So glad you've come...

Welcome to Tigressland, my own personal little corner of the Internet where I hang out expressing my views about the smaller things in life. No controversy here (I'm saving that for the book lol) just the everyday minutiae that add up to my rather unpredictable, but always fun, life! So pull up a cushion and come chill.....and follow! We bloggers love it when you follow ;-) ~Tigress

Thursday, 4 June 2015

It ain't easy being green

So what does one do when one witnesses a stage show, the likes of which (or should that be witch...) one has not seen before? A show so entertaining, enthralling, awe inspiring and quite simply.....magical that one would watch it again and again and again? A show that was irresistibly.... Wicked!?

Well, blog about it of course. Whaddya think I have this thing for?

It was an epic night I must say: a delicious dinner at Perth’s Atrium restaurant, a cocktail hither and yon, thoroughly entertaining theatre, all shared with the delightful company of my newly promoted fiancĂ© and the Gypsy Niece.

Aaah good times

But it was the theatre that thoroughly stole the night.

From the second Glinda the Good Witch appears on stage in her mechanical bubble you know you’re in for a treat. Through imaginative (and oft humorous) script and brilliant singing performances “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz” tells the tale of Glinda and Elphaba, two, at first very reluctant, school chums who slowly learn to trust and embrace each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies to form a strong, if unlikely, friendship.

Glinda is good; somewhat irritating, judgemental, self absorbed, hyperactive and shallow, but good nonetheless. Elphaba is also

As the plot unfolds, the audience learns the chain of events which lead to Elphaba taking up the role of ‘Wicked witch of the west” showing, of course, that no person is shaped in a vacuum and frequently things are not always as they seen. And more specifically, just because you’re green and a bit pissed off, doesn't mean you did what they say you did.

All the psyche contributors are there: parental inadequacy, cultural misunderstanding, the trials and tribulations of friendship....not to mention a spot of romantic rivalry to boot. No dramatic stone is left unturned as those watching are taken on a whirlwind trip through the ages, leading up to the moment of Elphaba’s apparent demise and the return of order to society.

It is delightfully well done. 

And overall the entire story unfolds seamlessly alongside the original 1939 Wizard of Oz narrative. Little nods here and there are cast toward plot points which almost all viewers will recognize: A house falling here, a tin man created there...and a lion cub that she really didn't mean to scare the crap out of, but basically, sometimes, shit just happens.

One also learns that animals once spoke and it was the government of Oz shutting this phenomenon down. So not only is the audience challenged to think about the value of diversity over assimilation, but the parallels drawn between the politics of Oz and our own media/government controlled culture were deliciously en pointe as well.

I know what some of you may be thinking: Could I possibly be over-‘adulting’ a delightful children’s tale?

Oh bugger off. If it’s one thing that the likes of The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy have taught us, it’s that childlike stories are often the best way to affect cultural change. As many news shows fall further and further into the abyss of farcical infotainment (and often the ‘info’ part is debateable), lessons on morality must be inserted, in easily digestible lumps, within other genres.

And it’s not like these guys were particularly subtle about it. The wizard especially comes out with some delightful quotes that are particularly thought provoking:

The truth isn't a thing of fact, or reason. It's simply what everyone agrees on.”

“Where I come from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it history.”

[after Elphaba discovers he's behind the anti-Animalism] “Where I'm from, the best way to bring people together... is to give them a really good enemy.”

That last one eh.

Well now.

But the redirecting of one’s moral compass aside, the show was good, damn good. And you could be forgiven for wanting to take up any of the performing arts after having seen it. But I doubt you’ll be able to compete with Suzie Mathers’ (Glinda) trilling and infectious energy or Jemma Rix’s (Elphaba)...well anything....not only was her voice fantastic but even her cheekbones (green or otherwise) were enough to make you feel desperately inadequate...but in the best possible way.

It is simply delightful, From fantastic sets to fabulous merchandise....what's not to love here.

A little collage a la Gypsy Niece :)

Do I even need to say that I would recommend this show? Really? I’ll even take it a step further for you and say, I’ll be extrememly impressed if anything I see from now beats it. Stay tuned though, coz I think the Kevman is now turning me into a Showaholic....

I shall attempt to show restraint though (pun completely intended), as we now have a wedding to save for. I must remain calm in the face of tempta........

Wait, what? “Cats” is coming to Perth?!?!?!?

And “Dirty Dancing”?????

*deep breaths*

Till next week!


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Charity begins...with books :)

Now as I have possibly mentioned once or twice before, I have a somewhat addictive personality. Especially when it comes to books and /or sorting things.

I think I may have an issue here

You see, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to begin doing some volunteer work at one of the local second-hand stores. And I just happened to randomly select the one with nearly floor to ceiling bookshelves...randomly....ok it was the only one I went in but that is completely beside the point.

There were shelves of them softly whispering my name.

And they were saying: “Tidy me, sort me”

How could I not offer my time after pleas like that?

So I signed up and got busy. And so far, it’s just like a Maccas commercial: I’m loving it! It hasn’t been all about the books though; not my choice initially, but I have since discovered that my organizational bent can be aimed in just about any direction to great enjoyment.

If my body would allow...I’d probably be there every day.

I'm even learning about clothes. After an initial conversation with our visual merchandiser for Western Australia, I was questioned on my knowledge of fashion clothing and top labels and such. Considering I have about as must grace and sophistication as your average bogan (if you’re not from Australasia...Google the term, it will provide hours of entertainment), I could not wax informative on that subject. I have enough trouble differentiating chain store brands let alone discussing the finer points of catwalk haute couture.

“Don’t worry, there’s a list” she said smiling comfortingly. Oh thank God for that. But I can’t say that I've ended up playing with the clothes much (or that I'm especially heartbroken about this). I've been a tad busy elsewhere reorganising the children’s section, lining the cups up in sets (you have no idea how satisfying that is), organising the linen and craftwares, and generally tidying and reorganizing to create more space.

Now the interesting thing that happens when you create more space is that you can fit more stuff in the shop without the store looking messy or overcrowded; which in turn translates to the customers having more choice; which in turn translates to higher sales figures.

Our store sold over $1000 the Saturday before last. This is the first time our store has done this.

I’m just casually putting that out there.

But that doesn't mean the other volunteers aren't doing a wonderful job as’s just that you need enough of us to be able to make the real magic happen. A mad organiser can’t focus on getting the shop all ship shape and Bristol fashion if he/she has to stop every five minutes to serve a customer or sort an incoming donation. It’s a team thing; the bigger the team, the more you can get done. Especially if you play to the strengths of each team member. But, I have t say, there is also a ‘logic’ factor in it as well.

For me, for example, it was completely illogical to sell videos when we sell about one every six months but had shitloads of the damn things around the store. The way I saw it, in the same space we had a $1 video we could have had a $3-4 book or two $3 DVDs. It kinda did my head in. So now the videos are being sold off 3 for $1 (as are cassette tapes) and even now they are not exactly flying out the door, but removing them to the sale table has made room for all the DVDs that were hiding out the back. And they do sell so a much wiser use of space I believe. It’s tweaks like that, that can buy you a whole heaps of space to work wonders in. It and has been wonderful to reawaken my floor supervisor experience and put it to good use here.

But back to these books...

Once upon a time, Opportunity Shops (Op Shops), second-hand stores, thrift shops, whatever you wanted to call them...used be predominantly filled with crap: stained/damaged clothing, ancient crockery, grubby toys and tired old dog eared books.

Not so in today’s world. My store for example sells no stained/pilled/damaged clothing (this goes overseas to those in need or for rags/shredding [for furniture stuffing]), no stained/damaged crockery or linen and no books with yellowed pages or significant signs or wear.

Which means all the books (not on the sale table) are in good nick.

And relatively recent

And the type I would read.

Oooooh, lordy.

The fact that I haven’t bought damn near all of them is testimony not only to my strong will...but also to my strong sense of self preservation and desire for pre-matrimonial harmony. The Kevman loves books too, just not on every wall of the house.

But every Tuesday and Friday I get to pat them and arrange them and read their blurbs. And sometimes I get to recommend them to potential book Mummies and Daddies and send them off to loving homes.

It’s a very satisfying part of the job. But even I have to admit, it’s not the most important.

What really matters is that I get to work for a wonderful cause that generates income for those in need. Now that is the best feeling of all.

Sometimes the best jobs you don’t get paid for in money

Have a great one!


P.S. Got some spare time? Why not volunteer! Help at a local second hand charity store or animal rescue organisation; help with kids' sport or youth/teen projects; visit elderly people; knit/crochet for Syrian refugee children; sew burial gowns from old wedding dresses for Angel Babies....the list is endless, get on the Internet and start looking!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

A Wedding in Tigressland

I had just finished volunteering
At the Save the Children Shop
I’d had a busy day
And I felt like I could drop

So I drove home to my beloved
Who is off on R & R
Singing along to whatever the hell
Was playing in the car

I was greeted at the door
With a goofy grin and wine
He’d cooked us up some dinner
And I couldn’t wait for mine

Now the Kevman has always dazzled me
With his affection and his charm
So I didn’t find it unusual
When he gently took my arm.

He hugged me and he held me
Cuddled up and smiled
He has the type of cheeky grin
That always drives me wild

He looked at me like I amazed him
(Which I like to think I do)
But it’s nice to have it re-enforced
By a loving glance or two

Then he reached into his pocket
His hand emerged with a small box
The kind that makes your heart go thump
And carries shiny, sparkly rocks.

I looked at him, and he at me
You all know the next part
“Will you marry me?” He said
His voice presenting me his heart.

Now you may be thinking
There wasn’t much ceremony there
But that’s just how we roll
And I really didn’t care

He wanted to surprise me
But I’m a pretty good detective
So this was his best option
It was anything but defective

I looked at the ring and thought
Holy shit that’s a decent size!
He’d definitely gone all out this time
I couldn’t believe my eyes.

But if I was to wear such a thing
It would mean I was getting married
My brain was still calming down
From a day all rushed and harried.

I looked back at him and realized though
There was nowhere else I’d rather be
Than in his arms for the rest of everything
So I said “Yes” immediately.

It’s been a fun few days since then
Telling family and friends
Messages and Facebook posts
The excitement never ends

But the Gypsy Niece was curious
How did this all go down?
The Kevman filled her in
And she spluttered with a frown

Who the hell proposes
On an average Tuesday night
In Ugg boots and a sweatshirt?
I just feel this just ain’t right.

But then she saw our goopy faces
And seemed to say “Ah f**k it....
You guys have always made me wanna puke
Into a plastic bucket.”

So the next eighteen months or so
Will be a hive-like planning central
By the end of the whole shebang
I’ll probably be driven mental

And along the way there’ll be a hen’s night
A buck’s do and perhaps a bridal shower
Those that make you scared
Of what’s going to happen hour by hour

But it should be fun I'm guessing
All this hilarity and mirth
As I lead up to marrying
My one love on this Earth

Ahh, I really should be going now
So I must end my little rhyme
I’m off with my fiancĂ©
To spend a little time <3



Thursday, 14 May 2015

Like fine red wine.

It has been suggested that the Kevman and I possess rather a lot of red wine.

And in relation to many...I guess that's not far wrong.

But while we did have (what we would call) decent amount of red a while back (200+ bottles), this has slowly dwindled to a more sedate 100 or so over the recent year. This reduction has occurred partly because households are more expensive once girlfriends are installed in them (thus less funding available for wine purchasing) and partly because we needed some of our linen cupboard and wardrobes back.

You see, when I turned up, space was at a bit of a premium.

Now I'm not meaning to insinuate here that all West Australians are pissheads... 

But let me put it this way: A fair percentage of ‘em know their way around the local bottle store far better than most sections of the local supermarket....and they're not remotely afraid to demonstrate the fact.

Aussies (and many Kiwis for that matter) like their liquid refereshments...and with the FIFO lifestyle being so prevalent in W.A. many have the finances to back up the habit....including the Kevman who's had the funds for quite a while to fund whatever pastimes he so desired. And as far as I could tell upon entering his home, he had.

Upon crossing his threshold for the first time, I was presented with a well stocked bar that would make any party animal grin with glee. Bourbon, rum, Kahlua, gin, vodka and various cocktail components glinted from behind glass, advertising that any sort of alcoholic desire could be catered for

Well that looked fun...but where was the wine.

I raised a quizzical eyebrow at the Kevman: “This all very lovely darling, but where’s good stuff?”

On the night we met, the Kevman and I had discussed our mutual love of good red wine and I will not lie, one of his initial charm points was his apparent ability to tell his Cab Sav from his Shiraz and not be phased by what he might encounter in a better than average restaurant. He had mentioned a somewhat impressive wine collection, and at the risk of sounding like a closet alcoholic myself....I wanted to ascertain its location.

Just, y’know, coz I was curious like.

“Oh that’s in the linen cupboard”

Of course, where else would it be...

“There’s some in the office too; and the spare room (this actually turned out to be bourbon); and those boxes by the I think about it, they’re wine too.”

Upon perusal...I estimated approximately 160 bottles of grown-up grape juice.

I was speechless for a moment: “You sure got enough?”

“Pretty sure we’re covered.”

I wandered around, furrow-browed, opening things and generally being nosey: “You have three fridges...only one of which has food in it.”

“And your point is?" He laughed: "Actually there are four: The full-sized kitchen one (food + freezer), the full-sized outside one (beer, white wine, RTDs and soft drink + freezer), the full-sized bar fridge (similar to outside fridge + freezer)...and the smaller wine fridge.”

“I'm sorry, the what?!”

“It’s under bench.”

Make that 180

Behind the kitchen bench was a smallish wine fridge where normal people would have a dishwasher.

Apparently that’s what the gypsy niece was for.

“And there’re some really nice ports and muscats floating around here too...think they’re in with the wine though.”

I didn't know whether to be impressed or horrified and after helping to contribute to the wine total quite significantly on our first trip away – bumping the total well over 200 bottles - I demonstrated that I was not averse to embracing this drinking culture.

My body, however, is not really having a bar of it (Ha! see what I did there! 'Bar'? haha...geddit? Oh nevermind.)

I drink too much alcohol, I can’t stay sleep

I drink too much alcohol and my digestive system starts to pack a sad.

I drink too much alcohol and I can become jittery and fretful as the week progresses.

I drink almost any alcohol, my face turn bright red

I drink over four drinks a week and I raise my risk of breast cancer re-occurrence proportionately.

Well who's a pain in the arse then

But I have learned to listen to my body or else it starts to speak with a megaphone. Things are little more balanced around here these days; we still have a decent selection of reds that we have taken great pleasure in selecting ourselves from various West Australian wineries; there’s always good bourbon around, and winter will still be port season.

But now we also delight in other pleasures such as good food, good books, good company and the wonderful games that have sat dormant in cupboards for so many years.

Maybe we’re just getting old and responsible these days.

Or maybe we’re just maturing

Like fine red wine ;-)

Have a great week everyone!


P.S. Alcohol, can be a wonderful accompaniment to life, but should never consume it. If your habit is giving you, or those around you grief...check out these resources and learn what’s up.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Fast cars and even faster pussy.....cats.

Let me share with you my week. 

Actually I'll share two of them, just for good measure.

After some person, who shall remain nameless (coz I actually have no idea who he/she was), bumped his/her piddly arsed little vehicle into the right rear of the Holden a few weeks back....our car was finally able to get repaired this week (busy chappies apparently). But as I had several appointments to keep this fortnight, my beloved organized a rental vehicle for me.

Enlisting the help of the Gypsy Niece and her beloved silver Hyundai, we tootled off to Fremantle to pick up said rental, and then proceed to have lunch at one of the fine local eateries. And all was going well until I was escorted to the yard....and much to Gypsy Niece’s delight and amusement, handed the keys to a shiny, white..

You guessed it:


A Hyundai ‘Accent’ to be precise.

Now let’s just take a moment here.

After being accustomed to negotiating greater Perth in a Holden SV6 I was now being treated to a swift reminder as to why I enjoy negotiating greater Perth in a Holden opposed to a Matchbox toy with ideas above its station. Transferring to the Hyundai was akin to going from a Sherman tank to geriatric Jeep. Yes, I know the little roller skate is all economical and whatnot but it also has about as much testicular fortitude as a half-roasted peanut. And that. I feel, is being a little harsh on the peanut.

Needless to say my Hyundai tales have been a point of humour all week...mostly not mine.

It wouldn't be so bad if some other people didn't drive like pillocks. I am not sure what it is about indicators, but people often seem to think they are optional....especially when taking the second exit on a roundabout. No you are not ‘just going straight ahead’ you are entering a roundabout and should indicate wherever and whenever you leave the damn thing, regardless of which exit you take. It’s not rocket science...seriously.

But to add to the fun and games, I had to take the kittens to the vet for their follow up appointment and as they had already found it necessary to completely circumvent their cones and each pull a stitch out....the vet was less than impressed. Long story short...accompanied by the fact that they couldn't sit still if their furry little lives depended on it, they now have fat little tummies that need monitoring each week until the swelling goes completely down.

Most humans following abdominal surgery like to kick back and relax; but not these two clowns....not only have Merlot and Shiraz found it hugely entertaining to gallop around like demented school children, they have also developed an insatiable desire to climb on a person as soon as one bends over....requiring the need to either hunchback of Notre Dame yourself to the nearest chair in the hope they'll dismount, or stand up and thus have them perch on your shoulder like a fluffy, whiskered parrot.

Despite their avian tendencies however, they are still managing to recover well. And surprising enough, they love the flavour of their anti, inflammatory medication.

Little druggies.

Another foray I took in my petitemoblile was to the ‘boob place’. Now in all fairness they scan any part of your body you so desire, but as I desire to keep my boobs, I had them scan those. Now as my last titty cancer was in an awkward spot (I am nothing if not the queen of awkward) it was only picked up on ultrasound (well, actually, it was picked up by me...then an ultrasound). So not only were my ample mammaries squished within an inch of their life, they were also gelled up and checked for 'things what don’t belong' that way as well.

I can think of worse ways to spend an hour, I guess (thankful for modern technology and stuff). And of course, because the left one has received most of the attention over the last five years...the right has decided it wants to feel special. “It is most probably absolutely nothing, but we would love your previous films from New Zealand...just for comparison.” Which simply involves me sending a letter to my Mama, giving her authority to uplift said films from my previous hospital in NZ (What’s the betting that after she reads this, I get a Viber message, saying something to the effect of: “Why the hell haven’t you sent me the bloody letter.” Quite delicately spoken is my Mum.)

I’ll do it after this Mum...I promise.

Now to its credit, despite all this gallivanting around (which also included trips to the supermarket, and a local second-hand shop where I volunteer) the little snot-beetle has yet to drop under half a tank. And it is definitely easy to park.

But it doesn’t really like moving in a hurry. You put your foot down and it has to think about what needs to happen next. It’s sort of like you’re speaking a foreign language to it through a translator. 

“Oh ‘accelerate’ means move faster?? Oooooh, ok, ok, I do that now.”

“Thanks, thanks for coming to the party on that one. A little earlier would have been nice, but hey”

And as for anything involving a slope...

"What? You want me to go just as fast....UPHILL?!"

"Yes, yes I do."

"But it's hard work!"

"You'll be fine"

"I dunno, I think I feel my carburettor starting to give."

"If you don't don't shift your whiny arse up this hill, I swear to God, I'll have your spark plugs for earrings!

"Oh right you are then"

And off we go.

I know, I know, I should just be grateful to have something with motorized wheels, but I can’t say I'll be emotional when it goes back.

I might be all emotional at the kittens in a minute though.....

You wait till your father gets home!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

"Snoop Maximus"

The elders of the house have all deserted to various locales around the country so I am hijacking the computer again. She really needs to change the password though...I feel “Maximus_Is_King” would be suitable.

Well isn’t that poetic.....the juniors have had their first trip to the vet.

I am smiling.

Now they will not be able to reproduce. I see no issue with this (neither do they at present as they have no idea what’s actually happened) as I feel more of the little furshirts would just be even more annoying than these two already are! But it is funny how one trip to the vet can change your life so dramatically. 

I went there once...and came back with NO BLOODY TESTICLES!!

This means no little Maximi! Now THAT is a tragedy.

But that’s the thing with females of the species, nothing goes missing in these operations, or if it does nothing that can be seen from the outside. No mark of their femaleness slashed and emptied like shucking oysters (Mine were decent sized oysters by the way...just saying).

It’s just all very thought provoking.

Now while I must admit, I am getting used to these two little interlopers hanging around I was not impressed with whatever the hell they came home from the vet in; scared the living bejesus out of me. Massive great cones around their heads...other than looking completely ridiculous, they also looked like occupants of another planet.

...that unfortunately I couldn't send them back to.

But I digress.

I just about had conniptions. And I made a point of going nowhere near their little hooverish heads. (Though to their credit, I'm damn sure we got better cell phone reception while they had them on.)

The purpose of these apparatuses was to stop them getting to their stitches. The little goobers still managed it though and also drove the human female of the house demented by licking the inside of their cones repetitively in the vain hope that they might eventually make fur contact and have their bath complete.

After 3 days of this attempted bathing, the cones came off. The little clean freaks are now washed and order is restored to the household. And I can finally bloody sleep in peace without that infernal woman bellowing every five minutes: “Shiraz and Merlot! If you don’t stop licking the inside of those God damned cones, I'm going to takes the things off and jam it up your little furry arses!”

Well now....aggressive much? (And wholly ineffective as it turns out.) Must have been that time of the month. Maybe she needs a trip to the vet.

The most delightful thing about them all being clamped, chipped and vacced though, is that soon they can sod off outside. If the whim takes me, I may even sod off with them

I know, I know, you’re all thinking I have gone soft, but this is not the case. I am merely changing my approach. It is much easier to manoeuvre (thus corrupt – and possibly export) my little furry minions if they think I am friend rather than foe. 
I'm actually achieving success here already. Merlot has now learned to scratch at doors. For some reason the humans all looked at me when this first occurred! I just gave them my: “Well you brought them here” look. I don’t think they were impressed.

Then there was the time that I taught Merlot how to jump up the water feature and walk along the fence to freedom. One night out on the town, pre being fixed, and next thing you know, they’re inside cats. Oops, sorry ‘bout it.

Well the elders did install the little twerps here, it’s not my fault that some of my awesomeness is rubbing off on them. It’s only to be expected.

Just so long as they know who the boss is

And that’s all in the little things I have found: commandeer a sleeping spot here, piddle in a litter tray there...they know the story. 

I may not have testicles but by crikey I still know how to work the ladies.

"Snoop Maximus"

Has quite a ring to it really.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

ANZACs forward march!

Tomorrow (25 April, 2015) in Australia and New Zealand we will celebrate ANZAC day. This is something we Aussies and Kiwis do every year to commemorate our fallen soldiers, particularly those from WWI. These soldiers, called ANZACS as an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, landed at Gallipoli to fight the Turks back in 1915 and it must be said, really put their all into it. This campaign was the first major military action of Australia and New Zealand as independent dominions, and is often considered to mark the “birth of national consciousness” in the two countries.

Tomorrow marks the 100 year anniversary of that ‘birth’. 100 years since our troops landed in a foreign land to do their bit against the 'enemy'; 100 years since the commencement of eight months of fighting that would lead to the deaths of 44,000 allies including 8709 Australians and 2701 New Zealanders; 100 years since we joined the apparent world Fight Club that is International Politics.

So did we win at Gallipoli? Hell no, got our asses kicked, but we tried damn it! And Turkey was most gracious about it all and buried our dead in carefully tended cemeteries as a nod to the effort of the challenge. But overall it wasn't a howling success.

And a hundred years later I'm not sure the message has got through. Are we are honouring our fallen in a way they would appreciate? Don’t get me wrong, a dawn service is a suitable and oft powerful remembrance, but I can’t help but think that we altogether ignore what they were fighting for: the ultimate goal of peace. Though it has been said that fighting for peace is like f**king for virginity (and that’s not far wrong), you can’t ignore the intent if you’re going to commemorate the people who fought for it.

After a century, one would like to think that we have found other ways to work toward the ANZAC’s goal, but the stats aren't looking good. While WWI cost approximately 31 million deaths (not including Spanish Flu fatalities), the so-called ‘War to end all Wars’ was quickly superseded by the Second World War (1939 – 1945) which cost the world up to 85 million human lives. Considering the world population only went up from 1.8 billion in 1914 to about 2.2 billion or so in 1945 it’s easy to see that a fair amount of human capital went six feet under just in those two conflicts.

And other countries haven’t exactly toned it down either. With major conflicts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East ....things don’t seem to be improving a whole heap.

And neither are attitudes of intolerance that fuel the wars in first place, those of disdain and hatred toward human beings different to our self. For example, as of 2013, 74% of Russians (predominant religion Orthodox Christian) believe that homosexuality should not be accepted in society. Also, according to a 2014 study, 25% (mercifully down from 48% in 2011) of Australians hold ‘anti-Muslim’ views (not surprising considering the media bias of the country) despite the fact that many Muslims are fighting hard against the extremists within their culture themselves and embrace Australia’s way of life significantly. And then there are white cops shooting black people and generally not helping the case of all the genuinely good white cops out there.

And then there's the parts of the world that are now just a war torn mess (Syria and Gaza spring to mind here).

Instead of world unity, we are still just trying to create more distance between an imagined ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ even when ‘them’ (for an Aussie or Kiwi) could be a child refugee in Syria or a hard-working, tax-paying next-door neighbour.

Is that really what the ANZACs got their asses shot off for? So we could sit here 100 years later doing the same shit, just in a different bucket?

I can’t help but feel that we have f**ked this up a little.

Maybe tomorrow, instead of just looking backwards, we should also look forward. Look to (and actively pursue) a future where we make an effort to smile, communicate and understand the world from another’s point of view before we judge and discriminate. A future where we recognize that different countries’ laws and cultures are specific to that country regardless of the dominant religion (For example Jordan, Mauritania, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Turkey are all 90%+ Muslim countries but all have very different cultures and worldviews on certain issues, just as Croatia, American Samoa, Republic of Congo, Iceland, Puerto Rico and Greece are all 90%+ Christian counties but also have very different cultures and worldviews)

Maybe we can look towards a future where every single one of us makes an effort toward the global peace the ANZACS were fighting for. Whether it is donating to Amnesty International, schooling yourself open-mindedly about world politics and disseminating information, or even simply knitting blankets for Syrian refugees. 

Do something.

But if you want to keep it really real for ANZAC Day, how about donating to causes that support the rehabilitation of homeless and mentally ill war veterans that rarely get discussed in the media. Help the people who put their asses on the line (just like the ANZACS) to fight for people to be able to live in peace. Whether the motivations for the wars are just or not, the soldiers do what they are told to do and often pay a very high price for doing so.

While it is commendable to remember those who have died for your is even more important to remember those who fought and lived.
Have a great ANZAC Day everyone.

P.S. Here are just a few of the many organizations that can help you help others



Learn (along with many other sources...keep looking)

Help an Aussie or Kiwi Veteran. or (how to help or get help for a veteran in Australia) or (how to help or get help for a veteran in New Zealand)

Friday, 17 April 2015

On tears and motherhood

Well it was all good until we got to the departure gates.

To say I held it together would be somewhat of an exaggeration, but we were doing ok, Lil Blondie and I. But I can comprehensively say, nothing kills you more than watching your tearful child go through those gates with only an air hostess and seven other kids she’s never met for company. As a mother, you start to question who you are and every decision you've ever made in your life.

And walking back to the car was a hazardous experience as well, as I couldn't see through the haze of tears, but I knew I had to get a grip because I had highways to tackle to get home. And I knew the Kevman would be there, waiting for me on Skype, to tell me it’s ok and I'm not a bad mother for choosing to live in another country from my youngest child. In reality though, there wasn't a lot he could say to allay the temporary grief that is now part and parcel of my parenting life.

It had been a grand three weeks, though; we visited Fremantle, went bowling, Lil Blondie tried her hand at golfing at the driving range (wasn't too shabby either for a first time eight year old) and we also took the resident Gypsy Niece with us to go pottery painting. Shopping was also done and a fair amount of game playing, Uno and Monopoly Deal being the favourites.

Lil Blondie getting her golf game sorted.

But come the final day more cuddles than normal were had; brave faces put on and reminders given of what awaited the youngest member the family once she got home: her Daddy, her cats Bella and Trix and all her school friends. Mummy would be fine I said: “And before you know it, it will be next school holidays and you’ll be back here again!”

And Mummy will be fine...maybe tomorrow, or the next day when the Kevman flies in from his island. But for right now, I'm busy trying to pull positivity from the fact that I'm snivelling and missing her little blonde head and goofy grin; the droopy morning look and the dementedly excited look of one about to go somewhere exciting; the mess in the room; the insanely repetitive Animal Jam tunes emanating from the office....ok maybe I don’t miss that...but basically everything that reminds me that I'm a mother..

I miss her

And reconciling one's heart and soul with one's head is never easy.

But this is be reminded so profoundly that I love my kids so terribly much. The power of the World Wide Web enable unprecedented contact in this increasingly fragmented world and I know she is cared for well in her New Zealand home where she belongs. I have never been an emotionally connective type and struggled greatly with the intricacies of balancing single parenthood with a full time career and an ever degenerating body. Ironically, I know I am a better mother now. The time I spend with my kids is able to be devoted completely to them and I have time to build a rapport and share humour with them as opposed to going through the motions of a very stressful existence and having it rob me of all that happy parenting can be. In many senses I am very lucky.

Now, like a metaphorical light bulb smashing, shards piercing my consciousness like vaccination needles, I realise completely why I have chosen to write about this today: to remind myself that I made a good decision coming here and I should never allow myself to slip into the gendered abyss of guilt that can come with being a mother intentionally separated from her children. Her father is a good father; we were never that great as husband and wife obviously, but he provides well (better than I could) the day to day stability and calm she needs for a healthy life.

I am the rebel, the adventurer, the alternative. I always have been and I like to think I am the fuel for my daughters’ dreams, the catalyst for them believing that anything possible if they keep exploring and believing all the while being a decent person and doing the best they can.

I refused then, as I do now, to let society’s ideas of what a perfect mother should be dictate my parenting role in my children’s life. I played life (and still do) by my own rules, ones that work best for me mentally and physically and thus, by extrapolation, are best for my girls. The way they love me back is confirmation enough that I am on a perfectly acceptable track.

And if I do this daughters will grow up knowing they have the right to live exactly the same way.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

It's impossible to be fully booked.

I have come to the conclusion there are some situations where restraint just ain’t gonna happen.

For the most part, I can make it around a supermarket with only minimal dodgy shit making it into the trolley. And when I see my beloved at the airport, I can restrain myself from leaping into his arms in such a fashion that he will require a surgical truss for the next three months. And usually, I can say no an extra piece of cake.

I cannot, however, walk into a book store and simply ‘look’.

You stick so many stories, ideas, and smells of adventure in one place and I can guarantee you that I'm gonna want to take some home. Not that I necessarily have time to read all of these books, but OMG:


Who’s with me here??

There’re rows and rows of ‘em in these places: big ones, small ones, skinny ones, fat ones, fiction, non-fiction, ....everything from gardening to Grumpy Cat. How is one supposed to resist God damnit! 
Let alone if they have a sale on....that’s just silly talk.

I have given up. I have come to the conclusion that if I go in, more than just me will be coming out.

I guess it’s understandable though, when you think about it; my first word was “book” (like, actually) and I grew up with a ton of ‘em. I can’t say I ever saw my parents read much but I know it happened. Dad was quite the Wilbur Smith and Brian Callison fan when it came to bed time reading. Mum was a bit of a late bloomer and has only been into the novels for the last 15 years or so starting when I bought her Frank Mc’Court’s Angela’s Ashes as a gift. But my reading was always strongly encouraged.

I sense a trip down memory lane coming here...

Yep, here it comes....

I remember my first school-age book infatuation being with the ‘Twistaplot’ book series, in particular “Train of Terror”. You know the ones, where you read a few pages then had to choose which path (storyline) to take (“Pick-a-Path books were similar): Choose to buy the hamburger, go to page 48 (where you promptly choke on it) or choose to walk away and go skating, turn to page 91 (the option that lets you live for at least a few more pages.) These books taught you the hard way, to be prepared for anything let me tell ya.

Around the same time I also consumed the series of 6 ‘Meg’ mysteries by Holly Beth Walker and then The Hardy Boys series (none of this girly Nancy Drew crap for me) and developed a firm ambition from there to be a police detective. This did not pan out obviously, but was probably my first real occupational goal as a child. I collected almost the entire series of Hardy Boys books the way my own child was later to collect ‘Goosebumps’ books. I even read their survival handbook and became a firm follower of the TV show...subsequently developing a fairly decent crush on Shaun Cassidy. We were totally dating...but he was usurped by Simon Le Bon a year or so later before I could ever let him in on the deal.

It wasn't just the books I read to myself, however, that were memorable. At times I recall being read stories, chapter by chapter, at school. I was exposed to several Roald Dahl books this way but also heard an exceptional tale written by Robert C. O’Brien called Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Mandatory childhood reading right there I say.

Marilyn Sachs (Amy and Laura and Laura’s Luck) and Judy Blume were other authors I investigated in my youth. But the books I really got a kick out of for a while were anything where you had to work something out, Encyclopaedia Brown being a good example here.

Moving on, I concurrently developed a love of both horror and animals stories, though fortunately, not in the same storylines. Before I get to them, however, a few other random reads rate a mention.

One stray book I read, relating to neither of the above topics was Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones (who also wrote Howl’s Moving Castle among other children's fiction). This book was just odd but I loved it very much and still have fond memories of it to this day.

Another, that had me in fits of hysteria, was I Want to go Home by Gordon Korman, which relates the story of two boys at Summer Camp, one of which (Rudy) is trying permanently to escape. It’s just gold.

Relating back to the horror genre, in high school (age 12/13+ in New Zealand) I developed a complete addiction to teen horror writer Christopher Pike who had the ability to freak you out like no one else; The Chain Letter series and Road to Nowhere are firm favourites of his. There was also one ending with an evil spirit getting trapped inside a blind parrot which sticks in my it would, I guess. This obsession (with Christopher Pike, not blind parrots) later translated to a keen following of Dean Koontz as an adult and also the reading of several Stephan King books (Needful Things is one of my favourites here, far better than the movie).

Along the animal lines, one of the best books ever written, in my humble opinion, would have to be Richard Adams’ Watership Down. The world of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Kehaar and the many other animals on this journey is just absorbing from start to finish. I cried like a baby both times I read the damn thing and would recommend it to anyone, adult or child, for the rest of forever.

The White Fox by Brian Parvin was another favourite as well as anything else dogsledding/Iditerod/Arctic oriented.

It was about mid high school that I started to appreciate autobiographical works. I read Scot Free, an hilarious personal account of Alastair Scott’s foray from the Arctic to Mexico while wearing a Kilt; The Autobiography of the Reza Kahn Pahlavi (aka the previous Shah of Iran before the Ayatollah Khomeini got in there) and another that you may find odd or even hypocritical for a professed animal lover...

Death in the Long Grass by Peter Hathaway Capstick is one of the best books of the hunting/ranging genre you will read. Recounting tales from his time as a white hunter and game ranger in Africa in the sixties and seventies, Capstick entertains with humour and action packed stories, all the while reminding the reader that you respect all of Africa’s occupants or you die. While some of his stories did involve escorting trophy hunters (something that declining animal numbers and growing ethics just can’t support these days) a lot of his work was also sorting out rogue animals and culling populations when they exceeded what their environment could support. He was an advocate for safe and responsible hunting and a staunch enemy of poachers. This book is pure ‘unputdownable’ reading pleasure.

As I got older, regardless of whatever other stuff was going on in my life, I relished in the fact that I could always retreat into a book. From trying out a few of Dad's Brian Callison books (The Auriga Madness and Trapp in World War Three  being especially excellent), to consuming epics like Gone with the Wind or thought provokers like Catch 22,  I was always able to escape my world into that of someone else’s.

My horror bent later shifted to crime with a love of Patricia Cornwell and while her protagonist, Kay Scarpetta is an appealing one to me, my favourite part of any of her books will always involve Kay's niece Lucy Farinelli; she is just queen of intellectual, helicopter-flying badassery.

I also lean socio-political at times and consequently highly recommend Douglas Rushkoff’s Life Inc (originally a required text for a university paper I was doing but now seriously one of the best books I have ever read)  as well as Us and Them by Australian ‘respected journalist and media commentator’ Peter Manning. The latter should be compulsory reading for every Australian and goes a long way to addressing the media's part in creating an Islamophobic nation.

Today my interests are broader than ever. While I have knocked off several of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Handmaid’s Tale –Margaret Atwood; To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson; The Catcher in The Rye – J.D. Salinger; Supercannes – J.G Ballard [another favourite] to name a few), I also like to frequently kick back with a little of what’s currently popular or an amusing autobiography. I just tend to go with what appeals on the day I start a book.

So what am I reading right now? Well I have just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion... delightfully entertaining, I must say, and have moved on to Aldous Huxley’s classic Brave New World. 

What it'll be next is anyone’s guess!

So what’s on your nightstand at the moment? New titles come at me!!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Church of Facebook

I love social media. The intrinsic power it has is awe-inspiring; not only can you share interesting and relevant information and articles easily and swiftly, but you also relate your own personal slant while you’re at it. You can quiz your friends about movies, restaurants and food or pick their brains about sports or recent media or political occurrences.

Or you can share memes.

Millions and millions of memes.

Now before we write off the humble meme as a mere token of Facebook frippery, an embellishment to our page designed to make us appear humorous, enlightened or informed, it must be noted that some are actually rather good. I have frequently encountered memes that are both well presented and intelligently written. I have also encountered others that have been complete and utter shit.

Now Facebook is a fabulous place but if you believe everything you read on it you’re going to have a hard, and probably depressing, time. Many memes I have read are biased, judgemental, stereotypical and/or just plain stupid. And in the interests of being a helpful citizen...let me warn you of a few.

(I will refrain here, despite the title of my blog today, from commenting on religious memes as everyone is entitled to their own opinions of what they think God’s supernatural powers are, and if I get started on all the hate fueled anti-Islamic propaganda about, well shit’s just gonna get real....I created this space for people to escape controversy and that includes me, so I’m gonna stick to the non-religious stuff.)

The first meme that springs to mind is a gender one. I don’t consider myself so much a feminist as more of an advocate for gender equality. The meme goes like this:

 “Yes, I'm a woman. I push doors that clearly say pull. I laugh harder when I try to explain why I'm laughing. I walk into a room and forget why I was there. I count on my fingers in math. I ask for food and then don't eat it when I get it. I fall in love too fast with someone who doesn't actually love me back. I hide the pain from my loved ones. I say it is a long story when it's really not. I cry a lot, more than you think I do. I care about people who don't care about me. I try to do things before the microwave beeps. I listen to you even though you don't listen to me. And a hug will always help. Yes! I am a woman! And I am proud of who I am.”

I wish the person who wrote this a lifetime of squeaky chairs and naval lint.

“I push doors that clearly say pull” I have seen my father do this, along with many other penised members of the community. Next

“I laugh harder when I try to explain why I'm laughing.” Soooo gender specific...not. Next

“I count on my fingers in math.” The only time I use my fingers to count is when I am showing someone how to count to one....while demonstrating how much I don’t like them.

“I ask for food and then don't eat it when I get it” Where the hell did this one come from?? I paid/asked for it, you can bet your damn patootie I’ma gonna eat it! Don’t eat it....don’t ea...who is this clown?

“I fall in love too fast with someone who doesn't actually love me back” Again, about as gender specific as your average (adult) electric toothbrush.

“I hide the pain from my loved ones”: Ummm, so how often have you heard a person saying their male partner/relative needs to ‘open up’ or ‘talk to somebody’ about something he is dealing with? If we were going to lean gender biased on this point, wouldn't you think it would be the other way?? So how about we simply smile and move on before people actually do and miss the point of my rant entirely.

“I say it is a long story when it's really not.” This is simply a ploy utilized so one doesn't have to waste time talking about something that either one doesn't want to talk about or that one feels the other won’t fully understand or relate to. It is basically an idiot shield. Idiots come in both genders....and so do people who utilize this phrase.

“I cry a lot, more than you think I do” Any crying disparity can largely be explained by hormones though if you are crying a lot, you should get checked for actually. While there may be some small substance to this particular stereotype it is hardly a feature that would make me rave about being a woman. Just saying.

“I care about people who don't care about me” Your choice...doesn’t require tits and a vagina to choose it. Talk to any man who has been rejected or cuckolded but who is still in love with the subject of his affections. I am sure he will relate to the above.

“I try to do things before the microwave beeps.”I looked on YouTube. I found: “10 Things to do before the microwave hits zero”…guess the gender of the star. Next.

I listen to you even though you don't listen to me” Oh c’mon! This is the story of some guys’ lives! Don't even go there people.

“And a hug will always help” A hug helps everyone. Why do you think men have been so drawn to team sports over the years? For one reason they are allowed to touch and be affectionate without being thought effeminate. Delightfully, this is now changing in everyday life. Everyone needs hugs, men included, don’t be a bitch.

“Yes! I am a woman! And I am proud of who I am.” That’s nice dear *pat pat*. Now how about just trying not to be an idiot and being proud of that.

While I do understand the need for a certain feminine rebellion (we still do not have equal pay and working conditions in some professions and gender bias is still rife in media/advertising representation), this is hardly the way to go about it. This sort of crap just reinforces unfounded stereotypes, both male and female (for by suggesting these are women only traits we are overtly excluding men from being allowed to identify with them) and really needs to just staahhhpp!

Number Two (before I blow a gasket)

“The best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook.”

What a complete crock of shit that one is. What this one should read is “Don’t put all your happy shit all over Facebook because my relationship is shit/in a precarious place, my partner would never do that for me and I secretly wish he/she would sometimes, or I don’t have a partner and I'm jealous.” 

Some people are very private and keep their stuff themselves.....their prerogative and I totally respect it, but I have waited a long time to be in such a fantastic relationship and you can bet your ass I'm gonna share the joy. I don’t do it to piss anyone off or to shove it up all the single people, I do it for the following three reasons:

1) We see enough miserable/boring shit on Facebook: someone hates his/her job, someone hates someone else, someone had lunch, someone had a shit holiday experience, someone got divorced, whatever...We want to show people that sometimes stuff goes right, that happiness is still a possibility, that love is a real thing and if treated with respect, can last (hence why the Kevman and I still post fluffy shit on Facebook a year later),

 2) We have received a lot of positive feedback about it, people are so glad to see us so happy, it makes them happy. Some of my friends have even private messaged me to that effect based solely on a romantic post. People love feeling happy, even just vicariously. I love being able to facilitate that.

3) We love publicly praising our significant other. While much of our posting may make others happy, the things we post are primarily for each other...that is, they represent our feelings toward the other and we are more than happy to broadcast to the world that we think and feel these things. We enjoy showing the other that we would put our reputation on the line for them and are proud to be in a relationship with them. We both enjoy verbal affirmations, it’s as simple as that.

So far as I'm concerned, as long as both parties enjoy and interpret these public displays of affection as love then there is no reason not to share your happy relationship on any medium you damn well please.

The third and final meme I’d like to question goes something like this: “When you don’t have to worry about what you say, you know you’re with the right people”

Let’s just take a moment here. If you consider ‘the right people’ to be people who don’t tolerate your shit, call you out on unfair statements, let you know when they are hurt by something you've said and are not afraid to disagree/debate with you, then yes, I believe you are with the right people.

But if you consider ‘the right people’ to be friends who just appear to ‘get’ where you’re coming from with your statements, don’t take offense, and back you up wholeheartedly, we could have differing opinions of what ‘right’ means.

My personal belief is that you should always surround yourself (actually or virtually) with a wide variety of people who have varying knowledge bases and broad ranges and lengths of life experience. To only surround yourself with people ‘like you’ creates a perfect fermentation environment for fear, hatred and bigotry. These forces then swell to varying degrees against anyone or anything different.

So if the ‘right people’ are those who challenge, stimulate, appreciate and respect you and your uniqueness, then as you were Sir Meme, go on through. If, however, you’re suggesting that everyone should have a little posse of like-minded minions to unquestioningly support their belief systems, then step aside and let the real memes through.

Ultimately, the point of all this, is to show that you must always question what you see, read and hear. Just because someone is tech savvy enough to write a group of words into a 
computer program, does not mean they are smart enough to read the tacit, or even obvious insinuations contained within them. While piss-poor grammar and spelling are often a sign of questionable meme thinking, I have seen perfectly written crap also circulate the Facebook world at a swift rate of knots. All I ask is that you please try and trip it up where you can. Thanks.

Well that is enough of my opinions on the world....go forth and have a jolly spiffy weekend!! 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Testing positive

Well it’s still all go in the Tigress household.

See I've dropped off the parents at the airport and picked up the youngest offspring who is now here until the middle of April. While the elders were seen off without a hitch, the airline seems to have lost Lil Blondie’s luggage, but as much as this is rather inconvenient, I can’t help but simply feel grateful that her plane landed safely with all on board intact, unlike other recent aircraft flitting about the skies. 

My thoughts and healing vibes are with the families of those killed in the recent air tragedy in the French Alps.

It’s a funny thing gratitude; for many people it seems to only turn up in times of extreme events, and unfortunately for some, it never turns up at all.

People seem to find it so hard to appreciate what they have...and I find this sad.

If I sat down and thought about it, I have a long list of things I could be thoroughly miserable about. But for each and every one I have something to be grateful for. So if I am going to rabbit on about being grateful, best I lead by example. Here are the negatives and counter-positives in my life as I see them.

Negative 1: I've had cancer and it may come back one day.

Positive 1: My cancer taught me to appreciate my life at a base level and not feel guilty about cleansing negative energy from it. The fact that it may come back reminds me that the word ‘may’ is very different from the word ‘will’.

N2: I don’t get to see my children as often as I used to now I live in Australia.

P2: I have the Internet/Facebook to communicate with Miss 19 and see Lil Blondie every school holidays. I get to spend quality time with her now, much more than I did when I was a burned out single Mum.

N3: I have a painful degenerative spondyloarthritis condition that requires I take daily medication to manage and limits the amount and type of physical activity I can do.

P3: I can still walk, talk, hug people, write, type, think, read, exercise (within reason), drive, wash and dress myself, kiss, make love, laugh, feed myself, do housework, see, hear, touch, taste, smell and many other things that many other people cannot do. I am lucky.

N4: I have Fibromyalgia. I am frequently tired and sore and have multiple digestive difficulties. I sometimes have poor concentration and cannot even remember what the start of my sentence was.

P4: Refer P3

N5: My partner (Kevman) works away for part of the month and I miss him a lot.

P5: I have a partner who loves me very much and messages me every single day. Every three weeks I get to pick him up from the airport and it feels wonderful! Even the anticipation is delicious. I get to miss him and be reminded how much I feel for him. Yet I get to remain independent and am able to focus on my individual pursuits.

N6: I cannot maintain a full time job due to my health and family/partner commitments.

P6: I'm having time to get diagnoses and the health assistance I need as well as learn the best way to manage my body for maximum results. I have time to read and write as well as investigate healthier eating (reeeeally need to do this more). I also get to spend a whole week with my partner as well as have time to do craft and volunteer work. I am also investigating an online business with Miss 19.

N7: I cannot fix all the problems in the world that worry me.

P7: I can sign petitions, keep learning, practice tolerance and understanding, do my part in spreading love, education, positivity and joy where I can and encourage others to do the same. I can be the change I want to see.

N8: I sat down to write today feeling decidedly average.

P8: I now feel lucky, motivated, appreciative and just a squidge more in love than before (impossible I thought).

So I leave you with a challenge: Write down five things you are grateful for every day for 21 days.

Feel your life change

Tell me all about it! On here or on my Facebook page: