Sunday, November 27, 2011
It is without any mixed feelings that I am retiring from Scouts.
I started on the committee 10 years ago, when George's Cub Leader assured me it wasn’t a huge commitment. Ha! As the only chick and blonde, they naturally insisted I be the secretary. I nearly laughed in their faces. Never the less, I took copious minutes and nagged them relentlessly about having NOT done their action points. Like small boys, they responded so well to this treatment, they decided I should be President when the position became available.
“Whoa up there, fellas!” I objected. “I don’t remember putting my hand up for that role.”
“ No, you didn’t,” they cheerfully conceded. “But we decided you should do it.”
And there you have it: more proof that righteousness is its own punishment.
So after 5 years of cheap wine fuelled meetings, the foundations of what has become life-long friendships, ambitious intentions and some material sucesses, we faced a crisis that threatened the future of the group; a shortage of Cub Leaders.
“Alright,” I said. “I’ll be a Leader.” (What was that about righteousness?)
I’ll do a separate post on the required training ….it does deserve one. Let me just whet your appetite with a couple of headlines like “Middle of Winter", “3-Day Weekend”, “Kumbaya”, “Home-Brand Food” and “No Alcohol”. What a treat!
I’ve just emailed my very last program ever to the other two Leaders. It’s the end of an era, with highlights including:
· Flesh coloured play-doh wounds (you can impale them with nails for extra effect), fake blood,
Vaseline blobs covered with tissue that look exactly like blisters, and smudged eye-liner black-eyes
· Jars of rotting vegetation that after a few weeks, smell so bad you could throw up
· Scuba diving at the local pool
· Making sherbet, lava lamps, sock puppets, fires and worm farms
· Excursions to gardens, libraries, the city and the local park
· Clean Up Australia and Tree Planting community days
· Light aircraft flights over Port Philip Bay
· Family camps – all of them
· District camps – some of them
· Training camps – none of them
Anyone looking for a voluntary position working with youth? Let me know I can forward you the details!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Some of you will recall that last year my friend Penny and I bought a lunch for 10 girls at a fire station, with firemen, at a charity auction. Not content with that and frankly, just being plain greedy, Mandy and I got it this year. We were so excited we nearly bid against ourselves. (Actually, I’m still not entirely certain we didn’t – but it was a fund raiser.)
The big day was Saturday and what a fun day we had! The actual prize said ’10 girls’ but we also brought along Jason, one of our work mates from TV Production and my friends Anthony and Chris – plus 5 gorgeous, fun-loving girls – and of course, Mandy and me.
We piled into a very dark stretch limo with nightclub lighting and 3 bottles of champagne at 11.30am and proceeded to make short work of the drinks before arriving at the station house 30 minutes later. There’s no drinking there, so time was of the essence.
Now I can’t actually tell you too much about the rest of the day except to say it was a heap of fun and the guys were all extremely hospitable. But what I can share is that when we had a chance to play with the hoses there was the option of popping on the uniform. And Anthony wasted no time.
“Get your shirt off!” I screamed several times in what was in retrospect, a most unlady-like manner.
“I don’t need to be asked twice,” he dared me.
“Oh for god’s sake, I’ve already asked you at least three times.”
So he did.
And there you are ladies! Please do feel free to leave your comments of appreciation and I’ll be sure to pass them on.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Our fundraising committee met this week. (We’ve finally got a name – The MJs. We discovered that for middle names, there are 3 Jane’s, 2 Mary’s and a Joy!) We tossed around the old Christmas in July theme, which took me back to such an event a few years back.
It was a benefit for the special school and held at a reception centre in a far-away suburb more famous for its crime and low socio-economic status than its fancy function centres - in fact, its fancy anything. At $55 a head and drinks at bar prices, it wasn’t hard to rustle up 30 friends and head out – although one was most concerned about the dark car park behind a shabby shopping mall and the safety of their Jaguar!
The young bouncer, sporting the local hair cut of the moment - cropped close to his skull for the most part but delighting with a set of long and wispy rats’ tails down the back - took his job very seriously, not allowing any of my middle-aged friends to enter without a ticket. I’ve never felt so dangerous!!
Once inside the venue, the fun continued: carpet that could be mistake for Velco as I had to tear my shoes from the spills of a hundred of prior events with every step, crumbling concrete stairs disguised with said sticky carpet, a mirrored wall with water romantically flowing down it, but so close to what would normally be the bridal table (on this occasion, the silent auction table), that every time I lent forward to look at something, my arse got wet – and I strongly suspect the brides of this area have arses much larger than mine.
I was reassured when I got to the bar to see that champagne was $12. Okay, it wouldn’t be French, but for 12 bucks you could expect a glass of something decent. I placed my order and paid my money. The barman slammed down a bottle - egads! Surprised, I looked at the label – it boasted the name of the venue. Without sounding like a total snob, I had no idea you could get anything other than soda water that was that cheap with bubbles.
First course was soup; one orangy, one browny-green. “What is the soup, please?” enquired one of my guests. “I dunno,” said the waiter, with a tone that clearly implied why the hell should he and what a stupid question to ask, of all people, the waiter. Main was hot ham or turkey and dessert bought Christmas pud. All a little mysterious but tasty and plentiful and for $55 for 3 courses, excellent value.
And of course, in spite of all our trepidations and initial misgivings, it was a fabulous night. A great band got everyone up on the dance floor, the auctions raised cash for the school and we all had stories to dine out on for weeks to come.
Oh, and the Jag managed to survive too!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
George was on camp with school last week but back into the usual routine this week.
He really enjoyed camp and an opportunity, at 18, to have some time away from the family.
It also provided an opportunity for me to ask over the dinner table how school was going, now he's back.
"Do you like school?" I prompted.
"It's an aggravation," he replied.
"Great word!" I said.
"What does that mean?" asked the 5 year old.
"I don't know," said George.
Knowing or not, I think he was on the money!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
The usual Friday office conversation turned to the weekend and what’s on. I’m always interested to know what my work mates get up to. ‘What about you?’ one asked. ‘Not much’, I replied. ‘And I’m quite happy about that as last weekend was so busy.’ Last weekend I’d had a working bee, a shoot and my school reunion on Saturday, a charity run Sunday morning, followed by an induction for E’s rep netball and finally, the writing, shopping and setting up of a Cub program for Monday. Stupidly busy.
So this weekend my diary indicated NOTHING! Bliss. In addition, George was on a school camp in Queensland, so I decided Friday night would be date night. We had a lovely dinner and indulged in Gold Class for Midnight In Paris (a great film BTW). A great start to the weekend. And sadly, the end of my relaxing ambitions.
Saturday I had pilates, picked up the little one from a sleepover, went to the greengrocer and bakery, dropped that stuff home, went to the supermarket and butcher, put everything away, tidied out the pantries while I was at it, then it was time to go to the airport to pick up George. Got home, made dinner, read the front of the paper, cleaned up and was frankly, bloody tired! So as the rest settled in for X Men, I retired to my bedroom with a large glass of very nice red, my laptop and season two of The Tudors (I’m such a dag).
I did read a bit on Sunday morning, then went for a run, then tackled that goddamned barbecue I incinerated a while back. As I scrubbed and scoured, I did ask my better half what did he think of an insurance claim? But on I went. Hours it took. It is significantly better but it’ll never be what it once was.
Not content with the size of that job and while I was still filthy from running and scrubbing, I decided to tackle the compost bit – shoveling loads of worm-ridden soil from the bottom, spreading and toweling it into a couple of beds – and that did me.
Back inside to read the second half of the paper, get the dinner on and do some emails…..so much for ‘nothing on’.
And even now as I sit down, I think I could spend a whole day tidying out cupboards, another in the garden, one in the attic, one in the shed, one attending to the filing and paper, one sorting out the IT and iPod issues…..it’s endless!!
Do you have the same problem? Filling every waking moment that’s free, with jobs?
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
If you live in Melbourne and you have the chance, get along to The Wheeler Centre (the centre for books, writing and ideas).
Last night after work, a girlfriend and I swung past to hear a couple of notorious crime journos chat about their subjects and the books they’ve written. For a Tuesday night in the city, it’s excellent entertainment – and like last night, most often free.
The guys were very funny. One was talking about a notorious Sydney criminal "who was at the time, the country’s biggest importer of heroin and working with the country’s biggest criminal organisation – the New South Wales Police.”
The first time I went was to see a session on Ethics in Advertising….yes, really!!
So after an hour of intellectual stimulation, we retired to the Seamstress' cocktail bar for a couple of beverages and a review. I was home by 9.30pm. Perfect night out on a Tuesday.
BTW, a couple of people have asked about the tap light from The Renovation. Here’s a link for a shower head that also lights up: …I think I need to investigate that one too!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
I had my 30-year school reunion last night (I’m 47 – it’ll save you doing the maths!). It was a really interesting night. There really isn’t anyone who I see a lot of and in fact, there were many who I’d not seen since the 20 or 10-year reunions – and some I’d not seen for the full 30 years.
Thank god they provided the promised name-tags. There were some familiar faces that in other circumstances I’d never be able to place and others that were an absolute blank. There were matched faces and names that had I not been at a school reunion, I’d never have connected that we’d actually attended the same school in the same year.
There were a brief few words at the start congratulating us that of the 180 or so in our year, about 113 were there. It was predominantly a boarding school so we were literally living together – in classes, at meals, at church, at sport and weekend dances and movies. And yet, there were still people I was like, “Really??” Perhaps because I was only at that school for the last four years of high school and only two of those at the main campus.
We were also reminded how out numbered the girls were; of the boarders, perhaps only 45 or so. So of course the discussion of whether the girls or the guys had aged better was a perennial topic. Naturally I was batting for the girls, but in truth, it was patchy on both sides.
I was extremely happy when one guy commented that he still remembered the dress I wore to the 10-year reunion – and with surprising detail! He said he liked that I "wore it like I meant it", whatever that means, but I was flattered none the less.
“So have you still got it?” he asked
“Um, I don’t know…. I guess you’d be the judge of that,” I faltered, feeling somewhat deflated.
“I meant the dress!” he laughed.
“Of course,” I said, desperately trying to recover.
Anyway, it was a really fun night. I spoke to some really lovely people I didn’t have much to do with while I was at school, and didn’t even get to speak to some who I did. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the 40-year reunion.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
“Romiting” is what the little one calls vomiting. Although given the gastro that’s hot in our household, the cross between vomiting and the runs could be more apt than she knows.
She was the first cab off the rank, starting with a good series of chucks during the night on Friday and being very poorly on Saturday morning. She'd bucked up by the arvo.
My partner was next to fall victim on Sunday and in my usual sympathetic style, I accused him of being ‘delicate’. We were heading up to the country for lunch with my parents and he elected to still come along, so I figured he couldn’t be too bad.
Come Monday, day before the Melbourne Cup public holiday and a work day notorious for people bunking off, I was up and showered and almost dressed when it hit me like a Mac truck – I had to lie down on the bed, still dressed, hoping for the faintness to pass. It didn’t. I was so sick. Not just a bit or for half a day – the whole day and into the night. Even as about 80 kids were banging on the door screaming “Trick or treat!!” Lucky for them I was really unwell or I may have had the energy to yell what I was thinking back at them.
Sunday morning George started throwing up. “I’m as sick as a dog,” he commented as I helped him back to bed. “Yes, you are,” I said. “I know how you feel.” I was quite well again by then, just feeling cheated that to add insult to injury, I hadn’t lost a gram in weight.
Four down, one to go??