A letter to beautiful bride to be

Next week my family will fly down to Adelaide for the wedding of one my best childhood friends.

Milly is like the last man standing in our friendship group. She is the last of our high school friends to get married, and to be quite honest, neither of us thought she would ever see this day. But here we are a week out from her big day and I am overfilled with excitement, love and good memories of my beautiful friend.

Out of all of my friends, I have never seen such an amazing personal transformation. She rolled up to our Year eight Indonesian lesson with fire engine red hair, an Adidas Tracksuit (which was not even remotely similar our school uniform) and a bad attitude. I still have images of her swearing and flipping the bird at our teacher as she was kicked out of her first ever class. Ours was the third high school she had attended in as many terms. Kicked out of all of them for truancy and bad behaviour. After attending a well-known private school, it always surprised me that it was at our dodgy state high school that Milly found her way, and took her first steps in becoming the fabulous woman she is today.

After a terrible start to her high school years, and a topsy turvy home life living between 4 different houses at any one time, Milly seemed to find a home and some sense of belonging at Parafield Gardens. She made good friends and encountered some amazing teachers who were able to support her for the remainder of her high school years. It was in Year 12 that our Science teacher paid for Milly to submit a late application for university. Milly still believes it was the kind actions of this teacher that changed her future. To this day, it is stories like these that make me proud to be a teacher.

She went on to become an amazing, compassionate and skilled Primary School Educator. The best laugh was when in her first year of university she was paired for an assignment with the daughter of our old Math Teacher. On finding out his daughter was hanging out with Milly he replied ‘Stay away from her’. Needless to say that when she did turn up to his lesson, she was less than a model student.

So as my friend is an only child and I am her bridesmaid, I asked if I could speak on her behalf at the wedding.

This is what I wanted to say:

Milly I just wanted to start by saying how absolutely beautiful you look tonight, and thankyou to Domenic for allowing me to share in your special day. Milly, I have had the pleasure of having you in my life for 23 Years. During this time we have laughed together, drank together, cried together and grown together. I never once questioned if distance would be a barrier to our friendship. Some years ago, before You met Mr M, I recall a younger but sadder version of you saying ‘I’m never going to get married’, and I looked at you and said ‘yeah, you will, you just haven’t found the right man yet’. At that point in your life, you did not believe me.

 After a good night out at the Casino, you told me you had met Domenic, and I could tell even over the phone that you had met your ‘Tony Soprano’. For the first time there was a respect, there was a man who loved you as you were and seemed to put up with your sometimes ‘difficult’ behaviours. Whilst I had only met Domenic once or twice, I could tell he was a good man, the one to sort you out, the one to sit beside you as you grew old. Thankyou Domenic for making her shine.

 It probably isn’t tradition for the bridesmaids to speak, but then you have never been a one to follow the rules. You are technically an only child, but you have never been alone, you have always been my sister, and have always been a part of my family. As your sister, I am so proud of the woman you have become, and know that you are a better person with Domenic by your side. Be kind to each other, love each other. Remember the feelings you have today, lock them away in your pocket and hold on to them…it is these feelings that will keep you going when times get tough.

 I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world. Can we now raise our glasses once again to congratulate the new Mr and Mrs M…………..

 I know that Milly doesn’t read my blog, but just in case you bump into her…….sshhhhhh, don’t breathe a word, it’s a surprise.

P.s  – (I am also extremely excited that my husband will for the first time take our sons on the plane by himself. After years of telling me ‘it’s easy’ I wish him well. Though he would not admit it if he had struggled anyway! Men, Pfttt… )



Online safety: Your children are STILL not listening!



If you are the parent of school aged children then you need to keep reading. It is time to be honest with yourselves and take notice before your child becomes the next victim. Am I being an ‘over the top’ teacher? Probably yes, but the reality and consequence for not taking action is frightening. Read On……………………….

This week I have intervened in several situations involving students compromising their safety by sharing personal information online. In each situation the child believed they were innocently posting photos for friends when they had in fact given online predators a map and a green light to track them down.

Student 1 (Sibling of a student at our school): Using her Instagram account posted a screen shot of her online banking balance page in an attempt to show friends how much she had saved for an upcoming holiday. In doing so she had shared her account numbers, branch BSB numbers and full identification details to her closest 500 followers.  To her credit she had try to use a fading out application, but the numbers could still easily be identified. On closer investigation I was horrified to realise her account was not set to private….so she had actually shared this with every Tom, Dick  and weirdo whose favourite pastime is to troll social media sites looking at pictures of teenage girls.

Student 2: Year 12 student excitedly posted a screen shot of her newly attained drivers licence. Address, birthdate, eye colour, signature and licence number clearly visible. Whilst this account was set to private, I was still able to gain access to this picture through other ‘open’ accounts.

These girls are capable, friendly and intelligent students, imagine what the silly ones are getting up to?

I know for certain that the schools are doing their part.  As early as Year One, students are engaged in Online Safety Curriculum and conversation. Students using computers as part of a 1 to 1 program at every year level must attain a a ‘Net-passport’ That is only issued on completion of  a Net-Tiquette Program, based solely on cyber safety, bullying and privacy issues. Many schools also arrange visits from detectives working in ‘Online Crime to speak with their Year Sevens about protecting online identities. The students are always shocked when the detective arrives with a book full of personal information on our students, retrieved after only minutes of searching the names on our class lists. How easy would it be for the professional perverts who have hours a day to spend on this type of sinister research?

But are the parents also keeping up their end of the Education? Seriously ask yourself Do you really know what your children are posting online? When was the last time you looked at what they were posting? When was the last time you sat down with them and had a good chat about web safety and Net-Tiquette? Or do you believe it is solely the school’s job to sort this out for you?

After seeing some truly stupid posts placed online by parents themselves, I wonder is ‘Adult –Education’ the problem? Many adults do not seem to realize that anything posted online forms part of your digital footprint or online identity, and once published is there for all to see. Most employers will now run an online search for perspective employees, so you better hope you are setting your children up for success. A prominent Queensland netballer, 25 years old, has even been through the courts recently after being blackmailed by an online stalker to whom she posted private photos to. You would imagine that by 25 years old you would have gotten the message loud and clear.

Whilst it doesn’t surprise me, it does anger me that Child Safety continues to be compromised due to a lack of education. So if you have no idea about how to get the ball rolling have a quick look at the following guidelines which apply to adults and students and are endorsed by most local authorities on the matter.

–          Never post a photo of your child wearing their school uniform. Whilst the first day of school pics are adorable this is an easy way to hand feed information to strangers. Uniforms give a lot of information away. For starters- The address and exact whereabouts of your child between 8:30am -3pm. It all amazes me when parents post these pictures and you can even read the name of the school on the shirt.

–          Do not use (or use sparingly) the ‘check in’ feature on Facebook. I have seen so many people checking into their own house, a feature which not just gives strangers your rough address but is also so helpful it provides them with map in case the weirdo can’t find you already!

–          If you must use the ‘check in’ feature do not check in at after school activities such as footy practice, ballet etc. For obvious reasons. Not only does this let everyone know where your child is, it also tells them that you are not at home, leaving you vulnerable to a whole host of other nasties.

–          Use an online alias. There is absolutely no need for you to sign up for a Social Media Account using your own name. Change it slightly or use a middle name as a surname.

–          Make sure your child’s profiles are set to PRIVATE!!!!! Obviously as a teacher I am approached by many students on social media. I am shocked by how many students still have their accounts open. Unbelievable.

–          Do not use your own photo or image for your profile picture. Even with a private setting, a google search using your name will still yield results including the photo you use as a profile picture. Choose a cartoon character, object or symbol rather than your own face. Avoid using a drunk photo from last year’s Christmas Party. Not a good look.

–          Make sure you are ‘friends’ or a ‘Follower’ of your child. If they don’t want that, then there is something wrong. This is also a great way to keep an eye on bullying and also what other children are posting of your children. Eg; your child may not post ‘wrong’ photos on their own sites, but are others doing it for them? To those that say this is an invasion of privacy, go and google ‘Carly Ryan, Adelaide’. I bet her mum only wishes she had invaded her daughter’s privacy a lot sooner, a heartbreaking story, but sadly it doesn’t stand alone.

–          Make sure you know what the following Social Media Sites are and do a search; Kick, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Askfm, Twitter. These change every day, it is our job to keep up with them.

 I know many of you are thinking, ‘I don’t even have enough time to check my own Facebook ! How will I get around to all that?’ Well the answer must be Make the time. If you have given them the device to be online, then you need to educate them on how to ‘be online’.

  It is the same as giving them a car and allowing them to drive without a licence.

 I shall now hop down from my high horse, I think he is tired.




I have married Captain Underpants

Today, for the second time in our relationship, my husband was caught outside in his underwear. At 7:30am this morning, this what not a funny event. At one point he was so furious he could not even bring himself to look at me. By 8:30pm this evening, it was one of the funniest memories I will ever have of him. You have probably already gathered that I am being blamed for this early morning ‘hiccup’. Anyway, you be the judge, here’s how it happened.

 Today was my ‘working day’, which as any mum would know is the only day of the week that the children are guaranteed to sleep in. Any other day you could poke a stick at, they are there tapping on your arm at 5.30am asking to watch the cartoons. To which you reply ‘Mate, even the cartoons aren’t awake yet, go back to sleep’. This little sleep in led to a cascading series of late events. Late showers, late breakfast, late dressing and a few little tantrums thrown in to remind you that they are feeling rushed. By the time I was finally ready to walk out the door, I was feeling more than a little frazzled.  Knowing my husband (Mr K) had a spare hour up his sleeve dedicated to getting himself ready in peace, quiet and solitude, I asked for some help in getting the kids into the car.

 Mr K obliged and proceeded out towards the carport. I followed shortly after with my keys in hand, turned around and locked the door behind me. This is just an automatic action, after previously having left the door open a few times. I remember looking at Mr K as he put the kids in the car thinking ‘Why is he outside in his undies?’ But then quickly dismissed it, gave him a kiss and hopped in the car.

 We waved to Mr K as he stood judging my driving ability and shaking his head at me as I avoided riding up the curb. I pointed through the windscreen to remind him about his undies, but he shook his head as though he didn’t understand. It was a short drive to the Kindy, and I had just pulled up to the front door, with Son 2 in my arms and Son 1 escaping through the Gate, when I look to my left to see a freaky, frantic, half naked man puffing with fear and disbelief shouting ‘Are you serious?’ as he cleared the gate in one huge jump. I was confused and a bit scared.

 I still didn’t know what had happened at this stage. I looked at him and realized it was my husband, but still hadn’t connected how and why he had appeared so quickly at the Kindy without a car, why he had no shoes on and was sweating like a pig and why he was in his underwear. In a state of confusion I asked ‘Are you coming in?’ ( kindy) He looked at me with disgust and jumped to hide inside the car. It was then I realized something wasn’t right. I opened the car door and there he was visibly shaking like a plateful of frightened jelly…a half- naked plate of jelly in the Kindy car park.

 After some expletives and a quick censored summary of the event, I was enlightened to what had occurred. As I was pulling out of the driveway to leave for Kindy, I had  locked Mr K out in the street, in his underwear with no mobile phone, no keys and no way of getting back into our house. His only hope was to do the 700m dash from our house, past the local primary school (with kids already at the crossing) across the main road and over the Kindy fence, barefoot and in his undies. He really had no guarantee of catching me before I left, but hoped if he ran fast enough I would still be there, sparing him the awkward situation in which he would have to try and gain honest entry to a childcare facility to use the phone. I can see it now ‘Yeah right naked guy with no shoes on…..sure we will let you in to use our phone, you’re not a safety risk at all!’.


Looking back on this now, I am horrified to imagine what the children at the school were thinking seeing this weirdo run past naked with no shoes on. I’m sure there were a few mums shielding their children’s eyes and avoiding uncomfortable questions.

 The best part of this story is that this is not the first time this has happened to him. So the sheer look of terror that plagued his face this morning, was a sharp reminder of how quickly this could’ve turned ugly….again. It was almost a post- traumatic stress reaction.

 Back when we first moved to the Gold Coast, My husband flew up a few weeks early to get a head start in setting up our apartment. Not knowing a single soul in the state, he was left to unpack boxes one night in our six story apartment block. As some will know, many apartment blocks have a communal rubbish chute located on each floor. So again, in his underwear Mr K thought it a good idea to go and empty the bins. Not realizing the doors to the apartments were spring loaded, he found himself stranded, alone and in his underwear and locked outside of our new home. With no one to call for help or for clothing he was left with 2 choices. Sleep in the hallway and hope help arrives or perform a rather risky Spiderman impersonation up the side of the balcony and hope to hell the balcony doors were open. He chose the latter and made his way up several storeys in only his jocks. One can only imagine what would have happened if he had been caught by neighbours scaling balconies in some old jocks, that definitely had a few holes in the wrong places.

 So you see my dilemma, was it his fault for being outside in his underwear again? Or mine, for being so frazzled that I locked the door on him? You be the judge.








What sort of ‘Phone Friend’ are you?

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to spend my ‘driving home from work time’ engaged in a team motivational meeting, attended only by myself, in only my brain, for only me to hear. Mostly my team meeting is a critique of my day, or a re-shuffle of  my To-do list, but as with any good meeting (even imaginary ones) there are some days I get a little bit distracted. Like today when I was trying to remember what I needed from the shops, until I noticed that a tree that I drive past regularly, actually has a naturally formed face on it that looks like ‘Alfred’ from the popular 80’s game Guess Who. I couldn’t believe it, I was so impressed. There are days that I arrive at my destination and cannot even remember how I got there let alone the fabulous ‘How I can earn money without even moving’ schemes I had thought of on the way.

Today while sitting at the traffic lights trying to avoid eye contact with the driver next to me as if we were in some sort of reverse ‘stare off’ I realised it had been nearly 5 months since I had last called a particular friend of mine. I was absolutely horrified. How could I have some much time pass by without just giving her a call? It was terrible. I immediately text her and arranged a good time for us to chat. As any mum would know, trying to call a friend with children is almost harder than trying to do a Rubic’s Cube without taking the stickers off and moving them. When your children are asleep, hers are awake, when you can talk she’s washing the floor or asleep, when you’re asleep, she can speak and so the cycle continues until you accidentally find a ‘good time’ to chat. But let’s back up a bit.

Why is it such an effort to speak to some people on the phone that it is easier not to call for months and risk missing some really life changing event in their lives? I have been giving this a bit of thought and have come up with the conclusion that all humans with a phone fall into a Phone Friend Category. Your phone category might be placing you unknowingly at the bottom of the phone a friend list.

So here they are:

Category A: This is the friend that you can call or text every day or two, with almost nothing of any importance to report. Usually a close friend who doesn’t mind your boring observations of who you just saw wearing no makeup at the shops, sports scores, or mundane convo’s about television shows. You can always just ring this person and have no shame in tell them that you’re getting off the phone now because you’re bored

Category B: This is the friend who you actually just call every month or so for a quick catch up and a laugh. They don’t care that you haven’t called, and nor do you. A low maintenance phone friend. You have also known this person for such a long time that you both know the score, but also both know you are there for the ‘big times’ in life, when the convo’s actually count. Convo usually is never too long to deter you from calling.

Category B.1 Same as Phone friend B but this friend actually does get annoyed that you haven’t called and has been holding their own private stand off that only they know about, where they have been waiting to see how long it would take you to call them…because you have sooooo much time to care about these silly things. Ha!

Category B.2 Same as Phone friend B, but you can leave it longer than even a month. Sometimes even 3 or 4 months and they still really don’t care.

Category C: The friend who you actually only call because you feel you have to keep the friendship going. You probably have known each other for years yet have very little in common these days. You hate the thought of the call, but once you actually do it you finish up thinking ‘Why don’t I call her more often?

Category D: This is the person you love to have a big chat and gossip with, but you leave it a while between calls because you want to store up enough info for a big chinwag and a laugh. The only problem is that you keep avoiding the call as you know it will last for 5 hours and really, who has time for that this week? Or this year?

Category E: The person that you call when you are bored and lonely and waiting for something. You are either: in the car waiting for someone, at the Doctors or some other public place that prompts you to call someone rather than sit alone like a Nigel No- Friends. This is always a risky call though, because they may not answer immediately and by the time they call you back, your ‘real’ life has resumed and you no longer care too much about speaking to them.

Category D; The text only friend. You are not too fussed about speaking on the phone and arrange every meeting via text. You would rather save all of your information for the face to face meeting.

Category E: Similar to the text only friend ‘The Voice Mail Chasey friend’ is often so busy that you continue to miss each in real time but are happy to converse using short messages.

So it seems that your friends can become a general mix of a few different categories or even evolve into to different categories as life rolls on. My poor friend accidentally fell into category D and that is my excuse for not calling. My solution is to call more frequently or maybe some ‘in between’ call text messages.

I’m sure I have missed so many additional ‘Phone Friend Categories’ so feel free to add any you think of.

So what sort of Phone friend are you? Or do you think it depends on who is calling?

P.s – I know some of you have googled a picture of ‘Alfred’ from Guess Who. Was he the one you thought he was?