Monday, 28 March 2011

The boob job

GenY are a brash lot. They call a spade a spade, and I'm sort of cool with that, but not totally.

OK, I'm not. 

And that's because when I was a young lass it was considered impolite to make direct comments to people about age-related matters. At least not to their wrinkly faces. 

But Gen Yers like to slam the truth home without thinking about the hurt feelings of their defenceless older victims. I'm sure it's well-intentioned, but sometimes I could live without it. It's not as though I'm unaware of gravity taking its toll.

The latest insult came from my almost-15-year-old daughter, The Hiss (aka Miss Hissy Fit).

I'd just stepped out of the shower when she barged into the bathroom - entering without knocking is another trait of this generation, which has no idea about the concepts of privacy and personal space.

The Hiss screamed and staggered backwards, looking repulsed.

"Oh, my God," she squealed. 

"What is it?"  

"Your boobs. They're so low."

I glanced in the mirror and pulled back my shoulders. "Get out," I shrieked. 

As she retreated, she still managed to fling one more salvo my way before I slammed the door. "I'm sorry Mum, but I didn't realise they sag so much when you get older."

The Hiss thinks that adding "sorry" makes amends.

I'm reading this now and having a giggle. At the time, I stood and looked at my breasts, which I love, and raised my arms over my head. They obligingly moved upwards and into their 1996 position.

The year The Hiss was born.   

I'm not even sure if there's a moral to this story (usually, it's: don't have kids). I feel blessed to still have my saggy boobs and to have travelled this far with them.

I guess the moral is to enjoy what you've got, and occasionally stretch your arms above your head to take stock of what you've left behind. 

PS: Hopefully, this saggy-boobed biatch will be back on the beach this weekend at Stanwell Park. See you there.  

PPS: No, that's not me. It's 1960s sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida sussing out Stanwell Park conditions.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

What it's like to not make the cut for the Little Gems contest

And the winners are...


Go to my writing blog to read about my Little Gems experience.

It's all fun and I'm not upset, even though I just consumed half a tub of butter on half a loaf of white bread. I'm fine. Really. Now, leave me alone.  Get lost.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Port Stephens is the 'sharkiest' place to fish

My last post covered the recent shark attack at Port Stephens, where 24-year-old Lisa Mondy was  mauled on the face and arms by a great white shark after she fell off a wakeboard at Jimmys Beach. She underwent 15 hours of surgery to re-attach a severed left arm.

I have lifted the following facts from David Lockwood's weekly fishing column in The Sun-Herald. It does help explain why Mondy was attacked.

Lockwood writes that of all the places he's fished over the years Port Stephens, on the NSW mid-north coast, is the 'sharkiest'.

'Stand on the basalt rocks at Tomaree Headland, one of the sentinels to Port Stephens, and you can see the sharks shadowing the vast migrating sea mullet, Australian salmon and slimy mackeral schools,' he writes.

Lockwood claims to have spotted 27 sharks during a low-altitude flight over the Hunter coast, which encompasses Port Stephens.

He talked to an aerial shark-spotting tour operator who said a fatality from a shark attack was 'imminent'. Lucky Lisa.

A local fisherman said he saw a 'white shark' (I assume we're talking about GREAT whites) 'leap out of the water and take a seagull just metres from where he was surfing', while another bloke photographed great whites feeding in water 'less than waist deep'.

Autumn is the peak season for sharks on the Hunter coast, where schools of baitfish trace the beaches and headlands during their northerly migration. The 50 kilometres along the coast from Stockton to Seal Rocks is also a well known great white nursery.

The most recent news report is at:

Lockwood advises readers to 'play if safe in Port Stephens'.

I'll take that onboard and stay there.

Photo of Lisa Mondy from story (link is above).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Shark attack at Nelson Bay blows the dawn and dusk theory out of the water

In past posts I've often quoted the shark defenders' mantra: these predators of the deep only attack hapless humans who get in their way when the sharks are feeding around dawn and dusk.

I swam in Sydney Harbour last week with this comforting thought whooshing through my oh-so powerful arms and legs.

I now have to concede there are exceptions to the rule. At least one.

A great white shark yesterday mauled a 24-year-old woman after she fell off a wakeboard at Jimmy's Beach at Port Stephens on the NSW mid-north coast.

It has since been reported that the victim, Lisa Mondy, has had her left arm re-attached in a seven-hour operation.

The time of the attack wasn't dawn or dusk. It was LUNCH TIME - 1pm to be exact.

A local recreational fisherman told a news reporter that the ocean at this time of year is alive with baitfish, which attract sharks, and Jimmy's Beach is a known shark "hot spot".

He added that in the past five years he's noticed an increase in the number of sharks around Port Stephens. I'm talking about IN the water.

This is unnerving.

There could be valid reasons for the increase, but the following two are just me wildly speculating:

1. The water closer to the shore is cleaner because sewerage gets pumped further out.
2. The water is warmer than it used to be in the old days because of global warming?

Dunno. Don't care. I respect the shark, but I don't feel like a close encounter of any kind.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Swimming in Sydney Harbour

Just before I jumped into Sydney Harbour today I asked the wetsuit-attired bloke with the loudspeaker if there were any scuba divers down below looking out for sharks and protecting the swimmers above. He told me there were two "and me".

I did sort of wonder why he wasn't down there too, but there was no time to ask. He had an important job to do. I had to accept that if the sharks were hungry, two divers with electric prods/sonar devices/whatever (and possibly as portly as their land-lubbing mate) weren't going to make much difference.

Today's event was the 10th anniversary of Sydney Harbour swim. This is my fourth time and, despite the hefty $55 entry fee (please explain), it's a swim I love. My daughter Precious Princess (PP) was my swimming mate today because Davo is still recuperating from a broken wrist. 

Just before she jumped into the harbour with the other 14-19 year olds who started in the first wave, PP confided that she needed to do a "piddle". 

"Darls, it's too late now. There's only one place to go." I pointed her in the right direction, all the while thinking about those stories of surfers who've been chomped after pissing in their wetsuits. 

Que sera sera. 

The 500-odd participants in the 2 km swim followed this delightful course - out from the Sydney Opera House, across to Mrs Macquarie's Chair, in to Farm Cove and back to the Man O' War Steps at THE HOUSE. I've said it before, but it's an incredible feeling to turn to breathe and out of the corner of your eye, glimpse one of Sydney's iconic buildings. It makes me feel happy.   

I still think this swim is a shorter distance than the advertised 2 km, but I'm quite happy to accept a faster than usual time.

The weather was perfect SUN SUN SUN and the water warm and silken.

PP survived and was there to greet me at the end of the swim.

Afterwards we hung around in the hope we'd win a prize in the raffle. We didn't.  

But hey, who needs a raffle prize when life is this good.   

PS: It seems that almost every week I'm sending out my sympathetic thoughts to those people affected by devastating natural disasters. This week it's to the people of Japan. My heart goes out to you. 

Sunday, 6 March 2011

I saw a REAL shark during the 2 km Manly swim

Sometimes life hands you a gift. And for me, that happened today. But more of my encounter with the man in the grey suit later in this post.

Since my swimming partner, Davo, has been out of action with a broken wrist I tend to wait until the morning of an ocean swim to make a decision about whether to participate. Today three swims ran in Sydney.

1. TamaCloey 2.5 km Cliffside wrote a glowing report on this swim in an attempt to dismiss many punters' fears that it is a perilous excursion for the foolhardy and elite swimmers. 

Go to for a detailed history of this eastern-suburbs beach, where it refers to the Surf Life Saving NSW description of the 100-metre long beach as the most hazardous patrolled beach in NSW. SLSNSW warns that Tamarama's 'energetic wave climate ensures that at least one and often two rips are present on the beach. This means the surf zone is essentially all rip.'

Call me a coward. Call me anything. I don't care. Count me out of this one.

2. Barney Mullins Swim Classic at Freshwater. My guess is that 'Freshy' is one of Sydney's safest beaches. On one website this northern beach is described as a horseshoe-shaped cove just over the headland from Manly. I was considering this 1.5 km swim, but was discouraged by the late registration fee of $40 - the normal entry fee is $25. That's a nasty price hike. Forget it.

3. Manly. Do I have to describe it? One of Sydney's 'iconic' beaches. The registration fee is $25 and for latecomers like myself, $30. That's more like it. The only disadvantage is finding a parking spot that isn't limited to 2 hours. It's impossible, so I ended up risking a fine.

What can I say about this swim, except that I made the right choice today.

It had the warm embracing feel of a community event, unlike so many of the swims these days that attact well in excess of 1000 entrants (the Cole Classic is ridiculous, with 5000 entered in the two swims).

When I arrived, the 1 km swim was in progress. The Nippers, so cute, were on the beach getting their medals and certificates, the barbecue was fired up, the Banana Boat tent was handing out free sunscreen and the surf was perfect.

The punters assembled on the beach just down from the steps that lead onto Manly's Corso. Way, way, way out was an orange buoy. After taking a right turn at that buoy we were then to swim to Shelley Beach and take another right turn before heading along to Fairy Bower and then back into South Steyne. The course looked longer than 2 km to moi.  

Not for a long time have I started a swim along with ALL the female competitors. The men went off first, then we plunged in five minutes later. It took me forever to get out and around that first buoy. I did the usual swimming wide thing (I can be so dumb - I slap my wrist over this after EVERY swim) but for once this turned to my advantage when I passed over the reef at Fairy Bower. Because I was a bit further out, I saw A SHARK. 

He was small but not tiny. I'd guess, looking down on him from a height of around six metres (my maths is appalling) he would've been around one-metre long - I just joined several rulers to check the measurement.  

When I spotted him I wasn't concerned at all because he was so far down and looked content to be going about his daily business. I guessed he was a bronze whaler as they supposedly breed in the area. 

I was tired (when you swim wide all the time you get tired) but seeing this amazing creature - he was elegant and graceful - was exhilarating and gave me a renewed burst of energy. Hey, I wonder why. SHARK!         

Alas, my sighting of the man in the grey suit didn't improve my time.  

Afterwards I had coffee with my friend Mrs Snorkle, who saw some teeny-weeny sharky critters as she pottered around Fairy Bower earlier.

Icing on the cake? No parking fine!