When 1 DIK … is too many

Funny is how 100% of the people I showed this bumper sticker to did not describe it, a photo of which I took a couple of weeks ago after tailing the vehicle into my own workplace car park. What luck!

And clearly I needed to write this blog, because I still can’t get the shitty contents of this graphic art triumph out of my head.

So why is it still bothering me?

Because 100% of the people I showed it to were just as offended as me, responding with either the word itself, or simply with an offended, uncomfortable grimace.

So why isn’t this creepy sticker as funny as the stickee believes it to be? Isn’t it a light-hearted dig at women/girlfriends/wives and their secret desire to be sex slaves within the consensual (oh, yeh mate, of course) confines of a loving hetero relationship? No, if it was, you wouldn’t need a bumper sticker to declare such a personal thing, surely.

But then we are dealing with a man’s ego here, as immature as the day it likely first reared its ugly head, during boyhood perhaps, when praised for not running like a girl or told to stop playing with dolls, because, only girls play with those. A pretty awful generalisation, I know, but so is this image.

Interestingly, the sticker was firmly adhered to the rear bumper of a family Toyota 4WD (another reflection of inadequate appendage size?) complete with window sock and baby seats.

Part of the time, this unnecessarily large car is very possibly driven by a woman – to whom this ‘innocent’ joke applies – and perhaps she has her reasons for condoning it. But on her behalf, I’ll call it out as redundant and inept in its crass, one-dimensional demonstration of how women deserve to be regarded in the community.

The driver was a husky man of about 30, wearing a baseball hat and keenly glued to his mobile phone as I spied him struggling up the stairs, probably to an appointment at a nearby private business – I doubt he was on his way to the adjacent library or seniors centre; I fear his intellectual offering may fall short of this demographic.

A gross reflection of base male thinking this sticker is, but is its grubby content an example of ‘toxic masculinity’?

No! According to US Emmy winning animator, author Mark Greene (don’t confuse him with the fictional yet infinitely more realistic television doctor character Mark Green of ER fame), it’s a product of a ‘toxic culture of masculinity’, not just ‘toxic masculinity’.

Talk about splitting hairs and sticking your head in the suffocating sand of men’s ancient history of inappropriate behaviour towards the female gender. Greene believes the term ‘toxic masculinity’ is likely further damaging men and we really shouldn’t speak this way! Because calling it out is rude and clearly not working.

Greene has recently penned an article called ‘Why Calling It “Toxic Masculinity” Isn’t Helping” at https://tinyurl.com/y77t7dcx or at medium.com

It pleads with us not to use such hurtful language because it is wounding our already terribly damaged and fragile men, who need compassion in these dark times of murdering female partners and mass shootings of innocents, often children.

How about ‘misleading masculinity’ or ‘consent-averse masculinity’ or ‘murderous masculinity’? I think ‘toxic masculinity’ is quite polite in terms of the damage some members of the male gender feel it necessary to inflict on society, daily.

But hey, we know you mean well Greene, just so long as the source of the compassion comes from the slavish section of society we like to call women. Who according to some of Greene’s other articles, if you read between the lines, are at least partly responsible for withdrawing physical contact from their sons during childhood, which causes them to need, nay demand, sex on tap from their wives later in life. Read this beauty here: https://tinyurl.com/yayrh7v2 or over at medium.com.

But back to the sticker – is this a typical display of how men with a bad case of ‘toxic masculinity’ see women/their girlfriend? Either as their mother (a boring A-line dress-wearing servant) or their slave (compliant and exciting, yet disposable)?

Well, now that I’ve been reminded of my place in our non-toxic patriarchal society, it’ll be so much easier to fit in!

I’m hoping as many women as possible see this wonderful piece of contemporary hieroglyphics, along with their sisters and daughters, as an edict of what’s expected in the potentially painful years of heterosexual partnering ahead, if that’s your jam.

But most of all, I hope as many young hetero-normative lads as possible store this little gem of wisdom away for future days, as they search for the pleasure-providing little women of their adulthood.

The rego plate beginning with the prefix 1DIK, is in no way to be misconstrued as the male driver’s true identity, even so far as the state’s transport authority is concerned.

jerk car sticker 3

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Hypocrisy kills, Donald

The Australian, 7 Nov, 2017

Responding to a US mass shooting for the second time in six weeks, President Donald Trump said that it wasn’t “a guns situation” that was behind the slayings of more than two dozen worshippers at a Texas church a day earlier.

As he did following last month’s Las Vegas massacre of 58 people, Mr Trump resisted any discussion of gun control during a news conference in Tokyo, where he was beginning his first presidential trip to Asia.

Instead, Mr Trump characterised the shooting as a “mental health problem at the highest level.”

 

Yes Donald, it is, as you so presidentially put it just hours after another mass shooting in your ‘land of the free’, a ‘guns situation’.

It is also, obviously, a land of those in fear, and a land of the blind, with your propaganda around mental health issues copping the brunt of your blame for another US citizen’s decision to use a firearm to lash out in anger at his fellow humans and community members.

No. Having a ‘mental health problem’ is not a choice, but automatically identifying guns as a practical option to hurt people – an entire nation, the world even – physically and emotionally, to exact what can often be petty revenge, is a common choice, and seen as normal behaviour in your land.

Using and owning guns is a normal everyday activity in your country because despite the well-known lyric, yours is not the home of the brave. Yours is the home of the shit-scared, and with good reason.

13,203 of your countrymen, women and children have died from a gunshot so far in 2017, and devastatingly, by the time I finish writing this piece, that figure will be inaccurate because more people will have died due to a bullet fired from a gun by someone who saw it as an option to solve a ‘problem’, or accidentally because the gun was just ‘there’, not securely locked away or respected for the ultimate life-and-death power it wields when care is not taken.

For more sobering statistics, like the fact there have already been 307 mass shootings in the US in 2017, go to http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/

Donald, you continue to perpetuate this ‘solve my problems with a gun’ culture, by blaming everything else, even the pathetic ‘you are crazy’ line.

Guns do not solve problems; they create them. They are designed to cause death. That’s why people use them. That’s why armies and militia and terrorists and murderers use them – because they kill, efficiently.

Because successive US administrations have failed to exert gun control, it has become more and more entrenched as a way of life, and ultimately death. You choose this death culture by not owning up to controlling guns. We can’t always control people. We can control guns.

Look at Australia. Guns are feared and respected because they end life – life is sacred, isn’t that what you believe? Guns are rarely seen or used in Australia, except for the purpose they were designed. To kill or maim, or to warn that this could be the outcome if you disobey the operator. If you are an animal, you have no idea what is about to hit you or yours. We don’t have that luxury.

Look at the US. Mothers routinely ask the family of a child who wants to invite a new friend on a playdate, if there are guns in the home and if so, are they securely locked away. This is how she decides if little Johnny can play with his new friend Olivia. Is there a greater chance that little Johnny could be killed, either accidentally or on purpose, while playing hide and seek with his new friend Olivia? How chilling. How anti-social. How anti-human. How anti-life.

Because you all know little Johnny could be accidently or on purpose shot in a drive-by either before, during or after said playdate, or while he’s still at school, or even at church or doing the shopping. These activities – playing, learning, worshipping and shopping – are normal. Doing them with a gun is not.

Why is this so hard for you to understand, Donald? Or are you really as dumb as they say?

If guns were not seen as an option for dealing with a problem, your administration might better support organisations who are trying to provide all important mental health support to American citizens who need this help – that would be a normal thing to do. Having a mental health problem is a normal thing for most people at some time in their life – even you. Will you resort to using a gun to solve your problems? Or will someone take that option and use it against you? The stats show either is a strong possibility in your country.

Talking to someone, each other, reaching out, offering help would be a normal thing to do. Eating a healthy diet, participating in regular exercise and committing to belong to your communities would be a normal thing to do.

Not stocking up on ammo, sleeping with a gun under your pillow, buying the right suspender to discretely and fashionably tote an undergarment gun, or shooting a classroom of innocent children.

Do you get it yet? Your nation has a ‘mental health issue at the highest level’ which you are enabling: that gun ownership and use is normal.

It is not.

When Americans make up about 4.4 percent of the global population but own 42 percent of the world’s guns (according to a 2015 study by Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama) via http://www.nytimes.com, life is cheap.

You continue to nurture a nation of civil terrorists. And hypocrisy kills.

 

With profound sadness,

An objective outsider.

 

Image credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Men, this desolate truth, and its massive responsibility, lays with you

Yes, I’m a feminist. But you knew that, right?

I’m proud to admit it. There’s no shame in wanting equal rights for women and men, especially when there is so much inequality, much of it insidiously slipping beneath all our radars and the vast majority of it impacting women. But you knew that too, right?

But what about when people misunderstand feminism, thinking it’s an excuse for man-hypersensitivity or even man-bashing, and it colours the way we see men, their roles and value in general?

And then this affects the very minutiae of our lives, and those for who we are responsible? Like children; impressionable and sponge-like by nature, they learn by example.

I’ll admit to recently finishing Clementine Ford’s Fight Like A Girl, which gives a fascinating insight into how sinister patriarchy is, right from pre-birth with how boys and girls are innocently expected to look, think and behave in respect to one another.

The book is profoundly awakening, and I’ve been looking at things in a new way, grasping more of the roots of why and how I see myself as the woman I do.

Which is why my views on feminism impacted my reaction to a staggeringly sad story I heard the other day – one that left me shaking my head, pondering if in fact the demonization of men could be caused by a misunderstanding of feminism.

Here is the story: A childcare centre in a once working class now gentrified, affluent but bohemian Perth western suburb was recently compelled to send letters home to all its parents explaining the benefits of employing male carers to interact with their young offspring.

Why, you ask? Because it employs two young men as qualified carers (because men make up 50% of our community and also aspire to care for and educate children in a professional capacity), but some parents had requested their child/ren not be cared for by men at the centre, while others actually withdrew their child/ren completely because they felt it inappropriate for males to be employed in the childcare field.

A pervading feeling of sickness still lingers with me after hearing such a terribly woeful indictment of our times. But even more confusing was trying to work out where we as a society could look to find the reason for this, and then hopefully, a solution.

The mother who told me this story has a small son attending the centre, and was just as stunned as I, loving that her boy had established such a great bond with these male carers; learning how to count in a foreign language, enjoying the opportunity to be expressive and playful with both male and female adult role models in an educational setting.

How must these men have felt upon hearing that parents regarded them with suspicion? Rejected, hurt, defamed? I certainly felt gutted on their behalf.

In Fight, Ford talks about the temptation for women to go overboard in sparing men’s feelings when it comes to advocating for equality, and I’m sure we can all think of many examples where women have endured unfair attitudes/treatment in the workplace based solely on their gender. Does this story fit neatly within these parameters – are these men being unfairly targeted due to their gender?

Such a hopeless yet accurate reflection of where we are currently mired in this gender equality stand-off has been the subject of much personal rumination.

Could it be the fault of feminism that men are being rejected, and children the ultimate losers, of this worrying and seemingly unfair trend?

Could it also be a result of the ongoing Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse and its damning findings, which do nothing for men’s PR, but are so vital for victims, closure and healing?

Are we in the relative calm before a perfect man-hate storm?

I relayed this story to a man and his response was forlorn, barely there, just sad. And it does leave you feeling kind of powerless.

But surely, when the well-rounded education and care of children is at risk, despite women still making up 95% of employees in the childcare sector, isn’t it time we encouraged and welcomed strong, positive male role models into the lives of more young boys and girls?

We are all in this together – in all our diverse forms.

Shouldn’t we be striving to make it normal to see men and women in non-traditional roles if they are doing a bloody awesome job?

And how did we get here, anyway?

Disturbingly, after an awful lot of thinking, I came upon the only answer there is.

Men, this desolate truth, and its massive responsibility, lays with you.

It is men who have been responsible for the extreme majority of child abuse down through the ages, a chilling reality that continues today.

To pretend otherwise, would be to give men the benefit of the doubt, a free go, letting them off, again – something Ford says we’ve all been taught to do, thanks to patriarchy.

This week at UWA, WA Chief Justice, Hon Wayne Martin QC, will host the Symposium of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention.

He is quoted on PerthNow – Justice Martin said there were “too large a number” of child sex abuse cases before the courts and it is a “significantly bigger problem than people who are not in the justice system would appreciate”.

“There is a perception out there that it’s stranger danger that is the problem, whereas in fact, most of the child sex cases we see in the courts are either familiar or institutional.”

http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/wa-chief-justice-wayne-martin-says-child-molesters-need-therapy/news-story/4c878e1ed82fecadeaab034eb62e2d3c

This means children are being taken advantage of in institutions or within the circles of family and friends, where we would hope they are safe.

In the same article by Belle Taylor, clinical psychologist Christabel Chamarette says most child sex abuse happens within families but many abusers could be helped, and even stopped, with treatment.

“Paedophilia really only applies to a small percentage of men, 10 per cent at most, who offend against children who are fixated and have a preoccupation with sexual offending against children,” Ms Chamarette said.

We cannot blame mothers and parents for feeling uneasy about having their children cared for by men, as sorrowful as this is.

We can all learn from past mistakes, this is how we perfect the art of being human, but surely we can’t as a society, also think it’s ok to throw men to the scrapheap when it comes to childcare and education. And we definitely cannot allow men to continue not taking responsibility for owning up to and fixing this travesty.

Lord knows child care is bloody hard enough as it is without it being considered undervalued women’s business only. And we women have been fighting for an eon to have men be more active in the vital and rewarding role of nurturer, if not for the sake of children, for men’s own benefit – men speak of being more in touch with their own emotions as a result of more time spent caring for their babies and children.

Men, it’s time to step up. Abuse of any kind, of any gender, is unacceptable. It’s doing your gender no favours, and severely damaging the lives of mainly women and children. And that’s without mentioning the astronomic male on male physical assault rates.

Please redress this dispiriting balance, to put an end to this pain, these gender wars, so we can unite.

Before this planet implodes and returns to the space dust it once was.

Giving the colour pink a bad name

I am pink with irritation.

Not all women like pink or consider themselves denoted as female by the mere use of the sickly colour.

Not all women appreciate being singled out as such, by being told they can now park more safely in their own special pink ‘female-friendly’ car bays, where the security lighting and CCTV coverage is better.

And not all people are stupid enough to have the woolly fairy floss of laziness pulled over their eyes by a council trying to get away with not spending money on decent car park security for everyone – regardless of gender, age, ability or whether or not you have children and a pram in the back of your wagon.

Here, in the marshmallow-scented capital city of the nanny state of Western Australia, the City of Perth has employed a sugar-coated marketing ploy to encourage women to park in the few car bays that do have proper night lighting and CCTV coverage.

Mary Poppins would recognise this as a cynical attempt to spend less on security, spit spot!

It is a spoonful-of-sugar attempt to provide better protection, but glaringly it’s aimed at only one section of society.

A small article in Perth’s daily newspaper today states the bays will be easily identified by pink signs, walls and poles during a three-month trial close to exits in one council car park.

But here’s the real icing on the cake. The article also states, without attribution to anyone, that the bays are “the same size as regular bays”.

If that statement isn’t a slight on women drivers, I don’t know what is – the size of the bay will not influence the behaviour of would be attackers any more than the colour pink.

So why was this information even in the article in the first place? If it is a question that has been asked by several, prompting that line of enquiry, then whoever supplied the response should be quoted, at least.

If statistics do exist somewhere showing women as the main culprits of at fault bingles, scratches and crashes in car parks, it’s probably because they are usually the ones that drop off children to school/childcare on their way to work before parking the family car, and again later as they are slowly irradiated by fluorescent lighting while foraging at the supermarket.

There are statistics that show men are just as vulnerable to attack in public places at night, with many ending up in hospital after banging their heads on kerbs and bitumen as terrible proof.

At its worst, the pink-ifying of parking bays almost accepts that there will be attacks on women in car parks because they are vulnerable targets. No – that behaviour is not acceptable in society, for any gender.

Yes, women do like it when someone is kind, or thinks of our comfort and/or safety. But so do men. So why can’t the City of Perth be nice to everyone and provide secure parking for all? Not just those born with ovaries and a stereotypical matching obsession with the colour pink, or the men who love the delicate shade and can park carefree in the knowledge that they will not be fined for doing so and will be safer for it.

Now, that would be just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

What goes down always comes up roses

THANKS to an interesting Facebook post http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/ – relating to emotions people feel but can’t explain – I realised there were a couple among the list of 23 words that went some way to describing the aftermath of my last big fall. No, not the shopping centre slip up of recent days, but the shit-scary bike stack I managed to walk away from in 2006. I put together a descriptive piece about six months after the ordeal, and I‘ve included it below, for your cringe-worthy enjoyment.

I fell off my bike. Aged 37.

It wasn’t just a little bingle, like those giggly stacks you have at Rotto http://www.rottnestisland.com/, it was a nasty, head-over-handlebars-while-speeding-down-a-big-hill style stack that would have appeared painfully spectacular to onlookers.

Perfect fodder for funniest home videos; ugly but hilarious all at the same time, with the rider “no outdoorsy mothers were injured during the filming of this video.”

I can still feel the massive blow to my chin as I ploughed into the concrete path, and that was more than six months ago.

The flashbacks only hit me occasionally now. For a while there everything I thought about doing, driving the car, riding ‘the’ bike, even going for a walk, would end in an eye-scrunching memory of that “bang”. It made me much more paranoid about the possible negative outcomes of doing everyday things, too. I’ve since progressed to riding my bike again, even down that big hill, although I avoid that part of the path if I can. And I am very conscious of never, ever again applying the front brakes without first engaging the rear ones. Doh!

I ended up with a deep gash under my chin that needed six stitches, various superficial facial and limb grazes, two breaks to my left wrist, a broken bone in my right hand and a fracture to my left elbow.

It could have been so much worse – not long after my accident a front-page story on a weekend city paper detailed the story of a cyclist who wound up a quadriplegic after crashing into other bike riders on a Perth cycle path.

For a week I had both arms in plaster. I was unable to drive for six weeks because of the (fluoro pink – so me) fibreglass plaster that remained on my left arm, this initially scared the hell out of me – the loss of control and freedom was claustrophobic. I was unable to work for nearly four months as my wrists strengthened and eventually realigned thanks to lots and lots of physiotherapy (and patience), and as a casual journo, the loss of wages was another hurdle to overcome.

Why did I put my front brake on anyway, I hear you ask? Well, as my two daughters and I coasted down the hill that afternoon, I became aware of walkers chatting on the pathway up ahead and called out for the girls to ring their bells.

I also began ringing my bell, then put a hand to my head to stop my hat from blowing off (no, I was very stupidly not wearing a helmet) and swiftly realised I was about to crash into the rear of my seven-year-old. I immediately applied my right hand brake, it seemed instinctive at the time, being right-handed and already using my left hand to keep my hat on.

The rest is family history. I came to a very sudden, crumpled stop. My children stopped when they heard my squeal, which was all I could manage, and the walkers ran over to help. My 12-year-old called my partner on my mobile, and my father arrived, along with the ambulance.

So what did I learn from this experience? Heaps. It challenged my need to always be in control and to constantly do things for myself without asking for help. It made me realise how we coast through life never realising how lucky we really are and what dangers potentially lurk in even the most innocuous activities. It made me realise I had to slow down and stop trying to do a million things at once.

Being a working and studying mother of two busy children meant it was commonplace to do several things at once to capitalise on my time – when I look back now, my frenetic lifestyle was always going to come crashing down around my well-organised ears. I am just so thankful I didn’t have a car accident, or hurt other people during the “crash I had to have”. Even my bike escaped unscathed. Now, when I feel my life speeding up, I take steps to slow down and yes, the roses do smell great.

PS: The obscure words that related but not necessarily resonated were Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire. Are you kidding!!!; and, Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it. Except that they do…everyone’s taken the bark off or smashed their ego when gravity separates bike and rider.

Designer vaginas – the next must-have beauty treatment?

Is your vagina designer?

What? Don’t play stupid with me – Has it seen better days? Have people been complaining about its appearance? Does it need redoing, you know, like your holiday house décor, or your roots?

Because, apparently if your ‘ladyparts’ don’t look like a petite, perfectly closed purse you need surgery to fix that – a bit like those boobs in need of perkifying and that unattractive non-trout pout.

According to a gloriously pink full page ad in a weekly newspaper delivered to Perth’s most elite beach and riverside suburbs, local women should contact a particular ‘medical aesthetic centre’ to find out how they can get their own designer vagina.

‘Tighten vaginal tissue, remodel collagen and rejuvenate the vulva. Revive the sensations, revitalise the tissue of the vagina and improve urinary incontinence’ is the ad’s teasing hook line (and sinker), with a web address using the words petite and lady, because that’s what we all aspire to be, isn’t it!?

I mean, I don’t know about you, but I would love myself sick, and so would others, if my brain, pay packet, personality, role and presence on this planet was so much smaller, thinner and petite than they really are.

I’m so thankful I have the choice to get a designer vagina if I want one – hooray! Unless it’s just another way to make women part with their hard-earned and their self respect by buying into the pressure to conform to yet another sanitised, feminine ideal of sameness.

What is the perfect vagina? One that can adequately birth children and still function as a pleasure receptor and provider, surely.

If you need help with urinary incontinence, pelvic floor exercises work wonders and if not it’s a bone fide medical condition that may need specialist surgery; it’s not an excuse for a ‘medical aesthetic centre’ to charge you thousands to improve the appearance of something that is already unique, beautiful and functional.

Is this pressure to possess a ‘healed’ over vulva coming from men, if so, is there a particular age range flexing their muscles? Is it women – it seems unlikely, you can’t even show off the finished product? Is it the cosmetic surgery industry?

I’ll go with the last one – I’m informed there is a demand for the service at this western suburbs clinic, but advertising the designer vagina treatment perpetuates what is a sad, damaging cycle – it doesn’t just involve medically unnecessary surgery with a painful recovery but the reiteration of an unhealthy and inaccurate belief that as women, our natural appearance is not good enough.

I’ve even heard the frightening anecdote of a teenage girl so ashamed of her vagina that she is convinced she needs surgery – and she hasn’t yet seen what an amazing array of yonis are even out there, so that she can see she is perfectly normal, or given birth…but that’s a topic for another day.      

We cry foul at the thought of women undergoing female circumcision and/or genital mutilation. I don’t see how this is any different, except that the patients have been brainwashed into thinking it’s just a normal desire all women have the right to fulfil.

Get real. There’s nothing wrong with your vagina. Embrace it. And do your pelvic floors.

The myth of why women don’t need men.

SOME men believe women don’t need them. And it’s making them sad. In fact some are suicidal, believing that they don’t know what it means to be a man anymore.
Maybe we don’t ‘need’ them – women can today earn a living and own property, unlike in bygone eras, but I’m fairly certain that we do want them. Very much.
We want our dads and our brothers and our male friends. We want our husbands and boyfriends – what heterosexual woman doesn’t want the special attention of her soul mate and lover as they share challenges throughout their lives.
But here’s what we don’t want, and it’s very similar to what heterosexual men wouldn’t stand for either.
We don’t want to be controlled. Let us blossom into the individuals that we all deserve to be with the freedoms we all have a right to in our democratic society.
We don’t want to be made to feel guilty for not making sacrifices that damage our self-esteem or health.
We don’t want to be taken for granted, or made to feel used.
We don’t want to be told how wonderful you are, we want to see your wonderfulness in action. For eternity.
We want you to be reliable and do what you say you will.
We want you to be honest.
We want you to talk to us so we can understand and help you.
We want you to listen so you can understand us.
We want you to accept our maternal drive to put the children first. It doesn’t mean we don’t love you deeply.
We want you to not be afraid to also put those defenceless family members first. They will grow into their independent, adult selves soon enough.
That’s mostly what we want. Does it make sense?
As a heterosexual woman, I can’t speak of what gay people want from their significant others but it’s probably very similar. And very simple.

The myth of why women don’t need men..

Work wrangling women: Why they’re wonderful

I work in a team of three other women. Don’t Cringe! They – we – are amazing. Together we put out two newspapers each week, including multiple editions for one. How we achieve that, week in week out, with the ordinary, various and constant challenges we each face in our personal lives, never fails to baffle or impress me.
With an independent 18-year-old daughter who has already left home and a 15-year-old daughter still at home but who no longer needs me as she did in bygone weeks, nay years, my life in comparison to theirs, is a bit dull, which is just the way I like it thankyou very much. If you forget the fact that until just weeks ago I was travelling 50 minutes to and from work (and school) in peak hour traffic to sleep in a suburb I rarely saw in the light of day. A month ago I, my remaining daughter and our two dogs, moved house to be 30 minutes closer to our daily pursuits. Enough said about that challenge. We are just starting to feel normal again despite not knowing where the light switches are.
I have also spent time, because I’m obviously a glutton for mental punishment, trading my car in, and like the awesome grown up I now obviously am, I have a brand spanker (to me) in my new carport. A roller door will arrive in less than two weeks, along with a rapid dip in savings.
But let me share the amusing life challenges faced by my co-workers. One has a two-year-old, a shift-working husband and a whelping bitch, moved house two months ago and is required to jam her work into just three days, including after hours meetings.
Another is going through an emotional divorce after less than a year’s marriage. She has moved house four times in the past year and has a tenacious case of chronic insomnia.
My third team member returned to fulltime work a year ago and has two primary school aged children with the usual sporting commitments, a mother who lives in-house and when not recovering from surgery, is an amazing hands-on granny, and a husband who travels every other week for work.
Together they have embarked on an ambitious renovation of their 70s home and the all-important kitchen and bathroom refurbs took place while the man of the house was overseas for two weeks and granny was unable to drive, lift, cook or care for kids. Days of fast food, frazzled nerves, a roving grazing mouse, no hot water and brick-dust covered belongings teamed with a cracker of a flu don’t even tell the half of it.
Most weeks I shake my head with pride at just how good the publications we put out are, with consistently top quality, crafted articles that require the kind of intelligent research and grasp I’m always pleasantly surprised and relieved to know our taxed brains can achieve. All while having our well-deserved cake and eating it distractedly, too.

Work wrangling women: Why they’re wonderful

I work in a team of three other women. Don’t cringe! They are amazing. Together we put out two newspapers each week, including multiple editions for one. How we achieve that, week in week out, with the ordinary, various and constant challenges we each face in our personal lives, never fails to baffle or impress me. Or make me laugh.
With an independent 18-year-old daughter who has already left home and a 15-year-old daughter still at home but who no longer needs me as she did in bygone hours, nay weeks, my life in comparison to theirs, is a bit dull, which is just the way I like it thankyou very much. If you forget the fact that until just weeks ago I was travelling 50 minutes to and from work (and school) in peak hour traffic to sleep in a suburb I rarely saw in the light of day. A month ago I, my remaining daughter and our two dogs, moved house to be 30 minutes closer to our daily pursuits. Enough said about that challenge. We are just starting to feel normal again.
I have also spent time, because I’m obviously a glutton for punishment, trading my car in, and like the awesome grown up I now obviously am, I have a brand spanker (to me) in my new carport. A roller door will arrive in less than two weeks, along with a rapid dip in savings.
But let me share the amusing life challenges being faced by my co-workers. One has a two-year-old and a shift-working husband and a welping pedigree bitch and is required to jam her work into just three days, including after hours meetings.
Another is going through an emotional divorce after less than a year’s marriage. She has moved house four times in the past year and has a tenacious case of chronic insomnia.
My third team member returned to fulltime work a year ago and has two primary school aged children with the usual sporting commitments, a mother who lives in-house and when not recovering from surgery, is an amazing hands-on granny, and a husband who travels every other week for work.
Together they have embarked on an ambitious renovation of their 70s home and the all-important kitchen and bathroom refurbs took place while the man of the house was overseas for two weeks and granny was unable to drive, lift, cook or care for kids. Days of fast food, frazzled nerves, a roving grazing mouse, no hot water and brick-dust covered belongings teamed with a cracker of a flu don’t even tell the half of it.
Most weeks I shake my head with pride at just how good the publications we put out are, with consistently top quality, crafted articles that require the kind of intelligent research and grasp I’m always pleasantly surprised and relieved to know our taxed brains can achieve. All while having our well-deserved cake and eating it distractedly, too.

OLD

OLD.
It’s a word that takes some getting used to when you hit your 40s – you know it’s that misty, rocky landscape over the horizon and although it looms larger every year despite encroaching myopia, you persistently backpedal which can look slightly clumsy and undignified when you’re on a one-way street with signs that scream ‘Wrong Way Turn Back’.
Making the journey even more perilous, is the fact I’m still riding my penny-farthing, balancing high on that big solo wheel, five years after falling off my tandem cycle – well, I temporarily lost balance after an unscheduled dismount by the other rider in favour of a bike 15 years his junior.
But that’s old news now. And there it is again, that word, old…the fact it rhymes with mould doesn’t help.
But I have a sneaking suspicion I may already be too old for some things. Rubbish! I hear you gasp – so, you’re in denial too!
Short skirts. I never was a huge fan, they are so restrictive to freedom of movement. But now I feel as though onlookers may think I fancy myself as a leg of butterflied lamb as opposed to a gently spiced lamb curry, if my skirt is too far above the (slightly sagging) knee.
Blonde hair. There is an unfortunate Japanese phrase (which escapes me right now) that means you look good from behind, but the reality is disappointing when you turn around. I’m not as blonde as I naturally once was, but am acutely aware blonde is the favoured hue of the greying. I have visions I may look as though I’m wearing one of those mole-ridden, pointy-nosed witch masks on the opposite side of my hirsute head.
A sports car. It’s so cliché, even for women, to be seen driving ‘topless’ and in their middle years – it harks of a desperation when I know it’s just the joy of finally being able to afford one and loving the feel of the wind in your thinning hair.
Chewing and/or bubble gum. It looks bad enough when teens masticate monotonously, but apparently it’s good for dental health, unless your fangs are acrylic.
Café canoodling. Young couples in Paris are admired but maturing folk enthusiastically resurrecting the joy of a good long pash in public risk appalled stares, if not tomatoes.
Wearing a bikini. The Germans have the right idea, bare it all regardless of age and size. And I’m still wearing my black bikini on relatively unpopulated beaches but it’s just a matter of time before my full piece rules the waves.
I’ll check in with a few additions in weeks to come, when I remember what they are;)