How to: Be A Bossy Bridesmaid and Keep Smiling.

The Bride was so stunning she made Grace Kelly look like an old crone.  The setting in the park amidst the autumn leaves was perfect.  The ceremony was solemn yet intimate and personal and the gorgeous couple were eventually and happily joined in blessed matrimony…. But Oy vey! was there some mad management going on behind the scenes leading up to the moment of wedded bliss!

Picture if you will, one overworked, overtired, overstressed, overwrought, overextended Bride getting ready for THE event of her young life.  Now lets give her a pervasive and persistent head cold of several weeks, a house full of soon to be in-laws and a bunch of absent staff at her pizza shops all experiencing attacks of Life(TM)… suddenly you have a very stressed and fragile young lady who feels like she’s going to cry because she can’t find a car park, and hasn’t had breakfast yet!  🙁    No one wants that.

I’ve been involved in plenty of weddings before, but this one looked like it could turn pear shaped pretty quickly under these extenuating and emotionally heightened circumstances.  Anxious and stressed Bride is a recipe for disaster, so the natural thing for any quick witted Bridesmaid in this position is to run interference, keep any potential wrinkles in the perfect planned silk satin schedule out of the Bride’s immaculately manicured hands, and swiftly fix anything and everything BEFORE it becomes a problem.   Now if only we could have gotten the rest of the team onside with the ‘Keep The Icky Problems Away From The Bride Plan’…

Rental company doesn’t have the required number of ordered chairs?  The Bride doesn’t need to know – sort it yourself.  Finally picked the chairs up and some are of them are dirty?  The Bride doesn’t need to know – sort it yourself.  Unable to set the chairs up by yourself?  The Bride doesn’t need to know – sort it yourself.  Got no where to park the trailer?  The Bride does not need to know – sort it yourself or find someone to sort this stuff out for you.  Keep the knuckle head stuff off the Bride’s perfectly planned plate… because her only job now is to look gorgeous and to make it down the aisle with as minimal stress as possible.  :S

But here’s one I could never have predicted.  On the night before the wedding, we were staying at a friend’s house expecting a quiet night in before the big day…  one of the other houseguests casually mentions that he received a call asking him to bring his sword with him to the wedding, but it was too late, he was already en route to the airport.  With radar already on high alert, all I heard was ‘Arooga, arooga! Potentially unplanned/unknown things afoot that the Bride is unaware of?!  Arooga!’ and as such queried the need for medieval swords at a completely mundane wedding.

Some furious text messaging  between 22:30hrs and 00:15hrs confirmed the worst.  Not only was the Bride’s Father planning a surprise quasi-military ‘honour guard’ with raised steel swords at the wedding in a public park, without consulting his extremely organized Daughter With A Vision, he thought it’d be great fun to have that sword bearing ‘honour guard’ accompanied by some people holding up PIZZA BOXES for the Bride and Groom to walk under.   Hmmm… Yes, she owns some pizza shops and, yes, they are a huge part of her day to day life.  But I was at the rehearsal, I had seen the dresses, I had heard the music choices for the ceremony and had a rough idea what the ceremony text was like, and the whole thing screamed of fine lace, timeless elegance and classy silks… not pizza boxes in the park at twelve paces!

Did I think that the Bride would see this ‘surprise’ of her father’s and think, ‘Oh, Daddy, how very sweet!’, or did I think it more likely she would smile through gritted teeth thinking ‘WTF?’.  Strangely enough, with Our Bride as stressed and sick as she was, I was leaning towards the latter.  By the time I heard mention of light sabres as well as swords and pizza boxes, I was pretty sure my fellow BrideWrangler… err, I mean Bridesmaid, would agree with me, that this was potentially a tacky disaster in the making and that we were at risk of being the Bogan Wedding in the park that afternoon after all!  As it turns out after a quick consultation consisting of about ten words which included the terms ‘pizza boxes’ ‘ honour guard’ and ‘light sabres’…. yes, yes she most certainly agreed with me!  Messages flew furiously back and forth to stop the so-called ‘honour guard’ from being part of the ceremony. More messages to ask Father of the Bride to consider moving it to the reception (after the stressful part of the day was completed and also fortuitously avoiding the illegality of having steel swords in public for no legal reason).  Even more insistent and urgent messages were flying around to STOP THE PIZZA BOXES AT ALL COSTS!!!   They were completely incongruous with the elegant affair we knew the Bride had spent months planning!

wedding disaster conflict resolution

The Near Pizza Box Honour Guard Disaster saw myself and fellow Bridesmaid keeping up a constant flow of smiles, light and fluffy conversations about hair and make up, over champagne bubbles at the hairdressers on the morning of the wedding… while madly SMSing each other (sitting barely 1m apart), the Bride’s brother, the Bride’s father, some of the Groomsmen, various others in the know and the designated organizer of the ‘honour guard’ – all the while desperately trying to make sure that the Bride didn’t notice anything amiss!

The whole thing felt like a bad joke to me… Who on earth wants to surprise the Bride with what feels like a prank?  On. Her. Wedding. Day!?  I didn’t understand how the concept was even remotely appropriate, but by the time the Bride’s elegant french twist was all pinned and sprayed solidly into place, the dastardly pizza box plan was well and truly quashed and the honour guard was moved to the reception venue where steel swords indoors were less likely to run us afoul of the local constabulary, and definitely less likely to mess with the carefully coiffed elegance planned by the Bride.

But in the end we made it!  The weather was spectacular, the Bride looked absolutely stunning, the exchanging of vows and rings brought tears to the eyes of soft hearted onlookers, wonderful romantic memories were made, and the all round the day could not have turned out better!

So, the moral of the story for any Brides To Be?  It doesn’t matter whether your Bridesmaids have ill fitting frocks, are covered in tattoos or have two left feet… just make sure they are accomplished at Disaster Management and Conflict Resolution!!!


It’s only a problem if you know about it.

Ever forget where you left your keys?  Ever forget an appointment with your accountant? Doctor? Manicurist?  Ever forget to send permission forms up to school?  Ever forget to turn the iron off?  How about forgetting your passwords or forgetting about the Tooth Fairy?  Shit happens, right?

What about these then… ever forget that you have ordered a book and went and ordered a second copy?  Ever forget that you bought someone’s birthday present and then spent a week trying to come up with an idea for it?  Ever forget a conversation you had in the morning about the Goat Pie Guy and then wonder why you’re unexpectedly presented with goat pies for lunch three hours later?  Ever forget that you’re out shopping for a toaster and come home with a new kettle instead?   Ever tell the same person the same thing three or four times and watch their face glaze over as you realize you’ve already imparted that information?  Ever forget what the family said they wanted for dinner even though you asked them every half hour from 3-6pm?  Ever forget to turn off the TV or lock the door or set the alarm or close the garage and just leave the house and come home to find the place wide open?  Ever forget about a ‘to do’ list in your own handwriting and have no recollection of writing it?  Ever forget driving your child to school and spend the day believing someone else took him?  Ever completely forget something you only just learned the day before?  Ever scarily forget you’ve taken your nightly medication and promptly turned around five minutes later and taken it again?

We have been laughing about my goldfish memory for about five years now.  So what if you accidentally order the same book twice?  It was on medieval gold smithing and the extra copy made a great present for Surly’s next birthday anyway.  So what if pink Tupperware turns up in the mail and you have no recollection of ever having ordered it?  So what if you arrive a day early for your doctor’s appointment?  So what if you boil the kettle three or four times before remembering to actually make the cup of tea?   So what if you get frustrated trying to logon to your PC using a password you changed two years ago?  So what if you forget the Small Child’s basketball training…again?  So what if you have to keep the world’s most complex calendar because you can’t trust your memory to remind you of ANYTHING.

prescription drug addiction dependence memory loss concentration

Well, this is where I’ve been at for the last five years.  Too many drugs with too many side effects.  Not the least of which it turns out over long term use include diminished cognitive abilities, loss of concentration and drumroll please … memory loss.  Woulnd’t be so bad, in fact I doubt I would have come to call it a serious problem at all, if I weren’t trying to learn Classical Latin at the moment.  You see, I’ve managed to get through two semesters of Latin (I still have no idea how I did that) and am in the middle of my third (and fucking final) semester of Latin Language and Literature… and I CAN”T REMEMBER ANY OF IT.

Now, this isn’t the usual, ‘I hate Latin and brain is resisting learning Latin’ thing that often comes if someone is forced to deal with something they think is unpleasant (like me and income tax returns).  I like Latin and was finding it challenging and enjoyable, even though it comes with more than it’s fair share of monumental mind fucks.  No, the problem here is I am being taught grammatical concepts one day and the next day being unable to recall what the concepts were, what they were called, how they are applied or how they are translated, which is seriously hindering my ability to complete the course.  Homework assignments that should take only a matter of hours are taking me two days to complete as I look up words and then look them up again three lines later having already forgotten the English translation over the duration of about ten minutes and facepalming the minute I see the English again.  Seriously frustrating.  At the moment, with some changes in medication, I can’t seem to recall anything we learned last year – not even simple noun declensions, verb conjugations and tenses or principle parts.  Asking me to explain the mood or case of something, when parsing, is like asking me to teleport to Ancient Rome to run Cicero to ask him why he’s inflicted all this shit on us in the first place!  Impossible!

So struggling with Latin has gone from being challenging and enjoyable to being frustrating and riddled with anxiety, as I just can’t seem to remember what I need to know.  And it has bought home hard, like a slap upside the head with a wet haddock, just how bad my memory has become.  I can’t remember the Latin I learned yesterday, but to test a theory, I started working through an online self taught French tutorial program and have been sailing through it on high school French that I learned over 20 years ago!  I’m paying more attention to the memory problems now and I’m noticing more and more that I can’t remember shit.  I can’t remember important stuff, I’m losing track of menial stuff and I’m now officially getting worried about it because after a tiny bit of research and a meeting with my dealer… err I mean doctor, it turns out I have developed some serious prescription medication dependencies.  Or flat out drug addictions if we want to do away with the niceties.

Problem is, I can’t give them up.  I don’t want to give them up.  Go ahead, make my day… just try and take them off me and see what happens!  For without the drugs, there is no sleep.  Without the sleep, there is no coping with being in pain ALL day.  Without the coping there is a bottle of the most ludicrously expensive champagne and ALL the pills at once in my foreseeable future.

So… my name is Borys and I have a prescription drug addiction.  But somehow I doubt there are meetings for people with no desire or motivation whatsoever to kick their habits.  🙁

The Circus is Coming!

The circus is coming to town again and I’m so excited!   I’ve become enamoured with the Cirque du Soleil for many years and I can’t wait to go again.

brisbane 2012 big top

I first went to the Cirque du Soleil in 1997 in London with my friend BluddyMary.  She had bought us tickets as a Christmas gift and being the uncultured swine that I was I had no idea what I was in store for because I had never heard of the Cirque du Soleil before.  It was amazing – Alegria at the Royal Albert Hall.  A once in a lifetime experience and I loved every minute of it.  The building was amazing… I mean it’s the Royal Albert Hall!!!  The show was amazing, there were some incredible little contortionists who twisted and turned themselves inside out until you couldn’t figure out which bit belonged to which artist!

royal albert hall mongolian contortionists

brisbane royal albert hall 1997

But other than buying my Mum and Dad some tickets to a Cirque du Soleil production that was in town, I didn’t get to go again for many years.  It was January 2008 when I got to see Dralion for my birthday with the full Tapas Rouge experience.  Fancy nibblies, champagne, red carpet treatment and the most amazing seats right up the front.  The show was fabulous – there was one particular act with two ‘lovers’ dancing together suspended way above the stage, using long strips of billowing blue fabric almost like they were extensions to the dancers bodies.  They were so beautiful and sensual the way they moved together, it was absolutely mesmerising!

blue lovers fabric dance suspension

brisbane suspension dancers lovers

Then the next show I was fortunate enough to see was Saltimbanco last year in mid 2011.   One of the most striking things about Saltimbanco was the skill, wit and vivacity of the ‘clowns’.  I’m reluctant to call them clowns, they’re so much more than that.  They’re fantastic mimes and have a great sense of comic timing and audience involvement.  Saltimbanco was a show full of ‘wow’… ‘wow’ at the amazing things that the human body is capable of.  The act that left the most indelible mark from that show was the trampolinists who were doing incredible acrobatics and running up walls that appeared to be several stories high!  They were jumping back and forth with such speed and such agility and such amazingly tight choreography that I thought they would smash into one another!

promotional poster clowns

mime artists entertain crowd brisbane

And now Ovo is coming to town!  Tickets were purchased just after Christmas and I’ve been looking forward to for months.  I know nothing about it at all and have deliberately avoided watching any videos or listening to the soundtrack so it will be all new and interesting.  And now the tents are going up over at Hamilton and so it’s only a matter of time!  🙂

big top tent alegria dralion saltimbanco

Turn the radio up for that sweet sound

I woke up this morning, feeling rather ordinary… bit of a chesty cough, the start of a headache and a slight fever.  I splashed some cold water on my face and looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “Meh, you’ll be right.”  Not exactly bright eyed and bushy tailed or overflowing with squirrel-esque enthusiasm, but I’ll start worrying about it when I actually look like the age stated on my birth certificate or if I bear anything more than a passing resemblance to my passport photo – whichever comes first.  In the meantime, however, I think, “I can get through this!”

back to school exam week research cram

And by ‘this’, I mean the BIG day of Latin study I had ahead of me which at this point is simply not optional given the potentially horrendous end of semester exam I have to face tomorrow, which involves copious quantities of rote learned verb conjugations and noun declensions, not to mention things like interrogative pronouns, pronominal adjectives and demonstrative pronouns and adjectives, infinitives, imperatives, actives, deponents and all other no doubt important things I can’t remember! :S   So I tried to tidy myself up a bit. Put on a bright pink jumper (people tend not to notice ‘that’ look around your eyes when you’re in bright colours) some jeans and sneakers.  Packed up my school bag with all my Latin study notes, threw in my laptop, grabbed my keys and jumped in the car. Heading for Uni feeling only so-so, but trying sooo hard to pretend that I’m fine and just heading off to campus to study like any other poor sucker… err I mean student.  So far so good.

Then from out of nowhere, the radio gives me a swift spiritual kick to the head in the form of Eric Carmen’s “Make Me Lose Control”.  Now seriously?  Who would credit Eric Carmen with being able to do that?   Well, it came on the radio and without realizing it, I had done exactly what I was told and ‘turned that radio up’ as I zipped along in my little red Suzuki Swift down Macrossan Avenue and through McClelland Corner, which suddenly became a trip down memory lane of many other trips taken that way years ago in a little red Gemini!  All the while Eric and memories of that hair serenaded me along!

Turn the radio up for that sweet sound
Hold me close never let me go
Keep this feelin’ alive make me lose control – Baby

When I look in your eyes, I go crazy
Fever’s high with the lights down low
Take me over the edge
Make me lose control – Baby, baby!

I was even vaguely amused and smiled to myself when it got to the bit where he’s belting out: ‘Jennifer’s singin’ “Stand By Me”, and she knows every single word by heart’ as it dawned on me that I had been singing along and knew all the words to this song by heart, even though I have not heard it for years!

And then the radio DJ came on with his forced levity which is oft accompanied by cringeworthy attempts at humour, and do you know what he says?  Well, I’ll tell you.  He says, in a typical smoothed out radio voice, “And that was Eric Carmen’s ‘Make Me Lose Control’ which hit the Number 3 spot on the US charts and hung around for about 13 weeks in the Top 40 waaay on back in 1988!”

slow balloon bouncing room noise sound effect

You ever get that feeling that someone has just pricked your balloon, and you’re going ‘Ptbtbtbtbtbt!’ while bouncing all around the room like an unwanted leftover from a kids birthday party???  Sigh… Well, all of a sudden, I felt old and more than a little bit tired, and all my efforts to get up and go; got up and went!  Thank you, 97.3FM.

Ha! Ha! You’re dead!

Once upon a summers eve many moons ago, I told my Dear Old Dad that I wanted to go skydiving.  He said "Great! I want to do that too!’  Enquiries were made and alas we hit a road block… one had to be 16 years of age to legally go jump out of a perfectly good aircraft.  "That’s okay," Dear Old Dad said in a placating tone "We can wait until next summer and go jump for your birthday."  Dear Old Dad could be pretty cool from time to time.   🙂

An unremarkable year passes and summer starts to roll around bringing closer the sixteenth birthday in question – "Hey Dad!  Still want to go skydiving with me?"  Without hesitation, Dear Old Dad says "Sure thing!  We should start looking around to find out where they jump from and how much it’s going to cost."  Enquires were made and a company and jump plan decided upon… now just to wait out the few weeks until My Sweet Sixteen.  Yay!

It was during those few weeks that not one, not two but three separate incidents sparked headlines across the BrisVegas newpapers all sprouting headlines of dead, or damn near dead, parachuters… investigations into preparedness, failing equipment and general safety procedures ensued.

Happy Birthday to me!   Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday dear Borys!   Happy Birthday to me!

To Dear Old Dad the week of my sixteenth birthday – "Hey, I’m sixteen and all ready to go jump!"….. "Weeell," said Dear Old Dad, "I’m not so sure this is such a good idea after all…."  Enthusiasm dampened somewhat by the recent headlines, the planned Daddy/Daughter Sky Diving Extravaganza got ‘postponed’… indefinitely.  Bummer.

It has happened to me a few times actually that whenever I’ve considered engaging in any unusually risky sporting or recreational activity that it seems suddenly there will be a spate of news items relating to accidents or deaths associated with the particular endeavour du jour which has resulted in a few slight changes in plans abandoning potentially reckless but crazy fun stuff…. bungee jumping and black water rafting come to mind.

Feels like it’s happening again… only this time it’s getting a motorbike license…  I’ve always wanted to get a bike for some reason ever since I was about 18 or so – not sure why… pretty sure it’s irrelevant.  Anyway… I don’t know if I’m physically strong enough to handle a bike atm but I realized I’ve been putting it off ever since I was about 20 because of ‘my bad back’ and well I’m not getting any younger or stronger and I kinda feel like I’ve gotta give it a go you know?   So a couple of weeks ago I think "Yep, I’m going to go down to the nasty Qld Transport office and get me a motorbike learners even if it means I do have to temporarily hang out with the hairy unwashed miscreants that work there!!"… But then a few days after that sound decision making process played out – some idiot motorcyclist goes careering into a footpath right behind me and today poor yale had a traffic incident involving a rather unfortunate and possibly suicidal dog while on his bike…

and now I can hear Dear Old Dad’s wise words ""Weeell… I’m not so sure this is such a good idea after all."