31 July 2014

Hangovers and Affairs

To my beautiful daughters

When you grow up, you're probably going to fall in love.  Hopefully with somebody that makes you incredibly happy and you live a blessed life dancing around fields full of sunflowers and with a personal chef back home.

To be honest, you'll probably date a few people before then that aren't quite going to cut the mustard.  Some might break your heart. You might break theirs.  It's inevitable in the messy messy world of emotions that it doesn't necessarily all go according to plan every time.

And I would like to think that you only date single people.  While you're single.  But I also get that this isn't always how it works.  It's a bit like wine. While it makes good sense to finish one bottle before starting the second, when you're in the moment you crack open that second bottle and splash it into your glass on the dregs of the last bottle.

But remember - hangovers hurt.  The relationship equivalent of hangovers is affairs.  They hurt.  Maybe not you, but somebody.  And it's not the kind of hurt that can be fixed with a can of lemonade, two ibuprofen and a bacon and egg roll.

My gorgeous girls - promise me this.  If somewhere along the line, you have an affair with a murderer, go down on the president, get it on with somebody amazing in the toilet of a plane at 50,000 feet, or you find yourself naked with Prince Harry and a pool table - don't sell the story.

You're better than that.

You make a series of choices which get you to any point in your life.  They won't all be good choices.  Nobody is perfect.  And sometimes those less awesome choices will reward you.  Sometimes they won't, but any choice you make is your responsibility.  Bummer I know.

The people that sell their stories might make money but they lose everything else.  Their credibility, their integrity, their dignity, their relationships, their children, their families and quite often, their futures.
They hurt people very deliberately.  And publicly.  For money.

That's not what I want you to become.  Do what you do, live the life you live. Try not to hurt others.  It will happen, I know that, just as I know others will hurt you. But if the only way you can place a value on yourself and an experience is by selling yourself, and make no mistake, that's what you are doing, we have failed you terribly and for that I would be truly sorry.

So go forth little ones. Into the future, into the world.  Try to be lovely and remember that if you do hurt somebody, you say 'Sorry' not 'Sell my story'.

Love Mama xxxx  

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29 July 2014

Nobody says it better

Source: Banksy
So I was trying to work out exactly what I felt about MH17 and Gaza and stuff and I wrote this piece but then later that day Waheed Aly wrote something and it was SO MUCH BETTER.

So read his here The value of human life. That's pretty much what I wanted to say but said by somebody who knows how to say it just perfectly.

And I wanted to say something about how people can be really smug arses sometimes when it comes to parenting and well, life.  The parenting mafia often lack empathy and are recklessly judgemental about everything from Peaches Geldof to parenting styles.  And then Eden Riley wrote something and I thought - yes - THAT.  

So read her here Smug mothers polish mirrors.  And if you think you live an addiction free, trauma free, mistake free life, count your blessings rather than throwing stones around glass houses with gay abandon. 

And I was all cross about that Facebook page where women try to explain why they hate feminism (and actively prove they have never been blessed with a dictionary).  And they just look stupid.  So very very stupid.  

And the somebody set up this.  And it made the world a bit better because the point is so beautifully made we can relax again. Check out  Confused cats against feminism.  Don't look at the other one, it'll just make you mad.  

So I'm saying nothing today.  Not when it's all been said so articulately elsewhere.  

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28 July 2014

Being appropriately elderly - a guide

So here's my problem.  The World Health Organisation defines elderly in Western civilisations as 65 plus. My parents are plus.

I'm not quite 40 and still struggle with the label 'adult'.  I don't know if my brain is going to be able to process 'elderly' in just over 25 years.  Especially since we're quite likely to live until our late 80s at the very least.  All going well obviously.
This is not my dad. Yet. 

And my elderly role models are flawed.  The last time Mum broke something was when she was scaling a wall in the UK.  Dad's last few major falls have all been from his motorcycle when he's off-roading in Outback Australia or touring Bhutan.

If you google 'activities for elderly people', neither the traversing of walls or off road motorcycling come up.  Though cup stacking, knitting, large print crosswords, brass cleaning, egg shell mosaics and musical bingo all do.  So as my parents are currently jaunting around Greece seeing things that are even older than they are, they are obviously behaving inappropriately for elderly people.

My siblings and I need a plan so that our parents can be 'model elderly' so we know how to behave when we get to be elderly ourselves.  I mean isn't that how we 'parent'.  By modelling appropriate behaviour?  That whole do as I say, not as I do has been discredited fo' schizzle.

Now The Mayo Clinic advises that "Caring for the elderly can be challenging — particularly if a loved one is resistant to care. You need to understand what's causing your loved one's resistance and how you can encourage cooperation."

So the first step is obviously going to be working out which of the six of us need to tell my parents what cup stacking is and how it's more appropriate for them since they are officially elderly.  I'm nominating my older brother because he's the oldest and it's his job.  Suck it up Bro.

The second step is going to be coaxing my big brother out from under the duvet about a week after they tell him what they think of his cup stacking idea.

And your point about brass cleaning is what Mum?
The third step is to work out why they are so resistant to care.  I mean they're elderly now, they've clearly got to be taken care of before they spend our inheritance on all this fabulous jaunting.  And brass cleaning is an excellent way of keeping finger dexterity.

Step four will be admonishing my father for demonstrating his finger dexterity by flipping the finger.  I do not think swearing in sign language is acceptable elderly behaviour.

Step five will involve all of us ringing each other to discuss our differing view points on why our elderly parents are being so uncooperative about our commitment to their well being.  Will probably send in the little sister to explain to them how they could be better at being elderly as she's generally deemed the sensible one and the parentals will at least let her finish her pitch.

Step six will be to send flowers to the little sister to say thanks and we're very sorry that she's been disowned.

Step seven will be to curtail their social activities.  No more volunteering, catching up with friends, motorcycling, going to the football, exercise classes, overseas travel, technology, girls nights out.  I suspect the quickest way to do this is to print obituaries in the local paper so people stop calling and inviting them places.

Step eight will be to write an open letter to be printed on the front page of the local paper apologising for not inviting people to the funerals my parents never had.  Who would have thought so many people get upset about not knowing about funerals.

Step nine will be to let him continue being crap at being elderly.  Sometimes you just have to let people learn things for themselves and if they are going to insist on living full and enriching lives they will only have themselves to blame in twenty years.

(inappropriate elderly people who will make your day)
And to be completely fair to them, cup stacking is extremely boring. What about you?  Are your parents hard to bring up properly too?
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25 July 2014

An 'interview' with my husband

When we met
TEN YEARS ago today, in a little back garden behind a big house in London, Nick and I kissed for the first time.  And then he ran away.  Literally hurdled a brick wall in his haste.

Though his version is a little (completely) different.

Either way, we've been together ten years today.  Despite being clearly and most blatantly not suitable.

In any way.

There is a series of blog posts happening around the internet at the moment where people interview their significant other.  They're quite worth a read purely because people's lives are interesting. Check out the interviews by Emily, Kylie, and Renee if you want to see people doing it properly. See, I thought I'd do the same.  But without actually interviewing him.

Because I totally know how it will go because I'm brilliant like that.

So let's start.

So Nick, how are you today?
*Good thanks, yep, good.

If I asked for life advice right now, what do you think you would say?
*You're amazing. And you should blog about sweet potatoes.  People love sweet potatoes.

Nick, you're so frustrating - a serious answer please.
Just after we moved to Australia
*What? People love sweet potatoes.  I think it could be the answer to everything. In fact, I think you'd be famous already if you wrote more about sweet potatoes.

*Okay okay, just keep doing what you're doing. You're great.  You really are Alipops.  Completely awesome.

Sigh.  Fine.  What was the best bit about your day?
*All the bits I spent with you.

*What? A man's not allowed to be nice to his wife now?  A fine state of affairs! Did you hear that girls? Mum's cranky because I like spending time with her.

NICCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK!  FFS. Why are we still married?
*Because I'm funny.  And you love talking with me.  And we love each other.  And you think I have a cute bum.

You are the most exasperating man on the planet - you know that don't you?
*You used to love me - sticks bottom lip out.  Do you hear that girls? Am I exasperating?

(Girls are thrilled to yell NO NO NO NO. You are SO BUNNY DADDY. Traitors.)

I DO LOVE YOU.  I just wish you would not be sooooo.... ARGH! ANNOYING.
*Wine my darling?

My beautiful man xxxx
(This is where I hurl myself into the couch thinking that if I had known how annoying he was I WOULD NEVER have fallen in love with him.  Let alone stayed in love with him. Honestly, is there a more frustrating man on the planet?  How the hell are we going to spend happily ever after together when he's just sooooooo GRRRRRRRRRR.  Bloody man.  SO ANNOYING)

*Here's your wine Alipops.  Now move over, let me sit down too.

I move.  Begrudgingly because he's annoying.  And we sit there, snuggled, watching our daughters do something that would make their grandmothers twitchy.

And we are happy.  Happy 10 years beautiful man.

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24 July 2014

A talent from the very start

I was asked recently why I blog.  I asked why they asked and they said to me "You're a great writer, I love what you write, I just don't know why you don't do real writing?"

I decided to ignore blogging not being real writing and just say "Thank you".  Because I'm almost grown up now. 

I present to you evidence of my real writing.  Circa 1983/84. I was 8 or 9. 

I can't believe I didn't have an agent by the end of Primary School quite frankly.  

All illustrations original copies of original drawings.  Lack of formatting directly representative of original masterpiece.  Spelling as it was.  I think we can all agree I have a good array of adjectives and manners of speech at my disposal. Though less of a comprehensive understanding of reproduction.  

And agents - call me.  

By Alison Farrelly

Yone is a Planet.  It has plenty of life on it.  There are lots of animals on it and people too.  The animals on Yone are completely different from the animals on earth.  For instance, Pin is a kind of snake with 50 eyes.  Zingo Vingo is a horse which has eight legs, with two feet on each of them.

All the animals are strange, extra strange.  The people are very srange.  The men have blue faces and on ehtem, 2 noses, 8 eyes, 5 mouths.  THe women have 4 noses, 12 eyes, 10 mouths.  The young boys have, 100 eyes, 10 noses, 11 mouths.  The girls have 100 eyes, 10 nose, 11 mouths.  Babys have, 9 eyes, 5 noses, 2 mouths.  The houses are made out of a stuff called Tino. doors are made out of Linky.  Chimmneys are made out of Chagoo, winds are made out of Ginkygunk. The grass is pink with yellow spots.  Birds have 900 wings and lay 1000000 eggs in a minute.  The eggs are as big as a new born baby.  ZingoVingos can have millons of babys in a day.  Now I will tell you a story from Yone.  Once upoun a time, there lived a family on Yone.  The sir-name of the family was Farr laa laa singoah.  Everybody called them Mr. And Mrs Singoah.  They had 2 children. 1 was a girl and the other a boy.  

The girls name was Ongidruocamo. The boys name was Omacrudraneo.  They are twins, you see and the twins are 12. Everybody called the girl Ongi for short and the boy Omac for short.  One day the twins came home from Oscape (that is school) and found their Pits very happy. (Pits are parents). "We are going to have babys!" exclliamed Papa. "Great" moaned Omac.  Ongi said to Omac what would you name your baby if you had one?"

"Um", said Omac, "I would name it Fala". "Thats" said Ongi "is a boys name." "I know" said Omac. "I would name it Foco"Ongi. "Girlish" remarked Omac. "Boyish" remarked Ongi. Mama came in and said "Children, you are behaving like two year old Children" "But. Mama" said Omac" "But Omac" said Mama. "Yes" said ONgi. "Ongi" said Mama. "Yes" said Omac. "Rrrrrr" growled Mama. Ongi and Omac giggled, then chuckled, then roarded with laughter.  Mama gave a startled expression and went out of the room.  After Mama had left the room, there was a knock on the door.  Ongi ran out and opened the door, a man was standing there with a robot behind him, then started to speak, "Hello, my name is Mr MerMud and your mother wanted a baby". "Oh yes" said Omac. "Mama, Papa" cried Ongi "Baby time, Mr MerMud is here". "So's his robort" added Omac.  "Oky doky" yelled Mama from the kicthen.  Papa then appeared looking very happy.  "Mr. Mermud eh" he said after looking up and down. "Hey" said Omac "aren't you the baby man?" "Me?" asked Mr.MerMud. "Yes, you" said Ongi, "No" said Mr. MerMud. "Then who?" said Ongi. "Jimka" replied Mr. Mermud. "That's me" beeped the robot.  Mama appeared then holding two babys. "Ma" cried Omac" where did you get them?" "Jimka" replied Mama. "What shall we name them?" asked Ongi. "Fala and Foco" said Mama. "Great" said Omac. "Great" echoed Ongi.  Now the family is happy,  so I better say goodbye. 

The end. 

That my friends is why I write.  I'm totally ace at it. And always have been. 

"Clearly" I giggle, I chuckle and then roar with laughter.  

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23 July 2014

Talking Frankly's List of Life Hacks

Sometimes working out how to do real life can be complicated.  And everybody has so much advice.  There are pages and pages and pages of books in every language telling you how to get better at life.

I'm breaking it down for you into a one pager.  That way you can print it off, carry it around and be brilliant at everything all the time.

1. If you write a list, and everybody knows that people that accomplish things write lists, start with the point 'write a list'.  That way you've accomplished something and can feel like a winner all day long.

2. If you are unsure what you feel like drinking - choose water.  It's good for you first and foremost but people always assume that people who drink water are massively self disciplined and healthy.

3. All babies look like Winston Churchill at birth.  Honesty is not the best policy for babies. If you are truly struggling for something complimentary to say about somebody's newborn use the phrase 'Bless, looks just like you' to anybody in the room.  Everybody likes to be included.  Even the nurses.

4. Unless your name is on the building, don't take work personally.  It's a job.  Do your best and don't be an arse to other people.  Not being an arse always pays off in the long run.

Ours was more Chairman Mao
5. RSVP.  Just RSVP.  You don't have to have an excuse if you don't want to go, just say thanks but no. If you're going to go, let them know.  Don't be rude.

6. It's better to be too polite.  Scatter the world with Please, Thank you, Excuse me, Sir, Ma'am, Good morning and good bye.

7. Nobody is better than you.  You're not better than anybody. We're all doing our best most of the time.

8. Sorry is not a sign of weakness.  Sorry starts conversations.  If you find saying the word Sorry makes you choke, get therapy.  You have issues.

9. Brands don't matter.  Ever.  Especially not for engagement rings.

10. Laugh at least once a day.  Even if it's inappropriately.  It's good to use your belly for more than food and storing lint.

11. Exercise when you can. Eat well when you can. Don't beat yourself up too much when it doesn't happen.  You're beautiful just as you are.

12. Buy clothes that fit now.  Now matters.

13. Stop procrastinating.  You could be dead before you get around to doing it otherwise.
Big hugs show love

14. Love fiercely. Hate nobody. Hate hurts only you. It's corrosive and ugly.

15. People will talk. People will judge.  Fuck 'em.

16. If you wear a bra, it should fit flat between your breasts; support your boobs so your nipples sit roughly half way between shoulder and elbow; contain no bulging back fat.  If it's a regular wear bra - it's got about 6-9 months life max.  Sizes are irrelevant for bras - fit is everything.

17. Know CPR and carry bandaids.

18. Smile at strangers.  They might be having a bad day.

19. If people are nice to you but rude to support staff, they aren't nice.

20. Money does not make you a good person.

21. Value your friends.  They are the family you choose for yourself and extremely precious. Hold them close and call them.  Yes you. YOU. Just as easy as waiting for them to call isn't it?

22. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.  Choose wisely.

That should do it.  Now go forth and be happy.  You're awesome.

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22 July 2014

Stay at home parents are people too

I know childcare places are limited.  I know that once you get your child into childcare you'll do anything you can to keep them there despite the fact that renting Buckingham Palace for a week would be cheaper than the daily fees.

This happens at childcare.  Never at home.
 I know that for working parents are desperate for places so they can carve out some kind of work life balance where they work, raise children and somehow pay the bills as well as being an awesome life partner, great friend, superb offspring and sibling of the year.  I understand the irony that means you pay more for childcare than you do for university and yet no toddlers are rioting in the streets or spitting on effigies of Christopher Pyne.

And I know that when you have literally had to trip a parent over as you sprint to the office to get your child a spot in the worst childcare centre in the country, you might feel a bit resentful that there are children in those centres whose parents don't have paid employment.

The first rule of getting into childcare is there are no rules
Those stay at home parents.  With money to pay for childcare.  Without having to cut short meetings with clients because childcare has given you precisely 30 minutes to pick up your spewing infant before they use their cross voice.

You never upset the childcare centre.  When it comes to relationship management - this is the most critical of all relationships.  Being in thrall to those caring, gentle, kindly people looking after your children is tough.  Make no mistake.

And there is no point being annoyed with the government because not having enough childcare is of no consequence to any of them with their lifelong pensions and huge salaries.  They do nannies and can take spewing infants to work if they want.  It's good publicity.

So we all get mad at the stay at home parents.  Who should be attached 24/7 to those children, tending to their every need.  Just because working parents crave conversation that doesn't start and end with The Wiggles, doesn't mean that people that choose to stay at home with their children should have options.  Right?
Because to watch the new mob is treachery
Where they might spend a day donating their time to a charity, catching up with friends, exercising, doing the grocery shop without having to use UN worthy negotiation skills to keep the children in the trolley.   They might have hobbies or special interests or study that they want to explore.  They might just need some mental space where they potter about doing the three thousand billion things that you never get to do while you're building a duplo tower to represent a beanstalk.  They might be caring for elderly parents or supporting friends through a hard time.

Or, because it is a luxury beyond belief, they might just spend all day sitting on the toilet, alone.

But because people don't have to work, doesn't mean that they don't have a life that is rich and engaging beyond their children.  Or yes, they might just be over entitled, rich and hate arts and crafts.  But that's their prerogative. And we diminish the notion of choices for all when we say that only people that are in paid employment deserve childcare.

So let's stop hating on the stay at home parents that use childcare.  And put our energies into demanding more childcare options that allow people to access options like nannies, or au pairs, or even paying grandparents.  I don't have all the solutions, I am just absolutely certain that being cross at stay at home parents is doing nothing useful at all.

*PS - Never google 'lady on toilet' when looking for images to illustrate your blog post.  Can't unsee. 
*PPS - I'm not a stay at home parent

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21 July 2014

New age cabbage #laughlink

I have a lot of friends that back in the day we called 'new age'.  I also have a lot of friends that are control freaks.  Type A personalities on speed - you know the ones.  They're terrifying.

And I even have a smattering of friends that are new age Type A personalities on speed.  These people get their chakras aligned while they skim read the economist and fire half a dozen employees.  I never piss them off.  Ever.

Impressive but terrifying
And I have lots of other friends too.  And they are all lovely - it's a prerequisite for about 99% of my friends.  But for some of my friends - nothing just happens - they mix their new age with old fashioned superstition with the kind of ease I mix my metaphors.  They can not be persuaded that something happened because, well, something happened and they are deeply mistrustful of 'modern' and insist we did things so much better back when we only lived to be 40.

And I know I'm a skeptic.  I do.

I mean just this morning as I sat on my desk chair trawling through Facebook, my chair gave way throwing me quite violently to the right.  One might think my desk chair had just broken, but it COULD have been a sign that the 'right' are out to get me.

If looks could break my chair.... 
Then I went downstairs to get my old desk chair from when I was a high school student so I could resume working.  It's a bonafide wooden chair which is even older than me, which I have dragged from house to house from life to life.  I placed my generous derrière on it and I realised the chair has a slight rock to it. Perhaps my past is unsettled and might topple my future.

Things are looking grim here and I'm just sitting at my desk.  When I think on it, there was a lot that happened on the weekend that could mean the week isn't going to pan out so well.  If you drop an umbrella on the floor it means murder will happen in the house.  And if she does it one more time without putting the blasted thing away, that might well happen.

You see I once told a girlfriend that the reason she couldn't move on from Mr Douchebag was her mattress.  Feng Shui indicated that all the negativity from her last relationship was trapped in her mattress preventing her from finding a positive life partner.  She ditched the mattress, found a terrific guy and thanks Feng Shui to this day.

It took me about ten years before I actually saw it written somewhere.  I'd just made it up to get her to do something apart from cry over the cheating bastard.  And the great thing about Feng Shui is that pretty much anything you say works out for somebody.

And dreams.  Dreams send too many of my friends astray.  They pore over their meanings, they record them and take them off to 'dream interpreters'.  Did you know that if you dream of running, there is a big change a'coming?  Or you're having a nightmare.  Quite frankly, it's bad enough having to run in real life without having the sound of feet pounding the pavement interrupting my sleep.

People that don't start a journey on a Friday because it is inviting misfortune.  Whoever invented the weekend obviously didn't think that through now did they?

We ARE both in demand for selfies though
The fact that Pope Francis and I are both Sagittarians debunks astrology and if homeopathy worked Alexander Fleming would not have needed to invented penicillin.  I am not anti natural, it's just that now when I get a cold, everybody yells 'KALE' which frightens the snot from my nose but is doing bugger all to clear it up.  It's a cold.  It's going to go even if I don't 'KALE' and if it doesn't - I'm going to the doctor.

Because, you know, qualifications.

I get that their is a temptation to look for signs, to believe that the universe has a plan and that by watching out for them, or that because the modern world is messy and chaotic there is some sense to be made of what goes on around us by harking back.

But more than often, your friends are making up the Feng Shui, the black cat just happens to be passing by on his way to find a place to sleep and shoes on the table might just be me getting distracted half way through cleaning the house.  And we're living past 40.  Just saying.

What about you? Are you a skeptic like me or fully committed to listening to the universe?

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18 July 2014

Music confessions of a late bloomer (early 80s to early 90s)

I am what is known in the business as a person with eclectic music tastes.  Actually, that's a lie - in the business I'd be known as embarrassing.  BUT, I do have eclectic music tastes.  And not necessarily trendy ones.  Especially in the olden days.

My husband is a complete music geek.  Of the cool variety. When we first met he was able to file his CDs in order of purchase - hundreds of them.  He talks music like I talk bullshit.  When we moved in together he tried to keep our music separated into 'his' and 'hers' as he was worried people would mistake some of my questionable purchases over the years for his.  Having lived with me this long he now knows that nobody would ever mix up my music with his.  So it's filed alphabetically by first name, with separate groupings for soundtracks, mixes, christmas and any super mix of 70s hits I purchased before we met. 

This means that Lou Bega sits alongside Lou Reed.  It pains him physically too see them sit alongside each other, but probably not quite as much as it pained my former boyfriend who was into Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age when I made him listen to Lou Bega and 'I love you' by Martin McBride.  Non ironically.

I confess that towards the end of last century I literally spent an entire night with a bottle of wine and Michael Bolton's "How am I supposed to live without you" on repeat, crying my eyes out over a guy whose name I no longer remember. 

Music makes me very emotional.  


The very first cassette I owned, I got for Christmas BY REQUEST.  It was Julie Anthony's 'This is it'.  I'd seen it advertised on the telebox. I think, actually I know, that I thought Julie Anthony was the original singer of 'Sunglasses at night' and 'Ti Amo' way longer than anybody should admit.  

I moved along to power bands like Indecent Obsession, Dragon, Daryl Braithwaite and Icehouse.  I was dismissive of Bros - 'manufactured boy band' I probably sneered as I gazed myopically at the god that was David Dixon. 

Around the time I was 16 and soon to graduate from Year 12, my hormonal adolescent self used to really 'get' songs by Roxette, Wilson Phillips, the Divinyls, George Michael and I was flirting with the likes of REM - though I suspect most of that was still way above my head.  In my defence I still like REM.  I'm not entirely fickle.  

When I went travelling for a month at the end of Year 12, I was travelling with people who were into the Cure, the Clash and in my Walkman (yes, my Walkman) I had no less than the unappreciated tortured brilliance of this guy. 

I know.  I KNOW.  The fact that anybody kissed me that trip is testament to the come hitherness of my overly large wire framed spectacles, spotty chin and copious freckles.  And a complete lack of other available options.  

The next year, Achy Breaky Heart passed me by.  That's a lie.  I danced to it.  And Roxette, Madonna, Pearl Jam, Sir Mix-a-lot, Frente, Salt n Pepa, Sophie B Hawkins, JOHN PAUL YOUNG.

I basically had never heard music apparently that wasn't on a Top 100 chart somewhere.  I got a little thrill from singing the swear words in Guns n Roses' songs out loud.  Oh how times change.  I could make Slash blush these days.  

I loved musicals.  Jesus Christ Superstar starring an incredibly hot Jon Stevens, John Farnham, Kate Cerbrano, John Waters and Angry Anderson is STILL one of my favourite soundtracks of all time.  

Actually, I still love musicals.  And movie remakes of musicals. Hello Robert Downey Jr in The Singing Detective and John C Reilly in Chicago.  

And I can still sing more lyrics to Concrete Blonde's "Ghost of a Texas Lady's man" than any other person in the world, except maybe a guy called Stuart.  Basically, if I end up with Dementia - my children are going to be living through a lot of old lady singing 

"You don't scare me, you don't scare me," I cried
To my ectoplasmic lover from the other side
He knew that I'd understand
He was the ghost of a Texas ladies' man

Now before you all unfollow me, desperate to disassociate yourself from me in case my early musical tastes are catching, I've moved on.  I have the CD of Jesus Christ Superstar now.  

Lordy.  And still twenty years of musical confessions to go.  But of course now I'm dead cool. I go to gigs that aren't in stadiums or reunion tours.  I know.  Look who is all growed up!

OKAY. 'Fess up - what music did you listen to in the decade that was early 80s to early 90s?  Were you as clueless as me about 'cool music'?


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17 July 2014

Dumb dumb dumbest

There is something incredibly liberating don't you think in living in a country that is deliberately positioning itself as the dumbest in the world.  Anything we do from now on is going to get a gold star and a big fat 'well done for trying'.

We just repealed the Carbon Tax.  The one everybody in the world thinks is working.  And some people are going WOOHOO, that's 500 bucks a year I'm getting from Tony.  I mean the fact that he's decimated the health and education systems so you've got to pay more there is of no consequence.  Or the fact that you've sold the future of the planet for 500 measly bucks which makes you a bigger arse than believing repealing the carbon tax benefits anybody but the people on Tony's Christmas Card list.

there will be a reckoning
It's okay though.  There are still people out there more stupid than Australia.  And if we're only welcoming like these days - we should send them an invitation.  The guy that wants us to boycott Spielberg movies because he actually believes that Spielberg shot, killed and then posed with the carcass of a dinosaur?  The sooner we can get that guy here, the sooner we can vote him into government.
Spielberg with one his Jurassic Park dinosaurs
I mean, occasionally there are glimmers that the country can be saved.  As a nation we only bought 54 copies of Robin Thicke's album in its first week of release.  That means at the time of writing this post 23,533,727 Australians did not.  That's encouraging.

I have always been proud of being Australian.  I know that my nationality is nothing but luck, but it's a beautiful country with a rich and vibrant history going back thousands of years full of people that are on the whole quite loveable.  We do have a capacity to laugh at ourselves but we're not actually supposed to be a joke.  At this precise moment if anyone misheard as Australia as Austria - I'd run with it.  I even half a dozen German phrases courtesy of Frau Kasper that I could trot out to look authentic.

Being the joke. That's America's job.  But did you know that the Americans are starting to think Abbott is a bigger fool than Bush.  They're starting to pity us.  Let me repeat that - the Americans are starting to pity us.  A country tripping over itself to present candidates for the Darwin Awards is starting to feel superior.

A country dripping in religious Christian fundamentalism is astonished by our approach to climate change because you know, like it's been proven, by like SCIENTISTS.  And people that know stuff. And they think we're a bit silly for repealing a tax which works for both the country and the future of the world.  Which, well, we are.  Complete dumbarses.

Nothing to see here
If I had faith that the next election would give us some alternatives, that lurking in the festering pool of self interested politicians in any party, there were people that could offer some leadership, some innovation and restore our faith in ourselves I probably wouldn't feel so glum.  But the signs aren't good.

And so we continue our journey to the bottom.  Buoyed only by the thought that once we get there, we will have to start clawing our way back up.  Or fossilise in the sludge at the bottom.  And that didn't turn out so well for the dinosaurs.


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16 July 2014

10 woefully under marketed benefits of Facebook

Lets face it.  A lot of people spend a lot of time bitching about Facebook.  Like, seriously a lot of time.  But it's a business.  And it's making Mark Zuckerberg very rich and very happy.  And we'll be part of the history books - we're living through a significant technological and communication revolution.

And there are some benefits to Facebook which in my view are woefully under marketed.  The kind that give you the kind of inside thrill you know is totally age inappropriate but still, very satisfying.

  1. Getting friended by people from school that you were too terrified to talk to then and who turn out to be ridiculously awesome.  And some of the funniest and most fun people online. 
  2. Checking out the hot stoner with the big ideas that broke your heart one time and finding out that he's now just a stoner. Phew.
  3. Rejecting the friend request from the old work colleague who used to claim all kudos for the work you and the rest of your team did. 
  4. Finding out who is fatter than you. Or balder than you. What? Don't even TRY and pretend this doesn't make you feel a little bit undeservedly smug on occasion. 
  5. Being able to throw a question to your circle of friends and find somebody that knows somebody that once was married to a guy who has a sister who can absolutely 100% help you. 
  6. Keeping up with all your beautiful friends and their growing families, insane adventures and state
    of mind even though everybody is a little bit crap at keeping in touch. 
  7. Always having somebody online to interact with - even if it's just about the weather on opposite sides of the world.
  8. Being able to share ideas, discuss concepts and solve all the world's problems from one status update.  Just the one.  The UN should totally get in touch with us! 
  9. Knowing you are not the only Typochondriac* in the world.  Right Natalie?
  10. Networking with like minded people who you might not have had the opportunity to meet if it wasn't for the internet, and finding out when you meet them in real life they are totally your tribe. 

What are some of the things you appreciate about Facebook even as it's constantly changing algorithms cause you to have fifty fits and curse the woman that bore Zuckerberg in the first place?

*Typochondriac, n. — one who compulsively checks and rechecks his or her writing out of fear of publishing typos online.


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15 July 2014

A kick up the butt

Believe. Dare. Roar.

Those were the three words that I chose for 2014.  For those that want to know why, I refer you back to this post from January.

And I don't mind admitting - it's not all gone to plan.  In fact, this picture I stole from a friend's Facebook page sums it up perfectly.

I've been dancing with the black dog more than I would like to admit, cried more tears than I thought the medication would allow and I have seriously doubted myself afresh.  I have been tremendously and generously supported by my husband, my family and my friends, but it's been a fairly lonely journey in parts.  Working from home has it's benefits, but it's not so great when you're a person that draws their energy from (or submerges their own crap under) the wondrous chaos of 'other people'.

So my belief has been shaken, my dare turned into caution and my roar was more of a whimper.

And in the last month or so when perhaps I was at the lowest I have been since the dark days of post natal depression, my psychologist sent an email to see if I was okay.  That woman is GOOD.  Or she's got a camera in my house.  Either way, I realised that I'd stopped actively managing my mind (and it's entirely possible she was reading it).

And then I got a couple of jobs I'd been waiting on.  Finished a course that has me excited about the possibilities again.  I admitted to people that I was not in a great place. Things were starting to wobble along in the right direction again.

Then I won a free copy of Kelly Exeter's book 'Your Best Year Yet'.   Her dedication at the front of the book is 'To Ant - for being you.  And for loving me, even though I am a massive pain in the arse'.

If that's not a call to read a book I don't know what is.

Now on the face of it, Kelly is not a person I have a lot in common with.  She did triathlons competitively, she's a bonafide introvert and she's clearly much more of a Type A personality than I will ever be.  But as I read her book, which explores changing your thinking, I kept having the 'I KNOW THAT' moments.

It's like my psych got in touch with her and said - how about you send Al a book to remind her not to be a completely self defeating arse. (Not my psych's words - she's very professional, nurturing and clever - but we are agreed that self awareness is actually a strength of mine so I don't mind paraphrasing).

Kelly writes in her book that "a lot of time, our fears can be boiled down to what other people might think of us".  She writes about wobbly courage and notes that "nothing ruins a good year more than letting fear rule your life." And then most tellingly, rather than asking yourself "What's the worst that can happen", asking yourself "What's the BEST thing that could happen?".

And as somebody with incredibly low self esteem, a thousand internal voices and a ridiculous amount of personal pride - I did some uncomfortable squirming as I ate my lunch with my hand and turned the pages with the other.

I know those things.  I didn't always.  (Thanks therapy).  But I do.

Awkward basically.  Self awareness can be a bitch.

Mental health is a tempestuous beast.  But ultimately, you've got too stay on top of that baby.  You have to believe. To dare. To roar.

So I drew a line.  I put the book on the shelf and paraphrased Kelly's good sense as "You don't have to be Chuck Norris you daft eejit, just yourself - the awesome version."  Hell girl - you just gave up drinking Red Bull (which is described as 'canned Chuck Norris wee') - you're ready!

So here goes.... choosing awesome.

If that's okay by everybody. Ha ha. Jokes.  I'm doing it anyway.  I think. Umm... Right. Deep breath.

Let's go.

Big love x

PS: The awesome version is also a pain in the arse sometimes.  Sorry beautiful man.


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