31 July 2013

Ich liebe dich du (but I am not a Berliner)

Do you guys know Dr Leanne Winter? She's Raising Boys and getting the old brainbox going on the big, the small, the unusual and the everyday. I've not got boys but I've met them and I sure hope my girls get to meet the ones whose parents she has influenced as they get older.

I haven't met her. She came on to my blog one day and has been incredibly positive about my ramblings and just last week nominated me for A Liebster's Award.

What is a Liebster award?

“A Liebster award is given to support and recognise up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers (on their blog) or likers (on their Facebook page). The word “Liebster” apparently has German origins and is reported to mean sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome."

(So OBVIOUSLY she thought of me.  Stop chortling you in the back rows)

"By following some basic rules (answer 11 questions set by your nominee, write 11 additional facts about yourself, write 11 new questions of your own and pass the award onto 11 other bloggers to answer) it enables readers to get to know new bloggers and connect with a wider audience.”

Guess what people.

So without further ado, here is my (insert drum roll)

What was the best gift you ever received?
The correct answer I think for this would be the love of a good man and two beautiful children.  Phew.  But seriously, the best gift ever was an absolute legend 'mixed CD' my then boyfriend made me for my birthday. It was my first ever 'mixed tape' from a lover and I adored all of it - mixed downloads are never going to be quite the same.  I am assuming he is working on the mother of all mixed tapes for my 40th next year right dear??  Actually, I don't know if he reads my blog - perhaps might try printing this off and highlighting.  

Dogs or cats?
"They" say dogs have owners, cats have staff.  It's a true statement so why would you ever prefer something so clearly lacking in ambition and drive?  It's cats all the way for me.  Plus, they don't drool on you, lick or slobber on you, eat poop/vomit/unidentifiable remains in parks or fart hideously.  In many ways they are even preferable to small children.

Which famous person do you admire and why?
There are all the greats obviously - Nelson, Mother Theresa, the guy who invented the Hills Hoist.  But mainstream famous person...Hmmm?  I really enjoy the positivity and relentless enthusiasm for life demonstrated by the likes of Ellen de Generes, George Takei and Hugh Jackman.  The three of them are constantly proving you don't always have to be an arsehole to be successful.  

What did you have for dinner last night?
So pleased to be answering this today and not yesterday - I had a Lebanese Fatoush salad with chickpeas, feta and chicken.  Delicious.  And no I didn't make it (Hello - it's me!), I was out to dinner at the divine Three Weeds in Rozelle.

What is your favourite way to spend your ‘me’ time?
Now that I'm a bona fide athlete of two weeks duration I should say running but it would be a lie.  My favourite 'me' time is the hammock, sunshine, chardonnay and a pile of reading material.

If you could invite either Kate Middleton or Johnny Depp to dinner, who would you choose?
This is a no brainer, I'm sure Kate's lovely but it would have to be Johnny Depp.  But not for me, for my husband... you see - once upon a time he misunderstood the rules of 'Celebrity Free Pass' and chose Johnny Depp.  I have never ever ever ever let him forget it. Or anybody else. It would be the least I could do to make up for something that I STILL get a laugh out of to this day. 

What was the last book you read?
Me and Rory Macbeath by Richard Beasley.  Do yourself the favour.  It's beautifully written, with vividly nuanced characters in 1970s suburban Adelaide and I'm telling you nothing more because I hate it when people tell you too much about books.  Just read it. Brilliant. 

What advice would you like to give your 16 year old self?
Girl, stop believing anybody has any more clue than you.  You know yourself better than anybody and you're inherently a good person and the things you are passionate about won't change - you'll just get better at articulating them.  The world isn't black and white so you may need to settle down about that a little, but that voice pooping over your self esteem and your self confidence should shut the fuck up.  Go crazy, be awesome and seriously girl, that ain't fat.  Trust me. 

If you could go anywhere/do anything where would you prefer to be right now?

I would be packing the family up and we'd be heading to Peru.  I'm worried that Machu Pichu might slide off the top of that mountain before we get there.  

Finish this sentence “I love blogging because…”
I get to arrange 26 letters into all sorts of combinations which generally ramble on in no particular direction until my point is made or I hear my sister's voice in my head saying 'Shut up Al - that's enough'.  Words.  Love 'em. 

What thing do you wish someone would hurry up and invent?
Computers that completely immune to having water or wine or milk or drool or ice-cream smeared all over them.  Not that I would ever do this.  I just think it would be nice.  Honest. 

Okay - now I have to tell you 11 random facts that people don't generally know about me.  This is hard because I keep nothing about myself private (much to most people's chagrin).
  1. After a night out in London, a friend and I climbed into the garden that featured in The Notting Hill movie.  Hint for novices attempting trespass - don't wear a dress (a) and (b), getting out is much harder than getting in. 
  2. I was first published for writing a certificate winning piece about 'Mary' the mother of God. (There was less opportunity for would be authors at Catholic high schools in the eighties okay!)
  3. Given the choice I would rather be with dead people then dead animals.  Dead animals are icky, dead people are just, well, dead.
  4. I like Gilbert and Sullivan musicals.  Like genuinely like. And I know a LOT of the lyrics.
  5. I will never tell you if I hate a gift.  Ever. So don't bother keeping the receipt.
  6. The book I hate most in the world is Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.  Studying it in Year 10, 11 and 12 can do that to a book. 
  7. The movie I couldn't even pretend to like even though the world went crazy for it was The Piano by Jane Campion.  I would have chopped her stupid fingers off myself if I had met her.
  8. Until I was in my 20s I thought Pitch'n'putt was called Pigeon Putt.  Well, there are birdies and what not, I just thought it one of those daft golfer things.  
  9. I defriend racists
  10. I shaved my head for charity in 2007 and my mother introduced me for about the next year as 'thisismydaughteralisonwhoshavedherheadforcharity' rather than just 'this is Alison'.  
  11. I have never done karaoke.   
Dr Leanne - this has been fun - thanks so much for nominating me.  I really would love to buy you a glass of wine one day and have a face to face.  And now, returning the favour and hopefully spreading a little bit of love to eleven other interesting bloggers who are deserving of more fans, my nominations for The Liebster Award go to (in no particular order).  Check them out!

Slapdash Mama - http://slapdashmama.blogspot.com.au/
Memoirs of the Mind - http://www.memoirsofthemind.com
The Opinionated Manager - http://www.theopinionatedmanager.wordpress.com/
Fresh Home Cook - http://freshhomecook.com/
Danya Banya - www.danyabanya.com
Little Wolff - http://littlewolff.com/
The Very Inappropriate Blog - http://theviblog.wordpress.com/
Two little humans and me - http://www.twolittlehumansandme.com/
Take Charge Now - www.takechargenow.com.au
The Aus Geek - http://theausgeek.wordpress.com/
I'm not babysitting - http://imnotbabysitting.blogspot.com.au/

Should they accept the challenge my questions are:

1. Pets or children?
2. Which music video do you wish you'd produced?
3. Are you a planner or do you 'wing it'?
4. What is your ideal Sunday afternoon?
5. Is the ziplock bag or the Hills Hoist the greatest invention ever?
6. What is your favourite fruit?
7. If you had to name a 'least favourite' word, what would it be?
8. You can only do one household chore for the rest of eternity, which one would it be?
9. Your most awesome body part?
10. Earliest memory?
11. If you could be in any sitcom, which sitcom would you choose and why?

And.... go!

26 July 2013

There but for the grace of somebody go I.

I was very lucky today to be nominated for a Liebster Award by the fantastic Dr Leanne Winters on her Raising Boys blog today.  If you haven't read her, you should check her out her out here, yep, here where it is highlighted!

And I was going to Liebster it up.

But I have the evening to myself and I have been doing some thinking.  Today, as I do every year, I went to see 1440 and The World Press photo exhibition.  So I'm going to Liebster if up over the weekend but today I am going to work myself through the exhibition's aftermath.

As always, it moved me. And disturbed me.  And made me feel slightly awkward.  And bored me (sports photo bit), and made me laugh.  But mostly, it disturbed me.

The casual stance of neighbours torturing each other.  The mother burned in an acid attack. The babies piled high in a morgue as a result of a missile attack.  The soldiers floating in oil slicks on disputed borders.  The mattresses of prostitutes in wheat fields outside cities. The terror in the face of a boy who survived his parent's suicide pact. Praying volunteer firemen post tsunami. Broken limbs. Hopeful faces. Destroyed cities.

Some people's every day realities.  Some people's normality. Unfathomable.

And I, well I distracted my older toddler with Peppa Pig games while my baby slept and I circled that room full of snapshots of other people's everyday..  I believe in reality.  I believe in honesty around death.  But how, how do I contextualise those pictures for them?  I have no words that would describe them adequately.  My children have no experiences which would allow them to empathise.  I like, no I love, that they believe the world to be a good place full of licking furniture, trampolines and tickling.  I adore this about them.  The freshness. The trust.  The vitality.

But I am sad.  So very sad for people who don't have the luxury of safety.  Of trust.  Of normality. Of love.

You might ask, well why do you go?

Because the photography is exquisite.  The stories told simply.  With one picture.  And these are real.  Real life for so many.  Real, inexplicable, terrible, painful, joyous, personal.  To capture that is a gift.  To view it, a privilege.  Such talent. Such courage.  Wow.

These are lives I will never live.  Lives I can not ignore just because they are not my own.

Do I know what to do?  No.

But do I think it important that we do not live our lives in ignorance. Yes.

I hear people say "I don't watch the news, it is too depressing.".  Well I say to you - "Selfish and get your head out of your own backside".

How fucking lucky are you to have the luxury of ignoring violence, fear, pain, persecution?  Of uncertainty?  Of discrimination?  Of difference?

You can't fix it necessarily no.  But you should never ignore it.  You should never disregard those journeys.  Because it's just a genetic freakin' lottery that you are not them.  As the expression goes - there but for the grace of God go I.

And if you're not religious - you get the point so spare me the 'god' semantics of the expression.

Do I want my children to know of those things? No.  But do I do them any justice by ignoring the reality of so many people on the planet?  No.  So therefore they have to be exposed. Gently.  With Peppa Pig in their laps when they glance up at one photo and say to me - that man needs a band aid, He has some blood on his face.

Yes darling he does.  That's a good suggestion.

25 July 2013

How 9 years ago I didn't fall in love with Nick.

In the June of 2004 in South East London, as I sat upon the sofa of my new house share, gormlessly starring at the TV, munching popcorn (because not uncommonly at this period of my life I was living on popcorn and water for a couple of days prior to payday),  a cute male bum temporarily obscured my view.

Now I had only been in that house a few days, so unfamiliar backsides passing through the lounge room were not uncommon. But cute backsides on tall slim men with soft brown curls and the most incredibly pale blue eyes were much less common.

He was hot.

And just back from Glastonbury.

An absolute sweetheart.  Interesting, fun, funny, verbose, quiet, thoughtful, passionate, opinionated.

A good Scrabble opponent.

Did I mention? Very handsome.

And disappointingly - my house mate.

So very very very unsuitable on so many many levels.


You know the rules.  Whatever else was a pro or con, he was a house mate.

And I was moving back to Australia.

It was agreed.  This will NOT happen.


A month later, having become friends, we kissed for the first time and he promptly turned, threw himself over a fence and we agreed that we could NEVER take this any further.

A girl has her pride.

And now, that girl has a bonafide husband and two daughters.

I blame him.  And my lily livered Pride.

He may be right in every way.  Infuriating.  Pigheaded.  Procrastinating. Painful.

But perfect.

For me.

Happy nine years beautiful man.


23 July 2013

Sicker than the very sickest thing you've EVER heard of. Or something

I just finished a week off.  It was supposed to be a holiday but turned into 'the week I have enjoyed the least in my parenting career'.  Or you might choose 'completely horrid', 'unenjoyable' or 'totally f#*ked'.

And I was going to try and blog about it but I think its best just to sum it up by sharing a text I sent to my husband at work last Thursday afternoon:
"If you by word or insinuation ever refer to this week as a holiday we are getting a divorce."
And I meant it.  It was a completely awful week.

Then there came a weekend where I got a haircut and had my eyebrows cut back to the undergrowth allowing my eyes to emerge from where they were hiding and I was looking forward to a return to the world of adults.  Or work - which is about as close as anyone can wish for.

I should have seen looking forward to going back to work as a sign that something was wrong.

Sunday night - after a weekend of sneezing, I was whacked with the mother of all viral infections - glands up, sore throat, ears blocked, chesty cough, aches, pains, runny nose, head ache and a case of woe is me so dreadful I almost couldn't sum up the energy to be pissed off at Rudd's PNG 'solution'.

And I went to the doctor.  And she said "You are sick - here's a sick certificate, go home and avoid pregnant people and old people until the end of the week." And so I did.  Mainly because my office is currently full of people doing 'Dry July' and other such pregnancy euphemisms or sporting stomachs protruding in fecund glory and I work in the aged care industry.  Which means that it would be morally reprehensible to take my manky snotty self into the world of adults.  And is there anything worse than sick people coming to work to demonstrate their commitment?  No.  Nothing.  Except Rudd's stupid solution.

So I've slept. And taken my medicine.  Mainlined Vitamin C tablets.  Told my mother I can't see her because she's old even though she's in town for a few days.  And moped. And today I followed the twitter streams about the royal baby from under my duvet. Doctor's orders.

Now that I no longer feel that death is imminent, I can sense that I might well recover.  I still blame this new exercise malarky.  Basically I believe my body has gone into profound shock and reacted by trying to kill me.

But I might even stop whinging at my husband about how this is worse than man flu.  But not today.  I have a sick certificate giving me official permission to whinge at him for at least another 36 hours.  It'd be rude not to take full advantage.

17 July 2013

How Spamalot finished my athletic career

Before I took up this running malarky (ie today), there was only one sport in which I truly excelled.

And that was 'The Bouquet Toss'. 

Before Beyonce, all the singles ladies had only one way to get a ring on it and that was to catch the bouquet at a wedding and know that happiness was but a proposal away.

The problem with this is that everybody was always too cool to saunter their single arses out on the dance floor to take part in this odd, but strangely enduring, ritual.  Of course, with so many of us shacking up before we got married, we were able to take part in this ritual for a lot longer than the lasses of yore and grow cynical and dismissive. But brides like throwing it, people like watching it and I, I loved it. 

And not because I was expecting a proposal.  Nay, I'd been a Bridesmaid six times and I knew that my chances of getting married had withered like testicles of winter swimmers.  But the sheer joy of making 'a big deal' out of it cheered up many a painfully tedious wedding.  

Step 1.  Holler and catcall to all the other unmarried ladies when the time comes, badger them into joining you on the dance floor.
Step 2. Hitch dress up, tuck into undies for effect. Growl. 
Step 3. Rock from side to side, hands on knees - as if about to commence the Haka.
Step 4. Talk up your agility and wins.  Diss the other women as eternal spinsters. Say 'yo mama' a lot.
Step 5. Roar and leap into the air punching other people in the face until the bouquet is yours.  
Step 6. Give it to the girl quietly sobbing on the floor beside you as she wants desperately to get engaged and 'beastly Alison won the bouquet toss again'.
Step 7. Drink wine and dance. 

But for me it all came to an end, one of the highlights of many a wedding, when I saw Spamalot in 2008.  As the bouquet was tossed into the audience, years of competitive training came to the fore and my arm shot up, catching the flowers tossed glibly by Sanjeev Bashkar and boom - before my trip to London was over my boyfriend had become my fiance and my years of bouquet catching were over.  

What did you truly excel at before Monty Python and Sanjeev Bashkar intervened?

12 July 2013

Guest Post: Before Sheldon there was Slapdash

Today's post is by the completely bonkers Slapdash Mama (also known as Sarah).  She does talking frankly in a way I'll never crack and I always love reading her blog - her energy leaps from the screen and I admire both the energetic and the articulate.  I am really pleased that she agreed to do a guest post here and once you've read it and become a fan you can follow her HERE!

So without further ado - I present SLAPDASH MAMA!


It's my very great pleasure to be guest posting today for Alison on her clever and amusing blog "Talking Frankly". I feel weird calling her Alison because in my mind I always refer to her as "Frank". SO anyway thank you very much for asking me, Frank, I am stoked.

Frank has asked me to elucidate on a topic she has chosen for me. The topic I've been given is;

                  Of all the things already invented, what do you wish you had invented?

I am a bit of a weirdo because I really like getting thrown random topics to write about. JUST LIKE AN EXAM! I used to love exams. I am actually not kidding.

So let's plough ahead shall we?

Well, the short answer to that question is (probably not unlike many of us out there) I wish I had invented Google.

I know we all say how much we HATE Google because TAKING OVER THE WORLD AND INFORMATION, but frankly if I woke up tomorrow and I was suddenly the millionaire  billionaire brains behind that interweb sensation  I would be freaking smug. And rich. Did I mention rich?

I suppose I probably should have said "I wish I had invented the polio vaccine because SAVING LIVES", or "I wish I invented crop rotation because HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE", but my naturally acquisitive instincts led me to my greedy choice.  Altruism? WHAT GOOD DID THAT EVER DO ANYONE ANYWAY HEY?

It might seem quite a stretch, for anyone who might actually know me in actual real life, to imagine me actually inventing something like Google, what with my actual lo-tech luddite-esque tendancies.


I totally could have invented Google if I had WANTED to.

I mean, I did IPT in Year 11 AND Year 12!

OK, so maybe I only did it because my Dad basically forced me to. And like, it is POSSIBLE that I wasn't actually any GOOD at it or anything.  And it MIGHT be the case that I did spend a CONSIDERABLE amount of time weeping over my Visual Basic coding and swearing at my Expert Systems assignment. And maybe because it was 1997 and the internet hadn't really taken off, just maybe it is possible THAT WE DIDN'T EVEN LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT WEBSITES OR THE INTERNET OR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN USEFUL IN THE 21st CENTURY!!!!!


My friend L and I were the only two girls in the class of computer nerd boys. So I guess it was a bit like a real life version of this...

Or it would have been except that I looked like more like this at the time...

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, IPT. Inventing Google.

So my time in the classroom studying IPT with a gaggle of computer nerds was sort of like - look, I'm not going to pull any punches here - it was like being on the planet Mars.  Didn't help that the computer nerds were all better at everything than our flustered teacher. They occasionally tried to help me but their communication skills were sometimes, ah, lacking.

Look I've got absolutely NOTHING against nerds. In fact, I AM a nerd. A total nerd. And let's face it computer nerds are TOTALLY FASHIONABLE and LAUGHING AT US ALL because RICH! It's just that I have never been the right type of nerd.

My type of nerdishness - reading a lot, wishing I was in a Jane Austen novel, enjoying Gardening Australia, listening to Irish Folk Music and Tori Amos from an early age - did not lead me to power or riches. Or popularity at high school. If only I had spent my lunch hours playing networked Doom in the computer rooms, I would be laughing all the way to the bank now I am sure.

I suppose these days my penchant for granny hobbies would fit right in with the HIPSTER CHIC OEUVRE. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I'm pretty sure that train has sailed for me now. My interests are not ironically cool, because I am not thin enough or young enough or tattooed enough, and I don't have a ZZ Top beard.

OK maybe I do have a bit of a beard. And I AM a vegan*.

Anyway back to IPT. Yes. And inventing Google.

My friend L and I spent most of our time doing group assignments at my house, printing out reams of coding and crying hysterically.  One time, on the due date of an assignment, my PC died.  My hysterics reached new heights.

My Dad, a teacher at my school and possibly feeling somewhat responsible for the whole thing (AS WELL HE SHOULD ARE YOU READING THIS DAD I BLAME YOU) did what any parent would do when their child phones them screaming "I CAN'T GET THE ASSIGNMENT TO SAVE THE COMPUTER HAS DIED I AM GOING TO FAIL AND NEVER GET TO UNI AND END UP ON THE STREETS!".

He loaded my entire computer and hard drive into his  blue volvo, drove to school and parked up on the grass outside my teacher's staff room, unloaded the entire computer and plugged it in at her desk and got her to work it out.

Not embarrassing at all. Nope. Not a bit.

So that leads me right back to Google (OK I KNOW IT DOESN'T REALLY BUT WORK WITH ME HERE PEEPS).  I think we all accept that computer nerds now rule the world. Bill Gates, Julian Assange, and Dr Sheldon Cooper are the puppet masters and we; we are their puppets.

Now excuse me while I go and Google "How to get rid of chin hair" and "How do you spell Oeuvre?" and "ZZ Top beards".

Good day to you all.


9 July 2013

Sadly, I'm no tampon advert

This exercise malarky has found me ill-equipped in more ways than just fitness.  

1. My running is ugly
I'm not joking.  I jog like a wounded beast, lumbering along on the inside of my feet for a hundred metres or so before lapsing back into the wheezing reality of the overweight walker.  I keep up my pace, thankful for large sunglasses and slower, fatter people until I build up a little reserve and lurch forward once again.  One thing is for certain - nobody is ever going to be mistaking me for a tampon advert.

2. I have boobs
The men and women that bounce along the pavement in naught but a lick of lycra do not need to battle their breasts into submission by strapping them to their bodies first in scientifically designed, AIS approved, militarily tested bras and then reinforced with constrictive clothing.  I have to ensure my emerging jogging style is not impeded by boob induced whiplash or I won't be running anywhere as I'll be in traction.

3. Where the f**k do people put their musical devices?
Those arm straps are uncomfortable. My phone insurance doesn't cover sweat damage if I shove it down my bra. I am morally and ethically opposed to bum bags.  When I carry it in my hand I rip my earphones out of my ears when I swing my arms. I haven't yet worked out the solution but I suspect it might involve duct tape and my neck.

4. I don't look good in baseball caps
I see my capped reflection and realise that I look like I should be wearing a lumber jacket and shooting deer, not going for a sedate walk/run around the bay. I have a big head and hats and me have a tortured relationship. The whole jogger look is pulled together by the correct head wear which helps you look professional and run better.  I think the head wear issue might be my biggest impediment to successful running.

5. I haven't got the right playlist
I have playlists of music to put children to sleep.  For driving. For writing. For reading. For the bus.  Favourites.  Old music. New music.  But I don't have an exercise playlist yet. It's going to need Pink, Beth Ditto, Pulp, Queen, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend but how do I work out what tunes I'm missing?  My genius playlist threw up 'The Grand Old Duke of York' which didn't really do much for my vibe. But I know that I'm going to run like Usain once I get it sorted.  I just know it!

All suggestions to get myself match fit for the start of my 'official training' next week gratefully received.

4 July 2013

30 is too young to give up

On a morning TV show this week they were asking if people should settle when it came to choosing a life partner once they reached 30.  Recently, a friend was freaking out because he was about to turn 30 and hadn't decided what he wanted to be.  Another girlfriend was lamenting that her husband kept wanting to hang out with his friends and drink and he was 30 and should accept that he's too old to be a lad any more.

30 years old.

For context, we're talking 52 years before you're going to die if you're Australian (53 if you're Japanese, 51 if you're a Kiwi, 50 if you're British).  Add a few more years if you're female.  Sure it's averages, but speaking in averages, it is still 47 before you get dementia and 45 before you hit compulsory retirement if you're a Catholic priest.

So unless you're Jesus or a rock star - 30 is nothing.

If you think about the fact that you spent the first 18 years of your life basically learning stuff that you HAD to learn, you're only 12 years into learning stuff you want to learn.  And if you eliminate  most of your 20s which are generally not pretty, you're only about two years into having a clue.

Going on the stats from the ABS in 2012 - you've only been married about a year, you're ten years away from being divorced and you've only just had your first baby.  And that's your first marriage.  A few of us have one or two more marriages to go.  And when it comes to careers (careers - not jobs) - you've got between 7 and 11 to get through according to a series of recent studies - the goal is no longer early retirement and a gold watch.

And sure - 'settle down' if you've met the person that makes you happy but no age is the right age to just plain old 'settle'.  To settle is to give up.  To settle is to live the rest of your life thinking I could have done better. It doesn't just apply to your partner, but to your job, your interests, your education, your friends.  Why would you choose to live your life wondering?

I get biological clocks, I get job security, I get mortgages.  But seriously, when I was 17 - I thought my life would be sorted by 25.  Mainly because 25 seemed so grown up.  I'm 38 now and I still don't believe that I have it sorted.  And I think 25 is so far from grown up.  I feel the same about 38 and have a sneaking suspicion I'll be feeling the same way in a decade or two. There is so much to do and I'm thankful that on the law of averages, I've still got just under 50 years to 'fit it in'.

I can think of no greater tragedy than to settle.  As Barry Hastings said in Strictly Ballroom (and to be fair probably somebody before him because loads of people have this tattoo in Spanish) "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

My great-aunt M was 80 when she tried sky-diving.  Fauja Singh was 89 when he took up marathon running and 101 when he retired.  Bryce Courtney wrote his first novel at 56.  Imagine if they thought 30 was the age that they needed to have made the decision about the kind of person they were going to be 50 years later.

30 is an early stop.  It's a first chapter.  It's an opening verse.  It's before half-time.

Why stress about having it all done by a certain age?  What a burden to live under?  Averages say you've got bucket loads of time to do anything you want to do.

Unless you are Jesus.  In which case, get a move on.

Baz summed it up best really

2 July 2013

A win for democracy? Ed Husic is a better person than me

I've been at home today, lying under the blankets feeling sorry for myself as I battle a cold.  When I was younger my parents used to say "you're not martyr material" like it was a bad thing (for those unfamiliar with martyrs they generally end up dead).  Now that I'm older I understand that I just have a male approach to illness and I say that with the greatest of respect.  Soldiering on should only be for Codral adverts.

Anyway, I digress.  To entertain myself I've been glued to twitter which was entertaining at first as I caught up with the world of film and music and TV and people's meals, and then the flood of abuse towards Ed Husic for being sworn in on a Koran rather than a Bible began and I wished I hadn't been on Twitter and could somehow have remained unaware of how vocal the bigots can be.

"We are a Christian country". "It's Un-Australian". "It's the book of terrorists".

To all of you that wrote the above or versions of it.  Please shut up.  You're all idiots.  And ignorant.  And idiocy and ignorance should be more 'unAustralian' then they currently are.

Australian enough for you?

Firstly - if anything we're an Aboriginal country, not a Christian one (remember - boat people are so 1788).  And anything that says religion should have a part in the running of the country is just wrong.  Law and religion should always be separate because since we clearly can't agree on religion, the law should be impartial.

Secondly - on this same point.  Ed Husic making an oath on the Bible would be meaningless.  No more should he swear on the Bible than Julia Gillard, who as an Atheist should probably stick to 'my word is my bond' or similar rather than using any book.  Why swear on something he doesn't believe in?  How would that be an oath?  Go back to your Famous Five novels to understand why getting an oath right is so important.

Thirdly - if a Sydney born Bosniak from Blacktown is not Australian the rest of us are truly screwed.

Fourthly - so called Christians shouldn't be throwing aspersions on anybody else's book until they have better explanations for the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the homes for unwed mothers and a host of other historical and more recent examples of 'being Christian does not a good man make'.

Lastly - why are bigots so VOCAL?  Why do you put your names and faces to such abuse?  Would you scream these things into the face of Ed Husic and his family?  If not - why are you putting them in capitals on your Twitter feed and Facebook page?

I say kudos to Ed Husic for being so magnanimous about the abuse and calling it democracy.  I would have stamped my feet, yelled "No Fair" and gone home.

His mother did bring him up good she did.  And her a Muslim.  Who'd have thunked it eh? **

**for those that missed it - tongue firmly in cheek for this line.