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New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not making any.

Last year’s were depressing or not worth it or completely derailed by life sucking massively.

There’s an article by Peter Gorski in The Sydney Morning Herald about trying to be a better parent which is definitely a good thing to try, whether it be the start of a new year or the middle of the year or any time at all.

So what do I take from his 10 tips? Firstly, there’s a lot packed in those 10 tips. While he has briefly covered them, I think that musing over the points and then working out how to apply them would easily take a full year – and what a year it would be! Challenging ideas, some are not new, some I’m already doing and want to continue.

I was reminded about number 4, Set consistent, secure boundaries, or rather, the fact that DD has variable boundaries depending upon who is looking after her. DD knows what my boundaries are. She knows the boundaries for behaviour and care at childcare and preschool last year. This school year she’ll learn what it’s like in kindergarten (how did my little darling suddenly become so big and ready for primary school so quickly?). But like every other 4, nearly 5 year-old, she pushes boundaries and some people cave in faster than others. So, yeah, it’s easy for some other parents to have a go at me because I’m a single mother and I share my child’s care with her teacher and others. I should add, I look after other children who come over to play with DD and I’m happy to do that. (Should add, my friends do not comment like that, for which I am enormously grateful.) DD would have probably loved to have a brother or sister, but having time to play with other kids and learn how to get along with people is very important.

What about number 5, Know and respect your own emotional thresholds and physical limits? I found my physical and emotional limits were variable last year. I was far sicker than I thought I would be, never anticipating how badly I would be shaken with asthma and viruses. It felt like my body was a battleground for emotional battles fought out in my immune system. How can I make things better this year? I have to be strong and well to provide the best care for DD and me.

First up, I’m fixing my messed-up ankle so that I can continue my regular walking for pleasure and health at lunchtime and on the weekends with DD, as well as using the exercise bike in the evening after DD has gone to bed. I want to increase my aerobic capacity bit by bit. Secondly, I also saw an immunologist last year about my allergies and asthma and I am getting better at managing the allergies, with asthma problems decreasing a bit. Thirdly, I’m seeing a GP regularly if I am ill and that is helping me to keep on top of the illnesses rather than suffering in silence and becoming worse. Yes, it costs more but it’s better than ending up feeling revolting and not being able to be there for DD.

I don’t see these as resolutions. I’m currently doing these things so it doesn’t come under the heading of “New things for torturing myself”. By the way I’m still doing a resolution that I made for New Year in 2009. I’m not watching repeats of television episodes. I still have to work harder on reading more and more books but I’m getting to the point where I’m having difficulty finding more hours in the day.

 

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Update

I’d love to tell you that I had an exciting weekend but frankly, it was as boring and frustrating as the one that preceded it.

DD was alternately cheeky, rude and unco-operative. You’d think I’d get a break until she’s a teenager (yeah, that’s wishful thinking). She had a sleepover on the Sat. night and instead of me going to the movies, I ended up at home, celebrating Earth Hour with candles and a new DVD of The Princess Bride. I am not convinced that that film has improved over the years. I know heaps of people my age quote stuff from the film and think fondly of it. Well, it’s OK and um, it’s OK. That’s all.

I suspect part of my peevishness of watching it on DVD is that I had over 12 minutes of copyright notices and extended previews for two other dull 1980s films to go through. No possibility of fast-forwarding through them, or going straight to the menu, which it thoroughly irritating and yes, I tried every combination. I’m seriously thinking of throwing out DVDs that have such long previews on them and no option to go immediately to the menu. The same goes for kids’ DVDs. You try making a 3 or 4-y-o wait when she’s hanging out for Barbie and some twat thinks it’s a FABULOUS marketing ploy to make a kid and her mom wait through that rubbish. (I time how long the crappy stuff is, write it on the DVD cover, and keep the TV turned off for that many minutes until it finally gets to the menu.)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2010 in Odd stuff, Rant, Television

 

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How many shopping days until Christmas?

I would faint at the closeness of Christmas and how it seems to have come at an alarming speed this year, except, well, something seems to have happened.

I simply don’t give a stuff.

I have bought presents for my immediate family and my in-laws. One gift certificate to buy (either today or tomorrow). I have some presents for my darling daughter. I’m not sure how I’ll get round to buying anything else. Chronic conditions have returned thanks to stress and I am honestly not up to fighting crowds in the mall, and it’s a bit late for internet ordering. I figure, as long as I’ve covered the important bases, that’s it.

I’ve given up on Christmas cards. I’ve sent out the most important ones. I feel too exhausted to sit down and write more.

I realise that the reason why I feel that way is because I’ve had weeks of writing thank you notes after DH’s funeral. I lost count of the number of notes I wrote after I had written 50. I now see why people put an ad in the paper under the heading of “Return Thanks”. Not my sort of thing and I honestly can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s logic – not all those who assisted at that difficult time are all from this same city. Maybe it’s the manners that were drummed into me – always send a handwritten note, even if it is only a few words to express your appreciation for kindness.

Today DD gave her Christmas card and a box of chocolates to the staff at her childcare centre. She had great pleasure in signing the card with her name and adding a couple of kisses to it. (My mum taught her that – fantastic, Mum!) I am very proud of her desire to write to people, even if it means I have to write down what she dictates.

I have cut down on the amount of television DD is allowed to watch. None at all on some evenings, maybe half an hour (Dora the Explorer or Sid the Science Kid are great favourites). It depends upon DD’s mood, how much I need to do without her under my feet, and what things we two are doing together. I can tell when I am having a ratty day: those are the days when DD gets over an hour of television and is a total pill to get to bed. She reacts like it’s a drug, honestly. So hard to get her tushy out of the chair and get her to clean her teeth, etc. It’s easier to avoid the television in the first place if at all possible. I’m not saying it’s always possible. I’m only human, I have limited time to get dinner made and I would rather we sit down to eat dinner together. No television at meal times. Think of it as an end of year resolution. Much easier than those made on New Year’s Eve.

Speaking of resolutions, you’ll be pleased to hear that I have managed to keep one of them. I am not watching repeats of TV programs that I had previously seen. I suspect I still watch too much TV (and exactly what is too much for adults?), and I have deliberately tried to read more books, though that’s easier said than done when there is a certain somebody who loves to interrupt her mum. 🙂

 

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Caring for Kids

Who gets to look after the baby? It’s not always the mum, though I have to say I am still to see any couples in my neighbourhood doing the “Dad stay home and Mum go out to work” thing.

BBC program on women’s issues in the workplace sounds interesting. Hope it is shown on Australian TV.

While on the subject of the BBC, I’ve been *loving* Life on Marsh. I got both series on DVD for Christmas – a fabulous present since it had been hard for me to see every episode when it was on TV. Honestly, some TV shows are made to see again, including Life on Mars, whereas others shouldn’t be seen in the first place.

I have had other things on when the US version of Life on Mars has been shown here, and now, since the series is being cancelled soon, the channel that shows it is playing around with its screening time. Might be 9.30 or 10.30 or who even knows which night!

I watched Inspector Rex last night. Yeah, plotlines so thin you can see their knickers but what the hey. It had Gedeon Burkhardt in it (my favourite of all time). It had a gorgeous German Shepherd Dog. And Wurstsemmeln. What more could a shallow woman want? 🙂 Not much. Oh well, maybe the chance to go to Vienna more often. That would be nice.

 

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Still thinking about Susan Boyle

I posted about this a week ago, and here I am still thinking about Miss Susan Boyle, singer.

Article here from the BBC’s website on 22 April 2009.

So has she changed the way society views beauty?

Don’t bet on it, says Ellis Cashmore, author of Celebrity/Culture […]

“The astonishment we feel re-enforces the belief that there exists not only a correlation between looks and success but a causal relationship. One causes the other.

“The Hollywood movie industry figured that out in the 1940s, that you don’t need to act that well as long as you look good. The very fact that we are astonished by Susan Boyle makes it an oddity, so it won’t break down barriers, it will have the opposite effect.”

I wonder if Ringo Starr or Mick Jagger or Pete Townsend would have made it in a boy band.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2009 in Entertainment, Music, Television

 

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Am I that shallow, too?

Think about it. How often do you make a decision about a person based first upon their appearance? It takes a fraction of a second to sum up a person, to think “yes, this is a winner” or “no, this is a loser”, or “yes, this person might be my friend.”

Like many thousands of others, I have seen the performance by Susan Boyle, a talented Scottish singer, who was on the tv show Britain’s Got Talent 2009. This is the YouTube link. The reason I’m linking to this particular clip is because it includes the encouraging words of Ant and Dec (do I have their names right?), the gasps and sneers of audience members, and the plastic faces of the judges trying to not pre-judge on appearances.

Yes, Miss Boyle is not draped in haute couture or slinky lycra. Her hair hasn’t been teased by a hairdresser into the latest look. She is not exotically stunning like Penelope Cruz, and she isn’t young like Sienna Miller. But she has an inner strength to be able to perform confidently and perfectly in front of a huge, judgmental crowd and three tough judges, and she has the singing talent that makes her shine brighter than anyone else there on the day. Her voice and her demeanour have touched people, not just those who were in the theatre that day, but people all over the world.

Perhaps even though I’ve learned through years in singing, teaching, and attending eisteddfods that the most beautiful voice and the best stage presence isn’t necessarily in the prettiest or youngest package, I might have still been looking a bit surprised as Miss Boyle came on stage. Initial reactions are hard to surmount. Even if I know that larynxes, training, lungs, strength, determination, musicianship, sensitivity and practice practice practice are what counts, not to mention the guts to grab opportunities to perform when they arise. If you don’t have the gift and the training of that gift in the first place, you will be a plasticky wee girlie or lad in a pop band or an Idol show and may perhaps get well known, but that’s it.

After writing this, I came across this entry by Angela Gunn.

When I replay the video, I’m listening to Miss Boyle, but I’m watching these three plasticky judges go from condescension to surprise to bated-breath joy in under five minutes. Even Simon Cowell, that bitchy gym-ratty thing, can’t manage to do much more than grin by the end. And it feels good to see — to watch the judging stooges having a genuine experience, and to have it ourselves, and to feel that the homely-but-talented people we are all inside are being, for a few moments, less oppressed by figures of beauty.

Smart woman. Go and read her entry.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2009 in Entertainment, Music, Television

 

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New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not making any.

It was such a success last year, not having any of those resolutions that come into force on 1st January, that I have decided to continue this year.

In 2008 I decided to make ‘resolutions’ during the year if I find that there’s something that would make a good difference in my life. One such thing was to not watch television episodes that I had already seen. There are heaps of new books, films, tv episodes etc. that I haven’t experienced yet. Honestly, half an hour spent with The Nanny is half an hour that I could spend with The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. I should add that my copy of that book, a birthday present to myself, has been read by DH and my good mate and I am now waiting for it to return so that *I* can read it.

Books seem to have won over films in 2008 and probably will continue to do so in 2009. A book can be read sneakily in between doing chores, out in the garden while pretending to weed the vegie patch, while waiting in a queue at the post office, at lunch, while waiting for lectures, and more. This, of course, is quite apart from the luxury of reading a book in bed of an evening, or deciding to read in bed instead of doing housework while DD is having a nap. She’s resting, and so am I.

More on my list:
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.
The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters
The Letters of Noel Coward

As part of my wish to use my time better, I have started slowly, slowly downloading podcasts to my MP3 player. I love A Prairie Home Companion which my mother used to make us listen to when it was broadcast on ABC radio in Tasmania. Tales from Lake Wobegon can be downloaded from here.

ETA: I found my post from last year here. I’m still working on decluttering.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2009 in Books, Entertainment, Radio, Television, Theatre

 

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