Closing the book

For 3 years, I wrote a TV column for Esquire magazine. For 2 of those years, it was my only, last remaining entertainment related gig. It was the reason I continued to read entertainment headlines to keep in the know, the perfectly legit excuse to watch as much television I liked (and even some that I didn’t really like). But as they say about all good things…

It’s safe to say my entertainment journo days are behind me. It’s been too much fun, and I’m so lucky to have met amazing people who inspire me, who make me laugh, and through whom I got (and still sometimes get) to live vicariously. I’ve learned heaps and saved even more – despite watching at least one movie a week, I once went two years without paying for a single movie or concert ticket.

I’ve met and spoken to so many famous people, and it’s funny what sticks in your mind – and which ones you forget. Oh, the stories! Perhaps I’ll write them all down one day, but don’t hold your breath. I don’t like to write about myself too much, especially if it’s the past. It’s what makes me a terrible blogger.

The past… That’s what my entertainment journo days are now. If it sounds final, that’s because I think it is. I am closing this chapter, by choice and circumstance. Writing is how I process my thoughts and life, so I guess this is my way of turning over the last page and closing the book.


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Two years on: Still missed, never forgotten

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It’s been two years and there are days where something still catches in my throat when I think of you, taking me by surprise. I hope you are well, my friend. If there were a Starbucks around here, I would have a caramel macchiato in your honour, iced of course, even though it’s 16 degrees out. Here’s to you: still missed and never, ever forgotten.


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Water, water, everywhere

A water pipe burst right in front of the neighbour’s yesterday, and for about an hour until the water guys got here and turned it off, there was a muddy river flowing into my garden. And would you believe it, NONE of the water got to my struggling plants that actually needed it. True story.

The sound of flowing water is supposed to be soothing. Well, not when you’re constantly thinking what a damn waste it all is!

As someone who didn’t grow up here, I lack a certain sense of, for lack of a better word, entitlement when it comes to certain things like amenities and public services. When you come from a country where painfully little works, anything and everything that you receive is a step up.

When the water guy told me he wanted to sweep out part of my garage because the water had washed in some dirt and leaves, I just about fell out of my chair. In my head of course, because I wasn’t actually sitting in one.

I can totally see how people get used to this – and get super upset when anything goes wrong. They expect a certain degree of service because that’s how they’ve always lived. That’s how this society works. And they’re paying good money to keep it working this way.

I get it. I get it all. I love it.

I must have thanked the water guy three times for sweeping out that corner of my garage.

And then I thought about the other end of the spectrum. People who have even less than what I know and am used to. Millions of people.

Yesterday we didn’t have water for about eight hours. I improvised a shower for the 5yo using big bottles of natural spring water provided by the water company. She couldn’t brush her teeth at the sink. I couldn’t wash the dishes. It’s a good thing I had leftovers planned for dinner because I wouldn’t have been able to cook anyway.

And every hour or so, I would lecture her on how there are millions of people in this world who don’t have access to clean water, who don’t know what it’s like to have water taps in their home.

OMG I just remembered that she did a pee in the afternoon and I haven’t flushed the toilet.


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The CEO of Grana sent me an email and now I want to work for them

A couple of nights ago I got an email from Luke, CEO of Grana. It was short and to the point – thank you for being a frequent supporter, here’s $10 towards your next purchase, email me directly if you have any feedback or questions.

It was so simple yet so effective, I don’t know why more brands aren’t doing this. Just like that, I not only wanted to keep on buying their clothes, I wanted to work for them. Here’s why:

Grana suits my ethics.

I don’t remember where I first read about Grana, but it showed up at just the right time. I’d been reading about the evils of the fast fashion industry, everything from the exploitation of sweatshop workers to the way fast fashion labels encourage frequent shopping with low quality clothes.

I’d also stumbled upon the minimalist wardrobe trend, and for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping and deciding what to wear each morning, it seemed like a wonderful idea. I decided it was time for quality over quantity: buy fewer clothes and make sure that whatever I’m buying is the good stuff only.

Grana suits my style.

Let’s be clear: I’m no fashionista. You won’t see me fashion blogging or surfing runway collections for what-to-wear inspiration. My sisters would crack a rib laughing at the mere suggestion of it. I have certain styles and pieces that I look and feel great in, and I’m perfectly happy rotating all three of them on loop.

The stars had aligned, the fashion gods were smiling down on me (quite possibly they realised some divine intervention was in order), this was a style match made in heaven. High quality basics that go with everything at utterly reasonable prices? Grana was, and is, totally my kind of fashion label.

Grana suits my work.

Everything about Grana is smart. The use of #GranaWorld to promote their brand and products for free. Their “best-dressed customers” tagline because who doesn’t want to feel good about their sartorial choices? And now, the email.

I like smart. Smart makes me better and lets me learn. Someone I work with once told me I’m really smart even though I’m just a stay at home mum. You know, as if the two were mutually exclusive. He meant it as a compliment.


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#EndMommyWars: My rambling, somewhat disorganised, confession

What is it about being a mum that makes us so judgmental of other mums? I think it’s a lot of things: personal history, upbringing, culture, pride and, most of all, insecurity. We judge others to “defend” our different positions, because heaven forbid we are not the perfect mum and I don’t remember who said there can only be one kind of perfect parent but I just know it to be true.

Ha.

I’m pathologically non-confrontational, so you will never see me roll my eyes at someone else (unless I’m really, really pissed) or argue my position with another mum. No, pretty much all my judging takes place inside my head, which is probably worse because then I’m like some kind of hypocrite or something.

There are a lot of things I don’t believe in “arguing” about, and parenting is definitely one of them. Because people get so violently defensive that it’s really not a conversation; it’s an endurance race and the first person to recognise the futility of it and back off is the loser.

A lot of people can’t agree to disagree. They feel like they really need to convince you of the validity and rightness of their position, and some of them can be so damn persistent about it. One of the most important things I learned studying Arts in university is that people can have different opinions and that’s okay.

Seriously, why can’t people agree to disagree?!

And I end up (silently) judging the other person, not so much for their differing parenting methods or whatever it is, but for their “lack of open-mindedness”.

Which, in case it wasn’t obvious, isn’t any better.

Maybe I’m also judging myself – for backing down, for giving in, for walking away from a fight because I just cannot be bothered. (I’ve been judged by my friends for that too, by the way.)

Also not okay.

So much of it is unconscious and completely arbitrary – I judge other mums based on how they look, my past experiences, what my mood is on the day, the choices that I’ve made and the insecurities that I have, my likes and dislikes, whether the sun is shining or not. Okay not that last one but my point is, (most) mothers can be such temperamental, emotional and insecure beings when it comes to their kids. Did I mention insecure?

The good news is, as you can see from the video, all it takes is awareness and getting to know / understanding the other person to make us realise what we’re doing and how silly we’re being. To borrow a line from High School Musical, we’re all in this together.

Also, here’s the other thing about judging in silence that I’ve realised – it’s always so much better because then I’m always right and there’s no one to tell me otherwise. So who’s not being accepting of other people’s opinions now?


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Then and now: Taylor Swift sure has come a long way

I’m just going to say it: I really like Taylor Swift’s music. I’ve always thought she’s an amazing songwriter, and she’s come such a long way as a performer too. The girl’s worked her butt off – and it shows. This was her six years ago, when she did the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon in 2010.

It wasn’t great. She was pretty famous by then, so I was surprised by how not great the performance was. I was probably still delusional enough at the time to think famous pop stars all became successful because they were actually really good singers.

And then…

Fast forward a bunch of years, and this was Taylor in September last year, going acoustic for her performance of ‘Wildest Dreams’ at the Grammy Museum.

Is it just me or was that pretty damn good?!

And because I’ve always been a sucker for stripped down, acoustic and acappella tracks, here’s ‘Blank Space’ from the same show.


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The family secret

I don’t remember what prompted my desire for a family motto – perhaps I read something somewhere, or it might have been from a talk I heard. But coming up with a family motto had been on my mind for several weeks when the 5yo produced this one day:

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Kung Fu Panda may or may not have had something to do with this, but I thank Po and his friends all the same because it’s perfect. It really is.

Last year was my Year of Kindness, and being kind is something that’s been very much on my mind. I’ve been working with the kid to encourage kindness and awareness of it, and even though I think the message is sinking in, I’ve also given her a heads-up: this is probably something I’ll keep reminding her of for the next 15 years.

Courage is a word we don’t hear very often these days, and it always reminds me of two things: the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and this from the Bible.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

For me, that has always been about braving new adventures, starting new chapters, trying new things. It’s something that really strikes close to home (heart), particularly in the last couple of years, and I guess it’s also stuck with me because I’ve always found the prospect of it exciting.

Have courage.

Be kind.

If we can learn what and how it is to live out these things, then we won’t have done too badly at all.


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