Mr T made a surprise return today. Hours of email exchange, a swearing competition, free-flowing insults. I love it. (And Andrew you know I'm secretly in love with you. Damn! If only I was capable of keeping a secret!)
MR T: its good how age is no barrier to the joy of swearing
ME: Are you calling me old?
MR T: no but I'm sweeping 'us' under its general umbrella
next is retirement houses on the south coast and faded electric blue cocktail umbrellas (good times)
My lovely mate Bec sent me this pic during the week, in response to my recent post about calves... Large calves? you aren't even in the running, think of this poor lady (it is a lady).
Thanks sweet, but I do think I could give her a good run for her money... if I had even a mild interest in body building + was willing to eat a few more egg-whites or whatever it is those strange people subject themselves to.
It's oddly reassuring to know that somewhere in the world this extreme-ness is looked upon as a positive. Pretty much anything is attractive in someone's eyes. Always worth remembering.
Somedays I just looooooovvvvvvve where I live. It’s usually the days when I make it down to the beach before 10am, + today is one of those days. Glorious sunshine, lots to see, the sea, a brekky smoothie, + then home with plenty of time to Get Stuff Done. As I walk – down my street to McCabe Park, along North Beach, past the fish market + both lighthouses, onto City Beach + then back via the kiosk for refreshments – my little head feels lighter + lighter. I love that sensation of cares + woes lifting, the ocean doing its work + external observations taking over from needling internal stresses.
Today’s highlights: --two heeler pups, bursting at the seams with energy (lord, I want a dog) --an extreme miasma of maltesers, little yappers, ever-multiplying (lord, I do not want a dog like that) --a pelly being swooped by over-zealous seagulls… + really not giving a shit. Why would you? --old people exercising: how completely routine + real it is for them to pull on the stripey speedos, grab a faded 70s towel, jump on a clunky old bike + head down to the ocean pool; how they’ve probably been doing the same thing every day for 50 years; the smiles on their well-worn faces; + how beautifully this contrasts with the slicked-down, pulled-back, super-tight, logo-packed aerobicism of the young exercise troupe --an ancient couple pulling the littlest dinghy I’ve ever seen down to the water --contrasting again with all the super-serious kayakers, who I love seeing as tiny, shiny spots far out to sea --three massive steel tankers on the horizon --the steelworks: I don’t know why but I do have a fondness for that hive of industry --the view of huge construction cranes from the big lighthouse; dotted through the city; its highest points; dwarfing the row of Norfolk pines
I don’t want to be talking about Serious Stuff… like Depression + Exercise… but sometimes it has to be affirmed that a walk at the beach is medicine for the soul.
This weekend has been a tricky proposition for me, noting two things that can cause conflict: a) desperately needing some solitary time, and b) being a bit down.
These factors can combine to create a scary hermitisation affect… disastrous for me + painful for anyone who unwittingly breaks the Cone of Hermit. But I’ve done well over the last 24 hours. I’ve braved the hairdresser's; walked at the beach; nearly finished three new winter skirts; listened to Sharon Jones + the Dap Kings' live set on Triple J; watched a few episodes of the sexist, reductive + very funny English sit com Coupling; caught up on some phonecalls. All in all it’s enough to keep Little Miss Depression in check.
And now, back to a bit of skirt. (Or several bits of skirts.)
I had an interesting experience last night. (One word for it at least.)
I went to a beauty parlour, which is interesting in its own right. A new world for me, + one that I entered for the first time this year when I made the decision to wax my eyebrows + tint my eyelashes. Another vain attempt at embracing femininity + keeping up with my more-worldly girlfriends.
The experience isn’t nearly as traumatic as I'd expected. I could even go so far as to say that it's mildly relaxing, reclining on a vinyl-covered bed + being tended to by a busy, buzzy little professional. My ‘therapist’ is called Chloe + she’s sweet in the way that brainless 20-year-olds can be. She works hard at talking to me + makes sympathetic noises in response to comments that she can’t possibly relate to. She would like to work where I work because of the "peace + quiet", not understanding that there is none. She thinks it would be great to go to the places I go + see the bands I see, even though she hasn’t heard of any of them. She’s been in her current job for a "really long time" (18 months) + can’t see herself sticking with it forever. She bright + breezy + well-meaning, + she agrees to "keep my look natural" before she strips my eyebrows to within an inch of their life.
But racism reared its ugly head amid last night's harmless chit chat. We were talking about options for going out in Wollongong + a nite-spot that Chloe's boyfriend "won't let her go to". Fair enough I guess. I'm not one for letting a bloke tell me what I can or can't do, but at the same time there are some seedy spots around town + a little concern for welfare is something to be valued. However it turns out that she's not allowed to go "cos it's full of druggies + blacks". I lost the power of rational thought at this last comment + had my jaw on the floor for the next 15 minutes.
It's a situation I loathe - someone slips in a fleeting racist remark, thinking it's completely acceptable, + then moves straight to their next inane point of conversation. I have never known how to handle it + always end up disappointed in myself + my inability to stand up for my values in a direct way. I said nothing last night + slunk away from the salon feeling ashamed + conflicted (Should I go back there? What do I do next?) . Ethan + I workshopped possible options for handling that situation over dinner + I have promised myself that I'll give one a go next time rather than staying silent.
The whole thing left me rattled though + this dissonance was only reinforced by today's news. Under the patronising title of Blacks, be patient: Abbott the Herald explored our government's complete + ongoing ineptitude when it comes to the welfare of Aboriginal people, particularly in the area of health. The snapshot statistics at the bottom of this article are disturbing, to say the least. It's shameful to live in a wealthy, 'civilised' country where our indigenous people have a life expectancy that is 17 years below that of the general population.
In the same day's news is the sale of an Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting for more than a million dollars. This is a major achievement for Aboriginal art + about bloody time. Kngwarreye's work is a sublimely beautiful national treasure +, as the article points out, this is the highest price ever paid for an indigenous artwork and a piece made by a woman artist - black or white. But where will this money go? Nowhere near Kngwarreye's family or community, instead lining the pockets of some already-wealthy art-dealer. One lucky recipient of an amount that's about a 30th of the annual budget allocated to indigenous health over the next four years.
Tomorrow is Sorry Day. I would like to add my voice + apologise to the Aboriginal people of this country for the injustices that they have suffered, + continue to suffer, under white occupation. I will try harder to confront racism where I find it + be braver in standing up for what I believe in.
You can find out more here + join the Close the Gap campaign by simply signing a petition.
For those of you who don’t know – or have pretended not to notice – I may well have the world’s largest lady calves. I’m not joking. I seriously think I could be a Guinness Records contender. I’m a chunky monkey generally, but my calves are the highlight of a short + stumpy lot.
I’ve spent a good lump of my life trying to hide this fact beneath long skirts + trousers. But thankfully I’m reaching a place of increased self-acceptance + – importantly – realism. At the age of nearly-31 I realise that there are things about myself that will never change, + my basic body shape is one of them. Not saying I couldn’t afford some toning + tightening… but the fundamentals are not going to change + it’s important to consider that fact with self-love + self-acceptance.
Sometimes I go beyond love + acceptance to a place of outright flaunting it. I mean fuck it! Sometimes I just want to put it out there. There are so many gorgeous bigger women + the skinny stereotypes get so boring.
Today I’m channeling this through white knee-hi socks. I love white knee-hi socks but almost always avoid them because of their calf-emphasising-qualities. But today they were the only thing I could get excited about wearing. You gotta go with it when the inspiration hits. Even though I’m guessing that I look like a Japanese schoolgirl on steroids.
Giving thought to my residence in Blogland again. Funny how some weeks I have no end of things to say + others there is nothing at all. Maybe there are weeks where I’m more attuned to observation, checking in on the details + quirks, + others where it all flashes by in a blur of melding moments. (Not melting moments. Unfortunately. Mmmm… melting moments.)
CLOSER TOGETHER… The rhetoric of global culture tells us that we are being brought closer and closer together. By media, communication technologies, the free market and other snappy buzzwords which signify somewhat less transparent systems. But how close are we, and how much do we really know about each other? …closeness and its conflicted nature: as a catalyst for connectedness, community and exchange, but also of claustrophobia, confrontation and invasion. The collapse of the private sphere into the public and the increasing tendency to live out our personal lives in very impersonal arenas. The demise of public space, as a concept and a reality...where is the space for vulnerability, intimacy, privacy and exchange in an increasingly globalised world? What is the potential for genuine, unexpected connections, and what might they look like?
It rang lots of bells for me… as someone who probably craves connectedness above all else. And also as someone who plays at creating a space online for vulnerability, intimacy, privacy + exchange, while being well aware of the inherent tensions of the public journal. The private made public. Its inimical intimacy.
People seem to respond well to the intimacy. (The few people who drop in + choose my door from the available array in this vast public sphere!) They applaud me for sharing miniscule candid details + hurts. Maybe that’s what it comes down to... am I being candid because I’m talking about the hurts? The bits that suck + make me cry, as well as the bits that bring joy. I’m still only revealing the bits that I want to. It’s still a selective truth + may never reflect any version of a whole picture. I rarely tell you about my asshole-moments, or fat-days, or nose-picking, although I think you get enough boring-bastard-moments. There is no question that I’m a self-centred little navel-gazer. Maybe a tad too earnest too. And enough with the hyphenating already!
sometimes these old nights can seem to never end + when you find relief in sleep well you may wish to never wake again i drink in bars + try my best but these mannequins are too well dressed + i don't think that i can fake another year without feeling something cos i've been numb for too long i need a hit of something sweet (i don't know) when you feel nothing the nights hold no meaning except you've gotta wake up sometime + i don't think that i wanna wake up on my own no more i've tried just about everything that's come my way + i hold no fear left in my heart apart from mediocrity one day i might find a muse + in her i hope to lose every song i've ever written or am yet to write about feeling nothing so we drink in bars + try our best but these mannequins are too well dressed + i don't think that i can fake another year without it
('Mannequins' by Josh Pyke)
Feeling a teensy bit sorry for meself after my first meeting with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in a long, long time. Still so much regret + sadness tied up there. When will this bugger of a thing ever really be over? What do you do with the pieces of a broken heart? A fraught couple of days in fact, made worse by insomnia, bad hair + attempting to focus through 14 hours of software training. It's lucky that Josh understands, I tell ya.
And thank the heavens for old friends, good company + homemade nachos. Thank you Ms Nicole Barakat! (First ever full-name-inclusion on these pages - just so it comes up on your Google alert mate.) Last night was fun. News, tea drinking, a foolish wee spliff. We flipped through Nico's photos + that blew my mind. Other people's photos alway do. There's something quite spooky about an alternate record of experiences + times I've shared in. My doppelganger exists in the pages of someone else's album.
Was tops to see Nat + Scott on Sunday too. Several of my faves rolled into one evening: those two; a walk at the beach; fish + chips; + home via Newtown for hokey-pokey gelato. It doesn't get much better. Amazing to recognise that as the last outing for the three of us pre-baby. Nat is fit to explode + I am so excited but... in the spirit of all that is honest + open... a little sad too. The end of an era.
The full moon was setting over the freeway early this morning. It was sublime. A huge pale orb in the pink/grey sky. Suspended above the twists + turns of the off-ramps + entryways. It made me think of a Jeffrey Smart painting.
It was all downhill from there. The gym is killing me + I’m only into New Leaf Week Two. I have never heard so much bad music in such a short space of time. Led Zep’s beautiful Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You with dance beat + irritating whistle effect? I don’t bloody think so. An entire swag of Radiohead songs slaughtered by some free-dance-jazz-interpretation-concept-album drongos? Please no. But it’s all true. Don’t get me wrong, I am a dance music lover, not a hater. I don’t despise “doof doof”. In fact I refuse to even utter the term “doof doof”. I bought the Claude VonStroke album a couple of weeks ago + that is jam-packed with whistling. But there have to be some boundaries, some limits, some sense of sanctity. I say this knowing full well that there are none. That nothing is sacred in pop culture + that this is the way it’s always been. The classics of one generation slaughtered shamelessly by the next.
I went to my mate Terri’s 40th birthday party on Saturday. For the first time I found myself a member of the Boring Adult Brigade (BAB) at a gathering that was very much segregated into plus-40 adults + under-20 kids. It was scary. The BAB started dancing + the kids circled around like laughing hyenas with phone + video cameras. We were clearly an hysterical embarrassment. And I was in the middle of it, pulling out what I thought were my grooviest moves. I was ‘them’, not ‘us’. Let me just say again… it was scary.
It provided great mind-cud on the long… hungover… bad bad bad… drive home from Orangeville. (One of my favourite things: solo car trip, good music, something meaningful to mull over.) Ben Folds sang out serendipitously. There’s always someone cooler than you. And there always will be. My peak of cool has well + truly passed. It’s time to love the daggy mediocrity, let go + move on to the more important stuff.
Another good one from the OED! Who woulda thunk that "hobby-horse" could be so rich in meaning? And who in their right mind would have considered using "hobby-horsical" in a sentence? My goal for this new month of May is to steer clear of the hobby horse (see definition 3b).
hobby-horse, n. 1. A kind of horse
2. In the morris-dance, and on the stage (in burlesques, pantomimes, etc.), a figure of a horse, made of wickerwork, or other light material, furnished with a deep housing, and fastened about the waist of one of the performers, who executed various antics in imitation of the movements of a skittish or spirited horse; also, the name of this performer in a morris-dance. Hence, to play (the) hobby-horse A hobby-horse dance. Obs.
3. A person who plays ridiculous antics; a frivolous or foolish fellow, jester, buffoon. b. A lustful person; a loose woman, prostitute.
4. A stick with a horse's head which children bestride as a toy horse. b. A wooden horse fixed on a ‘merry-go-round’ at a fair. c. A rocking-horse for the nursery.
6. A favourite pursuit or pastime.
7. As hobby-horse dance; hobby-horse man, hobbyhorseman, (a) a man who sells hobby-horses; (b) a man who rode a ‘hobby-horse’ or dandy-horse; (c) a man who ‘rides a hobby’.