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!

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.