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Monday, 31 December 2012

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2013


The best part about 2013 was enjoying the month of December. Remember back in 2012, we watched the months slip by with dread, believing that it would all go up in a raging Mayan-inspired apocalyptic blaze on 21 December, leaving the world overrun with zombies and nary a Bruce Willis in sight?

But Earth dodged a bullet, and we spent 2013 pretty much drunk on relief and joy. And repaying our Visas because naturally we had maxed them in the foolishness of end of world actions.

The biggest news of the year would have to the twin girls born to Kate and William. Little princesses Diana and Victoria would be nearly six months old now, and enjoying their new digs in Kensington Palace.

And in line with the new succession laws, I can’t wait to see first-born little Diana become Queen Diana The First, Leader of the Commonwealth, Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith. And it may be sooner than we initially thought what with William becoming king the day his wife gave birth. Loving Queen Liz for saying she’s had enough and wanted the best man for the job.

Interesting that when the Queen announced the she was skipping Charles and handing over the “reigns” to William at the time he became a father, the world simply nodded in agreement. I think Camilla was the only one who was upset, and I hear on good authority that she took up smoking again that same day. And put her crown back in the hat box on top of her wardrobe.

Obama lost no time enacting gun control laws, long overdue as they were. Better late than never. He actually took it a step or two further, banning slingshots, anything that remotely resembles playing Cowboys and Indians including F-Troop re-runs, and online gaming violence. It was blackout curtains for CoD Black Ops, World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto and the like.

And miracle of miracles, he also halted the obesity crisis at the same time. Those ignorant pale-faced mutants who lived behind gaming consoles since birth needed something to do. So they picked up a football and went outside. Who’d have thought?

Do you really think it’s true that Tom Cruise is pregnant? I know he wanted to give Suri a little brother or sister, but apparently he couldn’t even get an ex-Playboy Bunny to fill the role as wife and potential mother, regardless of the size of his cheque book. But really, the man has got a smile that can warm the heart of a white pointer shark. But did he have to invent a way to get pregnant? Is that taking things too far? Talk about being a control freak! Who’s the mother?

And speaking of pregnancies, I can’t believe Posh is having baby #5. I know her husband is rather good looking but I get really put off when he starts to speak. It’s Elmo meets Thomas the Tank Engine. Though I guess no one says you have to speak when making love. Either way, she’ll be back to her usual size zero within three hours of giving birth. Like all the other times. I hope it’s a boy. For Harper’s sake.

Russell Crowe wasn’t able to woo back his wife Danielle Spencer so he made a play for Noni Hazlehurst. Seriously? I suppose it’s because Danielle’s father and Noni mucked about with Jemima and Big Ted on Play School back in the day. I suppose he wanted to keep it in the family. I suppose I can see the connection. Mmmm, actually I can’t.

And more on the homefront in Australia, I wept with despair when I found out that Manu Feidel and Pete Evans had been discovered in flagrante at their secret lovers shack beachside at Byron. Not those two! The spunks of television cooking, the jovial blokes – one with the beseeching blue eyes and the other with a fake French accent. Nnnnnoooooooooooo. Mind you, my husband was secretly very pleased and willingly helped me put all their cookbooks up in the attic. Now, do I have to wait for news from Bill Granger? I hope not!

And bloody Home & Away got the bullet. Thank goodness. Perhaps we can get a decent game show in its place, or a re-run of Bellbird. Anything would be better.

Apple finally seems to have fixed the map setting problems on my new iPad9.2.2a, which is a good thing considering it was telling me that I was looking at the Eiffel Tower when I was on a ferry staring point blank at Liberty. At least they have renamed the Executive Building in George Street from “Peter Beattie” to “John Howard”. That’s progress.

Les Mis didn’t get a single Oscar and I’m not miserable about that at all. Musical films needed to stop after Grease. I can’t believe Jennifer Aniston finally got an Oscar, I wasn’t aware of any films she did this year apart from starring in her own wedding. Maybe it’s like when they gave one to Nicole to stick it to Tom. Up yours Brangelina.

Queensland didn’t take too long to throw out Campbell, despite the excitement his appointment heralded. We are all very confident that Kevin Rudd v2 will take us through 2014 without a sulky aside or a swear word. I hear he’s already priming his granddaughter to take over the spot. Aspirations much?

Anyway my loves, that’s my wrap of 2013. For a year that ended in such a suspicious number it turned out to be a bewdy! Happy 2014 to you all.

Love Bron x

PS I pulled this lark last year too - read here what I had to say about 2012 xx

Friday, 28 December 2012

GIRL, YOU’LL BE A WOMAN SOON


Every now and then, I topple over and twist my ankle. Sometimes it’s because I’ve had too much to drink and my heels are too high and my husband is too far away for me to balance against him.

Sometimes it’s because I’m making like Elle Macpherson and jogging on the beach in a bikini and go A over T in a hole in the sand.

Sometimes I am just walking down the street minding my own business and over I go. My husband always tells me not to walk and text at the same time.

The result of this constant clumsiness is that my ankle invariably ends up tightly bandaged in this stretchy crepe material for a few days.

And on Christmas Day, at the buffet lunch at the Gold Coast casino, I found out that the same stretchy stuff is now being used for dresses.

Or so it appeared.

And, in my humble opinion, that stretchy crepe stuff looks better wrapped around my bung foot than around their tiny bums.

Christmas lunch was for 1000 people and at least 100 of them were young women, aged 18 to 22, wearing these so-called bandage dresses that really didn’t cover their bum cheeks, and heels that were about 6-7 inches high (that’s a bit more than 15 centimetres for Gen Y) with 1-2 inch platforms. All had peep-toes, all had the requisite French pedicure (a look I personally despise) and all were spray-tanned to within an inch of their orange lives.

My husband and I were sitting quite close to the buffet table so we were able to witness their movements first-hand.

I don’t think there was a g-string in the place. From some of the glimpses these girls were giving, I actually thought there’d be a lot more gynaecologists. But maybe I’m showing my age.

They walked up to the buffet in those impossible heels, knees bent, lurching forward – classic pose for anyone who can’t walk effectively in heels. Watch any movie with Julia Roberts and you’ll understand what I mean.

They pulled their skirt down, picked up a plate, pulled their skirt down with their free hand, swapped the plate into their other hand, pulled the other side of their skirt down.

The leaned over to get a prawn, pulled their skirt down, got some potato salad, pulled their skirt down, shifted their weight from one foot to the other to gain that millisecond of relief from the aching pressure of their shoes, and pulled down their skirt.

It’s a good thing the drinks were table service so we didn’t have to watch them trying to carry their blue Vodka Cruisers and Skinny Bitches while pulling their skirt down.

As 3pm approached, and lunch was nearly over, we watched a scene reminiscent of every Melbourne Cup, Schoolies, New Year’s Eve and hens night. Pissy girls in skirts too short clutching their ridiculous shoes in their hand and hanging onto their girlfriends for support.

Here’s the thing. These girls don’t know how truly beautiful they are. What they need to do is ditch the fake tan, take out the hair extensions, put down the bottle of foundation and cover their butt. They have figures to die for, a glow of youth, and a freshness we womenfolk approaching 50 didn’t realise we once had until we started approaching 50.

I didn’t see any of the boys suffering these problems. They were trying to skull Crown Lagers, eat 5kg of prawns and remember to put their thongs on before they went back to the buffet table for thirds. They wore board shorts, over-sized t-shirts with a random offensive message and hairstyles that would make even Justin Bieber baulk.

Girls, you’re beautiful, and if the boys don’t think you are, they lose, not you. There’s plenty of time when you’re older and more mature to wear the sexy gear and the high heels and pull it off with class.

Don’t hurry things up. You’ll be a woman soon. Trust me, I’ve been there.



Monday, 24 December 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


I’ve never thought I would make a good restaurant reviewer, despite the fact that I eat out quite a bit. That’s because I’m too busy eating. And reading or playing with my iPad if I’m on my own, or drinking and acting like a bit of a noisy dickhead when I’m with my friends.

Most times however it’s just my husband and me. We tend to frequent the same places, not because we lack any sense of adventure, but because we know we are guaranteed good food and excellent service.

After all, we’re paying for this.

So yesterday, on day one of our Christmas holidays at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, we ventured out to the mall. Perhaps that was our first mistake.

Now I love the mall in Broadbeach. Mainly because it’s where John Farnham filmed his “Two Strong Hearts” film clip, circa 1988, at the height of his mullet. Regular readers know that I would give up my second born for John Farnham. Mercifully I only have one child. And in 2012 it is no longer a requirement to sacrifice your child, no matter what you owe.

Feeling festive and full of the excitement that is a Gold Coast Christmas, we knew seafood was on the cards.

Before I go any further, let me set the scene. We had just arrived at the coast for a week’s holiday. The reality being that we wanted to have a relaxed Christmas sans rels.

I had put my cat into her “holiday home for cats” (there’s an oxymoron for you), triple checked I’d locked every window and door, whittled my shoes down to seven pairs, and packed both bikinis (for when I frolic solo) and 1920s style head-to-toe bathers (for when I frolic en masse).

We drove to the coast, checked into our room, got the white wine into the fridge and jumped around on our bed, only because it’s something I don’t allow at home.

In need of lunch, we set out to play our own version of the hunger games. This entails stopping outside every eatery and reading their menu and looking at each other. If one of us sneers ever so slightly, we move on. If one of us shrugs imperceptibly, we re-read the menu.

Eventually this process leads us to a place where we would be happy to pay money for food.

The place that scored the most shrugs was Max’s Seafood. Ever been there? Don’t waste your time. The place was half-full, drinks were still being handed around but as we approached the head waiter, we were told that the restaurant was closed.

It was 1.45pm on the Gold Coast on the Sunday before Christmas.

No, we couldn’t believe it either.

Not to be discouraged, we crossed the mall to another establishment boasting seafood, called Bugzie’s. That was our second mistake.

After standing around like shags on a rock for what seemed like forever but was probably three minutes, a condescending waitress of Aryan appearance, with an incredibly thick Polish accent and English as a 6th language, showed us to a table.

Failing to understand “pinot gris” we pointed to the wording on the menu and were rewarded with two glasses of buttery Chardonnay. Regardless, it was alcohol and I needed a drink.

Picked the glass up by the stem – because that’s how I drink white wine because I’m dead posh – and nearly dropped it because it was searingly hot. Miss World Aryan 2012 had no doubt ripped the glasses out of the 2000 degree dishwasher and merrily poured. Needless to say, the wine was warm, but again, it was alcohol and I needed a drink.

My husband took the uncomplicated and undoubtedly smart route of ordering fish and chips. He had sussed the place out and figured the path of least resistance was the best path.

I’m not as cluey. The seafood mornay harking back to 1978 was shrieking at me and I had to oblige. I asked the waitress what seafood was in it, not because I am allergic to anything, it was more to test the possibility of getting excited.

She said she would check. Twenty minutes later she came back and said that it contained – wait for it  - seafood and mornay.

No shit Sherlock.

I asked if I could get some rice with it and, after miming ancient Chinese women in large hats bent over double, she understood what I meant.

When our food eventually arrived, my meal was sans the side-salad of rocket and sun-dried tomato the menu had promised. The chef, being the genius he clearly is, had assumed that I would have rice in lieu of salad.

And that’s why he cooks at a mediocre Broadbeach mall cafĂ©, I would assume.

To be fair, it tasted pretty good. There was nothing wrong with that cheese sauce and the seafood was poached inside beautifully. And my second glass of wine, again after much miming, turned out to be both cold and pinot gris.

My husband, being the wiser one in this marriage, again opted for the smarter route and had a beer. In a bottle.

We stayed in that night. Grilled cheese on toast looking at the surf. And not a Chardonnay in sight.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

IS ONCE A MONTH ENOUGH?


Why is it that I feel richer when I get paid weekly, yet feel stony broke when I get paid monthly?

It's still exactly the same amount of money, and I still have exactly the same number of bills. But it seems the weekly pay packet lasts longer.

Or perhaps I'm kidding myself.

I've been paid weekly, fortnightly and monthly over the years. When I first started working back in the 1980s, this wonderful German lady would come around to my desk each Wednesday bearing this yellow coloured envelope which contained novelty items that in this day of EFT we identify as cash.

Not that it was important that she was German, I just remember her heavily accented voice saying, "Brrrrron-vin, you vill sign here for dis money." For all I cared she could have been Serbian, Swedish, of royal descent or on work release from prison. She brought me money - that's what mattered.

I'd pull the red twenties out and smell them, smooth them down and pop them into my wallet. Then at lunch time I would dutifully trot the bank and deposit my allocated savings, put aside the rent money, and pick up a week's groceries on my way home.

Later that week, I'd go to the post office or whatever was the appropriate institution and pay electricity or telephone or car rego. All in cash.

When I changed jobs a few years later, I morphed from weekly to monthly pay days. And for reasons my accountant and I still do not understand, I was suddenly broke.

For a day, I was wealthy. Well, not wealthy in the manner of a recent lottery winner or where my rich Aunt Liz died and left me Buckingham Palace. But in my terms, wealthy.

But only for a day.

I'd pay a month's rent, pay all utilities, buy groceries, and by the end of week three was down at my mum's each night eating dinner because I couldn't afford to buy food.

Why? Poor financial management? Maybe. Over spending in the first week? Probably.

I now get paid fortnightly. And it seems to work ok. But I've also got these fabulous little helpers called direct debits, organised by my pay office. Bills like mortgage, credit card and health insurance are all paid before the balance hits my bank account.

And if I want cash, I have to walk to the ATM and try to remember my pin number.

On pay day, I sometimes look around my office, and see internet bank statements on everyone's monitor. Because nowadays, that's the only way you know you've been paid!

How do you cope with your pay period system? Does it work for you or do you find it hard going sometimes? Or should we all just budget more consciously and put in for that winning lotto ticket?

$100 million anybody? Wouldn't it be nice...




Tuesday, 30 October 2012

THE REPORTER'S REPORT CARD


A night on my own. Doesn’t happen often in the Cook family. With no kids living at home to demand and distract, and with two jobs that operate fairly routinely out of Brisbane, as I said it doesn’t often happen.

So with my husband safely away for the night, it was a great chance to put in some extra time working and then skive off for dinner on my own.

I know a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with the idea of dining alone, whether it’s at Ecco or McDonalds.

I love it. I can order whatever I like and not have to share. I can order a third glass of wine and not get “that look”. And I can choose where I want to go with no arguments. “Ohhh I hate that place,” or “But didn’t we just go there last month?”

Tonight, it was a plate of the finest sashimi and the latest Woman’s Day for company.

And that was where I made my mistake.

Have any of you picked up one of these trashy rags lately? Not only is the writing incredibly dull, it is full of lies. Utter lies. Made up fabrications that would have got me the wooden spoon as a kid if I’d said a quarter of those things.

Here’s what I mean…

Katie Holmes is apparently in love. Apparently. I read the entire article and the bits I managed to stay awake for didn’t contain a verbatim quote from Katie raving on about her new boyfriend. It was, of course, from a source. Sauce more like it.

Zara Phillips is apparently pregnant. Apparently. There’s no picture of Zara holding up her pregnancy stick with the positive sign on show for all to see. There’s no picture of Zara booking her obstetrician’s appointment. There’s not even a sign of a baby in her stomach. She probably had a big lunch you dead beats.

How about one of you lot get your guts out when you’ve chowed down on Mexican and margaritas at midday. Then we can all start rumours that you’re up the duff too.

And apparently Kate is seething with impotent jealousy because Zara beat her to it. We don’t have a picture of Kate and Zara pulling each other’s hair and yelling, “You let go first bitch!” Like they did in Puberty Blues. We don’t have a picture of Kate standing over an empty cradle, delicate tears slipping silently over her heavy black eyeliner. But apparently she’s jealous.

Oh yes, and Meg and Russell are back together. Apparently. We all know now, with the benefit of hindsight, that she is his true love. According to “the source”.  Disregard please the fact that he married Danielle and fathered two kids over nine years. Disregard the fact that his kids might be reading Woman’s Day.

Apparently Meg was on the blower to Russell the minute she heard he was separated. Because of course she had kept his number all these years. And of course he hadn’t changed numbers. Even when she went a bit psycho when they broke up, he would have surely kept the same number even if it meant she was still sending him nasty texts.

Thanks Woman’s Day for dragging up that turn-of-the-century photo of Russ in his flanny and Meg in her daggies, with his fat hairy face smooching her short blonde hair.

Had Meg called him, it would have been on his Twitter page. Surely. And Meg would have recorded the conversation and sent it to Woman’s Day as verification. Of course.

Stop making shit up you lot. It makes for boring reading and it’s embarrassing for you. Because you’re very rarely right. Embarrassing because, if you could add it up, Jennifer Aniston would be the mother of five by now and married a year ago. After her divorce from Vince. Kate would have had two kids. Nicole and Keith would have broken up and got back together at least annually. Like Bec and Lleyton.

And that frightful little turd Justin Beiber would be in jail. For life.

That’s probably the only made-up story I’ve read that I wish was true.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A WWT THOUGHT

Wouldn't it be great if retail therapy could be claimed on your private health insurance...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

BABY BONUS??

In those halcyon days of Paul Keating’s recession we had to have, I discovered I was pregnant. It was circa November 1990 and my then husband and I were eating tinned beans boiled in veal bones so we could pay our 17% interest rate mortgage. We were so poor we would go to KFC just to lick other people’s fingers. We thought about renewing our vows for the rice. Christmas was coming up and the only thing we could afford to exchange was glances.

So sex was clearly our preferred form of entertainment.

And I got pregnant.

Then, one month before baby’s due date, husband loses his job. Two weeks after baby was born, I was retrenched.

Now back then, maternity leave, paid or otherwise, didn’t exist in my private sector job. Thankfully I had a boss with a progressive wife who insisted he let me use up all my sick leave and annual leave. But that was it. No job guarantee on a return to work. No option of part-time on said return. No support structure, understanding nods or free money in the bank.

Because there was no baby bonus.

My retrenchment payout was about seven weeks pay. I was earning $30,000 a year so you do the math. The husband’s payout was zilch. So we did what we had to do.

He reinvigorated his truck driving licence, conveniently attained during a short stint in the military, and got behind a large wheel of a large truck.

I waited for the caesarean scars to somewhat heal and got a temp receptionist job for – guess who – Kevin Rudd. Go figure… Kevin was an arsehole, the scars weren’t properly healed, my six week old baby was with a day care mum and I wanted to keep my house. And eat.

Had we had the baby bonus, would things have been different? I don’t know. I can’t know. The way I figured it, I had fallen pregnant. The government hadn’t captured me, Matrix style, and forced a foetus into my womb under threat of torture or Barry Manilow on repeat. It was my responsibility so I had to manage it. Not the government. Not the tax payers of Australia. Just me. And a little help from my mum.

Sometimes I daydream about what $5000 would have got me. A fancier pram? A groovier change table? Groceries? Petrol?

But with the baby bonus changes currently underway, is it going to affect Australia’s reproduction? Or will families just go back to what they always did, and just make do or make the best?

Because clearly we can’t be affording to have sex anymore!!


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

FIVE TIPS FOR INSTANT SELF-CONFIDENCE

Tip #1 - Make Decisions
• Think outside the square to make decisions
• Reflect on what outcome you want and show discipline achieving them

Tip #2 - Set Goals 
• Remember your reasons why
• Be open to change
• Continue to learn and stop multi-tasking

Tip #3 - Reduce Negative Self-Talk
• Practice the strategies to stop it in it’s tracks
• Know that your character creates your destiny
• Accept same way means same result

Tip #4 - Manage Your Time 
• Clear up the clutter
• Choose one thing and complete it
• Acknowledge yourself

Tip #5 - Create Work-Life Balance
• Simplify life and focus on the important stuff
• Get the work life balance right
• Understand family, health, friends and spirit are the priority

Now she's what I call a self-confident woman!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

WHITNEY

All my life I’ve wanted to be a singer. Or, more simply, just able to sing. As a gangly ten year old, I was convinced I was destined for stardom as the fifth member of Abba.  I mean, my hair was naturally blonde. Surely that was enough.

My girlfriends and I would choreograph these complicated dance routines, physically miming “digging” as we were “diggin’ the dancing queen”. Shovel, shovel, and throw it over your shoulder. Repeat twice. Seriously.

We were lip-syncing heroines long before Milli even met Vanilli.

Money Money Money was all about pretending to count out wads of cash. We skipped Knowing Me Knowing You, because after all, we were ten years old and didn’t know a thing about heartbreak (which is what I eventually went on to discover the song was all about). We did our best work with “When I Kissed The Teacher”. Oooh, the naughtiness of it all. Kissing a teacher – eeewwwwwwww. That dance was an easy one to put together. Kissy kissy sir?

When school finished, the singing didn’t. It just got augmented with the likes of John Farnham (You’re The Voice), Tina Turner (Simply The Best), David Bowie (especially when he was Under Pressure) and Kylie (should I be so lucky?) And of course the soundtracks to Grease, Fame, Flashdance etc.

Moody Blues, Dire Straits, Van Morrison – I would slot the tapes in, grab a hairbrush or a spray deodorant can, and I was away.

And even though I loved her on sight, I could never even try to emulate Whitney. Not just because she had legs that went up to sky. Not just because she had the most luminous skin and radiant eyes. Not just because she looked good in a lavender dress. I mean, who the hell looks good in lavender?

It was that voice. That power. That strength, fearless and true. No matter how much I tried to hit those notes and unveil that depth, I failed abjectly every time.

Because there was only one Whitney.

And as time went on, and as I started singing along with Anastascia, Powderfinger and Celine, I grew apart from Whitney. The hard drugs, the bad marriage, and the poor behaviour made me sad. Such a great voice, such a mighty talent, such a shocking waste.

She had almost disappeared entirely from my radar when one of my closest friends turned up one day clutching two concert tickets and the last vestiges of air in his lungs.

The concert tickets were for Whitney and his rapt joy at securing seats left little room for regular things like breathing.

“Yes darling, of course I’ll come with you,” making a mental note to upgrade my Sudoku app on my iPhone because I was convinced I would need an entertainment mode at the concert separate to Whitney.

And I am glad I did. Because sadly, for the most part, her Brisbane concert did not leave me in mute awe at her brilliance. Moreso bewildered embarrassment for her shoddy performance.

But eventually, finally, Whitney wound her way to her signature song, “I Will Always Love You”. Despite all negativity, that song and the way Whitney sings it, is peerless. Always will be. The mere thought of someone, even Dolly, doing a cover makes me uneasy.

But I knew Whitney’s form was not good. So I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

When it got to the part where she launches into that thunderous chorus (yes yes you know the bit I mean) there was an extended pause on Whitney’s part. Unhealthy in its length. She drank some water, freshened her lipgloss, sprayed something around her neck.

And the jittery audience waited. And waited. The boredom was deafening.

Finally, Whitney moved back to centre stage, clicked her fingers, the lights blazed and she started to sing.

And sing she did. Hitting that note like the pro we knew she was. Watch it here.

Even crotchety folk like me, who were making mutterings about refunds and time-wasting, sat up and listened. With respect, admiration and disbelief.

I was spell bound.

And now she’s gone. We’re about the same age, with daughters about the same age too. I shudder to think of leaving my daughter in a world without me just yet. I believe Whitney would feel the same. We can’t judge someone else’s life until we have lived it so we can’t make off-hand comments about “she had it coming” or “that’s no bloody surprise” because we don’t really know what went on.

So Whitney, let me say this to you. Thank You For The Music.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

TODAY SHE LEAVES

I think it was when she was in Year 6. I know it was just after 7.30pm. The reason I know that is because Seinfeld has just finished and this was back in the halcyon days when new episodes of Jerry and the gang started at 7pm weeknights.

We always watched Seinfeld.

My daughter and I got up from the couch. Me to head to the kitchen to stack the dishwasher, and Jade, I presumed, to clean her teeth and get ready for bed.

Instead she followed me into the kitchen, fiddled with a tea towel, rubbed her nose and asked me if I had any pictures of penguins lying around.

“Not off-hand, no darling,” I said, actually pausing for a moment to consider if I did. “But you could look through the Woman’s Day magazine I’ve got over there, or we could look on the internet?” (Dial up internet, of course, perhaps using Netscape as a browser. Ah, those were the days.)

It took a few minutes for the penny to drop, but I finally turned to her and asked the obvious question. “Jade darling, why do you need a picture of a penguin?”

Well, it turns out that she has a school project due the next morning, which has to be all about Antarctica - the explorers, the history, and of course, the penguins.

After the usual round of “I can’t believe you left it this late” and “When I talk with you every afternoon about your homework, did you not think to mention this, like, six weeks ago?” I realised had two choices.

Either my daughter could confront the wrath of her teacher (who, as an aside, I didn’t particularly like anyway) or I could do the bloody project for her.

I ended up having a very late night that night. The teacher who I didn’t particularly like gave me a B+ for my effort.

Fast forward to Year 12. I’ve dropped my daughter and her girlfriend at a party. I knew there would be boys there. I knew there would be alcohol there. I had checked with the supervising parents and I was happy that all was in order.

The call came in around 10.45pm. Earlier than I had expected. “Mum, can you please come and pick us up? We don’t feel very well.”

 About halfway home, with the girls in the back seat, they ask me if I can stop. They needed to be sick. During a break in the chundering process, I asked my daughter, “What were you girls drinking?”

Midori, was her blithe answer.

I hid my shudder at the thought of that sickly sweet syrup that reminded me waaaaay too much of Peach Cooler.

“Darling what were you mixing it with?”

She stares at my blankly. “You’re supposed to mix it?”

I’ve hung out kilometres of nappies and folded them with care. I’ve hidden bikes and trampolines outdoors and tied tinsel to her wrist, so when she woke on Christmas morning, I could watch her joy as she followed the trail to her new present. I’ve interviewed teachers and child care workers and potential boyfriends.

I’ve made lunches so yummy that she’d never want to swap them. I’ve spent rainy weekends watching The Lion King, The Aristocats, and Aladdin repeatedly. I’ve hidden behind a pole at Woolies at Indooroopilly and watched her operate a cash register when she got a part time job.

I’ve driven hundreds of kilometres with gibbering teenager girls clipped into every seat belt, who said “Oh my God” so many times I began to think the good Lord was in our midst. Sometimes I even crossed myself just to be on the safe side.

I’ve fancy-dressed her as a fairy, a princess and Joan Jett. I’ve pulled nits from her hair, painted her toe nails and wept loudly when she went overseas for the first time.

I’ve spent 20 years kissing her, 20 years holding her, and 20 years listening to her hopes, dream and fears.

And today, I kiss her for the last time in many months. She’s off on the adventure of her life, heading as many Aussies do, to the UK for a few years. London won’t know itself when Miss Jade arrives.

Lucky London.

There's no more time for advice, for cautioning, for leading by example. Whatever I've taught her, shown her, given her, this is it. It's up to her now. And I've never been prouder. 

The temperature will be minus one when she arrives. All I keep thinking is “I hope her coat is warm enough”.

Mothering never ends, does it...  

Saturday, 14 January 2012

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOOBS

Women With Big Breasts…

- can get a taxi on the worst days

- have a neat place to carry spare change

- have always been the centre of the arts

- can keep a magazine dry while laying in the tub

- usually can find leftover popcorn after a movie

- always float better

- know where to look first for lost earrings

- rarely lack for a slow dance partner

- have a place to set their glasses when sitting in an armless recliner

Women With Small Breasts…

- don’t cause a traffic accident every time they bend over in public

- always look younger

- find that dribbled food makes it to the napkin on their lap

- can always see their toes and shoes

- can sleep on their stomachs

 -have no trouble sliding behind the wheel of small cars

 -know that people can read the entire message on their t-shirts

- can come late to a theatre and not disrupt an entire aisle

- can take an aerobic class without running the risk of knocking themselves out

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

YOU KNOW YOU'VE GROWN UP WHEN...


1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.

3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.

4. 6:00 am is when you get up, not when you go to bed.

5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.

6. You watch the weather channel.

7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up."

8. You go from 130 days of holidays to 14.

9. Cargo pants and a singlet no longer qualify as "dressed up."

10. You're the one calling the police because those bloody kids next door won't turn down the stereo.

11. Your uncle feels comfortable telling sex jokes around you.

12. You don't know what time your local McDonald's closes.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.

14. You feed your dog Hills Science Diet.

15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.

16. You take naps.

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.

18. Eating a bucket of KFC at 3am would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.

19. You go to the chemist for Panadol and Metamucil, not condoms and pregnancy tests.

20.A $5.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff".

21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.

22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.

24. You prefer to drink with friends at home rather than hang out at a bar.

25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them instead of asking "Oh no, what the hell happened?"

Friday, 6 January 2012

MONDAY 31 DECEMBER 2012

Well we didn’t all die. We didn’t blow up. The world didn’t end. Like some fools had us believe. All that needless panic. Which is a pity because I know for a fact that, based on the world’s demise, some people whose names I won’t mention made significant dents in their credit cards at Queens Plaza and Palazzo Versace thinking they’d never have to pay it off.

Fools. I only made a modest purchase at Chanel. And those sunglasses will never go out of fashion. So it was an investment really. $400 times 10 years of wear works out at a paltry $40 per year. Not even a dollar a week. Sensible.

And I didn’t renew my gym membership. I need the money for my sunglasses.

It’s kinda weird having New Year’s Eve on a Monday night. Monday nights are usually terrible things. You’re tired because it’s the first work day of the week, and the fun of the weekend is still lingering. You’re out of food, because you ate it all at the weekend and haven’t had the energy to shop for more. There’s crap on television, there’s all the washing from the weekend to fold, and you realise there’s another four long days before you get another respite.

Terrible things, Monday nights.

Except for tonight. It’s party night. I’ve got my champers at hand as I blog, and my mind is cast back to the year that was 2012.

It was my first full calendar year of being married. And weren’t there some surprise weddings this year! I didn’t even know Ashton Kutcher was friendly with Dawn French, let alone getting engaged to her. But then, I guess after the whole Demi thing, he seriously has a thing for older women.

And Shane and Liz, oh dearie me. They broke Kim Kardashian’s 72-day record by 43 days. Helen Keller could have seen that one coming. Outright winners. The only white Liz should have worn this year was her self-styled bikini.

And Elle Macpherson finally took George Clooney’s bachelor status away. Well, I guess it makes sense that the two most beautiful people in the world would want to keep all those lovely genes in the family. Is Elle too old to have another kid? It would look cuter than Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.

Speaking of those Jolie-Pitt’s, I knew Brad would eventually marry Angelina. I was just a tad surprised when he took her name. Brad Jolie just doesn’t conjure up the same image. Ange sure does wear the pants, obviously to protect her testicles. But who am I to comment on what goes on behind chapel doors.

I must say I was a bit shocked to read that Britney is taking dance lessons from Justin Beiber. I thought he was her son. Although I did read that she refuses to cut her hair into that ridiculous style. A small mercy. A big mercy is that Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are both incarcerated with parole not due until 2018. I’m loving the Los Angeles judge who made that call. Don’t drink drive next time you pair of nits.

I think 2012 was the year for weight loss. Apparently Victoria Beckham turned sideways and completely disappeared from view. Jennifer Hudson now weighs 17kgs but Katie Holmes got back up to 25. Nicole Kidman is somewhere in the middle, which is disturbing because she’s like 100 feet tall.

It's a good thing Catherine Middleton had twin girls this year, otherwise she could have ended up Victoria-esque as well. Man, she was so thin she was heading that way. But carrying around two 9-pounders certainly beefed our future Queen up a bit. I really like their names, Charlene and Charmaine. Apparently it’s part of Kate and Will's attempt to be regular people. The last time I heard the name Charlene was when Kylie Minogue was on neighbours but I’m in no position to judge.

Now let’s hope that William’s tilt to change that throne succession law is successful. I look forward to being ruled by Queen Charlene. Got a nice ring to it.

Weren’t the Olympics sensational! Did you manage to get over to London to see them? My daughter is working in London so it was a good excuse for Alan and me to pop over. If you can call 30 hours travel time a “pop”. Thorpie showed those nay-sayers by smashing his own record for 200 metres. And it was great to see Lisa Curry in the pool again too, hot on the heels of her success in Celebrity Apprentice. I’ve always liked Lisa.

Thank goodness Lleyton won bloody Wimbledon. Now we can all get some sleep. That’s just way too long between drinks. No more listening to him badgering and whinging and making up excuses. You did it son, it was great, now leave it be while you’re at the top.

And on the local front, here in Australia, how do you find our new prime minister, Ms Jessica Rudd? I think she’s a natural. She’s got her father’s political nous, her mother’s business sense, and her hair always looks fabulous. Such a nice change from all that red we had smothering our television screens.

And with Mark Bouris as treasurer, we’re in good hands Australia.

Here’s cheers to 2013.