Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bogans Galore!

Last Saturday we went to A Day On The Green. It's basically a music festival for oldies. But just because they're old, don't think they've lost their tendency to be a bit, well, bogan.

Penny, Hugh, MWW and Charlie (Geoff's taking the snap)

The event is held at Rochford Estate, a scenic vineyard in the Yarra Valley just out of Melbourne with the good fortune to have a natural amphitheatre. It's not a late night, is starts about 3pm and wraps up just after nine, so there are often kids there too - we took ours to Rob Thomas. We've been going fairly regularly over the past 7 years and I'm pleased to say the entertainment of the crowd continues to rival what's actually happening on the stage.

A few years back we staked a spot near some young guys who managed to get so hammered and disruptive that over half their party had been handcuffed and deposited into the back of the divvy van before the top billing had even hit the stage. The highlight of their bad behaviour was when one guy smashed an empty wine bottle over his mate's head!! Remarkably, he wasn't knocked out cold but the sound was exactly that of hitting a wooden fence post. And perhaps that wasn't the end of that analogy.

This was all quite ironic given you couldn't bring your alcohol or any glass  into the venue for safety reasons. But you could purchase beer in a can and wine by the bottle. Brilliant.

One of that young party of boys was passing a woman of near fifty at about 8pm. Pleeease! As my friend Deb noted, it wasn't that she was old enough to be his mother, it was that she was singularly unattractive, (sorry - highly judgemental but blatantly true.) To add to the drama, she was busy trying to convince her friend to wonder up and grab a piece of the action.

That same night, there was  bit of a crush on the path to the car park and pushing and shoving. One couple, trailing their young children, started some verbal back chat with some blokes next to them that climaxed with them getting very fired up and screaming "F$#@ off you c*&^s" Delightful. The only thing scarier was the realisation that one of those alcohol fuelled parents would be driving home.

This time, in an attempt to curb the sozzledness, there were restriction on buying alcohol leading to a queue about a kilometre long and a limit on how much you could buy in a single transaction at various times through the event. I bought a (plastic) bottle of Chardonnay for $34. The Sav Blanc was $31. The prices must be a deterrent but for me, a wine that tastes like paint stripper is the biggest one!
Our 'neighbours' (not the glasses)

Later in the evening

Regardless of the new rules, the crowd did not fail to disappoint. With shirts off and more ink than a 1950's school room, they sunk booze like it was going to be their last. The lasses in front of us thought it was a brilliant idea to push their boobs together to generate maximum cleavage and then press said cleavages together for the wonderment - and photography - of the blokes in their party.

The line up on Saturday, in order, was Boom Crash Opera, James Reyne, The Angels, The Baby Animals and the Hoodoo Gurus. There was much conjecture amongst our party as to why The Angels weren't top billing. They were fabulous. It's incredible how music can transport you straight back to being 18. Absolutely loved them

And yes, they did do the crowd favourite, Will I Ever See You Face Again, and yes, the audience did respond with the obligatory 'No way, get f...ed, f... off." And yes, plenty of folk had their kids in tow....

Don't be put off. If you love a bit of live music in a beautiful location (the weather on Saturday was perfect), grab a picnic, plenty of water, and open mind and head on out.

On the other side of entertainment, Geoff and I went to Glimpses, a play by a new theatre company called Kin and showing at FortyFive Downstairs. Well worth the time. Loved it!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ten Things About George

George was a remarkable guy. If you had the privilege to have known him, some of these will be familiar. For others, it'll give you more of a sense of who he was.

1. George went through a stage of answering the phone with 'Yo!' Nothing else. He thought it was hilarious. His grandparents didn't understand it at all.

2. 'Keep the change you filthy animal' was a line from the movie Home Alone that he latched on to for a while... which was extremely awkward if we were out and he was buying something. He tended to 'toss the granade' and then disappear leaving me to face the strange looks from the person behind the counter.

3. Through Make A Wish, George got to meet the Killers. He asked how they met. Ronnie (drummer) said it was at karaoke at a gay bar. "Really?" asked George, mesmerised. "No!" said Ronnie, kindly. Brandon Flowers, the lead singer had not been overly engaged at the meet and greet. Fair enough I thought, right before he had to go on stage and perform. But he dedicated the last song of the show, "When We Were Young" to George in front of thousands of people. I nearly cried.

4. Had a bad habit of saying 'sorry' and apologising when I needed to take him to the toilet, get him dressed, get him into bed. 'Bad' because it broke my heart and he kept doing it - despite my pleading that there was no need to be because I certainly wasn't sorry, he persisted.

5. His favourite meal - before he started being tube fed in April - was a roast. He also ate ice cream nearly every day -and was still as thin as a string bean.

6. He loved Dr Who, Torchwood, Smallville, The Simpsons

7. He loved books. We spent hours together while I read him the Harry Potter series, the Alex Rider series, all the Skulduggery Pleasance books, The Hunger Games, Eragon and Gone - amongst others. What a privileged to have spent that time together with such a shared interest.

8. He love playing Call Of Duty 2: Modern Warfare. He played on line and was shot regularly with that splattering of blood on the inside of the computer screen. He rarely killed or came close to wounding anyone, but he loved playing anyway. Even when his ability to control the mouse and keyboard were tenuous, he played.

9. He loved an action movie. He loved going to the movies, the drive inn, or watching a DVD at home.

10. George was extremely humble and had no idea of the enormous impact his charm left on everyone who met him.

It's been 8 weeks today and I still can't believe he's gone. Love you George.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Plague

Me - looking for bugs on Sass

When we arrived in the States, we were required to fill out the above form. Can you make out question 11.(a)?
11. I am (We are) bringing 
(a) fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, food, insects. 

Yep - bugs. Now you don't mess with US customs....and I was pretty darned sure we were bringing in insects as I looked closely at Sass's head. Hmmm. What to do, what to do...  In the end, I declared nothing.

And the little blighters are back - AGAIN! Elle was scratching too so we Googled the safety of filling a shower cap with Mortein and slapping in on her head. However, I read on the can that contact with skin should be avoided so was forced to abandon that brilliant idea.

What Elle's Google search of 'Is it bad to spray Morteen on hair for hed lice' (sic) revealed though, was Sydney Morning Herald article and forum that said 10% of all school aged kids have lice at any given point in time. In my experience, the concentration is heavily skewed to primary school.

The good news was, hair drying kills 55% of bugs and 98% eggs. They hate heat. A hair straightener fries eggs and bugs alike. The cheap conditioner and comb through does work. And finally, many contributors agree that the chemicals just don't work (perhaps Mortein does, sadly, we'll never know) - wondering if the lice have become immune.

Sass has been crawling into bed with Elle lately so she too has been itching. We tried a new remedy from the forum- olive oil and a few drops of tea tree oil mixed in. Apparently it smothers lice and eggs alike. She has hair as thick as a horses tail - and it seem to have worked a treat!

Meanwhile, Sass went off to school this morning with the straightest pony tail ever!

Any other ideas of ridding ourselves of this scourge will be gratefully received.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Burn

Back in the 80s, feel the burn was the catch cry of Jane Fonda's workout video (probably on Beta). But before we went to America, I had my face lasered ('resurfacing' it's called) and man, talk about feel the burn!!!

My 'face' doctor offered me the treatment as he had the machine on loan - just his favourite clients he said - although if he inflicts this much pain on the people he likes I dread to think what the others are in for.

Having established some time ago that I'm an utter wimp when it comes to pain (I thought giving birth four times the natural way would have prepared me for any kind of physical agony - apparently not) the process started with me arriving at the salon on a Thursday night and having numbing cream applied to my face. Glad Wrap was pressed over the top (carefully positioned so I could indeed breathe) and then I had to sit amongst people having their hair done for half an hour while it took effect. I seriously would not have looked out of place in an episode of Dr Who.

Dignity now in disarray, it was time to get down to the main event. Plastic removed, laser machine on and a technique called 'stamping' where the laser burns deep and intense. It started off quite bearable as he attacked those 'problem areas' (ie most of my face). I had control of a vacuum hose thing that blew icy air and that I could direct to any areas of 'discomfort' (ie most of my face). Round One of stamping and I was okay. There was pain, but nothing drastic, that was still to come....

Round Two is allegedly a lower intensity and an overall smoothing out across the whole surface. Why the fuck then did this hurt so much more? Apparently because my deeper skin was already well heated and this was the metaphoric icing on the cake. No joke, there was the strong and distinct smell of burning flesh (at this point I'd like to apologise for my own stupidity to anyone who has ever witnessed or experienced a burn injury that wasn't self inflicted... you can slap me when I next get lasered... you could slap me now but it'll hurt more then and might knock some sense into me).

The last stages were excruciating and verging on an internal battle with myself to refrain from just getting the hell out of there. Anyway, after a lot of whinging on my behalf, it was finally over. Hallelujah!!!

But the pain did not stop there my friends, no it did not. It was like having extreme sunburn. As advised, I had taken Panadol prior to the treatment and looked forward to more when I got home. I drove with my face pressed against the driver side window, grateful for once for crappy Melbourne weather. Once home, I applied ice packs and I swear I heard them sizzle as I pressed them against my nuked skin.

(I was also slathering my face with Calm, by lqd and developed by my mate Anthony, you know, the beef burger, the guy in the fireman's overalls....anyway, he deserves a plug, it did help!)

The next day I had a meeting with a senior retailer. I'd agreed with Mands my business partner that if the damage was too great, I'd need to feign illness. He'd already had to reschedule because he was unwell so it was plausible. She sent me a text in the morning "Still got a face??" So helpful. As it so happened I did have a face - one that was bloody hot, but slightly glowing and just swollen enough to push out the major wrinkles. I didn't look too bad at all. The guy I was meeting with agreed. I'd like to kiss you (in a professional way! We're colleagues from years back) he said, but I've been sick, so best I don't. Yes, best he didn't! By this stage my face was like a furnace - so much so I had visions of him pressing his lips to my cheek only to have them sear on and him having to literally rip them off... awkward.

It was now Saturday. I woke up and could barely open my eyes. I was puffy and swollen and had eyes like the proverbial piss-holes in the snow. Oops. I started drinking coffee in the hope the caffeine would act like the diuretic it is and take the fluid off my face! Off to Pilate's and netball. I seriously looked odd. Sort of like me and sort of like an alien. I decided the best approach was honesty. 'Just had my face lasered,' I announced to anyone who looked at me with a raised eyebrow. I was surprised to discover how many women responded with, 'Oh I've had that before!'

Eventually the heat dissipated and the scales set in. It was dry, crusty and in some places, even a little bit of bleeding - but nothing a trowel of Maybelline Miracle Whip couldn't cover - as long as I applied my make up twice a day. This stage was meant to last about 6 days. In fact, it was closer to three weeks before all traces of scales had disappeared. But we were on holiday by then and the mandatory sunscreen to avoid any damage (ironic, isn't it?) helped as well.

So.... final verdict? Well, Elle, who's not lavish with her compliments conceded 'Your face does actually look better Mum'. I've certainly noticed the difference. But I'd hazard to guess most people haven't - and that's absolutely fine by me.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Races and horses

It's been a big week of horse races in Melbourne. My buisness partner Mandy and I entertained clients at Oaks on Thursday and had a great day, if not a couple too many champagnes! We were extremely very tired on Friday (that wasn't a typo - we were extremely very tired on Friday!).

Not to be deterred, Geoff and I took the kids to Stakes Day, again On The Rails as the guests of some great friends. Eleanor's age was guess by a fashion icon at our carpark (and whom I'd just met) as being 16 or 17. He was bowled over to know she's 13. She and her friends spent committed hours getting ready - and I mean hours! If they put as much enthusiasm into their studies I'd be one very happy parent. Here they are on the way there, and one of Elle and me at the end of the day.

Yes, I was blonde Thursday, brunette Saturday - a whole other story....

I heard a story of a carpark in The Nursery a few years ago where the guys in the next carpark were having a buck's party. Nothing outrageous - just a great day at the races. A group of girls akin to the above walked past - 'Come in, come in!!!' the guys invited. 'They're 14,' came the whisper from the carpark next door - 'Get out, get out!!!" they screamed in utter panic.

After a solid 8 hours of standing in very high shoes, and being refreshed yet again by lovely champagne (me, not Elle!!) we faced the City2Sea Sunday morning. Yes, another of those ironic Fun Runs I've blogged about before. It seemed like such a good idea months ago before I realised it was the day after Stakes and had committed Elle and myself.

We were up at 6.30 and I glanced at the race info to check where the start was. 'Good news!' I exclaimed, 'it's only 10k.' What a relief! We thought it was 14. So weren't we surprised when the 10km mark came - and went - and it still wasn't over! I did realise it makes no difference to my running (if you can even call it that) whether the distance is 5, 10 or 15kms. On and on I plodded. Elle, unfortunately, had put in a big sprint at the 10k mark thinking it must be like the Run For The Kids and be just over the distance. It was only when she saw a flag marked 11km that she asked another runner - '14k darl.'  Of course she beat me - by a good six minutes, but I was still very happy with a time well under 90 minutes.

So after a week of races - horses and running - I came straight home and had a jolly good lie down!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Homecoming

We arrived home last night just before 3am - to our front garden resembling the aftermath of a wild party. WTF? Plastic glasses, empty bottles, cans and Corona six-pack boxes (excatly what Geoff has - had???-  stocked in the garage fridge) were stewn over the front lawn. There were streamers through the trees, cups and cans in the hedge, balloons tied to the roses. The esky was on the front porch - awash with amber liquid and big 'Happy Birthday' sign strung across the verandah. Hmmm. No - definitely not a 'welcome home' arrangement.

The final two touches were a leopold skin and pink lace bra on the hand rail and a vomit next to the stairs under a tree. Geoff, with questionable wisdom, stuck his finger in the latter and declared it real.

Here's a couple of shots in daylight:

The vomit

And then we found the note on the front door....

FYI, the 'beer bottles' are Bundaberg Ginger Beer with the labels soaked off, the 'beer' is cold tea, the vomit is weetbix in milk!!! I guess had we thought about it it certainly didn't smell like a party!!

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. ...