Monday, 12 May 2014

Conchita And The Eurovision Song Contest - The "Wurst" Yet?

The Eurovision Song Contest - where does one start?  What used to be an annual "cheese-fest" has in recent years become a strange mix of suspect music, outrageous performances and most tragically of all - politics. Whereas the shows of the last fifteen years may have incorporated at least one, if not two, of these elements  - think Lordi 2006 and Ruslana 2004 - the 2014 contest had them all and then some  - with bells on!.

Predator meets klingon rock band Lordi
Predator Meets Klingon -  Finnish
Rockers Lordi
Music meets Xena Warrior Princess in the form of Ukrainian Ruslana
"Music" meets Xena The Warrior
Princess in Ruslana and the rest of her
Ukrainian crew
One wonders how something which was mandatory family viewing only as recently as twenty years ago is rapidly morphing into a show that will very soon have a viewer's warning attached.  Last weekend we were treated to "joined at the hairline" identical twins from Russia, a man in a hamster wheel (I don't even know which country this was - I was so busy trying to figure out which circus hamster-wheel man had escaped from....) and the "milk-maid meets porno star" Polish entry, some of whom weren't even pretending they were there for the singing as they gratuitously ground their milk churns.
Russia's picture of innocence - seventeen year old twins
Seventeen And Joined At The Hairline
from Russia

Polish milkmaid meets stripper
Polish Milk Maid Meets Porn Star Combo

And then there was Conchita. Ah, Conchita - where do we start?  I have no idea what you sang about and wouldn't recognise the song if I heard it again.  I was so mesmerised by what I was looking at, all other details paled into insignificance......  I have to say I admire your balls (I think you still have a pair since you confess to being a fully intact man aka Thomas Neuwirth when you're not being Conchita) on getting up on the stage in front of a global audience, beautifully presented in your gorgeous dress and perfect make-up, with your piece de resistance - the beard.  However, I have a confession of my own - I sat watching you in utter confusion.  Here's the thing - are you a transvestite?  If so, why the beard?  Is the aim of a transvestite not to look as much as possible like a female?  Are you a gay man who just likes to dress up like a woman?  If so, why present yourself as a transvestite (er with a beard!) - not all of whom are gay?  Are you a man who wants to be a woman?  If so, shouldn't the beard be one of the first things to go?  Can you see where I'm coming from Conchita?  I'm even confused as to whether or not to call you Conchita as that is a woman's name and you are in fact a man...... To be honest Conchita I don't really care what you are but I just need to tell you that your are as confusing as hell!  So much so I don't know what your song sounds like as I was so busy trying to "decipher" you as I watched your performance - there was no mental room left for processing what you were actually singing - you did sing??? .  I know you dedicated your win to "everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom."  I think I'm one of those people but I'm not about to try and grow a beard to prove it!  Anyway,  congratulations on your win even though I suspect the "douze" points you were awarded at an alarming rate were more to do with a combined international two fingers to Putin and his homophobic nonsense.  I wish you all the best and hope you have the balls to stand up to the inevitable scrutiny and critcism you put yourself out there for.  Of course winning the Eurovision is no guarantee of continued success and indeed in many cases it has spelled the end of a fine singing career.  How Eurovision 2015 is going to top the circus act / folk porn / gay transvestite (?) with a beard?  I have no idea but I have to admit I'm a little nervous at the prospects.  Perhaps there will be a complete reversion to more simple times when it was about someone simply singing a song......  On that note here is a gem - the year was 1988, the venue was Dublin and the singer went on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time but on that night she didn't get a single vote!  Ah maybe if she'd had a whisker or two.....

(For those of you on mobile devices, who for some reason can't see the video, you can check it out on the mad mammy page on Facebook.)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Cupcakes For Breakfast......It Must Be Mother's Day :-)

"Stay there Mummy," he whispered, "you're not allowed to get up yet."
"Okay," I acquiesced, "I'll try and stay here for another while, if I have to....."
The dude took his sister's hand and pointed his Dad towards the door, "we've got another 'aprise' for you," he announced, as he led them off in the direction of the kitchen.  I snuggled back into the comfort of the bed, now this is exactly how a Mother's Day is supposed to start!

To be fair, the "aprises" had been coming since Friday.  First up was a card, handmade by the dude himself and delivered with a shower of kisses, a bear-cub hug and the words,  "I'll love you forever mummy," whispered into my ear. Cue one mushy mummy outside the school-gates, barely able to find her way back to the car.  This was followed by a solemn promise that night as he fell asleep that he was going to make my mummy's day, "the best mummy's day ever!"  He was gutted the following morning to discover he had to wait a whole other day to put his plan into action.
Handmade Mother's Day Card Pink Love Heart Petals on a single stem and red background
The Card - A Simple But Effective Design!

Mother and son big smiles looking like the michelin family
Mum and Son - So Happy!

La-La kept the momentum up mind you with some artistic contributions of her own.

Black and White pencil drawing of supermum and super-daughter
Supermum - That's Me!

Pencil drawing of Queen Mom and castle
Queen Mamma!  Oh Yeah She Rules Baby!
I just love the "All hale Queen Mamma" - I can even get over the spelling......  I rule supreme it would seem. I may look slightly menacing in my queenie outfit but that's ok......  I'm sure that's the way I look every now and again.  And get a load of castle "I Love You",  how cool would it be to live there!

In the evening hubby lit up the back deck with candles and opened a bottle of bubbles and I started to wonder if there was going to be anything left for the actual day itself......But I needn't have worried,  I was awoken with the sharp edge of something sticking into my ribs and delighted giggles in my ears of, "open it, open it!"
"It" was a box of everything I needed for a good old pampering session and a gorgeous card.  The Dude jumped on top of me shouting for joy that it was finally "Mudda's Day!" and a hundred more kisses followed. He then led his sister and father away to get the final "aprise" ready.

"You can come down now," he shouted up the stairs and I took myself and my grumbling tummy in the direction of the delicious smell of vanilla coming from the kitchen.  There awaiting me were freshly baked cupcakes.  I had no idea, but apparently you can't possibly start "Mudda's Day" without them.  I'm not quite sure who was more excited about this "fact" me or the Dude.....
vanilla cupcakes
Breakfast Cupcake
I took my double shot latte and cupcakes out to the back deck that was dappled with early morning sunshine and watched as the Dude happily demolished two of his efforts.  His smile could have lit up all of Australia - "Happy Mudda's Day mommy" he grinned.  I smiled back at him, just about to burst.  As mums we tear through the days organising, cleaning, shopping, picking up, hanging things up,putting things away, cooking, juggling finances, comforting, homeworking, doing just about doing every bloody thing! And we wonder if anyone ever even notices....  And then one little boy puts his heart and soul into making one day as special as he can for his mummy and all the "doing" pales into insignificance at the love shining out  from his eyes.  I never imagined I'd have such a perfect Mother's Day morning as I've had today.  It might be the best one I'll ever get as it's going to take some topping - so I'm off now to enjoy the rest of it.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and feel as cherished and loved as you deserve xx The Mad (and glad) Mammy.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

This Is What A Blog Looks Like When The Blogger Is A Tech-free Zone

Okaaaay,  so I suppose some of you have noticed by now that this here blog ain't quite as slick (to put it mildly.....) as practically all the other mummy blogs out there.  That's cos I'm a completely tech-free zone and I even created the blog itself by accident when I went tinkering around in Blogger.  And the reason I found myself in Blogger was because I was simply overwhelmed by all the choices of "themes" in Wordpress.  I mean, how can you ever pick one of them!  To be honest, I think the whole, "choose a Wordpress Theme", is pretty reflective of an increasing issue in our society - sometimes there is just so much choice the mind boggles and shuts down completely.  Unless you are a single woman looking for a man apparently - my pals on the front-line of that particular stage of life tell me there is little or no choice there at all!  Can it be true?

Anyhoo, now I've just spent a day trying to get one simple, "like The Mad Mammy on Facebook", widget on my page.  Seriously - a whole day!  So, I'm thinking if you like your blogs slick and stylish then you may want to move on and explore other options.  However, if you like your blogs real and maybe even a bit messy then stick around......  Basically, this blog reflects my whole approach to motherhood really - I'm just muddling through and hoping for the best.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Little Bump In The Nose........

Okaaaay, so all you eagle-eyed followers of this blog (and there are more of you than I had imagined.....) will have noticed that I haven't actually been writing this blog much......  The reasons are many, varied and in the main boring.  However, the main reason all activity ceased back in August 2013 is because I hit one of those little bumps in the road that kinda bounces you out of your comfort zone and leads you to a place you didn't think was on your "visit list" just yet.

It all started out innocently enough with the words: "hey doc whaddya think of this thing on my nose?"
Doc: "Hmmmm....... don't like the look of that, I think we'd better get it checked out."

Queensland being the skin cancer capital of the world - doc was taking no chances.  And. Thank. God. For. That!

A ten minute appointment and quick biopsy later and "intra-epidermal squamous skin cell carcinoma" was confirmed.  (Not at first, you understand - oh no don't think anything, even something as serious as a cancer diagnosis could go that smoothly for yours truly.   Unfortunately, when I called to get my biopsy results the not so bright young thing at the skin cancer clinic initially told me I had the all clear.  My relief at "dodging the cancer bullet" was short lived when her older, wiser and slightly confused colleague called me the following Monday to see why I hadn't been in touch regarding my results - we were querying cancer after all......  Her silence as I explained how I had already got the good news from her colleague spoke volumes and told me, more than her words ever could, it wasn't good news at all.......  Note to people under twenty-three: Someone phoning to see if they have cancer is not the same as phoning to make a hair appointment.  It is kinda bloody serious!  So please get off Facebook, put the mobile phone down for a minute, halt that twitter post and CHECK YOUR FACTS!  Ok, rant over......)

Anyhoo, once we had cleared up the "have I or haven't I got cancer" issue, the lovely lady at the skin cancer clinic made an appointment to see the doc again.  Skin cancer is so prevalent here that there are just walk-in clinics where  you can go to see if that mole, lesion or itchy freckle is something other than a skin irritation.  Dr. Heeby-Jeeby (not his real name but this is what I call him due to the acute case of the heebie-jeebies I get when I consider what I very nearly let this guy do to my face) assured me that we had caught this thing early enough.  However, due to the fact it was at stage two in its development (there are four stages apparently) he advised the best course of action was to just cut the damn thing out and as luck would have it he could squeeze me in that day.  Okaaaay, this was a little more action than I was expecting and I felt like the skin cancer bus was going a little too fast.  I tentatively enquired as to how that would work.  Tentatively, you understand, because I didn't want to give this guy any indication we were going ahead with his plan. A tiny voice in the back of my mind was shouting, "whoa!"
"Well, I will make an incision here," he said, pointing at the offending lesion, "then I will cut around here, and then because I will have to take away so much to make sure we get it all, I will make an incision up here," pointing to between my eyes, "where I will take a flap of skin to cover the site of the carcinoma."

It was the word "flap" that got me.  What?  "Er... what will that look like afterwords?"  I asked.
"Oh, it won't look too good to begin with but the scars will fade in time and merge with the natural age lines of your  face," he replied.
"Hmmmm......"  I said, "I'm not sure...."  I envisioned the surgical equivalent of hair- line fractures - only on the surface of my skin - healing up over time and eventually being almost indistinguishable from the erm "crinkles" (the Dude's word) already competing for space at the top of my nose and between my eyes.
"Here, let me show you," he offered as he turned to his computer, "this is a man I did practically the same procedure on a few months ago."
And before I could say, "oh that'd be nice," up popped the image of a man in his seventies and all thoughts of speech deserted me and the best I could manage was a strangled "oh."  And the image wasn't nice at all!
Holy shit!  Forget tidy little hairline type scars fading softly into the background - this guy would put Harry Potter to shame.
Harry and the mark of Voldemort

"Oh, I think I'm going to explore other options," I croaked.  Dr.  Heeby-Jeeby didn't look a bit impressed and I got the distinct impression he considered me an incredibly vain creature as he admonished, "as you wish but I wouldn't take too long if I were you."

With a feeling of doom hanging over me, I scuttled back home to the comfort of the internet and started researching treatment options for "intra-epidermal squamous skin cell carcinoma."  Cream, laser and light therapy all featured but none had as high a non-return rate as surgery.  Uh-oh, now what?

This is where serendipity intervened.  As luck would have it The Dude has a little pal in his class whose mother just happens to work in a plastic surgery clinic.  And as luck would further have it she just happened to be picking her little fella up from school that day and, spotting the post-biopsy dressing on my nose, kindly enquired as to what I had done.  One explanation and horrified recounting of my "surgical option" later she patted me on the arm and assured me "that's not going to happen, you're going to see Dr. Alys Saylor."
"Oh, am I?" I squeaked.
A Little Post-Biopsy Accessory

And that is how, on a warm Tuesday morning in September, I found myself in a place I never, ever thought I would be - a plastic surgery clinic. And I was shocked - there wasn't a fake boob in sight, no botox babes, not even a trout pout.  Frankly I was a little disappointed - there'd be no salacious dinner party material out of this visit.  I was  busy staring at the carpet (well there wasn't much else to look at) when a pair of perfectly shaped legs appeared before me.  I heard my name being mentioned and looked up to see the lively eyes of  Dr. Alys Saylor  looking at me questioningly.  "That's me," I admitted as she shook my hand and asked me to follow her to her office. I was slightly mesmerised.  Doctors are rarely good adverts for their own services but Alys Saylor exudes health and vitality along with a no-nonsense professionalism that I was immediately impressed with.  She already had my details from the skin cancer clinic and proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms, "that thing's got roots like a tree, God only knows where it could spread to," that my best option was surgery.  Note: If you don't like being told something straight up then never ask an Aussie.  Thankfully, I like my info clear, concise and straight between the eyes.  "Okaaaay," I drawled, "but does that mean I am going to look like Harry Potter afterwards?"
She looked shocked and laughed, I think a little nervously,  I'm sure plastic surgeons are asked for all sorts of crazy looks, maybe she thought she had a HP nut on her hands and I WANTED to look like Harry Potter.
"Why would you think you will look like Harry Potter afterwards?" she asked.
I explained all about what Dr. Heeby-Jeeby had been selling.
"I can assure you, you will not look anything like Harry Potter after I'm finished with you," she laughed and proceeded to explain how I should be left with an almost indistinguishable scar that would run across the top of my nose.  I thought about my two beautiful children and how being an older mum meant I couldn't play cancer roulette with my health.  "When do we get rid of it?" I asked.

A few weeks later I was back and one of the nurses kindly injected what can only be described as super-anaesthetic into the area at the top of my nose.  I swear I didn't feel a thing for hours!  Dr. Alys asked me if everything was okay and then proceeded to do her thing.  97.3fm was pumping great music out over the sound system and Alys and the nurses chatted away.  I closed my eyes.  I knew instinctively I was in good hands. The only icky part was when she had to cauterise the wound and I realised the burning smell was that of my own flesh but I quickly pictured daisies and rainbows and all was okay again in my world.  Fifteen minutes later and I was good to go.  A few painkillers got me through the night and a week later I was back for a check-up and to get the results.  For the first time in my life I had actually followed my doctor's advice and done everything she had advised to ensure as good a post-op outcome as possible.  In this case it hadn't been too hard as she had said to do as little as possible!  Dr. Alys was mega-impressed with my "efforts".
"Mmmmmm nice clean wound," she enthused, "it's looking good and oh by the way we got it all, you are cancer free."
The relief that washed through me at those words is hard to describe.  Even I hadn't realised, until that point, how worried I had been.
"Whoopeeee!" I exclaimed, "I'm off to buy me a bottle of Bolly!"
I can tell you, those bubbles never tasted so good.

It's a few months later now and the scar has faded from an angry red to an almost unnoticeable line across the top of my nose.  The international spotlight has fallen on skin cancer in recent months, mostly due to Hugh Jackman publicly acknowledging his diagnosis of Basal Skin Cell Carcinoma and the latest findings by cancer care and research organisations like McMillan in the UK, who recently confirmed: "Over the last thirty years the rate of malignant melanomas in Britain have risen faster than any of the top ten cancers in males or females."
Hugh Jackman sporting his post-biopsy accessory
Unlike most cancers, where we don't know the exact cause, in the vast majority of cases skin cancer is directly related to sun / UV light exposure.  Therefore it is one of the most preventable.  The top three tips for prevention are:
1. When exposed to direct sunlight always, ALWAYS wear sunscreen.  SPF 30 is advised as a minimum.
2. Wear a hat.  Many skin cancers are located on the face.
3. Avoid direct sun exposure during the middle of the day.

If you have any sort of freckle, mole or crusty / angry looking pimple that won't go away then get yourself checked as soon as possible, the earlier the various forms of skin cancer are caught then the higher the potential there is for a positive outcome and there is less chance of you ending up looking like Harry Potter.