Oct 31, 2012


Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Graham Norton & Javier Bardem

I need a laugh. A big one.

The last big laugh I had was last Saturday night while watching the Graham Norton Show featuring the above three stars of the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall. They got to talking about the Bond girls, Dame Judi said she had never been asked to be a Bond girl 'back in the day', and of course, Pussy Galore's name came up, as it always does, as the most 'classic' Bond Girl name ever.

Graham then announced the formula for coming up with your own personal Bond Girl name.

First name = your word/nickname you used for your genitals (when you were young, or not so young)

Surname = your grandmother's maiden name

I laughed out loud when Daniel Craig admitted his Bond Girl name would be 'Cock Hargreaves'.

And I laughed even more when a lady in the audience had the courage to say hers would be 'Marjorie... something'. I don't even remember the surname, I drowned it out in laughter. She admitted an ex-boyfriend had nicknamed her vagina 'Marjorie', and then it got even funnier when her mother was pointed out sitting next to her, and she acknowledged her father who would be watching the show at home. Poor 'Marjorie'.

So I started thinking and could only remember my 'Privates' being called exactly that when I was young, or  it was referred to as my 'Bottom'. And which grandmother?

I guess my Bond Girl name, should they ever come calling for me to take a role, will have to be...



Perhaps with a bit of artistic licence I could be a soldier-type Bond Girl called Private Botty Bertram?

So come on. Make me laugh. Hit me with your Bond Girl name.

Oct 30, 2012

My Favourites Of The Week

Favourite vintage photo, especially the dropbear in the tree

Favourite bearded iris from my garden

Favourite hole in my footpath, right in front of my letterbox.
The postie may be down there.

Favourite 'sunset in my garden' shot

Favourite sign to put on the front door

Favourite album cover (I wonder if he was on Spanish X-Factor)

Favourite teatowel
Favourite mouse quote

Favourite vintage drink coaster

Favourite splash of orange

Favourite book

Favourite relatable truth

Oct 23, 2012

For Better, For Worse

"Celebrity marriages face the added stress of demanding careers and unique challenges..."

"Relationships are hard no matter who you are. If anything, it can be harder for celebrities, who often get used to having their way."

"Stars definitely face more temptation than the average person."

So says Dr Jenn Bermann, Hollywood counsellor and host of Couple's Therapy. (according to a story in my paper last weekend which rode on the back of the Russell Crowe/Danielle Spencer split)

When Dr Jenn stops plucking the violin strings on behalf of these poor celebrities, I may be able to get my breath back and speak.


The only part I agree with is "Relationships are hard no matter who you are." Fullstop. If she had just stopped there, I wouldn't have been rolling my eyes continually to the point of dizziness over breakfast (which made getting spoonfuls of cereal into my mouth a fun game).

It doesn't matter which side of the Celebrity/Average Person dividing fence you are on, the grass is not greener on the other side, but neither are the weeds and prickles more prolific or damaging, nor the pain they cause less effective.

Is being a celebrity a more demanding career than, say, a neurosurgeon? A paramedic? A soldier on the front line? People who face the possibility of death, either their own or someone else's, every day? Does even a financier, a politician, a salesman or abalone diver not feel stress? (all shark-related jobs, you'll notice)

'Unique' challenges face us all, because we are all different and every relationship is different. Life throws us curve balls continually. Fate doesn't care if you are Celebrity or Average. Neither does the randomness of a car accident, a tragic act of nature, or cancer.

As for Celebrities being "used to having their way", all I have to say to that is GROW UP.

Surveys regularly reveal that the #1 topic couples argue about, which brings great stress to their relationships, is money. I don't know for sure, but I suspect most Celebrity couples don't argue over the rising electricity bill, or over how they are going to make their next mortgage payment, or, humiliatingly, over whether or not to ask a relative/friend/charity for help. Just like I'm guessing Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are not quibbling over their wedding expenses from last week, reportedly somewhere in the millions of dollars. Good luck to them.

Do Celebrities play out their relationships under more public scrutiny, thanks to the media and fans, than the Average Person? Yes, of course they do. But we Average folk also have children, family, friends and co-workers who are often witness to our every mood, every mistake, every word misspoken, every argument, every bout of depression, every error in judgement (in my Husband's case, he also has all of my Twitter and Facebook pals as witness to every fuck-up). Both Celebrity and Average Couples are as answerable to them all as we choose to be.

Certainly, Mr and Mrs Celebrity can spend long lengths of time apart, over long distances. But so can Mr and Mrs Average. My Husband spent almost 70% of his working weeks away from home last year, as well as a handful of weekends, in every corner of this country, as well as New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Who's to say we don't feel the stress of separation and face more temptation than any married Celebrity on the planet? (okay, so my temptations are limited to the weird little postie and the old humourless parcel delivery man, but you get my point).

Celebrity watcher and Who magazine editor Nicky Briger said in the same article, "With fame comes a whole new raft of problems we can't even imagine."

I would like to add, "And by the same token, with averageness comes a whole new raft of problems celebrities can't even imagine."

Celebrity Couples do not have it better or worse. Average Persons do not have it better or worse.

We are all in the same meadow, cow pats and all.

Oct 22, 2012

My Favourites of the Week

Favourite surprise gift

Favourite vintage ad
Favourite word

Favourite Mars Curiosity shot

Favourite rose from my garden

Favourite Maxine-ism
Favourite birthday present which Daughter
really wanted

Favourite crazy person

Favourite saying (also tied for favourite crazy person)

Favourite truth

Favourite birthday card...I think
or maybe this is

Favourite Tweedledum

Favourite flower shot

Favourite utterly hilarious birthday present

I was going to include my favourite birthday cake, but..... I ate it.

Oct 19, 2012

Welcome to Parenting Young Adults: 101

My baby is about to finish school, turn 18 and go to Uni.


While I had one offspring at Uni and one at school, I could kid myself that as long as I was still paying school fees, handing out lunch money, washing god-knows-what stains from uniforms, and getting (dreaded) phone calls from teachers, then I still had a 'child'.

But no more. That's it. I've finished Raising Children and am graduating completely, and somewhat begrudgingly, into the Parenting Young Adults zone.

For the last two years, as my Son grew from a clean-cut, fresh-faced, energetic schoolboy into a fully fledged, greasy-haired, pimply-faced, lazy Uni student, I have been in a Transitional Stage. I have been learning what it is to have a foot in both camps; parenting a young man - backing off, letting go, and keeping my mouth shut - while still technically 'mothering' a girl-child (even though her maturity levels have sometimes surpassed his).

2012 in particular has been an enlightening education, and I thought I'd share my transitional wisdom/mistakes/accidental success.


Daughter can barely find her way out of her own room in the mornings, let alone get to a location on the other side of the city. She is not driving yet (takes after her mother) and is reliant on other drivers, and therefore sees no need to observe her surroundings, know the names of any roads or suburbs, nor how long it will take to get anywhere. She buses to and from school, and it is a miracle that I have not yet received a call from her stating she is stranded at a bus stop somewhere on the Nullarbor because she wasn't paying attention and got on the wrong bus. Unfortunately we have looked after her too well in this regard, and she shows no sign yet of wanting to drive; partly as she's too short to see over the steering wheel, partly because she admits she would be an accident looking for a place to happen, and partly because she would then have to concentrate on where she's going. This will change suddenly when she starts Uni, as it did for our Son...
Son was handed bus/train tickets, a timetable, a car (he drives, obviously), and a street directory, and told to "Find your way". He still needs guidance/prompting/urging/shoving occasionally when he underestimates how long he will take to travel somewhere and leaves it a bit late, but he's learning. And he hasn't had a speeding ticket yet. Let's not discuss the two parking infringements.

I got sick of signing permission slips from school about 4 years ago, and stopped reading them at about the same time. Permission for your child to be photographed, filmed, their work to be displayed, permission to go on excursions, go on a bus, go in a car, walk on their feet, to leave school early, to stay at school late, permission to sit, stand, fart. Bloody hell, I probably gave Daughter permission to watch an R rated movie for English at some point. Oh, that's right, I actually did. All that is coming to an abrupt end, hallelujah.
Less abrupt is the transition of gaining permission by the kids themselves. In gradual stages, the text messages changed from "Can I go...?" to "I am going... is that ok?" to "I'm going..." to "No, I won't be home for dinner, I'm out, didn't I tell you?" When this happens, just breathe, and be thankful you have one less mouth to feed. Unless of course you've already cooked the unwanted meal and it can't be recycled into leftovers. In which case you have permission to yell at everybody.

They quickly go from a set uniform - shirt, tie, jumper, blazer, skirt, tights, trousers, school shoes - to, well, whatever. They didn't have to think when getting dressed for school, now they do. As a transitioning parent, I've had to learn to hold my tongue and refrain from too many of the "It's a bit warm, you'll swelter in jeans", "It's quite chilly, you'll need a jacket", "It looks like rain, you'd better grab an umbrella" statements, along with the all-time favourite, "Is THAT what you're wearing??"


While the schoolgirl still has a routine - crashes at pretty much the same time every night, gets up at the same time every day (at least on school days, I'm not counting holidays and weekends) - the Young Adult is a law unto himself. Nocturnal habits take over, bed time is more like my idea of what dawn looks like, and breakfast regularly gets eaten at 1pm. Sleeping has become a priority, and sleeping through things - like alarms, phone calls, lectures and appointments with Uni counsellors - a rite of passage.
I have had to take a step back from memorizing his schedule, clock-watching and repeated wake-up calls, which I did in his first year, to not-giving-a-fuck. It's his problem now. I do, however, occasionally barge into his room and throw both the cat and the dog on his bed when I know he should be getting up, just to keep things interesting, though this is more for my own entertainment than for anything else.

You see your own kids every day and the way you communicate evolves naturally (mostly) as they move from child to Young Adult, but this is not always the case with their friends. You don't see them every day and you forget they have grown up too. That 13 year old gangly girl with pigtails and braces that your daughter befriended in Year 8 is now a 6 foot tall stunner in a mini skirt and high heels. Calling her "Sweetie" just doesn't seem to work any more, and yet saying "Rowwwrrrrrrr, hubba hubba" or "Did you forget to put PANTS on, young lady?" seems inappropriate too. A happy medium of "You look gorgeous, love" has become my fall-back line.
As for the males, the standard "Hey, how you doin'?" seems like it will work for all eternity.


Throughout transition, parents must adjust to the parties attended or thrown by their children/Young Adults starting later and ending later, the music becoming less commercial and more unrecognisable, and the alcohol content getting higher. I have gradually reduced the pre-party lectures to a minimum, and replaced them with a post-party grin which says "I told you so" without actually saying it (start practicing this grin in the mirror).
Sleepovers still occur, but no longer as an adolescent-Harry-Potter-movie-marathon-pyjama party; more as a means of crashing wherever you land and not having to worry about getting home until you have outstayed your welcome at 3pm the next day.

We never put pressure on our kids to have part-time jobs while they were at school, and they never asked to. We were content to let them concentrate on schoolwork, sport and social lives, and they were content to let us pay for it all. I am still waiting for the transition period. So is my credit card.

This is a tricky one. You want them to do well and reach their full potential without hounding them like psycho parents (heaven forbid you play the 'Asian F' card), but the reality is that they have to want it for themselves too. You can't force it. The lesson here is to be chilled, at least on the outside. I have progressed from enquiring about homework and assignments, helping them, suggesting routines, clearing desks and setting up study zones for them, creating areas and atmospheres conducive to good study practices, doing research for them, checking their work, helping to edit where necessary, giving input, and worrying about them, to now asking "Do you have any homework or assignments?", and then sticking my head in the fridge to look for the wine while not even listening to their answers. What I don't know, won't stress me (this attitude can also be applied to the subject of sex).

When the time comes for you, I hope you all graduate from Raising Children with honours, and embrace the Parenting Young Adults era with calmness, pragmatism, and wine. Always wine.

Congrats to me

Oct 16, 2012

A Tale of Two Fannys

It's not what you think.

Fanny Elizabeth Bertram was my great-grandparents' daughter. My paternal grandmother's sister.

And she was born twice.

Yeah, I'm confused too.

According to the online index of Births, Deaths & Marriages here in South Australia,  Fanny Elizabeth Bertram was born in 1876 in Callington (in the district of Strathalbyn), second child to Charles William Henry Julius (known as Julius) Bertram and Clara Matilda (known as Matilda) Bertram (nee Miller).

And then... nothing. I can find no record of her marriage or her death. What happened to her? Was it a stillbirth, or did Fanny die in infancy? Callington would have been a small country hamlet then. A few farms. Did they bury her on their property and never record a death? Or did she survive and leave the state? Probably not. A mystery.

The mystery deepens twenty-one years later, when yet another Fanny Elizabeth Bertram was born in 1897 to the exact same people, my great-grandparents, this time in the district of Hindmarsh, where I know they lived at that time.

She was their last of nine children, my grandmother's youngest sibling. Did they still mourn the original Fanny, and name this last daughter, this late-in-life blessing (Julius and Matilda were both around 46 years of age by this time), after the girl they, I assume, lost? Because surely if Fanny 1 was still alive, you would not give another daughter the exact same name? I have no idea, and probably never will. I can only guess that the second Fanny Elizabeth was named as a tribute to the first.

While pondering the mystery of Fanny 1 & 2, we had a giggle at her name. First me, then the Husband, then the kids.

I kept searching records, looking for more answers. An outcome.

When I found a newspaper notice dated January 16, 1901, I soon stopped giggling. At least I know what happened to Fanny 2.

"BERTRAM On the 31st of December 1900, at Broken Hill, Fanny Elizabeth, the dearly beloved youngest daughter of J and M Bertram, late of Chief St Brompton, aged 3 years and 6 months.

The little cot is empty now.
The little cloth laid by,
A mother's hope, a father's joy,
In death's cold arms doth lie,
Go, little pilgrim, to thy home,
On yonder blissful shore,
We miss thee here, but hope to come,
Where thou hast gone before.

Another bud to bloom in heaven."

Rest In Peace, Fanny Elizabeth Bertram, 1 & 2.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and yesterday was its Remembrance Day. I lit a candle to remember mine, Fanny 1 & 2, and all the other little souls. Please be aware, some people are doing it tough behind their smiley faces. I send my love to them all.

Oct 14, 2012

My Favourites of the Week

Favourite accidental but perfect nailpolish and necklace colour match

Favourite album cover

Favourite tiny perfume bottle

Favourite garden shot taken in bright sunshine just before that
big grey cloud came over and HAILED.

Favourite magazine ad

Favourite blurry flower close-up

Favourite Etsy purchase from here

Favourite vintage photo

Favourite book

Favourite takeaway

Favourite truth

Favourite rose bush

Favourite roadworks sign plonked right in front of my house

Favourite blog post

Oct 11, 2012

25 Years, and they said it wouldn't last.....

It was my 25th wedding anniversary yesterday. Oh, and the Husband's too.

We stopped giving each other gifts many, many years ago and even stopped giving cards when we found we had bought each other identical cards two years in a row. When you have similar taste and the same twisted sense of humour, this sort of stuff starts happening after about 15-20 years. Like finishing each others sentences, blurting out the same thought at the same time, or agreeing not to divorce because we're too lazy to be bothered starting our lives over.

I have had the occasional bunch of flowers, but not many, and I have never made our anniversary into a song-and-dance affair. Mainly because I can't sing and he can't dance, but mostly because I don't want to. It's just another day on this journey we chose to take. We kiss and wish each other a happy anniversary and say we love each other, but the world doesn't stop turning. We are pragmatic, low-maintenance people. There is no confetti or popping of champagne corks. We decided at some point to keep it simple as we are in this for the long haul. Or until I win X-Lotto.

This year, as our 25th approached, it was mainly due to other people's questions of "What are you doing?", "Where are you going?", "What are you giving each other?", "When is the party?', that we started to glance at each other with bemused looks and whisper "Are we supposed to do something just because 25 is a pretty number?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"Stuffed if I know, what do you think?"
"Do you want to?"
"Not really, do YOU want to?"
"Not really, do we have to?"
"Nup. Have you taken the bins out yet?"

Yes, this is how conversations roll after 25 years, folks.

But then I got to thinking..... as you do.... and something I've ALWAYS wanted to do popped into my head.

When George Clooney wouldn't answer my calls, I thought of the next best thing.

When my grandmother died in 1990, I was inflicted with, err.... I inherited, a few pieces of jewellery. A ring, a brooch and a watch, all in the marcasite style. Which would have been lovely if they weren't all in dreadful condition. The watch still worked, bless its little winding mechanism, but the safety chain was broken and the catch was a little dodgy, so wearing it would have been a risk. The ring had only about a quarter of its stones still intact, was cracked, and tarnished to all hell. And the brooch, while it did still have its stones, was tarnished beyond recognition. I thought it was made from some sort of odd-looking black metal when it was first given to me.

Gee, thanks mum, no that's okay, I'll have this grungy jewellery. I thought it was all hideous. Hey, we were just coming out of the 80s, I was still wearing neon tshirts, floral shorts and giant hoop earrings, gimme a break. So it all went to the bottom of my drawer.

As time went by and my taste matured, I appreciated the jewellery for both sentimental and aesthetic reasons, but didn't really have the disposable income to restore them. That went on nappies and wine. Then school fees and wine.

Finally it was time. Silver is meant to be the theme gift for a 25th anniversary, so I handed the jewellery to the Husband last month with the instructions "do your best and bugger the cost and that'll be a token gesture for our 25th anniversary".

And so he did. I'm glad I asked. I think my grandmother would be too.

The watch has been repaired but not cleaned yet. Next anniversary?

Before - tarnished, damaged and missing 70% of its stones


Before - so blackened and dull


Happy anniversary to me. Oh, and him.


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