Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last day of the year...

...already.

Enough said.

How can I write about an entire year?  List all the major events I've been to?  Look at my calendar (still amnesia) and check out those days I highlighted?  Summarise each month, maybe, or as some other clever bloggers with large cameras have done:  collect my favourite photos of the year and show you all.

Actually, the latter is what I was about to do, but then I jumped on Picasa and noticed a collection of my absolute favourite photos ever.  They're some of my most recent photos, taken this month...115 photos of the same thing...




2011 is the year this little person made her entrance on our planet.  She's my honorary niece and my best memory of 2011, so her slightly blurry photos (such a wriggler she is!) will mark 2011 on the Mouse Files.

A new little life is one of the most precious things ever.  Aria Heaven's birth date means 2011 will always be celebrated by those around her.

{and to her real aunty who reads this blog - give the little pumpkin a big kiss for me!}





I'd better stop before I start gushing and gurgling like someone possessed by the cute baby bug.  Major self-control happening right now!

Here's to another year of blogging sporadically and taking slightly blurry photos with my very large camera!

Thank you SO much for reading - it means the world to me!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gingerbread

I was a little bit obsessive about Christmas this year (I can say that now, looking back).

Obsessiveness meant I actually decided to do something Christmassy, as opposed to just waiting for the presents to appear under the tree, and the Christmas lunch to appear on the table (magically).

So for the first time ever, I decided to make some gingerbread.  Gingerbread = Christmas.



I found a few recipes which looked complicated, and then changed them all around.  I do that with recipes.  (It's fine.)

I ended up with "alternative" gingerbread, made with "alternative" syrup, and "alternative" flour and "alternative" sugar.

Gingerbread generally use golden syrup but I only had Molasses.




Molasses takes me back to my horsecrazy days.  When I smell it I immediately see the old school barn, the feed troughs, and the giant tub of molasses.  When we fed the horses after school, we would slip some molasses into the chaff to make it more edible (you know, if it's possible to make chopped up grass edible).

When I say 'slip some molasses in' I mean 'use seven different implements to get the syrup from the tub to the feed bucket while making a giant mess'.  This stuff is lethally sticky.  In fact, molasses is the embodiment of the word sticky.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011

In the Mouse House...


Christmas is dawning
{oh yeah}






It's all happening under the tree...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Day on Mel Ref 31 F7

'Mel Ref':  Melways Reference (the guide to Melbourne's roads)


'31 F7':  My approximate coordinates on the map for the whole day.


{Written on Wednesday 21st December}

A Day is a funny thing.  It’s impossible to properly predict one ahead of time.  You just never really know what is going to happen next.  This is either a really exciting, or really scary thought.
Take today for example.  Here I am blogging in a car parked next to a footy oval in Heidleberg.  This was not where I expected to be blogging next, people, let me tell you.  But hey, this is the week before Christmas…things are always a bit crazy and unpredictable. 

It’s official:  I mention Christmas everytime I say something.  Woohoo!

So what do I have to say to you all while I’m sitting in the car next to the footy oval in Heidleberg?
a)      I am hot
b)      I’m on holidays
c)       I can’t remember what I did yesterday
d)      I am sooo hot
e)      It’s hard to type when you’re hot

I don’t usual blog from the car (just in case you think this is a regular thing)  But ever since I snapped up my new laptop, I’ve been bringing it almost everywhere.  If I go away for the weekend, I bring it.  If I take my mum to the osteo I bring it.  If I go to Nonna’s house I bring it.  Before the holidays I was always frantically working on a paper and typing away in the car. 

I have a few started novels on this little computer and so if I know I need to kill time, I pull it out and get started.  That’s normal right?  To sit in the car and write novels?  Thought so.
Great battery life by the way.




Today I find myself with about 7 hours to kill, while my Dad has knee surgery in a hospital nearby.  I’m the taxi.  Right now, the taxi is really hot and it’s a little hard to breath.
Even a dedicated blogger can’t resist the call of the green grassy oval just outside the car.  Good thing I brought a stack of books – obviously I’ll be doing all my summer reading on the one day.

I’ve just realised that there is no particular point for this post, other than give you a little too much information about my day on Mel Ref 31 F7.  But thank you for helping me pass my seven hours.
I promise I’ll blog sensibly soon.





Monday, December 19, 2011

Amnesia [I'm back]



Hi.

It's me!

Wow, it's so nice to be blogging again.  Let's jump straight in and talk about amnesia.

Most of what I know about amnesia is gleaned from movies and comic strips (I'm not really excited by medical literature).  As far as I understand, one can get amnesia after receiving a hefty blow to the head, often with a blunt instrument.  After said blow, the one with the sore head can no longer remember things such as their home address, their last meal, or even their own identity (as illustrated by Garfield in 1987).


Amnesia 1987-02-09.gif


The last few weeks have been such a blur.  When people ask me what I've been doing lately, I'm pretty sure I must sound like an imbecile:

"Oh, well I've been very busy.  Last Friday...I think it was Friday?, I did some baking.  Nooooo, that was Monday.  Wait! I think Monday was the night I went out to dinner...but hey no, that had to be Tuesday, or maybe that was the week before...um, sorry... what day is it today again?"
*confused look and sheepish smile*

I'd like to propose a different type of amnesia.  One which can be brought on by a sudden change in schedule due to the beginning of summer break and the onset of Christmas.

Other symptoms include an aversion to writing anything that could possibly turn into an essay, a tendency to sleep in, guilt while staying up late, and an addiction to Christmas carols.

So... if you see me any time soon and ask me what I've been doing lately, don't be surprised if I pull out a calendar and first check to see which day we are actually at, and then look back to see what I've actually been doing.  It's all written down, people.

Holidays + Mouse = chronic short-term amnesia.

One thing I do know:
Christmas is in 6 sleeps and I'm actually excited for no particular reason other than I am feeling extra Christmassy this year!
This is ironic because last year I was calling myself the grinch.  Obviously I'm pretty unstable.  But more on that later...

I've missed The Mouse Files like I miss salads after a week of deep fried 'food' (teehee) - can't wait to start blogging again, people - stay tuned!





Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just lately...

...life has been a little upside down in the mouse house.


So I probably won't be blogging for a little while.  
And, yes, that would be why I haven't blogged since a long time ago anyways!

You all keep trundling along towards Christmas and I shall be throwing up all my backlogged posts as soon as the craziness gets a little less...crazy.

In the meantime...

a goofy photo of The Mouse - mainly to remind ME that an upside down life doesn't mean not smiling!.  (Did you know I feel like a goof referring to myself as the Mouse?  Usually it's other people calling me Mouse instead of my proper name...see what nicknames do to people?)



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adventures in Omelette: Silverbeet and Capsicum

On Sunday I needed to feed my brother lunch, so after rummaging through the fridge, I asked him if he wanted an omelette.

"Will it taste good?"
"Er, possibly."
"Are you going to take photos of it?"
"Er, yes."
"Will it be ready in half an hour?"
"Er, hopefully."
...
"Ok"




The usual suspects: organic eggs, brown onion, a beaten up red capsicum, tasty cheese and a pile of silverbeet leaves just picked from the garden.
I decided not to tell my brother that I've never tried this combo before.  (I really have no idea what I'm doing.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WWW: Whimsy

I couldn't resist a new WWW after babysitting on Monday.

Just for the record, I'm still ingesting new and scary sociological vocabulary each day which means this WWW is not going to be very serious.  Or relevant.  Or literary.

Whimsy {n} /ˈ(h)wimzē/
Playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humour




I've always liked the word 'whimsy' because it sounds like its meaning.  I think there is a technical grammar term for that which I learnt pre-university and then promptly forgot.  (I promptly forgot a lot of pre-university education...especially anything mathematical or logical.  I'm not too worried about that, however, since I have seemed to retain my ability to read and write which is the main thing.  And I also remember how to make chrysanthemums turn blue and red overnight using food dye.)

There are some things which you get to learn before you even hit the educational institutions.  But only if you have a babysitter.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Farmers' Market

I used to think a farmers' market was where you could go an buy food from a farmer who had just picked it fresh off the farm.

When we moved into the greener side of Melbourne, Mum took me to some farmers' markets to buy organic veggies, or maybe some 100% rye sourdough bread and half a dozen free-range eggs or so.  It always involved getting up very early and freezing over the morning dew.  That was about ten years ago.  In fact, what I was unconsciously witnessing was the birth of The Farmers' Market.

Yes, that's right.  Not a farmers' market, but I repeat... The Farmers' Market.

Fast forward to 2011.  It's Millie B.'s birthday and we are going to go visit Yering Station.

{FYI: Yering Station is Victoria's first winery, nestled in the Yarra Valley just past the township of Yarra Glen.  I'm pretty sure it's one of the most picturesque places on the entire planet.  Pretty sure.}




Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Inside the Cathedral

I mentioned a few days ago that one of my favourite places to be was inside a very large, old church.

When I wrote that I actually had a specific church in mind, and out of the blue, I found photos of that church on our old computer (which I am in the process of destroying to make way for another new computer in the A-------- household.  We go through quite a few.)




Sacred Heart Cathedral in the city town of Bendigo.




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hands Up if You've Eaten a Mulberry

Firstly, I need to make a few housekeeping announcements.

You may have noticed a noticeable lack of WWWs lately (for those who are not in the lingo WWW stands for Wonderful Word of the Week.  (It may also stand for something else v. well known, but I choose to ignore that.)

That was intentional (i.e. I have not forgotten that I was planning on expanding my vocab on a weekly basis), but I decided to take a little break because my vocab has been challenged without my own doing.  It's called studying too many university course texts and readings.  The definition of a university course reading is as follows:

A document of around 22 pages written by an academic who is trying to convince you of his or her own opinion or theory.  Is always peer-reviewed and contains words which have probably been invented by the author themselves while formulating their theories on which they are now trying to convince you.  Very hard to understand and must always be read multiple times, and with the knowledge that you are never going to fully comprehend what was written.  It's a given.
You can't even use a normal dictionary as an aid while reading one of the above.  No, you need a specifically academic dictionary related to your discipline:  the theology dictionary, a philosophy dictionary, or in my case, a dictionary of sociology.

What I'm trying to say is that I just don't have it in me to attempt a WWW for a little while.

I'm sticking with the simple things in life...


Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog Award

This morning I woke up to a lovely surprise.

If I knew anything about science I would say it is scientifically proven that waking up to a lovely surprise means your whole day will behave properly and be nice.

Lovely surprise: 


I was so surprised (in a lovely way) that I was inspired to put all the text of this blog in the centre.  I don't think I've really ever done that before.

This was awarded to me by one of my favourite fellow bloggers who has one of my favourite types of blogs: a photography blog.  She's a genius behind the lens (and she has a very large camera too).  
So thank you E.!

The One Lovely Blog Award is special because it comes with small print ;)
Tell seven things about yourself that everyone presumably doesn't know.  And then award other bloggers.


Seven Things About The Mouse That You Presumably Don't Know

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Her Pinkness

Yesterday the Queen came to Melbourne for four and a bit hours (though I heard she began to run late when she stayed overtime in Fed Square).

I call it a real historic event.  I know it was an historic event because my family only ever watches the news on tv when something historic happens (this includes Black Saturday, tornado in NZ, and the Australian Open finals).

In Melbourne, the Queen walked on red carpet, she accepted five carloads of flowers from little children, she saw the tops of everyone's heads as they curtsied/bowed, she sat on an uncomfortable seat in a royal tram, she saw the meerkats at the Royal Children's Hospital (and the children too), and she stood on a pedestal in Government House while everyone looked at her.

And the sun shone the whole time.  That means Melbourne didn't let her down (breaths a big sigh of relief).


Queen on tram
Photo from Heraldsun.com.au

Let's talk about the Queen.  I love the Queen!

Friday, October 21, 2011

In leave of my absence...

I actually have no idea what the above means, but it sounds pretty good seeing as I haven't posted for almost a week.  

Each day during that week has been topsy turvy and entirely without schedule (that's my excuse).

Right now I'm getting used to my shiny new laptop and coming to terms with the fact that having your own computer means you can use it whenever you want to.  Oh, the luxury.  I'm being dramatic because I practically used our other computer whenever I wanted to.  

In all the transferring of files from old computer to new, I've been paranoid about somehow accidentally deleting every single photo (as I have in the past), so I've got copies of the same photos stored everywhere imaginable.  They'll probably still be turning up in random inexplicable areas of the hardrive in ten years - areas which I am sure I never use but contain lots of files with gibberish names.  I can't delete any of those can I?  Or my computer won't turn on or something.  I'm not a techy mouse, people.  Not a techy mouse at all. 

Here are some of my favourite photos to tide you over while I get back to work...

And can I just say, if Google Chrome gives me another little red line under my words which are spelt in the AUSTRALIAN WAY.  I am going to SCREAM.  Can you believe it's even put a little red line under the word 'spelt'.  In another few years my spelling confidence is going to be shot.



Photographic evidence of turning 20.  I ordered everyone else to light it up so I could take some shots.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I love electricity & ciambotta

{Written yesterday evening, October 14th}


I'm very tempted to give a nice long spiel about Things Which We Take For Granted, inspired by my recent experience of a First World Problem (as opposed to Third World problems - which are big).

But that would be really boring and probably very uninspiring.  I'm a great believer in the philosophy that you can only really learn something properly until you've experienced it yourself.  For example, your father may tell you that the barbecue is hot, so don't you dare touch it.  But then you touch it anyway because surely there are different opinions on what 'hot' can mean.  'Hot' is what temperature exactly?  'Hot' as in we need to jump in the pool?  'Hot' as in you feel the heat radiating onto your face?  'Hot' as in adults like to drink their tea hot (I hate tea)?

More like 'hot' you'll burn your finger, and so my little brother did.  Touch the barbecue, I mean.  And burn his finger too.  At least we think he did because he tore off down the garden as soon as it happened and disappeared in the bushes for a while.

This morning I was on the internet at 7:30am because we'd received a little slip of paper in the mail telling us that the power would go off from 8:30am to some late hour.  Without thinking about it too heavily, it registered in my mind that no power equals no internet.  That's okay, I don't really need 24/7 internet access as long as I check everything in the morning...



Thursday, October 13, 2011

French Island: Part 1

Phillip Island is fast becoming one of my family's favourite holiday destinations.

We've tracked all over Victoria: from the Grampians to Echuca, Bendigo to Inverloch, Warrnambool to Albury/Wodonga... and all the way from Portland to Lake's Entrance.
It also seems to be an  A----------  family trademark to never go to the same place more than once.  I'm still not sure how that really works...I think it has something to do with the fact that we go to a place, do everything there within the week and decide never to go back (at least not while there is still unexplored ground in the state of Victoria).
I realise that may be a little strange for those of you who are regulars at certain holiday destinations.  That's normal, right?

But we've been to Phillip Island three times now - I think that makes it a regular spot.

Look, I worked out how to put a nifty little map on my blog!  How spiffy.




View Larger Map


Back to Phillip Island.

There's something special about an island.  I can't quite put my finger on what it actually is, but it probably has something to do with the fact that when your on an island, you're no longer on the mainland.

Plus you are completely surrounded by water.  Boats suddenly become necessary.  Whichever way you walk, you'll hit a beach.  And the beach is a good place.

Is Australia an island?  Should I google that?  I'd rather live in denial and say that it is, even though it probably technically isn't.  But moving right along...

Monday, October 10, 2011

WWW: Commiserate

This is a very belated post which was held up by one week of organised chaos which ran from last Monday to this Saturday.  Yes, the Children's Institute is an oxymoron like that. 
Rewinding the clock...let us imagine that we are back at last Tuesday (when I actually started to write this post). 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


"AFTER a near-perfect home and away, Collingwood has been unable to win on the day that it mattered, losing the Grand Final to Geelong by 38 points at the MCG."
From CollingwoodFC.com



Wonderful Word of the Week had to be directly related to all the messages of condolence I have received since Saturday.
 
I was expecially impressed by the fact that one caring friend bothered to email all the way from the Solomon Islands, just to make sure I hadn't sunk into depression.

"My" team lost.  Oh well.  Has anyone noticed the amazing Melbourne weather this week?  Are there any good movies coming out these school holidays? 

Ok, now seriously, a follow up on last week's prediction for Saturday:

I did yell.

I did not attempt to study at half time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Adventures in Omelette: Italiano

If all my other adventures in omelette haven't been true experiments (and they are - trust me), then this one takes the cake.

What if I took one of my favourite cultural combinations of ingredients, and decided to pretend my next omelette was a pizza.  

That sounds bad.




Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prediction for this Saturday

Frederick Wentworth is getting excited.

And it take a lot to get a gentleman mouse excited.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Confessions: I love Mondays

Today I have a day off babysitting.  That means I can study and write all day in the comfort of my own office chair, on my own laptop, without having to stop and wipe a runny nose, break up a fist fight, or turn the volume down on the TV.

I think I'm going to feel a little forlorn.  As I was trying to fall asleep last night (I'm always trying to fall asleep - insomniac - but that can be another post), I was considering a week begun without two little boys.  That's the think about babysitting for 4 and 1/2 hours on a Monday.  Starts the week of with a bang...literally.  The door banging, the toilet seat banging, a little head banging on the steps - subsequent screaming...and the week is rolling.  Bring it on.

I was trying to fall asleep, wondering what I should do to start off a week without a round of babysitting, when I remembered one small fact about my current existence.  Two little boys are not the only thing I'm babysitting. In fact, humans are not the only thing I'm babysitting.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thanks to Sid

So, I've been tracking page views in the convenient statistical section powered by Blogger.

Day, month, week... I can even find out how many posts have been viewed throughout all time.

(Don't know what I'm talking about, but realise you are intrigued?  Get a blog.  I'll follow you.)

It's fascinating to actually see in numerals how many people are reading The Mouse Files.  It shocks me every time.

Convenient Mouse Files Statistics...

  • Most of you are from Australia   yay! 
  • You tend to use Internet Explorer   booo
  • The overwhelming majority of you crash in on Windows   the rest are Apple geeks 
  • The Mouse Files has had 10 page views from Slovenia.  That's....interesting   Hi, if you're from Slovenia!
  • The Mouse Files has appeared on an iPad 13 times.   I still don't understand iPads...oversized iPods?
  • And if I didn't know that there was a special reader in Fiji, I'd be wondering why the islanders had iPads.

But the most overwhelming statistic of all can be summed up thus:

Friday, September 16, 2011

WWW: Lilliputian

On the first day of spring - September 2011 - I took the following photos:




These green parcels appeared on the previously bare branches practically overnight.




A word comes to mind...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Exposure - September 11



I'm working on another paper at the moment.

It happens to be about Muslim v. Western interpretations of September 11... an exercise in comparing how observers of historical events tend to put their own 'spin' on things... or something like that.

When I picked this topic it did not register that this year marks ten years since the attacks.  Over the last few days I've had so many possibly sources to pool through, as everyone rolls out another editorial, or pictorial essay, or historical reflection - it's been overwhelming to say the least.

Today I found my favourite piece of the whole lot in the New York Times Sunday Review.  It's just one photograph and a description, and I thought I'd share.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adventures in Omelette: potato, chives & chilli

There is something quite earthy about this omelette adventure.

Here we have a potato still covered in the dirt it was pulled from, a bunch of chives just picked from the garden, and a chilli dried by my nonna.




I was getting very hungry at around 12:00, so I decided work an omelette around potato.  My mother always feeds me potatoes when I'm very hungry.  They fill all corners of the stomach.

WWW: Piquancy

Whenever I write a description of myself, like the little blurb in the 'About Me' section (which I deleted, hah.), or if I find myself filling out one of those generic questionnaires (in which I could never tell the difference between 'Hobbies' and 'Past times'), or maybe I'm writing out an imaginary letter to an imaginary pen pal...in Italian.

So, whenever I'm drumming my brain for things I actually like to do as opposed to things I just do...  I always put 'shopping'.

Mi piace fare lo shopping (qualche volte con gli amici).*

Yes, the Italian word for shopping is the same as the English.  No, that is not because Italians were not innovative enough to come up with their own word.  No, that is not because Italians don't even like to shop, and hence why have their own word for it?  No.

There are actually several Italian translations of our English verb 'shop' (because, in reality, Italians are some of the best shoppers in the world.  Oh yeah.)  It all depends on what type of shopping you are doing, what your looking for how, how driven you are going to be, and how much yelling at store keepers you are going to do.  But that's another post.

I have a theory as to why the English word 'shopping' stays the English word 'shopping' in languages other than English.  It's a baby word.  

Stay with me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Adventures in Omelette: spinach & tomato

I eat a lot of eggs.

Maybe about six a week, depending on how I feel.  They're one of my main sources of protein, and since I'm a skinny little twig who is perpetually underweight (genetic fast metabolism), I like fit more and more in.

Scrambled, poached, hard boiled in a salad, sometimes soft boiled with 'soldiers'.

Lately I've had an omelette craze.  How many types of omelettes can their be?  We always used to make plain omelettes with a sprinkle of parsely, and chow them down with stirfry or salad.

One day in the hazy past, I ate brunch in a little cafe in Healseville.  There were about three things on the menu which I could eat, and I chose omelette.  I though, surely they won't serve up two eggs in circular form without dressing them up a bit?

When the plate arrived, my omelette horizons suddenly stretched out before me.  The sky would be the limit when it came to dressing up the previously boring omelette.  I'm not going to tell you what was in that omelette because I can't actually remember.  I think it was cheese and mushrooms.

Now, back in the present.  Omelette creation of the day involves the following suspects:



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fire Rain

If you like technically correct photos with some clarity and aesthetic appeal, then please keep moving on.  The  following images are probably not for you.

If, however, you like something a little more edgy and off the wall (and possibly not technically correct) then you can continue with my blessing.

What happens when it begins to rain during a gloriously blazing sunset?

Fire rain.  (Obviously)

Monday, August 29, 2011

WWW: Vim

I think I missed a word.  Last week...  whoops.

Trust me, I was surrounded by lots of words all week.  Essay words, research words, words about Australian history and Beowulf words [see last post if that seemed like a particularly random thing to say].

I finished Beowulf by the way.  It was long and tedious, but mostly worth it.  Maybe I'll review it someday to make sure it all sunk in nice and deep into the literary consciousness of my brain.

Today I began a new subject with Open Universities Australia.  It's all about popular culture.

I like to call it pop culture.  Hopefully I'll work out what pop culture actually is in the next few weeks.

Moving right along...

Today was Monday and on Mondays I babysit two little boys.  You can read all about the way it goes here.

Apparently little boys like these sorts of things:



John Deere toy tractor.

It has peddles, so the little boy can propel himself along...theoretically.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Under the Apple Tree

I just can't get over this weather.

See the sky?  That is a good colour for sky to be.
















Melbourne is incredible.  I have no idea what temperature it's going to throw out next.

Well, I guess one can look at a weather forecast if one wants to have an idea of what the weather will be next.  A moment please... Mmmm.  I don't think I should have had a look.  It says it's going to get consistently colder.  It might be wrong.  One of my life's guiding principles is 'Never trust the Weather Man'.  This stems off another guiding life principle which is 'Never Trust Technology'.

Friday, August 19, 2011

WWW: Mythicise

[This post comes to you through metaphorical blood, sweat and tears.]

The Mouse struggled for days to overcome the great force which had surrounded her.  It was sucking her in, like bathwater down the plughole, gurgling, pulling and pushing until she had no choice but to succumb to the vortex and be washed away in a wave of lectures, readings and outlines.

Tossed around like a leaf in a book of English Literature that weighs 2.2 kg, The Mouse finally found the strength to surface and answer the calls of her neglected blog.  Pushing aside over 100 freshly printed PDFs which threatened to drown her in dry ink, The Mouse used her mechanical pencil to fight off duelling due dates and crawl towards the computer.  She hacked her way through a forest of Word Docs and Google Chrome tabs, hitting the red 'x's with super precision, until finally... she found herself in a safe haven of friendly photos and cute fonts.  A place she could truly call her own.  A Kingdom for a Mouse.


t a t i e l l e
I'm thinking this is a good kingdom.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Confessions: Play Dough and Pancakes

Who invented play dough?

And who invented pancakes?

Legendary!

Today I babysat two little boys.  It's a regular thing, so no nasty shocks or unexpected surprises to share.  I always arrive prepared for mud, dirt, slime, food on the floor, food on the furniture, food in my shoes...

smelly nappies...

grubby fingers in my hair...

yelling noises in my ear...

fingerprints on my glasses...

quivering biceps... ["ok, time to walk.  Can't you walk now?  Please walk!  I'm putting you down NOW."]

Ah yes, it is good.  Why?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

WWW: Wamble [and cherry blossoms]

Hello.  It's been a while.

At least it feels like it's been a while.

I'm pretty sure I'm just now emerging from some blurry place between conciousness, smothering doona covers and slices of dry toast.

I have to say I'm pretty sure since I haven't been sure of much these past few days.

Stomach bug.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How I Made a Button for my Blog: Part 2

If you missed the first part of my journey in button-making, make sure you check it out.



7. Head back to Blogger and go to where you always edit your layout: Design tab > Page Elements

In the side-bar section of your blog click 'Add a Gadget' and choose 'HTML/JavaScript'.


By the way, click on image to enlarge :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

WWW: Muliebrity

I've just spent a few days with one of my bestest friends.  I have no idea if she will read this, but she knows who she is... (woohoo beeeatch-h ;) 

This partially explains a lack of posts this week.  It also partially explains the build-up of posting material in my edits, on my camera and in my brain.

End of mid-year break is looming so I'm cramming in lots of people time before I disappear from the world.  I can't say 'hide under a rock' any more since I've had express orders not to do that this semester.  Whatever!

Anyway, I made a discovery while at this particular friend's place.

Actually 'discovery' is probably the wrong word (and we're all about words in this post, right?).  More like 'recovery'.

Chick flicks.  Maybe I should put that in hot pink.  Chick flicks.

Let's get something dead straight here...my favourite ever movies are all historical dramas.  Especially ones set in the 1920s-1940s.  I watch them just for the costumes and sets.

Now, little fact: Mouse lives in a house in which all movies have to be pre-approved by father and brother.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How I Made a Button for my Blog: Part 1

Now, I am very unqualified to be telling people how to make little bits and pieces for their blog.  My knowledge of HTML coding is limited to the bare minimum.  Every time I want to try something I need to Google "How to make a..."

But you may be in a similar sort of zone.  If that's the case, I can save you a whoooooole heap of trouble and lengthy Google searching AND hours pulling out your hair wondering why something didn't work.

Because if The Mouse can do it ['it' being techno wizbang stuff], then anyone can do it.  Nothing will be explained here that I haven't already done.

The other reason for this post is that I keep saving little bits of HMTL code in random Word documents, and then I can never find them again.  If I put it all here I'll be able to find it again.  Theoretically.

Okay, let's begin with the making of pretty things.

Buttering sandwiches...

WWW: Parlous

This week we've been watching a man called Bear Grylls.  He gets [literally] dropped into a desolate place and then has to [literally] find his way out of it...while remaining alive preferably.

Dad borrowed the series on DVD from the library...you know, Man vs. Wild.

I can tell you now that in Mouse vs. Wild, Wild would win hands down.  No doubt about it.



Friday, July 15, 2011

WWW: Rumbustious

Wonderful Word of the Week no. 3

Rumbustious {adj.} /ˌrəmˈbəsCHəs/1. Boisterous or unruly


Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Rum, rum, rummmmmmbling.  That's rumbustious.

I came across this word while trying to spell rambunctious.  Even now the spell check in Blogger is giving me a little red squiggly line.  What?  No rambunctious?  I love that word!  Turns out RUMBUSTIOUS will do just as well instead.  Doesn't come up as misspelled.

(see the difference there?)

Noisy, loud, rowdy ...and in. your. face.  That's rumbustious.

Sid the Sloth
Uproarious, tumultuous, clamorous...

Rather than explaining the above in further creative ways, how about we look at what is NOT the essence of rumbustious-ness. 

Snails of the garden variety.  Tulips, or basically any other type of inactive plant.  Getting out of bed on cold mornings.  Whispering in libraries.  My Internet connection.  Sheep.  Calm, still waters.  Molasses.

Oh, and sloths.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When the Door Slams Shut

My Dad has this annoying little ditty/song he sings around the house.

It goes
"be careful what you pray for"... *dramatic pause* ...."cos you might just get it."  *some sinister boom boom booms*

And I think there's more but that's the only bit I remember.

I have a feeling it's from the old Gospel glory days in the 80s.  My parents became Christians then and every now and then it shows. ;)

It's annoying because of the way he sings it, not because he's singing it at me.  It's a catchy tune, but when I go to pray I've usually forgotten it.  

I believe that God hears and answers every single one of my prayers.  I'd have to be pretty dense and thick-headed not to believe it when I see it happen.

I'm not saying I pray for rain and it instantly falls from the sky.  Or I pray for my greens to be turned into ice cream and this little divine act happens on the plate.  (God preserves my teeth - see, no cavities.)

No, I'm still learning how to pray (that's one of my prayers.  'Teach me how to pray effectively, God!'  Is that oxymoron-ish?)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Chooka Parker Effect

When I first met Chooka Parker, I noticed his name, his hat, and the funny way he walked.  When I saw him on TV a year later, not much had changed.

Especially not the way he played the piano.



Funnily enough, the way he played the piano didn't startle me too much.  I'm obviously completely blind to talent.

*Me walking past the piano in the YTC dining room*
*Chooka thundering up and down the keys*
*He stops*
*I stop*
Me: "That was cool.  Did you make it up?"
Chooka: "Yep."
Me.  "Cool."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Let's go on a picnik

Growing grass...

Fluffing clouds...

Sprinkling dew...

Floating kites...

Stealing picnik basket...

What on earth?*

*above phrases taken from the picnik site.  it's very cute.

Picniking is one of my hobbies.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Confessions: Ital-Anglo Mouse

It has come to my attention that this blog has a bit of an Australian/Italian flavour to it.  I think the official term is Anglo-Italian.  Or Ital-Anglo?  Wog?  Anything?


My Nonna features quite a bit and that was entirely unplanned.  Maybe my Australian life is more multicultural than I realise.
It comes out at odd moments.  Things I think are normal, and then suddenly someone says 'Really?  You do/say that?'

I AM pretty Australian though.  It's my mum who is the child of the ethnic immigrant (I think that's an official term).

Here are some momentos of my quasi Ital-Anglo normal life..




Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WWW: Extempore [and law firms]

My vocabulary took a great big leap yesterday...in all things commercial law.

I'm really enjoying this mid-year break.  I have no idea what is about to happen next.

Last week I was eating ice cream from Dairy Bell in the sun overlooking Docklands Melbourne.
Then suddenly I turned 20.
Before that I walked down the driveway of my childhood home in Thornbury for the first time since I was seven years old (can't even describe how that felt).
The weekend before last I was helping a group of children sticky tape bits of paper to more bits of paper.  And rescuing my skirt from a pair of scissors.
I went to a health conference and came back swearing to take my vitamins regularly.  I've made more lasagna with my nonna, I've vacuumed the house, I've sewed a little, shopped a lot, written more of my novel, vacuumed the house, lay on the couch for an entire weekend (winter sickness - must take those vitamins), and vacuumed the house.  I worked in a law firm for the day, and read Northanger Abbey in the city library.

Only a few things remain constant amidst the madness of unscheduled life.   The wood fire (ah, must go chuck on another log), the dust I'm always vacuuming in the house, and chai lattes at McDonalds (sorry authentic chai fans, but McDonalds is everywhere and hot drinks on cold mornings keep me sane).

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Two Cents: 20

It was kind of hard to decide where to file this post.

It could go under 'a story' because it's a chapter in the story of my life.  But that sounds a little too philosophical and scary.  The Mouse Files is probably the opposite of philosophical and scary (it better be, because if it's not, I won't be reading it in twenty years like originally planned).

Maybe it's a confession?  Okay, I confess that it is a confession.

But it's also what I think, my two cents, on the issue of turning twenty.

So here we go.  The big two-oh.  Double decades.  The transition from teens to... what?

I'm going to get the confession out the way first.

This was The Mouse two days ago:
(It's not use whispering this, because I've already been blaring it out to all of my friends)

* whiny voice*
me: "Twenty is such a blah age!  I don't want to turn twenty!"
*sympathetic murmurs from friends*
me again: "Nineteen is the best ever!  I don't know why, but I want to stay nineteen for another year...and then skip to 21!"
*agreeing murmurs from friends, then a discussion of all the cool things we've done since being nineteen*

I have no problem being 20-something, just 20.

There, that is my confession.

Two days later, I am now irreconcilably no longer a teenager.  Perhaps not surprisingly (depending on whether you are pre or post 20 yourself), I actually don't feel blah.

Granted, no one has asked me how old I am yet.
Also, I noticed that a lot of birthday messages this year stressed just how old I am now.  AND how much older I'm about to become (thanks everyone, love you too).

But I have three things going for me:

a) I literally could pass for a fifteen year old.
Baby faces run in the family - you only need to look at my dad, my uncles, my granddad.  The flower of youth blooms within is (or something like that).
It is actually really annoying.  I don't have anything against being fifteen (other than it was my drama queen phase), but I'm always having to show my ID and assure people it's fine that I'm not with my parents.

me: "Yes, I can fill out that form myself, no, I'm not driving illegally."

"And NO I'm not wagging school today!  Believe it or not, I've actually finished with all that!"

Yes, I'm nineteen twenty.  *cough*

b) My post-twenty friends are definitely NOT blah.
They are the coolest people ever!  They work and study, take out foundlings like me for coffee, give really good advice, get married (gulp), go on road trips and actually work for money (as opposed to working for experience which usually doesn't involve money).

c) I'm not the only one turning twenty this year.

This time next year.
me: "Twenty-one is such a scary age!  I don't want to turn twenty-one!"
*sympathetic murmurs from friends*
me again: "Twenty is actually much better than I thought it would be!  I think it would be easier to be twenty for another year and skip twenty-one!"
*agreeing murmurs from friends, then a discussion of all the cool things we've done since being TWENTY*

My two cents: those that think twenty is a blah age... I'll let you know if that's true next year.  ;)

Now, I'm going to go buy twenty candles for my cake.  Let's do this thoroughly.

Monday, June 27, 2011

WWW: Morpheme

WWW no.1

(Wonderful Word of the Week number one)

A word which everyone who likes words should know.

Morpheme {n.}  A meaningful linguistic unit consisting of a word, such as man, or a word element, such as -ed in walked, that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts.

Fascinating.  And meaningful.

While it may sound like a hefty pain-killer, a morpheme is so very technically linguistic.  It brings me right back to my battles with grammar.
Considering those battles were long, drawn out and painful, it is very brave of me to choose something like this to include in my vocabulary.

One quick Google search later reveals to me that that a morpheme is actually very boring.

The tiniest unit of expression in any language.  It can be a word, or it can make up a word.

Basic, basic, basic.  Like the logs in our wood fire, or the bricks in the base of the Statue of Liberty, or the potatoes on a plate with filet mignon, or... you get the picture.  A bit blah and boring, but very necessary.

It's so blah that I think I broke my favourite quotations-finder-website when I searched for a quote - any quote! - containing the word 'morpheme'.  Whoops.  It told me to try a more general word...

Scratch that, let's move on to something a little more unorthodox.

A2Z Word Finder!

A morpheme may not be dividable into smaller meaningful parts, but I am about break the rules of grammar, or linguistics, or whatever we are dealing with here.

*evil laughter*

Behold, the word morpheme is being broken into smaller morphemes.

Hmm, let's see, there is hemp, rheme, home, hope, moper, hop, heme, memo, hero, mope, perm, poem, prom, romp, here, mop, her, hoe, more, peer, pore, and rope.

Whew!

Now, look out world!  I'm armed and ready to point out your morphemes with my morphemes!

(Confession: I really think that I still don't fully grasp the definition of this word about words.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wonderful Words

In my first ever post on this blog (not counting my random tester posts which were promptly deleted) I indulged my love for interesting words and phrases.

Do you know what I mean by blackberry winter?  Probably only if you read that first post.

But don't bother - it has distorted pictures.  I have no idea what happened to them, because I have a really good camera which takes really good photos for all my other posts.  I am constantly trying for better photos.  I think this blog is supposed to be about that, isn't it?  *cough cough* photography section *cough*

Anyway, where was I?

My love for interesting words and phrases.

I know several people who have absolutely astonishing vocabularies.  They are usually both bookworms and homeschoolers.  I am/was both, but I think my vocabulary has suffered a little ever since I began to read at primary school.  The books were really boring and simple and unfortunately shrunk my literary horizons.  I wasn't always homeschooled.

But this isn't a depressed look into my impoverished past (I'm sure my teachers meant best when they told me what to read).  I bear the scars of a voracious reader who began be reading whatever she could lay her hands on, and was then given books suitable for her grade/year level.  Oh no!  Memories are flooding into my mind even now as I write!
Years later I can still picture those thin, oh so unsubstantial books, handed out to every student to be read after school (we even had to get our parents to sign their lives away, swearing we had finished the book).  I think I forged my mother's signature.  Not because I wasn't reading those little books, but because I was reading too many.

I even remember the series: Aussie Bites

Blah.  I see they are still producing excellent reading material for Australian students...

PLEASE DO NOT BE OFFENDED BY THE FOLLOWING CONTENT (you have been warned)




Marty's amazing talent takes
him into the secret, fantastic, 
highly competitive world of
World Championship Farting!








Archie Cupid is a perfect angel. Lizzie Imp is just perfectly naughty!
But when Archie gets Lizzie's spitball up his nose and Lizzie gets struck by Archie's arrow, everything changes . . .





Skeeta Anderson woke up one morning to find that his bum was gone. And not only his bum, but the bum of every single person in the town of Bugalugs.
It's up to Skeeta to catch the thief . . .







Sheesh, I'm not trying to run a smear campaign, but I wasn't even aware I was reading...this.

Where were the Three Musketeers, or Anne of Green Gables?  Famous Five anyone?  How about a little Shakespeare?

Now you know why I'm only just getting onto Austen.  Look at my beginnings!  

All well, I'm getting carried away.

The point is, I am now free from the shackles of prescribed primary reading (long free), and now is the time to rectify all wrongs.

As well as reading a lot of everything, and doing creative writing at university level, I am determined to expand my vocabulary.

I shall do it on this blog, or else it will never get done at all.

(And with the current rate of posting on this blog, it may still never get done at all)

But never say die!

Instead, say hello to an additional file within The Mouse Files: Wonderful Words



Monday, June 20, 2011

Emma

Emma






“The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well made.” Emma Woodhouse (Emma 1996)

Yes, that quote is from the movie but I personally can never think of the book without remembering the 1996 rendition.  
It probably has something to do with the fact that I saw the movie before reading the book.  Naughty, naughty, I know.

But I’ve always needed a little convincing when it comes to Austen.

I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until just a year ago, and since then I’ve slowly got around to meeting Jane’s other heroines. 

Emma is my favourite (well, so far anyhow).  She is so silly and yet so likeable.  Short sighted but clever.  Calm and capable.
I think match-making is ridiculous and maybe Jane did too, and that’s why she wrote this book.

Since my beginnings in Austen (don’t ask me why I keep switching from ‘Jane’ to ‘Austen’ – you know who I mean) I’ve picked up a few ‘Jane Austen for Dummies’ books from the library.  I must be beyond a dummy because I can never get through all the explanations for this and that, and all the supposed ulterior meanings behind Austen’s stories.  

So I’m supposing that there are supposed meanings behind Emma because
a) clever novelists always imply more than they say (I think)
b) Jane Austen was a clever novelist because she got published in a clever way (I think)
and
c) sometimes I don’t even understand what is going on when characters sweep out of rooms and jump out of corners looking guilty.  Or make bitingly polite insults in each other’s faces.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m sure I have no idea what I’m talking about when I review Emma from a technical point of view, so I’m just going to keep it personal.  I hope you like it personal.

Keeping it personal means ditching all the little sections I’ve had for my other Fiction Blitz reviews.  I’m sure you have ALL read Emma over twenty times since you turned 14, or maybe had to study it for English Lit.  If not you should borrow it from the library, or pick up a copy from your local bookshop (if they don’t have it you should berate the manager for not stocking one of the most superior classics of all time). 
 
For some reason, in this post about the book Emma I have succeeded in mentioning nothing about the contents of the book itself – so much for a review.

Well, I wouldn't want to leave you with nothing.  Since I'm feeling a little bit trippy tonight, how about a little list.

'The Mouse's List of Obnoxious Reasons for Liking Emma'

I have a head cold.  ‘Nuff said.

1. When talking or writing about Emma one will always confuse Emma with Emma.  I could say that I enjoyed Emma but found Emma a little annoying.  Or Emma truly was the star of Emma even though the backing characters really made the story.  After reading Emma I feel that Emma will always be with me. 

2. A book full of silly characters always makes me feel better about myself.     

3. Mr Knightley is suitably awe-inspiring and wise.  He would make me feel small the way he always gets things right (Mr Elton doesn't like Harriet, Emma.  Open your eyes.)  But then he falls on his knees in the end and apologises (unnecessarily)  Go Emma!  You showed him who's boss.  Now quick!  Marry him!

4. Annoying characters who conveniently gabble on (hello Miss Bates), and in doing so enlighten a confused reader who has missed something.

5.  Frank Churchill's hair cut - the world's most random excuse.

6. This quote:  "I do not know whether it ought to be so, but certainly silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way." (Emma to Mr. Knightley) It just sums up the laughable side of Emma - both the entire book and our favourite match-maker.




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