Tuesday, October 2, 2012


On the eve of Miss 24 turning 25, I've found that I've become reflective, not just on the past 25 years of parenting, but of my life at 25 and how it compares to my daughter's.  For a time I carried the feeling of failure with me, mostly because of my own actions.  Looking back I can see how close I came to going into a pit of poverty, substance abuse and crime that I may never have recovered from. I do have to acknowledge that thanks to the strong desire to become a mother from very young age, falling pregnant at 19 to the wrong person was what motivated me to "get my shit together".

When I turned 25, I had a 5 year old and a 2 year old. I was in my 2nd year at uni. I had stable housing and I worked part time outside of uni. I was no longer with a violent partner, but had met the man, who while fighting his own demons, ultimately became my husband G and I had my drinking and drug taking under control. OK, I admit that I smoked marijuana on occasion, when my kids weren't there and had the occasional boozy night out, but mostly when I went out (once a week, thanks mum and dad) I drove there and back, pretty sober and my biggest fault was the fags which I gave up for good at 26. I was finally in a happy place. I liked myself, my appearance, being a parent and was proud of what I'd accomplished at uni.

Clearly to reward myself, I needed a big kick arse party. Which I had and it was really good. Nuff said.

Miss nearly 25 is in her 3rd year at uni (doing nursing too), buying a house with her partner, who is a good guy and working part time as well. Her child is furry and white and runs about on 4 legs in the yard. I think in the next few years she will make me a grandmother to an actual child though. Her and her boyfriend (D) are planning a wedding in a bit over a year. She has given up smoking, but still likes the occasional boozy night out. Her worst fault is that she is a bit "school marmish" and lectures anyone who'll listen. Sometimes I just tell her to shut up, but I don't think it helps her relationship with master 22, who is going through his own "stuff" at the moment.

All in all, she has turned out pretty well, we are very proud of her and for me personally, I think if I was that 25 year old again, we'd probably be friends.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Australian movies

We recently saw the Sapphires. Good movie btw, but it got me thinking about Australian movies. Clearly we can't compete with Hollywood and Bollywood and over the years the Australian film industry has been criticized, but we have made some good ones, haven't we?

Ones that stand out for me (in no particular order or preference):
Picnic at hanging rock: I e actually been to hanging rock and it is a bit weird, but having seen this movie, I was more jumpy than I otherwise would have been.
Stir:loosely based on the Bathurst and goulburn jail riots. Bryan brown plays an excellent criminal.
Gallipoli: when Mel Gibson was still an Aussie and damn good looking, just a great movie.
Mad max: I still remember the ads" when the gangs take to the highways, be glad he's on your side". Again Mel Gibson was a damn good looking Aussie. Ditto all the other Mad Maxs.
Romper Stomper: certainly launched Rusty's career and he played Hando so well.
Muriel's wedding: ditto for Toni Collette.
The boys: Toni Collette was also in that one, but it was David Wenham's performance as the psycho brother (who scarily enough reminded me of my brother in law) that was so good. This was also loosely based on the Anita Cobbey story.
Idiot box: not popular, but any movie in which a character comes out with the line "I've had a longer piss than that" after finishing sex is good enough for me.
Australian rules: not well known, but excellent movie combining sports and racism.
The Proposition: violent, but great revenge/hunt movie, written by Nick Cave.
MoulinRouge: I love musicals, what can I say.
Australia: I know it got bagged by the critics, but I enjoy Baz Lurhman movies and this was very typical of his style.
The Castle: super corny, but "it's the vibe" and it's brought a number of oft repeated one liners.
Strictly Ballroom: great dancing movie.

I'm sure I've forgotten many greats and looking over this list there seems to be a yawning chasm in the 80s, but please let me know of movies you've loved which I've forgotten.

Eyes, again....

Welcome again to possibly the slackest blog in the known world.

I recently went to my optometrist for a checkup. I wear glasses for reading and computer work.  I have reached that irritating stage of my life where the glasses are constantly on and off. I can't read anything bar big signs without my damn glasses. I refuse (perhaps pointlessly) at this stage to wear one of those chains that go around your neck and attach to the ends of your glasses.

Well, this time the retinal exam found that my right optic nerve was slightly dilated, my intra ocular pressure was on the high side of normal and a field vision test showed some slightly patchy areas in my vision. All of this equals possible (very) early stage glaucoma.

Great. Is there no levels to attain misery that my body will not stoop? Clearly not. Anyway, not panicking as you can tell, but I just have to get it check in 12 months. In the meantime, I will consider seeing an ophthalmologist while I'm doing all those other fun preventative health checks. You know, pap smear, breast scan, skin check. I've had my yearly blood tests done and I have to have an MRI done soon. Yay for the day I reach my 50s and become eligible for a bowel screen.......

Monday, August 6, 2012

Work issues

There are times, a lot of them, when I'm glad I still work part time. At the moment, I would like to increase my hours, but I'm not in a rush. Which, is just as well, given that the LNP is slashing and burning its budgetary way through Queensland, particularly it's public servants. Yes, they've announced they will be leaving health care workers and police alone, but all bets are off for every one else employed by the public service. They could've at least given the same reassurance to teachers and ambos and firies, but I digress.
I went to a work education course on the weekend. As a nurse, I have to attend a certain amount of education each year to help maintain my registration. I also have to do this for my midwifery registration and even though my immunisation qualifications are no longer recognized by the now national registration body, I have to also do education to maintain this as a relevant qualification.

This weekends course was for midwifery. Specifically for rural and/or remote midwifery under less than ideal circumstances and with unqualified staff. A few RNs attended, along with some midwives and local doctors.
I've learned  some things from that course. The higher educated one is, the more painful and argumentative one can be. Impressive qualifications do not guarantee that you will feel secure in them. A number of professionals, no matter how impressive their resumes, still feel the need to boast about how much they know and what they've seen and/or done.
Nuff said.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mother in laws

What a loaded topic. Half of us have the potential to attain one or worse yet, become one. I've gone one better, IV had two and I'm a defacto one (if that makes sense). The first mother in law I got was when I was still fairly young. At first, she later revealed, she wasn't at all sure of me, but we grew closer. Personally, I don't blame her for being dubious about me. I was very dodgy when we first met, but I got my shit together once I had her grandchild. The relationship with her son didn't end up going the distance, but it gave her 2 grandchildren amongst 12 (plus 3 "step" grandchildren theat she treats no differently from her biological grandchildren, 2 of which are mine). I think she's been eternally grateful that I continued to keep in contact with her after the relationship ended. My oldest will be 25 this year and we still keep in touch, even though we live interstate. The 2nd mother in law (cue gothic organ music) is my husband's mother. We fist started going out 20 years ago and have been married for 15 years. I will be retiring with this man, but my relationship with his mother fits any number of cliches. After we got married, she felt the need to tell me about her life from her childhood up. Now, I've seen and heard some amazingly bad things as a nurse, but I started wanting to put my fingers in my ears and loudly say"la la la, I'm not listening". Without going into details, she has had one fucked up life and as a consequence has trouble forming relationships with women and is pretty bitter towards most people because her life has been shit for so long. In typical abused child fashion, her boys were her world and she has not reacted well to them growing up and finding their own partners. As a rule, she (whom I will call M from now on) doesn't like her sons partners, with the notable exception of her 3rd sons wife, who moved in as a pregnant teenager, after her mother kicked her out for not getting an abortion. I think for M, it was the first time she got to have a relationship with a female. As I've been the longest running daughter in law, other sister in laws have at different times come to me, bewildered, asking "what did I do? Why is she so nasty?" to which, I can only explain my thoughts. At the time of writing, G is the only one of the brothers still with the mother of his kids. Up until recently, we had a firmly uneasy, but civil relationship. Then, the phone call came. M rang G's phone, but G was out. She wanted me to give him a fairly nasty message to him, to which I jacked up and promptly started an arguement with her. In my defense (and this could be an excuse), I was only about 5 weeks post brain surgery, which, I believe she knew, but the only thing that ended the loud arguement was his phone going flat. In the meantime, kids were hiding from the shouting, others were being woken up after night shift and my head was pounding. I think it was a couple of decades of frustration and miscommunication coming out from both of us. When G finally got home from his leisurely walk, I told him of the fight and how it started, but I've left it in their hands to help heal this. I've offered to sort things out, but so far no response. I really hate feeling responsible for the rift between G and M, butive learned how not be a mother in law. So when miss 24s bf accidentally pulled apart my 7 pice puzzle ring, I restrained myself. I was dying to insult him, but I do like him, so I let it go.....and took it to a jewellers.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I will freely admit that I'm no expert on teenagers, but having been one myself, raised 2 and worked with them, I guess you could see I'm experienced with them. The teenage years are an exciting time aren't they? Particularly if you're the teenager. If you're the parent, exciting an only be used with quote marks. I have two children to go through this stage still. One almost 12 and another almost 9. Both girls, hmmmm. Freud called this the genital stage. No, no,no.as far as I'm concerned my children don't have genitals. At least until 25. Eric Erickson called adolescence the stage of fidelity, with identity VS role confusion as the main tasks to be completed. Aah, high school. Hopefully by the time they get there, children are pretty independent and you've trained them up to help you around the house. Well take advantage of it, because it may not last. By the time they hit high school, most girls are in the thick of puberty and the boys tend to follow a year or two later. There is quite often a fairly dramatic increase in the amount of homework your kids will get. Unless, of course they go to a school where they don't get a lot of homework. Best to check that with the school. A lot of kids (including myself) will try to get out of homework with great fervor. Just do the damn homework and save being nagged! Midway through high school the choices will start happening withthe subjects. Don't panic, we live in a country where it doesn't matter if you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life at 14. Miss 24 is still at uni. So help them pick general subjects if they're still clueless. The big things for teenagers are: hormones and growing. By 13 a lot of girls are the same height as their mumsand boys the same height as their dads by 15-16. They're quite happy to remind you of this too. If you're wondering when a girl will enter menarche (first period), take note of her mood. If it reminds you of PMT that lasts a long time, it's real close. When I was expecting miss 11 and miss 24 was in this stage, I tripped over her bike on the pebblecrete verandah. As I limped in, trying to staunch the blood I asked her to move her bike. She replied that she hadn't put it there, her brother had. I shot back that I didn't care, just move it as I had tripped over it. She replied "well if you'd learn to lift your legs up properly you wouldn't trip over things". I do believe my jaw dropped a foot. I can still remember that 12 years later. When Mr 21 was 15, I was known to offer him and my husband boxing gloves and to let them at it in the yard, as they clashed frequently while he tried in vain to assert his dominance. I remember telling him to do something and when he said no, I thought 'fuck!!what do I do now???'. I managed to coerce him into whatever it was, but by then he was bigger than me. Knowledge. They think they know it all. Especially by 17/18. Consider if you will the human brain. Apparently it does not finish growing until 25 and particularly the frontal lobe, which is mostly responsible for abstract thought, reasoning and impulse control. So a teenager may say something that seems completely reasonable, but as an older adult you know it's completely ridiculous. I cringe over some of the things I said and did as a teenager. I was stupid enough to tell my mother that drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana were similar, one was just not legal. I still think it should be legalized and controlled, but know what the differences are now. Social life. It's hard to realise that when your beloved child becomes a teenager, his/her friends become just as if not more important than you. You are no longer the light of their life. Rejection stings. I took miss 24 to get her navel pierced at 16 (she paid). I drove her and her friend. When the technician asked if anyone wanted to come with her, she picked her friend (whom I didn't really like anyway)while I sat fuming outside. Then there is the gathering. Personally, I hate that phrase. I'm not the only one. It's basically code for "I want a party, but I'm too chicken to ask outright". They often want 20 people over, a bonfire, loud music and alcohol (underage of course). Gaaaarh. Then they hit 18 and can legally go out to pubs and clubs and stagger home all hours. Independence. Yes, they think they don't need you to accompany them anywhere and can do it all....Until they need a lift home. Often you end up witha car full of kids all trying to squash into the back seat of course. It's fine to gradually let them have independence, but please don't stop them from taking the bus into the city during the day at 16. They'll be driving themselves in their soon enough. You're not helping them. Kids get their licences at 17 or 18.sleepless nights follow. The worst? They're know it alls. They lie. They don't answer their damn phones. They're ungrateful and unrealistic. They're lazy if you let them. The best? You can hang out with them. They kinda keep you young. You can have fun with them. It's really nice seeing them grow up. They can be helpful and compassionate. Now, I just have to prepare for having 2 future teenagers....

Friday, June 1, 2012

The golden years

I've been reading a number of posts on three year olds and those who've read my blog would know, I have kids that range in age from 8 to 24. This has given me a wide range of "experiences" with children. I'm not going to do babies, toddlers and preschool age children. The topics have been done to death and quite honestly I'd feel obliged to write a scholarly piece and research it properly. So I'm turning my attention to school age children. I'm currently living this "dream". Compared to young and older children, it's a time of relative calm. As I've said before, I call it "the golden years". They are relatively physically independent (they can dress themselves,use cutlery and the toilet), are not really in the grip of hormones, still actually like you and can be fun and interesting. Freud called it the latent stage of development. This as opposed to the oral, anal, phallic and genital stages. Erick Erickson describes this also as a latent stage, with competence (industry VS inferiority)as the main "task" of school children. There's more, but really enough with the psychology. By now, hopefully you've built up a good relationship with your kids, can have a good chat, play a board game or watch a (age appropriate) movie with them. The dark side, of course is that they're confident of your affection for them and will ruthlessly exploit that, because they can. That language development you've helped with by encouraging reading, yes it gets used against you when they argue with you, using logic. Of all things, the cheeky buggers. Therefore, their lies become harder to pick, they learn to go silent approaching bedtime. Until you look at the clock at 9:30 and slowly realise that a light's still on in their room, or they're still sitting quietly on the couch. You then look accusing at your spouse.... Then there's after school activities, which most people start their children on in an effort to help them be more "rounded individuals". Sports, you travel for miles each weekend, wash uniforms and clutter up shelves with plastic trophies. In the case of swimming, you get up stupidly early and the laundry often smells like a pool. Don't get me started on pony club. Dance. Gaarh! There's FAD (fitness and dance), it's cheapish and there's lots of branches. Then there's ballet, jazz and tap, as well as the newer hip hop (often resembles strip/pole dancing). Being a former ballet mum, I can tell you, it's an experience. It's expensive, time consuming and the teachers, who are often referred to as "miss" often have a stick for some inexplicable reason. Lading up to exams and the end of year recital, the demands ramp up, along with the costs. Exams require new tights, leotards and shoes. Pointe shoes are insanely expensive. Roughly $100-120. Miss 24 broke her first pair the first pointe class. Double gaaaarh! Then there's gymnastics, ice and roller skating and so on. Music, not as demanding for quite some time. A couple of instruments do provide a special kind of torment initially. Violin and saxophone - Nuff said. Worse than the recorder. Music can include singing. I advise getting them to join the schools choir. Altogether I enjoy this phase of parenthood. Apart from the whining and asking for lollies. You get to teach them to be even more independent? Then they get to the end of primary school and you start to get wit sentimental about how your baby is growing up. You pick some nice pants and a good shirt or a dress for their primary school graduation and see how the girls are towering over the boys and actually looking a lot like teenagers. Then there is high/secondary school..... To be continued.