I’m not here

OK so I haven’t been around much recently. To be honest I’m not even really supposed to be here now.

But I just wanted to sneak in quickly to explain my recent absence and let you know that while I’m not actually here at the moment, I will be again soon.

I’ve had a bit on recently – work has been full tilt and we’ve been flat strap at the weekends slogging through the boys’ never-ending rugby season. Unusually, I’ve also been quite the social butterfly as is evidenced here and here and spent an awesome week entertaining some lovely NZ visitors (hi Dean 🙂 )

My boys hanging with their NZ cuzzie at Movie World

My boys hanging with their NZ cuzzie at Movie World

But the main reason I have been MIA is that I’ve had some modules to complete for a certificate course I’m doing at work. These modules have to be completed at home in my own time… the time usually dedicated to blogging/auto-shapes/associated mucking around on social media.

I would like to be able to say I approached this with maturity and gravitas gained from my previous study experiences. That I scheduled the appropriate time, broke down the work into manageable chunks and completed all set tasks well in advance of the submission date.

I would like to be able to say this, but I can’t because I decided to take the polar opposite approach.

Yes, that’s right friends. Instead of buckling down and getting it done, I faffed like a MOFO.

And while faffing is always enjoyable it created inner conflict because I KNEW I had shit to be getting on with. So to balance out the turmoil I felt about not doing what I was supposed to be doing, my subconscious stepped in and made a declaration…

THOU SHALT NOT BLOG OR FIDDLE WITH AUTO-SHAPES UNTIL THE STUDY IS DONE.

Note: You should mentally read that last bit in a “god” voice, perhaps adding thunder-clap at the end to emphasise the seriousness of the situation.

This sounds like a sensible rule doesn’t it? It sounds like something that should have helped. Nothing could be further from the truth. The result has been utter paralysis – not doing the things I DON”T want to do while also not doing the things I DO want to do.

Basically all the bad parts of self-denial and NONE of the benefits. Winning, right?

This immense faff-a-thon couldn’t last obviously, and was finally broken this week as the deadline approaches for the modules to be submitted. So my subconscious and I have come to an agreement. The deal is that every time I complete a module I’m allowed a night off to faff, write and make pictures etc. And slowly but surely I am making progress.

You may be surprised to know that the key to resolving this conflict between needs and wants was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

And no, I never thought it would actually turn out to be useful either. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Maslow (or went to the pub instead of going to that tutorial at uni) his theory states that we can separate our needs into several categories.

The premise is that once we fulfil our basic physiological needs we can be motivated to fulfill our other needs. My conflict stems from needing to do the study for work so that I can continue to fulfil our physiological needs, while my dominant motivation was directing me to fulfill my self-actualisation needs.

I’ll admit this is still somewhat confusing so I got hold of a diagram of Maslow’s Hierarchy and made some adjustments to illustrate how it applies to my particular situation. As you can see bacon, coffee and sleep pretty much cover all my basic needs. My self-actualised needs can be summed up by blogging, mucking around on the internet and auto-shapes.

Maslow's Heirachy of needs explains my inner conflict

Maslow’s Heirachy of needs explains my inner conflict

So let’s hear it for Maslow and his very helpful Hierarchy of Needs. Reducing complicated shit into colourful triangles since god knows when…

Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag: Part 1

Hello Loungers! This week’s theme is “When I was a teenage dirtbag”

When I came up with this theme last week I was beside myself with suppressed glee. There was SO much to write about – the music, the people, the friends, the parties and of course the opposite sex!

But when I started to write it became apparent that there as far too much material to squeeze into one post. In fact so epic was it becoming that it was beginning to look like an early 90’s version of The Illiad. Certainly, there were some worrying similarities between the blokes hair-dos.

The Mullet.  This scourge of both the Trojans AND the men of early 90's suburbia.

The Mullet.
This scourge of both the Trojans AND the men of early 90’s suburbia.

I’ll be honest up front – there is absolutely NOTHING outstanding or different or even slightly unusual about my suburban teenage years. But that to me is exactly what is so great about them – teenagers with their overwhelming feelings and yearning for connection manage to make the most boring environment feel ALIVE with possibility.

So rather then take you on a forced march through my adolescence all in the one post, I thought I’d go for a full self-indulgent nostalgia-fest over several parts.

Mostly so I get to re-live all those feelings without having to skimp on the details.

But also maybe just in case my boys are ever interested in who their mummy was before she was mummy. And before I get too “senior” to remember all the juicy bits!

So this is Part 1 of my Odyssey into my teenage dirtbag years. I’ve started with a fairly tame subject… otherwise where’s the incentive to read the rest of the series? 😉

Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag

PART 1 : Methods Of Communication

OK so mobile phones exist. In fact my Dad is one of the few people we know that has one for work. Except it’s called a car phone and it is an actual telephone that has been installed in his car!!!

But we’re years away from even the most basic flip-phones and the internet is barely a twinkle in the eye of some Silicon Valley geek-boy.

So how did the average suburban teenage girl convey vital information?

1. Notes

There are two kinds of notes. The first is hastily scrawled on ripped bits of exercise book or foolscap and is used to communicate messages of immediate urgency such as…

“Are you eating lunch with us today?”
“Can I borrow your protractor?

But the note that was guaranteed to send either a frission of excitment dread racing through your body was this one…

Receiving one of these was sure to liven up your maths lesson!

Receiving one of these was sure to liven up your maths lesson!

The second type is a longer, more detailed letter which is usually written at home and then delivered to it’s intended recipient the next day.

These types of notes are used when you need to tell your friend, how much you really, REALLY like someone that doesn’t even know your alive. They are also likely to include…

  • Margin art in the form of elaborate doodles and swirls
  • Professions of undying friendship i.e “WE R Friends 4 EVA!”
  • Signing of Mrs. (insert surname of crush here)

2. Telephone
Not content with seeing and talking to our friends all day it was imperative that we then debriefed the days events with a D&M (short for a deep and meaningful conversation).

As well as a communication device the telephone was the source of a constant power struggle between the teenager and the parents. Suburban parents sought to try and control use the phone as a bargaining chip to encourage positive behaviours such as studying and speaking pleasantly. Sometimes this was even sucessful!

This phone is identical to the one we had at home when I was a teen. I was surgically attached to this baby from 1990 - 1994

This phone is identical to the one we had at home when I was a teen. I was surgically attached to this baby from 1990 – 1994

In later teenage years the telephone became a double edged sword.
Without the benefits of caller display we were forced to actually answer the phone and simply take a punt on who was on the other end.

This meant that if you’d been avoiding a nice but irritatingly earnest young man with sweaty palms who you’d grudgingly agreed to go to the movies with then there was a good chance you’d have to talk to him if he rang.

By the time I was 18 I was forcing my mum to screen my calls. Poor Mum – I think at times she must have wondered what some of those nice young men saw in me!

3. Slumber parties
This probably seems more suited to a section on “Entertainment” or “Socialising”. I’ve put it in this section though because they were, in essence, MASSIVE talkfests.

Talkfests that were punctuated by the screams of teenagers being terrorised by Freddy Krueger.

I can see I’ll need to explain that one.

Slumber parties were HUGE especially in my early teens. Throughout the week plans would be made, parents would be hassled and movies selections would be made. These arrangements were of course all conducted via notes (see above).

Then come the weekend, anywhere from between 5 – 10 girls would descend upon the hapless home of the designated friend. Once all were assembled the conversation would turn quickly to the business at hand.

Boys.

Which ones did you like and more importantly which ones liked YOU. Who would you pash if you absolutely HAD to pash someone? Who had a new crush, and who’d decided they were totally over someone who’d previously rated high on their pash-list.

And as we talked the night away for some reason we ALWAYS had some sort of horror movie on video in the background. I have a feeling it was because movie classifications were much more seriously enforced in those says and that these MA 15 + movies were considered “grown-up” but I can’t honestly remember.

What I do remember is pretending womanfully that Freddy Krueger did not give me nightmares for weeks afterwards, or made me slightly afraid to be home alone even during broad daylight!

Still gives me the heebie-jeebies 20 years later...

Still gives me the heebie-jeebies 20 years later…

So that wraps up Part 1 of the Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag. Hopefully some of you may even front up for part 2 if I promise not to post any more pictures of Freddie!

The Lounge

Linking up with The Lounge – you should go check out their teenage dirtbag antics too!

A Fashion Odyssey: 1977 – 2013

Linking up with The Lounge for the topic “Fashion Fails”

When I found out that Sarah from Slapdash Mama had chosen this as her theme my initial thought was “NNNOOOOOOO!!” quickly followed by “WWHHYYYYYYYY???””.

While I’m by no means a fashionista, I do think that in the last few years I’ve finally arrived at a place where I have a good idea of my own personal style. I know not all trends will work for me and I’ve learnt to take the elements I’m comfortable with and ditch the rest. I like to think the result is a safe version of whatever’s “in” at any given time.

Me in the present. Dressed as a pirate in my role of Mother, and dressed to kill in my role as semi-retired party girl ;)

Me in the present. Dressed as a pirate in my role of Mother, and dressed to kill in my role as semi-retired party girl 😉

The journey to this place however has been fairly fraught with fashion disasters and I had hoped that evidence of these fails could stay hidden in the past along with my roller skates and Bros records.

But alas it was not to be.

The Lounge has demanded that I ‘fess up to my greatest fashion faux pas and as a Lounge Lizard I have no choice but to take a pill, pull up my big-girl pants and get ready to re-visit these moments of questionable style.

When I started rifling through the old photos I found evidence of fashion crimes from various stages of my life, so I have conveniently categorised them for your viewing pleasure

Now sit back, grab a martini (or maybe even something stronger- this is not for the faint-hearted) and allow me to take you on a Fashion Odyssey through my life from 1977 – 2013.

Fashion Fails – The Early Years

As you can see my younger sister and I should actually be claiming royalties from The Wiggles for providing the inspiration for their iconic skivvies. I hated these with a passion, as they were both scratchy and uncomfortable as well as hideous!

Skivvies Ahoy! The Wiggles looked to us for inspiration...

Skivvies Ahoy! The Wiggles looked to us for inspiration…

Now here we have two absolute classic 80’s fashion fails and I think I’ve executed them quite well, considering my tender age.

On the left we have the “double-denim” combo of denim jacket and denim skirt. But wait – I’ve teamed them with white ankle boots which propels the outfit into the stratosphere of fails.

And there on the right is me in my “material girl” get-up. I loved Madonna and thought her lace bow was the epitome of cool!

Check out the out the double denim/ white boots combo! And my Madonna inspired lace bow!

Check out the out the double denim/ white boots combo! And my Madonna inspired lace bow!

Teen Fashion Fails

When I entered my teens I was introduced to the world of uniform-inflicted fails. Although they were completely out of my control they are still significant.

On the left is me the early 90’s Hungry Jacks (Burger King) uniform I wore for my part-time job. You can see in the photo I’m trying to give it some attitude but I’m not really pulling it off. That may be because it was 100% polyester and extremely gross to wear. It was like wearing plastic bags had been that fashioned into clothes.

I spent my teens as a choir girl by day and Burger chick by night!

I spent my teens as a choir girl by day and Burger chick by night!

On the right is me in my school choir performance outfit.

Yes I was in the choir. You can shut-up now.

In addition to the uniform check out my quiffed fringe! I used to render it absolutely immobile with hairspray and my family referred to it as “the dish” due to it’s resemblance to a Sky TV dish.

The dreaded body-suit teamed with high-waisted white jeans. Verrry naiiiiice!

The dreaded body-suit teamed with high-waisted white jeans. Verrry naiiiiice!

And this one is me on my 16th birthday. What you may not notice is that the top I’m wearing is actually a body-suit! For the uninitiated it was a shirt that was kind of like a leotard in disguise because you did it up under the crutch with press-studs. Classy AND functional no?

Thank god I stopped wearing them before I started drinking because the co-ordination required to do up press-stud in your crutch requires a clear head and a steady hand!

I think the high-waisted white jeans speak for themselves so we’ll move on…

Party Girl Fails

So I finished high-school and became an adult. HAHAHAAAA! No I certainly did NOT become and adult or anything even close to it for years and years.

What I did become though was a party girl. I took to night clubbing with a vengeance and as far as I was concerned the best night for going out was any night the sun went down.

This of course lead to some spectacularly LOUD fails. Everything in this era was too bright, too tight or too short, but hey what else do you wear when your whole life revolves around cutting a swathe through the Brisbane CBD in your platform shoes? Shoes which were so high they had their own name “The Towering Infernos”…

The peak of my night-clubbing days saw fashion fails aplenty...

The peak of my night-clubbing days saw fashion fails aplenty…

On the left you’ve got a fairly mild fail – the mid-riff shirt isn’t quite doing the job and black and brown seems a strange combination. I also know (that you can’t see in this shot) that the skirt is very short – the kind where if you drop something you have to lower yourself down into the crouch position, as bending over would give the world a flash they could probably do without.

But on the right… ohhh, on the right.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

Fuck, I don’t know what the MANUFACTURERS were thinking. But god help me I loved that shirt – and in this case love was most assuredly BLIND.

Let us just say that the words “mauve” and “lycra” should probably never co-exist in the same sentence and leave it at that shall we? Before our eyes fall out from the sheer glare coming off that thing…

Failing Abroad

I did a lot of travelling in my late teens and early twenties and let me tell you this era was fertile ground for fashion fails. It seemed whenever I left the country I left my fashion sense (and my inhibitions but that’s probably a topic for another post!) behind.

On the left we have me with a friend in Germany. The hat is red crushed velvet and I had bought it in Paris, where we’d been for the weekend. I LOVED this hat. Because I’d bought it in Paris I thought it made me look artistic and bohemian. In reality I looked like the type of mad aunt one might keep locked in an attic.

On the right I am sitting in a tourist trap restaurant in Istanbul. I at least have the sense to look mortified in this one. The hosts made you wear the full kit and my mate took the photo while we were waiting for them to bring us a hookah pipe.

All serious travellers wear hats. No really, they do...

All serious travellers wear hats. No really, they do…

And here I am in Thailand on the way home from my 3 year working holiday in the UK. This trip was my last hurrah as I was heading home to be sensible and go back to uni.

On the left you can see me and my mate Mark in our fetching tourist beer shirts. In fairness this was when they’d first come out (around 2000) but even still they’re pretty daggy and do absolutely nothing for me fashion wise.

On the left you can see I’ve gone for the obligatory hippy hair-wrap thing-a-majig. I had really long hair down to my waist at the time and balked at getting the Bo Derek style braids that a lot of the other girls were getting. I don’t know what I’m pointing out to Connor (an Irish fella we’d met with his fiancé Jo-anne while travelling) but it looks far out man!

Tasteful beer shirt? Check! Dodgy hair thingo? Check!

Tasteful beer shirt? Check! Dodgy hair thingo? Check!

Fails of my Twenties

By the time I hit my mid-twenties most of the really big fails were behind me. But not entirely as is evidenced by these fetching fails…

On the left is me fire-twirling! Yes I am a woman of hidden talents 🙂
But my fire twirling costume leaves a lot to be desired. Leopard print shirt teamed with blue floral bikini bottoms which are poking out the back of my skirt – that’s a pretty major pattern clash!

And why do I have my hat on backwards? Or indeed, why do I have my hat on at all since it is clearly night time? Well that’s all part of the fire-twirling scene. Us fire-twirlers know that the hat on backwards is the key to doing rad spins 😉

I should join the circus!

I should join the circus!

On the left is me on my first night out after having Jack. I was clearly a bit “out of it” fashion-wise. I think we can all agree that pale pink is really not my colour. I look like bacon – if bacon could stand up and wear shimmer eye-shadow.

And that’s the end of my Fashion Odyssey!

You’ll notice I haven’t really included anything from my more recently history. That’s not because I haven’t worn any regrettable outfits. On the contrary I am 100% sure I have! It’s just that not enough time has passed for their true horror to become apparent.

Because in the end it’s really time that makes these fashion outfits “fails” rather than “fierce”. I remember how much I loved that mauve lycra shirt of my early twenties. How many of my go-to outfits of today will make me cringe in 10 years time?

So I’ll see you all back here in the year 2023! We can catalogue the fails of 2013 as well as those yet to befall us. I bet it will be just as much fun the second time around 🙂

Thursdays in The Lounge – it’s a “come as you are” kind of place!

The Lounge

The Siren Song of Salami

As some of you may have read in this post I’ve recently commenced my mid-life crisis.

And far from being the relaxing slide into self-absorbed indulgence I had thought it would be, the crisis has actually turned out to require a fair bit of input from ME!

Soul searching, navel gazing. I tell you some days it’s just one more ting on my fucking to do list!

This internal “stock take” has been a bit of a double edged sword.

I have been able to congratulate myself on my achievements which are, in no particular order…

– Three children who are well-behaved, quiet ummm, let just say they’re “characters” full of spark and wonderful little quirks

– A career that, although it has taken many twists and turns, is at least now pretty much on track

– Fantastic friends both IRL and online

– A good relationship with a man who, apart from his habit of leaving his socks on the lounge room floor, is as good a man as you could want.

But I’ve also had to face the fact that there are some things I definitely thought i’d be better at by now. This was a less comfortable list to write but here goes…

– I still drink far too quickly for the first two drinks at any party.

I think it’s a combination of nerves and the feeling (which any parent will relate to) of having to cram as much fun into an evening as possible, since it may be several months until I have another opportunity to get out and socialise.

– My relationship with exercise is still very much an “on & off” affair.

After an awesome period of being “on” last year, exercise and I are currently very much in the “off” stage of the relationship cycle. So once again I am trying to re-kindle the spark there.

Believe me I could go on and on but in the interests of not boring or depressing you I’ll only add one more point.

There is one thing I definitely hoped I’d be better at by now and that is…

Self Control

Need an example? Picture this if you will…

I’m in the shopping centre with my boys. We’re standing at the deli counter with our ticket waiting for the teenager behind the counter to notice we exist.

And then it happens.

One of the boys, looking aimlessly at the olives, cheeses and smallgoods in the cabinet, will suddenly have a brain-wave…

“Mum, can we make home made pizza?”

Innocent enough you may think? Sure it is – on the surface. But you see I know what’s coming next and it strikes terror into my heart.

“I know! We should get some salami while we’re here at the deli. We can put it on the pizza”.

Cue a chorus of excited “Yeahs” as the other two boys congratulate who ever it was on having the foresight to not only suggest a dinner that is practically take-away, but also for suggesting an ingredient that will make it taste even more like the real thing.

Here lies the tragedy… that salami will never make it on to the pizza

What will happen instead is that at regular intervals throughout the afternoon I will be drawn, as if by an invisible force, to the fridge. Once there I may put up a token resistance…

“No… no, I mustn’t. I shouldn’t. Oh God help me!!!”

Me doing my best "mills & Boon" heroine pose trying to resist the lure of the evil salami!

Me doing my best “mills & Boon” heroine pose trying to resist the lure of the evil salami!

To no avail. The primal call of the salami is too strong and I succumb over and over again until finally late in the afternoon I’ll go back one last time.

All that will be there is a small, sad, empty plastic bag. A bag that was once full of so much pizza-ish promise. Now empty.

So there I stand forlornly in front of the fridge knowing that I have just eaten ALL the salami. Slightly ill, full of salami and remorse I think to myself…

Salami

I’m almost 36 years old. How can I not know when enough salami is enough?

What about you? What makes you lose your self control. Is it something wicked and decadent like pate or dark chocolate. Or is it just plain gross like salami?

What did YOU think you’d better at by now?

Linking up with The Lounge over at Musings of the Misguided because losing your self control is not only encouraged it’s damn well expected!

The Lounge

Procrastination 101

Well it’s only Monday and this week’s already fucked.

No I’m not being a negative Nancy. It really is. And I’ve decided that’s OK.

Don’t get me wrong – I did start out with some pretty ambitious plans for this week. The Sensible Thoughts had been in and had a good long look at last week and decided that we really should get our act together.

They had taken stock of the overflowing washing basket, feral children and pile of unopened envelopes suspected to contain bills and decreed, in quite definitive terms, that next week would be THE WEEK.

The week when the shit (all of it) in all areas was comprehensively gotten together.

Specific sub-decrees also made by The Sensible Thoughts regarding this week included:

1. Family budget drawn up which will rigorously account for all expenses
Even if that does mean coming to terms with the alarming amount of disposable income which is spent on coffee.

2. Adopt a “clean as you go” approach and do some housework each day.
This will replace the current policy of leaving it all until the weekend, by which time it has assumed such epic proportions that I am totally demoralised before I even begin.

3. Come up with a plan for educational excursions & stimulating activites to do with the boys
Rather than chasing them off the computer every 5 minutes by bellowing “For god sake go outside an run around” like some kind of demented Field Marshall.

Their over all message was simple and to the point…

The Sensible Thoughts giving it to me with both barrells

The Sensible Thoughts giving it to me with both barrells

So what happened I hear you ask?

Well as you’ve probably guessed I am a world class procrastinator.

I have an endless supply of things I can do to put off the things I SHOULD be doing.

Traditionally my favourite method of procrastination was reading. Being a quiet activity it allowed me to fly under the radar both at school and at home, giving the outward appearance of doing something useful while actually disappearing into the world of fiction.

These days my go-to procrastination activities include hanging around on various forms of social media and this blog. Special mention must also go to my boys who FORCE me to procrastinate by watching endless screaming goat videos on YouTube and also the “Duck Song”…

The Duck Song 2

If this doesn’t give you an earworm for DAYS then I don’t know what will.

In all honestly my procrastinating time is pretty limited these days.

As a parent and partner with a full-time job I tend to deal mostly in imperatives – things that must be done, that cannot be negotiated, avoided or even compromised slightly.

However life wasn’t always like this.

I was the type of vague and day-dreamy child that was always going to be better than most at avoiding the shittier parts of reality.

My procrastination tendencies probably reached their peak during the pre-kids years of my late adolescence and early twenties.

Whole days spent devouring novels instead of exam cramming.

Golden pub afternoon that dissolved in the warmth of cheap beer and bad pool.

Sleeping until 10 am… actually make that 11.00 am.

And while I can’t see myself returning to that peak state any time soon I am still regularly visited by Ms Screw-it who banishes The Sensible Thoughts with a well timed…

Ms Screw-it, looking uncannily like myself as a teenage dirt-bag :)

Ms Screw-it, looking uncannily like myself as a teenage dirt-bag 🙂

So that’s why I’ve decided it’s ok that this week is already fucked.

I’ve rather defer a few of the things I should be doing to spend a little more time doing the the things I love.

Delaying housework.

Putting off comparitive analysis of competing health fund premiums to ensure we are getting the most bang for our buck.

Losing the opportunity to have my tax return lodged on time.

Dodging the washing to spend the whole afternoon playing “Monocoly” with the boys.

Living life between the lines.

Rachel x

A Man in a Million

When I started this blog I had very little idea about…

a) what I would write
b) who would read it
c) where it would eventually lead me

Weirdly enough a) and b) seem to be working themselves out on their own, which has given me faith that if I don’t worry too much about c) it will do the same .

But one of the very few things I WAS sure about was that I wanted to maintain a certain amount of “propriety” , for want of a better word, when talking about my family, friends or colleagues.

I realise that this is a term rarely heard outside of Jane Austen novels but I’ll try to explain.

Propriety Jane Austen Style

It’s not about privacy – because god knows if anyone was interested enough I’m sure they could even find out what colour undies I wear (to save you the trouble I favour black, sturdily designed ones from Target. Apart from a few cheeky little numbers I… never mind)!

It’s more about being aware that when I write about a person in my life I need to consider both their feelings and any potential IRL (in real life) consequences that may result. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, embarass anyone or accidentally drop them in the shit.

This propriety is even more important when it comes to my family – and in particular my partner Brook. So far he has only appeared in my second ever post as the hero who braves the wilds of Dan Murphy’s the night before Christmas to ensure we have booze for the festive season.

To be honest I didn’t really think he’d be interested in appearing further – in fact I thought he’d be grateful if I DIDN’T mention him any further.

But then there he started to ask some subtle questions.

For example after a I’d written my first Mind the Gap post…

Brook: I’m not in this this one either.

Me: *surprised* No you’re not.

Brook: Why haven’t you mentioned me?

Me: Well… because it’s a conversation between me and Oscar (our second child). You weren’t there when it happened.

Brook: Oh…

I sensed a faint disappointment but it still didn’t really register. Then I finally got around to doing my About page…

Brook: *indignant* I’m not in this one either!

Me: *patiently* No, that’s because it’s about ME.

Brook: But I’m your partner! How will people ever know that if you don’t mention me?

And then, finally, I got it. He didn’t care about any of that “don’t give too much away” crap that I’d been worrying about.

To him it was straightforward – he just wanted every single person in the big wide world of the internet to know he was my man.

Because he loves me. Because he’s proud of me. And also, I have a sneaking suscpicion, because he thinks that being on my blog may one day make him a famous on the internet.

God love him…

These three reasons alone are enough to make him a man in a million. But because he’s so awesome I’m going to share 5 more of them with you here.

WARNING: Anyone who doesn’t like soppy stuff should either bail now or grab a sick bag and hold on tight!

1. He’s a spunk.

Everyone has their one criteria for what makes a man (or woman for that matter) a spunk. Brook is totally my defnintion of a spunk because he embodies all my key criteria which are noted in the highly scientific diagram below…

Anatomy of Love

2. He’s great at what he does

There are some people out there who would thnk I’ve got it made becuase my partner is a chef. Yes he can do all the fancy stuff – he’s worked in some high end places here in Brisbane so he knows his fromage from his foie gras. I’ve had some divine birthday and anniversay dinners – once he even made me my very own croquembuche for a birthday cake!

The flipside is that the hours suck balls – he works nights and weekends which means I do a lot of solo parenting. I guess you can’t have everything otherwise there’d be nothing to moan about.

But what I love most about it is his passion. When he’s in the kitchen he’s totally in command – calm and focused and utterly in control. Even after knowing him for 12 years his knowledge and skill still impress me to this day. And believe me there’s nothing sexier than seeing someone you love do something extremely well!

3. He’s an awesome father

As well as our three sons, Brook also has a son and daughter from a previous marriage. He ADORES them all and what’s more he makes a consistent effort to spend time with each of them so that they can talk about the special things that are important to them.

When he listens to them he REALLY listens – as in he stops what he’s doing and gives them his unreserved attention. There is no easier and more effective way to make a child feel special and loved and all of them, from the 5 year old to the 17 year old, soak it up like sponges!

Brook also loves babies – I mean really loves them. Basically if it’s small and squishy with big wide eyes he goes from big tough chef to babbling baby-talker in seconds. A total sucker.

A few years ago we had to make the decision about whether we were going to have any more children. Here’s how it went…

Man in a million-1

Man in a million-2

Man in a million-3

Man in a million-4

4. He’s the Yin to my Yang

Right, I’m going to admit something here that may shock you deeply so I hope you’re ready…

I’m not always easy to live with.

I know, right? Difficult to believe but it’s true. It’s not because I’m a stroppy cow or because I have a nasty problem with wind.

What I can be though, is a little manic at times. Sometimes I get so caught up in all the “THINGS” that need to be done I lose my sense of perspective.

And I’ll be honest… sometimes I just lose my shit! On those rare occasions I can seem a little “bat-shit crazy”, complete with miniature devil horns sprouting from the to of my head.

Brook on the other hand has a naturally more laid back attitude which acts as a balance to my “do 3,000 things at once” approach. This can be frustrating at times – if the boys ask him if they can eat BBQ Shapes at breakfast time there is a possibility he may actually let them.

But he’s also fantastic at helping me restore perspective on those occasions when everything get’s too much, as I’ve illustrated below…

Perspective

5. He leads the cheer squad

In anything I do, whether it’s work, parenting or even just keeping the house together, I know that he’s behind me 100%. He encourages me when things aren’t going well and if I succeed he’s there leading the cheer squad and saying to people “Isn’t she great?”.

Knowing he’s got my back in any situation is possibly the greatest feeling in the world. It give me the security, confidence and support to follow my dreams and I would be lost without it.

And finally a note to the man himself…

Babe, this post is my way of saying thank you. For everything you are and everything you do.

And most importantly… for being MY man in a million 🙂

Quarterly Review – Vol.1

Well here I am with another anniversary post – but this time instead of a big 10 year milestone I’m celebrating a more modest achievement…

The Very Inaproppriate Blog has officially been in existence for a whole 3 months.

Now I understand you may be a little underwhelmed by this achievement but is is VERY significant to me because:

b) I was horribly nervous about the whole thing and nearly didn’t even start. In fact I spazzed out so badly trying to write the About Me section I’ve only just managed to do it last week!

c) I literally didn’t know anything about blogging 3 months ago. I didn’t even READ blogs on a regular basis *hangs head in shame*

a) I have been known to have a short attention span so there was a definite chance I might get bored and wander off not be able to maintain a semi-regular posting schedule.

There aren’t really words to describe how much has changed in three short months.

I’ve made new friends, discovered an entire galaxy of awesome blogs and occasionally gotten altitude sickeness from the steepness of learning curve I’ve been on.

So I decided I would attempt to capture all the highlights, discoveries and lessons of the last 3 months in place. And since 3 months was equal to a “quarter” in high-falutin finance terms I thought I’d call it my Qarterly Review.

Catchy, isn’t it 😉 ?

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1. Write down EVERY post idea.
Your brain cannot be trusted. Oh sure, it will tell you that it will remember the idea for later. “Don’t worry,” it will whisper reassuringly ” there’s no way you’ll EVER forget such a scintillating post idea. The very thought is preposterous”.

All lies.

Unfortunately as I’ve learnt to my detriment write everything down. The posts you’ve read are merely the ones I could actually get down on paper or in Evernote before the inevitable post-post idea white-out descends.

2. Don’t be afraid to let posts marinate in the drafts folder

I’ve noticed that with some posts I get about half way through and then they just seem to run out of steam. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know where I want them to eventually end up and sometimes I’m just not in the mood to write that particluar post.

Either way I’ve learned not to force it. Instead I leave it and eventually either…
a) have a “eureka” moment and work out the perfect way to bring it home, or
b) see, hear or experience something which gives me a fresh bust of enthusiasm

An example of a post where this has worked out really well was this one

It was one of the first posts I wrote but I got half way through and just lost momentum. Then after about 6 weeks I suddenly had a renewed burst of interest and finished that fucker in one go.

3. Twitter does not suck

I always thought it would. And I will admit it was daunting and overwhelming at first, especially as I’d only really been a Facebook user on a personal level.

But after a few timid forays into to the twitter pond I have to say I like it. It appears that as long as you treat it like being at a really big party you’ll be fine.

For example actually talking to people like they ARE people and being genuinely interested in their response seems to work well.

And in pretty much any other scenario adhering to the creed of “Don’t be an asshole” appears to be as good a rule as any!

heading 2

1. A comment on one of my first “Publicised” post by one Mr.Adam Avitable

2. Discovering and participating in two blogs link-up thingos.

I would call them “linkys” like I’ve seen everyone else refer to them as but for some reason this makes me feel horribly self-conscious like I’m trying too hard. I am fully aware that I may be the only one with this issue.

Anyway they are:

#IBOT with hosted by the lovely Jess at Essentially Jess and…
#FYBF Flog Your Blog Friday hosted by the lovely Grace at With Some Grace


These two “Ladies who Link” are responsible for about 70% of the visitors that have stopped by my little corner of the internet, so I owe them BIG TIME.

If you ladies ever need a) a favour b) someone to get pissed with or c) help burying a body at 3.00 am, I’m your woman!

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Inspired me to get started

Woogsworld

Woogs World

The original and best. Accept no substitutes.

Avitable
chartreuse
Consistently funny, intelligent, irreverant and well written. Mr. Avitable has an excellent sense of the ridiculous while also being sensitive and real. This post is hilarious – especially if you found 50 shades of Grey as stupid as I did

Hyperbole and a Half
Written and illustrated by my all time ultimate hero Allie Brosch. How could you not love the person who created the expression “ALL the things”? As in “Today I have to clean ALL the things!”. Allie hasn’t been well for a while but me and her legions of other fans are hoping that she eventually feels much better. I could direct you to particular post but I couldn’t choose so basically just visit her site and check out the “Best of” section.

clean all the things

Made me think

Edenland
Strong, fiesty and uncomprimising. Eden holds a magnifying glass up to people and situations and doesn’t flinch away from what she finds. Her current post is a perfect example, as are her her street talk posts.

Free Range Shae
Shae practices “unschooling” which is basically a form of home-schooling. She is also an advocate of letting kids follow their passions rather than forcing a curriculum down their throats, growing her own food and basically just getting her hands dirty while enjoying her kids. And while I won’t be pulling my kids out of school I have really enjoyed her insights and her creative ideas for activities.

Made me laugh

Have a Laugh on me
Emily is just a cack. She just has a way of putting things that will reliably make me snort coffee through my nose every time. This post is a great example 🙂

Sometimes Seems Surreal
One of the very few international blogs I follow, Sometimes Seems Surreal is the adventures of an expat Aussie who packed up and moved to Hong Kong for lurrrve (awwww!). Intelligent, tight writing that will have you in stitches. This post is my favourite – I only have to think about “Jeneeeee!!” to get the giggles.

Left me wanting MORE

Magneto Bold Too
Anyone who can swear with this much style deserves a mother-fucking medal 🙂
Kelley has plenty on her plate but her ability to continue to be awesome in spite of this is what makes me love her blog. Never boring and if your one of those “easily offended” types? Bitch, please! Her About Me pretty much sums it up so I’d start there.

Forbidden Fruit by Eve
Now this is my kind of “mummy porn”! The supposed account of one suburban mother’s secret life of debauchery. Is it fact? Is it fiction? YOu’ll never quite know but that’s all part of the intrigue as far as I’m concerned! The thinking woman’s 50 Shades.

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Just 3 for the moment. Hey, I’m an under-promise / over-deliver type of girl…

1. Post consistently twice a week
2. Investigate more international blogs
3. Investigate blogs from other categories (i.e. business, photography, fashion) to see what I can learn from their style.

And… that’s a wrap on my first Quarterly Review!

What blogs make you you laugh, or think, or want more? I’d love to hear your picks!

Also any gratuitous advice anyone would like to give is more than welcome. I’m an advice junkie at the moment and I’ll take whatever you’ve got 🙂