Tuesday, 11 October 2016

That'll do

Sometimes you get the most perfect message that you haven't done too badly as a mother. Something that makes every pooey nappy, sleepless night, argument, nagging, badgering, worry, standing firm on rules worth it.
This from my 20 year old. Couldn't love her more.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A little prick

Around these parts of late one of the parts hasn't been working.
No, not that part.
For the last few months I've been grappling with frozen shoulder. It's all kinds of painful. Nobody can say for sure how I got it but one thing that gladdens the heart (NOT) is that it's another one of those things that happen when you get older - like hair growing in unwanted places, like menopause, like weight gain for no reason. Thank you universe!

Anyway, the frozen shoulder fun and games started when I woke up one morning and my arm hurt like hell.
I then discovered I couldn't do up my bra - this right arm of mine would not budge past my hip.

Being the stubborn cow I am, I thought I'd let it work itself out and put off getting treatment.

But it was soon obvious that wasn't going to work. At night the pain was intense and a few weeks of little sleep (and still working full time) saw me charge off to get physio.
Part of the issue was not knowing anyone locally where we've moved.

But I discovered the wonderful Eliza at our local osteo clinic. And she introduced me to dry needling - who knew those tiny little slivers of silver/aluminium/whatever could pack such a healing punch!

In they went to my arctic shoulder, giving it a little electric jolt and almost straight away my stubborn arm shifted upwards a few centimetres. Victory!

Eight weeks on and treatment continues. I've got a truckload of rehab exercise to do every day that I struggle with a bit - it hurts and fitting in three repetitions every day is a challenge but I'm trying to do it.

Still can't get my hand behind my back to do up my bra - that's the last hurdle apparently. But can now reach behind to straighten my hair and reach about 135 degrees.

When it comes to frozen (shoulder), I am trying to be like this:

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

That girl

You know those people that bloom and blossom with pregnancy, looking as ripe and dewy as a soft fuzzy peach?
I am not those people.
My pregnancies (all three of them) saw me spend a sizeable portion of the day with my head in a bucket, toilet or on a pillow.

I was so sick. Forget the morning sickness..it was an all day extravaganza.
When I fell pregnant with my third after a seven year hiatus I hoped for the best. Not to be.
I lost 10 kilos in the first few months of the pregnancy and developed pneumonia when she was 24 weeks.
I waddled away from my career, took early maternity leave and got some well earned rest.
When she was born she was perfect.

I have a special memory of that day that's just mine that I think of from time to time.
After Abbey was born, and I was recovering from the caesarean, Mr Ripe took her out in a crib to meet her overjoyed sister and brother.
I lay warmly wrapped up while a nurse pottered nearby and as I lay there I felt wave after wave of joy and relief wash over me.
It was a moment of pure happiness.
Today that little babe is 20 and is a little parcel of goodness. I'm most proud of her kindness and her ability to empathise with others.
Sure, she loves to leave plates, clothes, cups etc lying around but it's no biggie.
To use one of her favourite words #blessed

Monday, 5 September 2016


In the House of Robbo, we are huge fans of the Survivor series.
We love Jeff and his quirky little eyebrow smirks.
We haven't always watched every one of the trimillion Survivor's out of the US.
But we've poked our noses into most.
However, we have been hanging for the Aussie one.
Did you know this is the second Aussie Survivor (the celebrity one doesn't count in our books).
The first one was back in 2002 and was set near Port Lincoln.
We would have hooked into that one regardless but we did have a special reason to watch.
An old friend of ours was on it and ended up winning! It was magnificent. He was magnificent.

Sadly, the lovely Rob lost his life a few years later in a terrible car crash that also took the life of his two sons, leaving his wife behind.
Doesn't bear thinking about even after all these years.

So this season of Survivor is set on Samoa and it's shaping up to be a cracker.
Jonathon LaPaglia (think Hector in The Slap) brother of Anthony is the host.
He has a great presence and a fair body with some extremely veiny veins.

He also has an excellent way of cutting through the spin of the contestants and exposing their manoeuvrings at tribal council which we endorse wholeheartedly.
Our favourites? Spiderman Sam and Lovely Lee (both blokes) and Courageous Kate and Kick-arse Kylie.

Least - Noxious Nick and Full-of-herself Flick.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Oh right...

So, I had a bit of an aha moment this weekend.
I was lucky to head along to the 9toThrive Business Chicks event to hear the amazing Zoe Foster Blake speak.

It was - a term she liked to use which I'm gonna adopt - lots of shiz and giggles.
There was some serious stuff, obviously you don't build a massive writing/makeup/media portfolio for yourself by giggling all day but...it sounded like fun, enjoyment, joy was a huge part of why she does what she does.
Truth be told I've been bypassing the fun.
I've been in a bit of a negative space of late - due to a number of things including an annoying shoulder injury that stops me sleeping properly and other things that have just dragged me down.
And I think I've been sending out this negativity to others, unknowingly and unwillingly. I just got swamped by it.
Being out and about in a room full of inspiring and inspired women, spending time with a couple of young women I love dearly woke me up a little to my good fortune and also my own potential, that delicious feeling in your gut when you feel alive and brimming with possibilities.

Even going to the loo become a moment of possibilities - guess this is what they mean by a captive audience...

It's going to be a gorgeous day beachside today. About to head out the door and embrace all its deliciousness.

Thursday, 30 June 2016


I love hearing stories about older people who chew life up, no matter their age.
Today a friend told me about her mum Mary who volunteers at a nursing home.
Mary would be in her 70s but she regularly pops in to visit people who don’t have any family nearby.
A few years ago, Mary used to help when some of these lovely old people would go to their fortnightly swimming class.
One of the people in this group was Elsie who at 98 wanted to learn to swim. 98!
Elsie was terrified of the water but was determined to learn. How incredible is that – to still want to learn a new skill at that age. So impressive.
It took a few goes and poor Elsie would cling terrified to Mary when she was in the water but soon she could float along happily hanging off a noodle.
Now 102, Elsie no longer takes to the water as the cold is a bit too much for her but really, she doesn’t need to. She conquered her fear and made her dream of learning to swim happen.
The right people, the right stories can teach us so much about never giving up on your dreams, about being brave, about not letting a number define you.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Little friends

So in today's news, as I try not to read anymore about the horrors in Orlando, I read instead about a story that took me back.
A few years back my trusty dark green Ford would not start.
Called the mechanic who got to work as I went back to the never-ending story of the laundry.
Soon after, there's a knock on the door and Ron poses the question "do you have a cat?"
Most certainly, I replied, I have Oscar the world's most delightful cat (now sadly in cat heaven).
"Do you feed it on your car bonnet?" he questioned.
"Are you crackers?" was my reply.
Ron then explained that he believed my car was being used regularly by RATS who were eating Oscar's food, squirming their disgusting hairy bodies under the bonnet of my car where it was snug and warm, regurgitating said food and eating it again. In the process, also using their ratty rat fangs on my wiring and rendering it stuffed! EEEkkkkk.

Ron beckoned me forward to examine my wiring, showing me the clumps of rotting stinky cat food attached to the wires. I looked for barely a second before taking off faster than Usain Bolt in case a furry face poked out at me.
Turns out the rats were also enjoying hospitality in my roof. You may ask what the most delightful cat was doing during this fun time for the rats. Not much it would seem.
The outcome? Car sold. House sold. Cat given stern talking to. *brushes hands together.
I am now advised that as of today Melbourne is officially undergoing a RAT PLAQUE. Something to do with the lack of rain or the end of civilisation. Rats as big as Fox Terriers (God help us) have been spotted prowling rubbish dumps and no doubt looking for warm cars.
Used to be the worst thing about going to a shopping centre car park was driving round and round stalking people to try and get a car park. Next thing will be the rats stalking too.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Sleep bandit

What I wouldn't give for a good night's sleep.
There's lots of reasons why I'm not spending the wee hours sleeping blissfully, immersed in glorious dreamland.
The Melbourne heat for one thing. It's like the country's gone arse-up.
Melbourne's weather is hot, tropical, humid...um no! We are not Queensland.
Maybe it's the crazy possum that likes to visit once or twice a week and pant heavily outside my window.
Gotta throw the meno in there as a contributing factor - it's been reasonably behaved but this heat is cranking it up and cranking me up too.
So I find myself awake at 3.52am or so, endless thoughts whirring around my head.
Endless, anxious thoughts about work, relationships, friends, choices, mistakes, opportunities missed. Shut up head!

So I'm going to try a few things this long weekend to see if I can knock it on the head.
A brisk walk by the seaside
No social media after 10pm
One less glass of wine
Maybe lavender hand cream to be sniffed in during the night and keep me relaxed
Hopefully all this will help with the zzzzzz's

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Today someone from my workplace died suddenly in a car crash.
I didn't know her well but it sent shockwaves through the building and understandably those who knew her well were very distressed.
She had a husband and daughter who was in her late teens.
I got on with my day but my mind keep returning to it.
Couldn't work out why.
Then a colleague stopped by my desk - "just goes to show, you have to say hello and goodbye every day to your family. You never know when it will be the last time you see them. Couldn't imagine what it's like to have someone die suddenly like that without a chance to say goodbye".
And then I realised what was eating at me.
When I was 18 - many years ago - my father Graeme Maxwell Hough died of a heart attack at his work. He was 42.
My parents had divorced three years earlier and he was living a two hour drive away.
While I still saw dad, it had been a few months.
We'd talked on the phone the week before, just the usual catchup but he'd asked if I had some time and of course I was busy being an 18 year old party girl and put him off.
I found out via a phone call at work.
Today bought it back again, thinking of that young woman receiving devastating news.
Not that it ever really goes away. Time removes how raw it is but it's there, buried under the layers of life.
So tonight I'm going home from work a little earlier and when I get there I'll hug those I love a little longer. Cos I can.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Turn to page 394

I woke up this morning alone as Mr Ripe was away and as usual reached for my phone to have a look at the news of the day and that's when I read about Alan Rickman.

Almost at the same time, eldest Ripe messaged, in shock. He was a big part of her childhood as Severus Snape.

My memories of summer holidays when she and her brother were approaching their teens were of the excitement of another Potter book being released and whose turn it was to read it first.

The first reader was forbidden to share any of the story until the other had read it so much of the summer was spent with one bursting to know and one bursting to tell until that sweet moment when they knew (I'd read it when they were asleep or doing other things) and we could all talk about it in great depth.

Sometimes there'd be gasps out loud from the first reader and one of those was the scene where Severus kills Dumbledore.

In bringing this beloved character to life, Alan met every expectation of my two young readers about what Severus was like in the flesh.

I loved him as the villain in the first Die Hard,

as Colonel Brandon to Kate Winslet's Marianne in Sense and Sensibility

and of course as foolish, regretful Harry in Love Actually. Can anyone watch that scene after Emma Thompson finds the necklace without wanting to give Harry a swift kick in the balls?

I think he would have been great fun at a dinner party. That languid, seductive voice that could also cut like a knife. I think he would have had great gossipy stories to tell and been a cheeky flirt.

It's been a terrible week for farewells.

I also love that he said this and I'm sad it's not going to happen

Wednesday, 13 January 2016


The Christmas/New Year eating continues unabated despite good intentions.
I blame the workplace - look at the evidence

It's beyond ridiculous.
Two of my favourites Furry Friends and warm squishy scones! Why would I resist?
Once upon a time I would have because I'm heading to Noosa in three weeks and going to be on the beach and flashing some skin.
But I'm past that type of criticism of myself. Past denying myself small moments of joy because of a few extra kilos.
I will eat my scone and I will enjoy it!

Despite the Christmas/New Year indulgence I feel better than I have in a while.
I'm out there walking, sniffing the sea air and I know I'm fitter than I have been by the way I pound up the hills and up the stairs at work.
That's more important than what's on the scales.

Today I saw this on the news sites and thought it beautiful, a loving mate cradling his dying partner

Unfortunately some smartypants has ruined the moment, advising that instead of a loving gesture it was a randy gesture from an aroused kanga trying to get lucky. Ruined it...

I'm in the middle of watching Making a Murderer on Netflix. It's fascinating. He seems to be innocent but I can't be sure.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Here and Now

It's hard to know where to begin since I was last here so I'm going to focus on the here and now.

Our plans to leave our large family home in the hills and move to the beach became a reality late last year. Not without lots of effort in readying our old girl for sale and lumps in throat as saying goodbye became a reality. We had built our hills house and our youngest had memories of no other, so it was a bit of a wrench.

The great news is that we love our new life by the sea.

It's even better than we hoped.

Early mornings we get up at the crack of dawn, mosey down to the shops with the pooch, check out the sea, sniff the air and go to one of our local coffee haunts.

A short walk back to our little house with the smell of the sea in our skin and ready for the day.

A smaller house and garden means more time for doing other things - going out, meeting friends, reading, binge tv watching True Detective Series 1 (I know, late to the party) and just hanging about - something I haven't done in a long time.

I'm learning how to do it again - it's awesome but I keep having to have stern talks with myself about not feeling guilty about it!

I've grown strawberries - look! They tasted delicious, so sweet and satisfying.

I'm not a big fan of ice-cream but there is a great gelato shop nearby and I'll happily have a taste of this - tubs of fluffy gelato sings of summer to me.

I feel very lucky to be right where I am.