My Top 10 lists

You either love ’em or you hate ’em, but Top 10 lists are popular these days, so here are my top 1o lists:

  1. The shopping list – an eternal favourite, never quite complete, which you never quite know until you get home without the milk/lentils/Vegemite/castor sugar. However, disappointment and frustration can somewhat be mitigated by using just gorgeous shopping list stationery. Two of my favourites – Remo’s fridge magnet and pad with helpful memory prompter (right), and, from the 1980s, Sandra Boynton’s clever little ‘Chopin Liszt’ (couldn’t find an image anywhere!)
  2. The Christmas present list – begun in earnest about September, edited and reviewed about November 30, and then scribbled and rewritten frantically on 23 December, just to make sure. Try not to add a $ column; I used to, but have now abandoned it as I just get depressesd.
  3. The Christmas card list – this one’s just come back into vogue as a reaction to the separation of church and state good ol’ fashioned card writing from the online social media circus that allows us to say “Merry Christmas”- and in only 15 characters too, enough left over to tweet a link to my blog with the remaining 125 and upload a pic of the Christmas tree on Facebook and did you see The Digital Story of the Nativity on YouTube it was really cool and Tumblr’s the one to watch — where was I?? Oh yes, getting out my pen and writing cards to the special people on this list who may only hear from me once a year, but it’s Christmas,  goddammit, and we’re all full of love and my thoughts are with them; that is, if I have their address, and extra time after the present shopping. So don’t take it personally if you haven’t received a card, it’s early days in a Back to the Future kinda way.
  4. The dreaded ‘To Do’ list – oh, my notebooks are full of them. It’s a subset of its own: there’s the renovation to-do list, the cleaning to-do list, and the work to-do lists (blog post lists, chargeable hours lists, tax document lists); even the gardening to-do list, which seems a bit silly as you’re not going to have your notebook outside to check items off the list with mulch-encrusted gloves.  But this is a real one from a clean-up a few years ago – and notice the diagonal line, a healthy sign of list completion!
  5. The New Year’s resolutions list – the last one seen was as recently as 2009.  Most of it is still waiting to be achieved. Achieving my new year’s resolutions is going to be one of my new year’s resolutions … next year.
  6. The calendar list – this is a fairly new arrival on the scene, for all those busy parents who now not only have the option of individual columns for each family member, but can also make lists within the columns with nifty little stickers that say things like, “Piano,” “Dentist” and “Play date”. They never seem to have stickers for “Euphonium,” “Gynaecologist” or “Big night out” so you can see who they’re pitching at. I received one of these as a present this year (although I confess I’ve been buying them for the past couple of years) and, by coincidence, it’s a Boyton calendar. With stickers. And a fifth column, which I like to call ‘Other’.
  7. The holiday list – now divided into four columns to ensure all parties of the household are accounted for, although the kids pretty much need the same things which wastes a column, unless you use that now-vacant column to put in all the things that are for the whole family – like iPods and toilet paper.
  8. The ‘just in case’ list. This is not a favourite of mine.  This is the list you make when you have to remember details just in case they a) are needed for future medical purposes, b) are needed for future insurance purposes or c) are needed for future legal purposes, possibly as a result of the outcomes of a) or b).  I have one of these too, from a particularly nasty time in 2009 that involved four hospitals, three ambulances, an RFDS flight and a great potential for the unintentional spread of misinformation. So I recorded everything according to who was affected and treated over a 30-day period. Don’t call me OCD – but at the time I would have answered to “that anxious, stressed-out and exhausted mum over there”.
  9. The wish list! This is a real thing in our house now, thanks to my friend Julie. How many times throughout the year do you see or hear about something and think “I’d love that for Christmas”, or your child/spouse/ significant employer says “I’ve always wanted one of those”.  Well, when you/they do, nip over to the printout you’ve stuck on the fridge/filing cabinet with the handy table courtesy of MS Word and write it on the wish list! Then, come little or big Johnny’s birthday six months later, or at Christmas, you nip back to the list and see that he wanted a Star Wars: the Force Unleashed DS game, or Bluetooth, or hopefully something under $200. Problem solved!
  10. Rounding out the top 10 list is this top 10 list because, frankly, I didn’t think I’d be able to find 10 lists I use and can demonstrate. But I have. And that’s a bit revealing.  Hmm, there’s an idea for a list: top 10 things I’ve revealed about myself on this blog …

[And I’ve just thought of two more: the Santa List for True Believers, coming soon on Brownie Talk; and the, ahem, To All The Men I’ve Loved Before list, Julio Iglesias style.  I’m not the only one, right?]

Australian conversations: the phlebotomists

Due to the potential of some ongoing shenanigans between my thyroid gland and the rest of my body, I had to have some blood taken today.  As I settled into the chair awaiting to be punctured by the cheery duo of phlebotomists, I thought I should explain my left arm:

JB: “Just to let you know, I did a plasma donation at the Red Cross yesterday [pointing to bruise] so not sure how that vein will go. Boy, that experience really made me think about what the junkies must go through day after day.”

Phleb 1: “Oh we see it all the time. I had a junkie tell me the other day, ‘You’ll have to go in at the back of my neck, I don’t have anything left on my arms.’ I told him, ‘I don’t do the backs of necks.'”

JB, gobsmacked: “I can’t believe they’re so blasé and matter-of-fact.”

Phleb 2: “Oh yeah – one said to me, ‘you’ll have to use the other arm, I just shot up in the car park.'”

JB, suffering naivety overload: “Gosh, that’s …”

Phleb 1: “I had a girl bring her mother in – she was about 18 and basically caring for her mother – and as the mum was on the chair, a bit spaced out, she said, ‘I can’t wait to get home and do some more coke.’ The poor daughter, I felt sorry for her.”

JB: “Oh, that’s …”

Phleb 2: “I had a guy come in say, ‘you’ll have trouble, just give me the needle and I’ll do it myself.'”

JB: “What?! No way!”

Phleb 1: “There you go, darl, all done.”

[Image courtesy Zazzle]

Whose bloody idea was that?!

Did you know that more people are killed annually by donkeys than die in air crashes?

Or that your body makes a new lining for your stomach every 3 days?

I know this because I’ve made a point of reading the adhesive strip of my preferred brand of sanitary napkin liner thingies just for this blog post.  Because there’s no other way I would ever want to read this dribble.

Which marketing genius had a light bulb moment and announced excitedly to his (or her, heaven forbid) peers/client:  “I know, how about we throw useless bits of information at women right at those minutes of the day during those days of the month when they’re most inconvenienced, uncomfortable and wanting to get on with their life?  It will take their mind off their inconvenience, discomfort and general focus on feminine hygiene just for a minute.”

Guess what? No, it won’t.  The strips of paper end up in the bin, or the bag, or on the floor, irrespective of what scintillating tidbits of information are contained therein.  Because no woman is going to go back to her business meeting and say, “hey guys, you’d never guess it, a polar bear’s skin is black. Its fur is not white but actually clear. How about that?” Or rush back to her boyfriend and say, “hey honey, in ancient times, parsley wreaths were used to ward off drunkenness, so I guess it’s tabouleh tonight, ha ha!”

I would really like to find out the marketing rationale behind this.  Did the company conduct focus groups? I’ve done a google to see if there’s anything to read about this, and eventually, thank heavens, I found out I wasn’t alone in thinking this was not big and it wasn’t clever.  For example, Leefe rates the world (thanks for the image) points out that it’s like having Christmas crackers every month, and we know how much we all look forward to those jokes. And I was also reminded that the info strips are called – wait for it – odd spots.

It’s enough to make you want to empty the lining of your stomach – given that you’ve already emptied the lining of your uterus in the process.

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