Amber and Dionne’s Tweep Nation New Podcast

Tweep Nation
Amber & Dionne's Tweep Nation

Hi everyone.  Amber (my awesome Twitter Sister) and I have just done our first ever podcast.  It’s loosely based on Twitter and we talk about all sorts of things, including books and life and everything in between.  It’s a fun show that we hope will be enjoyed by all you Tweepy peeps :).  We will be having author interviews, movie reviews and comments on Twitter related stuff.  Please visit us, you might enjoy yourself and if you don’t, there’s always the ‘stop’ button.  Damien at Newbie Writers has been awesome and is hosting it on his website and helping us along the way, including editing, although this first one is an uncut version (hmm, that means may include boring bits). – go on click the link, you know you want to.

Boobs, boobs, boobs

Hey, got everyone’s attention now?  That’s good.  This post isn’t actually about boobs, believe it or not.  I know they’re a good subject, especially if you’re a hetero man – the reason that is my heading is, we (my tweep friends and I) were advised by another friend that one of his friends (grandmother’s cousin’s hairdresser) put the word ‘boobs’ on her blog and a pic of her in a tank top and voila – 1500 hits in one day!  Now who doesn’t want 1500 hits in one day?

So that was the experiment.  Should I post a photo of my boobs in a tank top?  I’ll take votes on that, but I’m wondering if the heading alone will get those perverts over here.  Hey pervies – surprise!  The surprise is there’s no surprise.  This is not a porn site – ooh I wonder if that word will get more hits too – or will I just get banned from wordpress?

So I now have some apologizing to do:  Sorry to those that visited expecting to see perky, sexy boobs and sorry to the sensible people who wanted to read an interesting blog – this post is neither sexy, nor interesting, but I had fun doing this experiment and I’ll let you all know if it worked.

Ah, to be young again…

The other day I was at the shops, or as you American’s say – the mall, and my three year old boy kept running ahead, jumping, hopping and getting in people’s way.  He ignored my repeated, half shouts (caught between demanding a response and being embarrassed) to stop and wait for me.  Then it happened, the inevitable, didn’t listen to your mother moment when it goes wrong – he fell over.  Oh god the screaming, which attracted the looks of many shoppers, those looks that say, “You are an irresponsible parent with no control over your children and what a naughty boy you have,” you know those looks – they’re the ones you get when you least need them.

It got me to thinking – what if we never changed as we got older, what if we always reacted and acted the same as when we were kids?  Can you imagine the shops filled with skipping adults, who fell over and bawled their eyes out?  I would think it could make life easier – when we are disappointed we won’t have to hold back – just cry or tell the person they’re a meanie and you won’t play with them anymore.  When a friend disappoints you it would be easy – just say, “I’m not your friend anymore, you’re a poohead.”

Being the potentially lazy person I am, I quite like the idea of eating and pooing your nappy at the same time – a new slant on multitasking and it saves wasted time on the toilet.  I can also imagine watching a movie late at night, being tired and sticking the thumb in and having a contended suck (no dirty minds please, we are childlike – remember).  When I’m frustrated because things aren’t going right I can burst out crying and no one will think it’s strange.

There would be some problems though.  Who would be there to wipe our bottoms, we would be eternally itchy, and who would clean up the mess and break up the squabbles? Actually, while it sounds funny in theory, maybe it’s not a good idea after all.  I guess I’ll have to watch the kids enjoy their childhood, while I man the responsible post – however I will get mine back when I am an elderly, incontinent, grumpy person.  I will make my kids take me to the shops so I can complain in a loud voice and embarrass them, hell I might even make them change my nappy.  Hmm, maybe getting old won’t be so bad after all.

Danger: Do Not Enter

Hello!  Another day, another blog post.  I have scoured my memory banks and have come up with a couple of lovely experiences I had while working as a property valuer.  For those of you who don’t know, a property valuer inspects houses, looks at sales evidence, then tells the client (usually a bank) what the property is worth.  I did this for 17 long, hard years (can you hear the violins playing?).  It was an interesting job at times, since I love sticky-beaking into other people’s houses, and it turns out, lives.

Some days I would look at stunning period properties, or modern architectural triumphs, but others were not so great.  One lovely day I was asked to inspect a terrace house.  I was greeted by the tenant, a friendly, but nervous, man who welcomed me into the hallway.  I turned to enter the first bedroom which was on my left, however the door wouldn’t open – ok, the door was locked, fine, I would just have to get him to unlock it for me.

Now being the naïve person I was, I thought that maybe it was an unused room, or maybe a flat-mate’s room, someone who didn’t trust the other occupants enough to leave their room unlocked when they went to work.  I asked if I could have a look.

Me, “I really need to see inside that room.”

Him, “Are you sure?  Can’t you just skip that one?”

Me, “No, I have to look at all the rooms.”

Him, “Are you really sure?”

Me, “Yes really, sorry.”

The door was reluctantly unlocked and he left me to inspect the room by myself.  So what did I find?  Well, the room was painted dark red, not my taste, but hey who am I to judge?  Hmm, not much in the way of furniture, but hang on, what’s that on the far wall?  On closer inspection, and not too close mind you, I didn’t want to touch anything, it appeared to be, and in fact was, bondage gear fastened to the wall.  It was an apparatus for handcuffing someone to the wall so they could um, well, you know.

I tried to contain my shock (I’m a ‘good’ girl, ok boring, and I’ve never been chained to a wall) and I didn’t even giggle.  When I saw the tenant, to say goodbye, it was very hard to pretend like everything was normal and I hadn’t just been confronted with kinky sex toys.  I felt sorry for him though because, on reflection, I probably could have missed seeing one room.

The next house I’ll tell you about, and don’t worry this is the last one, was also tenanted (sorry I know there’s good tenants out there and the last one was only a little naughty).  I met the agent at the front door.  It was the middle of winter and freezing cold, I had my scarf on, which later proved to be very good foresight.

The agent knocked on the door and as the tenant let us in, she swore because she had stepped on something in her own hallway and cut her foot (as you do).  I almost swore when we entered because the place reeked of cat piss.  I don’t mean a mild smell teasing the senses, I mean an all out, slap in the face, want to vomit your guts up because you can taste it smell.  This is where I activated my scarf and covered my mouth and nose so I could try and breath without inhaling any offending particles.

The place was the most disgusting home I have ever been in.  Not an inch of floor was bare – clothes, plates, glasses, rubbish, and yes, cat piss, covered everything.  How the hell can someone live like this?

When we reached the lady’s (for want of a better word) bedroom I saw it – the cat.  For those of you who have had a cat, you know they are clean animals, and I’m sure this one wanted to be clean.  It looked at me with such a sad face that said, “Please get me out of here, this is no place for a cat.”  The cat wasn’t wrong, especially since it already knew what I would find in the kitchen.

The kitchen embraced a similar theme to the rest of the house, dirty.  Dirty dishes overflowed the sink and any spare bench space.  There was mouldy, food encrusted, frozen food packaging everywhere.  But the number one disgusting, vomit in your mouth and want to run out the door moment was when I saw the cat litter tray.  It had not been changed, ever.  Inside it, and flowing over the floor for quite a distance, was a mountainous trail of shit – in the kitchen – WTF?

I have never measured a home and drawn a floor-plan with such efficiency.  I was in the biggest hurry of my life to get out of there, but I was stunned enough to want to know a little bit about this person, well animal, who lives in such an abominable state.

Me, “Do you work?”

Feral woman, “Yes.”

Me, “What do you do?”

Feral woman, “I’m a nurse.”

What can you say to that?  I am still speechless.  I often think about that poor cat, I should have called the RSPCA because that was abominable cruelty to animals, and come to think of it valuers, and real estate agents…

The glory of words

Words.  Language.  Throughout my life some of the most enjoyable and frustrating memories involve my good use of, or not so great use of, words.  We’ve all had those times where someone is being a total pain or asshole and we think of the good comeback after it’s all over – one of my biggest frustrations.   Today I’m going to recount one of the more memorable of these incidents, which occurred when I was a smart-arse high school student of thirteen.

It happened on the afternoon walk home from school.  If I remember correctly, the sun was shining and kids in uniforms dawdled their way home, chatting nonsense to their friends.  I was walking by myself (my friends, yes I did have some, lived in different directions).  Another girl, a year above me at school, was walking ahead.  I knew this girl to be very shy, quiet and nice, a perfect target for the beefy, tattooed dropout who, with her merry band of followers, was harassing the uniformed ones.

At this point I have to set the physical scene, it’s crucial to the story.  We are in a cul-de-sac, which has stairs at the end.  These stairs lead up to a narrowish walkway between two houses, which has a gradual incline for approximately forty metres where it joins with the street above, my street.  If you turn right at the top of the path and walk past three houses, you will reach my home.  Ok, back to the story.

I’m in the cul-de-sac, walking towards the stairs and just in front of me the girl, who I’m sure was destined for jail, was picking on the shy girl who’s name, I think, was Sonia.  She was insulting her and trying to pick a fight, which any idiot knew would have been disastrous for Sonia.  Now, something about me, I cannot stand unfairness or the stomping on of the little person.  I could not have stopped this harassment with force, mean girl would have squished me into the road, so what did I do?  I used words.

I approached, and whilst concerned for my safety, I naively assumed I was smart enough to help.  Well it worked, when tattooed woman focused her full attention on me, Sonia made a quick getaway up the stairs.  Having lost her victim she chose a new one, me.  “I’ll fight ya,” such intelligent words were to be expected.

My answer, “I don’t want to fight.”

“Come on, I’ll fight ya,” maybe she hadn’t heard me.  I would have to be more direct.

“I don’t want to fight.  Only bushpigs fight,” she suddenly looked even more dangerous than before (bushpig is an extremely derogatory Australian term for women which was in common use when I was young, in the olden days).

I thought I’d better clarify things with logic, she wasn’t too bright, “Only bushpigs fight and since you’re not a bushpig I know you don’t want to fight.”  Ahh, she was thinking about this and it actually made sense to her, for the moment.

“Oh, ok, yeah, that’s cool.”  She was a little puzzled but walked away without pulping me.  I hurriedly climbed the stairs and reached the top of the path and my street.  I turned and looked back down to see her momentary lapse of violence was just that, momentary; she was harassing other kids.  Now, this may have been my most remembered moment from high school, and no wonder because I stood triumphantly at the top of the path, cupped my hands to my mouth and yelled out, “Hey, hey,” when I had her attention I shouted, “Hey Bushpiiiig!”  She heard and started running, but my head-start was such that I reached home and was safely inside before she knew where I’d gone.  A friend later told me she was asking after me but no one must have known where I lived and I never saw her again, thank God!

So, choose your words carefully for they can lead to the sweetest of memories, well mine were sweet, the bushpig would not be repeating this story I would imagine.

As a footnote, and totally true – she was jailed a few years later for murdering a family member, hmm, maybe I’ll keep my mouth shut next time…

A Frightful Trip to the Nursing Home

Hello peeps.  Thinking about what to write and decided on my recent trip to the nursing home to see my demented aunt.  My Aunt’s room is situated on the first floor with other residents who are not quite with it.  She remembers who I am, which is good, but is prone to making statements that are not based in my reality.  A conversation can go something like this:

Auntie incredulous, “Your sister thinks she is 38, impossible.”

Me, “Yes she is.  I’m 40.”

Auntie, “No!  You can’t be.”  She becomes conspiratorial, leaning over to whisper loudly in my ear, “I tell you what, take your passport and go to the bank and they will tell you how old you are.”  She sits back with a satisfied smile.  At least it’s better than when she tells me I, and my children, are all going to become popes or sometimes it’s queens, depending on the day.

Anyway I love going to see her, she still resembles the person I love enough that it’s not too painful, yet.  The frightening thing about my visit this time was when I was trying to leave.  I walked the gauntlet of afflicted elderly people who were wandering the halls.  I had almost reached the elevator when I happened upon three dementees loitering outside their bedroom.  As I tried to walk past one grabbed my arm and, with a grin which I was sure conveyed evil intentions, ushered me into the room.

I was trying to be polite and understanding, so I smiled back and said hello.  The lady just kept smiling her vapid smile and started nodding.  Why was she nodding, oh my, I think I’ve had enough, I need to get out of here.  The other two were now blocking the door and I had to politely, but firmly push through them to get out.  I retained composure, and as much as I wanted to run the final few metres to the elevator, I walked, albeit quickly.

I reached the elevator without further incident,  however there is a key pad which requires four numbers in a correct sequence to call the lift, this is to stop the detainees from leaving.  I could sense something and looked over my shoulder to see they were shuffling towards me.  Were they zombies, OMG!  I punched in the code and willed the elevator to hurry up.  Phew, it came and they hadn’t reached me yet.  I stepped in and pushed the button, but the doors were slow in closing.  I repeatedly punched the button with an agitated finger whilst watching the zombies shuffle closer, they were almost at the door.  Ahhhh!

The doors slid shut.  Thank God I survived and none escaped.  Well, my heart is certainly beating faster after recounting my experience but unlike the spider story, no people, no matter how zombie-like, were harmed during this encounter.  Next time you visit a nursing home, beware!

Five movie clichés that make me want to chew my own arm off with my grandmother’s dentures.

Like lots of you out there, I love watching movies.  I love funny films, drama, quirky, action – you name it, I’ll watch it, however, there are instances in a lot of movies where I cringe and think, ‘Not again.  Why, oh why is this happening?  Please stop, now!”  Here are my top moments in films where I want to slap the director about the head and scream.

5.  Maybe it’s just me, but why does the gorgeous, twenty something woman with a hot body, awesome personality and face to die for, always fall in love with the fat/old/bald/emotionally retarded guy who was a loser but manages to win her anyway, thus making him into a wonder guy.  Is this reality?  The majority of times, in reality, this only happens if the guy is rich or famous (or both), period.

4.  I love a good gunfight, but in some films the enemies have machine guns and let off thousands of bullets.  Destruction abounds, cars explode, shop fronts shatter, birds drop out of the sky (well almost), but do you think they can hit the hero?  Does being the lead in an action film render the guy with the power to blink in and out of existence when a bullet comes near?  I just don’t buy it, so unless it’s a comedy can someone please be shot occasionally, they don’t have to die, just bleed a little.

3.  I know I might be harping on this, but the portrayal of women.  In how many scenes do we see a woman who has just woken up or emerged from a stressful situation (insert car chase, giving birth, running from a maniac, surviving one of those gunfights) and she looks perfect.  The hair looks just-blow-dried, the makeup is pristine – not a puff of powder out of place, and her clothes don’t need adjusting (she may even have done it all in heels without falling over too).  I don’t know about you, but in any of these scenarios my hair would frizz, I certainly wouldn’t have had time to put make up on and I would be in no state to be in front of a camera – unless it was a wildlife documentary or reality show about frazzled parents who require a total make-over and a decade to catch up on sleep.

2.  In scary movies or thrillers – and you might have guessed this one already – when they hear a noise outside, even at 1 am on a windy, stormy night, they must unlock the door and go out, unarmed and half naked.  Why would anyone do this?  I would be grabbing my mobile and calling 000 (911 if you’re in the US just so you don’t get confused) then let the police get eaten by the zombie or stabbed one hundred times by the psychotic stalker, I don’t want to die.  I mean, haven’t they watched scary movies before, shouldn’t they know what’s going to happen?  On the flip side, maybe they deserve to die because they are so bloody moronic; I know I’ve never cried after one of these idiots has met their fate.

1.  Ok, this is my number one, pet peeve in movies, and the one that happens all the time, without fail.  Every time I see this I want to turn off the tv and abstain from action movies forever.  Drum roll… The fistfight at the end!  They’ve been toting guns, bazookas, shooting out of helicopters and jet-boats, they may even have toyed with the idea of unleashing a nuclear device, but what happens at the end – the freaking fist fight!  This can only happen because when the bullets fly no one gets shot.  It could be because they are such bad shots, or maybe it’s the blinking in and out of existence (as discussed above) but in the end they duke it out with their fists, punching each other into oblivion until our hero (possibly fat, aged and balding) finally and triumphantly delivers the final, movie ending blow.  Maybe this part should just be cut out altogether and they can have letters in large font appear on the screen that say, “INSERT FISTFIGHT HERE.  THE END.”  They could pay the actors less and finish filming sooner.

Well thank you for letting me get that off my chest, I feel a whole lot better now.  I may even have the courage to watch Die Hard again – or maybe not…

Butterfly – A Novel by Julie O’Yang

Butterfly, A Novel

This is my first book review of a novel and I’m happy to say this is one book I really enjoyed.  The author is Julie O’Yang who is an artist as well.  It was recommended by a friend and now I am happy to recommend it to you.  If you like literary fiction read on.

Butterfly, A novel, is a mesmerising literary work which melds fantasy with reality and past with present, to weave a story of love and forgiveness. Set amidst a backdrop of war and the cruelty of humans, which is depressingly palpable at times, Butterfly must metamorphose to survive – a metamorphosis of the heart, mind and body. Yang is an artist and her affinity and appreciation of natural beauty is apparent with powerful and original imagery of tantalising fish, mermaids and butterflies. Nature and mythology infuse the story with an ethereal quality and give the reader a wistful yearning to experience a love which transcends human boundaries. A haunting story with hope at it’s core, the essence of Butterfly remains etched in your thoughts long after the words have faded. A truly worthwhile journey you must undertake.

Julie has a wonderful website at and if you are intrigued you can buy the book at Amazon

It’s a Man Thing

Hello everyone!  I’m happy because today I have found my inspiration for another blog entry.  I get ideas then discard them because I think ‘no one wants to read about that’, anyway here is something that at least half my readers will want to read, and I guarantee they will be nodding their head and maybe even smiling as they discover the universal ridiculousness of men.

I have to say that I love my husband and I know he will roll his eyes when he sees this, if he even reads it, but some things need to be said, sorry guys.  My best friend and I often have conversations that start with voicing our latest frustrations with our men and we always end up laughing – great therapy and much better than running away.  Here is my take on men and the silly, silly things they do.

Ok women, you know what I’m talking about.

Number 1 – The man look – this is when he loses something, usually car keys or wallet, and asks if you have seen them.  Upon receiving the answer of ‘no’ he turns everything upside down, possibly ranting towards the end of his ‘man look’, whereupon you go to the most logical place, and find it.  Is he grateful, yes, but he won’t tell you because he knows what you’re thinking.

Number 2 – Man flu – I don’t mean to say how great we women are, but we are.  When we get sick we keep going as best we can because that’s how we are, I even went grocery shopping on the way home from the doctor when I found out I had chicken pox – sorry if I gave it to anyone.  If we are confined to bed we do it with as little fuss and impact on the household as possible.  When a man gets a cold he sniffles and coughs as loud as possible, just to be sure that everyone knows he is really, really sick.  For good measure he also takes his temperature a few times a day and asks the doctor for antibiotics.  Sorry guys, but it’s true.

Number 3 – Leaf blowing (insert gardening, working in the garage) at inappropriate times – A particular example is when visitors are coming.  Everything needs cleaning, food needs preparing, groceries need buying, but where is he?  Blowing leaves off the lawn because he is sure everyone will judge him by the number of leaves that are out of place.  I remember the day we moved into our current house, I was 2 weeks from giving birth, had a 20 month old to look after and had gazillions of boxes to unpack.  I didn’t even have to look for him; I could hear the leaf blower.  When I voiced my displeasure he thought I was being unreasonable.

Number 4 – Home handyman incidents – This must happen to men because women look at something and say, ‘I’ll get a professional in to do this job”.  Men think, “I can do that, it’ll be easy”; my husband has the scars to prove it.  One incident involved an angle grinder and a wall; let’s just say it was a very close call, we almost didn’t have kids.  One day my father got stuck two stories up, on their roof, when the ladder fell down and no one else was at home.  I’m sure you all have your own stories.

Number 5 – Makes up stuff to win an argument – Guys like to think they’re logical and capable of having an argument without being irrational because, lets face it, women are soooo irrational, all the time, and especially in an emotional situation such as an argument.  I don’t think so.  Guys, if you are losing the argument, don’t make it worse by trying to win at all costs and saying crazy things.  Women if you are in this situation, stand your ground, they’ll apologise eventually, even if it takes a couple of days.  My husband and I had an argument, after he forgot it was mother’s day, his accusation when I got angry, “it’s not all about you, you know.”  He did make up for it because he is a sweetie, but why go there in the first place.

Ok, that’s enough man bashing for now.  I am going to give you men a right of reply.  If someone wants to write a response to this, I’d love to post it, feel free to get in touch with me on twitter @DionneLister.  I’m sure we would all love to hear what’s wrong with the fairer sex, we can handle it, can’t we girls, after all, if we can put up with you guys…