February 27, 2012

Monday Mayhem...

Are you ready for tomorrow? Packed with glitz, glamour, drama and/or intrigue... take your pick, there'll be something for everyone.

There are some definite perks about working from home - like being able to have the TV on to watch all the highlights (and possible lowlights!) of the stars on the red carpet! There'll be more sets of Spanx Underwear walking the walk than publicists and stylists put together, not that they spruik about that though. How awesome would it be to hear this in an interview: "Hi, I'm wearing jewellery from Harry Winston, my gown is from Vera Wang and my jiggly bits are sewn into a full body corset from the Trinnie & Susanna Big Girl Range!" 

Three Aussies are up for a gong, so fingers crossed for them. So many excellent movies to see this year.   

And of course, there is that OTHER big announcement tomorrow of great interest (or not) for those of us living here in Australia:

Our local political soap opera, the Julia vs Kevin Show comes to a climax with members of the Labour party caucus casting votes for their preferred leader in a ballot at 10am. Will we have a new Prime Minister tomorrow? News reports late today are suggesting we won't, that Julia will prevail and comprehensively so. Regardless of which of the two you prefer, it's been quite a series of events over the past few days; I've been flat out reading all the tweets and news stories about it all. Honestly, you couldn't write stuff like this - more drama than you could poke a stick at!

Enjoy your Monday, darlings. See you on the other side xx

February 21, 2012

To drink or not to drink. That is the question...

I think my Body Of A Certain Age is trying to tell me something. And I've been a bit slack about listening lately. In fact I've had my ears stuffed with cotton wool because I'm not that keen on hearing the message. If you're my age, you'll understand this. Once you get past 40, the daily news from the BOACA is rarely information you want to think about:

"And here's the news just in: Joints have started to ache in the hip and knee regions, especially first thing in the morning; crows feet and laughter lines around the eyes are on the increase, followed closely by threats of a deepening frown line; digestion CEO's have noticed a worrying go-slow trend in metabolism departments, consequently half-yearly figures were up; and new satellite pictures have captured the widening of the grey & white racing stripe down the middle area of the head. Authorities have declared it a natural disaster."

Who wants to hear that?!

Turns out I should have taken notice on the weekend. BOACA brought in the big guns to make its point last Sunday morning, the morning after the Big Girls Night Out. I only had three freaking drinks. THREE. Two ciders and one gin & lemonade. Over the course of five or so hours. Sweet FA, really. Or so I thought.

Literally one second after I opened half an eyelid, BOACA swung into action and rammed the message home - courtesy of Massive Headache and Dry Mouth, and consolidated it with a small but effective cameo role from Tired & Lethargic.

Several panadols later (along with copious glasses of water) I raised a white flag in surrender. Okay, okay, I get it, I said. Message received loud and clear. Because it appears that BOACA does not like the processing of alcohol. At ALL.

I should preface this by saying that I am not, and have never been, a big drinker. Oh, I had my moments in my late teens and early 20's when I could knock back loads of drinks over the course of a night out and wake up the next day feeling fine. That was, until I got pregnant. All those hormones meant that alcohol didn't taste so good, so I more or less abstained for the whole nine months which reduced my tolerance to just about zero. I discovered this little fact about 6 weeks after I had Son #1. It was my birthday and so I had a glass of champagne to celebrate, as you do. Within ten minutes of that bubbly hitting the back of my throat, I was off my trolley. Extremely animated. Laughing hysterically at everything. And then all of a sudden, needing to go to bed. Everyone thought it was hilarious apparently, but I didn't know that because I was already asleep. Happy birthday, indeed!

Because of that night - and the fact that my tolerance has never really recovered - I earned a nickname amongst my friends. They call me 'The Five Dollar Woman', as that was approximately how much money you had to spend to put me under the table. (It's probably more like the Seven Dollar Fifty Woman now, taking inflation into account, lol) Cheap as chips, at any rate, that was me. A real lightweight in the drinking stakes. But yet a very affordable gal to take out on the town!

Anyway after this weekend's effort I've been thinking (while resting on the couch) perhaps a change is in order. Maybe I should bite that bullet and embrace a new non-drinking way of life. It's not like I drank lots to begin with. So no booze wouldn't be too much of a stretch, would it?

I'm not saying I'll never drink alcohol ever again. That would probably be a rather rash and eventually untrue statement. No, all I'm saying is that for now, I'm happy to give it a miss.

So tell me. Do you know anyone who doesn't drink? Do you think we as a society drink too much? And how much is too much?

February 15, 2012

Marvellous Magda...

Australia has always loved Magda Szubanksi.

And why wouldn't we? She's one very talented woman; comedian, actress, television presenter, radio host, author and just recently, weight loss spokesperson.

Yesterday Magda hit the headlines for a very different reason, releasing a statement saying she was '1000% in support of gay marriage' and then later that night confirmed on TV that she was 'absolutely gay'.

I thought she was fantastic.

Her words were heartfelt, her emotions close to the surface. It was riveting telly. She spoke of her own struggle with sexuality in her teens, admitting to us all that she'd even had suicidal thoughts during that time. And the way she dealt with Steve Price was brilliant. I've always thought he was a bit of a boof head and the drivel falling out of his mouth merely confirmed it.

So, Magda. After seeing you bare your soul like that, Australia loves you even more. Facebook and Twitter are still recovering. You're a bonza chick and I think you've probably done more for the cause of Gay Equality in Marriage than anyone else has done in years. Let's hope the Government stop sitting on the fence with regards to this issue - it's time for change.

Equal rights in marriage should be afforded to everyone, not just for those people in heterosexual relationships.

February 13, 2012

RIP Whitney Houston...

From the moment I first heard That Voice, I was in total awe. What a gift. The sheer quality and power - simply stunning. Her voice was like no other; pure and strong yet edged with a sweetness that literally made your heart ache.

Whitney's songs were a part of my youth - I cannot tell you how many times my friends and I shook our collective booty's whilst singing our lungs out to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody' or 'I'm Every Woman'. She was the soundtrack to every great party. Everyone knew the words and we all sang them out LOUD. Good times, good times.

In recent years addiction had taken its toll on her legendary talents. Her last concert tour in Australia had been dogged with news of walkouts by disappointed fans. The powerhouse voice of the past was sadly that - in the past. Ultimately, it appears that she was unable to beat the demons that had haunted her. Alone in a posh hotel room at 48 years old is hardly the fitting time or place for her life to end, yet it's an all too-familiar story these days. You have to feel for her daughter right now.

So rest easy, Whitney. And thanks for the memories. Your legacy is your music, and thanks to technology, will live on forever. I truly hope your spirit finds the peace it was looking for. RIP.

February 11, 2012

The day we became another statistic...

You never think it will happen to you.

But then, horribly, it does.

The experience robs you of more than just mere material goods.

The day had all the makings of a normal Friday. I'd dropped Sons 2 & 3 at school, come home and started the usual; laundry, dishes, take meat out for dinner that night. Our crappy summer wore on. More torrential rain fell during the day as I sat in my office working through debtors and creditors. I reconciled and balanced bank statements as the rain overflowed the gutters, and made a mental note to tell The Provider we needed to check them once it stopped.

I had lunch. A sandwich, with roast beef, relish and cheese. Followed by coffee and a Tim Tam. All boringly normal, right? The day flew past until I left to pick up Son #3 from school. I shooed Spence outside into the backyard, even though Son #1 was at home. He'd worked nights and was asleep upstairs after arriving home at 6am. 

The first clue I had that something wasn't quite right was when my youngest didn't stop at the front door waiting for me - he walked straight in. And I knew I'd locked it when I left. When I saw one of the flyscreens on the ground outside, my stomach lurched. A second later I saw the smashed window. Oh, shit. SHIT.

You know that feeling you get when your eyes see something yet your brain struggles to connect the dots? *sigh* It was like that. You're looking around at everything all at once, trying to see if your house looks as it should. And all while the blood pounds loudly in your ears and you walk around distracted, wondering what the hell to do first.

They only took the PS3 so we were very lucky. It could easily have been so much worse. It didn't look like they were in the house very long - we reckon they heard #3 son's alarm go off upstairs and were forced to leave in a hurry, grabbing the Playstation on the way out the door. My laptop was sitting on the bench in full view and yet, it wasn't taken. You have NO idea how relieved I am about that.

Spencer, The Guard Dog Who Wasn't, remained a little quiet that night. Poor baby. The Blokes Wot Live Here were all giving him a bit of stick, saying things like "You've just failed Guard Dog Class, mate!" and "Woof! Woof! Remember how to do that?" All he could do was look up at them mournfully from underneath furrowed brows and look so, so sorry. We're very relieved he wasn't hurt though, even if his canine pride took a bit of a beating.

Many phone calls later, the paperwork has begun. Police, insurance and glass repair man have all been contacted and the process to document this little blip on the crime activity register has started. Not surprisingly, I didn't sleep particularly well last night. Kept 'hearing' things downstairs. *sigh* I'm sure this slightly violated feeling I have will pass but it's a hard one to shake; knowing that some stranger has been in your house is extremely unsettling.

I hope the thieving bastards are caught, one way or another. If Karma has its way, they will be.

Have you ever been robbed? What happened? And were the perpetrators ever caught?

February 8, 2012

A Safety Net...

There have been Mums and Dads raising kids since the dawn of time. Trying hard to get it right. Sometimes getting it wrong. But mostly aiming to raise happy, well adjusted functioning adults.

It's a journey full of twists and turns. Highs and lows. Graduations and/or groundings. Most of us get there in the end, for better or worse. I turned out alright but I know I gave my parents a few 'OMG, WTF?' moments along the way.

Now it's my turn to walk the walk and talk the talk.

But, wait... wait. Have you looked at the parenting landscape nowadays? Like whoa. Whole different ball game. There's the internet and mobile phones. Cyber bullying. Anorexia and bulimia. And don't get me started on the kinds of synthetic drugs available.

Everyone over 30 would have read this email that did the rounds a while back, I'm sure:

To everyone born in the 1920's, 30's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks some of us took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a Ute on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Red Rooster.

Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Fruit Tingles and some fire crackers to blow up frogs and lizards with.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and cubby houses and played in creek beds with matchbox cars.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape or DVD movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

Only girls had pierced ears!

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross buns at Easter time.......no really!

We were given BB guns and sling shots for our 10th birthdays.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!

Footy had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Our teachers used to belt us with big sticks and leather straps and bullies always ruled the playground at school.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

Our parents got married before they had children and didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade'.....

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 70 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!

See that red highlighted section? Made our youth very different. Simpler. Less complicated by outside influences. A life where the unknown was exciting and fun, not bad and quite possibly dangerous.

Our Mums and Dads don't know how good they had it. (But I suspect there might be some that do).

We grew up with no Facebook, Twitter or any of those other social networky things. No iPods, iPhones or in fact, iAnything. If you wanted to talk to someone you either did it in person, face to face, or via the home telephone (usually in the main room of the house with your entire family listening in. And if your family was at all like mine, your father would walk past every few minutes saying "Are you STILL on the phone?")

My boys cannot believe I survived without all that technology stuff. I'm sure they think my life must have been SO boring.

Todays teenagers are literally given the world (via the internet) on a mobile phone. Drive past any high school after the final bell and take a look at the swarm of students pouring out of the gates. Just about all will have a phone in their hand, talking or texting away. I know my own teenage son certainly does the second he gets out of class.

The problem arises when teens assume they are anonymous or untouchable and don't consider about the ramifications of posting something online in cyberspace.

Well, I've got news for you, kids: IT'S THERE FOREVER. Those revealing photos. That argument on chat between you and someone else. Or even worse, a video.

It can All. Come. Back.

And if you become remotely famous (or infamous) watch what happens. Anyone with half a brain can go digging and it'll still be there.

I bang on about this issue a lot at home. Well, as much as I can anyway, without sounding like an over-protective or paranoid mother. And teenagers aren't the most receptive of audiences, are they? You keep talking and try to ignore their frustrating eye rolling and "Yeah, whatev's" but you still have to keep going. It's such a fine line to walk, innit? But a very important one all the same.

So what about you? What have you told your kids about using the internet? Do your kids have mobile phones? And how do you protect them?

[Picture courtesy of Photobucket]

February 3, 2012

Two weddings and no Hugh Grant...

We're going to a wedding on the beach this weekend. The bride and groom are a gorgeous couple, really great company and have been friends of ours for a long time.

It's been ages since we've been to a wedding but as it turns out this will be the first of two we are to attend this year. It's funny how that works, isn't it? Nuptials seem to burst forth in clusters; one minute you're going to a wedding every other weekend, then you don't go to one for yonks.

Sharing this special day will be their two beautiful young daughters, both of whom will be very excited about wearing their pretty flower girl dresses. They will be cuteness personified, I just know it.

Plus! There's an awesome bonus that comes with this wedding, too. The Provider and I get to have a whole night away - without the kids - and in a swanky hotel, no less. Did I hear someone say room service?

There's something kind of exciting and a little bit sexy about staying in a hotel out of town. Especially when the most time you've spent with your significant other lately involves doing his washing, cooking his dinner or listening to him snore beside you! The Provider has been working like a wee trojan of late, so this night away is very timely. And the perfect chance to wear that new lingerie I bought, lol.

It'll be lovely. And we won't have to dash off early from the reception to relieve babysitters. Plus if we're really lucky, the rain that has been continuously falling in most of NSW and QLD (and doing my head in, but that's a topic for another post) will subside long enough (cross fingers, toes, everything!!) for the bride to walk along the beach sand to join her groom late tomorrow afternoon.

If not, there's always the old saying that says it's good luck to have rain on your wedding day. The Provider and I certainly did, and look at us - we're coming up to 17 years married next month! Amazing.

February 1, 2012

Thoughts over a chai latte....

Can you hear that?


I've been drinking it in ALL DAY. *happy sigh*

There have been women at school who were feeling more than a little bereft this week. And all because their children have gone back to school. A shocking state of affairs, I know. After spending six glorious weeks en famille, these ladies were quietly (and some not so quietly) mourning the 'all-togetherness' of school holidays, planned activities and outings and/or spending each and every waking moment with their offspring.

They'd relished the constant chattering, feeding, refereeing, chauffering, sharing and caring that abounds in holiday times. They'd been the epitome of the cool, organised entertainer who never ran out of Cheezels or Doritos and always knew the name of that song/artist/music playing on Channel V. They welcomed the last-minute sleepover guest with aplomb and could play all the latest PS3/Wii games like a pro.

All too soon the start of term approached and the days stretched out long and endless. The house had become too quiet, too still. Time between 9am and 3pm was bland in texture, sight and sound. (I'm being overly dramatic here but you catch my drift, right?)

Don't get me wrong though, I am not judging these women. Definitely not. On the contrary, I admire and applaud these mothers who love doing nothing but devoting all of their energy toward their kids. They are truly amazing. And clearly far more patient than I.

Because as much as I might want to be, I am NOT one of those aforementioned women.

Maybe it's because my boys are getting older (they're now 23, 14 & 11) and becoming more independant these days. It might be because I refuse to be pigeonholed in a little box that says 'Just a Mum' and nothing else. Or perhaps it's because I'm totally useless on a PS3.

The most likely reason is much more simple. Now that I'm beginning to salvage little pieces of time for myself, I've become more than a bit precious about giving it BACK. So consequently I am all: Off to school you go!

I've continued to squeeze a few more pockets of 'me time' into the annual calendar. There's been the odd weekend away with the girls. A visit to NZ to stay with the Groovy Grandma. Shopping sans children, anywhere. And then there's this weekend - going to a wedding with The Provider up the coast by ourselves. (We're even staying overnight in a hotel! Woo hoo!)

What I'm trying to say is this: I love my boys with every fibre of my being. They are my most favourite people in the world. I will always be there cheering on the sidelines at rugby, watching with pride at karate, or encouraging/supporting/driving them somewhere for as long as I'm able to draw breath. They are, and will always be, the very light of my life.

Just not at the expense of that same life. And I'm a better mother because of it.
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