Monday, 19 December 2011


Yes, it's that time of the year again and yes, like last year, I'm hyperventilating and existing on a diet of alcohol, chocolate, coffee and mince pies - in that order.

Here's how the conversation went a few months back:
My mum " So, are you coming up for Christmas?"
MWW: "We're thinking of going to Cambodia."
My mum: "Oh really? Dad and I went there. I found it depressing."

Two weeks later:
My mum: "So, are you coming up for Christmas?"
MWW: "No Mum, we're going to Cambodia."
My mum: "But where will you be on Christmas day??!"
MWW: "....Cambodia...."

I don't think they do Christmas there and I'm not altogether unhappy about that. In fact we'll be on a very long boat trip between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap on the day. Bliss!

Santa swung by early yesterday to deliver the little one an ATM. Yes, an Automatic Teller Machine ATM - because unlike last year when I lugged the vacuum cleaner to Dubai, (it didn't really work - god dam it!) I am not taking an ATM to Cambodia, then on to Laos, then Vietnam - including over night trains, on to Saigon and KL before home. So thank you Santa. We then had the catch up with the city relatives in a park, which went extremely well - so I feel like I'm done.

Two days of work to go and only two weeks of work to get through and we'll be flying to Cambodia - can't get that song out of my head!!

(And yes, for those of you who recall that last year I flew first class direct and sent my partner the kids via KL on Air Asia to Dubai - we're all going Air Asia!!)

Have an amazingly fabulous Christmas! MWWxx

Monday, 12 December 2011

Judgement Day

My client was telling me about how she loves getting into her tracky dacks if she’s just staying home, and did I also do this.
“Oh god no!” I gasped. “I don’t even own a pair.”
“What about your shoes?” she asked, looking pointedly at my extreme platform heels. “Do you kick those off when you get home?”
“Usually. And I put on my ugg boots. But I don’t really do trackies,” I said, perhaps with a mere hint of superiority.
“And that coming from a woman who thinks ugg boots are okay….” she muttered in good humour.

And she has a very valid point.

We took another group of clients to the launch Kaz Cooke’s new book, Women’s Stuff (another great event put on by The Wheeler Centre). It was Judith Lucy chatting with Kaz – really funny and sufficiently insightful, but what really bugged me were the judgments. So here are two smart, well groomed and made up women on stage saying how ridiculous it is that so many women now wear “prostitute shoes”  (platform high heels that were once only the domain of the working girl – and now me!), having Botox, etc. I mean, really, if I like those shoes, why is it ridiculous?

I often think that in the 30s and 40s, a woman might have been considered a bit racy if she coloured her hair. I’m not sure about you, but loads of my friends colour their hair and no one thinks twice about it. So at what point do such things become okay? And who decides that?

The Age this weekend had a story of women protesting in Harley Street London over the ‘pornographic influence’ on the trend for the complete removal of pubic hair and the dramatic increase in gynecological cosmetic surgery. It sounds bizarre and weird to me, but a doctor I met who performs such operations assured me that in his practice, it was mostly about being able to wear jeans, jog and have sex without discomfort. And you can’t blame a girl for wanting that!

Porn has had a dramatic influence of our current culture, (a subject for another post I’m sure!) but I’m not sure it’s responsible for all female image concerns. I strongly suspect it’s us; the sisterhood. We women are just all so judgmental of each other, we have our own ideas of what is and isn’t acceptable in the pursuit of ‘beauty’ and we don’t hesitate to apply that to everyone else.

So I’m going to try really hard to remember that when trackie dacks next come up in conversation.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Jimmy Barnes

We went to see Cold Chisel last night. I kept saying I was going to see Jimmy Barnes and my better half kept correcting me. But in my eyes, there is only Jimmy. I don't know what it is exactly, but he has enormous appeal. We were six rows from the front - I thought in danger of being spat on by Jimmy himself as he belted out his stuff, sweated on the very least - but no, it wasn't to be.

I've been in a room with Jimmy Barnes sat least three times (when I say 'room' I mean the Melbourne Town Hall, The Palladium at Crown and The Rod Laver Arena last night) and I'm sure you'll share my shock that he has yet to notice me. I was pretty sure we made eye contact last night - what with being that close to the front - but it was kind of hard to tell without my glasses. Let's just say we did.

The crowd was very mixed, from women who could have been my mother to young 'uns who could be my kids - but all suitably bogan. I said to my partner they should ask everyone without a tattoo to stand up - and he'd be all alone.

In honesty, the guys sharing the stage with Jimmy were probably in better shape and perhaps his choice of a white T shirt was not his best decision, but it didn't detract - he's still hot. I can't remember how long ago I developed a 'thing' for Jimmy but it must have been around 30 years ago. There was a guy I went to school with who had a bit of the 'Jimmy' about him. I caught up with him while at uni, at an agricultural college ball.... in the back of a Corolla...and well, yep, I do strangely feel that I've ticked that box! 

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Shift

Saturday morning 6am and my alarm goes off. I feel like I've been asleep for ten minutes. I turn it off and spend the next ten minutes debating the merits of getting up right now versus a few more minutes shut-eye. Naturally I lose the argument and drag my sorry-self into the shower.

I pull on my Scout uniform and work boots and yell to the girls to get up as I head to the shed to find gardening gloves and snippers. We're in the car and at the park at 7am. The truck is already there along with a few brave-hearts from the committee. We drag 95 trees from the truck, set up tables and gazebos, string banners and after that, arrange trees by approximate size. I send the girls off for coffees and croissants.

Customers begin to arrive and it's really quite busy for the first day.

A second truck arrives with another 55 trees and we drag those off as well.

I remind the committee president that I'd swapped shifts with another family because E has her netball grand final.

"Yes," she exclaimed like I just reminded her of something she'd forgotten. "I did wonder why you did that because I hadn't even rostered you on."
"But look - there's the kids' surname," I say, pointing to the roster.
"Didn't you know there's another family in Scouts with the same name?"

Clearly, I did not!

Anyway, it was a busy three and a half hours that went quickly, the coffee and croissants were good (a couple of extra hours sleep and my regular pilates class would also have been 'good') but I simply thought of it as one of the final contributions to the group. Must rush....I have Cubs in 45 minutes.....

Friday, 2 December 2011

Christmas Trees

As part of my last duty with Scouts, I’m on the 7am shift tomorrow morning to sell Christmas trees in Central Park. This is a duty done by the committee, families and leaders so I have been flogging pines for 10 years.

When I was on the committee, part of my job was PR and advertising, (I’ve just handed that over to my gorgeous friend Penny).  I sent out a media release promoting our delivery and pick up service and actually got an interview from the local paper. I mentioned how convenient it was that “once those trees have gone all dry and crispy and start dropping needles all over the lounge room carpet, we’ll pop back and collect it.” I did expect that would be the quote that they ran with…but it was.

Our ordering ‘system’ (I use that term loosely) was an old mobile phone with a dedicated number and who ever drew the short straw was in charge of manning it (ie me). So one memorable festive season, the phone was on my desk and I was, as usual, neck deep in my paid job. That bloody phone kept ringing. I’d answer calls and jot down details on the back of Power Point presentations, random post-it notes, the edge of a research report – whatever was to hand (I’d love to say it was because I was so busy, but in truth, it’s my MO). I was driving my colleagues crazy.

“MWW!!” cried my teammate Georgie as I staggered back from yet another grueling meeting. ”That fecking Christmas tree phone has not stopped ringing since you walk away!!”
“Really?” I asked, pretending to care, my mind swimming with the complexities of yet another round of unexplained rejected work.

Determined as always to make sure I didn’t lose it, Georgie slapped a Sprirex pad on my desk. “At least write them all down in the one place,” she insisted, pointedly looking at the scribbled notes on any available blank space.  As I returned calls to nuns for extra large trees for churches, librarians for their foyers and crazy women who need their tree to be “perfectly shaped, seven feet eight inches – I’ve measured the area, we have very high ceilings - delivered to Toorak at precisely 10.12am next Saturday – oh, and could you set up please” I saw the wisdom of Georgie’s ways.

I can’t even guess how many trees I’ve unloaded off trucks, (one year while 8.5 months pregnant), how many banners I’ve strung up and pulled down (my knot tying it still very dodgy), how many lattes we’ve shared, how much fast talking I’ve done of the freshness, the quality, the appeal of the fragrance, how that flat bit will fall back out, blah, blah, blah.

And am I sad to be letting all this go? NO I AM NOT!!!!!

However, if I can interest you in a very rewarding voluntary position working with youth, drop me a line.

The Moroccan Bath

The girls and I have come up to Dubai for a few days to escape the Melbourne winter. It's in the 40s so we've thawed out - quickly. ...