The Hangover; Boyband Style.

Go on, I dare you. Tell 13 year old me that I will, when I am 34, get to meet New Kids on the Block. (But maybe don’t mention that I am  not a famous writer, nor do I have children. But I do have an awesome husband. ‘What? He’s BALD?’ Hmmm, go figure.)

So 34 year old Grumpy met NKOTB, albeit briefly. I really didn’t think it would be this hard. I am a grown woman. An intelligent one at that. But the plain, I dunno….anxiety I have felt for the last couple of weeks has made this one of the most confusing times in my adult life. I have tried to express it in tweets, on facebook, to my friends, to my Beloved, to my long suffering diary but I am not sure I can still explain what I feel and why I feel it. Maybe you can help?

When I saw NKOTB in 1992 I was already obsessed and became more so after the concert. But I was allowed to. I was young. Nothing else much to worry about or moon over. Fast-forward to 2012 and the gig in Melbourne and BAM! a present and past me were slammed together in some weird time paradox. 14-year old emotions in a 34 year old body. But surely I am a little more enlightened and mature now? Apparently not. Do you know how hard it is to be in love with 5 pop-stars AND your lovely Husband? Bloody tiring. And confusing. And my goodness, do I feel sorry (jealous, maybe) for all those One Directioners out there. They have YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We had Smash Hits magazine. Obsession magnified 100 fold for them, I imagine.

I can’t even accurately describe the feeling of ‘unsettledness’ I felt. While at the concert is was just pure excitement and joy. But after….it was like some sort of PTSD. I kept replaying the Perth Meet and Greet, wishing I could pause it, go back. Did I even say ‘hi’ to Danny properly? Did I say thanks to them for the opportunity to meet them? Even though it was all about them that day – it was actually all about me and my feelings and the images I had created of them.

I guess I am more realistic about ‘their’ lives now. When I was 14, they were ‘grown’ and being an adult was a fantasy to me. I could paint all these pictures of my life, of their lives. But now, besides the millions of dollars, screaming fans, extensive travel, children and divorces, I have lived their life – an adult life. And I will never be a part of it.

Perhaps that is it. Seeing NKOTB again was all about growing up, getting older. Thinking about the things I have and don’t have.

After 19 days of not feeling myself, I finally feel okay. But even through all of it, I would encourage any teen to foster a pop-star love. The excitement, the joy, the pure squee-ness of the experience, plus the people you meet – it is a once in a life-time thing.

Thank-you NKOTB.

Dying Happy

It is safe to say, that in any type of emergency/high pressure situation, I would willingly sacrifice my nearest and dearest to save myself. Not only would I have given up my Beloved for a 600ml Coke Zero in Bali, I also pushed my Bestie of 29 years out of the way to get to New Kid on the Block, Danny Wood, last night.

20 years it has been since NKOTB set foot on Perth turf, and myself, Nursey Chick and Lil Sis (along with the gorgeous Perth Blockheads) had secured ourselves tickets of varying access to the Perth NKOTBSB concert. Us three, with five Perth BHs had the 5 Star Plus ticket, which came with a goody bag, pre meet and greet drinks (yes please!) and canapes (no thanks, I’ll barf!) front row seats, and you guessed it, a meet and greet opportunity. However, 3 minutes it not very long when 8 girls want to say hi to 5 guys, as well as have 2 photos.

The sequence of events was carefully choreographed. It went something like; ‘Walk in, hug all the guys, stand back (but near) the guy you want your photo with, pic taken, Kathi will yell ‘Switch!’ and we make a beeline for the next guy we’d like a pic with. Next pic, then out.’

Of course, when you’ve had a glass of champers and are running on the pure excitement of meeting all your girlhood dreams in one room….I was going to expire of sheer squee-ness. With a thumping heart and a smile that I couldn’t contain, I walked single file into the room and saw those 5 Boston boys evenly spaced under a NKOTB banner, ready and waiting, well – logical thought went straight out of the window. My mind stuttered and so did my feet. My thoughts were something like ‘Oh! They are so short! Joe! Jordan – sunnies? Aw, Jon looks tired and Donnie is pale….wait – Danny is first in line, I should be going to him!’ and with that 3 second train-wreck of thought and change of direction, I managed to elbow NC outta my goddamn way. I felt terrible after. She thought it was hilarious and now I will be hearing about it for the next 30 years. With love.

A girl I met in Melbourne, Theresa, gave me some great advice for meeting the guys. And indeed it was invaluable, but it also made me look like a strangely confident but awkward numpty. Introduce yourself to the guys, she said – so they say your name. What could be better than a New Kid saying my name? Ummm, NOTHING? However, when I introduce myself to people I go to shake their hand – it is automatic. But of course I didn’t want to engage in a business like hand-shake. I ended up saying ‘Hi, my name is Grumpy – so nice to meet you!’ and then sorta have my hand out but go for hug. I got a ‘Hi Grumpy’ from nearly all of them (I can only really only remember Joe, Donnie and Jon for sure – can hear their voices in my head – SIGH) Donnie got the most awkward greeting because he seemed aloof at first, so I didn’t wanna push it but he ended up with ‘Aw, come on – give me a hug!’ Don’t mind if I do!

In my head-kicking ballerina outfit, complete with Doc Martens, I managed to step on Jon’s foot. When I apologised, he held my hand and said it’s okay – it happens all the time. Lil Sis and I got Jordan in a Sister Sandwich, which we told him of. In previous pics I have seen of him, his ‘grip’ seemed a bit distant, but it felt like we got a good ‘around the shoulder’ arm squeeze, even though he claimed he was feeling ‘rugged’, hence the mirrored sunglasses he was wearing.

At the call of ’switch!’ I headed back to Danny. For the buffest of all the New Kids, he is actually really small. Was very surprising. Poor Joe next to us pretty much got crash tackled by Andrea. Joe jokingly claimed he was ‘fragile’. Security got pretty heavy handed in their stern warning over what was an over-exuberant accident, but I guess it is their job. My pic with Danny felt really nice. I was standing at a waist hugging close-but-respectable distance (I mean, they are strangers and men, not meat) but he pulled me in closer which was cute. Click. And that was it. All my dreams fermented into 3 minutes.

I was the last to float out of there, nearly jigging on the spot. Just before I exited the door I heard a surprisingly subdued voice say ‘I like your tutu!’ I turned around, gave Donnie a big smile, said ‘Why, thank you!’ and curtsied.

And there. Right then. I could and would have died a happy woman.

Post Boy-Band Blues

‘Is this REALLY my life?’ I asked myself, as I traveled to work. But who was I kidding? It was. I was driving to work in my beat up Suzuki Swift, to pretend to educate manky adolescents. I was not, indeed, married to Jordan Knight. Happily, for many years.  Even with the only semi-cheering thought of the imminent torturing of teenagers, I knew that I had a really nice life. Sexy, motivated husband. Fulfilling job. Loveable dog. True friends. Excellent health.

But! The disconnect. The jarring. The come down. The angst. All because of a band that came to town.

For a good five years this band crowded my every waking thought and drowsy daydream, their music constantly spooling in my walkman driving my parents nuts. Every inch of my room covered in posters, the nightly ritual of wishing all 5 boys goodnight. I knew their lives, I could forge their signatures.

The band broke up and I feel in love for real. It was the natural order of things.

A new album in 2008 and finally in 2011 an Australian tour was announced. New Kids on the Block AND Backstreet Boys! Oh, how it made me feel so young and hopeful again. I was stuck halfway between some time warp portal. Glossy haired, spotty, lithe, never-been-kissed Grumpy played tug of war with older, saggier, wrinklier, wiser, heart-broken-once-or-twice Grumpy.

With a friend of 29 years and another, newer pal, we went cross-country, having organised the trip before a Perth date was announced.  The Melbourne concert was beyond my wildest dreams – so slick, so fun, so new and so nostalgic. I enjoyed every minute.

But once that plane brought me back to Perth, I jolted back to Earth.  I still didn’t magically get to meet and become great friends with them all, like what happened in my mind when I was 15, hanging out, having laughs. Instead there was my messy house. The essays I had to mark. Dishes in the sink. Slightly cranky didn’t quite come close to describing how I felt and I tried so hard not to take it out on Beloved.

I am sure that in a couple of days, equilibrium will resume. Until, of course, the Perth concert. Where I will get to meet them. Now I know something of the high and the low, I hope I will be prepared to accept the next little bit of the journey, even the darker days after.

The Last Summer

I speed read – life is too short to waste on bad books. Mowing through The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares, I ran the full gamut of emotions. I loved it, I hated it, I wanted to throw it across the room and I wanted to hug it. ‘Meh’ was what I thought when I finished it.

And then it haunted me. I dreamed about this book. Images, ideas and events from it popped into my mind unbidden, and I just had to read it again, slowly. The Last Summer (of You and Me) is about three friends – sisters Riley and Alice, and Paul. Every summer they have holidayed next door to each other on Fire Island. Riley and Paul are best friends. Alice and Paul are something else, as they have always known. In this last holiday before they go their separate ways, they struggle between the idyllic bonds of youth and the reality of life away from the island.

This novel is the first foray into adult fiction by Brashares. However, the line here with this author is already blurred for me. I have read her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series at least five times and here I am, a fully-grown adult. Brashares’ writing is that good, her characters that believable. There is no reason to think that a young adult reader could not identify with Paul, Riley and Alice, who are not too far removed from their own young adulthood.

This coming of age story about love, career, family, illness and friendship unfolds through third person point of view; mostly through Alice, sometimes through Paul and rarely through Riley. Somehow, I got the feeling that Riley was run through with the editor’s red pen. This is a shame because I think seeing more of Riley would have increased our investment in her. Regardless, the story packs an emotional punch and bawling is bawling no matter how you get there.

The characters are complex, honest and a little too articulate – while their thoughts seem fully formed, their actions aren’t, which was very frustrating. There are shades of Kostas and Lena in the romance between Alice and Paul, which irked me; its been done. I also had a moment of sheer horror when I thought Brashares might pull a My Sister’s Keeper move on us. (Maybe she did…maybe she didn’t. And I won’t tell you whether I thought the book or film version, just to keep you guessing!)

If you want action, don’t read this book. If you want to inhabit the body and mind of the characters, then do. In The Last Summer (of You and Me) Brashares evokes the salt in the wind, the splinters in the boardwalk, the squint of the sun and the ache of first love. When you get to the end of the book, for the second time in my case, you feel like you are saying good-bye to your best friends.

The Year of the Whooping Cough

That is probably how I will recall 2011, in part. I do NOT get sick, yet there I was stuck with the ‘100 Day Cough’. It sucked. It was hard to raise my voice whilst teaching (which we all know I rarely do, because my students are such angels) and if I laughed too much I would spew. All for three months. When first infected I had to have four days off. Unheard of in Grumpy Land. I spent a month sleeping sitting upright and didn’t exercise for about the same. Even now, a rib which while not broken, was severely stressed will give a twinge, to let me know what had passed between us. Anyway. Grumpy’s year in dot points:

  • Holiday to Singapore in April. Fantastic. Expensive, clean, safe, hot. Highlight? Husband warning me how I might find driving a segway, before we set off on a tour of Sentosa Island, and then me crying with ill concealed mirth when he went arse over tit. There may have been snorting involved.
  • Weekend to Sydney where we climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Girly trip to Melbourne with one of my besties, Jax. We shopped, gorged at TGI Friday’s, saw ‘Love Never Dies’ and had an all around awesome time.
  • Wedding of the lovely Snazz, another beautiful  bestie, wherein which I was the chief Snazzmaid.
  • Car got broken into while we (Kettlebell Crew) were training outside. $4000 worth of stuff stolen. Some drugged up fuckwit is now in possession of a Gucci wallet, Tiffany and Co keyring, Ralph Lauren sunglasses, iPhone 4, Lacoste tote bag and my playlunch. But then only thing I really wanted back was my school diary. Yeah, I know. Label whore. They were gifts.
  • Year 9 English, Society and Environment and Tutorial class from hell. EVERY DAY was a battle.
  • No job at the school I have been at for 6 years. Not enough enrollments. BUT my delightful year 10 class nearly made me cry when they wrote a letter to the principal outlining why the school should try and keep me. Possibly the loveliest moment in my ten year career. Not that the principal acknowledged it any way.
  • Bestie of 22 years is finally pregnant!
  • Got selected to write reviews for a Young Adults books website. FREE BOOKS!

For 2012, I hope…

  • To turn into a runner. Two 3km runs this week. Baby steps.
  • To be as buff as my husband. That man is a MACHINE.
  • To have a job.
  • To write more. (Perhaps no job = write more?)
  • To figure out if having children is what I want, even though I don’t even know if we can. 28 months and counting.
  • Not die of girly squeeness when I get to meet  NKOTB when they come to Perth in May.
  • To blog again in a way that would make Rass proud, rather than this bullshit which I know would make her want to vom.

Tell me something you wanna do this year.

Food Wanker

Yup. I have turned into a food snob. I see people in my office  get out their white bread and cheese, and stick it into the toaster machine and I cannot believe that people put that shit into their body on a daily basis. No second thoughts. I won’t deny that I am a little jealous, but the jealousy is short lived when I, myself indulge in bread of the white variety. I had some last week. One and a half pieces to be exact, and my ass went nuclear. It sucked to be husband and Theo that weekend. Hell, it sucked to be me and normally I don’t mind my own brand.

When my mum came to stay with me while Beloved was away, she whinged at me, telling me I was ‘a food Nazi’. And then in the very next breath she proceeded to tell me she had lost 3 kilos. Sorry? What? I can’t hear you over all the goosestep marching.

So what do I eat? Let me give you an absolutely fascinating run-down. (I know, right? Next I will be telling you what I dreamed last night.)

Breakfast: Oats made with water, milk added after OR two weetbix (Best ‘processed’ breakfast you can buy in terms of sugar, fat, sodium etc. And for me, doesn’t make me fart. Big plus. It is why any type of muesli is a no-go zone, at least, not without a gas mask) . I go full-fat milk. Less processed. I am aiming for a couple of dairy/carb free breakfasts a week next month. That usually means eggs with spinach leaves and tomato. Or a green smoothie (Green spinach, banana and a kiwi fruit – surprisingly nice) I have just discovered that buckwheat pancakes with agave syrup and lemon juice are awesome.

Post gym: Banana and almonds. Quite often I will have a chai latte, or a bigger meal that involves poached eggs and salmon.

Morning tea: Often leftovers from dinner (meat and veg) or salad with tuna, ham or roast beef. Cup of tea, white – no sugar.

Lunch: Tin of tuna (yeurgh, cat food!) a piece of fruit, more nuts. Should eat more here. Can’t be arsed.

Dinner: Meat and vegetables.

Snack: yoghurt or protein mousse.

This is what I generally eat. I  sometimes add a little tin of baked beans, brown rice or Cape Seed bread. And while I would not generally stick overly processed food in my mouth, lollies and chocolate and champagne somehow get through the filter. However, when I DO eat these things I always notice that: under my eyes gets red and puffy, I feel like I am getting a cold, and I will get sensitive patches of skin on random parts of my body.

I call my diet ‘piss-weak paleo’. Husband goes the whole hog and damn, does he look hot for it. Lifting heavy things 4 to 5 times a week also helps. He hasn’t been this buff since..well, ever. He cannot walk past me without getting his arse manhandled. And he pretends to hate it. I like it when he just wears his shorty-short undies and ugg boots. Rawr.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh, torturing you with my eating habits. So. If you too want to create a body that has a low tolerance for white bread and uncooked grains. Try the ‘piss-weak paleo’. Just think; eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts, with some full-fat dairy, and occasional seedy bread and brown rices.  Always go the full fat version of anything – less chemicals and less processed.

Eating this way is certainly a ‘journey’. It isn’t hard – I can always eat out and find something to eat, but I am easily swayed by alcohol and desserts. Once I control those demons I reckon you will finally be able to see how buff I am under all this cuddly. But even saying that, I know that I feel great and am healthier than I have ever been in my life.

But if you ever see me sneering at you and whatever sweet, salty, gooey, delicious, greasy goodness you are devouring, ask me about which chocolate I scoffed in the car on the way home today.

Get with the times Adele!

It would seem that Brit singer Adele is not adept at that thing we call Facebook stalking. If she was, she would not have written the heart-rending but ultimately moot-for-a-modern-gal ’Someone Like You’.

I do not get how a person born in 1988 could write such a song and willingly suspend their disbelief.

Hello! Facebook was invented so that we could all check up on our exes (friends and otherwise) and see how they were not aging well, nor done better since each party had supposedly moved onto bigger and better things.  And even if the ex in the song had locked up all his privacy settings, there is bound to a mutual friend who could have dished the dirt on his new relationship. Yet in this song he managed to get MARRIED without her knowing about it. Where was he living? Antartica? How did she get the news under her rock?

Love the song. Hate the lyrics. Almost as teeth grindingly annoying as that punk rocker Sandi Thom with flowers in her hair.

Just Call Me JK

Let’s all pretend my novel is like the Harry Potter series, getting all rejected eleven times before it gets picked up by a publisher and BAM! Instant millionaires all round. Not that I am in it or the money or anything. Just the pure love of writing and shit. Yeah. Let’s say that. I sent it to one of the few publishers in Australia you can send unsolicited material to. If I don’t hear from them by Friday? Too bad so sad for me.

I know why I haven’t been blogging. (Have I ever told you how I detest bloggers who blog about blogging?)

It’s like this. I gave my novel to a few people to peruse. Only two people finished it; one of which who read it and returned it with  timely feedback is a fellow ‘writer’. She has to be all supportive and excited so that writing karma doesn’t bite her on the ass. The most the other person said was, ‘It’s better than some of the stuff I have seen published.’ As for everyone else? I can only conclude that, well – I can’t even say it. I try to pretend not to care but sometimes the thoughts creep in, catch me unaware and it is crushing.

Before you get all, ‘Send it me! I’ll read it!’ that is what the non-finishers said too. I don’t want to add you to that list. It’ll just embarrass us both.

But, like. Whatever. I am still going to write. Soon. Because I love it.

I really do.

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

Have I fallen out of love….with this blog?

I hope not.

I am still attracted to it.

I feel guilty for neglecting it.

I don’t want to let it go.

But here I am, set to wing my way on another holiday, this time to Singapore, and I STILL haven’t told you about how when leaving Bali, Beloved bought a 600 ml Coke Zero at the airport. He assumed it was okay for him to buy it and take it through because by the same checkpoint in Australia you wouldn’t have been able to buy the Coke. Anyway, so he gives it to me to hold as our hand luggage is being x-rayed. I realise we can’t have it and I shove it at Beloved saying ‘YOU hold it,’ before he is told he can’t have it. I mean really Grumpy, what were they going to do to you for having the Coke, yet you are so scared of authority you were willing to drop your lovely husband in the shit?

See? That story was rather half-arsed.

But I can’t let go. Not yet.

That thing, that feeling, that need. It might come back.

Just So You Know

Nothing like the untimely death of a much loved colleague to think about your own possible end. He was fit, 50 and an all round lovely guy. All those trite things you trot out – kind, generous, etc? All true. I know it is a redundant question but why him? Why the nice one with the gorgeous family? I fear being struck down myself, but boy do I know some oxygen thieves who would make great minions for Satan instead……

His funeral was really lovely, considering the circumstances. However, Perth really does need a MUCH bigger non-denominational venue for funerals. When a teacher goes, unless they are one of the aforementioned Devil’s future butt-buddies, the place will be jam-packed. And it was.It got me thinking about my own end of life celebration. So here are my requests:

  • Make sure it is somewhere that everyone can get a good view/seat. Nothing worse than having to have a quiet sniffle standing up.
  • No black, unless it has sequins. Go all out and frock up a bit. Don’t insult me with your ‘I just nicked over during work’ wear. Use it as an excuse to buy a hat.
  • Those who can afford it or are so inclined – feel free to turn up in a limo, complete with champagne. Most of you have been married and are way past your school ball – grab the opportunity.
  • If someone I know can manage to conduct the proceedings, that would be awesome. It really grates on me to hear total strangers spout platitudes about someone they didn’t know. It just seems so…insulting.
  • A song played by one Jasmine Riley. You can choose Snazz, preferably an original of yours.
  • A NKOTB song, possibly ‘If You Go Away’. Sue me – I chose that one when I was 16.
  • If someone does a completely rockin’ eulogy, feel free to clap. Gotta give props to those who get up there and give it bash. In fact I insist you all clap.
  • Don’t worry about flowers. Buy a book and read it for me instead.

I don’t think that sounds entirely unreasonable, do you? So. Do YOU have any particular requests for that day that will inevitably come, but hopefully not too soon?