Sunday, 24 June 2012

Halleluia for online shopping.

Ah, shopping. Don't we all love it.
Weary cashiers, screaming kids, bored husbands and after casing the isles with a shopping trolley wobbly enough to dislocate every bone in the body from the hip down, I find the first item on my shopping list is out of stock. Shape of things to come?
Oh, happy day!

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds the ordeal at the local supermarket a necessary part of modern living. All I need do is scan the tired faces of the people around me to verify that.
Each one probably wishing they were anywhere else but here.

I hate shopping!

There is the harried mother of two trying to manoeuvre her little darlings past the junk food aisle. Brave move, for very soon everyone can hear their protests; high-pitched squeals, loud enough to shatter glass and destroy the collective eardrums of everyone within vocal range. Even the elderly can be seen adjusting their hearing aids.

It gives a totally new understanding as to why some species eat their young!

Then there's clothes shopping. Contrary to what some men think, it is not a woman's favourite past time. Since the deregulation of standard clothing sizes it has become something of a mystical experience. No, not for its spiritual value - although I'm sure for some woman it is - but because it's difficult to know what size you'll end up wearing. It's a mystery.
And for the more sensitive types, it can be daunting, even humiliating. For example, there are some stores that employ only young, willowy-types who seem to take pleasure in deliberately showing a normal, healthy, curvy woman a range of outfits that could only be worn by an anorexic broomstick!
Not many of us can boast a supermodel figure, for whom the majority of clothing labels appear to be designed.
So, I say thank you to online catalogues. I choose what I like, order a few sizes - which I try on in the comfort and privacy of my own home - and send back the rest. No return postage and no snooty shop assistants sniggering on the other side of the change room door.

Maybe I'll try grocery shopping this way. Maybe. I still like picking my own fruit and vege even if it means putting up with long checkout queues and squealing kids.

But, there's always the coffee shop next door with it's cappuccinos and delicious blueberry muffins, where I can sit and flick through my latest fashion catalogue - meant for real women.






Saturday, 16 June 2012

My Czech mum

       Since I'm currently proofreading and doing the final corrections on my soon-to-be-released vampire book - Bloodgifted - I really haven't had the time to spend on my blog as I'd like. But hey, here I am, all ready to record my observations of life - both living and 'undead.' It's actually a welcome respite from working on Bloodpledge, Book 2 in my series, The Dantonville Legacy.
       It's fun creating a world in which the characters of your imagination have full reign, and generally end up taking over your life. But, that's not what I intended to write about this week. It's actually something much closer to my heart. And it has to do with my mum, since she's the one who encouraged me to write in the first place and who provided the idea for the closing scene at the end of Book 1. She's also the one who kept me sane throughout the entire process.
      This blog is dedicated to her.
      Since arriving from the Czech Republic as a young woman in the 1950s, my mum's relationship with the English language has been entertaining. There have been times when she's left people staring after her in a daze wondering if they really heard what they thought they heard.
       For example, my mum laughingly refers to herself as 'unique.' Which is great. She always taught my brothers and myself not to be afraid to be ourselves, even with all our little quirks. 'That's what makes you individuals,' she'd say. Unfortunately, strangers hearing her say that wouldn't immediately understand, as my darling mum pronounces the word 'unique' as 'eunuch!'
       It's left more than one person scratching their heads.
       Going shopping with my mum is fun. She'll tell people that she's 'interesting.' Now I know that to be absolutely true, but what she really means, is that she's 'interested' in some particular item on display. I can be at the other end of the store, but seeing the raised eyebrows of the young shop assistant my mum's talking to, I know exactly what's going on. Eventually they cotton-on. I see the smile on their lips as understanding dawns.
       On one occasion, my mother's linguistic slips has left some of us gasping in horror, and others doubled over in laughter.
       In a previous house we owned, mum had planted a lemon tree. Every year it flowered and produced copious amounts of fruit - far too much for our family alone to consume. So, we started giving away bags full of lemons to family and friends. Sometimes, the bag contained one or two which hadn't completely ripened and my mum - ever conscientious - made sure to mention it. It's just that, every now and then, she confused her vowels.
       'I'm sorry,' she would say, 'but some of the lemons aren't raped yet.'
       We all knew she meant they weren't 'ripe!' yet.
       'No, mum. Ripe! Ripe!' I'd correct her, while cringing in horror.
       Thankfully, most of our friends had a sense of humour and understood exactly what my dear mum meant. They almost always left our house with grins on their faces.
       Over the years, I've grown to appreciate my mum's 'unique' mastery of the English language. Having spent time overseas myself, I've learnt how difficult it is to speak - not just another language - but to assimilate a whole other culture. And my mum's done fantastically.
       I hope she's around for many more years yet, and continues to surprise us with more 'interesting' little quips, if only to bemuse strangers and entertain her adoring family.


    
    

Friday, 8 June 2012

50 Shades of Grey

For the holidays I've decided to do something a little different and reblog one of my most popular posts - a facetious piece on Fifty Shades of Grey.
It was too good to resist!

I have succumbed!

Having told myself I had no intention of wasting my time reading the new super-hyped best seller, Fifty Shades of Grey, I have spent two days doing just that.
Why? Jeez, I don't know. I'm still biting my lower lip, wondering that myself. Perhaps, it was my insatiable curiosity as to what all the hype is about.
So, I rolled my eyes and downloaded a kindle version on my new super-tech Macbook.

Oh my, I was stunned by the literary skill of the author and the use of verbosity that would have challenged a seasoned thesaurian!

The emails exchanged by the couple had me peering ever more closely at the page. Not out of excitement at their intense interchange, but the font was so small I found myself reaching for the magnifying glass.
Was that a deliberate ploy by the author to test the eyesight of the reader, or some new and exciting literary technique?
Holy f@*# I guess we'll never know. But I have to admit, I enjoyed the characters' subject titles on their emails more than their actual content.

As for the heavy sex scenes, well... they just made me flush fifty shades of red! It certainly had me effected down there, so much so that I'll have to give myself a spanking as punishment! But, that'll be after I've learnt to expertly pilot a helicopter, glider and super sonic jet, played Chopin on the grand piano like a seasoned concert pianist and ended hunger in Africa!

Wow! That was just Book 1.
Should I or shouldn't I read Book 2 - Fifty Shades Darker? Jeez!
Laters baby.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Beware of the Elderly Driver!


      Where I live there is a huge elderly population. The late, great and cheeky comedian, Spike Milligan laughingly referred to it as the world's biggest above ground cemetery!  (His mum lived nearby). 
     Now that may seem a bit harsh, but anyone who own and drives a car around here will fully understand what I mean when they read this blog.  There are more 'Elderly' and 'Disabled' parking spots in the local malls here, than anywhere else in the country. 

      They're hearing impaired, vision impaired and sliding into dementia, but they've still got their drivers licenses! All in all, it's a recipe for some potentially hair-raising experiences on the road.



     Now, I have nothing against elderly drivers, many have been on the road longer than I've been alive and their driving skill are exemplary, but occasionally, just occasionally, you meet the one whose presence on the road would raise the blood pressure of an angel! And they're usually on the road on a Thursday. Why? That's pension day. They're out collecting their payments and doing their shopping. The mall is busy with elderly shoppers and so is the parking lot. There are more 'Disabled' stickers visible than bird droppings on windscreens.
     I tend to avoid using my car on Thursdays. But if I necessary, I plan well ahead and give myself extra time, for the odds of my meeting one of the super-slow brigade is very high. It's quite common for them to be doing at least ten-to-twenty kilometers less than the legal sped limit. 
      And in case I was thinking of using my car horn to give them a little hint and speed things up - so to speak - I've discovered reasons why that would not be a good idea. Let me elaborate.
     Firstly, there's a chance the elderly driver in front of me is either completely or, at least, partially hearing impaired and if they do have their hearing aids switched on, they'll probably assume it's static and ignore it completely. So, blasting my horn any louder simply won't work.
     Secondly, if they do happen to hear it, it's likely to give them such a fright they'll end up going into cardiac arrest! I certainly don't want to be responsible for an elderly person's passing, nor the subsequent accident when they plow into the car in front of them.
    Thirdly, since their vision is no longer as acute as it once was, it's harder for the elderly to see where they're going or even judge distances accurately. Hence their tendency to drive slower than everyone else on the road. For the young P-Plater, it's particularly excruciating since they haven't been alive long enough to have acquired the skill of patience. Many never do. They now permanently reside in the local cemetery.

     Lastly, even though holding onto their licenses gives the elderly a sense of independence - which I don't deride - I sometimes wonder how many accidents they have unwittingly caused as other drivers try to overtake or get around them in an effort to get to their destination in a reasonable amount of time.
     We will never know!
     
     So, as I said earlier, I try not to use the car on Thursdays.
     And when my time comes, I hope I won't have to be told to give up my drivers license, but do so before I'm on the receiving end of frustrated horn blasts and creative finger gestures!