I Want “Cheese Lover and Wine Connaisseur” In My Eulogy

01e820bca18fe83260bc6c121631447a.jpgThe old man and I went on a mini-break to a farmstead in the south of Sydney a few weeks ago. Due to the risks posed by Australian wildlife – wallabies, wild horses, spiders and no doubt brown snakes, waiting for me in every corner – we left The Princess at home with close friends.

I packed her case – her favorite food, her blankie, a couple of toys, some treats – and then in a moment of separation anxiety, I texted our friends a few pointers about her habits in case she had any problems vocalizing them.

Doesn’t play nicely with other dogs

Zero road sense

Needs lots of water

Loves cheese

Scared of men

One of the friends we went to the homestead with is a celebrant, who conducts weddings all over Sydney. One morning – in our search of the best hot chocolate in what was apparently a town – we bumped into a fellow celebrant, and the two of them got into a lengthy discussion about funerals and the underlying pressure they feel to write the perfect eulogy. The other celebrant admitted to us, that in view of the terrible eulogies she had witnessed, she has already written her own.

At the mention of speeches, I am always transported back to the scarring memory of the old man’s speech at my fiftieth birthday. Although my therapist has told me to bury it in the past and move forward, each time I go to a friend’s birthday and I have to listen to their husbands’ loving, glowing speeches about their wives, it is like a dagger straight through my heart. As a result of my PTSD, planning my own cremation and writing my own eulogy is something I have had to consider quite seriously if I don’t want a very sad affair with a minimal amount of planning and thought, and which only my husband and two children are likely to know anything about. Because my idea of a funeral is like the one at the beginning of Love Actually or a Viking sea burial, or at the very least a group of gospel singers. And rather than risk a Target two-for-one special, I have given the responsibility of making sure I get a worm-proof coffin to Kurt, who understands anxiety.

BTW, kids, there are “death of parent” playlists on Pinterest.

However, after giving it some thought, I have decided that retribution will be served best by leaving everything to the old man. After all, surely a eulogy is something other people need to make up about your achievements and not even he can ignore my achievements with cheese and wine? But if I should need to provide the man that I have known for most of my adult life and the father to my children and The Princess with a few pointers, it turns out that my eulogy would look a lot like the list I gave to our friends, who were looking after our dog: 

Doesn’t play nicely with others

No road sense

Needs lots of wine

Loves cheese

Scared of men

What would be on your list?



If I Can’t Eat Cheese, Surely That Means That Life As I know It, Is Officially Over?

English: Avocado with its cross section. Pictu...
English: Avocado with its cross section. Pictured in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. App 18 cm (7 inches) long. Français : Un Avocat entier et en coupe. Photo prise à Dar es Salaam, en Tanzanie. Longueur 18 cm environ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I admit that I may have ridiculed friends in the past who have been sucked in by fad diets, and for this I bow my head in shame.

Because I’m about to bore you again with the downhill progress of my middle-aged facial skin condition, Rosacea.

I’m also ashamed to admit that I never realized before just how much I took my looks for granted in my previous life.

Over the past ten years, I’ve been forced to come to terms with fading looks, ‘invisibility’ in public, out-of-control whiskers and general tubbiness, but it’s a real kick in the scrotum when what the ageing process has left of my face has become a red, blotchy horror show.

The old man’s empathetic words of “At least I don’t have to worry about you leaving me now,” have been far from comforting.

Even worse, is that after a lengthy hypochondria-fuelled research session with my best mate Dr Google and various international quacks of certain ill-repute, it appears that the diet I need to go on to make my face acceptable to the public again is bordering on inhumane.

I have always been a healthy eater, so I never considered that being forced to become more ‘clean’ with my food choices would be that difficult, but below are just some of the yummy foodstuffs I am supposed to eliminate:

Avocados – We all know that all gut street credibility goes back to zero these days unless you have at least one avocado crammed in your gob at every opportunity. Avocados have assumed super, super-food status now; let’s face it, they are bordering on becoming the God of the food kingdom.

They’ve also shown up quinoa to be the fad we all hoped it was.

So how exactly will I be able to show myself in my local café again if I can’t flaunt my superior healthiness with avocado on the side of every order? And the thought of the breakfast perfection that is smoked salmon, toast and poached egg, WITHOUT their perfect green sidekick, is already giving me sleepless nights.
Embed from Getty Images
Dairy – not so hard for me to relinquish, I thought, as I’ve never been a huge dairy fan due to scientific misconceptions about cholesterol that cemented an innate fear of premature mortality.

But then I remembered cheese.

I may need to take a moment….

I can’t pretend that giving up cheese, one of the major keys to happiness in life, will be easy. ‘Cheese’ deserves a proper grieving period, a moment to reflect on what it has done for me throughout my life. Hell! even scientists admitted that it is addictive this week, so it must be good.

How exactly are me and my mates supposed to survive PMT, women crises, man-bitching and The Bachelor without a Frisbee-sized slab of the fullest-fat Brie on the coffee table, to temper our white wine?

Everyone knows that cheese is comfort on toast

And let’s not forget all those traditional cheesy faves we were bought up on, before dairy and carbs were excommunicated: cauliflower cheese, macaroni cheese, lasagna, quiche…

The good old days… before we told that anything that tasted really good would give us cancer.

Allow me to welcome bacon, sausages, burgers and red meat into that group this week, too.

Spicy foods – I’ve served my time with hot food. I’ve earned my chili stripes. After two years of the roof being taken off my mouth, feeling as though my whole body was about to lift off, I’ve finally found an appreciation for the not-so-subtle thrill of wasabi. Sashimi without wasabi is like wine without cheese, Will without Kate, Kurt without….Hmmm…and let’s also remember the Thai green curry, Indian Dahl, and the piece de resistance of spice, Mexican food, which combines just about everything my Rosacea reacts so violently to.

I just don’t know how I’m going to sing along to the El Paso adverts anymore, without feeling a fraud? Is it even possible to make a taco without cheese, avocado, tomato or spicy fill?

And finally, to tomatoes…

Anyone ever nailed an appetising, tasty salad without tomatoes or cheese?

Thought not.

I’ve tried. In a moment of insanity, I went all out last night and added some fresh, sugar-snap peas to my pathetic-looking green salad.

It was a fucking riot.

Which leaves me with a choice of chicken, fish and lettuce.

So can you now understand that why I am destined to become that grieving, twisted, mad woman who hates everyone and mumbles curses under her breath to any innocent shopper in the supermarket who dares venture towards the deli counter.

My life is officially over. Goodbye world.

What Do You Buy For Your Best Friend’s 50th Birthday?

I never really got the hang of how to be a good girl friend.

What do you buy for your best friend's 50th birthday?
Found on everylastdetailblog.com

I’m not trying to make excuses, but what a lot of my girl friends don’t realize is that I’m actually a male in the guise of a woman and I have a very black and white approach to life. I don’t believe in stereotyping but I’ve had to learn the special female skills like how to do small talk without looking for the nearest escape route, how to feign interest in other people’s lives and children, even when those kids are fugly, how to hug people when I greet them and how to be intuitively thoughtful.   I still fail miserably a lot of the time but there is some hope.   The 50th birthday round has begun in my social group and one of my best friends celebrated this monstrous milestone last week.   What the fuck do you buy for your best friend’s 50th birthday? The pressure felt immense. We’ve reached that age where we pretty much buy what we need, know what we like and don’t like and are intolerant of gifts that don’t quite hit the mark.   I also knew that this time I had to get it right. I don’t think she ever went on that pole-dancing course…   A more expensive piece of jewellery than the usual Witchery earrings was the obvious and easiest choice. It would have said what I needed it to say – that I recognized that this was a special birthday for her and that she is special to me (blah, blah, blah!). But the problem is that I have a serious overthinking problem when I shop. I’m a perfectionist and always have a particular design or colour in mind that is impossible to find unless you have the budget for a custom-made from Tiffany, and so I soon realised that the Holy Grail of jewellery that would suit my friend and the old man’s budget, just didn’t exist.   I went back to the drawing board. I researched handbags, ‘experiences’ and beauty therapies, which I knew she’d love – being a real woman and all that – but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.   So I gave her a bag of goodies instead.   But, special goodies. What I hoped was that my little bag of goodies would show some thought and appeal to our shared sense of humor, but best of all, give her more than one present to open!   You see, we’ve been friends for an eternity.

What do you buy for your best friend's 50th birthday?
Found on Pinterest.com. Originally from Anthropologie.

Twenty years to be precise, since NC (was so small that she hadn’t even started organizing me yet) and her son were nine months old to be exact, so even though I might still be incapable of picking the perfect necklace for her, because we’ve grown up together, over many wonderfully boozy evenings (in the days when we still thought we could change the world together), we’ve managed to work out the best things in life.   So that was my theme. I bought six gifts and numbered them as the things every woman needs in middle age.   In no particular order, they were:

  1. Good wine, shared with friends who know which wine hits your spot – in our case, a bottle of Scarborough Chardonnay (www.scarboroughwine.com.au)
  2. Something to keep you feeling sexy – the bigger the better! – if it had been me I would have gone straight for the Agent Provocateur but my friend is a little more classy so I picked some Elle ‘The Body’ McPherson boy-leg lacy briefs
  3. A hobby – my friend plays tennis so I bought her some tennis balls
  4. Beautiful jewellery – a pair of modern silver and pearl earrings
  5. Loads of cheese – she’s a cheese guzzler, this mate of mine, especially with a few Chardies inside her and I found this super-cute triangular cheese board from Salt and Pepper (www.saltandpepper.com.au). We do cheese together really well.
  6. Family – my friend lives by the beach and I found two really cute snow-globe-style photo frames with sand and small shells at the bottom and I put a photo of her with each of her children in each.

    What do you buy for your best friend's 50th birthday?
    Found on http://www.saltandpepper.com.au

Do you have any idea how hard it is to buy underwear for another woman – even one you think you know really well?   I admit that the organization of this gift was so uncharacteristically thoughtful for me I might have vommed cried a little as I wrapped up the pressies. She means a lot to me, this gal.   But surely that much attention to detail means I’m becoming more girly…even… growing up?   But before I finish, I must tell you about the last time I surprised this friend with a goodie bag. We were in our early thirties and I’m embarrassed to admit that I included a packet of Marlborough Lights in the bag back then. I’ll never forget that day because she was stuck at home on an uncharacteristically, stinky hot day in London with a baby with chicken pox, (that she had caught too), yet for some reason decided that a polka dot bikini would make an excellent fashion accessory.   Since then I have laughed hard many times with her.   The greatest gift she was given for her fiftieth birthday was a grandson, a few weeks before.   How far we’ve come.