30 December 2014

FFS - Shagging gets political

The latest dumb thing said by somebody male and once a politician is that people shouldn't have babies while they are on welfare.  Actually, he said people should go on the pill if they are on welfare.

Only women mind.

I don't see him suggesting the temporary neutering of men on welfare.  Just those pesky troublesome humans with uteruses and the hankering for the odd shag/human connection.

I hope he's offering to pay for all this temporary sterilisation and the condoms.  Because we know the pill is only 99 percent effective or as Hugh Grant once noticed in the movie 9 months - this means it's one percent bloody well ineffective.

So the pill wont be enough.  You'll need to double or nothing my fellow Australians.

And to be fair, I think it's a great ploy to demonise the feckless female poor.  Those poor bastards who for whatever reason can't get a job.  I mean the fact that the funding of our education system is being slashed and only people that can afford to pay for a decent education will get one, which will obviously impact their ability to get jobs means that we should be able to breed those poor fuckers out pretty quickly.

We're also upping the cost of food and housing and slashing funding to anybody that might like to try and help them out, so those that we haven't bred out can probably freeze to death next winter if they've not managed to starve themselves over summer.

He's on to something - they've got nothing to eat, nowhere to live, no fucking hope and now no shagging unless they can afford the contraception.  Cheeses Gary.  You're a hard fucking bastard you are.

But the great news is that we've put in some tax breaks for the likes of Gina and Clive and all the other big fucking corporations at the other end so they should be able to breed with the gay abandon of well fed rabbits.

Because Gina's kids have turned out so great what with all their white wealthy privilege.  They can't live on millions a year, in fact they are suing her for more.

And who the fuck can ever afford to have children - really?  Even if you're earning a motza you're probably working your arse off to keep the dollars coming in so that they can sue you later so it becomes a bit of a catch 22.

Just the women mind.  Nobody is asking the feckless male poor to be doing their bit for the economy.
Honestly.  We vote these people in?  For fucks sake. Somebody punch us in the throat.

Go forth and breed people - but PLEASE not if you're genetically related to Gary Johns or Scott Morrison.  I couldn't bear it if their brand of stupid and mean was genetic.

Consider it your patriotic duty - a revolution if you please.


And in the meantime I'm going back to uttering profanities and muttering darkly about the state of the fucking country.  Cheeses.

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29 December 2014

I heart my friends

Yesterday I spent some time re-reading the cards that I was given for my 40th birthday earlier this month and I cried.  Just like I did when I read them the first time.

Fuck my friends are beautiful.

I got some gorgeous gifts.  Really thoughtful, inspired gifts.  I was incredibly spoilt.  But I tell you what, the cards are a gift that will keep on giving long after people forgot what they wrote.  Even the ones that just say Dear Al, Happy Birthday, LOVE xxx

I am loved. 


And so fortunate to have such big hearted, gorgeous, amazing friends.  Friends that give without expectation.  Their time, their shoulders, their joy, their love.  They give it.  They give it some more and just when you think that they must be totally sick of you.  BAM. Some more love.

They are none of them perfect.  Any more than I. Which is what makes them all the more perfect for me.  I have no friends for whom things matter more than people.  Not one.  And I know enough to know that this is rare.  

These cards. These wonderful, thoughtful, caring words. I am not going to box them away out of sight, but rather keep them in a drawer close by so when I have days where self esteem kicks the shit out of self belief - I can dip into them, reinvigorate my heart. 

Words are powerful beyond measure.  As is friendship.

Thank you for both. 
The crispiest bacon bits

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16 December 2014

Thoughts on the Sydney siege

Deep breath.

A huge 24 hours for Sydney.  Acts of violence like this are all encompassing and yet nothing to do with most of us all at the same time.

I really really hoped for a good outcome - no fatalities.  But that hasn't happened.  And that fills me with sorrow.  Senseless deaths always do.  People are always missed by somebody.  A parent. A friend. A sibling. A lover. A child.

And we have seen the worst of Sydney and the best of Sydney online.  And we have seen the very worst of media both here in Australia and overseas.

We are told that the killer in the Lindt store identified with the ISIS cult in the Middle East.  And that may well be true. But Martin Bryant identified with no-one, anywhere.

We need to make sure this story doesn't become more than it is.  Because it's already big and horrible in its basic truth.

The police have cited it as the act of an individual with a personal agenda. A known criminal.

We need to remember that if we become hateful or fearful 'he wins'. That is the purpose of 'acts of terrorism' - the acts of a few permanently impacting the way the world works.

Our challenge is to respond by impacting the world in a way that is contrary to hate.  Acts of unity like #Illridewithyou demonstrate that for the majority of people, their humanity is always at the fore.

We would all do well to remember that. The majority of people are good people.

Don't be afraid to actively reach out.  Do something in memory of Tori Johnson or Katrina Dawson.  Remember their names. Do something to help the other hostages who will live with this long after it's immediacy recedes for the rest of us. Send them love, prayers, support - whatever works for you.

And remember these three quotes from Martin Luther King.

1. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

2. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend

3. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Choose love. Choose unity. And always, always choose kindness. 

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12 December 2014

On the eve of my 40th birthday

 Dear Alison

So, tomorrow you turn 40.  On a Saturday.  Well played lady - you can have your party on your actual birthday.  And we know you love a party, particularly a dress up one.  It's been 19 years since your last dress up birthday party and quite frankly, that's too long.

Parties are great.  They are a fantastic way to get lots of people you adore into one room.  You don't get people that don't like parties - it's like saying "I hate being surrounded by my friends". And you are exactly the opposite.  You like being surrounded by your friends.  A lot.  And mainly because you know a lot of really fucking awesome people.

40 is a good number.  It's far enough away from puberty and the teenage years which were, to put it bluntly, shit.  But it's also super far away from 100 so you might just fit everything in that you want to fit in.

But the thing you promised yourself for your 40th was to own all you've done.  It's been a tough year and one where you have felt like a bit of failure far too often because you've had to rely on others more than you like.  You much prefer helping to being helped.  You know it's the human condition but still, asking people for help has been hard and sometimes, despite you being really fucking good at what you do, some of people's well meaning but nevertheless relentless negativity has crept in more than it should. PS: You're shit at selling yourself.

So dear self - we're going to reflect on what you've achieved in the last 40 years. It won't be an exhaustive list because your memory is bollocks but it'll do nicely.  And your psych will be very pleased to hear that you're owning your own achievements and not waiting for validation from others.
You will try anything, twice to be polite, three times or more if you like it.  So you've bungee jumped, roller bladed, ice skated, water skiied, iFlyed, learned to play the piano, ukulele and guitar (none of them properly), failed to conquer the hula hoop, belly danced (like a thunder bird), become competitively proficient at ballroom dancing, performed on stage, sung solo (albeit badly) on stage and to this day remain fiercely resistant to partaking in karaoke.

You learnt some Russian, learnt some Spanish, learnt some German, paddle boarded, canoed down the Volga, kayaked on the ocean and down rivers, you've gone 4WDing, skiing (both types), snowboarding, hiking, camping, abseiling, caving, prussiking, ridden a bike, flown a plane, got a motorcycle license, owned a motorcycle, crashed a motorcycle. You've been horse riding, stayed on a bolting horse but fell off a standing camel. You have ridden a camel in the Sahara desert and have the pictures of the gaping abscess in your arse that developed as a result.

You have slept in brothels in several countries (because backpacking), you have hitchhiked in places you should not have and once hung off the back of a car on your roller blades as it got up to 80 kilometres per hour in south Canberra.  You've crashed a few cars - only one of them yours, pierced your ears, your belly button and gotten a tattoo before it was cool.  You've worn glasses, contacts and had laser surgery.  You've broken an arm and a leg falling off buses in an ungainly fashion, had your nose broken twice and have some spinal damage from one of the car accidents but nothing that has produced interesting scars.

You've climbed several volcanoes but not yet Mt Etna, travelled to a lot of amazing countries on all of the continents but haven't done nearly enough. You've skinny dipped in the Mediterranean, eaten herring in Sweden, caviar in Russia, laid water pipes in Indonesia, build a medical centre in Ecuador, houses in Mexico and danced in Taiwan.  You've volunteered for over 25 years with the likes of Barnardos, Welcome to Australia, World Vision, Scouts Australia, Crisis, Amnesty, Starlight and cancer charities.  To raise money you've shaved your head, sold chocolates, shaken buckets, dyed your hair blue, canoed 100 km, kept silent for 60 hours, run an ultra half marathon and a couple of smaller runs besides and you should be extremely proud of raising tens of thousands of dollars along the way.

You've made a lot of friends, been lucky enough to keep a lot of them. You've learnt that it's not always you when somebody to decides to end a friendship, but sometimes it is.  You've dated enough guys to learn a lot about yourself but cheeses girl, you were a slow learner.  You have had good sex, bad sex and no sex. You can grieve. You can laugh. You did actually spend an entire night crying to a Michael Bolton song and now you can't even remember the guys name. You've never forgotten the names of friends that passed through illness, accident or suicide.  You won't. You find some of your friends so freakin' inspirational that having them in your life makes your heart ache with the good fortune.

You find joy in small things. You have learnt to control your temper, you laugh and you do try to be kind.  You are self aware so you know what you're good at, what you need to work at and what you just don't give a shit about.  You are okay with being a fussy eater. You aren't big on people fussing and you don't like long goodbyes.  You hate apathy.  You are what is known as opinionated.  Everybody has opinions, opinionated just means you verbalise yours while others don't.  When you're tired or hungry you're an arsehat.  Yet even after all this time - you miss the signals.

You have read a lot of books, magazines, papers. Anything that will fire up the brain. You have watched a lot of movies but still hate scary ones. You explored theatre but found it boring as bat shit but have embraced the musical.  You have discovered that interpretive theatre is a con.  You no longer queue for bars or clubs because you're out for the people not the venue. You do like rollercoasters,   You quit smoking, sensibly never tried drugs bar 'the marijuana' a couple of times, which you recognise as a bit of good luck in hindsight. You still bite your nails and drink, however considering you could be a bigot, an arsehole and habitually mean - you'll stick with those flaws and count your lucky stars. You know enough about a lot of things to be able to contribute to conversations unless they are talking fishing, cooking or reality shows and then it's time for a nap. You taught yourself to sign the alphabet from the Yellow Pages and have never seen a painting that moves you as much as photography.

You've done things you're not crazy proud of, things you recognise were wrong, things that you copped the blame for but didn't do and things you did do and got busted doing.  You've had a mortgage, you have rented and you have lived in share houses. You have stories.  Man, some brilliant ones. You've loaned money and borrowed money.  You preferred the loaning - even the time it left you $25,000 out of pocket. An expensive lesson but a lesson none the less.  You owned a 1958 Morris Minor - which you still miss but are cognisant that selling that car and the house led you to the life you have now.

Your black and white view of the world has morphed into something splendidly and gloriously grey. Nuanced but loud. You like to go marching in support of things you care about and you care about a lot. You try never to read the comments. Sometimes you read the comments.  Idiot.

You are gentle with your ten year old self and your twenty year old self and thirty year old self in a way that you never used to be.  You can thank the various PND, PSTD and depression diagnosis' for that. Therapy has taught you to recognise the you spent far far far too many years listening to the wrong voices. You know now how to embrace the right voices.  You recognise that you are okay. Imperfect but loveable. You are outspoken about things you believe in and about the people you believe in. You swear way too much but couldn't really give a fuck when it comes down to it.

You don't hold grudges because to hold on to that kind of negativity eats away at a person so it destroys them.  You can do CPR and was once able to juggle.  You were part of a team that produced a best selling app and you can touch type like a demon but learning shorthand was a waste of a year. You have proven yourself to be a good manager but will never have a career in diplomacy.  You are ethical but still use plastic bags. You make assumptions about people based on their love of velour, dream catchers and crocs. They are still your friends.

You have worked in some amazing jobs and some crap ones. You have worked for good people and you have worked for people that are horrid. You got you some edumacation and despite doing very well for yourself in the corporate world, took last year's redundancy as a sign to Carpe Diem the shit out of your dreams and have spent this year setting up your own business in an industry that didn't exist when you left school. You're finally doing something about your lifelong love of writing. All if it's getting there, but it's taking time and the learning curve has been steep and the money scarce. That has been scary and it has been stressful. But girlfriend - at least you fucking did it.

Despite the stress of this particular year, your favourite decade has been the last one.  You met the wrong man.  He has loved you 'just as you are' and has never wanted you to be anything more or anything less, which is a genuine blessing.  You two have built a really good life together which as anybody in a relationship knows is an achievement in itself. You've travelled, argued, laughed, danced, played scrabble, moved countries, gotten engaged, married and produced the two most beautiful girls ever born in the history of the entire universe and all the universes beyond. There is nothing that you would change in your life, nothing, in case it took you somewhere that didn't include this family.  These people.  This little circle of happiness.

So when you lie awake at 3 am wondering if you've done enough in your first 40 years the answer is the same as many of your early reports "If Alison talked less, she could achieve more."  Which is strangely at odds with "Practice makes perfect" which is where your music teachers all felt you were lacking.  But they were all completely correct in the end - You are ace at the talking and there is still stuff left to do on your lists.  And when you get to 4 am, no you are not a loser, yes your friends do love you and yes, you do need to go to the toilet.

So. Enjoy tomorrow. You've done okay for 40.  And for fuck's sake - you've got plenty of time to sort out your shit.  So enjoy the party and worry about real life on Monday.

Big love

Your profaning, imperfect but ultimately entirely excellent self
Al x

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11 December 2014

Peoples minds are warped

You know what I think about Yumi Stynes taking her baby out in just a nappy?

Hot baby.  As in on a 30 something degree day the baby was hot.

That's it.
Know what I think about all the judgemental types banging on about what is right and respectable and proper and appropriate and correct and and and and and and....

You're the problem.

We live in a world where we are judged constantly.  We always have.  Our parents and grandparents generation lives with 'What will other people think?' so deeply ingrained in their psyches it's practically cultish.

The simple fact is - it's none of your damn business.  If you are so hung up on what other people are thinking about a baby's right to bear chubby arms and rounded tummy you have a problem. Not Yumi. Not her husband.  Not her baby. And obviously not Johnson's marketing team.

The cuteness. Total ovary explosion.
Yumi dressed her baby as a baby.  Not a fashion accessory. Not story bait. Just a baby.  Anything anybody projected on to that one simple act is representative of their own minds - and people - it wasn't pretty.  A lot of people have twisted, nasty, petty minds that are smaller than a very small thing.

Children get approximately five years between birth and school to live freely.  They can wear what they want, where they want, when they want.  Want to wear your best dress to childcare? Go bonkers. Want to sleep in your ballerina tutu? Go bonkers? Want to go barefoot? Go bonkers.  Want to wear your Buzz Lightyear outfit to soccer practice? Go bonkers. Want to wear a swimsuit over your jeans and tshirt? Go bonkers.  Want to wear stickers on your cheeks to grocery shop? Go bonkers.

After those five years - they enter the system.  They wear uniforms. They develop friendship circles who influence their style and fashion choices. They play sports. Grow taller. Grow older. More uniforms. Then the uniform of non-conformity. Then the uniform of young adulthood. Employment.

But before school? Let them be free to dress however they freakin' well want.

We rail against magazines that tell us what size to be, we petition department stores for longer shorts for girls and somehow, are completely oblivious to the judgemental bollocks we spill out. Our prejudices, our insecurities, our pettiness all spewed into the universe on social media, at the water coolers, over coffee about a baby that dressed like a baby.

Packing for a weekend away
Before we judge Yumi's parenting - think on this, what example are you setting? What makes your choices about dressing children 'right' and others 'wrong'? Why of all the issues there are in the world did you choose this one to be the thing that you articulate an opinion on?

And in the meantime - calm the fuck down. Please.

Pssst... I hear her parents sometimes use CLOTH NAPPIES said no baby ever

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10 December 2014

Isn't it lovely? #humanrights365

If you're one of the lovely people that read my blog because they are interested in watching my brain vomit its content into the universe to see what lurks within - hello!

If you're one of those lovely people that read my blog so that they can mutter all about how it's all very well for me to bang on about things like marriage equality, bigotry, asylum seekers, building toilets, supporting third world development and the like but it doesn't affect you and quite frankly you think my lefty do gooding rants are misguided and ill informed, and think there are problems we can focus on that are much more important even if you can't name one right now - hello!

But isn't it lovely that we're all able to be here having an opinion?

Isn't it lovely that I can wave a water pistol around my local park and nobody shoots me?

Isn't it lovely that me and my well meaning white family can go about our business with nobody taking a blind bit of notice of any of us or making any assumptions about us apart from thinking that the mother seriously needs a hair cut?

Isn't it lovely that somebody can ring Nick at work tomorrow and he can say "Sorry, I don't have the authority required to answer that question" and nobody will fire rocket launchers at him as he drives home that night and then attempt to kill his family?

Isn't it lovely that when I want to have a wee or a poo I can go and do so in complete safety, even if my privacy is violated by a two year demanding a hug?

Isn't it lovely that I can freely send into the universe my opinions on the politics of this country, put my name to it and not find myself strung up by my wrists, whipped with electrical cords and systemically raped for traitorous behaviour?

Isn't it lovely that I can work on the assumption that my daughters will have full access to a solid education without ever having to fear that their school bus will be boarded by armed militants who put a bullet in their head because they are females wanting an education?

Isn't it lovely that the life expectancy of the four of us is pretty damn good because we have access to food, water and medical assistance which help us potter along to a great age?

Isn't it lovely that when Nick and I decided to get married we were able to do that despite the fact that he was brought up as a Methodist and I was brought up as a Catholic?

Isn't it lovely that we happened to be of the heterosexual persuasion and never had to worry about coming out, staying in or any other such thing?

Isn't it lovely that if I decided I wanted to go to a church to celebrate the birth of the man they call Jesus this month, nobody is going to spit on me, hurl abuse or even hit me in front of my children for believing something different to what they do?

Isn't it lovely going to bed and not having my house torpedoed during the night and my death written off as collateral damage, and my neighbours forced to flee and then exist for years in refugee camps as a bunch of politicians work out which group of men with guns they are siding with?

Isn't it lovely that I was lucky enough to be born with enough checks in the right boxes to be able to take my human rights for granted?  A lucky lucky zygote me!

Isn't it lovely that most of Australia lives like that? Not all. No, not all.

Isn't it lovely that the United Nations committed to a charter of rights for every individual on the planet so that those not blessed by happenstance can hope for the same freedoms that I do, knowing that they are not alone in working towards that truth?

So next time you're weighing up whether or not somebody has 'the right', the answer is 'yes'.

If we are all human, we are all equal.  Each and every one of us deserving of the same rights.  And if one single person doesn't enjoy those same rights - then we are not equal, and we should all be standing tall and demanding those rights irrespective of race, religion, gender or our personal opinions.

If you deny the rights of any - you are tacitly agreeing to your OWN human rights being overthrown should circumstances change.  The very thing you think doesn't matter because you don't think it important, is often the one thing that would transform a life.  If circumstances were different, that transformation could be your life.

Every right matters.  Every single human right matters. Even if you don't want it for yourself. That's always a dumb argument.

Human rights are everybody's business. All of the time.

Isn't it lovely?

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1 December 2014

Signs you're not getting that Santa photo this year

So it's December first and even though I swore I'd never be the kind of parent that had their children have Santa photos - my first kid was so adorable I couldn't walk past Santa without propping her next to him and getting the photo.  To be fair, I was hard pushed to walk past anything and not photograph her next to it. In fact, sometimes I just photographed her without a prop and be damned with the consequences.

Then I had another baby - she was also ridiculously cute and thus it continued.  One big photo journal of my kids generally being adorable.  And then one year Tully wanted Mum and Dad in the photo or she wouldn't have her photo taken and we launched in so enthusiastically we probably scared Santa. Because we have embraced the fact that kids LOVE things that aren't cool or hip or trendy or in any way dignified.

But this year, there are some signs that not even the presence of the parentals is going to get our Cassidy to pose with Santa.

  1. She is terrified by people dressed up as ketchup bottles handing out Heinz samples.
  2. She is terrified by people dressed up as Pandas advertising WWF.
  3. She is terrified by people dressed up as Koalas protesting fracking.
  4. She is terrified by people dressed up as Kermit playing a banjo.
  5. She is terrified by people dressed up as the Monkey at Monkey Mania.
  6. She is terrified by the original Banana's in Pyjamas - ie: people in costumes not animations.
  7. She is terrified by Santa.
And we haven't even met him yet.  We just walked past him with the grocery trolley and before you could say 'Hey look see' she had vaulted out of the trolley, wrapped her arms around my neck in a manner designed to cause lose of life, pressed her face into mine and was crying "I don't like Santa".  

We had to walk past him twice more and when I say 'by him' I mean - cross through a crowded shopping mall somewhere within 100 metres of him but she could smell him I reckon.  And not just because Santa Claus is always liberal with the Brut.  

I tried chatting about it - What about if Tully wants to have a photo with you and Santa?

Nope. I don't like Santa. 

What about if Mum and Dad were in the photo?

Nope. I don't like Santa. 

What about....


So I think I'll leave off telling her that Santa is coming to her Christmas concert this Saturday and just be sure to wear protective clothing to prevent strangulation by off spring.  And start saving for the therapy.  Because there is 24 days until Christmas and the chances of Santa sightings are quite high. 

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25 November 2014

A tale of domestic violence

Nearly twenty years ago, I had a girlfriend who was regularly beaten by her partner.  She'd turn up in the middle of the night looking for somewhere to crash, she'd call asking to be collected from the hospital or occasionally ring me in the middle of the day - determined that this was going to be the day she left him and could I come and help her move.

He'd ring and demand she come home or turn up on the doorstep refusing to leave. Call me all manner of delightful names. I'd call the police, he'd leave and around and around and around it went.

I never turned her down.  Even when I found it hard to believe initially because he seemed like such a nice guy.  But I saw the bruises. I saw the x-rays.  I cried with her when he aborted her baby with a punch to the stomach.  I tried to get her to report him to the police or at least go to a counsellor so she had some professional support behind her but she always refused.

I was completely out of my depth.  I felt that I really did not have the experience to help her in any meaningful way. I  was flying blind and keeping a secret that was big and brutal.  But she was adamant.  She was worried about what people would think of her.  She said she knew that she just had to be a better wife and accept that sometimes she made him so mad he couldn't think straight.

And then she got pregnant again. And she was determined that this was it. She told him that if she ever touched her while she was pregnant she'd report him. He slapped her for the insolence. She reported him.  He got a slap on the wrist and advised to stop mixing his booze and his bongs and focus on 'the missus'. It gave him a fright though and while he was an arse to her verbally, he didn't hit her again until she was about 6 months pregnant.

I collected her from the hospital. Broke her nose and her cheek bone slipping on the stairs she told the nurses and due to her bulk she'd fallen awkwardly against the stair rail.  The nurses didn't believe her.  She didn't even bother lying to me.  I took her to her sister's house and her sister held her tight as she begged her to leave him.  She didn't.

What she did do is make a deal with him.  If he never touched her or the baby again, she'd pretend the last few years didn't happen and she'd cut off contact with everybody that knew.  Provided he promised to turn over a new leaf and never hit her, never drink and never do drugs again.

He agreed.  He swore that he was a changed man and that he would do anything he could to make sure that she and their daughter were safe.  That day I saw her at her sister's house was the last I saw her.  The last her sister saw her. She changed phone numbers and moved house and the one time I saw her in the street she refused to look at or talk to me.

I saw him plenty of times boozing it on in town, often in the embrace of women that weren't her.

Take the oath
I heard later that his friends knew about it, but were of the opinion that it wasn't their business and that they'd always said she was a bit of a handful.

Victim blaming. Victim shaming.  The most powerful weapon in the domestic violence armoury.

The fact is the only person to blame for violence is the person committing the act of violence.

Things have changed a lot since then.  There are more support services. You can report domestic violence and the police will act even if the victim doesn't want to file a complaint. Hospitals have more reporting responsibilities.  And people know now that domestic violence happens at all levels of society - it's not something 'other people do'.

I still wish, particularly with almost twenty years more life experience under my belt, that I had done more. That I had been somehow able to change her view that she was responsible for his behaviour. That I'd broken my promise to keep her secret from our circle of friends.

Domestic violence still kills one woman a week.  One in three women will suffer sexual or physical violence at the hands of somebody close to them.  One in four children are exposed to domestic violence.

Speak up. Speak out.

If you need somebody to talk to - always remember Lifeline are there to help you 13 11 14.

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24 November 2014

Not all eyes are created equal

The Tullinator recently failed her 4 year old vision test.  We weren't too bothered but because vision is 'a thing' for us genetically, we wanted to get it checked out straight away.  Our GP (who is several kinds of brilliant for all sorts of reasons) referred us to an Ophthalmologist who turned out to be all kinds of brilliant too.

The long, and the short of it, is that she has very mild myopia combined with an astigmatism (which causes blurry vision) and is going to need to wear glasses full time.  Which she is several sorts of thrilled about as they are purple and red, and glasses are so cool.

I can not thank the likes of Doc McStuffins, Peppa Pig and The Wiggles enough.  She's thought glasses were cool long before she ever needed them.  And she understood what would happen in an eye test and she had a framework, a context for the whole experience which didn't exist when I was a child.

Me? I wept.

Not in front of her.  We are so pumped about glasses around these parts we're practically door knocking houses to share the good news.  

This is entirely my issue.  I hated wearing glasses.  Loathed. Detested. Abhorred. Despised. Disliked. They were the focal point (boom tish) of much bullying through my school years and anybody that says "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" is wrong.  

As soon as I could I moved onto contact lenses and practically the moment they invented laser eye surgery I was there, handing over the cash.  It has ruled out a future career as a submariner and scratched any chance of me climbing Kilimanjaro but I'm okay with that.  I understand modern incarnations of laser surgery can also correct astigmatisms and let you ride submarines which is pretty ace.

These days, we know that the sooner you get onto correcting vision, the less it impacts learning, socialisation and most importantly the brain. Early intervention with refractive errors (such as astigmatism and myopia) help the brain keeps everything ticking over properly, making sure it's operating in high definition, full colour and so on.  And glasses are not 'a thing' anymore. Some people wear glasses just because they like them.  Blah. Blah. Blah. 

But this is my Tully.  One of my two beautiful children. And now one little face is going to be seeing the world through full time spectacles. Of course she'll still be beautiful, I fully appreciate that this is 'just glasses' but glasses for me were twenty odd years of feckin' awful.  My reaction was visceral, emotional and highly unexpected. 

Why Tully? She was born with it.  Quite likely because I was born with an astigmatism.  And one of my parents probably had one too and so on and so forth. Astigmatisms are not created equal but unless caused by injury to the eye are mostly genetic. One person can have an astigmatism which will cause them no problem at all ever.  You can have one like mine which meant that combined with some old fashioned myopia, I was practically blind in one eye pre-surgery. 

Yet, in the three days since diagnosis - old wives tales and peoples general inability to think before saying daft things has been eye-opening (I really am I fire with my today!). 

Let's answer those questions for you shall we?

1. Is it because you let her sit too close to the TV sometimes?
Nope. Nothing to do with it. In fact, it is entirely possible her preference for sitting closer is because the image was clearer for her. So stick that in your judgeypants and sit on it. 

2. Ah, is it because you let the girls use iPads?
Ah, nope, wrong again. Our modern parenting and lack of technophobia has not caused Tully to be short sighted. Unlike you with your narrow mind and big mouth.

3. Is this linked to her not eating enough vegetables?
Sure, food matters.  But if every toddler that went through a stage of hating a particular food group was penalised by being struck down with myopia and astigmatism, every single child in the whole wide world would be wearing spectacles. So no. 

4. How did you let that happen?
Um. I'm sorry? If the joining of our genes to make this awesome kid is 'letting it happen' - yes, this is our fault, but otherwise, bite me. 

So this week, we'll go and pick up our chosen spectacles - the ones that when she tried on in the shop led her to exclaim "Oh Mummy, I look so pretty".  

Yes, little one.  You do. All the time. And as your Mama, my wish for you to never see your self in any other way is so fierce it chokes me up. So if one more person says anything else daft about you or your glasses, hell will have no fury like me. 

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21 November 2014

WTF Australian politicians?


Former Labor leader Mark Latham won't shut up and what's even more distressing is that a publication like the Australian Financial Fucking Review PAID THE MAN to write that crap.

Current Labor leader Bill Shorten doesn't say anything at all about anything.  No matter what barbaric bullshit the current government thinks up he just sits around saying absolutely fucking nothing.  NOTHING.  The list is so freakin' long of things he hasn't said he couldn't come back from it if he tried.  He's basically waving a banner that say "YEP - I AGREE WITH TONY. WHAT A LOVELY MAN. LET'S ALL VOTE FOR TONY."

Julie Bishop is denying feminism. Jacqui Lambie is getting more airtime than the squeaks from Christine Milne. Penny Wong can do no wrong but isn't allowed to say much that isn't about Adelaide because GOD HELP US IF ANYBODY SAYS ANYTHING SENSIBLE ABOUT FEDERAL POLITICS AND ESPECIALLY NOT A POLITICIAN THAT PEOPLE LIKE.

Tony Abbott just lurches from one petty moment to another with the glee of a pantomime villain (but with nowhere near the quality of script) and the fact that Scott Morrison actually was birthed by a human, is married and has children of his own is absolutely UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE.  There's a man that doesn't mind that he gets written into the history books as akin to Hitler, as long as he's being talked about. That's not politics. It's ego.

And yes I think the previous Labor government should punch themselves in the throat for all that schoolyard bullshit "Rudd Gillard Rudd he said she said but today I'm the captain" that completely devalued anything useful they did or did not achieve for Australia.  Who could see through the petty vindictive politicising?

You know why Gough Whitlam's funeral resonated?  Politicians with passion for leadership and doing the best thing for the country - he might not have been perfect but in 3 years he did good things for Australians.  Not good things for coal companies or media moguls or just his ego.  I thought John Howard was as low as we could go but it turns out he's a fucking role model for young people.  At least he had an opinion.  Even if he was a bigoted dick.

And Paul Keating.  Why you started this sorry mess of mandatory detention I'll never know but for the love of the dictionary - come back and throw some banana noses around parliament and get people fighting in parliament - not doing all this dodgy personality based behind closed doors bullshit.

Even Malcolm Fraser, he of the faffy faffy back in the day is saying CHEESES PEOPLE - THIS IS RIDICULOUS. I bet he's not even voting Liberal anymore.  I bet he didn't expect the country to be more backward in the 21st century than it was in the FUCKING 70s.  I hope he lives long enough to see our redemption though we're probably doing nothing for his blood pressure.

And you know what - this rage of mine is impotent.  I'm blogging because it's considered bad form to stand on street corners and shout profanities to the skies these days. I can't do anything until the next election except write my letters to politicians and WEEP BLOODY BLOODY TEARS because Tony Abbott's office is the only one to ever write back and thank me for my time.

We have compulsory voting.  We're all part of this. This is what happens to a country when we choose political leaders based on what's in it for me.  What can I get out of this?

Nothing in the end my friends.  Fucking nothing.  No extra money, no rights, no environment, no education, no support for the elderly, and absolutely no fucking credibility on the global stage.

This is what 'we' voted in.  Yay us.

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19 November 2014

Happy World Toilet Day

Did you know that today is World Toilet Day?

A whole day dedicated to where we do our poopies.  And a glorious chance for me to bang on about my favourite topic.

Giving a shit.

And I can say my daughters' word of the moment with gleeful abandon.


But it's a serious business.  This is actually a UN initiative.  Not a Geldof and Bono profile raising one. Because of the 7 billion people in the world, 2.5 million do not have access to improved sanitation.  1 billion still poop in the open.  Women and girls are regularly raped and abused while seeking privacy to answer nature's call. Toilet deprivation impacts education. Health. The staying alive thing.

In fact, sanitation is recognised as a global development priority.  That's right.

So giving a shit about people giving a shit is will literally transform lives.  If babies aren't busy dying of diarrhoea, kids aren't missing school because of illnesses caused by poor sanitation, if communities aren't living alongside rivers polluted with effluent - well you get the idea.  Toilets aren't just for fun.

Check out World Vision's piece on how a toilet keeps a kid in school
We're long time and slightly evangelical supporters of Who Gives A Crap - www.whogivesacrap.org - you go online, order a box of bog roll and they deliver it to you.  50% of all profits go to WaterAid to build toilets which means people don't die, get educated and all those other things we DO give a shit about. And they even have a code red so you know when it's time to reorder.

And for every dollar you invest in modern sanitation you save five on healthcare so it's like that shit's a bargain.  Singapore - pretty much universally acknowledged as one of the cleanest places in the world - was a cess pool only fifty years ago. Literally.

And there is a cute little video to show you that where you go matters.  Like shitloads.

So happy World Toilet Day.  Don't forget to give your own toilets some love today and be hugely appreciative of your access to that white shiny porcelain thing that makes you happy, clever and generally shit hot.

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17 November 2014

How to be a .....

I'm putting a huge part of the writing world out of a job here but things are pretty simple.  If you want to be something, you generally have to do something.

If you want to be a triathlete. Do a triathlon.

If you want to be a runner. Run.

If you want to be a swimmer. Swim.

If you want to be an ironman. Buy an iron.  Just joking, do an iron man thingy.

If you want to be a gardener. Garden.

If you want to be a writer. Write.

If you want to be a teacher. Teach.

If you want to be a superhero. Buy a cape and give yourself a cool name.

It's that simple.

Unless you want to be Kim Kardashian. In which case my friend - photo shop.

If you're doing it, you can call yourself that thing.

And don't beat yourself up about whether or not you're doing it well or the best.  Just doing it is enough to qualify for the label.

The benchmark for success for pretty much everything is fairly subjective. Rules are generally made up and if enough people follow them, that's they way things are done.  But if you don't like them you can do something else.  That's just the way the world works.

Unless you're a scientist in which the rules exist and you've just got to work them the fuck out.

This has been a non-sponsored public service announcement as part of my #CTFD initiative.

You're welcome.

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