Father’s Day Tribute

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So recently, I submitted the following article/letter to a newspaper.
Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case in a writer’s life, they didn’t want it.
The bastards.
S’alright. I’ve the skin of a fucking rhino. But since the article/letter is about my Dad and because today is Father’s Day and I’ve got this blog I’ve decided to self publish. Ha Ha!!
So if you want to know what being on the slush pile looks like and how much I love my Dad, read on.

Dear Dad,

Do you remember how your letter writing all began?
It was 1992. I was leaving home, London, to move 200 miles northwest, to Liverpool: birthplace of the Beatles, funny accents and curly perms.
Like most teenagers about to embark on a solo venture, I flip-flopped between a thrill of the unknown and sheer terror at leaving my life, my family behind. 
Back in 1992, we didn’t have the assortment of communication tools we have today. No Internet, cell phones, video chat or social media. Back then, the cost of a long distance telephone call was astronomical. So if you really wanted to stay in touch, you  had to write.
I’ll never forget the day I left for University. It’s seared in my brain. As you drove me to the train station, you had to pull your black taxi over to the side of the road, because you were crying so much. It was the second time in my life that I’d seen you cry and to see you shuddering with grief was unbearable.
As I boarded my train, I waved you and Mum an emotional farewell. The bucket of frogs that had been bouncing around in my stomach for weeks lurched into overdrive.   
By the time that I arrived at my new halls of residence, those frogs felt like a herd of thundering buffalo. 
As I sat in a strange, communal kitchen, surrounded by strangers, trying to smile through my nerves, I racked my brain for small talk. Then one of my new roommates casually remarked, “Oh, there’s a letter here for you.” 
Indeed there was.
It was from you, Dad.
Even though you had just waved me goodbye, a few hours earlier, you already felt light years away. But opening your letter, seeing your familiar, elegant penmanship on the page, brought you closer.
The letter overflowed with support. It wished me luck and to have the time of my life. 
Suddenly, the miles between us vanished and the stampede in my stomach settled.
Over the next few years at university, you made sure that you wrote to me at least twice a week.
Correspondence penned from the front seat of your black cab, often sullied by a splodge of jam.
With or without the jam, those letters were my lifeline to home. They were filled with humourous anecdotes about life, your escapades as a cabbie and of course, precious snippets of information about our family. Your ordinary tales of the everyday ensured that I didn’t get home sick, for your letters brought home to me. 
And they were always such fun to read.
Quite often, once the mail had been delivered, my housemates and I would gather around the kitchen table. Tea and biscuits would be dispensed and I would read your latest letter aloud.
Each letter was like an installment of a soap opera: “The life of a London cabbie.”
You wooed us with fanciful tales of the celebrities you chauffeured around London.
You charmed us with your people-watching stories.
You regaled us with the dramas of your day.
Like the time you had to deliver a gourmet lunch made by a top London chef, to a swanky party.
You described how en route to the delivery, you’d sampled several of the delectable canapés (the prawn ones were especially good).
Cheekily you remarked that the expression,  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” was quite wrong.
No matter what you wrote about, your stories were riveting and often left me howling with laughter.

I didn’t return to London after university.
Instead, I choose to go backpacking around Australia.
It was the late ‘90s. A world still untainted by the wonders of modern technology.
You would have though that sending letters to an itinerant daughter would have been impossible.
Not for you. Not for my Dad.
You kept the letters coming, sending missives to post offices all over Australia. Every time I arrived in a new town, I would immediately dash to the post office, to collect my bundle of precious letters. I still remember, with startling clarity, how I sat on the steps of the impressive Brisbane Post Office, crying with laughter.
In your letter you described how my Mum had hoisted up a pair of union jack knickers (panties) and had waved them like a flag when you wouldn’t buy her a flag to wave at a pomp and pagentry concert you’d both attended.
It was those little snippets, slices of life that bridged the miles. We were miles apart, but every letter you wrote made the miles evaporate.

It was during my Australian escapades that I met a charming Canadian, who I followed to Canada. 
It was another new country. My umpteenth address. Yet still your letters arrived with comforting regularity.                                         
But the years have slipped by quickly. Technology has evolved. Now we chat frequently on the telephone. We email and video chat. 
These days, your letters aren’t a staple of my every day life.  Occasionally, one arrives and I rip it open with the voracity of a child at Christmas.
I still check for letters, every day, even though I know there probably won’t be one. Because on the odd occasion that there is one, it makes the whole world shine a little brighter.
I have every letter that you’ve written and I treasure them all. 
Hundreds of mini memoirs, spanning more than two decades.
Each letter that you took the time to write was worth it, because no matter how far away you were, your words always brought you closer.                                                                                           
Sometimes, when a child leave home, it can herald the demise of the parent/child bond. A once symbiotic relationship slowly wears away.
But I can say, in all honesty, that because you faithfully wrote all those letters, our relationship has never wavered.  
Even though I’m now 40, with my own family to guide, we’re still close.
I can’t tell you how comforting it is to know that even after all these years I can still count on your support. No matter what.
Even if a bucket of frogs, or a herd of thundering buffalo come to visit, I know that I can count on your to cheer me up, to make me laugh. I know I can count on you as one of my biggest cheerleaders.
It’s the best feeling in the world and your unconditional love is the most precious gift you ever gave me.            
Having a Dad that cares enough to write so many letters really makes me feel like the luckiest daughter alive.
I’m so very thankful.
I love you, Dad.
Happy Father’s Day.    
All my love,
You daughter,
Nic

Six months baby and what the fuck have I learnt?

Aside

Since I binned Facebook for a much-needed hiatus a while ago, my friends have peppered me with a whole slew of questions:

“How will you cope without Facebook?” (Very well actually).

“Won’t you be missing out?” (Er…nah. Not really).

“How will you know what people are doing?” (Easy. I’ll just fucking ask them).

One of the reason why I fucked off Facebook in the first place is how it made me feel.

Quite often as I would (all too fucking regularly) check through the news feed, I would feel annoyed. And irritated. And disconnected. Which are the exact opposites of how social media is supposed to make you feel. It seemed like it was no social, but all ME-dia, if you know what I mean.
But the trouble was, I was still checking it constantly. More than constantly if I’m brutally fucking honest. Since I got my smart phone, checking Facebook had become like a nervous tick.
So in November, I took action.
I decided to delete my Facebook account for a while and see what happened.
Since then, six months have passed.
I have to say, quite honestly, it’s one of the best choices I ever made.
Why?
I’m about to tell you.
For one, I started this blog and finally, finally, in my writing life, I get to be me. I get to write about things that turn my crank. I also get to swear like a sailor, which as you will know by now, is something that I love.
By switching my focus inwards instead of outward, I turned off all the little voices in my head that would look at Facebook and then complain “Oh!…Look at them, look what they’re doing…you should be doing something more fabulous with your life too.”
So now, instead of comparing my perfectly good existence with the filtered snap-shot that people post on Facebook, I am concentrating on my own world.
So what exactly have I been doing with my time since I nixed my Facebook tick?

1. Reading. I have read a fuck-load of books since I started my Yifof challenge six months ago, over 20 to be precise.
Some of them have been great, laugh-out-fucking-loud masterpieces, others have been disappointingly mediocre. However, all were time well-wasted.

2. Reconnecting with friends

I decided at the outset of this challenge that I would try and have more real contact with my Facebook friends. So far this has been going well. I’ve written letters, video chatted and met many more of my FB friend in person than I usually would. Thanks to all my FB friends who have humoured me in this endeavour. But the funny thing is, of all the people I said I would telephone, I haven’t called anyone yet. Why? I dunno. If I’m brutally honest, talking on the phone these days, kinda makes me nervous. I’ve gotten so used to firing off emails, that now I shy away from the phone. Clearly this is something I need to work on further. So if I said I would call you, I will. I just need to get over myself first.

3.Connecting with new people

Since starting this blog, thousands of people, in over 45 different countries have logged in, read my posts and commented on what I have to say.
I’ve gotta say, that blows me away. Thinking of people all over the world, reading my words and then taking the time to write me comments to say thanks for making them laugh, is just about the best feeling in the world. I haven’t even announced to anyone that I’m writing this blog yet, especially not on Facebook. But since it’s my six month anniversary (a feat in itself, cos I’m a terrible commitment-phobe) I think it’s high time I posted about Yifof on my news feed to see what happens…Oh the hypocrisy…Don’t cha just love it!

4. Writing

Writing has always been my first love. I’ve loved words from the moment I could speak (and a chatty little fucker I was too) and I dictated stories to my Mum until I could write my own stories. Words have always seemed like magic to me. Writing them, reading good words; it’s all the same to me.
Since I’ve been frittering away less time on social media, I have managed to carve out so much more time for my own creative writing.
I currently have two books (non-fiction) in progress. I’m so fucking excited, I can’t even begin to tell you!

5. Each month I have been setting myself a fresh challenge. As well as writing more and connecting with other people, I’ve also cleaned the shit and clutter out of my house. Now I’m currently (well hopefully) cleaning the shit and toxins out of my body, by following Joe Cross’s juice reboot. Today is day 22 of my 30 day juice fast. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also the most empowering. I’ve also just begun a daily commitment to exercising. Since I began this blog, setting myself a new challenge each month has been a fun task, one that I have really began to look forward to. It is also definitely one I’m going to stick with. However, I promise NOT to blog about the upcoming “Sex every day for a month, no excuses” challenge that my husband so kindly suggested.

So six months in, all I can say is, I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings.
One thing is for sure though, no matter what, I’ll be enjoying every fucking minute.

A Celebrity TP Delivery and friendship pride

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On Friday night I went to a party at Michael Buble’s house. That’s right, THE Michael Buble. Whilst I was at the party, my friend and I went to the bathroom, but there was no toilet paper.
Who do you think came to our TP aid?
That’s right, Mr. Michael Buble himself. He delivery a fresh stash of loo roll to us, personally.
So now I guess, my claim to fame is that Michael Buble helped wipe my arse.
Metaphorically speaking of course, because otherwise….Ewwwww.
But being at Michael Buble’s house and the TP Incident was not the highlight of my evening.
The reason why I was attending this great party is because it was the book launch for Michael’s little sister, Brandee. She just released her first children’s book, ‘O’Shae the Octopus’.

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I gotta tell you, I couldn’t be more proud to know this fabulous and talented lady.
I first met Brandee, seven years ago when our oldest kids were in pre-school and our first conversation is forever etched in my brain.
At the time, I was pregnant with boisterous being number three (the other two were only three and one years-old and yes, before you ask, I was fucking busy).
Our family had just recently moved to a new neighbourhood and so I was isolated and lonely.
So one day as I was going to collect my son from pre-school, (pregnant, pushing a stroller and feeling sorry for myself) I bumped into Brandee.
We struck up a conversation. As we walked along, chatting away, I thought to myself “fuck it, I’m just gonna be myself….I am going to say…the ‘F’ word”.
So I did.
And guess what happened?
In the very next sentence Brandee dropped an ‘F’ bomb too!
She also told me that her brother was Michael Buble. But to be honest, I was just so happy that she took the ‘F’ bomb baton and ran with it, I couldn’t have given two hoots that her brother was an international music superstar. And suddenly, after that walk I didn’t feel so alone in my new neighbourhood.
Over the past seven years I have watched Brandee’s journey unfold. I have watched how she has never stopped believing in her special and unique children’s stories, striving to get them just right. So to see her publish her first book is a wonderful thing indeed.

brandee

O’Shae the Octopus is a great little book for kids. It’s all about O’Shae (named after Brandee’s son), an octopus who instead of having eight arms, has been blessed with ten.
It’s a beautifully illustrated book and has the most wonderful message.
It is so cool to see Brandee get her dream come to life, because, she is just such a great person.
Cos if you’re uber talented AND don’t flinch around the odd ‘F’ bomb, then you’re a legend in my world. If you have any boisterous beings in your life, be sure to pick them up a copy.
So while it was nice to be gifted TP by a celebrity so that I wasn’t forced to drip-dry, it was a far bigger triumph to watch Brandee bask in her much-deserved glory.
Well done Brandee! I wish you, your book and this amazing author journey you’re on every success…Cos, you know what?…You fucking deserve it all x

Hump day…I see you baby, shaking that arse

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Welcome to Wednesday everyone!

 

It already feels like a glorious day.
The sun ain’t shining, but it is in my heart.
I just had a great writing session with a writer friend of mine. It’s amazing how just being with another writer can make you feel connected with the word and truly alive. To get the chance to share your love of the written word is a jolly fine thing indeed.
I was planning today to post songs about body parts (since one of this month’s challenges is all about the gym) but then a conversation with my kids yesterday was so inspiring that I decided to change tact.
So today there will be two songs and one video that is currently going viral on the internet. It’s poignant and worth sharing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

1. I see you baby shaking that arse – by Groove Armada
This song does involve a body part, actually the biggest muscle in your whole damn body – the almighty booty. I love this track and I can’t resist shaking my groove thing to it too.

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So yesterday as I was driving my kids around, the song ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore came on the radio. If you haven’t heard the song, It’s about how love is love, whether your gay, straight, bi, queer or whatever you identify as. I’ve heard the song countless times and it never fails to send shivers down my spine. So when the boisterous beings asked me what the song was about, I told them. I loved their reaction. I loved their look of indignance at how ridiculous bigotry is.
And if you ask me, if you want a rational view, go ask a child. They haven’t yet been tainted by world views; they just call life the way they see it. I loved how they didn’t question that everyone should be free to love who they want. And I love how my son said “lesbian. I love that word! It sounds like a cool name of a dragon warrior in a story…that would be such a cool character”. (He’s a dragon nut, so this is high praise indeed).
So in honour of my boisterous beings and their love and acceptance of everyone (which is the way we all should be), here is that beautiful song.

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Finally, here is a link to a video that is currently doing the rounds on the internet. This video is unconditional love. What a great video this is and what a marvellous family they are to share their journey. I hope you click the link and get back to me on what you think. Happy Wednesday…Big love to all!

http://www.upworthy.com/this-is-what-happens-when-parents-love-their-children-unconditionally?c=upw1

New month. New challenge. New Me!

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Yo yo yo.

How you all doing?
I’m feeling fan fucking tastic today and I don’t mind admitting it.
Today is day 15 of my juice reboot and I SWEAR not a morsel of food has passed my lips.
I feel great, I haven’t had a hive outbreak for a whole week (A urticaria miracle) and I have energy like a toddler on speed.
Mind you, when it comes to dinner and preparing food for my family, I do tend to go a bit wobbly.
Something about preparing food, fragrant aromas washing over me as I slice, dice and simmer mean that by the time I set dinner on the table, I suddenly feel like a sasquatch on the verge of a rampage.
Not a good look.
But the good news is, I’m half way through this juice shit. Only fifteen days to go until I get to eat solid food.
It’s amazing how cravings turn around in just two weeks. Instead of fantasizing about junk food, I’m now champing at the bit to get my hands on a big juicy salad. Hopefully that feeling lasts!

So now it’s June and time to get started on a fresh challenge. To compliment my juice reboot I’ve decided that this month, my goal is to workout everyday. It’s been a goal of mine to get fit for a while. At Christmas I joined a gym. Then I went to the gym a couple of times, by myself. I hated it. I couldn’t stand it. I felt awkward, gawky and WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED to all the young people in the gym? They rock up, dressed in designer gear, with their fake tan and boobs and work out like crazy.
Granted, they have amazing bodies, but they have faces like smacked arses…what’s the deal with that?
I also couldn’t get my head around how the gym is heaving with sweaty bodies, but every just ignores each other.
It makes me anxious.
So four months after joining the gym, I was barely using my membership. It turned into one of those things I’d say I would do, but then would fuck off completely as soon as a more interesting proposition presented itself. (And that included housework). Then I would feel like a total failure for not going.
Then my friend, Alison joined the gym too. Everything changed. Now going to the gym is actually fun.
So now I know: I need a gym buddy. I need accountability. I also need to fucking laugh at the gym… because what’s the deal with everyone perfecting the bulldog chewing a wasp look? Did I miss that memo when I signed up for a membership?
So that’s my June challenge…anyone else want to join me?