Taking adulation of the Beatles a little too far.

"A US judge has delivered a unique ruling that parodies a George Harrison song in the case of a New York doctor who treated the late Beatle for cancer.

The doctor, Gil Lederman, is the subject of a wrongful death suit by the family of a female colon cancer patient. The family says Dr Lederman gave her too much radiation.

Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Robert Gigante
ruled this week on Dr Lederman's request for a change of trial venue.

The defendant's lawyers had argued that the jury pool in Staten Island had been tainted by the negative publicity surrounding a separate case in which Lederman was accused of forcing Harrison to autograph a guitar on his deathbed.

Justice Gigante ruled in Dr Lederman's favour but chose to do so in a lyrical parody of Harrison's classic song Something.

"Something in the folks he treats," Justice Gigante wrote. "Attracts press like no other doctor."

"He's in our jurisdiction now/ He gets Beatle autographs somehow," Gigante continued before concluding with a reference to another Harrison song, "If this case I were to keep/ Defendant would gently weep."

Steven North, a lawyer for the family of the colon cancer victim, said his clients were incensed by the style of the ruling.

"I think it's an insulting decision. It's very offensive," he said."

I am all for a reference here or there in a judgment which can brighten an otherwise tedious reading task, however this Judge's judgment has left him in favour of poor taste.

Though I could imagine it being an atypical situation which Seinfeld might have parodied.


Her stamp of approval. Posted by Hello

P and I had decided that we needed a fabric wall hanging for a wall in our sitting room. When I heard about an importer's warehouse sale being held today, which included wall hangings, I had to attend.

As I left the house P said to me that he thought that something with blue would be good. I openly dismissed his suggestion out of hand saying our sitting room's accent colours are orange, red and gold and I couldn't imagine introducing blue.

When I arrived at the sale the first wall hanging I noticed incorporated the same dark wood from our lounges with red, gold, orange and............ blue. I felt compelled to get it not just because I thought it would look good but also because of my being dismissive of P's suggestion. I really don't mind being proved wrong.

Because the wall hangings are narrow I decided three would be good with one of them hung off-centre from the rest. Shannon the lovely woman who sold them to me told me they were made in Tibet in her sponsored workshop which employ 12 women and one disabled man. Now I wanted them even more.

I asked her what the markings on the wall hangings were and she told me it was "Om Mani Padme Hum." She told me that some people to whom she had sold them had said the hanging had brought tranquility to their home and that given I was buying three I should have much tranquility. Okay, now I had to get them.

I brought them home and had them folded over my arm so as not to show P the colours. I called him into the sitting room and laid them all on the floor. Gabriella came in with him. As soon as she saw them Gabriella was immediately drawn to them and lay down on the blue one which was in the centre. She pressed her cheek against the fabric and began moving her mouth as if chewing and then began drumming her fingers on both hands against the fabric.

Gabriella loves them and stayed there for some time examining them as you can see by the photographs. I know the colours are vibrant and the shiny fabric would be attractive to any child, but I like to think that Gabriella has made an unconscious connection with the beautiful and mystic Tibetan chant.

Gabi and the new wall hangings Posted by Hello


Christmas approaches.

The weather in Brisbane has been unseasonably cool though certainly welcome and preferable to the thin bead of perspiration that I would otherwise be wearing.

In a brief but now unwelcome moment of organisation I had put all of Gabriella's heavier clothing away in favour of sundresses, mini-skirts, sleeveless tops and summer pyjamas so I was really caught out on Monday night trying to dig up something warm for her to wear while we dined on the deck. It makes me wonder hope whether we will have a cool Christmas Day.

I can recall only two non-heatwave Christmas Days in Australia within the past five years such welcome days and it makes the preparation and eating of masses of food so much more enjoyable. Other than that, my other cool Christmas Days were spent in England one year with P and his family and in Toronto with P, his sister and her in-laws another year.

I really enjoyed sitting in the basement of a home in Toronto roasting chestnuts, eating loads of Turkey and other Canadian/English Christmas fare and then joining in to play their traditional family game of "Darts and Farts (D&F)." Usually only the men play D&F. I decided to play but declined to participate in the Fs - in fact that year I think a few men didn't pass a F due mainly to my presence and I think they were mightly put out. I recall that my dart's partner and I won that year too - I am not too bad with the darts having done my darts playing apprenticeship in London.

A bit about my life in London
I spent about 9 months living with P in a pub in Maida Vale, London where P worked, so the pub became my living room. While P tended bar I played with the other punters brushing up on my pool and darts skills.

We had some fun and some interesting times at that particular pub it was very close to Kilburn (an Irish section of London) and not the heart of the more gentrified Maida Vale consequently we got met some very dodgy characters in there. I was certainly exposed to some interesting people that otherwise I would never have met if we had not travelled and P chanced upon working at this pub.

I always remember one criminal fellow reassuring P and me that if something ever happened in that pub he would always take care of us. His having to say that to us and not just once really scared the bejesus out of me and I always knew that something meant violence. A few times while we stayed at that pub I felt tension in the air when I thought something could happen. That mood I can clearly recollect after all the years since. My memory is that the air was thick as if filled with heavy smoke although there is no smoke, voices were subdued and solemn and words hung in the air, people did not laugh or giggle it was simply a gathering of people drinking and waiting, drinking and waiting....... I have never had that feeling again I am happy to say.

The staff and I were always prepared if something were to happen, the drill was you bolted to the back of the bar and up some stairs to our quarters, locking a huge door behind you and you kept racing up the stairs bolting doors behind you every two flights. Of course you hit the panic button that was a hot line to the police before you left.

I remember one night when we were warned that something might happen and although nothing eventuated, after the pub was closed we were told by the Assistant Manager that a small hatchet had been found in the men's toilet.

Not long after we returned to Australia we heard that the pub had been broken into one night and Bill the Governor had been tied up while everything was taken. We used to live two floors above his. In life, timing is everything.


Monday night talent show Posted by Hello

Monday night
We decided despite being over being the consummate hosts less than two days earlier we would have a small barbecue for Elliot's birthday. So this time it was 10 Adults and 5 children for dinner. It was a lovely night and my sister brought her guitar and P's Mum and Dad and Grandmother who love live music were enchanted by her singing.

It made me think about when I met P's family for the first time in Christmas 1989 - there were no children at all in the family then and they all got together at his sister's place to sing Christmas carols and other songs. They still do it every year (we will be doing this on Sunday this week as P's sister and husband are going to Toronto for Christmas). P's mother and father have certain duets they sing together and P's father sings certain standards.

My brother-in-law met P's family at the same time I did and for many years we would comment to each other about how strange we thought it was that we landed smack bang into the midst of a"Von Trap Family singers" type family. We were both a bit more cynical about their need to all sing together but I guess now we just accept it as part of their traditions and they are always very happy whenever there is a guitar and a song particularly after dinner.

Procrastinating (and posting) about procrastination.

Its very easy once you have had a break from posting to procrastinate about what your next post is going to be and when it is you will start up again. While I was busy, which then made me tired and need to catch up on sleep over the last couple of days, I have also simply had trouble just starting again and deciding exactly what it is I want to post.

I did attempt one post while at work via email which is quite frustrating because the email font usually goes all crazy when published but I thought I would cope with the annoying font in order to avoid my falling further into the procrastination pit.

I managed to write a substantial post and had launched into some musings on the breakdown of marriages and the effect on P and me and the parties involved and the rest of the family, when with one slip of the fingers - the post was gone. Just like that. I tried to retrieve the text but to no avail, all of my thought processes finally expelled from my mind and committed in a semi-organised fashion to words disappeared in a split second into a void never to return. The post had taken ages because I was constantly being interrupted by work instead of the children for a change so I was fairly deflated after that.

I hadn't been able until now to work up the energy to actually write something. For the last couple of days I have been content to surf blogs and making a comment here and there, check in and out and generally be a voyeur rather than active participator. So finally my conscience beckons me to return.

I also had time while reading the many other fantastic blogs out there - to contemplate content and whether I should attempt to write something more meaningful than I do. No promises on that one - it takes more effort than I am able to muster - so long as other people write meaningful things on their blogs I am happy to throw my two cents in now and again. Maybe when I get to sleep through again...


P took Elliot "ten tin bowling" a treat for the day. Posted by Hello

We got him two games as presents just for the day ( we are actually going to get him a bike but we need him to try one out). The games were Battleships and Yahtzee. (I played my first game of Yahtzee ever tonight with P and flogged him and got a Yahtzee to boot it was good fun).

On Monday morning when Elliot woke up, he came into our room as we were getting dressed and announced that he thought that since turning six he was now talking cooler than he was yesterday when he was five. P was a little taken back and said that this sort of change didn't happen over night and asked Elliot if he had "tickets on himself" to which Elliot replied "yes and what does that mean". I told him that having tickets on yourself meant that he thought he was pretty good. Once again Elliot agreed that is exactly what he thought. I explained that it is actually not the Australian way to think so much of yourself and people would like you better if you were a bit more modest about your achievements.

I am still not sure if he has taken on board the modesty lessons at all - maybe all our positive reinforcement is working much to well.

Happy sixth birthday my beautiful boy. Posted by Hello

Ta Da - I have found the perfect orange cake - finally the search is over! I decided to make a cake for Elliot last week for his oral presentation (a recipe) at school. I was supposed to make it with him but he fell asleep early so by the time I got home from work I had to make a decision about whether or not to make it at all. I thought it was all about taking the cake to school and it being shared with his classmates rather than the recipe and bit the bullet and baked it without him. He woke up later and was quite upset then came around and helped put the strawberries on it in the end.

I had my sister make the same cake for his birthday but asked her to change the dark chocolate ganache to a white chocolate ganache given that is his favourite.

Here it is:

Elliot's Orange Cake

1 and 1/2 cups caster sugar
6 eggs, separated
185g melted butter
grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
¾ cup orange juice, extra
2 tablespoons caster sugar
200g dark cooking chocolate (or white chocolate)
100ml cream

Grease and line a 23cm cake tin. Preheat oven to 160c or 140c fan forced.
Beat half the sugar with the egg yolks until thick and creamy. Fold in the butter, rind and juice of the orange. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the beaten egg mixture.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, add remaining sugar, beat well, and fold into the orange mixture. Spread into prepared tin and bake for approx. 55 minutes or until cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Cover cake with alfoil if browning too quickly

Meanwhile, combine extra orange juice and sugar in a small bowl. Stir briskly until the sugar dissolves. Spoon this sweetened orange juice over the warm cake (still in the tin). Leave it in the tin until cold, during which time it will absorb the juice. Turn out onto serving plate.

Melt the cream and chocolate together in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave.

Cool 10 minutes before spreading over the cake.


Nanny - Not a day over perfect.
Posted by Hello I am incredibly privileged to have met and to know this incredibly beautiful woman. I aspire to her gentle soul and open and loving heart. She has the most amazing ability to make each person in her family feel like he/she is the most special person in her life and you feel an unique bond that nobody else in the family has with her - or so you think.

It was mentioned in a speech last night that each of us think we have a special place in Nanny's heart even ring-ins like me who is lucky enough through P to become a part of one of the warmest and loving family I am ever likely to meet. Whenever Nanny speaks with you she focuses all her attention on you and holds your hand and pats your hand while you talk- it so comforting - she is the Royalty of our lives.

It was a huge effort to organise this party but as I told Nanny I would do anything for her. I especially loved shopping for the Happy 90th Birthday card. I want to write more about a few details of the event the enormity of the family that has become because of Nanny (and Poppy but he is no longer here unfortunately) but that can wait till tomorrow night I am extraordinarily tired I got to sleep at 3am last night and was awake at 7am this morning for the baby and the big clean up in that order.

Keeping me very busy hosting P's Grandmother's 90th birthday party. Posted by Hello


Rub a dub dub. Posted by Hello

Bathroom Games
Wish I could resist posting this photograph. I am sure I have posted one other photo of them both in the bath. P was giving them both a bath and I just love how he was able to capture the look of unmitigated joy on her ace. P tried to get Elliot to keep his eyes open for the shot and this is the result.

Over the years P had invented some bath games for Elliot - involving role playing where P is the Swedish bath attendant called "Mr Sven"(possibly gay so P told me) or the lovely and warm Spanish lady "Maria Sancheza" and the brusque German woman called " Fraulein Helga." P uses the appropriate accent for person and discusses personal hygiene issues and recommends the appropriate soaps and facial products. One day P asked Elliot what he thought of Fraulein Helga and Elliot started to cry and said he was scared of Helga because she was so strict.

Sometimes the only way to get him into the bath was by P pretending to be Mr Sven and Elliot would leap at the chance to have a shower with Mr Sven. In fact I recall sometimes being Mrs Sven. I know I had already established Mr Sven was gay but that was just a discussion between P and I one time after I had listened to Mr Sven's voice. Given that Elliot wasn't aware of Mr Sven's sexuality he wasn't surprised about there being a Mrs Sven.

We were in stiches one night relating to P's sister and her husband about P's bath time role playing and how it was messing with Elliot's imagination given that Elliot believed P was a strict German woman and not jut his father giving him a bath and making it fun.

After the crying episode we talked to Elliot about the role playing and he said he did realise that behind the voices and the games we were still Mum and Dad.

The other game I recall P playing with Elliot has of course involved sport and the post match (AFL of course) wrap up during summer it is the cricket wrap up and involve interviews and speeches. In a way P has started Elliot's media training and when drying Elliot P would often interview Elliot and ask him how he thought the game went etc. Elliot got right into that too.

I wouldn't be surprised if Gabriella will be meeting Mr Sven, Maria Sancheza and Fraulein Helga for bathtime soon and I think she will be getting the media training for the Olympic swimming which P has projected she will be competing in by the time she is 16.

Why is Elliot so brown?
Elliot is getting quite a t-shirt tan from his running around school this summer. He told me the other night that some kids in his class asked him why he was so brown and he told me that he tells them its "Because I have an Alasian mum."

I had never discussed my ethnicity with Elliot so I was surprised that was his answer. I didn't want to go into the finer details like I am half Malaysian on my mother's side and that we are actually 3rd generation because it was my mother's Grandmother that came from Malaysia.

I went to a family reunion a few years and there was a booklet about the family background and it was mentioned that "our family" migrated to Australia due to Krakatoa --------- I kid you not. I really don't know how accurate that statement is the organisers say they did their research but I guess being a lawyer I am also a skeptic until I see the proof to assess the credibility of the statement.

I have no doubt we migrated from Malaysia its just how and why that I question. A couple of my closer cousins (who are also half Malaysian) and I often just look at each incredulously whenever discussion arises about that particular topic - I am sure we all have the same vision of the volcano exploding in the background and our relatives packed into tiny canoes escaping from the molten lava boulders being hurled into the sea.

Gabi's magnolia flower Posted by Hello

When I began this blog I wrote about Gabriella's Naming Day. One part of our 'pagan ceremony' involved the planting of a tree. Gabriella's god father bought her this beautiful Magnolia Little Gem.

Today I saw the very first bloom - we have had one other bud when we first planted but the shock of the transplantation must not have encouraged it to open. The flowers are truly magnificant and enormous when I went to take the photo there was a bee chilling out in there but that photograph was too blurry to use.

There are probably about 6 other buds on the tree so I am looking forward to them opening too.

Hot Saturday afternoon activity. Posted by Hello

Last Saturday was a scorcher. I was at the Farmer's markets as usual by 5.30am and a few people at that stage spoke of the heat that was to come. By midday as predicted it was 36 degrees and very humid.

P had been out all morning buying plants for the landscaping and by the time he started to work in the garden the heat was at its greatest. Unfortunately P's Dad who loves to garden and help, looked like he was suffering from heat stroke and P had to insist that he sit out and then for him to return home and rest. Luckily he recovered after a few hours at home.

By late afternoon Elliot and his cousin Mason decided to get out the slip and slide and put it through its paces. They had such a good time and I managed to take quite a few action shots of them enjoying themselves.

Watching them brought back memories of our makeshift slip and slides and how the next morning you woke up and felt that every muscle in your body was aching. I can recall quite vividly my ribs would be particularly sore from landing on them as well.

While we don't have a pool yet we can still find a way for the kids to enjoy some water when it gets steamy.


The Dog

We have had Buddy now for 9 years and the comments we get most about him are, naturally, what is his breed and how old is he. Some of our guests have commented that the inhabitants (inclusive of the pets)of our household seem to hold their age well. (Of course I didn't tell them about the secret room where we keep a portrait of each of us.)

P and I chose Buddy the year we became engaged and picked him on the basis of his looks - there are few dogs that look like him. He is a medium sized dog about 18 kgs and brindle in colour. He was purchased on the premise that he was of Keeshond and German Shepherd cross extraction. However, from various comments made by others we have come to think he may also be Kelpie. He is certainly strong with limitless energy (though mellowing finally) very smart, a great guard dog and good with the children. He has matured into a very cool dog.

If people say that owners look like their pets then the same may certainly be said of Buddy and me - we are both exotic looking mongrels.

Budweiser aka Buddy Posted by Hello


da da da, da da da daaaaaa, da da da. da daaaa.

Just one quick one. I was at my friend's place last Saturday and it was mentioned to me that Gabriella's Da Daing sounded remarkably like "Smoke on the Water" to which I replied "Yes that would be right -Elliot has been singing that particular riff over and over around the house for weeks while playing with his father's guitar".

A milestone - the first tooth is gone Posted by Hello
Elliot lost his first tooth at school the other day. By lost I mean it literally he does not know where it fell out of his mouth.

There was no drama thank goodness he just came home and told me it was gone and he didn't know where. We have had more dramas trying to get him to remove a bandaid.

I suggested that he should write a letter to the tooth fairly letting her know where she might find the tooth. That night he was exhausted and I couldn't encourage him to write the letter so I ended up writing it for him. Unfortunately I then forgot to put it beside his bed so the tooth fairy didn't know to visit. The next morning he was quite upset as was I - my first time on tooth fairy duty and I blew it.

The next night I went to bed early and reminded P about the tooth fairy. The morning after that Elliot awoke and was quite happy to find $4.00. I said to Elliot he was lucky that his father's tooth fairy turned up because the tooth fairy I was in contact with would have only left him $2.00 given there were quite a few more teeth that have to come out eventually.

By the way a question (one of the many) from Elliot I didn't know how to answer:

"What does the tooth fairy do with the teeth?"

My boy.

I was thinking just recently how proud I am of Elliot's spelling. This morning before he went to school I gave him a pop test on the 10 words he was given for homework and he spelled them all correctly. I am also proud of the progress with his reading he has now started reading in a flowing fashion with expression. Not too bad for a boy who turns 6 in two weeks time.

I am so glad his first year of school has gone as well as it has. Last year when it was mentioned he would go into a composite class (there are 17 year 2 children and 8 year 1's and only two of the year 1's [including Elliot]are boys). I had my reservations mainly from the social perspective but from what I am told - the year 2 boys really enjoy his company and he mixes very well with children in both year 1 and 2. Whenever I pick him up from school I am amazed at how many other children appear to go out of their way to say goodbye to him or greet him when I drop him off.

My feeling proud immediately transformed into immediately feeling guilty because I think the only posts I have ever written in relation to Elliot have been to whinge about him. That is just not an accurate reflection of who he is and his impact on our lives because my boy is possessed of a great sense of humour and can be, most of the time, a lot of fun, very cheeky, extremely well behaved (most of the time at at home and nearly all of the time in the company of others) very loving to his sister, his pets and his Dad and me, his Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, cousins and his Great Grandmother (with whom he has a beautiful bond).

His Great Grandmother has always told me that Elliot is "her boy" as the mother of five girls she told me that it wasn't until she spent so much time with Elliot that she realised what having a boy was like and she has enjoyed spending time playing all sort of games with him very much. It is very warming to me see how such a close happy bond has formed between a person who is essentially 84 years older than him.

My sister and I were only saying the other day how much we are missing all the Elliotism's - his learning to speak has provided us with so much fun over the last 4 years. One of his favourite sayings for a while was "Ya You" for "Love You" and he would often just pop up in front of you and say "Be Happy - I Ya You". My sister turned that one into a song. When asked "How much do you love me?" he would say "Too much" When called a bossy boots - he replied "Me no wearing boots." Another of his was about chicken and a complaint that "this shicken is shewy". My sister loved that one and quoted it whenever she ate her shicken.

I think I heard one of the last of the Elliotisms the other morning when watching Channel 7's morning program and the male host came on. Elliot turned to me and said "Mum - he is not my coffee" I recall my saying "He is not my cup of tea" about Alan Jones , George Bush and John Howard several times recently when they came on television. I don't think I will be able to say the more recognised phrase ever again - from now on it will be the Elliotism.

I have written quite a few stories of Elliot over the years I just wish I could find them my biggest fear is that I have some on my computer at my old work place and retrieving them will be next to impossible. Its a pity I didn't have this space on cyberspace for them then. But while I want to write about him now and again I didn't want my blog to just be a blow by blow description of Elliot's finest and not so finest moments - although he and Gabriella certainly occupy most of my attention at this time in my life. I am usually careful not to inundate people with the my child did this or my child did that stories - only doting Grandparents should ever have to or want to endure the minutiae of my children's lives.


What is.. monotonous

Nothing like two days straight of inputting data into an Excel
spreadsheet for that "maximum effort for an insubstantial return" kind
of feeling


Risky business

A rainy Sunday meant that we had to take a raincheck on our plans to play lawn bowls with our friends. Instead I decided to teach Elliot and his cousin Mason to play a board game - Risk.

It was unfortunately not as entirely enjoyable as I had hoped. We were certainly not the classic picture of smiling family members in pursuit of the game. No it was about learning how to lose and even how to win.

Risk relies on strategy and as well as with any game involving dice a fair degree of luck. Both children were visibly wounded by any loss when throwing the dice - something I simply could not comprehend - throwing dice does not involve any skill so how could they take it personally when they lost. I had obviously forgotten how hard it was to learn to lose.

We played "Complete World Domination" which takes a fair amount of time to play till its completion. I found it was good whenever the boys were not enjoying their bad luck to take a break and do something else. Fortunes changed many times over the course of the day. Even P got drawn into the game once it was started and we variously played either for ourselves or assisted Elliot.

Tonight we finalised the game and Elliot won virtually every territory bar one Madagascar. We declared him the victor and then he started to cry - "Why can't I win Madagascar!" "Oh please - if this is how you react to winning then what would have happened if you had lost" I replied.

Seriously he whinged for such a long time I declared he is to no longer play boardgames with his father and me.

Which would be the biggest shame as P and I love games - we spent 15 months in London where I fine tuned my pool game and darts. My darts are still pretty good but the pool game is shocking. While in London we went through a spell of chess and dominos as well.

Indeed we love all boardgames Backgammon, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit. We spent many years playing card games too -Crib with P's mother and father drinking tea and eating chocolate. We spent a few years playing lots of Scrabble as well and Upwords - I think this all must have been pre-children. We took travel Scrabble and Backgammon on trains and planes as well.

Talking about Scrabble - P's father and mother have been married about 39 years (there was one separation for about 2-3 years but they managed to work through it). Over the majority of those years they have kept a record of every Scrabble game they have played together - who won and what was the best scoring word in each game and who was the winner for the year. The scores kept in the book are littered with notations about family life - it is a very lovely thing to see the family history and the game all interwoven like that. You have to be a bit of a Scrabble nerd and sentimentalist to enjoy that type of thing I suppose - like me.

Another piece of family game trivia concerns Backgammon. At one stage Backgammon was so well loved by P's sister and husband that they hosted a Backgammon tournament for about 5 years running. The tournament was called the P_ _ _ _tt Invitational and we even went to the trouble of video taping and turning it into a show - based on the format of the Wide World of Cricket. P and his father were commentators and interviewed the competitors - usually about 12-16 players. P's brother did a Tony Greig impersonation and did a reading of the Backgammon pitch etc. It was definately pre-children and was a fun filled day of Backgammon, wine and spicy buffalo wings. I was the first woman to win a final and the only woman to get to two finals.

So as you can guess this family are a family of gameplayers and Elliot will have to learn very quickly that there is fun in playing a game together.


Sylvester - in with the new. Posted by Hello

Moving on.

Grizzy - our dear old cat Posted by Hello

I thought I would comply with this suggestion as posted on anyresemblance.

However my post is with a difference. This is the last photo I will take of our dear Grizzabella on our deck. She has gone to a better place after being the family cat for nigh on 13 years. A place where she can be in peace and no longer be prodded and poked and chased by the latest toddler.

And she really was a family cat in every sense of the word. Initially my sister's cat for several years she was passed to my mother until 1998 when Grizzy came with my mother to live with us. Upon my mother's departure in 2000 Grizzy or Dizzy as she was known by Elliot has stayed with us hence.

Until her move to Brisbane in 1998 Grizzy had lived on the Sunshine Coast. We all considered that her move to Brisbane would not go well given that she also had to learn to share a home with our dog Buddy as well. Surprisingly she proved remarkably resilient and even weathered 3 more moves until today when I believe she has had her final move. She and the dog though not the best of friends have worked out their boundaries.

Wife Swap is a reality television show the premise of which involves a mother temporarily swapping her family life with another mother's family life. I loved the show - I wonder where it actually went and when it is coming back. It may seem that I have totally lost track of the post about our dear cat but fear not Grizzabella has not passed on she has merely been moved on yet again. However this move comes with a twist in return for giving up my cat I am now the owner of a new cat - Sylvester.

Why would I swap my dear old cat - I suppose it sounds quite heartless. But really I did it because I love cats and couldn't bear to see Sylvester in distress.

My friend F has been coming to work for weeks and relating the trials and tribulations of their life as the owners of Sylvester.

Sylvester is a male cat of a mere 4 years old and quite the wanderer and recently decided to be quite territorial with F's neighbours who live behind them. Sylvester felt threatened by a cat he could see there and decided that seeing as the neighbours would leave their doors open that he would visit and intimidate their cat and leave his calling card under their dining table - a huge puddle of urine. Naturally the neighbours were upset about Sylvester's behaviour and complained to F.

F took Sylvester to the vet and he was prescribed anti-depressants unfortunately the drugs were of little assistance. Sylvester and F's neighbour continued to have a few run-ins involving hoses, water and bad language and not just with the cat.

F and the family went on holidays and while they were away the incidents escalated until finally the neighbour wrote a letter complaining about the problem and stating that they would simply not be closing their doors.

F had her mother who lived around the corner take Sylvester away to live with her. F's three boys were naturally quite upset but knew there was little choice. Unfortunately it didn't end there and after two weeks away Sylvester escaped and returned home. F hoped that the two weeks had broken his bad habits and went to tell the neighbour that he had returned and they would try living with him again. Unfortunately the neighbour informed her that Sylvester had stopped around and left his usual calling card prior to returning home. So it was back over to F's mother again for Sylvester. Unfortunately staying at F's mother's place meant being locked up under the house and not actually being integrated with the house as F's mother had her own cat as well. This meant that Sylvester spent most of his time there trying to escape and crying.

F's mother's neighbours were starting to complain.

My cat Grizzy has been giving me some trouble of late. She has taken to scratching the new rug in my sitting room and leaving really really deep claw marks throughout making the rug tuft and even removing fabric. I found it very frustrating and annoying particularly as I would never see her do it and I also knew I would have to retrain her and buy her a scratching pole to make her stop. While I found this annoying I knew that if necessary I could deal with changing her behaviour. However, Grizzy had also had a run-in with Gabriella and naturally Gabriella had come off second best with a scratch above her eye. So while I am usually quite vigilant about where Grizzy is in relation to Gabriella I have to be even more so as I know that Grizzy is not amenable to very small children particularly the type who chase her around and are inquisitive. Things between Gabi and Grizzy could only get worse given that Gabi has started walking.

How did it get raised that we would swap the cats? It was the strangest thing. I rarely as in almost never read my horoscope, I simply do not need to. By chance I read my horoscope last Monday a magazine was opened on that page and I was bored and read it. My horoscope told me I was getting a new pet. The thought of swapping the cats had briefly crossed my mind particularly whenever I tended to my cat clawed rug most days - maybe not exactly cat swap just my life without a cat at all.

F came to work and mentioned that Sylvester had returned for the third time and this time was highly distressed and now she had to keep him locked in her garage or her bathroom the entire time he was home. He spent a good deal of his time crying. F was at her wits end as her husband was not handling things well either. She was not sure who to have put down - the cat or her husband.

I mentioned the horoscope to F and the idea of swapping the cats then it became a reality. Its not like we were putting down our cats we thought we would trial a swap and all going well it would stay that way. So I am now the temporary owner Sylvester as he is with me on the proviso that if he causes me the same trouble he caused F he goes back, if her neighbours move he goes back, if F moves he goes back.

I think it should work we don't have neighbours behind us and the neighbours either side of us don't have cats. I hope it will only take two weeks for him to settle in dog and all. We will have to take it slowly to integrate him into the house.

He is crying at the moment in my back bedroom but has been remarkably good considering, he purrs when I pat him and has shown signs that he quite likes me.

Anyway fingers crossed - there are not many choices left for Sylvester.

Meanwhile Grizzy has gone to a more expensive suburb in a beautifully renovated Queenslander in fact she has upgraded. She lives with a family where the youngest member is 8 years old and they all adore cats. She will get lots of attention and be quite spoilt I am sure she will be quite happy. Though I really will miss her.



I am feeling very bleh! this week. I really don't know why perhaps it's that work has started to trough. It might be that Gabriella turned one last week another milestone has passed by.

Wednesdays Musings
On my bus ride home, while the bus travels over its familiar path I get to be introspective about various aspects of my life. Today I ran through the reasons why I shouldn't have a third child in my head again.
1. There is the age thing: I am 39 ( though being of Malaysian descent I am told that I don't look it but boy lately I really feel it)
2. There are financial reasons. We both already work full-time because of our expenses with two children.
3. We have a boy and a girl and that makes us very happy.
4. Even if I had a baby, P would be the one to have to give up some work and not me so I wouldn't even get to be with the baby that much.
5. I tried to think about how we would deal with childcare and that wouldn't compute. We would end up with at least one child in 3 days childcare while we were on a reduced wage so we would be even further behind.
6. I am 39 - the age thing again. I am sooo tired with my one year old I really don't know where I would get the energy to grow a baby let alone look after small one.

None of the rational reasons can compete against my irrational desire for another child - though I would never ever do anything that would risk my falling pregnant again. I just look at my children and wonder what would your brother or sister look like? I wish I had another 7 years up my sleeve that would give me enough of a break between the 2nd child and the third child to work up some more leave and to deal with the cost of child care. If only the government would come to our rescue and offer some real relief from child care costs ( lump sum payments don't cut it in the long run) then it wouldn't be as much of a problem. I know that one friend of mine can't possibly contemplate the $400 a week it would cost her to have a second child in care so has to put off having a second child for a few more years.

I am quite sure there will be no third baby - what if we won the Lotto?? Though we would need to actually buy a ticket first though for that.

On a brighter note.

Some friends of ours opened a new restaurant in Southbank called Dell'Ugo Southbank- in the same place the television restaurant for My Restaurant Rules was operated. It has made a stylish turnaround and yesterday in the Courier Mail's Good Life, Lizzie Loel gave it a very good review. P and I thought we would try and make it there soon.

Damn news on Channel 10 - they keep saying Elton John is getting married but not whether he is marrying a man or a woman. Do I really want to nibble at this bait? No I am heading to bed - either way I am sure it will be another mistake for him.

I feel quite pessimistic tonight- maybe its because like my political dreams the American's political dreams will be soon shattered. Scare tactics again.

I admired what Bill Clinton said recently in the lead up to the election about who do you want to vote for "the person that appeals to your fears or the person that appeals to your hopes and dreams - I know who I would vote for." So do I.

I think I am going to be more disappointed about the result of their election than ours.