Thursday, June 30, 2005

inventory of what's beside my bed

the kettle is boiling and bed is where i'm headed. after a day of running around trying to buy a recording device [sounds very asio] to start my interviewing tomorrow, as well as helping 8-year-old to realise her dream of making a hotel out of cardboard boxes* , bed is a place where i love to read. and this is what you will see beside my bed, not that you will actually ever get there:

three new books purchased today
1. Dead Europe - Christos Tolkas. i think he wrote head on, that torrid gay-boy flick? it was very full on
2. Istanbul - Memories of a City - Orhan Pamuk. Cok guzel bir yazci.
3. Tasting Life Twice - conversations with remarkable writers by Ramona Koval.

Then a pile of other books, unread, waiting:
The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
Life of Pi, Yann Martel
Captain Correli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
The Sheltering Sky, Paul Bowles - remember that Debra Winger movie, weird in the desert somewhere, perhaps she had a wax
The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
A Fine Balance, Rohan Mistry**
Snow, Orhan Pamuk. Yes I know there are two of his here, both unread.

Then there are partly-read but as yet unfinished:
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers [ this is what i'm actually reading at the moment, in between nw and the age, and blogs]
Out of Place, Edward Said

There is also Candelo by Georgia Blain. I read it a few years ago, but want to revisit.

Also the Lonely Planet Fiji guide that my ex-husband left here when he was visiting in February. How fortuitous!! Perhaps a browse and trip to Fiji with my honey needs to take place??

Also the Age Good Food Guide which they sent me for free when i signed up for home delivery. must say it is nice to just stagger out and get paper from lawn rather than stagger up road to milk bar to get paper.

Then there is the Quarterly Essay with Germaine Greer's Whitefella Jump Up piece which is partially read. Will return to this in a planned future post, to be entitled There's Something About Germaine.

Next: 2 x New Weekly mags, the one featuring celebrity drug confessions on the cover, Angelina - HEROIN, Nicole Richie - HEROIN etc as well as Sadie Frost's cocaine-degraded nose.
Also the latest one with lovebirds Jen Aniston and Vince Vaughan. I know i've said it elsewhere, but his arms look really big...

Inventory continues: 1 x hardback library copy of Allan Ahlberg's The Giant Baby.

Then several clipped news and magazine articles:
  • various kid-type activities to do on school holidays [which is like now]
  • an advertisement in melbuni postgrad newspaper for a creative writing competition. which i will never enter because i haven't got time. although i did have an idea of something i could knock out the other day, now what was it???
  • the gwen stefani exercise regime [NW]
  • recipe for 'impossible pie'
  • small article on potatoes
  • leek recipe
  • oxtail recipe
  • article on english language's "black holes" ie why don't we have a word for the action your head makes when you are falling asleep while sitting up? > whipnap is suggested. i like it.
  • article by literary agent on how hard it is to publish these days
  • soup recipes from different cultures
  • tribute by helen garner to elizabeth jolley
  • book review on "Keeping the Faith: Collingwood, the Pleasure, the Pain, the Whole Damn Thing. Ooops, may have now blown what i might get someone for a present

i am tired from carrying all the books in here and then back again. kettle is boiled. to bed.

* this project was accompanied by plans and ideas which meant i had to cut out several shoe boxes as well as two empty tissue boxes. they will be stuck on top of each other, opening outwards to approximate a high-rise hotel. there is a lift-shaft at the right which runs down all floors. this has been cut out already. there will be ground floor reception, first floor dining and kitchen, second floor is luxury suite, third and fourth floors, budget accommodation [they are the tissue boxes you see.] it's just in its infancy, but will be a grand construction once finished. the architect [8-year-old] and builder [moi] had a few artistic disagreements, but she listens well to my ideas, and we do work quite smoothly together. she called me a genius when i suggested how to show a view into the kitchen through swinging doors.

** love love loved his other one, the one about the family, called family matters?? or something similar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

ode to the hot water-bottle

[please ignore these funny images to the left here. they are multiple stone hotties which i somehow copied into my post, then couldn't delete. i minimised them as much as possible and they are now interesting graphic elements]

season of mists and scorching hot water-bottles
close bosom friend of me, melbourne girl
conspire with this cold one how to warm my toes, and just under
the tops of my legs
with heat, that round my cold body runs

[borrowed from keats and rearranged]

i call my hottie bluey. he is a staunch friend and has been with me for many a season. i used to wrap him in a pillow case so he wouldn’t burn me [yes, I use boiling water despite all the warnings] but a couple of winters ago i bought a cover – just a cheap synthetic thing which is ok. but what i’d really like is one of these:

or maybe one of these:

There is also this, mmmm alpaca:

But I definitely do not want something like this in my bed, even if it is down by my feet:

that looks like the type of jumper my form three teacher mr neeson wore. he was terribly thin, with a concave chest and bad moustache. [are there any good ones?]

did you know?
did you know? the earliest hot water bottle was a dog, or maybe even three. the aztecs “enjoyed” the xoloitzcuintli, a hairless dog, not only as pets “but also found them useful as bedwarmers, food and sacrificial offerings.” hello? “the toasty warm body heat of the toy hairless dogs made them in demand as ancient hot water-bottles, relieving stomach pains and rheumatic joints… extreme cold made for a “Three Dog Night.”

this is a xoloitzcuintli [fortuitous placement of second i there, and lucky lack of ck on end, n'est-ce pas?]

some of the conversations in the old days:

Ø it’s so cold i need three dogs tonight
Ø seems like it’ll be only a one dog night tonight, what do you think?
Ø my father was so cold he needed eight dogs
Ø i have a stomach pain, i’ll just need a couple of dogs to lie on it then i’ll be fine
Ø i’m hungry, bring me a dog

other interesting hottie facts:

- moonshiners smuggled illegal booze across borders in 1917 from detroit
- in the uk in 1939 they used hot bricks wrapped in towels
- there is a museum where you can see French hot waterbottle made from a former 75mm artillery shell case
- this is what the early non-dog hotties looked like. mmmm soft and pliant, really nice for snuggling with:

time to boil the kettle

Monday, June 27, 2005

why do some people cheat on their partners?

this is a quick one as i haven't posted for a long time, i am being held up by lack of technical proficiency which is preventing me post something else i have ready [chorus of: we want the hot water bottle story, we want the hot water bottle story]

in the meantime i have some questions:

- what is it that makes a man cheat on his very warm, funny, gorgeous wife who has gone away for a week with the young children, left him to his own devices, even left cooked meals and left them in the freezer for him so he won't starve while she's away?

- what is it about this man, that makes him then call her every day that she is away? [perhaps so she doesn't call him first at the wrong time and then perhaps interrupt him sharing said nice meals with his whore? just before he sleeps with homewrecker in marriage bed]

- how can a person have an affair for a year with someone? that's not a "slip"

- how can that person look his wife in the eye? take her to his breast? tell her he loves her?

- how can that person look at his children? bear to think that his little daughter might grow up to also put up with having a fucking shit of a husband, or that his innocent son might grow up to be a cunt who cheats on his women?

- how can i as a woman know all this, look my lovely friend in the eye, laugh with her, drink champagne with her, listen to her talk about him, mentally flinching each time she mentions his name, knowing that i hold information that would blow her world apart?

i wish i didn't know. i wish the person who told me had not done so. i want it all just to go away. at least she will go away later this week and i don't have to feel i am betraying each time i look at her, be in the same room with her and don't grab her by the shoulders and shake her and tell her


how does he live with himself? how do i live with myself? i just pretend it's the right thing to do, or NOT do, to NOT tell her.

and she sleeps now in my guest room. i am sitting here up too late. feeling bad.

let me just push it away.

that's better.

[possibly identifying information deleted here]

Friday, June 24, 2005

okay now i'm annoyed

i have prepared my story on hot water-bottles and i can't manage to work in the wonderfully-sourced pics [i have spent ages finding] to the text

i need a superhero to help me

where are you cape man?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

gorgeous girl

gigi love

this is gigi, our puppy. she has grown since this was taken but she still has the eyes. you can't feel bad when she is around, even if it is day 23.

yesterday she had a bit of a fright. we got home and she was barking out the back, which is unusual. went in there and there was broken glass on the kitchen floor, the stool had been knocked over and [yep, sounds like a real murder scene]... but instead of blood on the floor and gigi standing over the body of the burglar, throat ripped out and candlesticks in sack, there was lots of dog wee and one little poo.

she was really scared. i worked out she had either tried to climb the stool [as she has seen us do, circus dog? peut-etre] gone flying off and smashed one of my large glass candle holders [spesh]. Or she had been wriggling under said stool to get her bone [which was still there], gotten caught, panicked, and wreaked havoc. [scenario two is most likely you say?]

anyway cleaned up all mess, meanwhile 8-year-old is upset in other room cause her tamagotchi died...

but today is another day. glass candle holder mourned very briefly. puppy paws checked for gashes - none to be seen. and how could i be cross with her for doing panic wee and poo on my [clean] kitchen floor. couldn't.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

clothes I have loved

I had the idea a while ago to write a memoir of some clothes and accessoires that I have known and loved in my time. These are all departed from my life now, and so I miss them and sometimes think of them. Not all of them appear in photos of my good self, and so for a lot of them, they have to live on in my memory.


- lime-green, v-knee colonial jeans

- t-shirt with my name printed on it

- my dolly cut [ok, not clothes or accessory, but still a fashion statement and much mourned]

- denim runners [methinks there was some sort of orange trim as well]

- brown, checked miller shirt [with pearl buttons]

teen years

- treads - they were pale and navy blue, and were really heavy to wear around the Royal Melbourne Show when I was about 12

- slats - these were cane-soled "thongs" which were square and cluncky and the toe strap piece was covered in black velour. so 1975.

during the '80s

- emerald green mohair cardigan

- black, suede floppy duran duran ankle boots

- pink floral pink cross-over "housecoat" dress [loved that so much, still want it now]

- bright orange cotton knit baggy jumper [button neck] teamed with lime-green, tight baseball style pants with PADDED KNEES

- bali shirt, purples, pinks, maroons and greens batik-y print. Wore it and wore it. Cost about $4. Then my sister wore it and wore it. Wonder if she still has it? The colours NEVER faded either. tres amazant.

- fake placcy-leather type cowboy boots that I inherited from my mum. They were well worn when I got custody, then I wore them and wore them. They smelt like shit and so did my feet when they'd been in them

adult - early '90s

- black shirt with cut glass buttons, really large lapels and cuffs

- white, high-heeled shoes, with laces [it was in japan - that's my excuse. an OL wannabe]

I might add to this list as things come up, but my biggest clothing or accessoire regret is a fine red wool dress that my mum gave me. It had been hers from the '70s and it had the best neckline and the red was just perfect [red is my colour you know] and the only thing was it was too long [like floorlength almost] so she let me have it taken up and i took it to japan, and then a friend brought it back here to Aus for me [to help me, so i didn't have to carry heaps of stuff, nor send too much] and it... never... made... it. My mum was really upset and disappointed in me, and that upset me. As it was months if not more than a year before i was able to talk to the friend, and my memory is so bad, it was never established what happened to it.

enough said.

hot water bottles next time...

Bill of Carnegie

Yesterday I was racing through the supermarket and tried to run out of the doors but was held up by an old couple having a natter. They were both tiny, bent over little people, age had shrunken their bodies and their heads were bowed down. I patiently waited and then once the way was clear, went out. The old man caught my eye and started a conversation. After ten minutes, when I left his company I:

* knew his name [Bill of Carnegie]

* had been given his address [very close and near a school]

* had been given his age and that of his wife [93 and 91 respectively]

* had been informed he and his dear wife had just found out that their son [63] who had a lump in his stomach had been given the all clear, and Bill was just walking on air

* had been told that spinach is the key, it's a fabulous food [knew that anyway, love the old spinach]

* had been offered a couple of plants [hence reason for him giving me his address]

* had been told that the plants were brought over from OS in the 1920s and that he'd been eating them since the '30s [is this where my bs radar is meant to kick in?]

Later that night I told my daughter and she said "you're not going to go there are you?" I said, I might, and I thought I'd take you with me [for protection, I thought, but didn't say.]

Should I go and see Bill, risking the fact that he might have alzheimer's and so I'm met at the door by his very sane wife, and she shakes her head muttering something about "coot" and "crazy". My question is this? Is the pull of getting some 80-year-old spinach worth looking like an idiot even when even he doesn't remember me [hello Bill, remember me, I'm Jxxxx of Caulfield South and you said you'd give me some spinach] and the conversation we had?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

day 20 is never good

OK, here's the deal.
Yesterday I started feeling narky and shitty. I started to go into a cleaning frenzy. I was tired, grumpy and not nice to be around. I looked in my diary and it was day 20 of my menstrual cycle. Now, the thing is you have to count from day one of your period, that is when you start bleeding. So day 20 is only like two weeks or so from when you feel your period stopped last, so it feels like you are almost always either having your period or waiting for the next one. i think this means i am getting old. i know i am. i'm 41 [not a hag...] [truly] BUT my cycle seems to be changing and before where i used to maybe get a bit moody, now i feel murderous and rageful and like i want to throw things and scream. [this is NOT connected to bottom note about murder.] however, it's annoying. i am taking like $400 herbs twice a day which are helping but i can't relax when i want to, i have to keep going, i am a single parent, i have commitments and money worries and dreams and hopes and fears.

when did it all get so hard?

feel better now though.

have to go and prepare something for my supervisor who i see tomorrow at 11am. i have wasted two hours here on this thing.

ps i bought five rsl raffle tickets where the first prize is a 1.3 million dollar home in brisvegas. i'ts drawn today i think. we won't win it. my daughter has this thing where she thinks if you say the opposite of what you wish for, it's more likely to come true. ie " i hope it rains tomorrow" [ she's 8]

so we are saying to ourselves, we're not gonna win.

will let you know


these are things i want to cover in this blog at some stage, if i don't write them down, i'll forget -

the history of the hot-water bottle
where does the expression "blue blood" ie as in aristocratic come from?
why do i tend to make things harder for myself, ie avoiding study, by procrastinating?
why do some people sexually cheat on each other?
how can someone murder someone else in cold blood? wouldn't they feel guilty like, forever???
why when i mentioned germaine greer at a recent seminar at uni did no one respond, no one nodded, frowned [well i don't know about that, i wasn't looking at everyone] no one said anything. i would like to know whether she is like a hot turd to current feminist/political thinkers. yep, i'm old then, and i know a lot of what she says is [kind word] 'kooky' BUT does that mean you write off the whole person? i would like to explore this, another time.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

my links

A couple of words about my blogging links:

The reason I started blogging right now was I recently read an article on a young person working in the yarts, and it mentioned in the article that she has another life online. A bit of searching and I found her. I enjoy her directness.

Andrew Landeryou - I am horrified to realise that we share the same blog template. I may have to do something about that. And what does that say???

postsecrets - I found browsing blogger - it is sensational and very moving and very real. Love it.

Daily Dancer is someone who is touching the hearts of many, including mine.

Princess - she is just there for a sic joke.


Now one more thought before I finish. I wonder if I am the worst mother in the world? Today I forgot about my daughter's parent-teacher meeting. Yes, it is true. Earlier I mentioned I had a surprise that I had to return a library book that I thought I had renewed? Well, I had to drive across town, freezing in my beanie and fluffy cardy - returned the book along with a load of others. Checked out a couple of shops on the way back [there is a ball end of next month and I need something black]. Get to school. Pick up my love. "How did the interview go, mum?" she asks. "What interview?" I say. Then she started crying and I thought, oh fuck.

What can I say. I had it in my diary and I feel so bad. So here is my confession, thrown out to the ether.


why is it so?

Why does someone like whoever created "I Know Im a Princess" get listed on weblogger list of recently published blogs, and it looks like this yet I can't seem to get listed.

What is the deal, Jeff?

Weather in Melbourne - cold and windy

It's cold today and I have to drive into uni to return some books.

Yesterday I caught the tram in there to hand in an assignment. I had thought I had successfully renewed these books but an email tells me this morning that they are due, and I am accruing fines. Buggar.

SO I will drive in, it's freezing and all I want to do is hang here at home.

Yesterday on the tram I helped an old lady get on with shopping bags, and then off a bit later. Why is it such an extraordinary thing to do, so much so that an old man commented on it, and even thanked me for my kindness? It was nice of him to say something about it, but is it so rare?

Better go.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Friday night - 18 month anniversary

My sweetie took me out on Friday night. We caught a taxi into town and ate at ezard's - a fash place in Flinders Lane. I had four oyster shooters (freshly shucked and in a mirin-y, Japanese-y cold liquid (non-alcoholic) followed by barramundi then a gorge petite cheesecake.

We drank wine from Bourdeau and I felt very spoilt and pampered. (He's good at that!).

Two mistakes - I accidentally put out the romantic candle with a slop of bok-choy as I tried to transfer some from the serving bowl to my plate. The waiter was discretion itself as he quietly replaced the candle. The faux fur jacket I wore (very fetching and pink) shed all over my sweetie's black jacket (and pants, and...). Never mind, I felt glamorous and happy.

Oh and another thing. The waiter was amazed we (me) insisted on ordering sebago potatoes (glorified wedges) along with the afore-mentioned bok-choy and said they wouldn't be appropriate with our two main dishes. We didn't care, and loved them all the same.

Bye for now

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

don't you think it's time you settled for good enough?

somehow, recently, i came across a website written by a single guy called brian, who had decided enough was enough: he had been dating and trying to meet women for a while and had realised that women were mostly dating with their heads in the clouds.

this is one of the pertinent parts of his website, where brian says:

So let's be clear here. You are not going to marry a guy who looks like Colin Farrell, is tough but sensitive, smart, funny, charms every room he's in, and pulls in the big bucks. I know you really want to meet that guy. I wish you could find him. I really do. But there's only like 4 of those guys in the world, and they're already taken. I'm sorry to tell you this, but it's time to think about settling.

i have known men who have been with fabulous, intelligent, gorgeous women. but because they haven't been supermodels, they have been left along the way, dropped like so much unwanted baggage, perhaps after a short time, perhaps after a long time.
i have also heard of men who, once they have conquered a good-looking woman, think they can do better. so in their minds, they continually up the beauty-ante in this never-ending pursuit of something, or somebody, better.
sorry if i sound like i'm getting all greer on your arses. sorry also i can't bring myself to type "asses".
let's push on, shall we?

good. because, i've got a surprise.

i emailed brian, fascinated both with his direct and no-crap approach, as well as his perspective on life. which pretty much matches my own. i have come to realise that a lot of us are overlooking fantastic people, or even just good enough people, in our pursuit of the perfect match. i think a lot more of us could "settle". and if we do, we'll find that we're not really settling. we are exploring something wonderful that's been right under our noses all along.

maybe not mr clooney, or kate moss, or scarlett johannsen, or gabriel gael garcia.

but someone who will make you feel like you are them.

friday musings on all things football

i guess now is the time to admit my relationship with the geelong football club. some people know of it, and think perhaps it's merely a flirtation. i have to confess, while i have never been a member and never gone to maybe more than six games in one season, i feel a big part of my life journey is tied up with the gfc.

back to the beginnings. the genesis. the last time the gfc won a premiership was the year i was born. three months before, for i am a december babe. that means they haven't won since I HAVE BEEN ALIVE.

think about this.

the first team i barracked for was collingwood. i am ashamed to admit this. because even though the man i love and am going to marry is a RABID pies fan, i find all things collingwood distasteful and thuggish. sorry. but in primary school i was in love with:

1. peter mckenna

2. paul t from school. paul barracked for collingwood so i did too.

then came the grand final of 1978? or thereabouts. clokey will know, i can never remember. my aunt took me to the mcg for the match, and collingwood DREW with whoever it was, north melbourne? then we went back the next week and they LOST.

i decided i didn't want to go for such a loser team and bailed. kids are fickle, so whatever.

then years pass. i wasn't interested in football. i liked netball. softball. horse riding. etc.

then i had a crush on an essendon supporter and so we would go in a big group to the footy. during this time i started going with dad to some geelong games. this is like the mid '80s.

like everyone else, i fell in love with gary ablett. i didn't much care for his tree trunk legs and thinning hair, but he played football like an angel. i got on board the bandwagon. i went to games. i went to finals. i went to grand finals. and they never won.
1989 grand final against hawthorn was spent in a pub in the middle of nowhere with a couple of mates. we'd been camping up on lake eyre, and contemplated the lake as it filled with water for the fourth time in white history. we drove for four hours to get to a pub which we knew would be telecasting the match. it was exciting, we screamed, we drank, we entertained the old codgers in the public bar with our city-shennanigans. and they lost.

1995 grand final against carlton. my sister and i dared to invest. emotionally i mean. we knew the risks. we knew the dangers yet still we went. and were crushed. i could have killed the carlton supporter who paraded in front of us like a blue fucking rooster. with my bare hands, i could have done him.

the next year, i was pregnant with princess and my father had the bright idea that my brother should receive a signed copy of the new gary ablett book. my dad was working so i went to line up to get the signature at melbourne central. along with about 2 thousand other people. i waited my turn. i queued. i felt light-headed and fainty, but still i managed to get to the table where he was sitting. he was tired and shy. i'd seen him signing books without even looking at the people who were standing breathlessly in front of him. somehow my huge stomach caught his eye, and he looked up. he asked me when i was due. i told him. he said congratulations, and that a mate of his was due that month too. he said, "i hope everything goes well for you, good luck."

if he had laid his hands on, i couldn't have felt more blessed.

i know bad stuff happened after that, but i still have a soft spot for old gary. apart from the exchange at the book signing, he also once kicked a practice goal down at kardinia park and smashed my dad in the face, breaking his glasses and forcing him to go to the sick bay for the cut under his eye. i think i wrote gary a letter after that, which was basically a fan letter but telling him he'd smashed my dad in the face.

but yes, a soft spot for gary senior. which is why it's upsetting to hear that he mowed off half of his foot recently, when he was doing the lawns. this from a friend of dad's who has all the insider knowledge at catland.

dad said there's a ticket for tonight if i want to go, but i said i'll watch from home, where i can at least drink wine from a glass glass. and be warm. i told him to get the information from his mate and call me directly to let me know. so i might have an update for you by the end of the weekend.
as if anyone cares.

I love Babushka dolls