About Me

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Single Mum of teenage chef, affectionately known as The Brat. Have started a new life at the tender age of 44, embarking on a relationship with my childhood sweetheart... I know cliche central, but so far it works for us! New job, new friends, new challenges. Life's GOOD!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Having worked in various branches of the finance industry for more than half my life, I'm not usually one for bashing the banks or insurance companies etc., however if there's one thing (or two actually) that I CANNOT stand, it's being lied to or taken for a fool.

A couple of years ago, I opened a new bank account. I've been perfectly happy with the bank I'd been with for many years, but there were issues with the length of time it was taking for my salary to get from the boss' account with bank 1, to my account with bank 2. So I opened an account with bank 1. Problem solved! The boss would press the necessary buttons on his computer, sing out and let my know I'd been paid, and I could log in and immedaitely make the various payments and transfers that keep a roof over my head, and the electricity and phone etc. connected.

UNTIL YESTERDAY!!!! When my salary still hadn't hit my account more than 7 hours after it had been transferred, I phoned the bank.

"When will these computer issues that have been all over the news for weeks, be fixed?"

" We're no longer having any computer issues."

"So where's my pay then?"

"It can take 24 to 48 hours for funds to go from one account to another."

"BULLSHIT! Either you're lying to me, or you're being lied to my your higher-ups!"

"No, it's always been the case. Recent computer problems are all fixed, and have nothing to do with your current situation."

"So, you're telling me that for the last 2 years+ I have just been LUCKY that my pay has been applied to my account immediately after my boss has initiated the transfer?"

"Well.... yes."

(Actual conversation not necessarily as polite and calm as illustrated above... but you get the idea).

I got the same story from two different staff members, and I made it VERY clear that I didn't believe a word of it. And I don't! And if it IS true, then it's an absolute RORT! I hate the fact that I live payday to payday, though at the moment, (with The Brat out of work), it's more like payday to 3 days before payday. Nevertheless, for now, and for the immediate future, that's how it is. So when a huge corporation like this bank can just allow MY money to just float around in the ether unaccounted for, I get PISSED OFF!!!

What's worse, is that this bank couldn't even be bothered telling me the truth! If they had, I'd still have been unhappy, but I wouldn't have the burning rage that will see me take this matter further. I WILL take this matter further, all the way to the CEO if necessary (I have done it before and had a win). Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


As suggested by the title, there have been some high points and some low points over the last three months.

For those who don't follow me on Twitter, don't worry, my health is fine(ish), though there have been a couple of complications there too, which I will detail at the other blog. (Here)

Work is going along okay, the boss has been pretty good since we cleared the air about our little misunderstanding earlier this year. He knows of my plan to move to Melbourne, but is not aware of my timetable as yet. I will break it to him fairly soon I think, as the time is coming ever closer.

The Brat is once again out of work, having been ripped off salary wise by his most recent employers. Now given his record for staying in any one position for any length of time is not exactly awesome, I don't for a second believe that he is without blame in the various scenarios which have led to his temporary bouts of unemployment. Sadly, he's actually very good at what he does, and he is in fact a good little worker. To a degree he has been unlucky. Hopefully his next position will see him out to the end of his apprenticeship and beyond. After that who knows? He may choose to join me in Melbourne, travel, or, my personal preference, join one of the armed services for a few years. I have to admit though, it's been nice having him around the last week or so.

My relationship is going really well. I don't know what exactly turned the tide, but J has gone from being a man who emphatically declared less than 12 months ago, that he will be single for the rest of his life... to asking me to move in with him when I finally do get to Melbourne. Maybe it was my cancer, or the enthusiastic reception our relationship has had from his friends and family, or maybe a combination of the two.  Sadly his Dad was also diagnosed with cancer, and as a result of other medical conditions, his treatment options were somewhat limited. He is currently under palliative care - which involves Morphine, as much as he needs, and is unlikely to survive the week. I saw him a couple of weeks ago when my best friend treated me to a weekend in Melbourne for J's birthday. Sad to see a strong, proud man reduced to the extent he was, and less than 24 hours after I returned home, he was in hospital. He is still a proud man, and the frustration in his eyes when he struggled to understand or be understood, was heartbreaking. I hope to make it back for his funeral, but that will depend on when, as my treatment has to be my priority.

Some of you will know that I had planned to be living in Melbourne by now, but obviously the cancer came along and delayed my plans. My next plan was to wait until I have my 12 month mammogram in June, then head off once I have the all clear. I am now moving my timetable forward, with the blessing of my Doctors. When I am ready they will transfer all of my records to the appropriate Doctors in Melbourne, and I can have all of my follow ups down there. So I am planning now on a move late March or early April 2011.  J and I are both excited and impatient, but obviously it would be foolish to do anything until my active treatment is finished.

My parents.... well what can I say. There are subtle indications that Mum is beginning to accept the inevitability of my move. It will be a long time before she likes it though, if ever. Still, she has joined a bowling league, and talked Dad into joining the RSL, in an attempt to broaden their social circle. So far it seems to be working, and as they settle into new friendships, hopefully my move won't be as devastating as she thinks it will. There was a major hissy fit when I went to Melbourne a couple of weeks ago, but my current tactic is to ignore the tantrum, and eventually she settles down. She wouldn't drop me at the airport or pick me up on my return though.

I had breakfast this morning with some of the Burger crew. Good food and company, but once again no photos. D'Uh! I even made a point of locating and taking my camera and then forgot to use it! There are plans afoot to catch up again in the New Year, and I look forward to that. I'm also keen to see and meet more of the Melbourne Burgers, once I move.

So for now, I continue with my treatment, and prepare for Christmas. My younger sister will be here with her partner and the kids. My older sister was going to be here, but unfortunately will be unable to make it. I am looking forward to it, it will be a distraction from my treatment (which continues through my short break).

Given my track record, I suspect I won't be back with an update before Christmas, so to all my friends, have a safe and happy Christmas, or whichever celebration you prefer. Thank you again for your wisdom, support and friendship, and I will see you all around the Twitterverse, or on facebook, or the varios Blogs we frequent, until we catch up in person.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Well I DIDN'T LIE Exactly.....

Actually, I DID get very inspired reading Mr Flinthart's chronicles of his trip to Borneo.... particularly the stuff about food. So inspired and nostalgic in fact, that I decided to do something a little different and blog about some of my own experiences and memories growing up in that part of the world.

Unfortunately, halfway through I DID get somewhat unwell. After that I DID get quite happy (Thanks to some friends who shall remain nameless). Sadly the Happy DID make me somewhat woozy, and I consequently DID fail to gather enough momentum to continue....

So this post is not the one I had originally planned, but Meh! It will have to do.

Yesterday was my Birthday. Not one of those significant number birthdays, but a birthday nonetheless. Now the thing about my birthday is, given I was born on Father's Day way back when, my birthday is usually only a few days either side, and thus tends to end up a shared celebration. Even my 40th, which fell on a Monday was celebrated in fine style at a beautiful restaurant, with my family, on Father's Day with every other diner there to celebrate Father's Day. It just didn't feel special.... and to cap it off, thank you Crocodile Hunter for dying on my actual 40th birthday. Now how the hell did this turn into a rant about my birthday??? It wasn't meant to, so rant over!

Back to yesterday.... and actually it ties in kinda neatly with the original post I had planned. You see, since my diagnosis, some of the people I have reconnected with are people who have been in my life as long as I remember. RAAF people, whose families have shared many experiences with mine, and particularly the Malaysian experiences. It occurred to me that we have all become so terribly busy that we almost never see each other. None of us live all that far apart, yet we never get together. One of the boys has been back in Brisbane more than 5 years, and I haven't seen him, or met his wife of 15 years, or his kids, in fact I haven't seen A in about 20 years. Similar situation with his brother, though in our defense, he and his family do live in Canberra. Anyhoo, I was determined that the phrase "we really need to get together" was no longer going to be just a throwaway line. I was going to make it happen!

The opportunity presented itself when my older sister decided that she would visit for my birthday. It was as much a matter of this being a "good" weekend for me, just prior to scheduled chemo, as anything else. So I made the calls. First to Mum, to see if she would mind hosting a little shindig. She was all in favour, so I called A, while Mum called his parents. Then I rang K, and she was enthusiastic, and fortuitously her Mum would be here that weekend from her home up north. I then had a call from A's brother P, the one who lives in Canberra. He was keen as well, and decided to try and arrange a shift swap, so he could make a flying visit. Sadly that didn't happen, but the rest of it did!

So for about 6 hours, we sat and ate, and drank and talked. And talked and talked. There are children who now know more about their grandparents than they ever wanted to! There are older children who now know more about their PARENTS, than they ever wanted to.... I had NO idea of some of the things my folks got up to over in the tropics! We reminisced about everything, the food, the locals, the RAAF School and the Swimming Pool. We remembered old friends, some of whom are gone, some of whom we have recently reconnected with, some of whom we would love to have back in our lives. We remembered the care packages we all received when my Grandma came to vist.... fresh Aussie beef, milk, cream, vegemite, and most importantly the LOLLIES! Minties, Bananas, lots of lollies that tasted nothing like Durian. For more info about Durian and other exotic food pop over here: http://dirkflinthart.blogspot.com/2010/08/extreme-food-tourism.html Dirk did it so much better than I could have anyway!

All in all, a brilliant day.... not because it was my birthday, (that was a happy coincidence - I can tell you now, if my birthday was the weekend AFTER chemo it wouldn't have happened this way), but because it was amazing to be with these people again. It makes me wonder why we wait until a life changing event occurs, before we reconnect with the people who have been special in our lives. Life's short, anything can happen, and we need to be mindful of that. Three of the people who were at that table yesterday have had cancer battles (2 of us from my generation). I am SO glad we had yesterday, and we are determined that it WON'T be another 5 years, or 20, we will be in each others lives again, SOON!

And the best thing? I have a new friend, A's wife is fantastic!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

12 Sleeps.....

Well the dreary details of that other part of my life are over at the other joint, but there is still plenty of other stuff to chat about.

The title of this post refers of course to my man's imminent arrival in Brisbane. His visit will intersect with Mum and Dad's absence in Northern NSW for a holiday with my sister, her partner and the kids. He will arrive on Wednesday the 30th, and leave on Thursday the 8th. We will hopefully take a long weekend and bugger off up or down the coast, assuming of course that we can find accommodation during the school holidays. My Mother is being her usual pigheaded self about him and as far as I know doesn't even know that he will be here. She will be back before he leaves, so if Dad doesn't, or hasn't already, told her, she will be surprised to find him in residence on her return. Her problem, not mine, and as she was away in Cairns last weekend I took the opportunity to sit my Dad down, and let him know what's happening, and that Mum needs to stop hassling me about it. His response was that I am old enough to make my own decisions and do what I want to do, but Dad's not an easy man to read, so I have no idea how he really feels about this relationship. He has said all the right things, and I have decided to take that at face value. It was however, VERY funny, sitting with the nurse at the hospital the other day, with my Mum beside me, discussing the need for safe sex and condoms, wondering if she had a clue that it was in fact all very relevant information. I couldn't bring myself to look at her in case I burst out laughing.

I had lunch a couple of weeks ago in Brisbane with my man's sister. She's a flight attendant and has recently started having overnights in Brisbane. Apparently she will be here again for a couple of nights while her brother is here, so we will both catch up with her again during his visit. Given she's barely seen him since my last visit to Melbourne, she'll probably see more of him while they're both here than she does at home.

The Brat has settled into his new job at Cha Cha Char, a steak restaurant close to the Brisbane River. He's very happy there, the staff are great, there is so far no sign of the bullying culture we have come to expect, and Chef has been great about my situation, and let him know there's no problem if he needs time off. It's unlikely he will, but good to know all the same. He has also recently participated in the Under 21 National Europen Handball Championships in Sydney. Now THAT'S a very strange sport, very fast and intense, and even though he has not played a lot of it, his basketball background ensured The Brat slotted in as a top player immediately.

Unfortunately he hasn't been feeling terribly well... nothing specific, just generally flat. He took himself off to the Doctor this evening, and they have decided to repeat the blood tests they did when he had Glandular Fever earlier this year. He also made the decision to avoid alcohol completely for a while, as it's become harder for him to just have a few social drinks. He finds he is writing himself off every time he drinks, and mindful of the history of alcoholism in my Dad's side of the family, he thinks it would be a good idea to lay off. Also his liver function tests weren't crash hot when he had the Glandular Fever, so that may be concerning him a bit as well. I know for a fact that he first started drinking very heavily when he was at his last job, as the stress of that situation was really getting to him. Now, even though there is the Cancer issue hanging over us, he obviously feels strong enough to cope without booze, at least for a time. Hopefully peer pressure won't drag him off the wagon, but it's a possibility he recognises and thinks he can withstand. I am EXTREMELY proud of him for having made this decision off his own bat.

Not much to report on the job front, as I haven't been there for a couple of weeks, but my boss has been amazing since my diagnosis and will continue to support my need for days or half days off to attend various appointments. I'm fortunate that I have a reasonable amount of leave up my sleeve, and more due in September. He won't quibble about advancing me leave if that becomes necessary. I return to work on Monday, and my biggest concern is getting through the days without a Nanna Nap.

Okay, that's about it... I promise not to report in daily with the countdown.... but will be back when there is more to report. May need to wait until after the visit, unless something exciting happens in the meantime.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Second Site

Since my cancer diagnosis, I have been posting little bits of information at various places, (thanks Catty and Madam M for allowing me to hijack your places), but haven't blogged here yet. I'm a bit reluctant, as I don't want this cancer to define me, I still want my blog to be about my life, my friends, family and experiences, and I don't want the cancer to take over. On the other hand I DO want to be able to keep you informed, and maybe vent a little. Solution: TWO blogs.

This is where I will report in: tests, doctors, laughter, tears, frustrations and triumphs. Most posts will be short updates on daily occurrences and just generally how I'm travelling. Hopefully it won't just turn into a dirge, but frankly if that happens so be it. The rest of my life will continue to be chronicled here.

Drop in to http://mayhem-oflaughterandtears.blogspot.com/ if you want to, or don't. Your call! If you go there you will know what to expect, and I won't be upset or offended if you choose not to. This is mainly for me anyway. An opportunity to express my myself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Havock Fiasco Weekend

It pretty much started with the tweets announcing the revered God's arrival, followed by some frantic searching for same and Jugger author John Birmingham, on behalf of Monster Yuppy who would like to join them for lunch. Epic FAIL as both gents had turned their phones off... clever boys!

Arrived at Claret House around 6:30 or so to find most attendees assembled and well away. We were awaiting the arrival only of the Boss and the magic Bedes. I think Beeso, Abe and SpyNat were intent on sampling every beer on the menu. At some point in the evening I handed my camera to SpyNat, who played with it for a while and then handed it on to Havock, and made myself scarce. If you've seen my one and only vaguely recognisable photo from the Tassie Babes post, you know why I did that, though in my defense Havock did take some that were similarly apalling on Friday night.

Beeso and Monster Yuppy
I have met both of these gents before, but it was good to catch up with them and this time I actually managed to have a conversation with the Monster.

JB and Abe Frellman
The first time I have had the pleasure of meeting "The Sausage King from Queanbeyan" and appropriately The Boss ordered a sausage salad which went down very well! (Okay it was Chorizo salad and it was very nice). This photo should also allay the fears of non-attendees that we Brisbane Burgers have turned into a bunch of wussses who have forsaken alcomohol! Abe it was a pleasure! I will echo other commentators who are very impressed with JB's svelte suave look.

The lovely SpyNat, with Bedes and The Boss.
(Sorry Bedes, Havock seems to have saved all the front on shots of you for his phone)
Nat it was a pleasure, if you're ever at a loose end around lunch time, pop in to the office and we'll have lunch.

And of course the ratbag who needs no introduction....
The God himself...
Now I met Havock briefly in Melbourne in March, and he seemed a nice guy! He is!

So Saturday night was fun, good conversation and food, and plenty of booze, except for me, I was driving. At the end of the night I bravely offered to drop Havock and Abe at their respective lodgings, and SpyNat home. I say bravely, because I have absolutely no illusions about my sense of direction. Frankly, it SUX. Still, I lined up the lovely Nat to navigate, and our little expedition set off (after a quick tidy up of the car - sorry about that folks). And an expedition it certainly was. All went swimmingly to the point where we dropped Abe in Roma Street. And that's when we came unstuck. Disregard anything you may read elsewhere, we did NOT circle the CBD eight times, it was four at the most. And with each circuit it was funnier, and we got sillier. We ended up dropping the great one on a corner, with SpyNat yelling at him out the window "That's Wickham Terrace, I'm sure it is", and then "Look, there's a street sign, I told you it was Wickham Terrace" Luckily, that particular corner was in fact close to Hav's accoms, and he made it home safe and sound. As did Nat and I, eventually! We cooked up a story that the whole situation was deliberate, we just couldn't bear to let Havock go, we couldn't get enough of his scintillating company.. yada yada.
I don't think he bought it.

I think I redeemed myself on Saturday though. Having finished my errands earlier than expected, I phoned Havock and arranged to collect him from the city for our lunch at Fiasco Steakhouse. Didn't get lost even once, and the ONLY reason we ended up doing yet ANOTHER blocky, was because there was no way to enter the restaurant carpark from the direction in which we were travelling. We were joined in due course by Quokka and her Bloke, then Bedes. Don't know about the others, but I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken. Bedes, I meant to ask you how your steak was? I assume it was okay, because it was well and truly gone. I think Havock learned a valuable lesson during that little gathering. Do NOT let Simon Bedak play with you smart phone EVER. Havsy's probably still trying to work out who all these vaguely suss new Twitter mates are! Another enjoyable couple of hours, after which I headed home, having woken up with a nasty headache, and being seriously not in the mood to stay out all afternoon before fronting up to Tassie Babes.

A couple of hours sleep, headache minimised, and off to Tassie Babes. I arrived quite early, as The Brat dropped me in then headed back to watch the football with his Nanna. I had a quick look at twitter, and discovered that a bunch of Burgers was having dinner right next door to the BAT. (Is bunch the correct collective noun for the Burgers? It seems a bit tame somehow.. any suggestions gratefully received). So I gatecrashed their dinner for a little while, before heading back to the play.

Tassie Babes, again what can I say? An absolute riot, had a ball once again. All involved are to be congratulated. GirlClumsy, love your work. Your cast, your crew, and of course the Author and Playwright! And Saturday night was chance to catch up with NBob, GirlClumsy, Medway and Albion Love Den. Also met Albion's lovely wife Satomi, Ysambart, Mick H, JanetELeach and assorted others. God I hope I haven't missed anyone! The one sour note was learning that Moko and his wife had run into major traffic problems on their way in, and weren't going to make it. You were missed mate! The Urinal presentation was another burst of hilarity, then chatting and catching up for a little while longer. After the show The Brat showed up to convey me homeward, and I let him know that we would be taking a couple of passengers, The Brat was cool with that, with one proviso. Nat was NOT allowed to navigate! I assured him that Nat had arranged other transportation, and we had Abe and Havock reasonably close to their respective quarters in short order.

Sunday, I had hoped to round off the weekend with a trip up to Redcliffe to meet Big Bad Al. Sadly the headache which had lurked all Saturday, returned with a vengeance. Decided to stay home and sleep it off. I will tell you all now though, if I can go out, have one glass of wine and end up with a monster hangover, from here on in I'm going to make sure I bloody well deserve it!

All in all a fabulous weekend. Great company, great food, and lots and lots of laughs. I doesn't get better than that!

Now, just because I can, and to counter that revolting photo Havock has of me on his blog, I'm going to post a couple more photos of past meetings with other burgers . Now I'm definitely not the most inspiring photography subject, but I think these ones are a LITTLE bit better!

With Medway and the Fabulous Girl Clumsy. This is an older one, but both were present Saturday night, and I didn't manage to get pics of them there.
With Havock and Bangar in Melbourne

With Catty in Melbourne on her birthday

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tassie Babes Finale

What can I say? Not much that hasn't been said better by others....

Hilarious play, awesome company, new friends, terrific atmosphere, just a great night and indeed weekend, all round.

Sadly I am a pretty dodgy photographer, so just in case you can't work it out, the above was taken during the presentation for (correct me if I get this wrong somebody),

"The John Birmingham and Simon Bedak Commemorative Urinal." 

Pictured are Uber Author John Birmingham, Amazing Playwright Simon Bedak and the Very Very Fabulous Girl Clumsy.

I'm going to leave it there for the moment, this is as much a test of my ability to post pics, I have plenty more, though this is the only one from Tassie Babes that is even vaguely recognisable. I'll come back with a bit more commentary about the rest of the weekend and photos of Friday night's Burger dinner.

Friday Night Fiasco (including pics), currently under construction. Should be finished tonight.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Some legitimate, others just nit picking.... which is which? You decide, and let me know some of yours.

  1. People who come to work sick, spreading their germs through the office. This one is particularly grating at the moment, because my boss (the one who says "if you're sick, you're sick, you shouldn't come to work") has just spent the better part of this week sharing his germs through the airconditioning system, and now I feel like crap.
  2. People who replace the word They've with the word There've - "there've been at the Gold Coast on holidays for a week". This is particularly annoying when it comes from a newsreader.
  3. People who replace the word number with the word amount. "A large amount of visitors to this year's EKKA will end up with the 'flu".
  4. Tailgaters
  5. People who buy brand new cars without checking that indicators have been fitted.
  6. Idiots who park trucks or LWB vehicles in car parks designated SMALL CARS ONLY.
  7. Parents with Prams parking spaces.
  8. Toll roads
  9. People who assume that because I am female, I can't possibly know anything about, or have a valid opinion on "boy stuff"... cars, football, cricket etc.
  10. Public transport - not per se, just when it's inefficient.
  11. The assumption that because I have a child I am, or have been, married. Because if not, then obviously I am a slut.
  12. Ex-smokers who say "if I can do it anyone can"! Yes Mum, but it took you 50 years to quit, that means I've got another 20 or so to work on it....
Okay, so I know I'm not the only one..... Tell me your pet (or petty) peeves. We can have a real bitch fest here.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tassie Babes... No Spoilers

Well finally something to write about YAY!

I promise no spoilers, as I know many of you have plans to see it in the future, so just an opinion from me.

Awesome night. The Brat came along with me, and we had a blast. The show was fast and funny, never a dull moment. The cast was hilarious, and VERY impressive in dealing with (what I assume were) minor bloopers. I have read the book quite recently, and recognised it in the play (always handy I suppose), but the adaptation included references to current events and technology, hysterical in the 80's setting.

Big congratulations to Girlclumsy and her cast and crew. Also to JB and Bedes. Top night, and I will probably return for closing night.

It was also great to catch up with some fellow burgers, though sadly I forgot to take photos. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Something From The Brat!

I came across this on Facebook yesterday morning. Sick with an ongoing virus, The Brat just randomly decided to bash out a little story. It blew ME away, not that I actually have a clue, and he gave me permission to drop it in here. So here it is, reproduced as written, spelling mistakes and all. (It WAS 2 am after all).

A pesky fly circled my head, I swiped.

It took a good dozen-or-so swings before the fly went down, spiralling to the floor below. In it's uncontrollable daze, the fly had managed to land at the edge of a spider's web.

Needless to say, it didn't take long before the spider emerged, ready to lunge upon her prey with delight. The fly's counter attack was to buzz frantically, in a bid to free itself from the confines of its trap... a deperate bid which ultimately lead to an even worse fate.

As the spider closed in on her victim, the fly was relentless in its attepmts to escape. The spider closed in, spinning her web of despair upon the fly, the innocent victim of my crime only comitted in a time of annoyance. Twice the spider retreated, then a third... It soon became four, then five then ten....

The fly was getting nowhere, and it one final attempt to free itself from the clutches of the web and its ravenous occupant, the fly shifted it's position on in a counter-clockwise fashion. Big mistake. It was this manouvre which brought about the sweet taste of victory for the spider.

It took a mere sixty seconds, perhaps even less for the spider to reap her reward - to the victor goes the spoils. She spun her sticky secretion around the fly, rendering it paralyzed, motionless in its cage of silver peril.

Once the evil deed had been done, the spider wrangled the swinging carcass back to her hollow den - an old empty toilet paper roll - to which she presented a feast to all her young, a satisfyingly blood-stained feast.

Devoured no doubt, in seconds.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Hell Of A Fortnight.

Sorry for the delay in updating... it's been a long week.

The week in Melbourne was everything I had hoped for and more! Spent quality time with my man, alone, with his friends (some old some new), and his family. Ran into an old schoolmate and had a nice chat with her. Even managed a pleasant enough evening in the company of my man's ex-wife.  Also caught up (fairly briefly) with my sisters and the kids, had a day at Melbourne zoo and met up with Havock, Bangar and Catty for lunch.

We stayed a couple of nights at my Man's place, then moved into a little B & B nearby, so as not to upset his Dad, who  lives with him and has trouble dealing with change. On Sunday my Man had arranged a drive to visit a little country market, and lunch at a nearby country pub. Another couple were supposed to join us, but begged off at the last minute due to a family illness. So it was just the two of us. A beautiful drive, the markets weren't much, but a decent feed and some pretty countryside.

My man worked through the week, so Monday and Tuesday I spent with one of his sisters. On Tuesday I had lunch with both of his sisters and his brother, rather nice vietnamese, which I don't normally enjoy. Wednesday I travelled over to my sister's and went with her partner and the kids to see Mali the baby elephant. VERY cute.  Wednesday night is Parma Nite at the local. My man usually joins his mates on Wednesday night for a cheap feed and somewhat riotous get together. This week I was specifically invited, as his mates wanted to meet me, and because some of the boys who were part of the group I knocked around with as a teen, were expected to be there. Awesome night! My man has some wonderful friends, and catching up with old mates was a blast. I got along particularly well with the couple who had been supposed to join us on the previous Sunday, and was chuffed when my man let me know on Thursday that he had received a call from them, saying that they really liked me, they'd had the best Wednesday night get together in months, and they wanted to get together again before I left. Thursday night was a quiet one, my Man cooked and we had an early night. Friday was a quick catch up with my older sister (who had been suffering gastro earlier in the week), then the Burger lunch. It was awesome to catch up with the guys, but can I just say, having met them now, I have so much trouble reconciling the guys with their avatars, although Catty actually resembles hers. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way Catty)! Friday night was a lovely little tradition my Man's sisters have of meeting at the home of one of their group for Friday night bubbles. This week was at one of the sister's houses, and was a great night of bubbles, conversation and more old friends. It was not even terribly uncomfortable when "the ex" joined us. I have known her as long as I've known the rest of the crew, though we never got along terribly well. Anyway, she gave me a kiss hello, and we made small talk and all was okay. Even my Man, who has absolutely nothing to do with her was okay. On Saturday night we went out for Thai with my Man's brother and his partner, as well as the couple I had met Wednesday night. Beautiful food, excellent comapny, and an early night for my last one in Melbourne. Well.... sort of....

Burger lunch was fun, (somewhat at Catty's expense, as she managed to get hopelessly lost on her way to the city), fairly brief, and definitely worth repeating. Thanks guys! I DO however need to say, that contrary to what you may read on other blogs or twitter,organisation was somewhat less than optimal. Only had a definite time and place a couple of hours before kickoff, and THEN the General was late! Almost as late as Catty!

I arrived home on a high, after a week that more than convinced me that I belong in Melbourne. Of course reality set in, and I was a bit low the next couple of days, should have expected it I suppose, I am impatient by nature, and just wanted to get straight back there and start my new life. Naturally it is awesome to be home with The Brat, I really wish he was in a position to come with me when I'm ready to jump ship, but given the way his apprenticeship is structured, he's not, and he has categorically stated that under NO circumstances am I to wait until he has finished his apprenticeship to do what makes me happy. It's just a shame that some other members of my family aren't so selfless....

The rot REALLY set in on Friday. My brother has an opportunity to move out, live with a mate in Redcliffe, 45 minutes or so north of here.  Personally I think it's awesome on a number of fronts.

One - Since he first caught up with this mate a couple of months ago after several years of no contact, my brother has started to have a life. He's getting out, meeting people, and being social. This guy knows my brother's medical and financial difficulties, and has been helping out where he can. He has introduced him to new people and helped him arrange employment up in Redcliffe. Among other things he also now has an opportunity to work with horses, an animal he fell in love with as a teenager. Being happy in himself has helped stabilise his moods, and he's altogether a much nicer guy to be around.

Two - not having him here will allow me to save money, as I will no longer be supporting him. The money he gives me for board doesn't come anywhere near food and his share of the bills, but it's what he can afford, so I have been (begrudgingly I admit) carrying him for several years.

Three - we have been told by my sister, who owns the house we rent, that she will be kicking us out around the middle of the year. So rather than leaving it 'til the last minute, he has made his arrangements with plenty of time to spare. He won't end up homeless or dependant on me or my parents for somewhere to live. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably have to move to temporary accomodation for as long as it takes me to get myself financial for the big move.

Here's the kicker... Friday my brother rang to let my sister know of his plans. She freaked! She rang me at work to tell me that they can't possibly do without his rent, as they will have trouble meeting the mortgage payments. That she will have to put my rent up to cover it if he leaves, that they had decided not to do anything about the house until the end of the year, so that I wouldn't have to move twice. (Very decent, but it would have been handy to know). Of course, having to cover his share of the rent pretty much negates or at least severely reduces my ability to save money, given that I'll also be missing out on the small amount he gives me. I just told her she needs to do what she needs to do, hung up and promptly burst into tears. I rang my brother to let him know what my sister had said. He lost the plot! Then Mum got in on the act! She told him he was doing the wrong thing by my sister, that without him being there she would have to forget any more trips to Melbourne to see her grandchildren, that he had already had one falling out with this guy he's moving in with and it would inevitably happen again etc., etc., etc. By the time I got home from work, out of pure frustration, hurt and anger he had told them both to forget it, he wouldn't go anywhere. Two happy campers! Two VERY UNHAPPY campers.

The Brat had texted me earlier in the day, before all this happened, and asked if I would mind dropping him out to a nightclub after work if he decided to come home and change first. He doesn't ask often and the club is reasonably local, so I agreed. Of course by the time he got home, all this other rubbish  had gone down, and I was tired and cranky. I explained the situation to him, and he had an immediate response. That's just fucken wrong, no way should you have to pay his rent, I'll move into the flat and pay it. We discussed the details, how much per week etc., and he was really keen to do it. Given that he planned to move out anyway, this seemed the perfect solution. He has a bit more privacy, it's probably cheaper than moving out, and given he's due for a payrise, shouldn't be too much of a burden financially. From a Mum's point of view, it reduces the amount of available cash he has to spend on alcohol... never a bad thing, and he is also prepared to pay me a little bit of board after his payrise, which will help cover some of the bills. I'm certainly not going to charge him heaps, and given that our bills should reduce with the elimination of one of the three computers, should still allow me to save some money. Please note that ALL of this was his own idea, I didn't even suggest it, and certainly wouldn't pressure him to do this. I dropped The Brat up at the nightclub, where coincidentally my brother was working security, and let him know of the plan. He warned that this wouldn't solve the problem of Mum's reaction, but hey it was certainly a start. Okay, given that it's well after midnight by the time all of this is sorted out, I let my sister know the next day what we had thought of as a reasonable solution. She was on board with the whole idea, though thought maybe they'd reduce the rent a little for The Brat.

My brother decided to give Mum a couple of days to calm down, before telling her that the move was probably back on. Unfortunately he forgot to tell my sister this who has phoned me this afternoon to let me know that she had said something to Mum, expecting that she already knew. Sh!t! Well I was supposed to go over this afternoon to help Mum interpret her Car Insurance renewal notice, so decided to bite the bullet, and go straight over. all very pleasant to start with, I let her know what was what with the current policy, and started to do some online quotes with other companies so she could get an idea of what other options she had.

Then it started! First about my brother moving.... I gave her my opinions. Pointed out why it would be good for him and good for me. That didn't make her happy at all! So she started in on me! My plans to move to Melbourne, to ABANDON my child, to be with a man who is a loser and a deadbeat, and doesn't want me anyway. Again, I told her my side, disagreed with her assessment of a man who works hard, loves and supports his kids, and believe it or not has grown up somewhat in the last 25 years. I conceded that our relationship, though certainly heading that way, is not 100% solid, and may never be so. We will never know what we might have together until we give us a proper go. Explained my other reasons for wanting to make this move. I was honest and forthright, and it pissed her off enormously. You just don't disagree with my Mum.

My Mum is scared! I get that. She thinks her kids are all abandoning her. Two (soon to be three) of her daughters are almost as far away as it's possible to get. Her son won't be there to visit her every day as he is now, though he will be available to help out with Dad if Mum wants to visit Melbourne. Her youngest child has written off the entire family. She doesn't believe him (or says she doesn't), when my brother tells her he is happy to stay with Dad when she wants to go away. My Dad should take some heat for this as well. He refuses to travel with Mum though his health is certainly not so bad that he couldn't. Frankly, we all believe that they would be happier in Melbourne. The kids are there, they have old friends there. It's not as though they ever DO anything or go anywhere here, because my Dad refuses. He sits at the computer playing Spider Solitaire until Mum just wants to smash the bloody thing. If Dad's not happier in Mebourne, certainly he won't be more miserable. Not that I think he's miserable now, he's too apathetic for any such emotion.

Look, I love my parents. I adore my son. I really believe that eventually he will join me in Melbourne, but I want him to do it because it's what he WANTS, not because it's expected or what I want. I will miss him enormously, and it will be hard. But I am 43 years old, and it is time for me to have a life.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CONTENT WARNING! Female Medical Issues, Boys You Are Welcome To Stay, But Don't Say You Weren't Warned.

I was going to do another generic post, with all of the unexciting events which have occurred over the last couple of weeks. But given that even I'm bored with my life at the moment, why would I subject you guys to it as well? I have been tossing around the idea of doing this post for a few days, wasn't sure how it would go, but given the title, if you've elected to read on, then welcome and on your head be it. I promise I won't get too graphic.

I alluded to some medical problems at CBG the other day, and the PMS bat is frequently hauled out in the various Ladies Lounges to bludgeon the poor male Burgers into submission. Now, I don't actually get PMS. But before you ladies start howling in outrage allow me to explain.

A few years ago, (4th of January 2005 to be exact), I woke up in excruciating pain. And SICK! Major gastric attack but with pain that I swear was worse than labour! I phoned my Doctor's surgery, and somehow managed to drive myself over there, where the Doctor took one look at me and called an ambulance. She sent along with me a request for various tests including ultrasound, mainly to check that there were no issues with my appendix (it was removed when I was 13, but apparently the "stump" can get inflamed and cause major problems down the track). Anyway, long story short, much pain relief (morphine FFS), and absolutely no answers later, they sent me home. Okay maybe it was just a particularly nasty virus, take the week off work, see how you go. If pain persists see your Doctor.

And boy did that pain persist! Couple of nights later, Mum had to drag me back to Emergency, where the young Doctor established that I had PERIOD PAIN! For which he prescribed MORPHINE FFS. Now I've never had an easy time of it around that time of the month, and had, since I was about 17, suffered from ovarian cysts. Enough that I was eventually diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, one side effect of which is enormous difficulty achieving pregnancy, well we all know how difficult THAT turned out to be! Later tests discounted that diagnosis, but anyway, the point is having suffered from these sorts of "Women's Issues" for well over 20 years, I wasn't quite convinced that period pain at this time was a particularly accurate diagnosis. And who the hell takes Morphine for period pain anyway?

So, he gave me a referral to the Gynae clinic, and of course being a struggling single Mum, I had no health insurance, so had to wait months to see anyone there. In the meantime my pain persisted, so my Doctor sent me for more tests. I had blood tests on a weekly basis which indicated that I had inflammation somewhere, just no idea where. I had a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, glucose tolerance test, several ultrasounds (including my first internal ultrasound.. fun that...NOT), Pap Smear, even a mammogram (which OF COURSE showed up a suspicious lump which I then had to have biopsied). But the net result of all of these tests was nothing. Zip! Zilch! Nada! Nothing for it but to do the best I could getting through the day. Worked when I could, developed a permanent stoop, because by this time the pain was so constant I couldn't stand straight to save my life. We know there's a problem, we just don't know what it is. There were some indications that the problem was gynaecological in nature, by this time I was bleeding very heavily each month, at times flooding. So nothing for it but to wait for the Gynae appointment at the local hospital.

What luck! I got the head of the department YAY! NOT! She examined the ultrasounds, read the test results and reports, and established that there was definitely a problem. So far so good! She decided that the best way to find out more was to get in a have a look around. Okay, nothing else was working, that's fine. Between her and my GP, it was decided that seeing I was on the table anyway, we may as well do a D & C and insert an IUD at the same time. The IUD, in an effort to at least slow, maybe even stop the heavy bleeding. Okay, another couple of months on the waiting list I can live with that.

Game day arrives, just a day surgery, no big deal, off I go. Wake up after the surgery, Doc comes in to have a chat. Well we found some adhesions from previous surgery, but given that they've been there at least 10 years, they can't possibly be causing you any pain, so we left them alone. Now this SORT of make sense. Cutting the adhesions leads to the obvious risk of more adhesions, but given that they found no other problems maybe they should have rethought that decision? Particularly when my GP received a more thorough report which indicated that the scar tissue was affecting my bowel, and hiding parts of my bowel and other organs, so that they couldn't really see what was going on. Never mind, maybe the IUD will help.

It did and it didn't. No more flooding, just constant bleeding, I mean EVERY day. Along with the usual period pain, just still magnified 10x what I had experienced before this saga started. My GP was not happy, and even though he knew that money was scarce, convinced me to see a private Gynaecologist. His referral made clear that my financial situation was precarious (particularly given that I was still having a large amount of time of work, and had long since run out of sick leave - although I had an amazing manager at the time, she just kept paying me, and I would make up the time, an hour here, an hour there whenever I had a less awful day), so the Gynae cut me a break on the fees. I chose the Doctor who had delivered The Brat, some of you who reside in QLD would probably recognise his name, as in the intervening years he had developed quite a high profile, and lucrative practice.

Well, he too examined the tests and pictures duly presented for his inspection. Start with ANOTHER Pap Smear. First diagnosis, I'm diabetic. 2nd diagnosis I desparately need to replenish my iron stores. Okay that one I'll go along with, but let me tell you, triple the usual dose of iron tablets causes ALL sorts of additional problems, including the necessity to take more drugs to counteract the effects of the iron. The diabetes diagnosis not so much. At best pre-diabetes, but even that's a stretch, and given that a repeat test the following year was normal, perhaps my GP was correct is suggesting that the Gynae was panicking just a little. Next suggestion -  a hysterectomy. Why? The hospital Gynaecologist said my uterus and ovaries were perfectly healthy (what she could see of them anyway). Explain to me how removing perfectly healthy organs will improve my situation. No idea! Best guess, cutting nerves during the procedure will eliminate the pain. Not good enough. I was not yet 40 when all of this was going on, and even though I knew it was highly unlikely I would ever have another child, I didn't want the option taken away completely, especially given that there were no guarantees it would even help.

By now it's August. I have been in constant pain (some days worse than others), for EIGHT months. I have been bleeding steadliy for the last 3 of those months, and no answers still. Desperate times call for desperate measures. GP calls Gastroenterologist (they went to medical school together, along with my cousin, who was also kept apprised of events as they occurred). Given that the keyhole surgery earlier in the year suggested there may be some bowel issues, (it is stuck in places to other organs), lets do another colonoscopy. YAY!

2nd Colonoscopy just as clear as the 1st. But let's try something else. My Gastroenterologist wrote a letter to the hospital where I had continued to front up to emergency (several times by ambulance), and Gynae appointments. He STRONGLY suggested that they take another look inside, only this time have a General Surgeon participate alongside the Gynae, open me up this time, no more keyhole, and have a PROPER bloody look. Ahh the public hospital system! Not gonna happen, but yeah okay we'll have another look. While we're there we might just replace the IUD, because maybe this one's not working as well as it should.
Oh d'ya think? Of course by the time all of this toing and froing was done, it's now DECEMBER. This has gone on for ELEVEN months, and this is elective surgery, so it will have to wait until after Christmas, early February in fact, when the hospital came out of Christmas hibernation.

My body had other ideas. In mid-December, I collapsed outside the door to my Doctor's surgery. They're situated in my local shopping centre and I was on my way to buy groceries. Once again, into an ambulance, this time with a strongly worded suggestion that they FKN DO SOMETHING! My Gynae (the hospital one) attended me in emergency, and agreed to admit me. I went to a medical ward, but as they were closing beds for Christmas, soon got shunted to maternity. Then my Gynaecologist came to inform me that another Doctor would be taking over my case, as her husband had been involved in a car accident. This Doctor had agreed to do the surgery the next morning provided no emergencies occurred to bump me off the list. Fair enough. Off to a surgical ward, where I was treated pretty much as an imposition by most of the nursing staff.

Next morning with no definite word on whether or not I was going to surgery, I suggested that maybe I should prep for it just in case. Just as well, as I was still showering when they came to get me. Back under the anaesthetic, and the knife. Awoke to have the new Doc tell me that no, they hadn't opened me up, still keyhole, but this time they decided to remove the adhesions. He told me very confidently that this would make NO difference to whatever ailed me, as they were so old, they could not POSSIBLY be afecting me. Oh, and he had had a general Surgeon pop along for a quick look, and they could find no problems with my bowel or other organs. Well at least now they could see them I suppose.

Well, I wasn't thrilled, but at least this time they had done something. For the 1st time in my life though I had some minor drama coming out of the anaesthetic, and it was 24 hours before I could get out of bed. After I went for a walk (yes, to the smoking area), one of the nurses who had given me a pretty hard time when I was admiited, came to see me. She apologised for the treatment I had received at the hands of the nursing staff! Appears they had taken their lead from the Doctors, who had indicated I was a hypochondriac, wasting everybody's time. She told me that until they had seen me up and around after the surgery, the nurses hadn't appreciated just how crook I was. My posture had improved, my colour was almost normal (not grey), and the only pain I was experiencing was normal post-surgical tenderness. A Win! Why TF they hadn't done this 6 months earlier though was (and still is) a source of anger.

Anywho, that was 5 years ago. For about the next 3 years, I still experienced bleeding every day of my life. Very light bleeding, more a nuisance than anything else, but heavier at times approximating an actual cycle. Stll pain most days, but nothing like that horrendous year, manageable with OTC drugs, then eventually I would go days, then even weeks without any bleeding. I remember one of my sisters complaining once that she was on about the 12th day of her period. She shut up fast when I reminded her that I was on approximately the 545th day of mine.

Then 2 years ago, things got gradually worse, still not to the extent of 2005, but getting close on some days. I chose another private Gynaecologist, and went to see him, armed once again with all of the information from that year, as well as more recent tests, including blood tests, which again showed a spike indicating that the inflammation, which had remained present at low levels, was getting worse. This time the diagnosis was a lot easier. Apart from the likelihood of new adhesions, I had a large ovarian cyst. This is a puzzle, because these things are formed during ovulation, and the IUD is supposed to stop me ovulating. Anyway, arrangements were made to remove this as it had apparently persisted long after most of the buggers burst, but a pre-surgery ultrasound, indicated that while there was still a little rubbish there, the cyst had finally burst. Yay!

Still, since then, slowly things are returning to the way they were in 2005. The pain is increasing, but still manageable with Panadol and Nurofen, most days maximum dosages of both. No need at this stage to look at more potent meds, particularly as I don't like them, and have anyway developed an allergy to the Morphine derived drug they sent me home with at one stage. This could indicate an allergy to Morphine, and anyway, I don't believe in taking heavy drugs for what is essentially a part of any woman's life. I put up with it in the main, though I am aware that I'm again developing ovarian cysts (the pain changes), and at those times it is very tempting to just curl up in bed for a couple of days.

I rarely complain any more about the pain. There's no point, it's there and I have to live with it, at least until it gets completely crippling. I have warned my GP that things are slowly getting worse, so we will hopefully both be prepared for it when or if I get back to rock bottom. Sadly the next treatment is 99% likely to be a hysterectomy. Of course that's still surgery, and the potential for more adhesions remains.

It does affect me, my attitudes, my mobility, my moods, and the way I take care of myself. I make an effort to not let the pain rule my life, but some days it just does. I am tired all of the time, but still try to just get on with it. But yeah, I just don't always do the right thing by my body, because I don't have the energy, mental or physical. Ironically, I would almost assuredly feel better in myself, and improve my overall health, as well as these particular issues, if I made more effort to look after my diet and get some exercise. So this sis my commitment to myself, not to anyone else, just to me... I'm going to start looking after myself physically. I've already started working on my attitude, I am trying to avoid a repeat of that year, and if I don't then I won't have as much to beat myself up about!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Post Deleted!

Self indulgent crap, looking for validation for my own bad behaviour. Will try again tomorrow nite.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

There but for the Grace of God............

 The following is a story. It is not autobiographical, but it is a story I can identify with.

She's lonely! He reminds her of just how lonely she is.... by a look, an "accidental" touch, a sotto voce double entendre.

She's been alone for seven years, well, not really alone, she has her adorable child. The child keeps her busy, frantic, overwhelmed sometimes, until now she's never felt truly achingly alone. Sure it would be nice to have a man in the house, to share the load, to cuddle, to commiserate with, to celebrate with. It hits her in times of extreme highs or lows, but it hasn't, until now, been a yearning, a constant need.

He's on a mission. He reminds her with his touch, his words, that she hasn't been intimate with a man in nearly eight years. Her mind, her heart, say NO! This is wrong, people will get hurt. His wife, her child, his child. Her stubborn, traitorous body rejects the consensus. She's HORNY dammit! She had forgotten this side of her nature, wishes now that it had stayed buried. She tries to avoid him at gatherings, his wife notices and wonders why. She's honest with her, the wife laughs it off, he's just an incorrigible flirt. Tell him you're uncomfortable, he'll back off. She does, a mistake. Now he knows. He's winning the battle! Her body is on his side, her heart and mind will capitulate.

He steps up his campaign. Calling her on one pretext or another when he is alone, telling her what he is doing to himself as he talks to her. She stops answering her mobile, but can't ignore the landline, what if it's an emergency, the child or her parents? She hangs up on him. But then he's there, at her front door, late, when her child is asleep, telling her he's sorry. He doesn't mean to hurt her, he loves his wife, but he's drawn to her. He will stop. He doesn't, he won't. He kisses her. Her mouth says NO! Her brain screams NO! Her body overrules with an emphatic YES! God YES! I have missed this! I love this!

It doesn't end well for her.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Twitter and other things........... ' cos I can't think of a better title.

Well there's nothing to bitch about this week, except the heat. Those of you who live in SEQ already know it's been craptacularly hot, those of you who don't, have listened to those of us who do, bitch about it ad infinitum. So that's it! It's hot!

The Brat had his Oz day BBQ yesterday, and it went off really well. No problems, no gatecrashers, sadly it appears we did have one bogan in the house, kept wanting to move the party to SouthBank, but we kept him on a leash, so that was okay too. The Brat bought a large kids pool, and proved once and for all, that around water on a hot day, we're all still kids. The carpet got soaked, but one of the young girls who attended the party stuck around today to clean up with my brother's help, while The Brat and I were at work.

Tried the Roo, didn't care for it, but at least now I can say I've tried it. Don't you hate it though when kids turn around and use your own words against you? I was forever telling The Brat off for saying he didn't like a particular food when he hadn't tried it. So of course when I was unsure about eating Skippy, it was "how do you know you don't like it if you haven't tried it?" Brat! So I've tried it and I STILL don't like it, so there! The best bit? I didn't have to do a thing. No prep, no cooking, no cleaning. I did pick up a bag of ice when I went out for a couple of things I needed, but just in case, not because I'd been asked to. I even managed to escape a lot of the noise by barricading myself in my brother's air conditioned flat, and reading a Joy Fielding novel.

I finally succumbed to the twitterverse this past week or so. Anyone who has read my very first post may remember the warning from "Handsome Nautilus" to stay away from the evil of twitter. Turns out he just didn't want to share. I'm getting into it slowly, but if anyone can point me towards a twitter tutorial I'd be grateful. It's a whole new language - TweetDeck, Echofon, Twitpic - all greek to me, but if I don't learn to use it properly, I'll probably give up. I'd like to be able to keep in touch a bit while I'm away next month, and won't have access to a computer. I think I can use twitter on my phone, but not sure how. Any tips would be welcome.

Which brings me to pretty much the only other news I have this week. Heading back to Melbourne for 8 days at the end of February. Fireman Sam will pick me up, so Catty, here's your chance to break out the cheerleader outfit, if you can get it back from Rhino in one piece. Have tentative plans to catch up with some of the Melbourne Burgers while I'm there, hopefully that will happen. The ball's in your court fellas. Also, if anyone knows of a job down there for an Admin Guru, let me know!

So that's it! Maybe my life will be more exciting next week! Tune in just in case.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Sooo glad I went last night to the BAT for the closing night of "He Died With a Felafel In His Hand".

Last night's excursion was my first exposure to John Birmingham's novel, or any of his novels for that matter, and the experience was AWESOME! Obviously, without having read the book, I can't be 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure that the screenplay wasn't entirely true to the original. The jury is still out on Flinthart as manager of a strip club, but references to current politicians, events, technical advancements, and certain people who manifest frequently in JB's blogosphere, sort of gave the game away. Of course, that was a big part of the charm and a certain amount of the humour.

The best thing for me though, was the feeling that even had I not been familiar with the Burger "in jokes", I would still have had a fabulous time. The cast were amazing, the script was hilarious, the energy was electric. I'm not a writer (by any stretch of the imagination), nor am I a regular film or theatre-goer. I'm certainly not a critic. I just know what I enjoy, and I really enjoyed this.  My one regret was that I didn't realise that The Brat would have the night off when I booked my ticket. He would really have loved it, having inherited my weird sense of humour.

Thank you so much to all concerned, and I will definitely be fronting up for the sequel. To the Fabulous Girl Clumsy, if you thank me for coming one more time, I will have to bitch slap you. Of course not being 16, I'm not entirely sure how to bitch slap, but meh you get that. You were amazing, and it's you, the entire cast and crew, and of course the author and playwright who deserve thanks, and you have mine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It Just Pisses Me Off Is All............

Can someone explain to me why tradesmen (in particular - though the phenomenon is probably not limited to them), feel that it is absolutely necessary to demonise and bully the apprentices under their control?

Please don't tell me that it's just the way it is, that it "builds character" and allows young people to learn confict resolution skills. 'Cos that's just bullshit! It shouldn't be, it doesn't and it absolutely doesn't. All it does is drive young people out of trades, and perpetuates a cycle of bullying that should not be allowed to continue.

When I started as an apprentice chef (back in the dark ages), I was bullied mercilessly by the 4th year I was hired to ultimately replace (once he qualified and became unaffordable). His rationale (and he was quite open about it), was that he had been treated like shit, now he had the power, and he was going to make me every bit as miserable as he had been. WTF? First I took up smoking to relieve the stress (yes I was young and stupid - as apprentices are wont to be), then left altogether, never completing my apprenticeship. There were additional reasons for my chucking it in, but the culture of bullying was the predominant one. 30 years down the track, not only is this still going on, but it appears to be considered perfectly acceptable.

Admittedly my first hand knowledge is centred on hospitality and in particular chefs. I don't doubt that there is a similar problem in other trades and industries, just as I don't doubt that there are qualified tradies whose aim is to actually get the best from their apprentices without these ridiculous tactics. Sadly, I think that most chefs will employ these hard-arsed tactics. It's unnecessary and given the already difficult nature of the industry (unsociable hours, crap pay, etc,), completely unacceptable.

Only what the hell do you do about it? Apprentices don't have a union. The private apprenticeship mob who looks after The Brat (yeah in case you hadn't guessed , this is about The Brat), will always take the side of the employer - because without the employer they don't make any money. As a parent, I feel infuriated and helpless. How do I deal with this? How do I cope with my kid being miserable in a job, when he really likes the actual work and is potentially good enough to reach the top of his field.

I have employed the usual platitudes - "Don't let it get to you", "It's wrong, but that's the way this industry is and you have to learn to live by their screwed up rules", " You'll be qualified in 15 months, keep your head down, don't give them an excuse, you'll get through it". It's all crap! He shouldn't have to put up with it. I have brought him up to stand up for himself against bullies, and now as he becomes a young man, I tell him to throw his upbringing out the window, and just shut up and take it! Again WTF?

The Brat is a good kid. He's clever, he's funny, he has impeccable manners (when the situation warrants it), and he will do anything for anyone. He's also quick tempered, a bit (okay a lot) of a smartarse, sometimes drinks too much, and sometimes gets aggressive, (not related to drinking too much, and he is not prone to violence against other people - only walls and windows and the like). When a chef tells him that he wants to punch him in the face, he responds with "so fuckin do it fuckhead". This leads to a written warning for unprofessionalism and lack of respect for senior staff. WTF? Do you respect anyone who threatens to punch you in the face? Why does the chef who makes the threat (and make no mistake this is a threat) have no consequences. What do any of them hope to achieve? It's not going to make him a better Chef, it won't improve his cooking skills, or teach him how to handle staff, or how to order and maintain stock, or any of the myriad other skills he will need to become a professional in his chosen field. So what's the fucking point?

More importantly..... how do we deal with it? The Brat is 18, a year ago I had the power to intervene because he was a minor (I didn't until the situation became dangerous, by the way!). Now unless specifically invited by one or more of the parties involved, I have to keep my nose out of it. I don't want to fight The Brats battles for him anyway, as I said I have brought him up to stand up for himself (without violence). Kinda makes me think it's my fault really, if I hadn't, he might be more inclined to just take the crap that's dished out, which by the way wouldn't reduce  the bullying, but might lessen the consequences of "answering back". FFS he's not a 5 year old being told to clean his room and giving Mum a mouthful of cheek. He's a young adult, trying to learn a trade and make an honest living, and learn how to get on in the world. A world full of contradictions and confusion.

Here's a scenario:

The Brat works 10 am to 10 pm (ish). He gets a 2 - 3 hour break if he's lucky. During that time he goes to the pub, and has a couple of drinks. Later that day he injures himself badly with a knife. Emergency room staff stitching him up smell alcohol, and report it, thus voiding any possible workcover claim, and losing him his job. He's fucked! But he doesn't understand why, because on his first day in the job, Chef took him to the pub and bought him drinks! And that's not the only time either. How do you convince this young man that this is how it's going to play out. Surely if that was the case, Chef would never have taken him to the pub, thus implying that it was okay to have a few drinks during the working day, then go back to work and play with knives and fire and potentially explodey things. Guess what? Chef will deny all, point to the line on The Brat's contract that forbids alcohol consumption, and escape any consequences. The Brat is Fucked.

Chefs and other tradies/bosses or anyone responsible for teaching a young person, need to take responsibility. Chef, this is my kids life you are screwing with. YOU spend more time with him than I do. Treating him like shit is not going to build his character. It's going to make him angry, and resentful. A handy coping mechanism will be alcohol (mine was nicotine), I already see it.... after a particularly shitty day, he feels like he needs to drink to drown it out. That's fucking scary folks! It's also NOT a behaviour he learned in the home, just in case you believe those government sponsored advertisements that would have you believe that your drinking habits are the reason your child/ren will be problem drinkers. (If that theory held water, The Brat would be a smoker, and would have a drink maybe once or twice a year on special occasions).

Help me out here folks, I'd be particularly interested in hearing the other side of the story if anyone's keen.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's not all about YOU!

Yes, I am pissed off that he didn't talk to me about what's going on, and I let him know it.

I'm pissed off that he DID tell his sister some of what he's feeling, which she duly passed on to me, which he knew she would. Apparently, despite initiating a discussion about which of us is going to move so we can be together, (last time I was in Melbourne), when the subject came up in conversation again once I was home, he freaked out. "She's talking about moving down here" he wailed to his sister. Sounds like cold feet to me.

Look, I have known this guy most of my life, and have had strong feelings for him since day 1. There have been times when he has treated me not terribly well, and I have basically just walked away. This time is different somehow. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, and lonely, but I think that there is obviously SOMETHING (an evil sprite perhaps) that keeps pulling us together time after time.

My decision to move back to Melbourne is definitely in a large part because of him. BUT it's not ALL about him. (As his sister told him none too gently). I lived in Melbourne throughout my adolescence. I moved to Brisbane with my family when I was 21, and hated it, so moved back. Once I fell pregnant with The Brat, I came home for family support, but as a single Mum, who has seen first hand the traps that many single Mums fall into, I pretty much put The Brat ahead of everything else for 18 years, including my own interests and friendships. I concentrated on working, studying and trying to be the best Mum I could be, so that my son didn't end up a statistic (you know the one.... in trouble with the Police, well he's from a sole parent family, what do you expect). I have a couple of very good friends, but my social circle has mainly consisted of Basketball parents. Now that The Brat rarely plays (due to work) or if he does play, parents are now no longer necessary, (for transport, support etc.), my social life (if you could ever have called it that), is much diminished.

In Melbourne, I have 2 of my sisters, one sister-in-law, and a niece and nephew. I also have a large group of school and work friends. Now yes, we have all moved on with our lives, there are partners and kids and careers, so it's not like I expect that I can just slot back in to the same sort of social scene we had as kids. BUT, it seems there is more chance of me having some sort of life down there than here. I will miss The Brat enormously, but let's face it, he wants and needs to cut the apron strings. As he should! I love my parents, but the idea that my social life revolves around them scares the hell out of me. I DO worry, that Mum will have some difficulty when I leave, because of Dad's multiple health problems, but as I pointed out to one of my sisters, I shouldn't have to be responsible for them, not entirely and certainly not alone. My parents had 5 children, one has just informed the family by mail, that she is changing her name by deed poll, changing her contact details, and appointing an intermediary in case we need to contact her. My brother is bipolar. He is very supportive, if Dad's in hospital he cooks for Mum, looks after the house and dog while they are away, and has taken over virtually all of the house and yard maintenance (which, by the way they pay him for). Unfortunately his illness can and does cause problems. My other 2 sisters as you know are in Melbourne, and removed from the daily drama that has always been a part of our family life. That's the way they like it. That leaves me! I've just spent the last nearly 20 years being responsible for someone else, I'm not prepared to spend the next 20 being responsible for my parents and brother (as his illness will inevitably require). If my sisters are worried, then they should move back here and share the load. If that's selfish, so be it.

I am also unhappy in my job. When I started here it was awesome. I was learning new things, had the opportunity to study, and got along very well with my boss and his wife. Earlier this year that changed. I made a few mistakes, which I owned and learned from. I had been six months in the job, and was expected to be perfect. The boss has been 25 years in this industry and stuffs up, but I'm not allowed to. That annoys me more than a little. Sure, if something major goes wrong, it's his licence and business on the line, but if that happens it's just as likely to be his screw up as mine. Apart from that I just can't handle spending so much time alone. I am looking for another job. Financially it's likely that I will need to wait until later in the year to move, but I don't want to miss the perfect opportunity because it comes up a couple of months before I anticipate the move. If it happens sooner than planned, then I will cope. I usually do.

So, the above ramblings are some of the reasons I want to move back to Melbourne. I am not kidding myself, I know that the largest part of this is to do with my man. However, I don't plan to move down there and move in with him, or take over his life, or be joined at the hip with him 24/7. I DO want to find out if we have a chance at a proper relationship. I'm NOT going to be his booty call for the next 25 years. I don't think we can have any sort of relationship when we are so far apart. So I will go to Melbourne again in March, and we will have a discussion (unless he makes it up here before then, which he says he is trying to do). I can't do this over the phone. I think we need to sit down and have a proper discussion. I have asked his sisters not to get too involved in this. They are both reeaaallly pissed off with him over the Christmas fiasco, and both of us have talked to them about what's going on, but we need to do this ourselves, not via his sisters, (even though they are both on my side and will certainly slap him upside the head if I give them the word).

The main thing is I suppose, that I need to be happy. I deserve to have a life that is my own. I don't want to be lonely and bitter and twisted, and blame everybody else in my life for the fact that I'm unhappy. It won't be my son's fault, or my sisters' or my parents, or even this man's. My happiness and fulfilment are MY responsibility, and I will TAKE responsibility. If I don't do what I think will make me happy, then I don't deserve to be happy.

So yes gentle reader, the discussions will happen. If they don't go the way I would like, well that's just another area of my life I will need to spring clean. If he runs a mile in the opposite direction, well, that won't stop me moving to Melbourne. It's where I want to be, and where I think I can be happy, with or without him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Yeah, I've been a bit slack since my last post before Christmas. Ya get that!

So Christmas was pretty much as described in my previous posts. It was quite weird though, as without my sisters and the kids it was just too damn quiet. I normally love it, but just wasn't feeling it this time around.

The Brat's 4 days off turned into 3 1/2, and given that he slept almost all day Christmas Day, then went out and partied with mates on Boxing Day before working Sunday, I didn't really see that much of him. I'm getting used to it though, and I certainly didn't begrudge him time with his friends, given the unsociable industry he's in, it's hard for him at times to have much social life.

My own social life was a bit in the doldrums too. My best friend had relatives over from the UK, and between her brood, her eldest's girlfriend, two nephews and if I know them at all, about a dozen other assorted kids, she was pretty much flat out. So no time for a catchup there. My other good friend, who is in a similar position to me, in that she's a single Mum with a new man who lives a long way away, was somewhat luckier than I, as her other half actually did make it to Brisbane just after Christmas. Now while she would have been happy to have me around, I'm uncomfortable being the 3rd wheel, knowing what it's like to have just a few precious days with the guy you really want to be with.

To top it off Fireman Sam (thanks ladies for the nickname - I'm pretty much stuck with it now!), had sort of an accident with his mobile phone, rendering him almost uncontactable. A short conversation on Boxing Day was pretty much it. By Tuesday, I had pretty much given up on the idea that he was on his way to surprise me, and was feeling pretty down. When I spoke to my sister in Melbourne, she just happened to be having lunch with his sister, and I found out by accident that he had gone camping after all. NOT HAPPY JAN!

To cut a long story short, I decided "stuff him" I was going to go to Melbourne. I knew there was no chance I'd see him, but I was buggered if I was going to just sit around playing scrabble with my Mum for the next week. I have two sisters, a niece and nephew, and assorted friends in Melbourne, and I knew I would at least not spend the next 6 days bored stupid and fretting. So I did. I flew out at 5 am (Stupid O'Clock) on New Years Eve, arriving in Melbourne at breakfast time. A fairly quiet day was had with sister 1, given that I didn't bother going to bed the night before, followed by a nice dinner at sister 2's place with her partner and the kids. I managed to see in midnight down south, but fell asleep waiting to call my Mum and The Brat for the northern new year. Luckily The Brat rang me instead.

Friday was a spot of shopping and some babysitting, nothing exciting but at least I wasn't alone. Saturday, sister 1 and I caught a train out to our childhood home. We visited an old friend who used to work with Mum and had lost her husband since I last saw her. I was concerned for her until I saw her. She obviously misses her husband dreadfully, but her kids and grandkids are all there for her, and she keeps herself busy with her crafts, and activities in the retirement village she lives in. She's still independant and active, and it was great to see.

From there it was off to Sam's sister for the night. Sister 1 went home after a couple of hours, as she had a prior commitment, but I stayed for a very nice Thai prawn curry, and a little bit of champagne, followed by a little bit more champagne, then a bottle of white was opened, then some friends called round, and another couple of bottles of wine somehow got opened, and I eventually went to bed with a nice little buzz thanks very much. Unfortunately not to sleep, as it was harder than I had imagined, being just a few minutes from Sam's place, and knowing he wasn't there and I wouldn't see him. Not that I didn't know going in that this was the case, I guess it just sort of hit me about then. Still, no tears, and the alcohol had me pleasantly mellow, so apart from not much sleep, I was okay.

On Sunday I met another Burger. Via phone calls and email I had arranged to meet up with Catty in the city for lunch. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours together, and I met The Bloke, The Teen and The Kids. Thanks Catty, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and that the rest of your birthday was amazing.

Flew home Sunday night, and back at work Monday. I'm having a lot of trouble with work at the moment, my boss and his family go away for 2 weeks straight after New Year's each year, which leaves me alone in the office. I HATE it! I get nothing done, I'm lucky if I talk to one or two people during the course of the day and I have decided that I will definitely be gone from this job before next Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my own company, but not exclusively. I figure that if I'm going to change jobs, and houses anyway, I might just as well make the move to Melbourne. I have started looking at jobs down there, and a couple of interesting ones have hit my radar, but realistically, it will probably be around July/August before I can afford to take the leap. Sister 2, who owns the house I am currently renting, has decided that the house will either be on the market early in the next financial year, or she will put some money into it, and rent it out at a more reasonable market value. This works for me, as it means I HAVE to get off my butt and make things happen for me.

Some of you may have noticed that I've said little about Fireman Sam and our relationship. That, my friends is a whole nother post, and I have some sorting out in my head before I articulate. Stay tuned.