Monday, 25 March 2013


When I first started in advertising my conference report writing was, well, appalling. (In fact, if you recall my post about The Typo, perhaps it hasn't improved that much.) My boss at the time suggested I sign up for the Council Of Adult Education (CAE) course, Writing for Business.

It was a great idea and although it was only a few Thursday nights, it was well worth it.

A year later and at my next agency, I was browsing through the CAE brochure and saw a course "How To Assert Yourself." Now there's a skill, I thought to myself, that every junior advertising executive should have under his/her belt! The Managing Director even agreed to fund it.

A few days later, he called me in to his office. "A few of the Creatives have heard that you're doing this course...." Oh dear. Had I over stepped the mark, was I in trouble with the creative department? It wouldn't be the first or last time. "...and they are insisting," he continued sternly, "that if I pay for you to learn to be more assertive, I have to pay for them to do Self Defence."

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

My Generosity Knows No Bounds

... and it was confirmed in yesterday's post with yet another traffic offence. This time, speeding and this time my hard earned $176 goes toooooo (drum roll).... Victoria Police! (Again).

I had exceeded the limit by a recorded 9km/h, knocked back to 6. I have a treadmill so I know how little 6km/h is, trust me. But I also know the evidence of being even just a little over, so I'm in no way defending myself. I was over.

So to recap (these are links) we've had:

Yep - I'd call that the traffic trifecta.

The irony of this last one is that when I worked in the big ad agency and we were off to a meeting, there'd be a brief discussion amongst the team about who was driving. Usually it was me (big van, sliding doors, comfortable seating for seven) and then would come the inevitable cry, 'Well, we'd better allow an extra 15 minutes to get there, then."

Yes, I drive like an old lady!! (Some would cruelly suggest I am an old lady - but my driving has been like that long before I was in fact old.) The team did concede they always felt safe when I was behind the wheel because I'm what one could call 'a cautious driver.' Others would just say 'slow'.

So how did that happen?? Who knows.

A friend did tell me you can Google 'Demerit Points' and go to site where you pop in your driver's licence number for instant bad news on your points status. I decided I didn't want to know. But last week I got another of those suspicious envelopes - a demerit point 'statement'. I lost three for The Red Light Offence but thankfully there was only one other from a couple of years back. Now there's one more - so best I return to driving like the old lady that I am, because I'm going to look very silly riding a bike everywhere.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

They're baaaack.....

Lice. I am absolutely feed up with the little blighters. Bad enough that Sass has them - but now so do I! I have been itching and scratching for days.

I've been working on a charity event with girlfriends over the weekend and after a quick kiss hello - if I've forgotten - I did announce that I in fact, have lice, so maybe keep your distance.

Saturday night; pizza, a couple of glasses of red, relaxed, so I slipped into the bathroom and lather my head up with olive and tea tree oil before sliding it all into a plastic shower cap. Boy, Geoff was in for a treat!!! (In fact he was in bed and snoring by the time I got there - perhaps just as well!)

Sunday morning and Sass is also still scratching despite a treatment on Friday. I do her hair with the oil 'blend' and comb out more of the little suckers. I have a crack at combing mine - and lose two of my purple hair extensions!!!! Not happy. I only had them adjusted about three weeks ago - how very - bloody - annoying!! Still, I did manage to scrape out a few lice as well, so not a total loss. I then hair dried to the point my scalp was burning and straightened to kill any eggs.

And within a couple of hours.... yep, scratching. Bugger.

Two, sad, oily purple extensions that slipped out of my hair :(

Friday, 15 March 2013

'About a grand...'

When Geoff and I renovated about fifteen years ago, (well, Geoff renovated and I gave instructions) we were struck by how many things cost 'about a grand'.

How much extra for those different windows?
How much for that pond?
How much to get those lights put in?
How much is that oven?

Seriously - I was starting to say it before I was even told, 'About a grand.'

The air-conditioning packed it in a few weeks back (you can see where this is going can't you?) and the repair guy arrived moments after the cool change  - of course. Melbourne has had the longest heatwave on record and we had no aircon.

It needs a new part, that costs 'About a grand.'

We're currently having some drawings done for the next round of renovations and I have a sneaking suspicion that ten years later, that 'about a grand' will now be music to my ears. I'm very afraid....

Sunday, 10 March 2013


I first met Susan in February 2009 - just weeks before Jaz died. She had been sent by the agency to see how we all got along before being rostered on as a carer.I liked her immediately.

Susan was only a few years older than me, but wasn't one for the type of aesthetic maintenance my peers and I tend to pursue, her hair was grey, her teeth not all present, her figure comfortable - and I warmed to her immediately. She was so relaxed, honest and delightful, we called the agency and said there was no need for us to meet anyone else at all - we wanted Susan.

By this point, Geoff and I were alternating nights to sleep in Jaz's room. She was now incapable of moving herself and needed to be rolled every 2-3 hours to avoid pressure sores. She was a on a full-face breathing machine for five hours a night that would alarm if she stopped breathing (that happened....) and she needed regular suctioning for her excessive secretions which also inhibited her oxygen uptake. Nights were busy.

I had been given a case manager now Jaz's status had been changed to palliative (the system is so bad, they want to be sure there's an end point before they give you help - I mean, really??!) She said that as Geoff and I were both working full time and caring for three other kids as well as Jaz, we needed someone to come in and do a couple of nights a week so we could sleep - and that's how we got Susan.

On the first night, it was really strange to go to bed knowing someone is in your house. I'd brought home some trash magazines for Susan to read - which she politely declined as she only read the bible. Eeek! I thought. Have we made a mistake? As atheists, I had just discovered Susan was a devout Christian and part of the Hill Song Church. But no, no need to panic - we were both very tolerant of each others beliefs.

Susan would also come on Saturday mornings and go with Geoff to the pool with George, Jaz and Elle while I took Sass to the supermarket. She'd arrive back at our place and announce to me that she couldn't believe she was being paid to have this much fun! She even bent the strict agency rules and was happy for us not to have a second baby sitter for the other three kids if we went out.

As we got to know Susan, we discovered her amazing past - rather than this post go on forever, here are the jaw-dropping bullet points:

  • She married at 18 in Vegas and she and her husband discovered they couldn't have children
  • So they fostered 14 boys aged within about 8 years of each other - all at the same time from when they got them until they were adults. None were short term care.
  • They lived in a purpose built house in northern Victoria
  • Her husband drove  and repaired trucks (yes, two jobs) to support them. He was a non-believer, had been raised in an orphanage and was ex-military.
  • They bought every one of those 14 boys a house!!! Susan's husband believed debt was a good motivator to work - so they raised a deposit for every single boy (Susan did say the houses weren't expensive - needing about a $10k deposit each - but what an effort!)
  • Susan's husband died of cancer a few years prior and she had also had breast cancer
  • She was still very much involved with all 14 boys - now all having left home but gathered at her small suburban house often for meals and sleep overs.
Susan gave us this painting called 'Eyes'.
 She did it while travelling in Malaysia as a teenager

And here's the rest of the story:
  • Jaz loved Susan, she was kind, caring, funny, positive and upbeat
  • Susan prayed for Jaz and was sure she wouldn't die - and was devastated when she did
  • Susan's cancer came back. I went to visit her and met her mum who was taking care of her
  • She had a palm tree in her front room, covered in fairy lights which I admired. She said I could have it after she'd gone.
  • The agency rang me in October. Susan had died.
  • Her mum wrote to me and asked me to pop around to pick up the tree.
Susan was a living angel and an incredible role model for humanity. I think of her often.

The tree. We love it!

Monday, 4 March 2013

MJs Fundraiser

As many of you know, I'm part of a group called the MJs who are hell bent on putting the fun back into FUNdraising as well keeping costs to a minimum and cash to the cause to a maximum.

Our first event last year, a trivia night, raised $40,000 for Glenallen School where my gorgeous George and Jaz went. We have directed this money to the families at the school, some of who are strapped for cash for things like a Foxtel subscription and a wall mounted TV for a child who now spends most of their time in bed. We decided Jaz needed exactly that and fortunately, we had the money to just get it. Not so every family. But I know how much joy watching endless episodes of Hannah Montana gave Jaz and think every family should have that kind of option. And we MJs were rightly proud of our first effort!

Our next event is in support of The McAuley Centre for women escaping family violence. You can read all about the amazing job they do at As confident (some would say perhaps a tad too confident!) women of independent means, this is a cause we again feel strongly about. Not all women have had the benefit of our secure and privileged circumstances and we absolutely appreciate that.

You can watch our promotional video below or on this link ...

If you can support this event, we'd be very grateful! Drop off some clothes, come along with some toiletries, buy up big! We'd love to see you on March 23rd from 10am-5pm at the Malvern Central School gym. All details are in the video.

And did you spot why we're called the MJs??

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. ...