Friday, October 7, 2011

Dear Susan,
I'm so impressed with your vegie patch, thanks for the lettuce by the way. I ate both leaves at once. I would have eaten the tomato as well but a grub beat me to it.
Anyway your efforts have encouraged me to have a go myself; it's a bit of a challenge though when the garden bed is a 2x1 metre tiled balcony. Thanks for the planter boxes by the way. I always thought it would be an advantage to grow my own herbs and vegetables, you know, to cut down my carbon footprint (size 6). And now that fresh produce is so expensive ( I lay-byed a banana the other day) I thought I could save a fortune.
Well you know my history with plants. I get them home from the nursery, re-pot them, and they commit suicide while I'm going to get the watering can. It's not so much a case of feed and weed but more like fill, spill, and kill.
I was determined this time would be different. I planted lettuce, rosemary, mint, basil, parsley and snow peas. Your Andrea, whose garden by the way is delicious, told me to attach the snow peas to some stakes. I'm so glad I did. The snow peas died but at least the stakes are starting to shoot. I have had some success with a nastursium seed that blew into the planter one day. It is climbing all over the entire balcony now and blocking out the sun. I'm waiting for a prince to come and cut down the jungle and kiss me awake from my 100 year sleep.
Maybe my lack of success is due to my fundamental ignorance of Latin. I come home with a couple of plants labelled Azalea and Gardenia and when it's too late to do anything about it, I discover that their Latin names must be Quo Vadis and Rigor Mortis.
It's not so much that I don't have a green thumb but more that I just don't have green plants. They are yellow, brown, black or have big holes in their leaves. My lettuce was crisp but does anyone want brown crisp lettuce? Yesterday I was so excited because there was a flower on my strawberry plant; then I discovered it was a nastursium. I just don't get it. I can grow mould in my shower recess, fungus in my joggers, and bacteria in my fridge; what is it with me and horticulture.

Someone once told me that the difference between a weed and a flower was a value judgement; I am no longer going to be judgemental about my plants. They can just go feral, a bit like my kids. They all grew into very rare orchids, or weeds depending on your pont of view.

Anyway if you are coming over on Sunday for lunch could you bring some mushrooms please; mine don't seem to like the sun.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dear Susan,

You know how I've been trying my luck with cyber space dating, well I thought the respondents would at least be from the same planet; but no, cyber space really means cyber space.I've had a couple of 'rendezvouses' recently which I have to tell you about, before I start believing they were figments of my imagination.The first one "Adieu Allen"'s profile read like a dream; from the right side of the tracks/ bridge, sixty eight years old, handyman, could read and write , owned a car and was a retired accountant.
After several emails and a couple of phone calls we decided to meet in a public place in broad daylight, surrounded by escape routes in case he didn't fancy me. We were to meet in a charming little cafe in Oldsville on his side of the tracks/bridge.
You know how nervous I get when I meet new people; feel self conscious can't think of anything to say; well I tried to do everything right. I dressed nicely, wore deodorant,and made sure I didn't have any spinach stuck in my teeth.
There I was, sitting al fresco at the assigned cafe, sunglasses hiding my crows feet, looking tres sophisticated when I saw this vision stumbling towards me. He seemed familiar. I realised it was "Adieu Allen" only twenty years older looking than his profile .Apparently some people are not entirely truthful on these dating sites
He was tall, dressed neatly in unironed jeans, a flanno shirt, denim jacket and one red and one black sock. The first words I said to this would- be- man- of- my- dreams were,
"Do you know you are wearing odd socks?"
"Oh gosh I hoped you wouldn't notice"
"Well I probably wouldn't have but your jeans are half way up your legs"
"Yeah well my brother's much shorter than I am"

We made small talk for a while
"I used to be a teacher"
"I'm a bankrupt accountant"
"I live in a unit in the shire"
"I house sit for people and when there's nothing available, I live in my car or at the YHAs"
"I have three daughters and nine grandchildren"
"I usually only house sit for people who have dogs; love dogs"
"I'm looking for someone to go to the theatre with, share a meal with, perhaps travel overseas with."
"I'm looking for a slim attractive lady in her late forties, who has a surplus $10,000 per annum to subsidise my pension. Oh and if she had a dog and owned her own house that would be perfect. Shall we order?"

I had the smoked salmon ravioli and a glass of white wine. He had the steak, egg and a cola beverage . The thing was that I could just not take my eyes from his face..... mainly because he had three eyebrow hairs that grew from his brow to his cheek bone. I kept wanting to ask if he had trouble seeing through the fringe or if the hairs were a driving hazard. But I couldn't ask because I was also beguiled by the foliage bursting forth from his ears and nostrils. I'm not saying it was excessive, but if he had lit a cigarette he was in danger of starting a small scrub fire.
As a lunch companion he was on a par with my grandchildren, in that he dribbled, couldn't use a knife and fork properly and talked with his mouth full. He admitted at about that stage that he was actually in his early eighties but that as we were getting along so well I wouldn't mind if he had lied a little bit.
He told me I had a lovely mouth; I told him he had a lovely tooth.It went on like this for about an hour.
I was on the verge of grabbing his fork and severing his three rogue eyebrows when the bill arrived. He took out his accountant's calculator and informed me that my share was $27.25. I gave him $28 and told him to keep the change.

He walked me back to my car and promised he'd keep in touch. I rang my mobile and broadband accounts and tried to cancel them. Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough. When I got home there was an email waiting for me.

Dear Janet, thanx 4 a gr8 arvo. i dont think u've got enuf money to help me out in my situwation,but as we got along so good I thort that until the rite woman comes along 4 me, we mite just get together for casual.....

I pressed the delete button.

Love Janet

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear Susan,

Just heard the weather forecast for tomorrow 21st May 2011. Sunny with fresh nor, easterly winds and the chance of an apocalypse. Apparently some strange religious sect (from the deep south of America, where else) has predicted the end of the world tomorrow. I KNOW. IT'S ANDREA'S BIRTHDAY. WHAT A BUMMER.

Anyway this could be my last letter. So carry it with you to the end. These zealots have already put billboards up all over Melbourne warning THE END IS NIGH. Josie and Tallulah are going around adding a 'T' to the end thinking zealots can't spell.

The news is causing me no end of worry, although I have lived through about twelve END DAYS during my time here. But it's always the same. I never know what to do first (or last as the case may be). Do I finish the course of antibiotics which is making me nauseous or do I risk the pearly gates with swollen sinuses? It's enough to make you contemplate an overdose.

And what about you? I just worked out that tomorrow you will be on the 6th day of your 7 day beauty plan. Won't you feel cheated if you have to meet your maker as a 6 when you could at least aim for an 8.5?

May I suggest that you don't tell Adrian. He'll go on a crash diet of vitamin E, oysters, asparagus, powdered horn of white rhinocerous and loot chemist shops for Viagra. He'll rationalise that if he has to go, he's going to go happy.

Rosie Josie and Eloise are having trouble with the kids. None of them will clean their rooms,brush their teeth, do their homework. They don't see the point if it's all going to be over on Saturday. Mind you their rooms usually look as though the apocalypse has already happened, so nothing's changed.

I was going to invite everyone over for dinner tonight as sort of last supper thing. But then I thought that everyone would want his/her favourite, you know like the prisoners on death row.

I thought of the menu they'd want. Roast lamb, lobster tails, pasgetti, 'thish thingers,' lamb stew, and of course Bronwyn's small roast vegetable frittata with Greek salad and rocket on the side. I figure if I spend all day cooking the food to feed the five thousand I'll be too tired to get up in the morning and experience the blast off.

Will I get to see Oprah's last shows ever before I go?

The guy next door is trying to polish off five bottles of scotch he got for Christmas. I wonder if you have hangovers in Heaven.

I feel very cheated, because on Sunday I was going to clean my kitchen cupboards, strip the shower recess of that green stuff, see if I could find the bottom of my ironing basket, finish my novel, start my diet, learn Italian and get married. Now all that stuff will never get done.

I've noticed that few people seem to be taking the prophecy seriously. The wars are still going on all over the world, as though it mattered who won. The munitions plants haven't stopped production. Scientists go on trying to develop super robots to see if they can do any better than the humans were stuck with. We live as though the lifespan of the plaet is infinite. Maybe that's the only way we keep going. But I wonder, if we knew the the date and time of the earth's demise , would we be a bit more careful about the way we treat each other.

Any way, see you at the pearly gates on Sunday morning or at Miranda Fair on Monday, whichever comes first.

By the way, I've been meaning to tell you for a long time; I love you.



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dear Susan,
Eloise just rang and apologised for the paddle pop stick photo frame she gave me for mother's day in 1981. I told her no apology was necessary but wondered what had prompted it so late in my mothering career.
Apparently her five little darlings had just given her this year's gifts. "What did you get" I asked. Well Jake gave her a paper plate. It had a frayed pink ribbon on the top and a drawing of 'the family' cut into a pseudo circle and stuck in the middle. Around the edge were pasted five multi coloured paper flower petals. Timothy gave her a jar of lollies well past their use by date. Arthur gave her a butter dish which he'd chipped before he got it home from the pre-school trash 'n' treasure stall. Dollcie gave her a macaroni necklace threaded on 24 carat red wool. Molly didn't give her anything because she doesn't know about this family ritual yet.
"WOW" I exuded, "so what was your big present?"
"Oh I guess it was the chipped butter dish" she answered after some deep thought.
In the blink of an eye I was transported back thirty years to my days of shell covered match boxes, puckered cross stitched gingham serviette (yes just the one) and coloured woollen pom pom (yes just the one).
I started reflecting on my four ages of motherhood. When was twenty five it was a very good year. It was a very good year because I experienced my first mother's day with Rosie. I guess I'd become a little obsessed by motherhood so Ivan tried to rekindle (or even just kindle ) my former sex symbol image. He plied me with roses, chocolates, champagne and expensive lingerie. Bless him. The roses gave me hay fever, the chocolates gave me a migraine and the champagne had me passed out after half a glass. As for the lingerie, I hadn't been a size eight for quite some time. Let's just say Ivan looked better in it than I did and that wasn't a real turn on for me.
When I was thirty five it was a very good year. It was a very good year for a mother with a ten year old, an eight year old and a five year old. As requested I sent an "unlabelled, empty, clean, baby food tin" to school. It was returned to me on Mothers' Day, covered in pegs which had been split in half and spray painted gold. The tin had been filled with plasticine and, joy of joys, a plastic rose. I also recieved the obligatory paddle pop stick photo frame and the worse than awful paddle pop stick jewel box. I never ever got the actual paddle pop. Ivan that year gave me an electric can opener. What can I say?
When I was forty five it was a very good year. It was a very good year for a mother with a twenty year old, an eighteen year old and a fifteen year old. That was the year I left a list on the fridge.
Chanel #5

They took the hint and bought me a remote control for the TV. I tried to explain that 'channel' contained two "N"s but by that time Ivan was firmly ensconced in the recliner rocker trying to find channel five. It could have been worse though. Denise the girl next door got a coat hanger covered in French knitted bread wrappers.
During those halcyon years between forty five and grandmotherhood my letter box was crammed full, every year a week before mothers' day with glossy brochures teasing me with delusions of happiness.
I lusted over the silk underwear, drooled over the imported chocolates, drew circles around the Italian leather hand bags and the cute little diamond stud earrings. I cut out pictures of perfume bottles and stuck them to the bathroom mirror. I'd say things like " My goodness, my old full length woollen coat is almost threadbare" and "I wonder where you could buy one of those angora jumpers that look like they would be very warm in winter." The words fell on dead sensory organs. I thought things would change when the girls grew up, became more mature, more sensitive, more attuned to the needs of those around them.

On the Saturday before Mothers' Day the three of them would go out in a pack and argue all morning about what to buy me. Rosie would want quantity, Josie would want quality and Eloise would just want to buy me a card and invest the change in the latest Regurgitator CD.

Any way last year it was a very good year. It was a very good year for a mother with three gorgeous daughters and nine amazing grandchildren. I told the girls exactly what I wanted. I asked for arch supports, something to wrap around my shoulders when I read in bed and some old classic DVDs like Casablanca, Mr Smith goes to Washington, The Killer Tomatoes. You know that old song "Don't Wish too Hard for What You Want........" Eloise gave me a pair of false eyelashes. She understandably thought that the arches I wanted lifted were my eyebrows. Josie bought me a beautiful Pashmina to wear over my shoulders, but after she'd borrowed it to wear to a concert, brunch and dinner, she decided it was just what she needed for the Melbourne weather and took it home with her. Rosie gave me a DVD of High School Musical 2 because the kids had a spare one.

They did however compile a DVD of photos of all my grandchildren. So on Mothers' Day night I put on my false eyelashes, wrapped one of Josie's old sarongs around my shoulders and turned on the pictures of my treasures. I can't remember a more perfect time.

Anyway I hope you have a great day on Mothers' Day and that someone gives you a gold sprayed macaroni necklace.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dear Susan,

Thanks for sharing last week with me in Puerto Rico. ( I know it was Port Stephens but don't tread on my dreams OK?)

I love going away with you.I love the way we suddenly regress to the ages of about 4 and 6 and act like kids; farting without fear or favour, saying rude words like poo, bum, wee, and laughing until we wet our pants.

Remember when we went to Port Ugal (OK Port Macquarie) and we rode on a steam train, climbed Mount Everest after walking along a gay nudist beach, took a camel ride (no humps though) hit 50 golf balls out of 150 on the golf range and wondered why we couldn't walk the next day; put $10 in a poker machine and had to have Keno explained to us by a veteran of the Boer War? And laughing until we wet our pants?

Remember going to Kenya (OK Kiama) and cleaning out our handbags? It took three skip bins to get rid of the old receipts, paper clips, out-of-date condoms (I can still live in hope) hair elastics, old photos, old mobile phones, plane boarding passes from 1984, tram tickets from 1954 etc etc. And we laughed...........

I even enjoyed the time we went to the Ginseng Bath House and found out there was no Gin involved. Remember the little Asian ladies who had never seen red pubic hair before and they laughed.....

Anyway after we were exfoliated, humilated, debilitated, inebriated and broke, we didn't have the will to drive home. so we just booked a hotel room and listened to the sirens roaring up William Street, peeped at the Toms going into the strip clubs, broke up fights in the hotel corridors and lau............

Anyway back to the recent week of R n R. Deja vu as we walked into the little apartment, avoiding the dead cockroaches until we could sweep them out; the usual discussion about whose turn it was to have the double bed. Ah those beds!!! How is your back? knee? hip? neck? shoulder now? Nothing a few weeks of physio won't fix.

Glad that the little restaurant had changed hands though. More than one meal at the new, refurbished club and we might have been Ptomained for life.

But oh the water at Shoal Bay!!! What is it about that place that makes us want to chip away the ice on the surface and plunge into the freezing depths at regular 30 minute intervals? Nowhere else in the world would I swim in water that cold. Adrian wouldn't venture in even if Bo Derek was summoning him from the foam at the shoreline. Just as well he stayed at home and "tinkered" in his shed in the 40 degree heat.

And how good was the TV? one hundred and three channels available to us at home and there we managed to get a signal from channel 9 for 30 minutes on a good night. At least it allowed us to drool over Patrick Swayze (RIP) in a re re rerun of Dirty Dancing. I do worry about my pre-occupation with younger men. I think it has something to do with living in Cronulla on the Esplanade all those years; I mean the feast of firm bronzed bodies parading up and down to the big surf.... and they were just the girls. Speaking of which I was so proud of the fact that this year you graduated from "bobbing" (pretending to surf when you're just going up and down with the waves) to catching the big rollers on your boogie board. I'm sure that next year you'll be able to attach the wrist band without having to ask one of the six year olds on the beach to help you.

It was a bit different this year too. The heat meant that we had to spend all our time on the beach, so we didn't get time to go down to the plaza to the lingerie shop and have "the girls" fitted for a new bra. Remember last time? The sales lady took my old one off and threw it in the bin, safety pins and all!! And we didn't get a real chance to look at all the designer clothes in the arcade and pretend nonchalance when we saw the price tags. You are sooo good at that. I love the way your jaw just drops open and you say sooo naturally " Oh yes but feel the quality" . and when we get outside we laugh until...... We did get a chance to sit around and talk about the good old days and calculate the chances of there being some good new days. I think the chances are good.

To have a sister is a gift. To have a sister that you love being with is awesome. Don't laugh you'll ...........



Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear Susan,

How's it going pet? Are you as frazzled as I am, in the middle of packing boxes, bubble wrap and tape that won't unstick from your fingers? Have you settled in to "Beige Watch" yet? Haven't thought of a name for my new unit but I'm sure Adrian will come up with something. Don't know about you, but seems like we haven't had time to breathe in the last six months. That will all be rectfied when we get to spend 168 hours at "Aquaserene". I'm going to breathe then like there's no tomorrow.

Took your advice and did something for myself today. Was good, maybe you should try it. Last time for me was an afternoon in 1979 when I locked myself in the toilet at home after telling Rosie Josie and Eloise to go play on the freeway for ten minutes. Shortest ten minutes in living memory. Anyway when Josie and Tallulah came to stay with me over Christmas they bought me a Hot Rock Massage as a gift for having them. Like hellooo.... the presence of Tallulah isn't present enough!! So today I went to the newly opened Thai Massage Spa for my Hot Rock Massage.

Maybe I read more into things than meets the eye but how come if I go to the local day spa I only run into female clients, and any self respecting bloke wouldn't be seen within a spit of it. But when I got to the "Thai'd Up" Spa today it was full of men. Should I have been nervous? What was going on behind the bamboo blinds and why did Mini seem alarmed to see me? Well as it turned out all was ok. Mini took my voucher and introduced me to Jenni who took me to my enclosure.

"Take off crose and put under bed. Here is cap for hair and disposaboo undies. Rie on your tummy and I be light back." I looked at the 'disposaboo' undies which may have fitted a Barbie doll if she weren't retaining too much fluid, tried to slip one leg in, then disposed of them.

I'd never had a Hot Rock Massage so while Jenni was gone I snooped around for some clues as to my fate. There was a George Foreman Slow Cooker- like appliance labelled Massage Rock Heater in texta. Inside it I could hear the rocks bubbling away like Vesuvius.

Jenni came back and commenced basting me with oil. I had this vision of the oil , hot rocks, banana leaves and a pit where I would be buried until I was medium rare or "dry roasted". Jenni was not as mini as Mini but she seemed quite petite until she started crawling up and down my back on her hands and knees. Four crushed ribs and a fused vertebra later she opened the all purpose George Foreman appliance. Apparently the soup was cooked and the rocks were ready. She spooned them out on to a towel which I can only assume was made from asbestos.

The blindfold was preventing my seeing what was happening but I think Jenni picked up a rock, threw it from one hand to another, singing Hot Potato Hot Potato like a Wiggle, dropped it and started massaging me with her hot hands. I can tell you when physical contact has been denied one for a length of time having one's back massaged with hot hands can be quite agreeable. But then she picked up two rocks and let me tell you, rock on flesh is nowhere near as 'agreeable' as flesh on flesh, especially when the rocks are still glowing like embers from a fire walker's bed. But hey I needed this massage so much I didn't even notice the smell of burning flesh. I used to have a back massager made out of wood which had two rolling balls attached to an axis of evil. But then we got divorced so I have to take what I can get when I can get it.

I soon got used to the pattern though; oil, hands, hot hands, rocks; oil, hands, hot hands, rocks. In fact I was beginning to sink into a coma except for the Tibetan Meditation Drums and the water feature which was determined to keep me aware that my bladder was full. Then Jenni placed a rock in each of my hands; gave a whole new meaning to having one's palms 'read'.

Her last treatment was to place several hot rocks on specific parts of my back to rid my body of toxins (and skin I assume). I tell you, by the time she removed them I'd never been happier to get my rocks off.

It really was a very relaxing experience and I love Josie and Tallulah for gifting it to me, (like the new verb?) Have decided I might treat myself to a massage more regularly. Do you remember the ones we used to have in the Korean Bath House where the hostesses used to giggle at us behind their hands because they'd never seen red pubes before. Seems years since the bath house closed down. But at least when we go away to "Aquaserene" we can relive some of the hightlights; body scrub, oil massage, honey and grated icy cucumber masks. I'll do yours if you do mine. But don't tell Adrian; he'll want to come too. This time I'm bringing the George Foreman Slow Cooker so we can gather some river rocks heat them up and eat the soup when they're cooked.

Can't wait. How many more big sleeps?



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dear Susan,

Happy new year. Tried to ring you last night but I have a new mobile phone and haven't done the advanced driving course for it. Consequently I kept getting a computerised voice saying "You're an idiot" every time I tried to communicate with the bloody thing.What is it with technology? As far as I'm concerned, with all things in life, SIZE DOES MATTER. I used to have trouble seeing the numbers on my phone, now I have trouble seeing the phone; especially when it is in the bottom of my handbag. I reached in to grab it the other day and pulled out a moss covered Tic Tac; same size different function.

When I have my phone on the seat of my car it tells me where I am. I have trouble with an appliance that knows where I am before I do. I don't know "when" I am though, because I haven't learned to set the internal clock which can tell me the time in Lithuania; very convenient. Don't know how to set the alarm either so I will still be late for everything.

It has other functions, like a phone book which stores 1000 phone numbers. I don't have that many friends. In fact I can actually remember the phone numbers of people who are important to me. So I don't use that function button either.

It has a designer screen saver. I have designed a screen saver which has four smiley faces on it . Then when I turn it on and see the smiles, I forget how much I hate the appliance.

The messages button allows me to write messages, send messages, create picture messages(no artistic talent required) design templates (WHAT?), add smileys to messages or get information. It also has a service command editor. Yesterday I commanded it to reconcile my cheque book and it said "You're an idiot"

It also has a 'chat' button which I consider redundant since that's what I like to do on the phone; and I've found if I listen for a dial tone, punch in the numbers and talk when the person answers, it usually works for me.

The call register tells me which calls I've missed, which calls I've received(d'uh) which numbers I've dialled, how long each call lasted and how much it cost; a little more information than I need.

The ringing tones can be set to play the William Tell Overture, I Just Called To Say I Love You or just brriinng brriinng. I opted for the last one; I like my phone to sound like a phone, not the sound track from Moulin Rouge. It also has a vibrating alert which is off putting when you carry it in your pants pocket.

I can divert my calls to somewhere else apparently, but why would I send my phone calls to somewhere I'm not?

Then there's the game function. I don't know anyone who is so bereft of amusement that they have to resort to playing a game on their own with a phone; although it could be interesting if it incorporated the vibrating function.

I can work out my disposable income if I turn on the calculator button; but I can also do that by checking the loose change in my purse.

It even has a reminder button that will remind you to do things like change the sheets on a particular day, but I've already marked June on my calendar for that.

The profile button I have't worked out yet. I think you can punch in a profile of say, Angelina Jolie and take it along to your plastic surgeon who will try to match it as closely as possible.

All in all it's a versatile little machine but I'd just like to CALL someone on it. I'll have to read the destruction manual again and try to get back to you. In the mean time I might go back to old fashioned snail mail.

Love to Adrian

Love Janet

0876 456 398