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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