Monday, 29 June 2009

He's Still Wacko Jacko to Me

I'm going to say this once and for all: Michael Jackson was not a god. He did nothing for world peace. He was a very weird, mixed-up grown-up, probably a pedophile, who happened to sell a lot of records. Though not to me.

When I opened my paper on Saturday and found an entire section dedicated to him, I knew the world had finally gone mad. Let's get this in perspective. He was a drug addict. He was addicted to other things as well, mostly spending money. Anyone who watched the Martin Bashir interview could never respect the boy/man again. What kind of a man in his 40s has young boys for sleepovers at his house and shares his bed with them? I'll tell you what kind of a man. A pedophile. At my primary school we had a choirmaster who used to have the members of the boys' choir stay the night at his house on Fridays. His wife, who performed in an orchestra, was usually out on Fridays. Yes, he was married. They had no children and she went to church every day and prayed fervently. Years later, it came out what really went on in his house on those Friday nights. And I have no doubt what went on in Jackson's house.

Contrast Jackson's career with Bruce Springsteen's. Here is a man who can write a song. Here is a performer who cares about his fans. And what a performer! I saw him in 1984 in Tallahassee, Fla. He performed nonstop energetically for two hours. I watched him at Glastonbury over the weekend (on TV, I'm not daft enough to actually go there). And he hasn't changed in all these years. And not one word has ever been written about Springsteen and 13-year-old boys.

What is wrong with the world that we elevate people like Michael Jackson to god-like status? OK, he could dance, but so can a lot of people. Could he write a song like "The River"? Nope, don't think so.

He died young-ish, which promotes him to a category peopled by Elvis, Marilyn, Princess Diana, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin. People who were flawed human beings in life, but icons in death. Could you imagine Jackson living to ripe old age? He wouldn't have a face left, for one thing, as all the plastic surgery would finally take its toll. No, he's better off dying when he did. All the O2 concerts would have killed him anyway.

I think we should let Jackson rest in peace. And let ourselves have a rest from him.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Bad, Bad Dreams

I awoke this morning from a dream about my ex-husband. I can't remember the details but I felt uneasy when I awoke so it couldn't have a good dream. Why do I dream about him now when we have been split up for nearly 20 years? Well, Facebook has brought him back into the periphery of my life. We share some friends. We would share even more friends if I could be bothered to invite more people to be my friends. But I hesitate because of him and the bitterness of our divorce.

I think I dreamt of him because of the contrast between him and my hubby. Today is my hubby's 50th birthday party, which I organized against his will. He needs a party. I have never known him to be so depressed. The Ex appears to have a good job and going great guns in his life. Hubby, as we know, lost his job last year and has been met with disappointment after disappointment in his quest for employment. I think the biggest loss in his life, though, has been the dog. This morning, a Saturday, he went downstairs at 6:45. Why are you up so early on a Saturday, I asked. I have to make the coffee, he replied. Not at 6:45! It is a habit he started when we got Jake, and one he seems unable to shake.

My heart bleeds for this man, an intelligent man with a degree in history from Cambridge. A hard-working man who has no time for hobbies. I haven't always treated him well. He hasn't always treated me well. But we're still together.

Unlike with the Ex. When I split with the Ex, many people were genuinely surprised. Others, who were a bit more canny, weren't. The Ex's nickname in the newsroom was the Curmudgeon. He presented a sour face to the world and to me. I am so glad he only exists in my dreams now.

I must finish preparations for tonight. So much to do, so little time. And hopefully hubby will have a great time.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What a dreary week, weatherwise and otherwise. The sun has finally come out though. Hubby got a call today for an interview. And I have decided to take an introduction to massage course and start to follow a dream I've had for a long time.

You see, I'm pretty good at giving massages (not that kind; get your mind out of the gutter). I think it's because I've had so much physical therapy myself, I know where to go to find the source of pain and how to relieve it. I myself have been in pretty constant pain with my back since I don't know when. I'm on the waiting list for physio (four months and counting) and finally broke down last week and went to see a physio privately. She was OK, confirmed my self-diagnosis, and showed me some stretches that I had already found on the internet. She hasn't relieved my pain though.

I have piriformis syndrome. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it's a pain in the butt, literally. The piriformis is a muscle to the side of the sacroiliac joint. In either one-third (what the internet says) or two-thirds (what the physio said) of the population, the sciatic nerve travels through that muscle. When that muscle is overused and contracted too much, it irritates the sciatic nerve and produces a sciatica-type pain down the leg and pins and needles in the feet. But it's not true sciatica because it doesn't originate in the lumbar region of the back.

The other night I was out celebrating a friend's 50th (oh yes!) birthday. She complained of shoulder pain, so I rubbed her shoulders. She knows I've thought about this massage course idea before and she said I should go ahead with it. I woke up the next morning and thought "Why not? Let's go for it." I'll start with the introduction and move on. I could go the sports massage route or stick to the beauty therapy-type massage route. Either way, in about a year's time I should be able to set up my own business.

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have a goal again. Hubby has been so depressed lately. We went out for son's 13th birthday last Tuesday, and hubby was very quiet. We went out for Father's Day yesterday, and he was so glum. He turns 50 on Wednesday, and I think I know what's going on with him. He's afraid he'll never be able to get himself out of this jobless situation. Since we called off trying to buy the last business, he's really been so down. It was the right thing to do, though.

The night we went out for my son's birthday, I learned more about my daughter's drunk and disorderly evening. She apparently got into trouble for "pulling" (snogging) all the boys at the disco. She turned herself in for the drinking, she says, because she doesn't get enough attention at home. I took great exception to this. Her brother is in the middle of exams. He has wasted the entire year, and hubby has been doing remedial study with him in all subjects for the past two-three weeks. We didn't bother with daughter because she's usually so good in all her subjects. We have promised big-time bribes -- I mean incentives -- if they do well this year. Daughter does get attention; it's just not what she wants when she wants it all the time.

I mentioned before how happy the cats are since Jake was put down. Well, so are the birds. They're cheeky buggers too. Yesterday, I looked outside and saw one of the cats lying on the lawn, surrounded by four Magpies. They circled her, taunting her by running towards her and then away again. She just lay there and stretched a paw out towards one of them every now and then. If it happens again, I'll video it. It is very funny to watch.

And now I must go and finish some articles I'm writing for Powder Room Graffiti (

Monday, 15 June 2009

Just When I Thought I Could Breathe

How was your weekend? Peaceful? Full of activity? Here's how mine went:

Daughter planned to go to a disco with some friends. I don't particularly like her hanging out with these girls because alcohol always seems to be involved somewhere. Daughter dyed her hair (why???) and put on fake tan (very badly) Friday night. We were out with friends, the parents of the one of the other girls in fact. Son decided that he'd like to have a party the next night for his birthday. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute. He managed to get four positive responses. The rest were going to the disco.

Saturday arrived calmly and serenely. Daughter spent most of the day at dancing, which suits me as she's been a complete bitch to me lately. When she got home, she hopped into the shower. But wait. I'm already taking a shower. No matter. I screamed out as the water went ice cold. Later I asked how she's getting home. She bit my head off and said she'll find out when the other girls get there. The other girls arrived, but took an hour to finish getting ready. Meanwhile, I took Son and his friend to pick out some DVDs for this great party he's having. Hubby went to the store for some food for these hungry guys. The girls finished getting ready and I drove them to the disco, stopping off at one girl's house to drop off their gear for they are all going there after the disco. The mother came out and asked if I mind them coming home in a taxi. I said I've been told the other girl's mother is driving them home. "Oh, OK," the mother says.

I drove back, settled down to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall, became very engrossed in it when the phone rang. I didn't understand at first, then I thought it was a prank. Could I come pick my daughter up at the disco because she's been drinking? I had to go because hubby had polished off a bottle and half of wine by himself. I flew there practically. She was the only one still there. Immediately, she began to explain herself. The Serial Text Dumper had dumped her two nights before because he didn't like her anymore. She didn't want to tell me because she thought I'd say I told you so. She held it in till the disco. The alcohol was a bottle of whisky provided by one of the girls I took to the disco. She sobbed and apologised and threw herself into hubby's arms when she got home. I gave her two paracetamol and a glass of water. Son watched the whole drama with not-so-quiet amusement.

The next morning the story had changed. It wasn't whisky; it was vodka and they found it outside. What were they doing outside? One of the boys they knew was out taking a pee and they went out too. I wondered why I hadn't heard from any of the parents that day. Finally, I texted my friend to find out if her daughter had gotten home all right. "Oh, yes," she replied, "they took a taxi." I then told her what had happened. I didn't hear back from her for a while. Then she texted that her daughter had told her some boys were outside drinking. So she obviously thinks her daughter wasn't with them.

My daughter is grounded till the end of the school year in five weeks' time. She is not allowed to go out with those girls or anyone else unless I give my approval, which I won't. I'm really disappointed and disgusted.

And it looks like we won't be buying the second business we've looked at even though we're pretty far down the road.


Have I mentioned that I hate my life?

Friday, 12 June 2009

Looking Up the Past

The modern age of the internet means you never have to say goodbye. At least it does for me. Since I went on Facebook, I have rediscovered old friends and old enemies. I have become a cyber researcher (some might say stalker) of ex-colleagues, bosses, and boyfriends.

Here is what I found: Ex-husband has left journalism and has a 7-year-old daughter. He wrote what was hailed on one website as the perfect leaving note. I found it pretentious and self-absorbed, just like himself. And just like a lot of journalists. In what other profession do people make a big deal about writing a leaving note? My hubby didn't, and he worked in his profession for 20-plus years.

One ex-boss was sent to the journalistic equivalent of Siberia after his ego and ambition for a Pulitzer overtook his common sense. He oversaw the writing of a huge expose of a large fruit company. Unfortunately, a felony was committed by one of the reporters, a former colleague of mine, during the investigation, which negated the entire project, ruined ex-boss' career, and very nearly sent the reporter to jail. This all happened more than 10 years ago, but it's new to me. And thanks to the wonder of the internet, I can read all about it.

I found one ex-boyfriend through Facebook. I have not contacted him, but am able to admire his career from afar. He is married, has two kids, and looks VERY happy in his FB picture. His wife's name has the same first letter as my own. His two children's names start with the same letters as my two. Just mentioning.

One ex-boyfriend and ex-husband live in the same state, and actually not that far from each other. They share the same birthday. Just mentioning.

I have made contact with friends from high school and made friends with people I went to high school with but didn't know too well. My world has opened up, but also closed down. I am relighting old friendships, perhaps because some of the ones I have now are very unfulfilling. Or perhaps it's my age. As I get closer to 50, I look backward and homeward more. My children take up less of my time so I have more time. I choose to spend that time relinking with my past.

But there is also something new in my present. I have started to write for a website, Check it out if you have the time.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Young Love, First Love

My daughter has a boyfriend. She finally admitted it to me last week when I took her out for lunch after her ballet exam.

I am happy for her, though feel a little bit apprehensive too. I am ecstatic that she told me. He had been going out with a friend of hers, whom he dumped by text. The friend cried on daughter's shoulder. Daughter made her brownies, talked to her, dried her tears. So why is daughter going out with this guy? She likes him, he likes her. Did this guy break up with the friend to go out with her? Yes. Did she know he was going to do that? Yes. So what kind of a friend does that make her? Well, she feels bad about what happened to the friend, but.... I tried to explain that no guy is worth falling out with your friends over. But.... That's a lesson she will have to learn for herself, I guess. At least she feels guilty. The friend is talking to her again, just about.

I knew something was up when she asked me to get tickets for her and the boy (just her "friend" at that point) to see a rap musician in October. I told her the relationship could be over by October. How would I know that? Because I know about young love. How do I know about young love? Because when I was her age (14), I had a 17-year-old boyfriend who drove and had a car. We met in February and by the summer it was all over when he was caught taking another girl out while I was visiting my grandparents.

But, again, these are lessons she will have to learn for herself.

She seems so happy as she skips off to school each day. She studies hard for her exams. She practices her ballet every day. She manages to keep in touch with her many, many friends. She and hubby are getting along better than ever. She is sad about the dog's demise and feels particularly bad for hubby losing his best friend.

I am happy for her too. And a bit apprehensive. I just hope she doesn't become one of those women who steals other women's boyfriends and husbands.