Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Real Housewives of Sydney - Janine

Boy, oh, boy, are you in for a treat today bloggers. Check out Janine's contribution to the series. She is an anti - housewife. And don't we love her for it! This lady has a wit and honesty that is so refreshing its like a splash of lime in your daily gin and tonic.
Enjoy!


At the outset, I have to confess to not being a true real housewife. Unlike some of my good friends who have already contributed, I find it all very difficult, and am pretty rotten at it. The prospect of staying home also fills me with fear that my youngest will want to open negotiations (again) re me homeschooling him, and I’ll have to tell him, yet again, that I would rather shoot myself in the foot.

This is the same boy who was visited by the knowledge fairy on the eve of his 14th birthday and who is now happily certain he knows everything about everything. The very boy who has told me he’s nocturnal (“What! Now you're a vampire?” I shot back), so no need to worry about his lack of sun exposure and his predilection for playing computer games right through the night. Of some concern is that he's hooked up with Anthony in Nevada, whose father's in jail and whose mother is a barmaid - nothing wrong with that in itself, but she keeps on taking off and depositing him with his grandparents. Anthony is home schooled - quite likely by himself, given his dubious parents - which is also the probable cause of my boy’s recently modified request to teach himself the entire high school syllabus, if the alternative is me inflicting self-harm. His true soul mate however, seems to be Pablo in Mexico - a 24 year old PhD student who has a Russian girlfriend, and who most likely is giving him many dubious tips about how to pick up naked Eastern European chicks with fat collagen lips.

He and his learned cabal of year 8 mates, only a month back, earnestly discussed and reached unanimous consensus during recess, and over many Mothers no doubt, that no woman in her right mind would intentionally fall pregnant at the ancient age of 39. “Therefore, I’m clearly an accident!” he stormed at me as he loped through the door after school. (Well yes, but more of a gift really, but I didn’t rise - it was difficult. ) So, you can tell already, it’s far safer, and more sensible for me to be in the office come 8.15 every day.



What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve been so bombed after work of late, that unusually, I’m not reading anything at the moment, preferring to pit my wits against the Zombies in Plants vs Zombies 2 on the train home. I recently finished The Rosie Project, however, and it’s on my shelf of books to be re-read a few years hence. It’s laugh out loud funny – often alarming for my fellow commuters as you can imagine - Australian and I’m recommending it to everyone. Rush out to get a copy!
 Oh I fib, I am reading something at the moment - The Black Swan - non-fiction. (The advent of the Internet and 9/11 are both deemed to be Black Swans.) If I could track down the author - a very savvy dude indeed - I'd implore him to marry me.

What is your favourite genre? Now be honest!

I’m not fussy as long as it’s well written and engaging. I found Men are Stupid and Women are Crazy, the collection of Peter Ruehl's columns from the Fin Review, a complete scream. Sadly this wonderful satirist died far too early. I usually have a few books on the go at the same time. So, perhaps something funny, including Irish chick lit; maybe a Booker finalist, and often an historical novel, including Regency bodice rippers by Julia Quinn and Eloisa James (a Professor specialising in Shakespeare, so don't judge……). I also enjoy medical mysteries, if I can call them that – Kathy Reich and the like. I have a few favourite authors rather than favourite genres – Toni Morrison (any), Lloyd Jones (Mr Pip), Tim Winton (Cloud Street), Roslyn Ham (The Dressmaker), John Grisham (any), Lee Childs (any), Zadie Smith (White Teeth), John van de Ruit (Spud series), Alexander McCall Smith (lady detective series), vintage Jilly Cooper - not your generation I know, and early Bryce Courtney (The Power of One, Four Fires, Jessica) before he became self-indulgent and maudlin.

Please share an inspiring, smutty or funny sentence from a book you’ve read. Or all three if you so choose!

Extract from The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, whose body of work won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature:
"They come from Mobile. Aiken. From Newport News. From Marietta. From Meridian. And the sound of these places in their mouths make you think of love. When you ask them where they are from, they tilt their heads and say "Mobile" and you think you've been kissed. They say "Aiken" and you see a white butterfly glance off a fence with a torn wing. They say "Nagadoches" and you want to say "Yes, I will." You don't know what these towns are like, but you love what happens to the air when they open their lips and let the names ease out. Meridian. The sound of it opens the windows of a room like the first four notes of a hymn. Few people can say the names of their home towns with such sly affection."

Aside from the four C’s (cooking, cleaning, chauffeur and children) what else do you manage to fit into your day?

I know what’s good for my family so I steer clear of all cooking utensils prior to the washing up phase. Work pretty much consumes me Monday to Friday and as I slave for an international company, I very often have late calls with London, Singapore and Bangalore. On the weekend I enjoy escaping into the bush surrounding our house for an hour or so to do bushcare, safe in the knowledge that my mob will steer clear lest they be roped in to help. Weekends are also precious time to have coffee with my kids who've moved out and my girlfriends.

How do you prefer to shop (online or other) and where?

Definitely online. Locally for small appliances and white goods, and overseas for clothes. I haven’t bought a car or house online yet, but pretty much everything else. For far too long the local fashion retailers have taken the most outrageous advantage of Australian consumers, with overpriced garments made from dodgy fabrics and best fitted to women with no bums or boobs. They don’t deserve my support. I draw the line at shoes though – it’s too hard to ascertain fit and comfort without trying them on. (Actually, I gave up on shoes in general long ago, admitting defeat when I saw Princess Shemeran’s impressive collection, knowing I can never match her style or balance. She’s easily Australia’s foremost shoe aficionado.)

What do you consider to be your best and worst feature?

My best is my kindness to other people. I’m very finely tuned into the needs of those around me. My worst is that I’m not kind enough to myself.

We all love a holiday. Where’s your favourite place to kick back and unwind?

Sorry, I can't only give one - I've become more and more indecisive as I've grown wiser. Easily the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa - truly majestic. Bluey’s Beach, 3 hours or so from Sydney. Also, Connemara on the West Coast of Ireland, which I first visited as a 15 year old. I felt the most extraordinary connection with this wild landscape, as though I'd arrived home. This was all the more strange as I’d come straight from London and all it had to offer to a teenager in 1975 – the shows Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar, movie Emmanuelle (what were the parents thinking….) and shopping in Carnaby Street.

Heels or flats

Flats for home and heels for work, though no longer of the F-me variety, as thankfully commonsense has prevailed. If I could, I’d spend the summer in flip flops, or slip slops as we call them where I come from, or barefoot, and Ugg boots in winter. (Stop flinching Susan, I can feel your pain right now, so apologies …..)

An embarrassing moment…

Inviting our lovely neighbours for tea and having them arrive for a meal, with me none the wiser. It took about 3 hours for the penny to drop on both sides, and I’m still mortified with embarrassment. In fact, I’m now typing from under my desk. In South Africa, an invitation to tea is for exactly that – a cup of tea and if you’re lucky and one of my mob is around, cake as well.

As a gift to all our readers please share one of your favourite recipes?

The best I can share with you is a toasted bacon and banana sandwich, for which you require no directions. I went to boarding school for 7 years, so am rather a a food philistine. We garnished our sausages with marmalade at breakfast for variety. So, sorry, you’ll have to ask my husband. I’d settle for some good cheese and fresh figs for dinner any day, so best to leave the recipes to him or we’ll all be very hungry.
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