Pinky's Book Link

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pretty in Pink Taffeta

                                               Pinky and Sam discussing issues.

I’ve been married twice. I don’t think that exactly puts me in the same classification as Elizabeth Taylor. It riles me a bit when people say things like,
“So how many times have you been married again?” or
“So which marriage are you talking about now Zsa Zsa?”

The first time I was married it was to the father of my five children and the second (and last) time, to Scotto. 

I was never going to be a ‘Bridezilla’ type and I put this down to a deep-seated laziness for finer detail. A ‘half-assed approach’ has been the catch-cry of pretty much everything I’ve attempted and coming second place is the story of my life. 

Planning my first wedding was fairly relaxed as at the time I was working as a sales executive at a four star hotel that just so happened to be a particularly popular wedding reception venue. 
I was also good mates with the banquet manager… discount!... and I’d even invited my boss the General Manager so I just knew the service would be impeccable.
Everything went gradually pear-shaped in the lead up to the big day. 

My mother went on a shopping spree and bought two ‘Mother of the Bride’ dresses for me to inspect and then vote on my favourite. 
One dress was black lace and the other was a pale cream lace number. Not wanting her to front up to my wedding looking like she was attending a funeral I selected the cream. Snap! Wouldn’t you know it…I too was wearing an off-white lace dress. 

Why did this abjuration of wedding protocol not faze me? 

Well... predominantly because I fell pregnant with Thaddeus four weeks before the wedding and was too nauseous with morning sickness and generally apathetic to care one iota.

The day of the wedding arrived and the black clouds overhead augured a miserable day. 

The female portion of the wedding party spent the morning at the hairdressers being primped and preened whilst guzzling Champagne. All except for the fractious and pallid bride who was up the duff and wasn’t allowed alcohol.

Sitting in the car on the way home to get dressed, I listened quietly to my sister Sam, bitterly carping on about the bouffant style hairdo the hairdresser had inflicted on her. 

When I had first asked Sam to be my bridesmaid she joked, 

“I will… as long as you don’t force me to wear pink taffeta.” 

As an aficionado of the colour pink, I had chosen a hot magenta, taffeta bridesmaid’s gown for her. Sam was a tad peevish about this flagrant abuse of trust and the beehive coiffure did nothing to lift her defrauded frame of mind.

After donning the hastily bought (first one I had tried on) bridal gown in the sticky, humid, February weather and emerging from the bedroom; I heard the shower running. It was my sister Sam, in the shower washing her hair. 

Too queasy to care and sensing an impending migraine, I went to phone the incompetent florist who had taken the flowers to the wrong hotel.

We finally arrived at the church and as I followed my sister down the aisle I perused her noticeably wet hair. The trickle of water down the nape of her neck gave me something to focus on whilst trying my hardest not to vomit on the congregation.

Managing not to faint during the ceremony was a massive relief then it was on to the reception where everyone, bar the bride, was encouraged to eat drink and be merry.

My dear old Dad put the icing on the proverbial cake when he gave his ‘Father of the Bride’ speech. Always the perennial comedian he complimented and thanked the waiters at our reception for doing a wonderful job.

“And I don’t think they get paid much either,” he quipped merrily, “I saw them all out the back sharing a cigarette a few moments ago.”

The look on my General Manager’s face was priceless.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Procrastination... Pinky suggests we talk about it tomorrow.


It’s that time of night. Time to write my daily post… but I’m exhausted, drained from wrangling twenty-eight nine year old kids all day.
Maybe I should mark the essays about a kangaroo and an emu looking for a waterhole that my students wrote for me today…or maybe not.

There are only so many times you can correct ‘whent’ back to ‘went’, ‘firstee’ back to ‘thirsty’ and an ‘unspecified’ word back to ‘can’t’ before you go completely mental.
Perhaps I should go and clean the dog poo from the back yard before it starts to rain and the poo mixes with the dog’s moulting tufts of hair, binding irrevocably to the concrete.

Nah… it can wait until morning, there is no way it’s going to rain.
I could always go and do a load of washing before apprentice electrician Hagar stuffs his work gear in the machine, fails to empty his pockets and the multitude of rattling screws and earplugs break the washing machine again.

I probably shouldn't bother though; it looks like it’s definitely going to rain.

I suppose I could go downstairs and confront Year Twelve Padraic about being sprung wagging school. I received a letter today from his school principal listing his unexplained absences. It reads as long as a Hell’s Angel rap sheet.

No… I don’t feel like a screaming match just yet.

Maybe I could start cooking dinner early tonight… but then as soon as the kids catch the alluring aroma of frying onions they’ll start wafting out of their rooms like ravenous zombies pestering me about how long dinner will be.

I guess I could clean the filthy oven. Ha, that’s a joke. I’ve never cleaned an oven in my life unless I was moving house, so why start now?

The soap receptacle in the shower needs a crusty, hardened glug of soap scraped out of it. I could do that. 

Oh wait… I forgot to buy soap when I was shopping and we’ll need it later for our showers.

I do need to fill out my Family Tax Benefit application on line. 

But then again last time I tried to do that Scotto found me sobbing in the foetal position because the site kept timing out every three minutes.

Hmmmm…. Perhaps I’ll just have a glass of wine and write on my Blog. That’s always fun.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Are We Mollycoddling Our Kids?

Walking around my classroom today while my students were writing a story, I noticed one of my brightest boy’s handwriting looked like a chicken had scratched across the page.“That’s terrible handwriting Harley!” I said calmly. “You need to rub it out and start again.”

The next time I looked at him he had his head in his hands,

“What’s the matter Harley, why aren't you doing your work?”

“You said my writing was terrible,” he moaned.

Oh crap, I thought, I’m going to be in trouble now. Teachers aren’t supposed to say things like that to kids any more. It damages self-esteem and can cause long term mental issues… apparently.

One day at Kindergarten when I was four years of age I got into trouble with the teacher for trashing yet another paper lantern with my inept scissor-cutting technique.

“If you ruin this one I’ll cut your fingers off.” She snapped at me. 
When I told my mother she pulled me out of the Kindy immediately. 
Akin to going from the frying pan into the fire my parents enrolled me into an all-girls convent complete with a plethora of horrible, vicious nuns.

Fearsome (and probably overheated) in their voluminous black habits they were an unsettling and intimidating presence in the eyes of a four year old.
One of the old crones swept imposingly into our classroom one day.
“You! Girl in the corner! Were you talking?”

“No sister.” I blinked back tears of terror.

“Liar,” she snarled, “Come here to the front of the class you bad, bad girl.”
She then proceeded to put chalk all over my outstretched tongue as retribution for talking and lying.

I was only four and was convinced the chalk was poisonous. 

By the time my mother picked me up my tongue had dehydrated like a prune from my having had it stuck out of my mouth for the remainder of the day. Soon after that I was relocated to a State school.

For the rest of my primary schooling my parents ignored any complaints I made. 
Short, skinny, sh#t at sport and in possession of an oddly shaped nose I experienced my fair share of bullying. I just did what normal kids did and picked on someone weaker.

If teachers persecuted me for whatever reason, my parents would just say it must have been my own fault. 
If I was in strife at school then I was in trouble at home ten times the magnitude of school. 

Eventually I learnt resilience.

I had a mongrel of a teacher in Year Seven. Getting off on the wrong foot with him in the very first week was my father’s fault.
“Mr. Fitzgibbon, my Dad says your name is Irish.”

He looked pleased.

“My Dad says that ‘Fitz’ means ‘son of’ and that a gibbon is a monkey, so you must be the son of a monkey.”

My father was such a smart arse.

Fitzy was the old-school type of teacher that would hurl a blackboard duster at inattentive students and called everyone either ‘girly’ or ‘boy’.
One day I was reading aloud in class and I pronounced the word France as ‘Fr-ar-nce’ as opposed the colloquial ‘Fr-air-nts’.
“That’s not how you say it!” he mocked loudly. “Who do you think you are Miss Hoity Toity!”

The whole class laughed while he brutally humiliated me for about ten minutes.
Did I go home bleating and sooking to my mother? 

No…what I wanted was vengeance.

Fitzy was in charge of the Sports Room which housed the entire school’s sporting equipment. Useless twit that he was, the key to the Sport’s Room was constantly going AWOL. 

Fitzy was forever standing up week after week at assembly going red in the face about how his beloved key was missing again. 

Eventually the moronic gorilla had the common sense to dictate that he was to be in sole possession of the key. The lock on the sports room door had been replaced for the final time and no one (except for him) was allowed to touch it under any circumstances.

His crucial mistake was to hang his precious key on a hook in our classroom. My friend Lyndell and I furtively hid the key behind some books on a shelf and waited to see what transpired.

Fitzy hit the roof. I swear I have never seen an angrier or more florid face. His blood pressure must have been off the scale and the school was in an uproar.

From memory I think Lyndell and I continued the torture for a few days. Eventually it was we two heroes who ‘discovered’ the key which had somehow fallen behind the books.

Fitzy resigned within a month.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pinky's Garden of Eden


Gardening is not one of the main interests in our lives. The only horticultural fact I know is how to tell the difference between a plant and a weed; a plant is easier to pull out of the ground. 
Scotto sometimes gets artistic with the hedges out the front but he’s not exactly a ‘Don Burke’. 

Except for the pool garden our backyard is covered in stamped concrete. Low maintenance is the key concept.

When Hagar has spent his pay packet and is desperate for moolah, he will agree to mow the front yard for twenty bucks. Mind you, he refuses to use a catcher and doesn’t include whipper-snipping the lawn edges in that fee. It literally takes Hagar ten minutes to complete the job as he runs up and down the yard at high speed leaving a mess of grass cuttings in his wake.

The house I lived in with my ex-husband had a huge rainforest type garden which needed considerable maintenance and was entirely unsuitable for two non-gardeners. 

He was constantly out in the garden with the machete, slashing Bougainvillea vines and violently tussling with the thorny pest. The barbed creeper was his arch nemesis and he complained acrimoniously about it. 

The garden was a great adventure playground for the kids but there was a big drop from the verandah onto jagged rocks in the garden below. With five small children running around I was concerned about the possibility of one of them toppling over the railing. 

A friend, Penny had employed a group of Salvadoran landscapers to do some renovations and she recommended them to me.

It wasn’t long before I came up with one of the most outrageously expensive and stupid schemes I’ve ever concocted. 

With great expectations and monetary outlay, the Salvadorans were engaged to build a wide monolithic structure using stone pitching. The resulting platform would safely ensure that if one of the kids happened to plummet from the verandah there would only be a three foot drop. 

For six weeks, like a demented high priestess, I oversaw the hard-working men wheel a profusion of rocks to the construction site. 

About half way through production I started to question the feasibility of the exercise. Maybe I should have merely blocked off access to the railings? 
In the interim, the modern equivalent of a misshapen Mayan temple had begun to take shape. 

Regrettably the final result was a hideous eyesore. I didn’t have the heart to tell Carlos and Mauricio after all their hard work but it was a truly monstrous carbuncle on the landscape of our garden. The Royal Horticultural Society would not be knocking on my door for tips any time soon. 
And one day Jonah still managed to fall off the verandah the long way.

Meanwhile my then-husband, wanting to contribute to the garden makeover, had been busy buying new plants at the nursery.

He proudly showed me his half-price spoils.

“You do realise those are bougainvillea.” I commented sadly.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's Oscar time again!

And the Oscar goes to …

Every year our good mate Greigor runs an Oscar betting pool. In honour of his efforts I have endowed my own family with Oscar accolades for their many dramatic and entertaining exploits.

Best Actress- 
And the Oscar goes to…Pinky Poinker (Me!)
Sick to death of nineteen year old Hagar pilfering my Lean Cuisines from the freezer for his afternoon snack I theatrically feigned alarm.
“Hagar, please don’t tell me you ate the Chicken Masala from the freezer! You do know that Lean Cuisines are especially produced for menopausal women don’t you? They are loaded with oestrogen!”
“What’s oestrogen?” he enquired with measured interest.
“It’s a hormone Hagar!” I continued melodramatically. “It’s not meant for growing men! You’ll start growing boobs if you don’t watch yourself.”
He has never touched my Lean Cuisines since.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
And the Oscar goes to …Unspecified Ingenue
It was New Year’s Eve 2010 and fifteen year old Padraic was shoving a phone number in front of my face.

“ Hey! Momma Bear (Padraic’s nickname for me when he wants something), it’s Murdoch’s Mum’s phone number,” he insisted. “Murdoch asked me to sleep over tonight to play video games. You can ring his Mum and check if you like.”

Padraic was supposed to be coming to a party with Scotto and I, but I relented and rang the mother. I’d never met her and she sounded very nice and she promised to keep a close eye on them for the night.

At nine o’clock that night I got a phone call from eighteen year old Jonah asking me if I was aware of the fact that Padraic was on an Island eight kilometres off the coast, imbibing in the pleasures of an unsupervised teenage shindig.

I put two and two together recalling that Murdoch’s “mother” had sounded exceedingly young. I rang the number as it was still in my phone. 

“Can I speak to Padraic please?” I said tersely.

“Who?” came the confused and girlish reply.

“Padraic” I repeated.
There were muffled sounds in the background, 

“Oh sh#*!”… (here the voice deepened as the phone was passed to Meryl Streep Junior). 

“Padraic has just gone down to the shops with Murdoch. I’ll get him to call you back.”

“Yes, you do that!” I drawled. “Tell him his Momma Bear wants to talk to him.”

Best Foreign Film

And the Oscar goes to …Lulu

When Lulu was in Year Nine she went to France on a school trip, based on the concept of language immersion. She was to stay with a French family and attend a French school for two weeks. 
In order to extract the formidable financial outlay from us both, she convinced her father and I she would return with a better knowledge of the language. 

I was petrified about her going as at fourteen she was a bit of a dipstick. Ensuring she had a money bag to be worn under her clothing I lectured her endlessly about keeping all her documents securely ensconced in it. 

“Yes Mum, I know, I’ll be careful so can you please stop nagging.”

On the morning of departure, after putting her luggage in the boot and pulling out of the driveway on the way to the airport, I noticed something on the ground in front of the car. 
It was her passport.

Lulu managed to keep it together somehow and return safely but I don’t think she picked up one word of French. She promptly dropped out of the subject as soon as she got back. 
She also managed to do a lot of shopping when she was over there though.


And the Oscar goes to… Lulu

Lulu loves her camera and thought it would be funny to take a clandestine photo of me with wet hair, no make-up and shoving a huge forkful of food into my cakehole. She then posted it on Facebook to get a lot of likes from her friends. 

It was 346 likes at last count.

Best Action Movie

And the Oscar goes to… Scotto

The first time my husband Scotto met my parents he was sh#ting himself. As we had met on the internet, Mum and Dad were extremely suspicious of poor Scotto.

“How do you know he’s not a serial killer?” asked Dad earnestly.

“Or a paedophile?” chimed in Mum.

We invited them over for coffee and when they arrived we opened the door to greet them. Before anyone could say a word, Willy the silky terrier took the opportunity to abscond and shot through the door at high speed. 

Scotto kicked off his shoes chasing after the little fugitive as quickly as he could. Willy hurtled along the path at the speed of light and before long we lost sight of them. 

Half an hour later Scotto finally returned carrying the wayward mongrel in his arms. He was grazed, bleeding, red-faced and dripping with sweat. 

Great first meeting? 
My parents are massive dog lovers and Scotto could not have prompted a better impression if he’d tried.

Best Screen Play

And the Oscar goes to… Thaddeus

When Thaddeus was fourteen he came to me with a play script he’d written. His teachers wanted him to enter it in some competition or other and he wanted my opinion on it. After reading it I handed it back to him, 

“It’s really good Thaddeus. You’ve done well.”

In all honesty I hadn’t liked the play at all. In my opinion there were too many scene changes, outrageous characters, an unbelievable storyline and it just wasn’t funny. I would never have discouraged him though by telling him that.

Six weeks later I opened a letter to read that Thaddeus had won the Queensland Theatre’s Young Playwright of the Year. They wanted to fly Thaddeus and a parent to Brisbane so that they could workshop the play with him. Some professional actors would then perform his play at the theatre. 

What the hell do I know? 

This all played out beautifully and I was very proud of my son. I have to say I was never more thankful that I had kept my big idiot mouth shut for once.

What was the play about? 
Oh, a dysfunctional mother and her five rebellious kids. 

…I’m being serious.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Kitchen Fools

Recently my gorgeous sister-in-law Maz, was staying with us on a mini break. We were both in the kitchen making sandwiches when seventeen year old Padraic bellowed from the TV room,“Make us one too please Momma Bear!”

“Make it your bloody self!” muttered Maz under her breath. 

I don’t blame her for thinking that Padraic was a lazy git and I was a sap but she didn’t quite grasp the dynamics of the situation. 

If I had encouraged Padraic to make his own lunch he probably would have put the entire 500grams of ham on his sandwich, bar one slice; which he would have left so that he wouldn’t have to go to the effort of throwing the packet away. 

It’s easier to make it for him. 
My mother is not much of a cook and didn’t bestow any catering skills upon me. 

In turn I have held back on sharing my negligible culinary expertise with the kids. 

When I was about fourteen I participated in the compulsory Domestic Science classes at school (yes… I know I’m dating myself again). My botched scones, gluey Blancmange and the Shepherd’s Pie (which was passable until someone trod on it during the bus trip home) resulted in a fail mark in that subject.

When Hagar was in Year Ten he elected to enrol in the Hospitality subject at his all boys school. 

I cannot imagine why any teacher would opt to teach cooking to a throng of fifteen year old bludgers, but good on them I say. 

I’m sure some of the lads were serious and perhaps wanted to become chefs or banqueting managers, but Hagar was not one of them. He just thought he could slack off and avoid meatier subjects. He probably envisaged an orgy of skylarking and food fights. 

His mid-year assignment was to make something from a recipe found in a book or the internet. Hagar chose to prepare chocolate bagels. 

He’d either been watching too much Seinfeld or researching Polish/Jewish cooking websites to come up with that plan because bagels weren’t one of my fortes.

The finished products bore a strong resemblance to artistic dog turds that had been dried in the sun. The bagels tasted sufficiently acceptable and were lovingly wrapped and offered to the teacher. I’m assuming Hagar lost marks for gastronomic presentation and he was awarded a C minus. 

His final assessment was to be completed at school and I was handed a shopping list that included green prawns, spices and an exotic onion I’d never heard of. 

I wished him luck as he rode off to school that morning with his ingredients safely stored in his backpack. 

I recall it was somewhat of a hot day.

Apparently the cooking experience went well and all was looking good until he bumped into his teacher after recess.

“Do you feel okay?” asked the clammy, green-tinged teacher. “I’ve just been throwing up in the toilet and I think it was those prawns.”

“Yeah Miss, I’m fine,” responded the nonchalant Hagar. 

“I didn’t eat any of them.”

So just like his Mum, Hagar failed cooking class.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Should screaming kids be banned from shopping centres?

On my way to work this morning the radio jocks were discussing the hoo-ha about uncontrolled children screaming in shopping centres. 
Believe me, I can sympathise with the poor mothers. 

There was the incident when Thaddeus tipped two year old Jonah out of a shopping trolley. He wasn’t hurt but he got a fright and let all and sundry know about it. 

I remember another incident when Lulu stood on a bee in Coles and screamed blue murder. ‘Why was the child barefoot?’ I hear you ask. She couldn’t find a matching pair amongst the plethora of footwear on the floor of the car of course. I had to carry the screeching banshee to the deli counter in search of ice whilst avoiding the disgruntled glares. 

But let’s face it; there are far more harrowing annoyances in a shopping mall than a kid going off.

Everyone can cite the usual grievances; 

(a) The ‘mirage’ parking spots where you think you’ve finally hit jackpot and then at the last minute, see a motorbike parked in the space.

(b) Annoying merchandising ploys such as putting Easter eggs on display on December 26.

(c) Weird lighting in dressing rooms that give your reflection the appearance of an uninspiring corpse. 

(d) The fact that they’ve changed clothing sizes and I don’t fit into size eight any more. 

(e) Waiting tetchily in line at the checkout for ages and realising that the girl has had her “Counter Closed” sign up the whole time.

But…it’s the people who drive me insane.

Those insistent spruikers who stand in wait directly in front of the shops. I try to walk by purposefully with my head down and a preoccupied look on my face. 

“Excuse me Madame! Would you like a free exfoliating hand massage with our lotion made from the grounds of the Dead Sea Scrolls?” 

“No thanks, I have five kids and can’t even afford food.” is my stock reply.

Then there is the cute geriatric couple languidly pushing the trolley down the middle of the aisle. Don’t get me wrong, I adore oldies, but I hate getting stuck behind their trolley and being compelled to wait patiently and listen to them argue over brands of Worcestershire sauce.

 I’ll see the sneaky little seniors heading towards the check out the same time as me. Knowing I could easily zip ahead and get to the counter first, I get the guilts and wave them and their overloaded, monthly shopping trolley ahead of me. 

I think the people I most dislike meeting in the shopping centre are old acquaintances I haven’t seen for years. 

When we first spot each other it’s all hugs and “How are you?” 
We chinwag and banter for about ten minutes then say a fond farewell. 
The trouble with shopping centres is that you see them again in about thirty seconds in the next aisle. 

And the next… and the next …and the next. 

With each encounter the ripostes become briefer and pithier. By the final aisle you feel so uncomfortable you’re barely acknowledging each other.

Seriously, give me a screaming brat any day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Do you fear the dentist?

In the classroom today one of my students blurted out,
“How old are you Mrs. W.?”

Another rude (honest) little girl intervened, 
“I reckon she's about fifty-three!”

Some of the boys snickered but a few of my devotees gasped in horror.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” one of them retorted, “she’d be in a wheel chair if she was fifty-three!”

“I’m as old as my nose and a little bit older than my teeth.” I replied with a witless quip that immediately placed me at about one hundred and fifty-three.

I was in the car with sixteen year old Lulu and her friend recently and they were telling me about a fight that had broken out at a party they’d been at.

“Did it get to fisticuffs?” I enquired innocently.

This comment released peals of unbridled mirth.

“Fisticuffs!” they derided. “Where are we? The eighteenth century?”

I suppose the use of archaic language is a sign of getting a bit long in the tooth.

There… I did it again.

Speaking of teeth I seem to have developed a morbid fear of dentists over last fifteen years or so. Like most women I detest having my annual Pap smear test but give me a choice between that and the dentist and I’d be on the doctor’s bed faster that you could say odontophobia. 

“Your teeth are fine, it’s your gums that have to go!” said my wisecracking dentist after my fifth child Lulu had been born. 

My gums had become so spongy that one of my front teeth had dropped from its socket and was protruding forward in a Chad Morganesque manner. Seriously, I looked like I could eat an apple through a tennis racket. 

The solution was to grind the tooth to a stump and cover it with a porcelain veneer. After sixteen hours in the chair I emerged with a white and polished incisor. 

One week later it fell off when I was flossing in the shower. Luckily I managed to grasp the costly article before it went down the drain and it was glued back on. 

Fast forward fifteen years and I was sitting eating a crispy base pizza on a Saturday night when I heard an extra crunch in my mouth. The stump had turned an unappealing yellow over the years and I couldn’t leave the house until my appointment on Monday. I looked a bit scary.

For dramatic effect I walked in on Hagar watching telly and smiled wickedly at him. 

Silently staring at me with a horror-struck expression he gestured at the television and grunted. He was watching “Swamp People” and I think he was trying to tell me something.
Monday arrived and the dentist re-glued my veneer for a paltry two hundred bucks. Exactly one week later eating the same brand of pizza it happened again, but this time I’d managed to chomp the porcelain into about eight pieces.

My boss, who was growing suspicious of my consecutive Monday sickies recommended a new dentist. This one didn’t believe in veneers. 

“They have a habit of falling off.” He remarked superfluously.

Two hours later, after having my jaw propped open by the large-fisted dentist and a vacuum-armed nurse, I surfaced with a newly sculpted tooth made from composite filling.

Happy ending? Not quite. Two days later the back of the filling fell off. 

I'm leaving it like that.
Hey! Just like the back of a safe, who needs a back to a tooth?