Sep 30, 2011

Girl's Night In - The Prelude



I've been meaning to do it. Planned to do it. Wanted to do it. Said I should do it.
But I've never done it.
Til now.
Nope, not getting a Brazilian OR a tattoo, I'm hosting an official Girl's Night In fundraiser for the Cancer Council on Saturday 22nd October. The idea is to get a bunch of girlfriends together at home and everyone who attends donates what they would have spent on a night out; the cost of dinner, or drinks, or a movie, or coffee and cake, or all of the above if they're feeling really generous. All money raised goes straight to the Cancer Council to raise awareness of Women's cancers, help in research, and offer practical assistance to cancer patients.

Why this, why now?

I've never been luxuriously rolling in cash, so I've never been able to contribute financially in a big way. Just a little bit here, a little bit there. Bought the ribbon. Bought the sunscreen.
I have no medical training, so the chances of me finding a cure for cancer tomorrow are less than diddly squat.
I'm a bit squeamish and a massive sook, I cry at the drop of a tissue, so I've never been able to volunteer in a practical sense. Patients would find themselves wanting to comfort me as I bawl my eyes out at their stories of hope and courage.

So what did I have to give? Well, I have time. A Husband who's away a lot and rapidly growing teenagers afford me some freedom. I have a big backyard. I have some girlfriends who like to party. I have a laptop. And I have some contacts.

So I started emailing. And tweeting. And typing letters (some businesses still don't seem to have websites? really?). And calling. And emailing some more.

And the response was wonderful. (Mostly... but I'll get to that in another post)

I have about 35-40 guests coming, and loads of donated goodies to use for raffles and giveaways. Seriously, I am considering running away with everything. Books, chocolates, jewellery and flushable wipes will get me a long way. Not to mention the free travel bag to pack it all in.

But no. I'll stick around. Just between you and me, I'm kinda looking forward to the night. I know I'll be a bit stressed and frazzled and tired from cleaning my house and organising everything, but once that karaoke microphone gets in my hand and I punch out some Fleetwood Mac... all will be well. (yes, I have Stevie Nicks delusions, although I look and sound more like Lindsay Buckingham)

I only have to read the literature the Cancer Council sent me to remind myself to stay put and not make off with a case full of Kleenex products. Almost 17,000 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer by the end of this year, and will every year. On average, that's 46 women who will be told they have a women's cancer every day. Sadly, well over 4,000 women lose their battle each year. It may be a cliche, but every dollar makes a difference.

$10 helps produce a cancer information book. Imagine being told you have cancer and the room starts spinning and you pretend you're listening to every word the medics are saying but all you can think is "I have cancer". Patients need clear and accurate information they can absorb, at home, in their own time, and this book gives them that.

$50 can help fund one hour of research into a rare type of breast cancer. Imagine you or a friend or family member are diagnosed with a rare type. Every hour of research may help find a better way of diagnosing, or treating, or maybe even curing.

And so on. It all counts.

So while we're having a fun night, dressed in pink, laughing, singing, drinking, eating and possibly finding 101 uses for flushable wipes, we know we'll be helping someone, somewhere... possibly even ourselves one day.

If you wish to sponsor my Girl's Night In by making a donation, go to my home page on the official website and click on the pink "sponsor me" link. I have a very low target set at the moment and would love to be able to raise it.




Over the next couple of posts, I will be thanking and promoting all the individuals and businesses who have donated goodies for my night, so I would love you to keep returning to the blog to check out my list of generous people and give them your support.

Sep 23, 2011

Don't You Just Love It.....

....when it's close to midnight and you're curled up in bed, fast asleep, and George Clooney has just started doing dirty things to you, and you are woken up by a megaphone-type yell from the Son, roaring the words which every mother wants to hear....

"MUM, THERE'S BLOOD EVERYWHERE."

Eyes fly open. Heart starts racing. Fumble for lamp. Fumble for slippers. (yes, I know, apparently I'm a 72 year old, but the floorboards are cold at night) Barely register that Dog is no longer on the bed where she was when I fell asleep. Emerge from bedroom to blinding lights in every room and Son standing, motionless, survey the scene, and realise... holy shit...

THERE'S BLOOD EVERYWHERE.

Big drops. Little drops. Smudges. Long trailing lines. Everywhere. Lounge room, study area, kitchen, family room, back porch, laundry...

THERE'S BLOOD EVERYWHERE.

After a minute of staring and gathering thoughts, I realise the Son is talking to me. I hadn't noticed, partly because I was still back in my room with George Clooney explaining how I was happy for him to shag me every day, but due to all his previous women having a shelf life of two years, I wanted a more binding contract. And partly because, holy fuck...

THERE'S BLOOD EVERYWHERE.

I focus on the Son and realise he's telling me a bit of a Cat vs Dog story, how the Cat had come inside, the Dog must have heard him and come out of my room, they had a little tete-a-tete in the family room (where the Son was still up, playing PS3. Like you had any doubts) which didn't go so well and ended in a bit of biffo and a chase through the house and out the doggie door.

"But I don't know where the blood is coming from, I didn't see either of them actually connect with each other... maybe the Cat was already bleeding, maybe he was hit by a car or hurt or something when he came in..."

"Well, he's done a runner now and it's midnight, there's nothing I can do about it. Help me clean this up, for fuck's sake...

THERE'S BLOOD EVERYWHERE."

But no. As I grab paper towels and floor wipes and drop to my knees (still thinking of George Clooney), Son decides he needs to find the Cat and check on him. Several minutes later, while I am still wiping and cleaning, Son returns to announce that the Cat is indeed fine. Not him. Our eyes turn to the Dog who is wide-eyed and still charging around the house, snuffling away, following the Cat's scent. We finally get her to stand still for one second and there it is, a claw-sized slash on her nose. Bloody hell, one little cut made all that mess.

I sighed, then grinned in my delirium and yelled "WE GOT A BLEEDER". Son looked at me blankly. I don't think he's seen 'There's Something About Mary' yet.

Eventually I got to go back to George Clooney, though I was a tad disappointed to find he had turned into a hirsute Ashton Kutcher. I shouldn't have watched Two And A Half Men this week.

A peaceful night ensued, although after that interruption I think a letterbox bomb going off at 4am would have seemed peaceful, and Daughter, who had slept through the whole incident, was the first to arise. She went to the kitchen to deposit a tissue in the rubbish bin, was confronted with a certain pile of used paper towels and floor wipes, and...

"MUM, THERE'S BLOOD EVERYWHERE."

Sep 15, 2011

Meet Cate. The Other One.

I think I'm having a fairly ordinary week. A few nice things and generous people have made me smile, some people have made me laugh and get over myself, but on the whole I feel a tad drained.

It started Monday. At 4.30am to be precise. Husband had to get up to jet off to Queensland for two whole weeks. He's been in this job since February and we're kinda used to him not being around much now - so much that when he gets home we stare at him, wondering who the hell he is for the first 5 minutes, and then my memory kicks in and I immediately ask him to take out the rubbish and change a light globe - but this two week stint away is coming fairly soon after his two weeks in Hong Kong & Singapore, and a week in Sydney. Not much time at home at all. I mean, when he's here, he farts and stinks the joint up, disrupts my Twitter time, annoys the kids, leaves the newspaper and coffee mugs all over the place, and checks up on the credit card bill... but at least he's here, y'know?

Anyway, I couldn't really get back to sleep and have woken up at 4.30am every morning since. Weird and exhausting. If I fall asleep part way through this post, you'll know why. I have also had a sore shoulder and back and was popping anti-inflammatories. Then I had no hot water. The dishwasher blew up, blowing a fuse, and I had to wash the whole weekends worth of dishes by hand, with sore shoulder. Eventually I worked out what was happening and got the hot water back on, but alas, dishwasher has carked it. First world problems, I know.

And it was my Dad's birthday. He's 89. That might be good news, ordinarily, but he spent his birthday have needles injected into his eyeballs in an effort to save his eyesight from macular degeneration, and will continue to have regular treatment with no guaranteed outcome. If it doesn't work he'll go blind. We just have to hope.

When I thought things were bad enough, I checked my emails and discovered an old friend from school, netball and tennis had died of cancer Sunday night. And I cried for her. Younger than me, leaving a husband and kids. Tragic. Bloody fucking cancer. And so I threw myself into sending emails and trying to get donations of goods and vouchers for my Girl's Night In Cancer Council fundraiser (more on that in a later post) with renewed vigour. Three solid days of researching, phoning, emailing, inviting, begging, and perhaps some whoring. I may have promised my virginity to somebody. (boy, will they be disappointed) And it's tiring. My brain, fingers and eyes hurt and it sure isn't healing my shoulder. But I'm doing it. I have to. I want to.

I also haven't been feeling particularly healthy. A bit of a gastric issue (of which I'll spare you the details, though I do know how some of you love a good poo story) coupled with the insomnia has left me feeling very flat and lethargic. I'm tired and I'm sooooo over it.

And last night when I was feeling very sorry for myself I thought of Cate. The other one. And I gave myself a fucking huge kick up the arse.

I'm talking about Cate Bolt.

I cannot possibly articulate her entire story here, but I will give you some links to look at in just a moment, so please, please, take 10 minutes out of your day to look at them.

But just to get you to sit up and take notice....

Cate has nine children. Not a typo. NINE.

Cate was homeless.

Cate started an orphanage in Indonesia.

Cate had a heart attack and has suffered some strokes, one as recently as this week.

Cate has brain damage from the strokes, affecting her motor and linguistic skills, but certainly not her thoughts.

Cate's first worry is not of her own health, but of the kids at the orphanage.

Cate does not want you to feel sorry for her, but do what you can to help her causes.

Cate never moans publicly about her own problems. Nor privately, I suspect. Unlike me.

Cate continually tells me "I can't believe you're 46." She hasn't seen me in real life yet. I actually look 72.

Cate did not ask me to do this post.

Cate is fucking amazing.



Please read this article by Peter Run to get a more in-depth look at Cate's awesomeness.

Then go to this site to vote for Cate's dream. And vote from every email address you have access to.

Check out Foundation 18 and see if there's any way you can help.




I really hope you don't mind me nicking your photo for this, Cate.

Sep 6, 2011

When is it time.......?



When is it time to stop wearing black nailpolish?

I thought I was getting too old to be emo, so I asked this question publicly and got many varied answers. From "when you notice you have unattractive/old/damaged hands and you realise the nailpolish is drawing attention to them" to "when your nails fall off" to "Never!"(including an uplifting speech on the empowerment of women as we get older) to the more specific "106". I mulled these over, painted my nails black and started plotting my world domination progress right up until my 106th birthday.

When is it time to buy some new renovating/decorating magazines?

When you get all excited about an upcoming Spring Fair in a Country Living magazine, then realise it was in the UK. In 2009.

When is it time to stop wearing leggings as pants?

TWENTY YEARS AGO. It didn't look good in the 90s and it DOESN'T LOOK GOOD NOW. You think you look awesome, BUT YOU DON'T. People are sniggering behind your back because LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Under dresses, okay. Under shirts/tops/tshirts, NO. PUT ON A SKIRT OR SOME REAL PANTS. (In case you hadn't worked it out, I am a card-carrying member of the Leggings Are Not Pants Society, and NOT because my arse is too fat, but because I made my mistakes in the 90s and have learned from them. Really, my first Mother's Day, I am in all photos wearing black floral leggings and a black top. You have no idea the dismay I feel when I look back at them and realise I can NEVER display such a significant photo. Hideous. And I'm sorry, just because leggings are plain black now, it doesn't make them any more stylish. LEGGINGS ARE STILL NOT PANTS.)

When is it time to give up on the small dream to be an author?

When your small dream alters with the season and becomes even smaller. When you make submissions and DON'T hold your breath til you get a reply. When you realise how much self-promotion is involved and decide it's not for you. When you read other books, pick them to pieces, and realise you couldn't handle someone doing that to yours. When you realise you don't want to be yet another person on social media who is brown-nosing, trying to make contacts, trying to get an agent, trying to get published. When you just want to write but can't be arsed with all the other crap. Screw that.

When is it time to make your lazy Uni bum son get a job?

Soon. Very soon.

When is it time to stop spending money on handbags and shoes and start saving for the future?

Who the fuck put this stupid question in here?

When is it time to take responsibility for your own actions, accept you are an alcoholic and a failure of your own making, and stop blaming your mother for everything?

Since you are now 60, I would say at least 30 years ago, dear brother. (Oh, you thought this question was for me?)

When is it time to cash in the Husband's frequent flyer points for that one-way ticket to Honolulu?

Soon. Very soon. Especially if the son doesn't get a job.

When is it time to grow up and stop deriving evil, self-esteem-boosting pleasure from finding a hideously unattractive public Facebook photo of someone you don't like/resent/are in rivalry with/has done you wrong/etc etc?

What's that? Did you say "Never"? Phew, that's a relief.

When is it time to do something with the wedding dress which has been hanging in the wardrobe for almost 24 years?

Tough one. I will never fit into it again (I will never fit one thigh into it again, let's face it) and it was a 1987 masterpiece of lace and satin (or something equally flammable), so it will never be fashionable again. What to do? Hope the daughter can cut it up and use it for an art project? Probably the only option. How sad.

When is it time to stop filling the wine glass?

My first thought is "another stupid question" but apparently the answer is when someone pushes aside this...

... to replace it with this...

.. and you can't stop giggling at this...

.. because you're wondering how they made a chocolate out of sparkly vampires.
And then you take these photos.

When is it time to stop regretting the almighty cock-ups of the past and just look forward to the future cock-ups?

Well, that's a cheery question, innit? Right now, I guess. Fill up my glass, will you?

When is it time to stop picking up after the Husband and kids?

The sensible answer is when the dog stops stealing and destroying things which have been left at her level. The wishful thinking answer is when I am on the plane to Honolulu. However, I believe the correct answer is never. Sigh.

When is it time to take a break from blogging?

When you have lost your mojo and have nothing to say. When you start posting drivel about how you have lost your mojo and have nothing to say. When you lose sight of why you blog. When the perks become more important than the words. When you just don't care that much anymore. When your spam comments outnumber your real ones. When you start questioning when you should take a break from blogging... oh.

When is it time to realise your parents are not immortal and neither are you?


When you look around the table and find yourself wondering if this will be the last Father's Day lunch with these people. When you later look at the photos and see age. Including your own. And multiple chins. Especially your own. And black nailpolish highlighting old hands. Sigh. When you realise your father is about to turn 89 and marvel at it. When you realise you are about to turn 47 and wonder how the fuck you got here and where did all the years go. Oh that's right, 24 of them were spent crying over your skinny wedding dress, picking up after other people and plotting escapes to Honolulu.....



When is it time to stop writing this blog post?


Sep 1, 2011

Spring Comes

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. ~ Zen proverb

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

or as Robin Williams said...

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"

I felt compelled, probably along with hundreds of other bloggers, to do a 'First day of Spring' post. No idea why. Hormones, probably. And maybe a touch of sunstroke. We've had some fairly amazing weather in Adelaide this Winter (did we actually have a Winter?) so Spring has well and truly sprung. I have spent more time just sitting outside, soaking up the sunshine in the last month than I may have done in the whole of last Summer, although I think that's because our brains tell us "hey lazybones, it's Winter but the sun's out, go get some solar-powered vitamins into you". Whereas in Summer, my brain tells me "hey, shit-for-brains, its 40 degrees and you have the palest skin on earth which sizzles and peels, do NOT go out there".

Anyway, when I finished my book and got bored with the dog's antics (another roll of toilet paper demolished, we may not have had a Winter but it certainly snowed several times in my yard), I decided to take some snaps. So as the roses the Husband sent me a couple of weeks ago start to droop and wilt....



...actually this one looks okay...




... but this one looks dreadful...




... I turned my attention to the garden, still lush from limited Winter rain...





... and found the Camellia, although at the end of its flowering period, still hanging on magnificently...




..and the last of the Jonquils, still bobbing around, smothering me with their perfume...



... and the Kalanchoes, still vivid as ever....




... while the Azalea had gone from buds to bursting with flowers within days (and yes, I know, I need to clean my outdoor blind, just look at the flowers, tsk)...




...and my angel seems quite pleased with the Pelargoniums appearing over her shoulder...




...and the Geraniums, not to be outdone, are making a beautiful statement...




... while the Daisies and white Geraniums are making happy faces too...




... and everywhere I turn, bulbs are opening up, a perpetual surprise to me...








... and even the first Dutch Iris has appeared...




... along with the first Roses of the season...




... but the best part of Spring?....



... Mr September. 30 days of Dan the fireman.



Yeah. You're welcome.

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