Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. – Mary Schmich




When I was a kid we walked to school every day, rain, hail or shine. We had to cross over Simonelli’s farm to get there. Marcello sometimes played his…what do you call it in English again? Harmonica? Si, yes, the harmonica…he played, I sang and we did our best not to fall in the ditches on the way…


When I was a kid I rode my bike to school or sometimes Mum drove us in the yellow station wagon. It was only three minutes by car. Lucky…cos listening to her home-made mixed cassettes was not ‘groovy’, not ‘groovy’ at all. Back then all I wanted to do was listen to was Abba… but instead I got Simon and Garfunkle and Carly Simon. It took me forever, but eventually I appreciated mum’s choice in tunes. Yeah, I really did.


When I was a kid mum drove us to school every day. She said it was too dangerous to walk by ourselves. Gawd I hated the cd’s she played. Robbie Williams mostly sucks. I thanked-the-lawd for my i-pod.


When I was a kid we always tried to carpool to school. Mrs Wilson let us listen to the free-to-air radio, but dad always had some oldies playing… stuff like Kings of Leon and Robbie Williams and some vintage Queen. He always said that Robbie Williams reminded him of Grandma. I don’t get it. But I do miss Grandma.


When I was a kid Mum always drove us to school, heh, as long as she’d remembered to power-up the car. Poor mum, every second week we were running up the staircase to Mrs Arnold’s apartment to try to mooch a lift of her. I liked Mrs Arnold’s car though, each seat had it’s own flat screen and dock station. Back then that was a big deal.


When I was a kid I just fired up my lappy and bing I was at school. Well… I guess the air’s a little better now than it used to be back in my day. Music? We used to file share podcasts on g-wave 19.0. I know, I know… it’s old fashioned protocols for you mod guys. But that’s how we did it back in the good ole days…


When I was a kid we walked to school. Son…we’d all learnt our lessons by then.



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Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. – Mary Schmich



Gawd remember how contorted we used to get in the back seat of your Cortina?


Yeah…what was that colour called again?


Heh, yeah I don’t remember either…some kinda dark green…


ahh we were so young back then…oh… remember it had the sunroof that always leaked?


Ah yeah… that’s right it only ever leaked on me if you turned a corner too fast. You turned a lot of freakin’ fast corners back then…


Yeah heh… wet-tshirts always were your favourite… pfft…


Oh yeah that’s right…  british racing green…yeah racing green…


Gawd… remember the stick shift knob? It would always fall off…


Yeah really, reeeeally ironic… heh…


Oh my gawd… I forgot about that night…


The egg … heh heh… did it  fall on the boot or the bonnet I can’t remember?


On the boot, yeah you’re right… geez it gave me a fright… I knew we’d been egged… but remember what you said?


Yep that it musta fallen out of that tree… from a nest… fek me… yeah babe …you would have said just about annnyyyything…


Yes… of course I didn’t believe you…


I know, I know you wanted to prove it to me… heh… remember we both got out of the car to look…


You picked up the shell… remember what I said when we saw it?


Yeah, heh…that’s right..hehe… eggs from nests don’t have bloody use by stamps on them!


Gawd… do you think we could still do it?


You know…go necking… in the back seat of the car?


Yeah you’re probably right…


pfft… yeah family car now…heh…ah the booster seat would be in the way…


oh yeah… and your sore back…


Hmm? you’re right… my dumb knee…


God it was great to be young…




Oh… yeah that’s right… we didn’t have a king size bed then though…

…did we?



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Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. -Mary Schmich 


My post today is double inspired by Mary and Dear Me Books.  


Dear sixteen year old Carla,

Today all the wobbly Aunties are going to pinch your cheeks and cough up a lame old joke with a little spittle of phlegm, 

Happy Birthday lovey.

They’ll all say.

Sweet sixteen and never been kissed eh?

They’ll all chortle.

Just smile and nod your head. Only you know about that boy in Surfers.

The one who stared at you in the sauna, waiting till the bubba in her nautical one-piece and gold neck chains had left before launching himself, without warning, at your lips.


In a few weeks time your mum is going to walk out on your dad.


You will immerse yourself in your year twelve studies and avoid the darkest places that are stained purplish-green with blame and hatred. 

You should know that you will eventually find out secrets that will shift your perspective.

You will see that your dad’s eye, the one that was a little lazy, the one that he squinted with, wasn’t quite so lazy after all.


You will, one day, applaud your mother for being brave.


Don’t hide your chest under chunky sweaters. It’s damn fecking annoying that the world is this way, but this is the truth. Your boobs have powers. Take advantage of them. 


When you are eighteen you will be high on life and without the need for artificial substances. On the dance floor you will notice a dark haired guy staring at you. 


This is the man that you will marry. 


On the night that you meet him my advice to you is- don’t change a thing.

When he smiles and motions for you to come over, keep dancing and nod no. Then look up at him through your lashes and motion for him to come to you. 


Trust me he will come.


When you are twenty your boyfriend will be tempted to go solo to a party, by his cousin- the one who likes to play devils-advocate with the relationships of others, because he has a cavity in his own slow-pumping heart. 

When your boyfriend tells you that he has decided to go to the party whether you effen care or not, hold your head up high and drive yourself home. 

There is no need to tell him it’s officially over. Your total absence, your lack of voice will allow him to work this out. 

Do not shed a tear when you hear he has walked into every shop at Chaddy looking for the one who has employed you that Christmas. He would never have found you anyway. It was your day off. 

You will never receive the letters he leaves in your mailbox or the flowers under the windshield wipers. Your mum and sis will sanitise the world for you, because they think that you need it. 


Drive to Queensland and have a wild time with the cop who pulls you over one night, blue lights flashing, just to ask you for your phone number. He already had your heart racing anyway.


In six months your ex-boyfriend will lay his heart out on a sandy beach.

He will walk  back so as not to influence your decision.

You can choose to step on it with your spiked heel and watch its’ flesh split and bleed.

Or accept the mournful beat it plays.

I suggest you leave it for just a moment longer than necessary before cradling it in your arms. 


That organ needs to learn a lesson.


When you are twenty-one your Uncle, the one who offered you a toke, will make another stupid mistake. This will change the relationship that you have with your family forever.

Tears and tantrums will never traverse a divide and they have no effect on any amount of dumbass.

Remember black sheep are unique. And anyway, people always root for the underdog.


Enjoy Europe. It is the last time you will truly be on your own.


At twenty three don’t listen to your mum when she tells you she has a secret. This way you will be genuinely surprised when your boyfriend offers you a carat at dinner.


On your wedding day you realise that you are marrying a man you would die for.

Ignore the short, dark haired woman in the corner who is crying.

She will cry tears of happiness in a few years time. When your belly swells.

Until then you will have to be patient.


When your boy arrives your perspective shifts.

You will now gladly push your husband under the bus to save your baby.

This is a warning. Do not tell him.

There are some things better left unsaid.


At the required hour you will stand in front of your religious leader and request permission for something that is eternally important to you.

You will be denied.

You will want to leave in a dignified manner, but at the last minute you will turn to the leader and beat at your chest and point to the sky and furrow your brow.

After this agony of conviction the balance of power is swayed.

Your wish will be granted.


One day you will sneak into a pumpkin patch and avoid all that is blue.

The thing you hold in your hand is like a wish upon a pinkish star.

When your girl arrives contentment will plump out your heart.


Think twice before sending your daughter to crèche. It would be better to wait one more year before returning to work. It’s feasible that she’s going to meet her bestest-besty-best-friend in the entire world at school anyway.

The universe works in strange ways.


Don’t make business decisions based on emotions.


Learning how to render your emotions  to create a subjective self will be the most difficult task of all.

It will feel as though you are trying to split your own personality.

You will revolt to do a voldemort but this is very important.


Do not accept being treated as inferior when dealing with the boys of the world of finance.

Remember those boobs? They have powers for both good and for evil. Use them wisely.

By the time your nemesis is completely mesmerized you will have also won him over with your intelligence. Intelligence is the only way to garner respect.

How you captivate your audience to prove your intelligence is up to you.


Some may not want to reckon with your forces. That is okay.

Smile at them and if you get the chance, in their presence, push your sunglasses up your nose using your middle finger.


After smelling like coffee for seven years you will desire to know what it is like to smell like paper and ink.

When you see that advertisement in the newspaper know that it really is a sign.

Do not ignore your own yearnings, the ones that have been buried under maternal duties and wifely duties and work duties.

You are not being selfish.

Everyone will survive.

In fact, they may even be proud.


And now we have arrived here.

Not at the end of the story,

and not even half way through it.

The chapters that remain are yet to be named and the pages are yet to be numbered.


But for now you are still just sixteen.

The world will feel as though it is a mystery.

But I can tell you,

The blood you bleed,

The aches you feel,

The swells of joy.

It is you,

who is the mystery of the world.



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“Sing.” -Mary Schmich

Today I am singing the praises of small cheats.

Nothing serious of course.

A shortcut when doing chores, a quick cheats recipe when cooking dinner, time saving measures when you are short on… time.

And that brings me to my post today. Which is a cheat…because I officially did not write it today.

But from the first day I saw Mary’s word “sing” I could not get this post out of my head. It’s tune ran over and over in my mind, like a popular song that you just can’t shake off.

It was the fourth blog I’d ever written, before I learnt  how to add links or even how to socially let people know I was writing a blog.  I think it was read by three people.

But the reason I have chosen to repost it is because it really means something to me. And I think it is relevant to today’s topic of : “sing”.

So flame me if you like for cheating.

But otherwise, sit back and I hope you enjoy…

ps… I don’t think Miley Cyrus tweets anymore… social media… it’s damn hard to keep up with….



Abba and Kiss and Maths and Mercurochrome

Miss 8 just told me that my way of doing subtraction was ‘old fashioned.” On a piece of paper she jots down a two figure sum and proceeds to demonstrate the modern way of doing math.

 “See Mummy’ she said, ‘makes more sense.” I need a cup of tea.

  “Now can we practice my song for choir?”

  “Sure.” I say with confidence. Singing. I can do that.

She pulls out the lyrics. It’s an ABBA medley. She starts singing Money, Money, Money.


When I was a kid you were either a Kiss fan or an Abba chick. Abba was the wholesome choice for a teacher’s pet such as my self. I sat at the front of the classroom and my arm went up lolly-pop-stick straight when I knew the answer. I couldn’t fathom all that heavy rock, men in makeup and skin tight, ball breaking stretchy fabrics. They were all sexed-up, jagged black and white and blood red tongues.

My sister and I, along with a gazillion other little girls, pretended to be the Abba lead singers whenever we could. My Dad bought us the album where they were all sitting in the bubble helicopter. That black vinyl swirled more times on our record player than any other disc we owned. With each song play I grew more mad for the blonde, with her smooth straight, yellow hair and whispy centre part. I dreamt of owning a white jumpsuit that zippered up the front- with sequined flare pants and maybe a braided white and gold belt hung low on the hips. I wrote in my diary that I wanted to marry a man who plays the piano.

When Kiss played at V.F.L park in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs I climbed onto the top rung of our back yard fence and listened to the low thrum of their rocked-out bass-beat float over my neighborhood. As night filtered through the dusk I slipped down off the fence and ended up with a wood splinter in my finger. Mum picked it out with a burnt needle (oh the agony) and then painted a smiley Mercurochrome face on it. In bed I pulled my pillow over my ears and hummed Abba songs until I fell asleep.

My daughter has an ipod that she likes to fall asleep with.  Her teenage cousin loaded it with songs from High School Musical and Pink and Demi Lovato. She doesn’t  know what the sleeve of the artist’s albums look like, but she knows how to Twitter with Miley Cyrus. I wonder what I would have said to Agnetha if Twitter had been around when I was a little girl?

Miss 8 has started singing the Waterloo segment of the medley. I stop to correct her melody and then look closely at the words,

…..The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself…

She’s singing with her sweet high pitchy voice, swaying in time to the beat.

I go get us two hairbrushes (after all- it’s the only honest way to sing Abba) and join in.

Wa, wa, wa, wa,


Finally facing my Waterloo

Ohhh Oh Oh Oh


Finally facing my Waterloo

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“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.” -Mary Schmich


At twenty one I’d finished my university degree and headed to Europe for the traditional coming-of-age journey so many Australians do. 

I started travelling by myself- exploring London and Paris before connecting with a group tour of young people, forging our way through seven European countries over several weeks. 


In Italy we travelled by bus to the Isle of Capri. 

I was dumbfounded, like most tourists, by the azure waters. They were a colour of blue that was so deeply, vividly haunting that it almost hurt. That it stung at your soul. 

The sting came from the knowledge that no photograph, no postcard, no words would ever capture that colour. 


It would never be yours to hold. 


We spent the afternoon exploring and then climbed onto the bus for the mountain hugging trip back to the hotel in Sorrento. On one side was rocky monolith, on the other was cliffs and sheer drops. The road was barely wide enough for two cars to pass, let alone a bus and any other vehicle, but we were carefree, sharing our experiences, talking about the food, the people and the vivid waters.

I sat in the back seat pressed against the window- part of the squash of six friends, enjoying their chatter and watching for glimpses of blue.

The bus was old, and although it creaked and groaned the driver had a lead foot, taking corners at a precarious speed.

At one point we rounded a sharp bend. We lost our seated balance, all five people tipped full bodied against me, pushing  me hard up against the window.

But it wasn’t a window at all.

It was a concealed door, an emergency exit and access to the storage underneath the bus.

The force of us swung the door open wide. I fell head first through the gap vaguely registering that someone was screaming. I felt hands, strong hands gripping me. Holding my arms, my back, caught in my hair. I watched three red balls fall out from the storage compartment below. I followed them as they hit the road in slow motion. One… and then two bounces before flying over the edge of the cliff in a graceful arc… down, down toward the blue waters. 

The driver brought the bus to a neck lurching stop. I was hauled inside and then realised so many people had held onto me. Along with my friends who had been sitting close there was one guy holding my wrist. I could have sworn he had been sitting near the middle of the bus and I couldn’t fathom how he, in particular, had gotten to me so fast. But I was grateful to them all.

At the end of our trip around the seven countries of Europe we were each given a book to commemorate our journey. These books and pens were passed around, the last two blank autograph-pages filling with jovial comments and snail-mail-addresses and “stay in touch” messages. 

When my book finished the rounds I opened up to read the commentary. My eyebrows crinkled in surprise as I saw someone had taken up nearly a whole page. What the fuck?? I thought. Someone’s written me a bloody essay. 

But it wasn’t an essay.

It was a love letter. 

A confession of feelings from afar and admiration from a guy who had rarely said a word to me the whole trip.

He was the boy who’d sat in the middle of the bus. 

He wrote that he would never act on his feelings because he knew I was already taken. He called my fella in Australia the luckiest man alive

And just like that I suddenly realised it was a joke.

I showed it to my friends chortling good naturedly. But they all looked puzzled. 

Why are you laughing? They asked.

Huh? Didn’t you know? They said.

Oh really? Are you for real? How could you not know? They sounded surprised.

Well everyone else knew… They whispered.


But I didn’t know.

I’d been totally and truly and completely oblivious.

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NewFamousChipsOn the weekend we took a day trip down to Phillip Island. Along the way we stopped for some road-munchies at the local supermarket. I had a bit of a tummy upset so I grabbed some licorice (need I say anymore??!!??).

In the car I snapped open the bag and popped a black stick into dear hubby’s mouth as he drove. He snaffled it quickly and opened up for another. I had an instant flash back to the time of our early dating.

 Back then, as Uni students, we couldn’t afford too much so we’d drive to the closest Red Roo[s]ter and buy a large box of hot chips for around two dollars. We’d then go for a drive and- romantically- I’d hand feed him the greasy-sticks-of-potato-yum. We’d usually end up at Elwood beach to have a cuddle and lick the salt of my fingers- as we watched the moon drift over Port Phillip Bay. 

Those were joyful moments of blossoming infatuation. The biggest issue we faced was the weekly scrambling to find a freebie pass into our fave nightclub-so we could avoid the ten buck entry fee. We weren’t worried about cholesterol, or high blood pressure, or diabetes.

Nearly two decades on- I’m now feeding my husband licorice sticks.

“We’re getting old.” I said. He laughed.

But it’s true. We have swapped dancing at clubs till the wee hours of the morn for tango-ing stray children back to bed after bad dreams.

We have swapped long night time drives to hear the ocean caress the shore for short drives to cart children from basketball- to ballet- to birthday parties- to band practices.

We have swapped holding hands and whispering sweet nothings for messaging each other on Face Book. 

As I chew on this memory-evoking licorice I realize that ‘transitioned’ is probably a more apt description- than ‘swapped’. When did we morph from the free spirited pair into the “eat this it’s good for your bowels” couple?


I panic….Could this be the beginnings of a mid-life-crisis?

Then hubby looks at me, I know what he is thinking.

Next weekend we are getting us some red rooster chips.

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