Hello, Subjects. I’d apologise for my longer-than-a-week absence, except it isn’t my fault. There’s been all this hoopla about somebody’s labia. I don’t know what a labia is exactly, but I’m sick of hearing about it. The other thing that happened is that my humans’ humans came to stay! Who knew I had Grandparents?! And of the English variety! Yes, just like my people originally came from Burma, it turns out that my male human’s humans come from England. They sure did sound funny. Actually, my Grandpop sounds just like Michael Cane. I’ve seen Michael Cane on TV and, seriously, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t him to listen to him.
Anyway, it turns out that my Grandparents don’t like cats. I know. It’s a capital offence. I googled it. I fear for their lives.
Not. Like. Cats. Look, between you and me, not liking Bronte, I can understand. I mean, she is a moggy after-all. She doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t play fetch or talk or google. She’s, you know… slow. But me? Not like ME? I immediately went about setting that to rights. The following is a list of the things I did to WIN THEM OVER:
- Played fetch (easy)
- Talked (easy)
- Looked adorable (pfft)
- Googled stuff (breeze)
- Pointed at Bronte’s regular vomiting with a perfectly muscled arm and claw-clipped paw while I sat and looked adorable and vomit-free
- Demonstrated how I can play chasey with humans, but better than humans can
- Recited Clancy of the Overflow in my custom-made tweed jacket.
Ok, so the last one may not have happened, but it could happen, if I wanted it to. It totally worked, naturally. They lapped it up. Had them eating right out of my perfect paws. My Grandma was petting me and cooing to me. They even bought me a present when they left. Yup, a new toy! It moves by itself! They’re the best kind and it’s total proof that they won’t go to jail now.
So, yeah. I totally saved their lives. I hope they come back one day. I’d like another toy that moves.
I’ve had many incarnations in my life. People are often amazed when they realise the diversity of things I’ve done and discover I’m not 102 as such diversity might suggest. And so, for your reading pleasure, here are a few of said diversities:
When I was 15 I attached the clasps to necklaces
I got paid 2c a chain
I dated a 30-year-old when I was 19 and thought I was the most exotic creature that ever lived
I’ve written two novels
I had a crush on a redhead called David for most of highschool and am pretty sure he never knew
I still have a deep fascination with redheads of both the male and female variety
I’ve stood on a freezing hill in Gallipoli at 5am on ANZAC day with my best friend and wept and loved and laughed
I worked at Red Rooster and got kissed by a rockabilly who didn’t talk
I’ve danced and sung and drunk Baileys on a Greek Island and wondered if I ever had to go home
I can pour a perfect pint of Guinness
I played the Toad in Toad of Toad of Hall
That was twenty-three years ago
I’ve eaten my way around Italy
I won a drawing competition once
I’ve swum in the Adriatic sea and emerged to see the most handsome man I’ve ever seen
I loved a girl called Suzi once. She looked like Betty Boop. I thought she was amazing
I’ve played the didgeridoo wearing a purple feather boa in Wales
I’ve been a dancer, a waitress, a personal trainer, a speech-writer, a weight loss coach, a corporate wellness consultant, a gym manager, a business development manager, a fundraiser, a masseuse, a grant writer, a playwright, a theatre director, an editor, a proof-reader, a crystal healer, a corporate relations manager, a receptionist, a bar and restaurant manager, a hostess at the races, a ghost writer, a corporate blogger, a didgeridoo busker and a numerologist
I rode a camel across the top of India
I won a state bodybuilding championship when I was 30 years old
I weighed 48kgs and dreamt only of food
I’ve cried at the Taj Mahal at sunrise
I won a biographical short story competition and wished my mother had been there with me
I laid with my Italian Grandmother three hours before she died and then wept that I wasn’t there when she left this earth
I’ve seen an angel
I cried tears of joy watching orang utans in Borneo
Once a billionaire gave me a Coco Channel dress and told me he’d look after me for the rest of my life
I rode on the back of a motorbike in Nepal
I’ve loved so hard I nearly broke myself
I’ve lost three tiny babies who couldn’t stay with me because I wasn’t ready, or they weren’t ready, or both
I see beauty in everyday things, every day
It’s who I am
It’s why I write.
Filed under Art, Australia, Body-building, Books, Editing, Exercise, Family, Food, Friends, Health, Inspirational, IVF, List poem, Love, Motherhood, My Book, Numerology, Perth, Poetry, Sex, Short Stories, Speech Writing, Theatre, Weight Loss, Women/Feminist, Writing
Some readers are impressively committed to their favourite authors. (Hopefully my own readers will be thus committed one day… when I’ve, you know, actually written enough stuff to warrant commitment.) My sister is one such person. She has rows and rows on her (ever-increasing-husband-constructed-what-would-she-have-done-if-she-married-a-man-who-can’t-make-stuff) bookshelves committed to single authors. Her Stephen King collection is complete. I’ll give you a moment to wrap your head around this. It’s a work of art well before you open a cover.
I am not such a collector. In our house we have shelves dedicated to Australian authors, American authors, Classics, Feminism, Film, Spiritual, Cooking, Art, Short Stories etc (god this makes me sound cleverer than I am, I really need to add this to my LinkedIn profile somewhere), but my biggest haul of books with a single author’s name to the spines is my Ian McEwan collection.
I’ve had a love of Ian McEwan since I read Saturday several years ago. I’ve posted before about how the craft of Saturday influenced my novel (the good one). I loved every ultra-long, semi-colon filled sentence of it. It started my McEwan collection, which has since turned into an interesting exercise in the often somewhat blind loyalty of the collector. I want to love everything he writes. But his last two books left me disappointed. I bought his lastest novel, Sweet Tooth at the airport on the way to Perth. This wasn’t my intention. I had a Phillip Roth tucked into my handbag, but that was unceremoniously slung into the suitcase when I saw the new McEwan. The problem is, I didn’t much like it. It’s written in first person with a female protagonist, set in the early 70s and, for me, he doesn’t get into the head of the character well. It’s not a feminine voice. Of course, there are moments of Ian McEwan brilliance. That’s inevitable thank goodness, but, for many reasons, I didn’t love it. I really liked the play on the literary world in Britain he is now such a huge part of, including the kind of odd use of his own short stories from his old collections, but I felt like I was reading just to get to the twist at the end that I knew was coming and it just didn’t make for a satisfying journey.
The book before Sweet Tooth, Solar, was particularly unsatisfying for me. So what does the Collector do from here? Do you continue to collect? – I suspect I will – or do you stop after a certain amount of disappointments?
What do you do? Who do you collect?
Filed under Art, Books, Criticism, Family, Fiction, Food, My Book, Perth, Reading, Review, Short Stories, Stephen King, Writing
Dear God, she’s coming in for another squeeze. Brace YOURSELF!
We’re going to Perth for almost a week tomorrow morning. This is our first proper trip back home since we moved here four years ago. I’ve been back twice, once for a funeral and once for work. (Well, CJ was working, I was swanning around the hotel pretending to be a rich lady of leisure, which, I do frighteningly well.)
And this is the first time we’re leaving our two much doted upon kitties behind. Sigh. We’ve had a weekend away, but not a whole week, and I’m, you know, a control freak, so I’m currently doing all the things a control freak does before they go on holiday and leave their house and their surrogate children in the care of a complete stranger. To whit:
- Developing some sort of tropical disease. Sigh. This is not uncommon for me. A tropical disease will mean I have to stay home and guard my ordered house and make sure my furry children are ok. My back is aching, my lips are dry and I’ve been shivering, sneezing and snotty all day. This will all hopefully disappear once we leave and I realise I’m where I am, the furry children are where they are, and the world did not end.
- Polishing the taps in the bathroom. What? The cat-sitter (who’s a qualified vet nurse, of course) can’t possibly stay here if the bathroom taps aren’t shiny. Pft.
- Squeeze the furry children.
- Listing all the clothes I’m going to wear and on what day and then packing them and ticking them off the list. My best friend tells me this is a very Virgo thing to do. She then tells me, as a Virgo, she’s never done it and perhaps it is a bit weird. She then reassures me that, as the clothes horse I am, it’s probably within the realms of normal. Phew.
- Writing a several page long epic poem with rhyming couplets to the vet nurse (who came over last night to meet the furry children and has heard it all already, but not in rhyming couplets so I think that makes it ok) with headings, sub-headings, bullet points and several hundred phone numbers, including a vet, which is probably quite rude because, you know, she knows what she’s doing, which is precisely the reason she’s been hired. God, it can be tiring being me.
- Cleaning the fridge. See second dot point.
- Going through all of my clothes and jewellery and throwing things away, packing things up to give away and tidying them up. For anyone who has seen my clothing and jewellery collection, this is no mean feat, and should, in no circumstances, unless you are a seasoned professional, be attempted the night before one leaves on holiday with much more pressing matters to attend to. This is what a control freak does, people. Controls her things.
- Squeeze the furry children and try not to cry.
- Avoid the vacuuming. I hate vacuuming. My back hurts. I have more interesting things in which to control right now. CJ can do the vacuuming.
- Preparing to ‘beautify’ myself. This includes the shaving of the legs (thank god I’m practically a mushroom and that doesn’t take long), the painting of the nails etc.
- Squeeze the furry children and sob quietly so as not to alarm them.
All this controlling and doing and thinking is tiring. Especially when you are harbouring a tropical disease.
CJ is about to breeze in the door, full of the joys of spring and being on holiday. He will sing while he does the vacuuming. He will then throw whatever clothes his fingers touch first into the suitcase. These things will take him 7.34 minutes. In the morning he will shower, get dressed and likely not even look in the mirror. This will take him 45.23 seconds.
Next life, I’m wearing the penis.
There’s no worse sin for a blogger than to disappear unannounced for an extended period. To disappear for 8 months is unmentionably bad. (So let’s not mention it again.) Offering lame excuses is also not an option. Here are mine:
- We did IVF three times. Unsuccessfully.
- I started a new job.
- We had a holiday in Tasmania and visited home (Perth) after the new year.
Ok, so, three things… it’s not what you might call an exhaustive list. I guess the main reason is that while doing the IVF I lost myself, particularly my creative self. IVF takes over your psyche. It’s hard to explain, but your life really is boiled down to hormones and timing and visits to the clinic and this insanely crazy hope that leaves you utterly undone when it’s foiled. And I got foiled three times in a row. I know that’s not a lot compared to some women, but it was enough for me to call a time-out so I could catch my breath and try to remember who I am and why I’m here.
When you’re on the IVF road the why you’re here is boiled down to reproductive purposes only. And that’s never a good thing. I did lose myself. I am glad we’re taking a break. I had no idea I wasn’t ok until we stopped. The third fail was very hard. I felt so certain I would be pregnant that time and when I wasn’t I felt so deflated and like such a failure. I haven’t failed at many things in my life, but I was failing spectacularly at getting pregnant.
It feels amazing to have my life back. I’m starting to write again. My body is slowly coming back to me (the spare tyre is a whole other story) and I feel good knowing there are still 5 embryos on ice and I have 7 months left of the 12 we decided to take off from the whole thing. 7 months of no injections, no visits to the specialist, no nasal sprays or pee sticks or implants, just 7 months of normal, fun stuff like movies and dates with friends and late nights and sleep-ins and blogging. I promise there’ll be blogging.
I dreamt I was underwater with a big brown dog swimming toward me. The closer it came, the bigger it got. Bigger and bigger and bigger. Its paws like shovels coming at my face. But every time it lifted its head for air it floundered and grew small again. And so it went. Hour after hour.
I dreamt I was eating apples in a haystack. I’ve never been in a haystack. All I know of haystacks I learnt from John Steinbeck.
I dreamt of my feet detaching from my body and floating up to heaven to visit my grandmothers who took them on a grand adventure.
I dreamt I was so famous you could right click on my name to get the correct spelling.
I dreamt I had a tiny baby in my womb. She unzipped my skin and started to climb out, eager to see the world. I coaxed her back in with a Mozart sonata and a cup of tea and hoped she would stay there.
I dreamt of home, of lying in sun so bright it bleached my hair white and turned my bones to dust. I flew across the surface of the hot ground and was swept back to Maman.
(Maman is the Nyoongar word for God or Creator.)
Remember the sock fights when it was time to put away the washing?
Remember how hot it got in summer in the cubby house with the plastic roof?
Remember the Christmas we got sent on a treasure hunt all around the neighbourhood that ended back where we started at a fabulous new swing set?
Remember how loud Dad played the Star Wars soundtrack on the record player?
Remember the purple paisley carpet in the family room?
Remember our walkie-talkies?
Our ugg boot dance?
Eating raw shortbread dough?
Going to archery?
Bike riding down the creek?
The smell in Nonna’s house?
Mooshie’s conniptions behind the lounge-room curtains?
Gran’s paper lips?
Children of the Corn?
The Incredible Mr. Limpet?
Dad’s BBQ chops?
Mum’s Chinese chicken wings?
Remember Italy in summer?
Florence of the bolognaise?
Greece at sunset?
Marseilles frog mascots?
Laughter in London?
And before that.
Remember Yugslavian lakes?
A night alone in Padova with the Zias?
A cheese fair in Holland?
A mini snowman in Switzerland?
Remember hauling that Italian boy off me on the train to Venice?
Remember the clock you brought back for me from Korea?
Remember carrying me across the back patio in summer because it burnt my feet?
Remember helping me build sandcastles at the beach in Marmion?
Remember the letters you wrote me when you left home and went out into the big, wide world?
I loved that clock.
I still have those letters.
I remember all of it.
I remember you.
Filed under Australia, Christmas, Family, Festivals, Fiction, Flash fiction, Food, List poem, Love, Perth, Poetry, Writing
I am from Australia. I am from ‘G-day mate, how yer goin’?’ I am from clean air and big yards with rusted swings. I am from waves that pick you up and throw you down, grind your head into the sand. I am from red earth that flies up and settles on your skin like a tattoo. I am from ancient times. I am from fire and corroboree. I am from the rivers and the dried up riverbeds that cry out for salvation.
I am from my father’s house. I am from white rendering and Italian tile. I am from the smell of spaghetti that makes you weep to be fed. I am from my Nonna’s thick thumbs. I am from Ave Maria and French horns. I am from rose gardens and the smell of frangipani. I am from the sound of crickets in the night.
I am from a sister who held my hand. I am from a mother who weeps for the sorrows of the world. I am from Grandmothers who buried their husbands. I am from strong women. I am from a quince tree in the backyard. I am from bike rides and gumboots in the creek.
I am from nightmares of tidal waves. I am from war. I am from pig farmers and professors. I am from my high-heeled red wedding shoes. I am from my aunt’s violin. I am from love.
Filed under Art, Australia, Beauty, Editing, Family, Flash fiction, Inspirational, Love, Motherhood, Perth, Women/Feminist, Writing
Got up at 5am.
Between 6-11am coached a handful of women to rethink their eating choices, stay on track, or scare the bejesus out of them.
Shook my head in disbelief that Tony Abbott really could be that dumb, chauvinistic and hypocritical.
Watched an excited and talented Chinese tennis player tell Australia that today was her bestest day in her whole life.
Received some kindly pummelling from my Osteopath who lectured me (kindly) about my spleen.
Posted a short story to Meanjin (what? a girl can dream!).
Procured my first ever significant eBay buy: a glorious deep green Chesterfield tub chair.
Had a coffee with a girlfriend at the local chocolate café and managed to avoid eating any chocolate.
Meditated and wrote in my journal.
Attempted to sort out my mother’s IT problems via phone to WA.
Stared at my new Chesterfield online and daydreamed about sitting in it (and wondering how I’d squeeze through the front door).
Realised that I didn’t achieve all that much really, but had fun doing it!
Filed under Australia, Fiction, Food, Friends, Health, Melbourne, Perth, Short Stories, Submission, Weight Loss, Women/Feminist, Writing
I can’t believe Christmas is only 4 days away! Christmas without family this year holds both joys and sadness’s. All the family on my Mum’s side will be gathering in Perth, so I’m disappointed I won’t be there for the reunion. I’m also disappointed I won’t be seeing my Grandmother and my sister, brother-in-law and nephews as they’ll also be home for Christmas and staying with Dad this year. On the plus side, there’s none of that usual Christmas stress and madness and we get to spend the day with friends, which we’re really looking forward to. We’re also looking forward to a fabulous Christmas lunch at Balzari, our favourite Italian restaurant!
Our first year in Melbourne has flown by, with its fair share of ups and downs over the year. And now I’m so so desperate for this wee break I have over Christmas because, apart from needing to relax and spend some giggle time with CJ and my new friends, I have a few things I really need to mull over. On top of that I really want to spend some time writing my own stuff – a luxury that has mostly eluded me since September.
Another thing I want to do is get back to my Numerology work as it’s incredibly fulfilling and I was just getting into it and getting a good number of clients before we left Perth to come here and since being here I’ve hardly done any charts at all.
Anyway, two and a half more days of work and then 11 days off! Woot!
And so I leave you with a New Year musing:
Whatever you do in 2010, make it authentic. If it doesn’t feel right to you, then it probably isn’t. Whatever you say in 2010, remember that your voice creates your reality. If you say it, you will make it so, maybe not now, but eventually. You are that powerful in your own life. Whatever you choose to focus your energy on in 2010, make it a noble choice. Remember that advocating for equality and social responsibility is as noble as picking up dog poop and putting it in a little yellow bag. Whatever your choices are for the coming year, have gratitude in your heart that you are here and you are able to make them.