Wednesday, 31 December 2014


I guess this could be seen as a post about new year's resolutions but I don't want to think about it that way.
It's almost like in uttering them, they become a big fat burden and invariably get chucked out.
So instead I'm just thinking out loud about a couple of things I plan to do for myself and see where it goes.

After what's been a challenging year - 2014 seems to have been a difficult one for lots of people and was for our little family - I'm hoping/wishing that 2015 will be less fraught.

This year, in no particular order, I plan to grow my hair again (cut it shorter and wish I had the length back), walk more, be less stressed by things I can't change, explore new opportunities with my writing and live more in the moment.

It will also be a year of changes. Now that our youngest has finished school we're planning to sell our home of 16 years and move out of the burbs and closer to the beach. Downsizing. We don't need the big house anymore and we want to do more travelling and less maintaining of property. We're not sure yet where we will end up. Ms Ripe will come with us we think at this stage but she may also decide to move in with friends or live in at uni when we know what she's offered.

It's exciting. And it's the right time for us. Mr Ripe and I have been together 32 years, married for 30. We've raised our three babies, fed, clothed, schooled and prioritised our tribe but now it's time to draw breath and go forward in a new way.

I'm looking forward to what will happen. And where this next stage of our journey together will take us.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The education of JoeyRipe continues

What I learnt this year - the top 25 cos that's my real age

1. Supervising a Learner driver does not get easier third time around
2. Starting a new job is hard
3. You are never ever too old to learn
4. I am too much of a smartarse at times
5. Family is everything
6. Love hurts
7. Watching your child suffer, no matter how old, is heartbreaking
8. VCE (year 12 for you non-Victorians) is a bitch
9. A good glass of champagne will always help
10. Walking on the tready every day does work
11. Always check the shower before getting in (redback spider alert)
12. I can be married for 30 years and still be in love
13. Writing a book is a labour of aaaggghhhh
14. Regrets are pointless
15. I don't have to be the strong one all the time
16. My mum and brother are lunatics when they get together
17. Kindness is underrated but it's the best thing ever
18. My youngest turning 18 is bittersweet
19. I miss sleeping waiting for 18 year old to come home
20. Burch and Purchase gourmet wagon wheels are the bomb
21. I need a new oven
22. Sometimes you need to force people to talk, no matter how much they don't want to
23. Top TV - The Fall, Missing & Endeavour
24. Old friends are the best
25. New friends can be too

Monday, 29 December 2014


Last night we (Mr Ripe, Ms Ripe and I) grabbed a few bottles of wine, a salad Ms Ripe had whipped up and some leftover Chrissy chocolates - are they multiplying in the cupboard? - and moseyed over to our neighbours for a BBQ. Another couple was there with their teenage daughter and the neighbours also have two teenage girls. We'd been planning to catch up for a while but you know - life. It just gets in the way. There was talk about the neighbours of course. We have two families where the dads are carrying on a bromance. They spend most weekends sitting in the garage of one house drinking, watching sport on the telly and every so often whip out the clippers and give each other a haircut. We're not sure where it's headed but makes for interesting viewing! What stopped us in our tracks at last night's gathering was a conversation between our neighbours and their outspoken 15 year old (is there any other kind of 15 year old girl??) The parents have got a tracking device on her phone because they are concerned about where she is, who she is with and the weirdos in the world waiting to prey on their daughter.
They say it's not about her necessarily, but if she got kidnapped they would be able to find her. I admit to being a bit gobsmacked by it all. Whilst I'm all for safety, I think tracking your teenage daughter's movements is a big step. As a parent of three now adult children - Ms Ripe is now 18 - I think trust and responsibility for your own actions are so important for a child as they grow to be an adult. Course I said so. Dur. But privately, not in front of the feisty 15 year old who thinks her parents are paranoid and delusional. I know the world can be dangerous and there are plenty of crazies out there. But there are plenty of good people too. How does anyone decide between the two if they aren't equipped? If they haven't had to mature and make decisions themselves? Trust is such a fragile thing between parent and child. For me, I couldn't put it at risk in this way.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Done and dusted

It's been a big few days. Started with the arrival of my brother from LA and boy did we have some fun. Dan Murphys is wondering what sent its profits soaring above projected levels. As it should be there were many late nights, stories shared and many many laughs. In 20 something years, we have had Christmas with him twice and boy did we make up for it. There was loads of food and Melbourne turned on the most glorious day for it. I was pretty pleased with my Christmas table. Grabbed some fir branches from my big tree out the front and sprayed them with gold glitter. Gave red roses the same treatment with a sprinkling of gold dust and with lots of little fairy lights it looked very festive.
Highlights for me: my mum's joy that we were together (defs the best pressie ever for her); playing backyard cricket; the yummy seafood and Chrissy pudding and the thoughtful pressies from the kids. Lowlights: my stupid temperamental oven which meant my pork crackling was a dismal failure. Grrr. Time for a new oven Santa. Christmas still continues to be little weird with older kids now. We're up early waiting for them to wake. Yes, it's nice to start the day with a coffee before the chaos but I miss that crazy 5am wakeup now I don't have it any more.

Monday, 15 December 2014


I am the mother of a helper. Someone whose profession means he runs towards trouble, not from it. I have had to adjust to that. When he was a teenager, going out, we'd always say watch out for trouble, look after yourself, walk away. Like so many of you yesterday I watched the hostage crisis unfold in Sydney. Tears. Anger. Fear. The faces of those girls fleeing, terror chasing their footsteps. And then the news this morning of the police storming in, gunfire, death. Courage. The young café manager who risked all for those around him. And those police and emergency workers who despite their best efforts could not save everyone. @edenland posted this on her instagram
and it made me think of this: Remember the power of love and creation will always triumph over the power of destruction and revenge. —Walter Mikac. It will always triumph. #blessthehelpers

Thursday, 11 December 2014


In the spirit of Mrs Woog's trip back in time to Christmases past, I remember a cracker of a Christmas. I was nine and like Mrs Woog, my mum had just remarried after it being just my brother, mum and I for five years. And it was good. He loved us and we loved him. He was the brother of the lady next door and we'd known him for a while. The neighbours had been like our extended family for years. And now those neighbours - all four kids, our best mates - were now our real cousins. Magic. These were the kids we made towel turbans and daisy chain headpieces with after spending a day in the sun, crisping up our skin and eating frozen cordial ice strips that made our chins sticky. Sweaty from backyard cricket, wearing bikinis and terry towelling tops - mine had Minnie Mouse on it - we would pinch Uncle Max's passionfruit straight from the vine and suck out the centres. Our real dad had buggered off to pastures unknown, never to be seen again, when we were little. Let's just say he was a nasty piece of work not a nice fella. Come Christmas morning there were two things under the tree - a pair of Orange Daddy Long stilts - woohoo - and a black and white puppy.
So exciting, wonderful, extraordinary. Of course that afternoon the puppy sat in the pav on the backseat of the car and got yelled at, tried to eat the extension cord for the lights and spewed everywhere at Aunty Barb's. Nobody really cared. I loved that puppy (she lived to be 15) and I rocked those stilts. I could even jump rope in them. But as great as the presents were, for my brother and I that Christmas was about seeing our mum happy. I didn't even realise that I'd felt worried about life but I must have because I remember the relief of feeling secure after years of not being sure everything would be ok even though I don't think until I was older I really understood what I had felt. And best of all, my mates were now really my family.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


What is your etiquette when it comes to the loo? Are you one stall removed? Do you take the last one? Or don't give a toss? I despise people coming into the cubicle next to me when there are others to choose from. I just don't get it. If you were getting on a bus and there were spare seats, would you squish up against the person you didn't know? No. You'd sit in another seat with your bags and phone and book if you're a planner. That's another thing. Why do people talk on the phone in the toilet? If it's ever happened to you - hello darling Mr Ripe - it echoes. People can tell. I also don't want to hear you letting loose to your bestie about Cheryl from Accounts and how she's pissed you off as you're pissing. Where's the dignity. You're in the toilet. Leave space. Shut up. Quickly and quietly please. And don't even get me started on those that leave a mess behind....

Monday, 24 November 2014


"I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretence, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience" - Meryl Streep.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It's gone

Calamity. I think I've lost my shopping mojo. The other day Littlest Ripe and I headed off to the mecca that is Chadstone for a VIP shopping night. As we approached we saw this
And there we sat for 80 freaking minutes! barely inching forward. surrounded by lunatics trying to push their way in. Bedlam. When we finally made it in we found a park like that (snaps fingers). Awesome. In we went and proceeded to meet a wall of people. I know. What did we expect? But seriously, this was beyond anything seen before. I quickly sedately ran walked toward the champagne stand but alas. The crowds were 10 deep and despite highly trained champagne grabbing skills honed at the Melbourne Cup and years of soirees, I failed! And so did my shopping. I left that place of worship with NOTHING. I fear my shopping mojo has left the building. So today, I again entered the fray. Leaving the coalface during lunch to see if it was just lurking under the surface. I hightailed it to The Glen - and once more emerged empty handed. Something is very wrong. Let's hope it shows up before Christmas morning or the Ripe's are stuffed. Like the turkey.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

no pain no gain

So Mr Ripe and I ran away reluctantly left our darlings for a relaxing night away. Part of our pampering plans was a lovely massage. Are you like me and prepare for a massage? First off - the full dehair. There should be no leg forest for the poor masseuse to have to part in order to reach your lily white skin. Also no tufty scratchy regrowth.
And one must wear demure black undies. When it comes to a massage, I am of the medium pressure camp. Not too firm but I like to know they're there. Mr Ripe prefers his a little softer and is disappointed if he doesn't relax enough to snooze. Unfortunately, my masseuse took pressure to a whole new level. There was definitely a touch of the Mrs Danvers (Faux Fuschia) about her. At one point, as she unleashed her whole body weight onto my lower back, I thought my ovaries might pop out and say hello. I squeaked a little but didn't speak up. I knew it was probably what my tight little shoulder/back needed and pondered the unfairness of tight shoulders rather than tight abs as she pummelled away.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

hear me roar

So yesterday Katy Perry rocked up to a fancy girls’ school in Melbourne to mingle with the students and share wisdom. Got me thinking about who’d darkened the doorstep of my old school – Kildare College – and given us life lessons. Can I just add that we had the worst uniform eva. Like, it was brown and white check and in winter we wore an itchy brown tunic that buttoned at the front with a lemon round necked shirt. The kids from the neighbouring high and tech schools called us Brown Cows. And we were.
But I digress. From my addled memory, there was the Shire President who banged on about the joys of civic responsibility and rates and...oh I forget, think this is where I carved “shut up” into my arm with my trusty school compass. And let’s not forget the local sheep farmer who bought in Blackie, his big hairy sheep, to shear. Big, hairy, smelly and not happy that a roomful of girls were giving him the once over. And let’s not talk about how the sheep felt. So I applaud the girls at Loreto Mandeville Hall for conning persuading their teachers that Katy Perry, famous for her tassle-twirling bras, retro hairstyles and sassy songs, will steer them on the right path. Beats aiming to be a shearer.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


So I'm back from a fantastic week at Noosa where there was much consummation of yummy cocktails, eating, lazing by the pool and swimming and jumping over waves at the beach. I think it's the most I've swum since I was about 15 and that's because I committed to losing weight and getting fitter last year and did it. A massive win for me, I've struggled with my weight for most of my life and always wanted quick quick results without really putting in the effort to exercise. This time around I ignored the scales, made a promise to walk three/four times a week and had Lite n Easy for dinner. I've dropped a couple of dress sizes and started running! Incredible. I'm not one of those who love exercise, doubt I ever will, but it has helped me decompress the day and I just whack on the music and get on with it. The way I feel afterwards is good but the confidence it brings me is even better. I just feel better about myself, and that's a feeling worth sweating for. So, back to the hols. Best thing was the time spent at the beach, laughing as the waves pushed us around and we emerged dripping and panting to lie in the sun for a while before racing back in. It was so much fun to do that simple activity with my hubby and daughter. We had some old friends come and stay with us at our lovely accommodation and went swimming in the rain at 10pm, sneaking onto the water slides in the resort's kids pool which was a hoot. And there may have been some karoake. Now back to the world of ice cold air con in the office, but the holiday spirit still lingers and there's more big changes for me this year with a new job in two weeks. Life is good.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


The weather is insane. It's 44C and we are All suffering. We're worried about our 15 year old Maltese Shitzu Ralph who has slowed down so much in the past six months and who plods around when he's not sleeping. Harry our 2 year old Maltese Shitzu is coping fine but poor old Ralphie is finding this hideous heat hard. I'm coping by thinking cool thoughts, spending some quality time in the spa with a glass of bubbles, cool air inside and floaty outfits. Of course many are doing it tougher. Fires burn and temperatures will be high again tomorrow, increasing the further risk of fires. We live in a beautiful spot close to the Dandenong Ranges but summer is a danger time for this lush and lovely place. At least they've postponed the tennis before someone expires on centre court! ps: couldn't wait to start The Rosie Project - in this heat need distraction! The spa, a book, bubbles - divine.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Around the grounds

Blimey it's hot in my little home town. 42C yesterday, currently at 38C and the massive heatwave is expected to peak on Friday.

To add to the joy, the aircon in the office is on the fritz - thankfully an emergency crew dashed out into the scorching day and returned with icypoles.  Phew!

Cannot explain how much I am looking forward to heading up to lovely Noosa on the weekend for a break with Mr WLB and Ms A. Have begun packing and already hallucinating about the cocktails and the reading time. Have heard great reviews of The Rosie Project so have that tucked away but will also need another - am a fast reader. I was planning on taking Barracudda but couldn't wait and read it over Christmas and have to say, was a little disappointed. Didn't grip me as much as I thought it would - got a bit sick of the main character and his obsession with himself and his bodily functions. Enough said. Any recommendations? Have been followed Nikki's advice and bought a few kaftans and kimonos for my holiday wear and tried a few shops I normally would have bypassed on her recommendation.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Man eating rabid feminists unite

Oh I love this....the sassy wit and the smart aleckness of it.

These are the women to be admired...not the sort that think this rubbish is noteworthy.
Just take this from the redoubtable Miss Thompson on why she won an award for her role as PL Travers: "I can’t think what gave me the edge; it must have been the perm. Which was a great sacrifice; it meant no sex, of course, for months on end. And then only with animal noises accompanying it." Ladies, this is what confidence sounds like. If these two delicious creatures represent man eating rabid feminists - I'm in. And I'm bringing my mates.

Monday, 6 January 2014


Like most females with a pulse, I have a hankering for the lovely Colin Firth that has its origins of course in the Lake and the white shirt.

 I knew his latest film, The Railway Man, was not going to be a Bridget Jones laugh/lust fest and that's okay.

This is a movie that takes the viewer on a harrowing, emotional journey and I believe it's the sort of story we should bear witness to so that the men who were part of this awful situation know they are being recognised and their stories heard.

Many at the cinema were older than me and I wondered about how many had uncles or dads who had slaved on the Thai Burma railway. One woman behind me, during a particularly difficult scene, called out "they should be shot" about the Japanese soldiers.

I think Colin will win another Oscar for this one. Nicole Kidman, not my favourite actress by a long shot, is pretty good too as is Jeremy Irvine, the bloke who plays the younger main character.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The wrap up

So, to today. Highlights of today without doubt this story which prompted my brain to spin-off (pun intended) into far too many areas and this one which has made me think the whole world has gone Monday-crazy. Wouldn't want to be Scott Morrison when that big truck of sanitary products rocks up to his door... I'm missing the sunshine. Last year temperatures in my hometown were hitting 40 - too hot - but we've had hardly any summer and as Miss A would say, that makes me tired. But all is not lost - in a few short weeks I will be finally having my summer hols and it's off to Noosa I go to lounge, laze, guzzle and munch my way through days of glorious sunshine. Fingers crossed. I intend to try many cocktails, read, read and read, swim, jetski, get a massage and mooch about. I believe I've earned it after a year of doggged work and managing Miss A's 17 year oldness and Master B's wedding extravanganza in November. Do you think it would be wrong to have a few practice margaritas? Thought you'd be on my side.. x Jo