August 14, 2015

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September 18, 2014

Tea Drinkin' Ain't Easy

This year I turned both 29 and into my mother.

My mother, it should be noted, is a lovely woman. However, she is 64 years old and I am clutching desperately onto the edge of my twenties with my gross, haggy hands. Of late, I’m on such a downward senior citizen spiral that I’m heading straight into the arms of a crocheted afghan blanket and Sunday night ABC programming.

The problem is, the senior moments start so small that at first you don’t even recognise them. Let’s take, for example, the night of my 29th birthday dinner. After much negotiation, I managed to round up a bunch of people who were willing to be seen in public with a living corpse. After entering the chosen birthday venue, with my face and youth dragging behind me, I was presented with many delightful birthday presents. Now, I’m not a robot – I love me some presents. In my younger years, I used to tear into wrapping paper with the kind of ferociousness I imagine Oprah exhibits upon spotting a bread roll after one of her preachy no-carb diets. 

December 2, 2013

A Guide To Getting Loose As A Goose At The Work Christmas Party (But Still Having A Job On Monday)

December is finally upon us and you know what that means? CHRISTMAS MONTH! If you are a bah humbug then you best not read any further as you won’t find an ally here. Hearing Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas played 50 times over in Myer department store may drive some people nuts but I relish every single second of her beautiful diva soprano vibrations. Forget the presents; Christmas is all about the eating. Pudding, Chrissy cake, rumballs, shortbread, mince pies and that’s just the sweets. I mean, Christmas really is that special time of year when it’s totally ok to get trolleyed on champers in front of your family, stuff ya face, unbutton your pants in public and then sleep it all off in the afternoon WITH NO JUDGEMENT. What’s not to love?

Christmas, however, does also bring another special awkward occurrence: The Work Christmas Party. The Work Christmas Party (W.C.P) can be a perilous situation. How you conduct yourself within the W.C.P can seriously affect just how unpleasant the following Monday morning will be.  In my own experience, one mistimed pash and dash with a co-worker can lead to months and months of uncomfortable tumble weed, cricket-chirping shifts together, climaxing with a hand delivered and handwritten Valentine’s Card being shoved in your letterbox in the dead of night. Nobody wants that for Christmas. However, no-one wants to be a complete saint at their W.C.P, especially when there are (usually) copious amounts of free and tax deductable alcohol floating around.

October 16, 2013

A Temporary Life

During the last half of this year, I’ve found myself working as a temp. I can’t say for whom on this blog because at this point in my life, I really don’t need to be fired and I know for a fact  after filling out one of their application forms that KFC don’t want me. If anything, that little titbit should give you an insight into just how much I loathe this job. To steal a line from Julia Stiles in my favourite teen movie, 10 Things I Hate About You, I hate this job with the fire of a thousand suns. I mean, I don’t want to exaggerate but I hate it more than I hate Outfit-of-The-Day mirror selfies. I hate it more than I hate those vomit inducing family stickers on the back of 4WDs. I hate it more than people who post photo albums on Facebook containing 66 photos of their cat Ginger doing the same freakin’ thing in every photo because it’s a bloody cat.

Let me pause whilst I catch my rage breath.

As the name itself indicates, this kinda gig is only temporary and for me, a brief rest stop on the way to Oprah naming me as her heir and letting me take up residence in her Maui holiday home whose driveway I once glimpsed from out the window of a tour bus full of middle-aged Americans.  In summary, I shouldn’t let this kind of thing get my knickers in a knot. That said, it’s really hard to be Suzie Sunshine each morning as I’m tying my mandatory work scarf into a jaunty flight attendant’s bow, well aware that I’m about to spent the day with a world full of corporate Sally Bitch-faces.

October 2, 2013

Seeking Psychic Treatment

So last week I did something slightly ridiculous- I went to see a psychic. Up until now, my experiences with the occult had been fairly limited, although I did once participate in an Ouija (weegie) board session when I was 12. What burning question did I choose to ask? Why, when my adolescent self would get to see Jumanji. I mean, it was a bloody summer blockbuster and I was tired of being the only kid in school who didn't know what Robin Williams was up to. When I got home I told my mum, who went a bit mental, shouted a bible verse at me and made sure I didn't see Jumanji until it took the five million years to come to VHS.

My only knowledge of psychics themselves comes from the TV show Medium, an hour long drama based upon real life spiritual medium Alison Dubois. Not gonna lie, I was really into that show in its first season but was put off it after the following encounter with my brother-in-law whilst flicking through TV channels.

Me: Medium! I bloody love that show!

Horrid Brother-in-law: Medium, Mel? I’d say you’re more a large.

Maybe I’m slightly psychic myself, ‘cos I can predict that a comment like that will end with a slap in the face.

As a side note, the real Alison Dubois once appeared on an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and spent the whole time being a raging red headed bitch who either had an electronic cigarette or martini in her mouth and kept telling the other housewives she wouldn’t help them if their children ever went missing. Way to promote yourself, gurl.

So a few Sundays ago, along with some friends, I headed to some pier side markets, which is an obvious location for a psychic with a professional and upstanding reputation. It was there that we first encountered Marion the Psychic.

Marion, bless her heart, had decided there was no better place to set up her supernatural umbrella & plastic patio set than right in front of the outdoor seating area of The Coffee Club. So those choosing to sit outside and enjoy the extraordinary view of the City Cat were dining with the possibility of watching an ordinary citizen having a breakdown at the hands of a fortune teller. From a distance, Marion looked like someone’s friendly grandmother. When I think psychic, I’m expecting somewhat of a gypsy looking character- some voluminous skirts, a bedazzled head scarf or some quirky dangly earrings at the very least. Marion, however, was wearing a rather jazzy purple tracksuit that had a very Sussan’s twinset feel at the top. When we came upon her, she was just about to tuck into what looked like a peanut butter sandwich but she quickly squirreled it away and invited us to join her. Strike one, Marion, I thought. Wouldn’t a psychic know we were bloody coming and have scheduled her elevenses for later?

I elected to go first. My game plan was to give her nothing. NOTHING. Not a scrap, a morsel, a teeny tiny crumb. Marion was going to have to stare for 20 minutes at my bitchy resting face and deal with one word responses. Basically, I was just going to revert back to my 15 year old self. Marion started with some info about my job. Apparently, I was going to do a course that was going to help me rise up in my field of employment.  Bitch please, I was thinking. I see my job as an everyday annoyance and get through most days doing this: 

But suddenly, the channels inside Marion’s psychic TV must have changed as she then drastically changed her tune, told me I disliked my job and then proceeded to describe in accurate detail exactly what it is I do. Complete with hand gestures.

HOW DID SHE KNOW? I mean, it wasn’t like I had fronted up with my bloody work badge on. Marion had me hook, line and sinker.

Marion went on to tell me that I had had enough of everyone and just wanted to pack up and piss off. Well settle down there Marion, I thought. I’m sitting here with two of my best friends. Let’s not make things awkward.

Marion then proceeded to paint a very glamorous picture of the international lifestyle that I was going to lead. Her psychic skills must have been very well tuned, as ‘ol Maz got very specific. I mean, she literally described the hair type and colour of my future boss. By the time Mar-mar had gotten round to describing my future Swedish roommate (I’m not even making any of this up) I was feeling a bit like this:

I mean, where were the life changing revelations? Look, I’m sure that Swedes are lovely people but when are we getting to the drama, Marion? I've seen more riveting episodes of Crossing Over with John Edwards. After the initial excitement had died down, well, things got a little bit...shit. I could have gotten at least six more market pork buns with Marion's psychic fee. Now look, I’m not going into the specifics of the things that Marion said because I don’t really need people judging my life more than they do but in conclusion,  I will tell you two of the best parts of the whole thing.

1. Trying to keep a straight face whilst watching people’s reactions as they walked past and realised three adult ladies were actually paying money for a psychic consultation from an elderly woman on a public board walk.

2. Telling my mum about it and having her go mental at me, even at age 28.
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Have you ever been to a psychic? Was it super creepy or hideously inaccurate? 

September 24, 2013

Online Dating: Get Murdered or Get Married?

Last week, I asked my hilarious friend Lauren, proprietor of hip blog That's What She Said, to join forces with me on a hard hitting issue. Which one, you may ask.  War? Peace? Water shortage around the world?

Internet Dating. 

Love in the time of the iPhone and Instagram has meant that many singletons have turned their texting fingers onto the internets to search for their heart's one true love. Today, we humbly present to you both sides of the e-harmony argument. 

Before I start, let me just say, I have nothing against dating.  I think dating in general is super rad and should be done more often.  I just don't know for sure if doing it on the internet is my cup of Jarrah.  Let me start by reminding you that, not ten years ago, people who tried to meet dates online were viewed in the same category as people who went to Naughty but Nice during the day;  you'd smile and look interested when they told you, but secretly, you were seriously judging them.  And not just because it was a bit weird, but also because you feared for their safety.  These days though, we do bloody everything online;  shopping, banking, get the gist.  I guess the good news is that laptops and computers are no longer the exclusive domain of greasy-haired hermits with mother issues.  Good looking people are now turning their attentions to living life online. Which is essentially fine.  But I still believe it is robbing us, yes ROBBING us of some of the best parts of being dating age and having no idea what we're doing.

Now, a little disclaimer:  I do not have a wealth of experience with online dating personally.  Mainly because my knowledge of the world wide interwebs is pretty limited, and also because I'm a little old-fashioned. I am well aware of the OasisActive and  RSVP type sites that exist though, my Facebook feed sure loves to suggest them to me.  Hell, I've got plenty of friends who use them too. However, for the sake of research, (and because I am cheap and didn't want to spend any money) I joined the latest, coolest (and free) medium for meeting potential bedroom and life partners:  tinder. Here is it in a nutshell - an iPhone app where you are presented with pictures of singles who are 'nearby' (i.e. within a 50 miles radius - which is not nearby at all, if you don't hardly mind) and you say 'Yes' or 'No' based on their photos and a short blurb.  If you both like each other, you get a match and then start chatting, meet up, fall in love and have babies.  Easy?  Yes.  Ridiculous?  Also yes.
Seeing as 90% of my male friends circle are flaming moes, I had almost forgotten what straight men were like.  Oh that's right, they're idiots!  Most of them, anyway (don't get your panties in a twist just yet, fellas).  First of all, learn to take a proper photograph, boys!  Giving the finger is not an acceptable way to hook yourself a lady.  AND WHY ON EARTH DO YOU YOU DO IT?!!!  Is it bad manners, are you rebelling against your conservative parents, what?  You just look like a twat.  Ick.  
On a more deeper level, though, I fear that internet dating is actually wasting more time than saving it.  Think of it this way:  Tina meets Greg online.  She thinks he looks fairly cute in his profile photos, and he claims that 'Life is an opportunity, so take it!' in his byline, so he must be a go-getter.  They start chatting.  He seems sweet.  They talk for a solid week or so about their jobs, their favourite restaurants etc, until they finally feel comfortable enough to exchange numbers.  Another week goes by of cute texts and subliminally sexual messages, and Greg suggests they should meet for a drink.  Tina goes out and buys herself a new dress and gets her hair cut.  She waits nervously for Greg to show up at their arranged point of contact.  Which he does.  He even brings her flowers.  Nice touch, Greg.  But five minutes into their first drink, and Tina can smell Greg's bad breath across the table.  It's actually distracting, yet it is obvious that Greg has no idea.  This is a deal-breaker to Tina and by the ten minute point, she's ready to go home and vomit a little.
What a waste.  All that time (and money on Tina's behalf; bloody hair cuts cost a small fortune).  If Greg had approached her at a bar, it would have taken Tina less than one minute to realise he was Mr Nasty Breath and it would have been bye bye Greg, thanks for playing.  But Tina has wasted three weeks on this guy.  And she didn't even get laid.  
And, is it just me, or is there something endearing about a guy with enough courage to approach you at a bar and lay on a corny pick-up line?  Case in point:  A few months ago I was "partying' out in Brunswick St, and it was my round for drinks.  A tall guy named Sam came up to me and this is how our conversation went:
Sam:  How's it going?  
Me:  Not too bad, thanks.  Having a good night?
Sam:  Yeah. I was just about to leave actually because there were no good looking girls here....Until now.
This is seriously a true story.  Now, Sam was not my type and I was not looking to pick up, but I wanted to hug him.  Instead I let him down politely and gave him a high five.  And we had a laugh.  Because, hot damn, that takes balls.  And I appreciated it.  
Look, I'm not saying ALL internet dating is bad.  I know people who have bloody married a person they met online. However, what I am saying is that we shouldn't be tempted to allow all dating to occur this way.  Because that is a v slippery slope, my friends.  So get up off the couch, put on your fav Dotti dress and go mingle with real people.  And boys, if/when you meet a nice girl, don't say, "Add me on Facebook."  Pick up your balls, ask for her number and bloody CALL her!  
You can thank me later.

Before I begin, let me pause for a moment to call my fellow author out. Yeah, that’s right, the gloves are off.
OF COURSE she's going to say no to internet dating- she’s in a v.v committed relationship with a special man friend. She probably spends every weekend snuggling under blankets, sipping wine and discussing the characteristics of a good red by a roaring fireplace. Not only that but the bitch be hot. She eats likes a mofo and yet does not find herself trapped inside Kirstie Alley. If for some reason she ever found herself single, she wouldn’t bloody NEED to get on the internet, because all she would have to do is take her ridiculous naturally large breasts about two steps outside her front door and she’d be practically engaged within ten minutes. Meanwhile, the rest of us small boobed scrubbers need a little help from if we don’t want to accept a fate of crying forever alone tears into the fur of our ten cats.

Dating back in ye olde days used to be v.v easy. Two Viking dads would get together, have a coupla drafts of beer and one cow later, you’d find yourself married off to the ugo neighbour boy with spots. Bring back the dowry I say. My dad has a collection of Eric Clapton CDs to trade with whoever wants me. Dating in the 90s was even easier because everyone’s dating expectations were super low as straightening irons were not yet widely popular. Real life example- my sister Jen, who has been married for 7 years, snagged her hubby when she had a questionably short haircut and was rocking a flannelette shirt.

Many love stories used to start in the work place. But for many like me, that is not a viable option. For some reason, every single job I’ve ever had has seen me working with predominantly mature-aged women and whilst I’ve become The World’s Best Expert on Menopause & Its Many Bothersome Symptoms, it hasn’t exactly led me to Prince Charming. Last week I got temporarily overexcited because a guy was starting at work.

‘Oh my gawd,’ I thought to myself. A man, a REAL Man. Love is coming at long last!

Ya see? That’s what happens when you work with too many older married chicks for a long time. You turn into a lame Bridget Jones caricature, clutching at handkerchiefs at the thought of a penis entering the workplace.

Well ok Mel, I hear you saying, what about finding love in a pub? Or a Club? Yes, because ALL the best romances have started there. ‘Cos let’s be honest, when I’m in a club at 2am, with my mascara panda eyes, food in my teeth from the packet of chips I scoffed walking in between clubs, bra straps showing and one shoe off, the kind of potential suitor I’m gonna attract is going to be oh-so-attractive and witty and sober. People, listen up, I hate to break it to you, but you DON’T make good romantic choices after a few shots of Jager. That’s why the term ‘Coyote Ugly’ was coined. I have no shame, so I’ll share a little gem about someone I met whilst out.

Let’s call him Larry for privacy reasons. When Larry approached, I remember thinking about how much he looked like a weird cross breed of Mark Zuckerberg and early 90s Justin Timberlake. I was really into N*Sync back in the day, so I let him buy me a drink. A couple of tequila shots later and Larry had decided to open up to me about the super-secret app he was creating whereby iPhone users would be able to put their phones into their fish tanks and watch what was going on with their fish. At this point, beer in hand,  I was utterly convinced that he and the app were genius and arranged a dinner date for the next day. The next night, with my eyes clear and heart pounding, I was able to see for my own eyes exactly why no-one but Britney was very into JT’s frosted curly tips in the 90s. Look, I don’t mean to be superficial here but he was wearing one of those necklaces that have a pendant made out of a stone wrapped in wire. You know, kind of medieval looking. I tried to make some lame date small talk about favourite music but it caused him to launch into a half an hour science lecture all about different kinds of sound waves. Needless to say, at the end of the night, even despite his resemble to its founder, my Facebook relationship status remained staunchly ‘single.’

I feel that this whole debacle could have been totally avoided through the use of the internet dating. You can cut through at least 50% of the weirdos by creating a dating profile based on exactly what shit you do and don’t like. Yes, there will obvs still be some weirdos lurking about but at least you can get rid of all the ones wearing Dungeons and Dragons necklaces by making it clear online that you do not and will not play that game and that anyone with a dice and a cape can just GTFO.  And yes, I'll admit that putting into my dating profile that I love all the Real Housewives franchises might lead me to fall in love with a lovely gay boy but that really wouldn’t be very different from what I was doing in the first year of my drama degree. Let’s be honest, gay men do everything better and make the best husbands. 

So I'm willing to skip the meat market bars and risk getting Catfish-ed on in the hopes that I will one day find my own straight Neil Patrick Harris and not some character from The Social Network. 

Lauren is a musical theatre goddess, Facebook stalker and professional wine drinker.You can follow the hilarious, judge-y antics of Lauren at That's What She Said or on Twitter

September 19, 2013

My Life of Crime

A guest post by possibly the best senior citizen you know, my dad John

Pressure! Pressure! Some success with my first blog. Now for a follow up, which could be so forgettable. Does anybody know what else Jack Kerouac, he of the Beat Generation, wrote after his cult book On The Road or what Salinger wrote after his cult novel Catcher in the Rye? And what happened to them? Kerouac, dead at 47 of liver failure, the result of alcoholism; Salinger becoming a recluse. Am I tempting fate? Will my life take a turn for the worse and will I once more descend into a vortex of dishonesty, lead a double life and end up again in jail?

It all started at an early age when I was 5 or 6 years old. My sister and I used to attend Sunday school armed with 1 cent each to put into the offering. Instead, we used to spend the money on an icecream each. Still guilt ridden even to this day, I might as well own up- even when I was much older, there were times when I would take money from my mother's purse. Not much, maybe a 'dubbeltye,' a ten cent coin. The fact that I did not receive any pocket money is no excuse: a sin is a sin is a sin.

However, if there is such a thing as a criminal gene, I have passed it onto Melanie. I used to and still do put loose change in my bedside drawer. A funny thing happened though- the money decreased rather than increased. Finally, her sister Julie, that paragon of virtue, dobbed her in. During the months that it was going on, the profits at Melanie's school canteen must have soared significantly.  Melanie also told me recently that whilst at the supermarket, she went through the self service checkout and passed off an expensive turkish bread as a common 50c bread role. Such deception! But how could I lecture her with a background such as mine?

As for a double life and ending up in jail, it all has to do with my fascination with cards. To quote the lyrics of Kenny Rogers The Gambler,

You gotta learn to play it right
You gotta know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em.

I did not fold the first time I played cards. It all went horribly wrong. I played in the gallery of the local Dutch Reformed Church with the son of an elder during the minster's sermon. Consternation. The minister stopped and said, 'There are boys playing cards in the galllery. I can't continue,' and with that, he left, leaving a congregation of 400 worshippers sitting stunned. We also took off, dodging the angry elders coming up the stairs. 

Years later having left Holland (no, I was not sent away for being the black sheep), I was living in King's Cross in Sydney and attending Teachers' College. I learnt how to hold 'em then. I frequented baccarat venues, illegal at the time, and over a period of half a year made about 300 pounds, a considerable amount of money when you consider that a basic wage was about 12 pounds a week. How did I spend the money? Why, on private ballroom dancing and jive lessons, dining out at night, tailor made suits and a fedora. I was a regular Man About Town and have a drawer full of black and white pictures to prove it. 

Just me and my lay-deez
Cheers to me
Fast forward to The Big Fall. I held on too long. Carolyn and I and our eldest baby daughter, Jennifer (conceived in Australia but born in the UK) were staying in Pattaya in Thailand after travelling for two years in Europe. By the way, Carolyn and I have burdened two of our daughters with the knowledge that they were not planned.  Jennifer has coped well, after all, she has an English Passport. However, if you, Melanie's friends, ever see Melanie looking withdrawn, gazing into space with a faraway look, she's probably mulling over the fact that she was an accident. Please treat her kindly.

Anyway, whilst in Thailand, we stayed in a mid range hotel and at night to pass the time, I joined the staff in playing poker. The second night of doing so, we were raided by the uniformed police and taken to the local cop shop where I spent 3 nights locked up in a small cell with 20 other prisoners- drug dealers, alleged murderers and fellow gamblers. However, none of these so-called crooks were as fearsome as the wrath I faced from Carolyn for leaving her stuck in a hotel for 3 days with a newborn. Eventually, I was taken out of my cell for mugshots, was fingerprinted and made to sign a Thai written confession. By paying bribes, our hearing was put forward by a week and we got off with a 15 dollar fine paid in bahts. 

Have you seen my husband?
I learnt my lesson but unfortunately, years later, temptation has reared its ugly head. Yesterday I drove past a local pub which advertised poker sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. The latest poker craze is played there: Texas Hold 'Em. Now, everyday, I must resist this devilish distraction. I must be strong, if only for my family- I don't want to end up the oldest inmate on Oz