half and more than two days without a quiet time he just can't handle it. Poor poppet! I wonder how he is going to go next year in Kindy. I guess the same as the Princess went when she started, Ok! They are hardy little critters.
I had a quiet chat with the Princess about helping Mummy with the Bomb and sharing. Don't ask me how I got to be skipping with the blue skipping rope for the next 30 minutes!! Hope tomorrow is better as we go to see their Opa for his birthday. Oma and Opa are cooking for a church camp in a town down south. It's about a 2 hour drive and it's freezing down there.

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Fitness and Motivation

(Last one for tonight, before the G&T wears off).

So I have managed to reduce my weight from an average of just over 105 kgs to just under 95 kgs. This was done over an 18 month period via a 3 step process involving exercise, added fiber and a bit of diet control that I'll go into on a later post - when I get the motivation :-)

If I had to pick an ideal weight, it would be to get under 90kgs. Why? Because I'd like to be eighty something kgs. Really.

So what's the problem? It seems that my current regime has reached an endgame. It's now good for maintenance at the 95kg mark (much like the do nothing regime kept me at 105kg) but little else. I am not going to reduce weight (and the size of the belly) by keeping on doing this.

Which, when we go deeper and think about the goal again, leads me to conclude that I just don't want to do the work. I will have to modify the diet even more, achieve more consistency in my exercise and basically stop with the snacking! Arrrgghh! DON'T WANNA DO! So, in Tony Robbins talk - the pain of adjusting my routine is greater than the pleasure I will get from achieving my weight goal.

Solutions? None right now, I'm afraid. Maybe I'll feel better once winter passes and spring appears.

Further Adventures in Couplehood

(Ooo yeah, he's blogging up a storm tonight!)

Mistress2Bar's entry on slow cookers prompted me to remember that I had suggested getting one a little while ago.

Having been had a long fascination with personal finance blogs, I came across this site and noticed an entry on slow cookers. The idea of cooking a reasonably healthy meal over the course of a day without too much work seemed to be a winner to me. Get everything done early and voila, dinner is ready when you want it.

My recollection is that my idea was greeted with very little enthusiasm. The arguments of leaving an electrical appliance running all day long, of having another electrical appliance, of the cost etc were just too much and the idea never got off the ground. So I filed it under the mental header of 'good intentions' and left it at that. Looking back, I think it may also have been a challenge to her as Queen of the Kitchen and my infidel suggestions were infringing on her turf.

To be honest, this isn't the first time in our lives together that I've suggested something and the reaction has been less than what I had hoped for only for a period of time to pass and then *zing*, someone else suggested it and now it's a good idea.

Naturally, it leads one to be a bit self pitying "It's never a good idea when I suggest it, but if someone else does ...". But really, is this the best way to go about it? I could have played the "I told you so" (actually, I probably did) but that would achieve absolutely nothing!

If I am honest, I guess it would be more of my failure to 'sell' the idea to Mistress2Bar. Just as if I was trying to get her to agree to buying a car, I should have researched the product, assembled the pros (noting the 'button pushing' points), pre-argued the counterarguments and allowed for a period of time to sell it to her.

So the moral to this story is that if I think something is a good idea it probably is, so I need to:
a. Sell it well;
b. Not capitulate immediately in the face of opposition; and/or
c. Just go out and do it/get it and start using it myself.


It's 2BarRiff here.

In case you don't remember me, I'm one of the authors on this blog.

Yes, I know, it's been a while since I posted anything. In my defence, I've been pre-occupied with the new job and with the writing course that I'm doing. (And yes, I know, it's ironic that one of the reasons I'm not writing is because I'm learning how to write).

Anyway, I thought I'd stop by to say hi, so


Monday 2 July 2007


The Bomb hates fruit with a passion! While complaining to me this morning about being hungry I said "You can have some fruit for morning tea." This was met with "Yes Mum I want banana lollies - they're fruit!!!" I'm never going to win!

Tuesday 26 June 2007

The Gym!

I joined a ladies gym about September last year. Haven't been for about 6 weeks. Mainly because I have had other things on my mind but 2BarRiff is not letting me forget that I haven't been. This is REALLY annoying me!!!!

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Olden Day Rats!

Last night whilst cooking dinner, The Bomb (who is 3 years old), Princess (who is 6 years old) and I had an interesting conversation. They were watching a DVD called The Wild. It's about a bunch of animals from New York Zoo going to rescue a lion cub who has runaway from his father. They come across a small animal called a hyrax. This is a small furry animal which looked like a rat to me. So this is how the conversation went;

Bomb: Whats a hyrax?

Me: It's a small furry animal. Like a rat.

Princess: Rats can kill you!!!

(The Bomb at this stage is quite worried it's going to kill him.)

Me: You can get sick if they bite you.

Princess: And die!!

Me: Yes you can die but not so much nowadays. In the olden days lots of people died from the plague which was a disease the rats carried.

Princess: Will the olden days come back again?

Me: No.

Princess: You and Daddy got married in the olden days hey, you know before the Bomb and me were born!

Me: Not that far back sweetie. Daddy and I are not that old!

The Princess and the Bomb both look at me as to say 'Yeah right Mum!'

Saturday 9 June 2007


While the children are playing (no TV!) and the Blogmistress is popping out to do the shopping, my task is to create a post off the top of my head.

Blah. I do not want to be creative. To please my beloved, however, maybe I'll try.


Why would she then take the eldest with her shopping, leaving the youngest in tears of abandonment, and myself elevated to the position of chief comfort giver.

Yeah, plenty of space to craft a blog entry, when I am pestered to go on the Wiggles website.


Tuesday 5 June 2007

It's arrived!!!

Yes my Kambrook 4.2 litre slow cooker is here. My amazing Sister-in-law introduced me to her slow cooker and it was love at first sight! My Brother who is married to said Sister-in-law works for an appliance retailer and offered to get one for me. Imagine my glee when they said 'you chuck in all the ingredients in the morning, turn it on to auto and your dinner is cooked 6 to 8 hours later or overnight without you.' I had to have one. Anything that helps get me through feral hour (5.00pm to 6.00pm) is a blessing. If I don't have to be occupied with making dinner I can concentrate on separating two tired and whiny children. Great!!

The slow cooker has sparked 2BarRiffs interest in cooking as well. We attempted a whole chicken in a delightful sauce. We only had 4 hours in which to cook so 2BarRiff made the sauce and I got to skin (or abuse) the chicken. Set it on to cook about 1pm and by 5.30pm it was done. Our kitten was entranced by the smell as we all were. The chicken was served with mashed potato, beans, carrots and Yorkshire puddings. (The Yorkshire puddings are 2BarRiffs favourite and since I had extra time on my hand I made 12. All were devoured!) The chicken was delicious! The meat fell off the bones and was so moist. Just Gorgeous! Can't wait to try out other recipes.

Friday 1 June 2007

Dear Movie Reviewer

I know it's a hard job. You go out to see all the crappy little arty films and then have to come up with a few hundred words to convince someone, anyone, perhaps even yourself, that they are worth watching.

Then, every so often, a big movie comes out and reviews are all over the newspapers, TV and Internet so I understand that perhaps it's a nice change to recycle a few comments here and there. Nothing too much, just enough to, well, enable you to take it easy for a little while in a profession that is otherwise highly demanding.

With this in mind, I have a little request. Would it be possible for one of you to write a review (it doesn't have to be big, just a small one) of Pirates of the Caribbean that does NOT mention that Johnny Depp's inspiration for his character was Keith Richards.

Guess what? I know! I know because this is the THIIRD movie in a TRILOGY and we have heard the same frickin' line for the OTHER TWO movies already.

Enough. Please.



PS If Keith Richards really was the inspiration for Cap'n Jack Swallow, the character would be spending half the movie getting his stomach pumped or in a smack-induced coma.

Tuesday 29 May 2007

Chatter, chatter, chatter.....

Over the last few weeks I have realised a disturbing personality trait, which I dislike. It has also, without me realising it, set up at pattern in my relationships which needs to be broken. It’s Chatter.

I hate silence. I feel it needs to be filled with talk or I am somehow failing the other person or not showing enough interest in them or the conversation. I find this trait also translates over into the written word. Instead of saying something in one sentence I find I do it in ten sentences. In my mind this somehow makes me seem or appear intelligent enough to carry on a conversation. Instead of talking to a person I am talking at the person.

My mind is so busy thinking of the next thing to say that I am not listening fully to what the other person has to say. Interrupting them or finishing their sentences is very irritating. Also the other person doesn’t get a word in edge wise. Master2Bar doesn’t say much in our conversations, which has been a real concern to me as I want to hear what his thoughts are as well. He is very interesting and full of great ideas. What I didn’t realise is that I am so busy filling the silence (which is when Master2Bar is thinking) that he doesn’t get a chance to say anything. This is fine for him because he enjoys me talking and it’s easy to let me go on without him having to say much at all.

Another fear is the pattern I’ve set up for the Princess. She also chatters from morning to noon to night. This is partly her age and also I am her primary role model. We have noticed that she has trouble stringing together a sequence of events, even it if it just happened. You can see her brain working but her mouth is already moving. I see a lot of myself in Princess and I fear she is going to have trouble later with her social and language skills at school. We have to train her to focus and organise her thoughts before she speaks.

So my challenge for the next few weeks is to stop chattering, give Master2Bar a chance to express himself and help Princess all I can. This is not going to be easy but my relationships with my family are more important then some inane chatter

My tummy hurts

Dealing with sick kids was never really a problem until school started. If they had a temperature, or were just whingy it was a matter of keeping them wrapped up, calm and attempting to rearrange the day accordingly (Thank goodness for Grandmothers on call!).

But now, with the onset of school, it's developed into more of a guessing game.

I've learned that my gut instinct is usually the wrong one. When I think they are faking, they usually aren't and when I think they are sick, I find out 10 minutes later that they are quite fine thankyouverymuch.

My best(worst) experience of this was a couple of years ago. I had a week off between finishing one job and starting another and so my wife and I organised for her to go away for that week with her mum and I would stay home and look after the kids.

She left at 3.00 am on Sunday morning to catch the plane to Sydney. 40 minutes later, the youngest started vomiting.

OK, so that was crap but I was able to deal with it. Got the Princess to pre-primary that morning and spent quality time cleaning up vomit most of that day and night and it ended up looking like one of those 24 hour things.

Cue the next morning and the Princess was acting sick. No way, says I - I am onto you so off to school you go. She lasted about 10 minutes in class until the teacher recommended she go home as she was looking a little off colour. Alright, no problems, we can sit around watching Barbie DVDs for a day, so back home we went. And that would have been cool except, pulling into our driveway, she managed to vomit on just about every surface available in the back of the car.

My mother had a simpler system. Unless we were projectile vomiting on an 'Exorcist' scale, bleeding buckets from an ear or had lost a limb, then we would be bundled onto our bikes and sent off to school. I cannot recall a single time I was half crook and got to stay home. Mercy, benefit of the doubt, some would say compassion, were foreign concepts.

But those were simpler times and I was a simple child. I did not have the capacity to run a Psy-Ops program like the Princess can. For instance, a conversation from this Monday morning:
Her: "Dad, you know those eggs Mum found in my hair yesterday?"

Me: "Yes, but she only found eggs and no lice"

Her: "My head is itchy again"

Me: "I'm sure it's just itchy. There's nothing there"

Her: "But I really think I should stay home"

Me: "No, you are fine - if you stay home you'll miss out playing with your friends"

Her: "OK, I can tell them about my nits. I'll tell Mrs XXXXX as well!"

That kind of scheming shows a level of sophistication that, quite frankly, scares me. She knows that the mere mention of nits means a phone call home and Mummy coming to pick her up. She was, effectively, trying to blackmail us for a day home. What cheek!

So how do you win these battles?

Saturday 26 May 2007


Testing, testing, 1,2,3

Hello world.

yada yada yada

The eagle has landed.

2BarRiff says:

What a stupid way to begin a blog.