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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I have no brother. Just one sister. Apparently after I was born, my father left it too long before deciding he wanted to try for a boy and I had started school. My mother then said, sorry, but no. S I only ever had a sister. Lordy, our house must have been quiet at times. We were both big readers. Up until early primary school, I was my sister's willing slave and then the worm turned, some of the fights we had. A lot included her clawing me with her rather long nails. Others involved her chasing me in a rage through the house. The best thing was being able to lock her out of the house and not opening it until later and hiding until she calmed down. All while mum and dad were at work. Good times. By high school when she was desperately trying to be cool, I became an embarrassing liability and the gap between us appeared. After that, somewhere along the line I subconsciously decided to become the polar opposite of her. She was well behaved, high achieving academically and pleasant. To the point where she used to get wheeled out at gatherings to sing and play her guitar. At which point I would disappear. So I rebelled, big time. The gap widened. She went to uni and I went nowhere for quite some time. She got married at 21, having gotten her degree and I had the baby a year after her wedding. While my daughter drew us together a bit (the family could see I was actually taking proper care of her), it wasn't enough, the gap widened. There were harsh words said on both sides, but I never really could understand why I was so wholeheartedly rejected. Still don't. When our house burned down she gave us some money with no expectation that it would be paid back and flew up to see me prior to my first brain surgery. So I guess underneath, she does love me, she just doesn't like me. I can honestly say I don't really know her enough to know whether I like her and that's a shame. Interestingly she's always tried to encourage her boys to be friends (go figure, she has no insight into our relationship or the irony). I know that I hope my kids won't be like me and her, so far the oldest 2 are ok. We'll just see.


I wonder how many people younger than gen x can remember them, particularly those that didn't come from Melbourne. Sharpies were a weird offshoot of skinheads a lot of them wore the shaven head, but with rat tails at the base of the skull. Even the girls. They "evolved" in the erly 70s and I guess developed a reputation for all sorts of shenanigans, including fighting, petty crime, drug use etc. They evolved into gangs, like the Vic sharps, followed by the West side sharps. God knows why, since they used to hang out north and south of the city, but anyway. They also used to have gang fights with other gangs, such as the Broadie boys (from Broadmeadows)and the black dragons (Lebanese gang). Just to mix it up a bit. Anywho, by the time I met the remnants of them, some had died from either drug overdoses and one got beaten to death on a train, apparently and others were serious drug users. Therefore, as an organized gang, they were starting to fall apart. Still, they had enough anti glamour to attract lots like myself. Rebellious and wanting a thrill. Needless to say, couple of years later, I cut ties with them and was left with a life in shambles, including a decent drug habit. I met my ex around then and have 3 "sharpie" children with him. I don't know what became of most of them. I know a few more died and I suspect more died as well. Interestingly Magda szubanski hung around with sharpies as a young girl. I was always struck by how authentic her portrayal of Shazza (and weasel) was in Fast Forward. Now I know why. I may eventually write about the incident that led me to cutting ties with the gang. It's still a bit painful, still.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yes, physiotherapists. Useful to the doctor or nurse to refer to, not really fun to see as a client of theirs. I saw a number of allied health specialists in 2010. The list: physio, OT, speechie and neuropsychology. Disturbingly more than 1 of some of each specialty. I also had to see my GP regularly, as well as various medical specialists and a particular part of the X-ray department....... This year I've just had to see physio. In particular the balance clinic at UQ (uni of Qld). Students under the beady eyes of their lecturers and supervisors provide physio cheaper than usual (private clinic). This service is aimed at those with neurological and balance issues. The sessions were tiring in themselves. They involved a lot of had turning and trying to keep focused on an object in front of me. Walking and turning of the head (and staggering) and my personal favourite (not) the tandem walk. This involves walking with one foot directly in front of the other, with heel touching toe. Imagine trying to walk on a long line of tape on the floor. This also involves rather a lot of staggering. Then there were the exercises. Yes, starting at 3 sets, 5 times per day, increasing to 5-6 sets, 5 times per day as well as a walk, preferably all terrain every day. This was fine before I went back to work, but harder and harder to do the more hours I put in at work. At one of the last sessions I plainly stated that I didn't have the time a significant part of the week due to work commitments. I was asked if I had a lunch break. Seriously?? Yes, I stated, but I tended to eat...because I was hungry then. So we came to a compromise, that I would do the exercises whenever I could. Anywho, last week was my last session, bar a review in a few months. While I still have a degree of dizziness and my balance ain't the best, it's better. I don't think it will ever be perfect, but that's ok. So thanks UQ. BTW,all uni's have different clinics that helps students gain real experience and provides services quicker than the public system and cheaper than the private system. The students are usually fairly senior and are very well supervised. For example:Monash uni, the legal advice service, UQ, the balance clinic, QUT a dressings clinic and podiatry clinic and Griffith the dental clinic. Go to the website for a uni near you and look up their clinics for their services.
My Facebook page can be found under Fay Nilsen. Nothing terribly exciting, but online chat is pretty handy.

Birthdays and mothers day

Every year I come up against it. Mother's day comes and I have actually share it, or nearly share it. Yes. G has his birthday. He says without a hint of shame that he was born on mother's day and was the best gift his mother ever got. So, inevitably one of us gets kind of forgotten and if it's G, I feel guilty. Grrr. Any way, we went to the pub for tea tonight for him.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter holidays

We have passed the Easter period now. For thhe first time Queensland had 2 weeks off for school children, rather than a week and a bit. The girls loved it. Then I told them that meant no more pupil free days. Yessss! I always hated them. Once, still pretty new to Qld, I forced miss 24 and master 21 to get in their uniforms, made their lunches and drove them to school. Despite their protests, off course. Only to be deflated at the empty gate. Since the "damn the pupil free day" has been an oft repeated phrase in our house. See, foolishly I thought schools would be Victoria, which didn't have pupil free days and fortnight long Easter holidays, oh and grade prep.
Qld is now playing "catch up", but has privatized kindy. Go figure.
So where were we? Oh Easter, that's right. Anyway, the only Easter bunny believer I have left is miss 8. I think time is running out there.the kids still like it, but the thrill will have gone for me. At least they will like the Easter egg hunt for a few years. They're also big enough that I don't have to put up with chocolate child anymore.
You know chocolate child..... That hyped up, screaming child that's running around misbehaving after hovering up a vast amount of chocolate in a few small days. I experienced chocolate child (X 2) once only. I learned to trickle out the chocolate very slowly after that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This is inspired by that series that is obsessing lots of people, G included, Sons of Anarchy.  Admittedly, when it's on I do watch it, while reading a book, or surfing the web, so to speak. Therefore, I know enough about the series to kinda know what's going on. Theirs enough of the Hamletesque about it to keep a lot interested. A bit like I am with Dexter and Breaking Bad. I do know that Jax is pretty easy on the eye, minus the stupid facial hair and jeans. Anyway, I digress. The reason this series inspired this post is I (and G) am in a position to compare it to what I know of the club culture, unlike most people.

I know bike clubs, or the 1%ers as they like to refer to themselves are probably a different kettle of fish from one country to the next. I think the illegal activities of US clubs probably do involve gun running, far more than they would here, where the trade in stolen car parts etc is more common, for example. That said, I have been known to throw the "as if" comments about when Sons of Anarchy is on TV. I'll explain a bit more......

When G and I met, he was in a biker club. I was initially very dubious of him, because, let's face it, I don't like them, my opinions haven't really changed since and as soon as I open my mouth, they don't like me. However, he seemed a bit of a diamond in the rough, so I said yes to the invite. His friends however.....

Bike clubs have very strict rules. Quite fascinating from a sociological perspective, they are generally what one would call a "total institution", much like a convent, prison or the army etc.

Many (not all) clubs will uproot a nominated/prospective member from his home and get him to live in a clubhouse in a different state, just so that he can be on call 24/7 and also has to rely heavily on other club members for pretty much everything.

The nominated/prospective (nom or prospect) member is not a full member. He has been accepted by the club for potential membership. He has passed initial tests, if you like and is allowed to wear the club vest with a "bottom rocker" stating he is a nom or prospect. Years ago, to even be considered one had to have a Harley, but who knows with some of the newer clubs that don't even ride motorbikes these days. The term for a nom/prospect is usually at least a year and he has to prove his loyalty to the club before being accepted for full membership, or being "patched up". There are different ways to prove loyalty, none of which I will mention here...There are also various other patches that one can earn, by various means, none compulsory and some rather distasteful.

There is a very particular order in which the nom/prospect earns his patch. From memory (and it has been a while), the bottom rocker comes first, then the MC patch near the top rocker, which is next and has the club name on it. Lastly comes, the all important colours. It is given to the nom/prospect at a club meeting and is a very big deal. It is also a big deal for the new member to take the vest and patch home to his wife/girlfriend etc to sew on properly (it's usually sewn on quickly so that it can be worn home from the meeting). Let me tell you, sewing those suckers on is hard, because you're usually sewing a thick patch onto leather. This vest must be worn everytime you go to a club function or even hop on your bike. Clubs generally have their patch designs printed onto tshirts for their members, but they're not compulsory wear. Even if you drive a car somewhere with the club, you should wear the colours. Some clubs give their members' women the opportunity to wear a "property of....." (insert name) vest. It has the top, bottom rocker and mc patch. I'm so glad our club never offered that "opportunity" to us.

Once you become a full member, you have the right to sit in on meetings and vote (noms/prospects can't sit at a full meeting or vote). You have the chance to rise to a higher position within the club and you can order around noms/prospects. You must also back up your "brothers"in the club, no matter what. By the time you've achieved membership though, your loyalty is assumed.

There is a hierachy within clubs. The lowest of the low is the prospect/nom, then the standard member, then there are positions like club secretary, treasurer and saergent at arms. Then you get the vice president and then the president. There may be more, but that's all I remember. I believe members are voted into these positions. The club hangers on (and there are plenty) don't count and neither do the women really. Although, interestingly, there is a "no grass cutting"(don't poach another member's woman) rule. That is more for the club and members than the women. It avoids fights between members.

There is also a specific hierachy when riding as a club, with the prez leading, followed by the vice prez, saergent at arms, club secretary, and so on, with often people driving behind. If a member's bike breaks down a prospect/nom has to help. That's also where the cars come in handy. A lot of clubs will have built relationships with other clubs both local and interstate, as well as those that are intense rivals.

The bad parts (in my opinion):
Too many rule; makes a mockery of the idea behind a Harley Davidson
You don't end up mixing with anyone else really; can become very bitchy (everyone)
Misogynistic; individual members can be lovely, but the general attitude to women isn't great
Takes over your life; you have to love the life
The bigger clubs can really just be criminal organisations; nuff said

The good parts (yes they are there)
Common interest for the members; many love bikes and riding and will often work in the industry
No shortage of company; for both the women and the men
Parties; what can I say? They love a party
It is kinda cool; for a while
There's always something to do with them; busy, busy, busy

There's a myth that bikers women are sluts, tramps etc. There is that groupie element and some of the members really exploit it for all it's worth, but on the whole the women that are in a proper relationship with a member are normal women. I've met some truly gorgeous looking ones that are with bikers, but generally they're just like you and I. They hold down jobs, have kids, run a house etc. Some of the women even ride with the club.

While I'm really glad that G left the club (and to leave there is a price to pay), I did enjoy some of it. The parties for instance (got so trashed one night with a friend that she fell off her boyfriend's bike and I somehow lost my helmet and my scarf ended up wrapped around the back wheel of G's bike). In general, neither of us was suited for the life. G couldn't stand being told what to do for too long and I couldn't control my mouth around the members enough. So he left, but it's certainly left us with some memories. Anyway, he'll never be (supposedly) allowed to join another 1%er club. You might spill their secrets you know.....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And so, back to life as I know it...

We've gotten part way through March and I thought I'd better get my lazy butt onto my sadly neglected blog and let all of my viewers know how things are.
Well, I went back to work last week, on what is grandly known as a graduated return to work programme. Basically, after getting me and my doctor to fill out the forms, I've ended up doing 2 hours/day for 2 weeks, 4 hours/day for 2 weeks and 6 hours/day for 2 weeks and then my normal hours. Last time I was knackered the first week. This time, not so much so and I'm only 3 months out, not 6 like last time. I do feel kinda stupid doing 2 hours, but I'm not going to object. Soon enough, I'll be wondering when my next holiday is. Most of my colleagues were lovely and welcoming too, so that helps.
I got behind the wheel of the car again. My GP did a medical assessment this time. Last time I had to have my peripheral vision checked and an OT assessment and driving assessment. It cost the amount required to feed a small African village for a year. So I'm glad that this time I didn't need that. It does have a medical condition to it, as she wants to assess my balance and eyes in a years time, but I can live with that. Oh, the freedom! I was getting heartily sick of having to wait for G to be home to drive me about, due to the lack of public transport.
I finally got rid of my headbands/scarves and combine. I took the final headband off today. I will probably wear it for a couple of weeks in bed, as I'm still reducing the amount of pillows I need to use to sleep on. I'll go down to 2 tonight. So far, so good, but I'm extremely paranoid that squishy will reappear and am found frequently touching my head behind my right ear just to check. If you see a woman in the Brisbane suburbs somewhere (or running a baby clinic) that keeps doing that, you know who it is. It's not really different to the fact that I was constantly adjusting the headbands anyway.
Finally, I have started going to the NAB (neuro balance clinic) at UQ, where they tested me in various ways, enough to have me almost falling over and have given me some exercises. They include staring at an eye height object, whilst flinging my head various ways and walking every day, outside. I've already slipped in the mud once and nearly tripped over a stone, but nevermind. A walk everyday can only be good for my fitness. I know I've probably gotten very unfit over the past 3 months, so I'm happy to do this.
So now I just have to get back into living my life.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I've been a busy girl in the house this week. I've been doing lots of those jobs that everyone loves to put off and realistically I'm putting one off right now, but writing on my blog is lots more interesting.
I've been doing some of the nastier jobs around the house. You know the ones: walls, windows, curtains, oven etc. Well to be quite honest, I'm still doing the oven, but all the others, done, done and done.
I've also weed sprayed: and it needs more done. I've potted plants, some of the windows on the outside are washed, as is the porch. I even culled some of the kids toys and put some stuff out to go to the tip/charity. I just need to wax my legs and I'm done (for now).
This work is so thankless and repetitive and needs doing over and over again. I really hate most of it. That's the tricky thing though. Which do I hate the most? The big things that only need to be done occasionally, or the little things that need doing constantly?
Probably a bit of both.....

Friday, February 17, 2012


Yay, time for that topic! DV, or domestic violence as it's called is a common age old occurence.
I'll be willing to bet that most of us know at least one person whose life has been affected by it, at some stage and some of them will even be men.
I have heard of men that have been physically attacked by their female (or male partners) and at the very least had heavy things such as glass bowls, ashtrays and vases thrown at them. I never really thought about it when I was young, but it must be hard not hitting back...and so many don't. I hope at least one person has a think about the advantage they're taking when they do that sort of thing. I once gave my husband a paper cut on his face flinging a piece of paper about. He's never let me forget it.

Anyway, the person I had miss 24 and mister 21 with was one such man. If I hadn't been such a mess myself, I maybe would've clued in earlier. I once asked him early on in our relationship whether he thought men were better than women. He answered yes. Clue!!!! Nevertheless, I fell pregnant to him. The violence didn't start overnight like it does with some (one older woman I knew said her husband beat her up on their honeymoon), but worked up to it. It started with yelling (which really stressed out one of our friends, whose mother subsequently got set alight and killed by her violent long term partner), worked its way up to shoving each other and resulted in me getting punched, choked and generally put down. I'm ashamed to say that we did it in front of our daughter. It went for (only) a year before I got out. I won't go into detail, but suffice to say, I'm glad I did, it took long enough to come to terms with it as it was.

Things I learned:
* Anyone who "pulls a punch" (makes sure that they don't hit you as hard as they could), is in control of it.

* Drunkeness is an excuse, usually they'll end up doing it sober.

* A man can quite safely punch his female partner in public (it happened to me).

* A lot of people express disgust, but are loathe to intefere.

* Men that hit women are quite often to scared to hit other men (my ex, of course was an exception, he would've taken on man, woman or beast).

* Staying in a violent relationship for kids is the worst reason. Just supposing nothing too serious happens, the kids end up hating both parents, one for doing it , the other for putting up with it, I met a woman who felt this very way during that particular year.

Needless to say, I was very wary after I left. I didn't answer the constantly ringing phone, or venture outside by myself for some time. It was safer. When he did bother seeing his kids, I dropped them off at his parents or sister's house. His family were very helpful, fortunately and never gave out my address etc and so I was free to start again.

The biggest and best thing I think I did was thinking about the type of relationship I wanted and what sort of partner I wanted. I made a vow to myself to accept invitations from men I would never have dated before. I realised that I needed to change the type of man I liked, otherwise I ran the risk of repeating that mistake, like so many have before and after me. Fortunately it worked. I've been with G for 20 years, married 15 of them and have never been afraid of him once. Better be more careful with that paper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Time to delve into the murky past again... I've read a lot of "stuff" about birth, abortion and even some brave/foolish woman who breastfed and expressed on Facebook (or at least on a picture posted to Facebook).... and of course when fertility goes wrong. IE; infertility.
I fell pregnant very easily (some may call it accidental) with my first 2 babies, at 19 and 21. This is not uncommon at this age. You're highly fertile. Apparently fertility peaks (in women) in the mid 20s, slowly declines, declines a bit more sharply in the early 30s and rockets downhill after 35. That said, I've looked after a fair few women in their 30s and some in their 40s in maternity. Men, on the other hand, can impregnate a woman well into old age, but their is a gradual decline, but not a cut off, like menopause. Some would argue that there is manopause.....
Infertility hits both sexes, with a percentage being male, female, combination and unexplained. In our case it was unexplained and secondary in my case (as I'd had kids already) and primary for G (as he had no kids). I'm not going to pretend that I know the dramas associated with IVF, but I know how it felt for us.
We got married in early '97 and tried for a baby fairly quickly. I fell pregnant fairly quickly and expected a standard pregnancy like my first 2. At 7 weeks along I started to spot. This continued for a few days, by which time, panic had set in and I'd seen the doctor and had and ultrasound. The ultrasound (a lovely transvaginal one that involved a probe with a glove stuck awkwardly on the end of it and 2 people not 1 in the room) showed a tiny foetus with a still dot that should have been pulsing. So off to theatre for a D & C. While upset, I knew it was common and resolved to try again soon and hopefully it would be ok next time.
Next time, the spotting started again at 7 weeks. Ultrasound showed the embryo alive but ith a large ovarian cyst. I continued to spot and started to bleed while visiting my parents. Off to hospital with another D&C resulting.
The next time, my cycle started to play up. I went from a bog standard 28-30 cycle to a 21 day cycle. I got introduced to a temperature chart, subsequently diagnosed with luteal phase insufficiency and shortly after given a prescription for clomid.
Temperature chart: take oral temp every morning before rising, chart. Temp should rise in second half of month, indicating an egg has been released. Sex should be marked on this and you get to be humiliated by at at your gynaecologists.
Luteal phase deficiency: shortened menstrual cycle, less than 10-14 days with/without ovulation, meaning a fertilized egg may not have enough time to implant before a period.
Clomid: fertility drug, used for luteal deficiencies and anovulation etc. Taken early on in the menstrual cycle. You still use the temperature chart and have a preogesterone test on day 21-23. Side effects include possible multiple release of eggs, pelvic pain/ache and hot flushes. Twins are not uncommon.
I also had a hystero-salpingogram which involves dye being squirted through your reproductive organs to see if there are any blockages.
G didn't escape unscathed, however jerking off into a cup isn't my idea of hardship. He, however made it harder on himself by taking the first sample to the lab without the request slip. The second sample he "got" in a public loo near the lab and someone reached for his ankle under the partition while said collection was in progress. Go figure. I'm still amazed he finished.....
Oh I had a heap of blood tests too, for chromosomes, weird blood groups, diabetes, clotting diseases etc. fun times.
The next time followed the same course, which was becoming depressingly familiar. This time I was being ultrasounded regularly and taking progesterone pessaries, all to no avail. I lost this foetus at home this time. After this we were suitably traumatised and decided to delay trying for a baby for a while.
We came to an agreement that we would wait for a year and start again. We decided how long we would try for and how far we would go (up to 35, stop at IVF). One of my colleagues and I bonded as we were going through the same thing at the same time. She went to IUST (intra uterine wperm transfer)and fell pregnant before I did. Nonetheless, the support from her was very helpful as infertility is one of those things that makes people uncomfortable, so they are quite often rude/inappropriate about it. Surprisingly G found a lot of support from his mainly male work colleagues, which was also very helpful. In that year I concentrated on existing family and career. I started midwifery, despite some saying I was mad, but it actually depersonalized it for me. The midwives I trained with assured me that I would be pregnant when I finished the course and even though I didn't believe them, I was 6 months pregnant with miss 11 when I finished. Her and miss 8 have been an absolute gift. Miss 11 is like a female version of G and miss 8 a mini me.
So while my story isn't the worst it could be, it was still a long 3 years and enough to make me appreciate my fertility and the kids I have.

Friday, January 20, 2012


In these days of enforced rest (I have a pseudomeningocele), I may as well write on my blog and sleep is one topic that fascinates me. Thankfully, I have never really had a problem with it and my sympathies go out to those that do, whether their own sleep is poor, or someone else (usually a small child) is disrupting it.

My childrens' sleep has usually been pretty good, something I try not to admit to my clients who are struggling with their own child's sleep. That won't actually help.  No one really knows whether a persons sleep is "inherited" or the result of how they've learned to go to sleep, but quite often I've found that when a baby is a poor sleeper, there is also a parent that is too. Anecdotal,  no science here at all, but still interesting.

As a kid I was a good sleeper and this continued to adulthood, with the occasional off night like everyone and nights that sleep was interfered with via drink/chemical means. On the whole, I could go to bed, turn the light off and seemingly five minutes later wake to the alarm. This, of course eventually wore off and sleep became just that bit harder to attain, to the point that I am aware of moving around regularly and needing a ridiculous routine to go to sleep. The only point that I had a nostalgic return to the sleep of my 20s was when I had brain surgery in 2010 and I'd hardly reccomend that as a solution to everyone's sleep problems.

My sleep has progressively gone something like this.
infancy: NFI and don't expect me to remember. I was a child of the 60s, so I imagine that I was fed, burped, changed and put to bed, crying or not.
Childhood:pretty good, although when we got sent to bed, we damn well went, no protests, daylight savings or not. Of course, we all learned the trick, as we got older, of sitting silently on the couch, hoping that our parents would forget we were there and thus forget our bedtime.
Teens: became a bit more changeable, particularly as I got older and started going out. My parents developed a horrid habit of vacuuming or mowing the lawn just outside my bedroom 8 or 9 of a weekend morning, in order to get me out of bed. Gaarh! Mum happily admits it was all her idea.
20s: the era of the aforementioned "coma sleep". Blessed days. There was the odd night that I laid awake for hours, worrying about money, evacuation in the event of a house fire, uni, break ins, the local serial killer (I'm not actually jesting). One of my friends tapped on my bedroom window for about 5 minutes one night, 3 of which I was frozen in terror, before she spoke my name and I got up to let her in. She wanted panadol for her boyfriend's migraine....yep. I started to put vaseline on my lips as I woke with severely cracked lips from mouth breathing while pregnant (actually still in my teens).
30s: married now to someone that had started to snore! Not to bad at first. Was no longer sleeping on my stomach because I got a sore neck and pins and needles at my shoulder blade. Weird. Started using pillows during 3rd pregnancy and kept using them. Eventually started to wear ear plugs to enable any sleep. I had a particularly vile night with Gs snoring that ended with me striking him on the head and yelling at him to shut up. He was most offended, still doesn't really believe that he snores, despite multiple people complaining of it. Go figure.
40s: G still snores, still wear earplugs, vaseline/ pawpaw ointment on my lips, have pillow between knees and under top arm. Sleeping on left side because of surgery (and the soft spot above my right ear and the meningocele which has been christened squishy) at present. My left leg is getting sore. I also have a splint to wear over my top teeth at night now, because I have woken myself multiple times clanging my jaw shut on my tongue or inner cheek. The results include waking myself up and mouth ulcers down the track. I also like to make sure my feet are clean in summer (barefoot see) and I read in bed most nights (part of the settling routine).

God, I'll be drinking horlicks before you know it. I still sleep alright though, just not as deep as when I was younger. I have heard you need less as you age. I do still have a nanna nap at the present, but I expect that will stop fairly soon. Actually, I've always enjoyed the nanna nap on the odd occasion. I've often thought I should live in Spain, but they're broke now......

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New year

It's my first post of the year and it's already half way through the month!!! My how time flies.
In my defence, I am recuperating from brain surgery, which although not as radical as the first one, is still not for the faint hearted.
My poor girls have not had a very exciting school holidays, being largely trapped at home, since I can't drive and my husband G has had to work and take on extra duties at home that I would normally do. Miss 24, who has moved out, now comes over once a week to help with housework and make a couple of meals and my parents also come over once a week to help out as well.
I have been doing short bursts of housework, cooking etc, but have been more confined to the couch because of an unfortunate discovery of a fluid collection under the skin behind my ear, where my most recent op site is. I have a bony defect there, as in some bone was removed during surgery no 1, and was never replaced, so it is weaker there.
Being a nurse, I immediately assumed the worst (csf leak) and have been to the GP and have had an MRI, which without the report looks fairly like sections of my head and brain, with a bit of fluid sitting behind my right ear. So I can over analyse that for the moment.  Hmmmm. So, even though I feel ok still, I'm resting, which is becoming very frustrating. I'm due to see my GP soon, so she should have the report and I will be seeing the surgeon on Tuesday, so hopefully I don't need anything else done.
I will be glad when the time comes that my (ex) tumour isn't the centre of my existence and I can live my life as normal again. I've got things to do, damnit.....and my garden's starting to look a bit wild too.