Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Goals and resolutions for 2010

I dunno about goals and resolutions. Eg: will not say the 'F' word, will not drink alcohol, will not eat butter and cream, will not be mean to 'L' platers, will not get pool rage at swimmers who should be in the SLOW lane - mostly men - but choose the MEDIUM lane, etc...

But here goes:

My combined GOALS and RESOLUTIONS FOR 2010 (glad to be into double digits, so much more comfy, and doesn't 'noughties' suck? Who made that up?)

1. To still be on the planet and fully (or full) compos mentis in 2011

2. To be nicer (to some people). Definition of nicer: smile and wave politely when a Beemer driver ignores your indicator and doesn't let you change lanes

3. To be civil to my mother-in-law and forgive her her evil mother-in-law ways

4. To write a f%#@**$* book that I think is half OK (*still working on New Year's resolution #1)

5. To write a book the planet loves

6. To be nicer to Spanner... maybe not that much nicer

7. To swim lots

8. To relax - breathe in, breathe out, now do it again slowly

9. To be kind to ants - I am the ant killer. When I knock on Heaven's door, 20 million angel ants

will protest my admission

10. To revel in the f**%$#@* amazing life I've been given

Happy NEw YeaR to EveryONE and may all your goals and resolutions be achieved.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Merry Christmas tree story

Last night Miss Hissy, the dog and I strolled to the local reserve and decorated a small She Oak with a bit of tinsel.

There's a stand of She Oaks on the hill near the bay. Our tree is down the bottom of the hill with a few others that have sprouted from the mature trees' seed.

We would have decorated it earlier, but the weather has been ferociously hot. Every night it's threatened to storm but then the dark menacing clouds have moved on.

I penned a poem and stuck it on the tree. Here it is:

Please respect this heartfelt plea
Don't nick the tinsel from the tree
Just watch it sparkle in the sun
Bringing joy to everyone
It's been a hard and stressful year
So, let this tree bring some good cheer
We wish you a Christmas filled with joy
Every woman, man, girl and boy
Take a moment, enjoy the glitter
Forget about Facebook, abandon Twitter
Live life to the fullest, always have a kind heart
And may 2010 bring you and yours a brand new start.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Shark alert for 2010: Australian Russell Mulcahy to direct Bait in 3D

I love a good shark movie.

And now it looks like Australia will have its very own Jaws, with Russell Mulcahy about to direct a 3D movie starring one of the planet's most feared and loathed creatures.

According to a newspaper report, the film is set on the Gold Coast, a glitzy coastal tourist strip in Queensland. But the sharks aren't nibbling people's vitals while they splash about in the Pacific Ocean.

Mulcahy has ratcheted up the scream-o-meter by complicating the premise with a crazed bandit, a natural disaster and a claustrophobic setting.

In Bait in 3D shoppers and tourists are terrorised, not only by an armed maniac, but also a posse of ravenous tiger sharks washed into an underground supermarket carpark after a tsunami.

Some of you might remember one of Mulcahy's first movies, Razorback, the story of a feral pig that (from memory - I'm too lazy to Google it) terrorises an Australian outback community. I saw it at the cinema in the '70s and had a giggle as the giant pig with the serrated back tore through the undergrowth in pursuit of its human prey.

Bait in 3D sounds far more terrifying than a li'l ol' pig with anger-management issues.

I await its release with baited breath.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Mr Teece's Twenty Two Tips for Life

Mr Teece, a teacher at Miss Hissy's school, retired this year. At the school assembly held in his hounour, he read out his recipe for a successful life.

I have taken the liberty of posting Mr Teece's Twenty Two Tips for Life. It's not Desiderata, but who needs to revisit the '70s? Not moi.

I'm sure Mr Teece wouldn't mind people hanging his words of wisdom on the back of the toilet door.

1. Get to know the real you - your strengths, your weaknesses, your values and beliefs, things you hold dear.

2. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

3. Work at something you enjoy and that's worthy of your time.

4. Be forgiving of yourself and others.

5. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

6. Be generous.

7. Have a grateful heart.

8. Try to always view the glass as half full - not half empty.

9. When sorrow or misfortune strike ask yourself, "Do I want to be bitter or get better?"

10. Persistence, persistence, persistence.

11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.

12. Commit yourself to quality.

13. Happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige but on relationships with people you love and respect.

14. Be honest.

15. Be a self starter.

16. Be decisive even it means you might sometimes be wrong.

17. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.

18. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.

19. Take good care of the ones you love.

20. Don't do anything that wouldn't make your mum/dad proud.

21. Treat everyone you meet the way you would like to be treated.

22. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90 per cent of your happiness or misery.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Bilgola Ocean Swim: weed, wind and wucking waves

I sit here consoling myself with comfort food - a huge slab of toast lathered with super-crunchy peanut butter.


Today my swimming mate (brother-in-law Davo) and I did the 1.5 km Bilgola swim. And I did a %#@* time (what else is new?) My excuse for today's bad result is that my goggles fogged and filled up, and I kept having to readjust them.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Sydney's northern beaches, Bilgola is one of the prettiest. In the olden days it wouldn't have been easily accessible, as it's at the base of a steep hill and is bound by Bilgola Head to the north and Newport Head to the south.

It's the first beach you come to as you begin the Serpentine drive that leads to the furthermost stretch of sand on the peninsula, Palm Beach. Bilgola Beach is small - 500 metres long - and faces south east. It's a scrumptious slice of the paradise cake.

But I digress. The swim was to start at 11am but we arrived nice and early (as old codgers do) and nabbed a princess parking spot. Latecomers were able to use the free shuttle-bus service.

The beach had a dank smell and a huge wad of seaweed was floating at the southern end at 9.30am. By the time the swim started, late at 11.15am*, the weed had drifted north, so it was slap-bang in the path of the swimmers entering the water.

The waves weren't that bad, but a breezy south easterly was blowing right onto the beach, which caused lots of chop.

Davo and I went off in the last of the four waves of swimmers (with other old codgers and really young fit kids) and battled our way through thick swatches of weed to get out past the breakers. I think that's when I gave up.

My bloody goggles kept fogging up and the chop was a bugger - it's hard to establish a rhythm when you're swimming in the wash cycle.

I was over it before the first can. I'll admit it, I'm a pool swimmer so I'm soft. Softer than melting butter. Softer than a poached egg. Softer than the gut of that bloke who ran over the finish line before me (I let you win, fat boy).

I also carry the memory of last season, where for many of the swims the waves were freakin' huge. I have made a self-diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome. I'm filled with dread whenever I see a wave - even a piddly one.

But I digress. The swim was clockwise - from the beach it was basically out towards the northern headland, turn right and swim down the beach towards the southern headland, turn right and swim back into the beach.

I finished. And afterwards I began to feel better as Davo (smug bugger did a good time) explained that I am a brave and wonderful person and that not many people would do what I do. I am a goddess. A slow goddess with a wave phobia.

Whatever, it's all fun - until the next one.

*The swim ran late because of the selfish Gen Y'ers who are new to ocean swimming but have decided that it's a trendy addition to their Facebook page.

Theoretical example of a phone conversation between two Gen Y'ers:

James, 25, lives in Mosman and works in IT: 'Like, hey Cameron, there's an ocean swim at Bilgola today. I've got a massive hangover but, like, let's just do it man.'

Cameron, 24, lives in Coogee and works in advertising: 'Like, cool, man. I'll swing by your place whenever. Like, where's Bilgola?'

Photo comes from the ONLY place to go for ocean swimming news

Monday, 7 December 2009

Two ocean swims in Sydney over the weekend is an expensive hobby

Nothing in life is free and that principle can be applied to ocean swimming.

For example, over the past weekend two swims were held in Sydney - one at North Curl Curl and the other from Bondi to Bronte.

The option for people entering an ocean swim is to do the 'earlybird', where you enter and pay online or send a cheque in the mail before the event.

If you choose to enter on the day of the swim (if that option is available) the organisers tend to whack an extra $10 onto the entry fee.

One of the reasons I like to leave entering as late as possible is so I can see what the conditions are like closer to the day.
On the weekend, I was in two minds about swimming because my swimming mate, Davo, was out of town. I left it to the last minute. Will I swim or won't I?

In the end I didn't and saved $90 and two long drives and the stress of finding a parking spot ($40 for North Curly and $50 for B2B - on-the-day entry fees).

I know I missed two good swims (go to to read about them), but I don't mind.

I figure that if I do 10-12 ocean swims this season, I'll be $500+ the poorer.

There are a couple of reasons why ocean swims are getting more expensive - insurance is the big one.

But since I started swimming four years ago, and Precious Princess was doing the swims well before that, the cost has slowly but surely increased.

Still, cost obviously isn't a deterrant as more and more people are taking the plunge and happily forking out their disposable income to participate in a 2-3km swim.

I reckon the rise and rise of ocean swimming has lobbed the golden egg into many Surf Life Saving Clubs' laps.

Crikey, they must be laughing!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Randomness - and the Bloody Beetroots are bloody awful

I quit my job (finished yesterday) so now there's no excuse not to write.

Except Christmas...

And then the New Year...

And the trip to Tassie mid-January.

And so on and so forth and... why does my 18-year-old daughter like the Bloody Beetroots when they sound like fingernails being scraped down a chalkboard?

I thought I was so cool and hip until today. I like Kanye West and the Hilltop Hoods. I can listen to hip hop and appreciate the finer rhyming couplets (see my Christmas mixed dozen for Flight of the Conchords' wonderful send-up of the genre - watch it on YouTube).

But this morning I felt postively ancient. My daughter is going to see the Bloody Beetroots tonight at a club in town. As we drove to a trendy inner-Sydney cafe (my choice 'cos I'm cool) to bond over coffee and panini, she plugged in her iPod and I was subjected to the monotonous trance-dance whir of two Italian DJs who wear masks. How Eurovision is that?

Imagine being stuck in a tree with 1000 cicadas going full bore. That's what the BBs sound like. Un-bloodybeetroot-bearable. I'd rather listen to 'the best of Iron Maiden' on repeat for 24 hours than endure this eccy-induced dirge.

AAArrrgggghhHHHHH. I'm turning into my mother.