News junkie

Guy at work: ‘Hey Dot, do you follow the news?’

Me, confused: ‘Um…?’

Him: ‘Or do you like, just not care and think everyone is stupid?’

Me, still confused: ‘Can’t I do both?’

 

The worst thing about being at home with a baby was the lack of adult conversation.

But many days, the worst thing about being back at work is definitely the adult conversation.

 

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How to live the dream*

  • Hop on an international flight once a fortnight. Nothing says relaxing like airport security and airline food.
  • Enrol your children in a ‘holistic international school’ where each day starts with yoga and meditation. Kids love to be quiet and still first thing in the morning.
  • Employ a full-time nanny for each of your children. This will free up your precious time to concentrate on living your dream. Don’t worry about the cost – when you live in a second-world country, wages are pleasantly low.
  • Live in an Italian-style villa. In Bali. Perhaps one day, you can buy a Balinese villa on the Amalfi coast. Then you’ll have really made it.
  • Ensure your husband owns hundreds of surfboards. Presumably so he need never use the same one twice in a year.
  • Own an abundance of bikinis, for the same reason.
  • Have sunset drinks with friends.
  • Permanent hotel suite you call ‘home’ not cozy enough? Rather than live in an actual home, burn some candles to create that homely feeling.

 

* According to the profile of Lindy Klim (wife of Michael), in a recent Sun Herald article about ‘part-time expats’. I can’t find a link online but here is another awesome example of Lindy’s wisdom**. 

** To be fair, Lindy is probably a nice person and a great mum who just doesn’t realise how things sound when they come out her mouth***

*** They sound hilarious.

32 things

I turned 32 last week. Turning 30 felt odd so turning 32 feels downright wrong. My 20s felt like they lasted longer than they did, but at the same time they were over in a heartbeat. Wasn’t I just 16 a month ago, celebrating my 21st last week? I think part of me thought I’d be a 20-something forever. And yet here I am, an age I remember my parents being (although that says more about how young they are, than how old I am). I am a 30-something. And in celebration of that, here are 32 things I know, now that I’m 32.

  1. Babies are great. If you think you might want to have one, you totally should.
  2. Babies are really hard work. If you think you probably don’t want to have one, then don’t.
  3. Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. (This is stolen from Michael Pollan. I don’t follow it. But I should.)
  4. When it comes to work, don’t be loyal to your business or team or boss before you’re loyal to yourself. No one else is going to look after you and your career, so you have to do it yourself.
  5. Forgiveness is really important (for your sanity as much as anything else). But it doesn’t mean being a doormat.
  6. It’s just stuff.
  7. It’s just money.
  8. Friends are precious and are worth a bit of effort.
  9. Don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t want to eat the cake. They might just not want to eat cake.
  10. The day I realised I no longer cared about being cool was liberating. I sent Andy a text to tell him I’d listened to ABBA on my iPod while sitting in the very front seat of the bus – the seat we used to joke was reserved for the crazy homeless person. ‘And I didn’t even care!’ I said to Andy. I was thrilled to realise I had grown up. Life is so much easier when you don’t care about being cool.
  11. My life is also better since I stopped reading trashy magazines. I even take the newspaper to the hairdresser now. Seriously, try it.
  12. It’s good to try something at least once, even if you’re not sure about it. And then you never have to try it again.
  13. I now make a conscious effort to to not spend time with people who don’t make me feel good. If you feel drained every single time, they are not people you need in your life, at least for now.
  14. Say sorry.
  15. If all else fails, there is always toast.
  16. I try to assume the best of people, until proven otherwise. I think it’s safest.
  17. Cheese. That is all.
  18. You don’t have to work with the lepers to make a difference in people’s lives.
  19. It’s good to buy flowers or jewellery or wine for yourself, just because.
  20. Go places.
  21. Stretch.
  22. Don’t worry too much about asking yourself if you are happy. Work, play, rest, love. If you’re busy doing those things you’ll be just fine.
  23. It’s okay to feel sad, with or without a reason. It’s okay to feel really sad. Let it happen – it won’t kill you. It just sucks.
  24. It gets better. Especially once high school is over. You really don’t want to peak in high school, it leaves you nowhere else to go.
  25. Relish your private guilty pleasures, and don’t feel guilty about them, unless the guilt is part of the pleasure.
  26. Do things because you genuinely get something out of them, not because you probably should since all the other men/mums/public servants/students/dog owners/artists/cousins do it.
  27. Don’t hoard. Have things in your house that are beautiful or useful – you don’t need anything else. (Another one I don’t follow. I blame the toddler.)
  28. Be with someone who will look after you. Not in the financial sense (although that is nice) but find someone who will bring you a cup of tea when you’re tired or rub your back while you throw up. And make sure you do the same.
  29. As well as not caring if I am cool, the acceptance of myself has also been liberating as I get older. This goes for my body as well as my personal flaws (I prefer the word quirks). I assume this will just get better as I get older, which is a nice feeling.
  30. Actions have consequences. This is impossible to appreciate when you’re young and everything seems fun and anyone who tries to tell you not to have fun is totally lame and doesn’t understand. They do understand. That’s why they’re trying to tell you – actions have consequences
  31. Don’t have sex with your ex. Oh, you already did? Well just once, okay? They’re an ex for a reason.
  32. I’m not sure if you realised – I didn’t – but Halloween is a Thing now. An Australian Thing. I know.

Things I am really worried about according to daytime TV advertising executives

My current level of debt, which is out of control.

The fact I do not have life insurance.

The fact I do not have funeral insurance.

The soap scum in my bathroom.

How fat I am.

The germs that are on every surface in my home infecting my children.

How to make the air in my house smell like orchids or pine forests.

My wrinkles.

My grey hair.

My frizzy hair.

How long it takes me to chop vegetables.

The fact my husband doesn’t know how to cook/clean/pick up after himself/change a nappy/apply for life insurance.

 

 

When I really think about it, these advertising people think I’m a moron.

What if women cared about sport and men cared about celebrities?

Sometimes I like to test my comfort with the world and switch things around in my head to see how it looks from the other side. We get so used to seeing things in black and white that it appears normal until you flip to white and black and suddenly it is very, very different.

We recently watched the Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher and I enjoyed imagining that all the male characters were women and all the female characters were men (this would mean approximately 20 women were in the movie and two of the characters were men). Jack Reacher would be played by a 51 year old woman – maybe Jodi Foster. She’s a drifter with nothing to lose (and she says so, in the movie, in actual dialogue, and isn’t trying to be funny) who was once some kind of elite soldier but is now holed up in a shack somewhere tropical shagging young men half her age who don’t like wearing clothes. She’s called back into duty by a (female) ex-colleague and starts hunting down (female) criminals responsible for a wave of crimes across the city. She’s still tough and can figure out a crime scene in 30 seconds and can fight people half her age! She meets a young lawyer 20 years her junior – maybe Sam Worthington. Their chemistry sizzles!! The lawyer has issues because his mother is the district attorney and they disagree over lots of things. Sam is the only man in a sea of crime-fighting, maybe-corrupt women but don’t worry he totally holds his own, because he’s smart and has been to law school. At the end of the movie Sam is being held hostage by the criminals (and some of the corrupt crime-fighting women) but Jodi rescues him just in time and they pash. But you know Jodi won’t hang around for long, because she’s a drifter with nothing to lose who enjoys hitchhiking and tropical shacks, and Sam will have to go back to his boring life and boring office and overbearing mother.

I did enjoy the movie but imagining it in this way made me realise how very ridiculous it was and how easily we accept that the elite soldier is a man and the suited lawyer is the woman (although I guess we’ve come a bit of a way for her to have a job at all?) and she’s the one held hostage and he’s the one who rescues her but also gets to piss off immediately because he’s a loner. Would it have been made if Jack Reacher was a woman and only 2 per cent of the characters were men? Of course not – they can’t even figure out how to make a Wonder Woman movie because apparently that female character is ‘tricky‘. I’m not sure why they think this, since years after Buffy proved that people will watch ‘tricky’ female characters in action plots, the Hunger Games focused on a female protagonist and it made shitloads of money.

Another ‘what if’ feminist game I like to play, as someone who has very little time for celebrities and even less time for sports, is watching the news on TV and imagining if celebrities and the various entertainment industries were the serious news that came before the weather and sports was the ‘fluff’. The ABC would barely touch the sports, usually only if someone important died. The commercial networks would have a fair bit of sports but if something big had happened in celebrity land that day, it would be pushed back to a few minutes right at the end. Being interested in sports would be a bit of a guilty pleasure – there’d be magazines in the kitchen at work or at the hairdresser’s but you wouldn’t want anyone to catch you really reading them. You could talk about it, but not as loudly as the people who talked about the latest Hollywood news.

And yes I know lots of women are interested in sports and sports news. And yes I know lots of women aren’t interested in celebrities or Hollywood gossip. But it’s still a fun game to play, as someone who considers most of what happens in the sports world to be as important and interesting as what happens in Hollywood. Which is to say: not very.

The outfit I wash 3 times a week

I’m talking about my running outfit. Why I need to wash it three times a week is a different matter. But for now, can I say for a novice runner with lactating boobs and a post-partum belly, this outfit is a saviour. I was discussing with my friend Heather the other day the importance of a good running outfit. Our husbands think we’re silly. But that’s ok.

This outfit feels good. It’s like wearing nothing at all, but with a straightjacket around the boobs and thighs to stop all the jiggling. The shallow part of me also loves how expensive it is. If you’re not a natural runner, you need something you will enjoy wearing to help you get out the door. So if you’re thinking of taking up running (or any other kind of exercise) and your ability and enthusiasm do not come naturally, invest in some nice threads that you’ll look forward to wearing. Even if you have to wash it lots (apparently not everyone washes their running gear after every run. Ew.).

RUN:For Your Life Crop

Crops that suck everything in and feel smooth and delicious. I spent too much money on these, on a whim, a week before Christmas when I should have been spending money on gifts for others, but that’s what happens when your baby hasn’t slept all day and you let yourself indulge in some retail therapy to recover.

This Berlei bra, although I’ve only ever seen it for sale in white. AWESOME. Also expensive, but we’re talking about boobs here! They’re important. I put a cheaper Target sports crop top thing over the top of it, to really reduce the bounce. I didn’t have to do that before I had a baby though. When I see girls struggling through a Body Attack class in what is obviously a terrible bra, I want to tell them about this. They think it’s exercise that’s hard, but it’s exercise in the wrong gear that’s making them feel that way. It makes such a big difference to be properly supported.

This Lululemon Light As Air tank that I got on the sales rack for 50% off. I can’t find it on any official Lululemon website (I got the picture from here and also found it for sale on ebay) – it’s like it never existed. The candy pink colour pleases me, as does the looser fit that never rides up, and it really does feel as light as air.

 

Women's ZigLite Electrify Shoes J90606

I also wear these shoes, not necessarily because they’re the best for running but because I got properly fitted for them in the US and now can order them from Amazon (or sometimes Brandsexclusive has them) and I know my size and I just choose different colours each time. I have a pair I use just for running, and a pair I use for everything else at the gym (and walking the dog).

I’ve registered for a 10km fun run in April and have promised myself some new running gear for the occasion. Then I’ll only have to wash it once or twice a week. Life’s looking up.