Zesty Mumma's Words

A life lived without passion is a life half lived

Archive for the tag “Family”

My Husband Wears Black – Not for the Reasons You May Imagine

My husband wears black.
Not because he is of Mediterranean descent.
Not because it’s a fashion statement.
I was always really grateful for this odd character quirk, mainly because he often tended to wear much of the food he was eating. Not that he was a particularly messy eater, its just that at some stage he always managed to drop something down his front.
I have found however it’s really important  not to set yourself on too high a pedestal because as fate would have it, life often drops everything straight back in your lap, literally.
Craig and I were getting ready for a wedding and I had laid out for him his cloths, this included the beautiful new white shirt I had just bought for him.
He took one look at it and with all the wisdom of the ages stated, “it’s white, what happens when I spill my dinner on it” Some would call him a pessimist I choose to think of him as a realist.
I consider myself to be of reasonable intellect and despite all previous experience with Craig and clothes and food, all put together, for some unknown reason this question had not entered my mind. May be it was the optimism of the day, could there be a better time for it than a wedding?
We didn’t have a choice, the wedding was at four, it was three o’clock already and the trip took an hour.
There was only one thing to do, throw caution to the wind and take our chances with the white shirt.
I needn’t really to have worried, as it turned out it’s the brown shoe polish you have to watch out for.
Sitting in the car waiting to leave I heard Craigs voice float down to me from the verandah, “Does brown boot polish come out.” Instantly I felt the blood drain from my face. My dream of turning up with the tall, dark haired stranger (we didn’t know many of the invitees) in the crisp, snow white shirt were evaporating by the second.
The brown shoe polish stain dissolved remarkably well in water and the soaked front of the shirt was nearly dry by the time we entered the wedding venue.
I needn’t have worried, Craig said he would drive, so the only liquid that passed his lips was water. Then after the first hor’d’ erve he informed me he had a virus and felt like dying so that was the end of food for him.
No worries, I didn’t let the side down. A huge piece of spicy red sauce landed down my right side and spattered all over the front of my pale pastel dress.
I’m now considering how we would look in his and hers matching black.
Yay team goth.

Expect the Unexpected and You May Be Pleasantly Surprised





Have you ever had an unexpected year, a year when nothing proceeds the way you would have thought it would, let alone planned. The year I left my husband and found myself living in a two bedroom flat looking after two grade 12 students, only one of whom was my child, was my surprising year. I spent most of the time fighting tooth and nail to make two  teenagers pass grade 12 , when neither of them really cared that much. Dragging my child out of the surf and the other one out of her bed cause she “just had to sleep a bit longer,” was my usual scenario. I felt like a sergeant major directing traffic, one to Maroochydore High and the other to Mountain Creek. That definitely wasn’t what I expected when the clock struck twelve on 31st December the previous year.

The day after I moved into the flat in Alexandra Headland I walked to the top of Pacific terrace. The view was amazing, the sunlight sparkled on the water and there was barely a breath of wind.  I sat down to contemplate exactly what I was going to do.

I was 40 something and single, after trying desperately to revive something that I should have left dead and buried, retrenched from my job and at that stage neither of my children were living with me. The situation could have seemed quite bleak, I had left all my furniture with my ex,  lent money to someone maxing out my credit card at the same time and I was broke. Sitting on top of that hill, taking in the view on that spectacular autumn morning, I thought to myself, I can either become bitter and twisted or make this an adventure. I’ll tell you later what I chose.

I got  a job at a local seafood shop, not really very glamorous, but if you have ever tried to find a job when you are over forty you will understand. There was method in my madness though, I had partly applied for this particular job because I knew how physically demanding it could be. At the end of grade 12  I had worked the summer holidays in a fish shop so I knew what I was getting myself in for. I had lost my peace in the last ten years of my marriage and I really needed to rest my mind. After years of office work I thought it was a good way to begin my reinvention.

So there I was shovelling boxes of fish, prawns and ice, in and out of cabinets, I didn’t have the time to sink into the bitter and twisted mind set that I was trying to avoid. I did learn to appreciate the little things. To this day nothing gives me more pleasure than to sit down on a hot summer night with a dozen natural oysters, sprinkled with salt, pepper and lemon juice, on a bed of ice, a can of dark and stormy in my hand, watching the Gilmore girls. Oh the unequalled bliss of it all.

So I rode my pushbike to work every morning, up and over the Alex bluff, sunlight dancing on the water, my mind sorting through all the sludge of the past twenty years, defragging as I went. Early on New Years Eve morning, as the year drew to a close, I was making my way through Mooloolaba.  Riding in the middle of the road as I approached a narrow section near the “Loo with a View,” a racing bike attempted to flash past me. The problem was I had a string bag hanging off my handlebars and his handlebars became tangled in it. As anyone would I came to a complete stop planting my feet firmly on the ground as I felt my bike being pulled by the other bike. Unfortunately for that rider it caused his bike to also come to a full stop, he and his bike then hurtled to the bitumen. I saw the whole thing happen in slow motion, unable to do anything to stop it. I watched his thankfully helmeted head smash into the curb and he lay there with his expensive bike resting on top of him.

I felt so bad ….. really, really bad …. until he started to scream at me.
“You bloody idiot, you moved to the side, you bloody idiot” over and over again. I tried to apologise in a soft consoling voice, but he went on and on. Now I’ve been screamed at by the best of them and the more he screamed, the more defensive I became. In the end enough was enough and I stood over him, hands on hips, waggling my finger and stamping my foot like I was scolding a naughty child. “You listen here” I said in my best school marm voice, “It was an accident and you’re very rude and don’t you ever call anyone a BLOODY IDIOT again”

And that’s when I saw it, I wish I hadn’t, I couldn’t believe it. The bloke lying on the ground, hurling abuse at me, was missing a foot. It was like a scene from a bad Monty Python movie, It was awful, Excruciatingly unexpected.

I do want to assure you that he didn’t lose it when he fell of the bike, I just hadn’t noticed it before.

The missing foot made me feel even more incredibly bad than I already did. I probably should have stayed; however, his behaviour, which I am sure was just shock on his part, had made me so angry that I got on my bike and rode off into the sunrise. I then spent the whole of the day in fear that I’d get a visit from the police to cart me off; cause there emblazoned on my tea shirt was the name of my employer, a well known seafood supplier.

Since then many unexpected things have happened, amazing jobs. I worked for a now defunct Childcare Company as an event coordinator. They flew me all over the countryside. I had one trip to Tasmania to open a couple of centres where I only worked for 8 hours the entire five nights I was away and they paid for it, car, fuel, accommodation, meals, amazing. I do sometimes feel that I may have contributed to the financial demise they eventually experienced.

I’ve even been known to wear a purple bear suit when there was a need, now that is another story. I have travelled to many other destinations, that I actually paid for. I have a peace I didn’t have in my marriage and I am unbelievably happy.

So I guess you know which choice I made! Honestly sometimes it is just that simply, you have to choose. Who would have thought, very unexpected!

No. 1 way of Getting Free Stuff When You Travel – Look Like A Celebrity

I have had a little flu so I wasn’t up to posting another part of my trip around NZ South Island.

I do have just a little tit bit for you though.

A friend of mine was holidaying in Hawaii with her son and they decided to have a drink at the Lava Bar. Apparently this place has a couple of levels and is very nice. Anyway from the time they entered the place they were treated like royalty. You know the scene, offered free drinks, whisked away to the VIP lounge, nothing was too much for the staff. They noticed people staring and talking on headsets,  still couldn’t work out what was going on, but decided to enjoy it just the same.

Finally they found out what was going on. The staff thought my friend’s son was Hurley from lost!

When I was told that story I could slightly see the resemblance but there is a lot of difference as well. Being that Lost was filmed in Hawaii and that it was probably a little dark in the bar, I suppose that was enough to confuse the staff.


So the moral of this little tale is, if you have a slight resemblance to a star and you are travelling to a destination that you know they may have worked in, milk it for all it is worth ( with out being dishonest that is).

Get Your Priorities Right – The Renovation Nightmare

Renovating a house can be a long and arduous project, as I’m sure anyone who has viewed the endless list of reality television shows will agree . A list of priorities is a necessity, however this is generally the point at which partners no longer see eye to eye. Men and women just can’t seem to place the same level of importance on the same bit of needed repair.

My husband feels that building a monolithic stone barbeque, which every bloke that comes to our house gazes at longingly, is of vital importance. Their eyes glaze over with appreciation, and say in hushed voices,” Ah, mate what a beauty”.

My priorities run a little more toward esthetics of the home. Personally though, considering that the bathroom is under the house and we have no internal stairs, I’d be happy with a light so I could see where I was going in the middle of the night.

It is a hazardous trip at the best of times. Two dogs, a cat and numerous green tree frogs being just some of the obstacles you have to navigate. However at one o’clock in the morning, when you are busting to go to the toilet, it can be out right dangerous.

As I stumbled down the stairs the deep sleep I had woken from still held me in its clutches and I was oblivious to my surroundings. I had almost made it to the bottom when my foot landed on something I had never felt before. Cool and smooth its coils rolled over the side of my foot. My heart stopped beating and I instantly leapt into the air, dancing and screaming as I hit the ground. In a second it was gone. I ran hysterically up the stairs to my sleeping husband to seek protection. After a few beers the night before he was not in any mood to wake up before time, but I tried anyway.

“Craig, Craig” I said, “I’ve just trodden on a snake”.
“Mmm, Mmm ” says he.
“Craig, Craig” I said, “I don’t know if I’ve been bitten by a snake”.
“Mmm, Mmm” says he.

We continued this routine for the next ten minutes, during which time my imagination raced and I perceived every speck on my foot as a fang mark. Finally, my voice found its way to the darkest reaches of his brain.

“Do you feel sick” Craig asked.
I thought seriously, my heart was jumping out of my throat, sweat was rolling down my brow, but no I didn’t feel sick.
Being the strength of our family and having the ability to make executive decisions, based on all available information, before closing his eyes and drifting back to sleep he said, “Lie down for a while and see what happens”.

For some unfathomable reason I listen to him.
As sleep finally came upon me my last thought was. “If anything happens I could be dead”.

The Road to Nelson – the home of Sid and Night Swimmers!

What I didn’t tell you last week was that I was travelling with my friend Claire.

I used to think, when I was married and had children in tow, that I would love to be alone sometimes.  But once you are it is a very different situation.  I remember the first time I was able to wander around Byron Bay (my favourite place in the world) by myself. The first hour was great and I was able to be just Stephanie, not mum or wife, just Stephanie. But a very strange thing happened – I began wishing that I had someone to have a coffee with, very strange and very unexpected. And to coin a phrase made famous by that prophet of modern cinema, Hugh Grant, in “About a Boy”, I realised   “I was not an island”.  Anyway so, the point is I realised that I needed people, so now I travel with friends and at least the last couple of times, that would be Claire. So my advice is find a travel buddy!

We arrived in Nelson after about an hour drive from Picton, past wineries (Stoneleigh was one that I remember) and picture perfect scenery.  Nelson is  a pretty little town set by the water. It is actually a major port for fishing, timber and yachties. We had already booked our accommodation at The Bug Backpackers. It turned out to be a great choice, situated about 1km from the Nelson CBD but that wash’t a problem for us cause we had a car. It is very clean and has a great garden out the back. I was glad we had pre booked a twin room cause everything was full. It was perfect for us and  even had a sink, which isn’t always the case The owners  are an English couple who love living in NZ. They care about their backpackers and you can tell, which is more than I can say for some. In the morning there is freshly brewed coffee and fresh baked bread in the kitchen, but you have to get in quick cause  it is a first in first served situation.

Nelson is an arty town and there is plenty to see and enjoy. It is funny cause many years ago my ex and I gave a person called Sid  a lift to Sydney from Queensland. He actually came from Nelson  and worked on the fishing trawlers there. I had this badly misconceived idea about the type of person that lived in Nelson based on what Sid had told us about his live in Nelson, and that wasn’t pretty if you know what I mean.

We did try to find some live music on the second night we were there but unfortunately on a Thursday night the entertainment doesn’t start till 10 or 10.30 pm. Far too late a start for me and I can hear all you young people scoffing, don’t worry you’ll feel the same soon.

Anyway there  is something else that is very interesting about Nelson, it is the closest in Temperature to Australia than any other NZ destination. Apparently it i is very sheltered so the weather doesn’t vary too much  from Summer to Winter. The temperature in February when we were there was fabulous.

There is another interesting thing we noticed about Nelson, the residents come out to swim after seven o’clock at night. Apparently they have this tradition of evening swimming. Weird right? They have a long twilight so it is still quite light till late at night even at the end of Summer.   I heard a story while I was there about a group of swimmers in Nelson ( they were actually a club of night swimmers) that were followed by something with a fin. It was said to be a dolphin hut hey I’m Australian and I know that if you are being followed by anything with a fin at night you can bet your life it’s usually a shark.

* Nelson had great op shops in the same street as we were staying.

* We picked up the cutlery etc I mentioned last week.

* We did our shopping at a major supermarket in Nelson

* I also picked up homemade jam, relish and lemons from senior citizen stalls

Motueka and Golden Bay next week.


Zesty Salmon Vegetable Salsa

I usually have a busy Monday. Since I took this year off to finish the novel I have been writing   I only work a couple of days a week, Monday being one of them. It is late when I get home and at the moment it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere so it is cold. I usually need to make a meal in a  hurry before I reach for the energy laden junk food.

I am about to give you one of the quickest meals you will ever make. The best part is that it is also one of the most amazing in flavour and also very healthy.  It is so simple I won’t even give you a traditional recipe.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED  – Sweet Potato or Pumpkin, a mixture of green vegetables (my usual – Broccoli, Zucchini, Peas), chunky fillet of smoked Salmon – not sliced  (I usually use about a 90gram piece for 1 person), Lime, Salt and Pepper, Coconut Oil and fresh basil to garnish.

KITCHEN UTENSILS – 1 saucepan and lid, strainer , Citrus squeezer

FIRSTLY –  Fill a saucepan and boil some water. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel and slice the sweet potato and /or pumpkin into cubes. Carefully drop them into the water. Continue chopping any other vegetables you are using in to bite size pieces (not too small). Turn off the hot plate immediately (leaving the saucepan on the hotplate) and drop the rest of the vegetables into the still simmering water.   Squeeze the lime into a small jug.

The veggies only need a couple of minutes sitting in the water and can now be drained.  Once they are drained drop them into a bowl then crumble the salmon through the vegetables. Add the Salt, Pepper, Lime Juice, Coconut Oil and Basil. All you need to do then is turn it all through a couple of times and serve.

Voila, this is amazing and takes under 10 minutes to make, Enjoy !



Not a Place for the Faint Hearted – The Boxing Day Sales.

The fallen lay defeated on the battlefield. Meer shells of humanity, unable to speak about the horrors they had faced. The retreat had begun early in the campaign and by 4.00pm the exodus had escalated to a stampede.  Only those with true stamina survived the melee.  This was a battle not  for the physically strong  but the mentally strong.

Yes I braved the boxing day sales, stepping over broken husbands strewn across the path as I entered the Plaza.  Why, why why do they allow themselves to be subjected to the torture. They’re not built like us, they don’t have the shopping gene. The noise, the lights, the million and one items to find and purchase, oh the pure confusion of it all.  Like little animals in the glare of a thousand headlights, their eyes dart back and forth in alarm, hearts racing, exhibiting the jerky, erratic movements only fear can cause. Can’t their carers see the pain they are in?

Lets face it the ability to shop is a very underrated skill, one that truly warrants deep analysis. If you think about what it takes to be successful at the Boxing Day sale you may be surprised at how significant this is for success in other areas of your life.

Firstly you definitely need stamina as I have previously mentioned. Also needed is ingenuity, there are any number of people out their tying to find that ultimate bargain just like you, so you have to get there first.  Concentration, now that is of the utmost importance, no distraction can be allowed. No screaming children or disgruntled husbands can sidetrack you from your mission.

Maybe this is where the education system has been failing society. Lets do away with geography (we’ve got Google earth now anyway) and social studies (Social media has done away with the need to meet face to face these days) and replace them with shopping studies.

Highly developed Shopping Genes may hold all the ingredients for all the worldly success anyone could want, stamina, ingenuity and concentration, what more could you need!






Hard Work isn’t a dirty word, it’s a Necessity For Success

Yesterday I had to prepare a submission for a business owner. She was asked to speak about what she felt were the key elements of her success . I know this person very well and am one a small group who have seen how hard she has worked to achieve success.

Below is the list I prepared for this submission.

*          Vision  – You need to see where you are going to be able to make a choice of which path to take.

*          Passion – Loving what you do is vital cause it is going to get hard sometimes and only love will keep you going.

*          Respect – For your customers, Staff and suppliers cause you’re not alone on this journey.

*          Innovation – to be the best at what you do you have to be a leader not a follower. Striving to be ahead of the pack gets you noticed.

*          Tenacity – Last on this list but it may be the most important.  There are days when you will be barely hanging by the skin of you  teeth. You will need all the will you can muster just to lift your head off the pillow some morning’s. Tenacity is vital cause you’ll have to fight tooth and nail to make a go of it.

There have been times when I have honestly wondered how she survived but no matter what or how she was feeling she just kept going.

Which brings me to my point. Up until recently there has a trend that goes something like this. “tell a child they can be anything they want to be and the they will succeed.”


What about working hard, Is it a dirty word?

Success ALMOST never just happens. I am not just talking about your working life either, hard work is needed in every facet of your life.

What Do Women Want Today?

What do women want today, I am a woman and they totally confuse me sometimes so I have no idea how men cope?  Yesterday I heard about a marriage that had just ended. It is often a sad occurrence when this happens but particularly so in this case. To start with the couple had only been married for a year.  They must have at least thought there was a possibility that they could make a go of it when they decided to marry. You would hope it wasn’t a whim, right?


Now here is the main reason this case is so poignant, the groom had secretly planned and executed a second wedding to celebrate the anniversary of the first one.  The reason was simple, the couple married in a registry office and he wanted to give his bride the wedding he thought she deserved.


Really? I think he may be rethinking that opinion.


The bride thought she was being taken away for a beach weekend to celebrate her birthday. That fact alone makes me think there may be a bit of narcissism happening with this young lady. Meanwhile her husband had planned and booked a renewal of vows with an amazing ceremony at a spectacular winery, followed by a full reception for seventy guests. He had also invited and paid for a large number of the bride’s family to be flown in from outside Australia to attend.

By all accounts Saturday 17th May was a beautiful day for all who attended.


Obviously all except the bride cause barely a month later she is outta there.


Now I don’t presume to imagine that I can ever know what goes on in private but lets pull this a part.  Here is a couple who had only been married for a year and

a husband that tries to make his wife feel special when he can. On paper you would have to think they had a good chance to make it work if they both put in a little effort.


Where Do You Eat Your Meals, I Eat Mine at the Table


I eat my meals at the table; I know that is probably an unusual thing to do in the world we now live in.  I’m not talking about just my evening meal. I mean every meal. Breakfast, there I sit with my egg on toast and cup of coffee, Lunch, even at work and evening, I sit at the table. I just can’t do the sitting on the lounge with your meal in your lap. It’s just the way I was brought up, even when there is no one around to see it I still sit at a table.


You would think my children would do the same thing cause I bought them up to sit at a table when you eat, nope. I notice that nine times out of ten they are planted on the lounge when they eat.


My cat; however, is a different matter. Every rat, bird and lizard she ever catches is bought in the house and ends up under the kitchen table. I hear crutch, crutch and I look and sure enough there is the cat with her takeaway eating at the table. Then I have to scream and chase her out of the house.


Isn’t it ironic, when you try to train your kids to do something it is so hard. Then your cat gets it just by watching you, even if you don’t want them to. Sometimes you just can’t win.



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