Sunday, January 29, 2006

gigi guest post - "my garden"

hi everyone. i am gigi, a gorgeous yet modest golden retriever. i am thirteen months old, and i like bones, digging and jumping up on new friends.
this is a picture my mum took of me a few days ago.

this is one of the doors they don't let me in.

i like to get really close to my family.

like really close.

if i can sit on you and lick your face, then my world is complete.

 this is my water bowl. well, it's me with my water bowl.

this is just my water bowl. often i like to dig in my water bowl and all the water comes out. then my mum has to fill it up again. this is a fun thing to do

this is an old footy bladder i found near the tennis court. the tennis court has a lot of bushes around it, and i can get in there and find lots of stuff. mum calls it junk but i call it treasure.

this is a rubber coil. i don't play with this one much. i don't know why. maybe because mum bought it from the shop, and it was expensive. i just like my "treasure" because i find it myself. satisfying. and unique.

this is what they call a "kong". again it was expensive and i'm not really that into it. unless you put peanut butter or another expensive dog-foam-type product which comes in a canister inside it. then i lick it out. it takes about five minutes, tastes yum, is supposedly good for my dental hygiene. and then the kong just sits on the grass. again.

this is a duck they gave me. i used to chew this alot, but then i grew out of it. don't know why they leave it outside. i'm all grown up now, and that's a puppy-toy.

this one is a rope. it's kind of cool. i like to play with this one, it's nice and heavy so i feel tough when i carry it around. it's fun to toss my head, and then roll around with it. mum and i have a game where i get it, and go up to her, and she laughs and takes hold of the other end. then she pretends to be a dog and growls and tugs. she's pretty funny when she does it. so we play tug of war. i do it for her.
you can kind of see my legs here.

this is a lobster. i got this for my birthday in november. you can't really see clearly but i have chewed off some of his legs. isn't that what you are meant to do with lobsters?*
but i really like this guy, i have had lots of fun with him. mum would toss him through the air for me and i'd go and fetch him.
don't mind his wide-eyed stare. he's ok, really. i didn't scare him, we are good friends.

i was going to make a competition to see if anyone could guess what this is, but mum said i have to get off the computer. and that this is just a one-off guest post. so instead of having to guess what this is in the bottom of the wheelbarrow, i'll just tell you.

it's chewed up bits of plastic planter pots.
i just love plastic planter pots.
but mum's worried i might get a bowel obstruction if i eat too many of them.

one of the best things about being me is i have my own pool. i don't really mind that it's a hand-me-down from my older sister. i've been really enjoying it the last week or so, let me tell you.

i get really excited by the water, and i dig, and i dig, and i dig.

 then i get tired and i sit for a while. then i dig some more. eventually i get really tired.

oh, i amost forgot to show you my wood.
when mum first saw it she thought it was something dead or part of a skeleton. but then she looked again and realised it was a very precious piece of old wood, from my treasure-section of the garden.

i love my wood.

i love my wood.

the only other thing i've got to show you really, is my tomato plant.
this is me with my tomato plant outside another door they don't let me in. well, they do actually, because this leads to the laundry where i sleep. but there's another door inside this one.
that's the one they don't let me go in.
i guess it's ok.

mum thinks the tomato plant is hers, but i'm just waiting until the fruit is red, then i'm getting stuck in. hey, did you know tomatoes are a fruit? freaky! i think mum's forgotten i did that at the other house where there were cherry tomatoes. eat them off the plant, i mean.
i love cherry tomatoes. i love cherry tomatoes.
see ya!

* a bit of dog humour

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

twelve and a half hours to go

princess is winging her way, back towards her mama. who waits here, patiently, en melbourne, for the arrival of her dearest, her nearest, her most precious.

her precious, precious gem, which is bright blue with a citrus orange centre.

her mama has really gone through the wringer these last past 26 fucking days.

that's mama, not princess. although i think princess has too.

she has kept a brave face on... her face, she has not let people know how painful it has been. we are talking about mama here, though princess has no doubt done the same.

cause i raised her fucking well.

what to do now?

the night she left i couldn't sleep, didn't sleep, until i knew she was there safely.


now, again, she is encased in metal and steel, a giant tube shooting through the air, through space, somehow kept aloft by my own sheer willpower and prayers.

if i prayed.

but there she is, aloft, afloat. hopefully sleeping now. with a pillow under her head, and a spare seat where she can stretch her legs.

she arrives in the morning and i am so, so happy and relieved.

just to fold her into my arms, my body, my belly. where she belongs. where she nests and looks up at me and says "i missed you so much."

you know, when she left, i think the first post i wrote was headed "a life half lived"

at the time, sure, i was being a little melodramatic, a little bit woe is me, because you know, here in blog world, you have an audience. you can't leave them bored, even though i have, shamefully, the last 26 days.

but it was true.

a life half lived. really and truly.

i haven't been happy, not really. i haven't slept at all properly. i've awoken with a start, time and time again each night, sitting up in bed, thinking there was a spider on the wall, someone walking in the room, a baby in my care in the other room who i was neglecting.

awful, anxiety-riddled fit-start wakenings.

my libido has ridden out of town on a pony.

food hasn't really tasted of anything much.

my energy has gone, quick smart.

my joie de vivre: vamoosh.

so, i am truly waiting, yearning to see my girl.

and balloons there shall be.

oh, yes. balloons.

silver, metallic. perhaps "it's a girl!!"

[that was my sister's joke, pretty funny n'est ce-pas?]


thank you all most sincerely for your balloons, your words that have kept me up during this time.

[transmission to be continued sometime soon]


Monday, January 23, 2006

what to cook for dinner

ah, now we get down to the mundane end of the 27 or so days princess will have been away.
i spoke to her today, they were walking along the beach going to a restaurant for lunch. at 3.30pm. grrrr. deep breath.

the wind was blowing some of her words away, and i had to keep asking her "pardon, what was that?"

she was telling me bits and pieces about the last couple of days.

she told me she has got so much more stuff (clothes) now than when she went over there. she will be bringing back an extra bag.

"and most of it i don't really like, mum"

[remember the pink hat??? i TOLD you!!]

"oh well," i said, "we'll donate it"

[i've found a place, by the way. a good cause, one of the goodest.]

"well, baba has boy taste you know. so alot of the stuff makes me look like a tomboy and i don't like that. you know i don't"

"i know, sweetie," i said.

"i told them not to keep buying me stuff but they didn't listen," she said.

"but some of the stuff i like," she said.

this is the sort of conversation i want to have with her. i guess it's only now at the end that things have calmed down a bit that we are getting to the ordinary conversations, when she is not telling me she wants to come home early.

i got a postcard from her today:

Dear Mum
I LOVE YOU very much I don't know what to do about coming back. Lots of love Princess.

i'm glad i didn't get that like two or more weeks ago. somehow it's even more heartbreaking in writing. it was obviously written during the bad old san fran days.

but i am still keeping fingers crossed that the remainder of her time is ok. things are still potentially a bit incendiary over there. i have kept quiet about this here, but there have been "developments" which i might embellish later. i know from experience things can always blow up a bit during the comings and the goings. [sorry for being so cryptic.]

but for now, what to cook for dinner?

i'll head up the street for inspiration. i made a nice zucchini soup for lunch, it was delish.

day 25
only 2 days to go!

Friday, January 20, 2006

two days' worth of posts

we are off down the coast. i think i will swim at the beach as soon as we get there.

so i will do two-in-one here.

i was just trying to work out how to download my photos from my phone, but it looks too hard. i will wait until i can get some technical assistance. which won't be tonight.

so the forthcoming guest-post by gigi, entitled me and my back garden will have to wait but i hope to post it early next week.

so, tonight ends day 22, with 5 days to go.

and tomorrow will be day 23, with 4 days to go.

when i next post it will be day 24, with 3 days to go.

now i don't know which one to bold.

have a good weekend, and people who are retrobeachpartying, do an annette funicello type dance for me. on top of a surfboard. wearing a towelling beach smock. please.

day 22
5 days to go

Thursday, January 19, 2006

i've put some posts into drafts, just for now

i wanted to remove some posts because someone said to me something like "does princess look at your blog?"

no. she doesn't. but then i've been thinking, she does know i blog. she also, i think, knows my "stage name" and it would be bad if she mentioned it casually to ali or L while she is away. ali is not internet savvy but L is.

so, until she's home i am going to play it cool.

day 21
6 days to go

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

day 20, 7 days to go

there's nothing much to report other than i keep checking on the gigi.

she is still there.

i am running out of movies on my list to see, and am going to the cinema tonight with my sis. what shall we see?
i don't know.

i find it really hard to just go to anything, for a movie to me is a pearl of perfect relaxation, entertainment and escapism. as long as it works for me, otherwise it can be a torture, an annoyance, a pain in the bum.

i wanted to write about king kong which we saw last night. but haven't got time.

day 20
only 7 days to go

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

before you think the worst, just know this has a happy ending

last night, gigi ran away.
i got a call from the local vet, and it went something like this:
rachel: hello, is that melbournegirl, this is rachel from henry the vet and i've got your dog here to be collected
[laughs at rachel, thinking she's made a mistake, she has the wrong number, wrong pooch, no idea, completely clueless, what a dill etc etc]
mg: i don't think you've got my dog there...
rachel: um, do you have a dog called gigi?
[mg stops laughing.]
mg: but gigi's in our backyard
rachel: no, she's here. she was found at the park, she's had a wonderful time. some people down there brought her here. um, can you come and collect her, we're actually closed now.
mg: oh my god. of course, of course
[thinks about "she's made a mistake, she has the wrong number, wrong pooch, no idea, completely clueless, what a dill" thoughts and feels like all of them]
rachel: you'll need to bring a towel she's a bit muddy, and her lead
[mg and john jump in car. mg can't believe it, gigi has somehow escaped. they get to the vet. rachel takes them into a back room where a very muddy and tired gigi languishes in a cage. she has a big strip of mud across her snout. it is very fetching.]
mg: oh gigi, you monkey. what have you been doing?
rachel: she was at the park for probably about half an hour. the people kept waiting for an owner to appear, she's had a ball as you can see. i didn't want to call the pound, she was obviously a much-loved pet
mg: yes, she is. my daughter's overseas, thank god nothing has happened to her. as you can see i've given her a bigger collar and haven't transferred her council rego tag and her name/phone number tag onto it
[mg feels like a dill]
[then there is conversation about how the contact details at microchip central have not been updated. that would be because i moved and didn't let them know. very very bad mg.]
so it all turned out ok.
we found out where she made her break.
the other side of the tennis court the fence is pretty ramshackle. a board was broken and there was a large gap, easy for a gigi to get through. and from there, luckily there were no roads to cross for her to get to the park, and to the mud puddle that she has gotten into a couple of times before.
john nailed up the fence. he was so sexy with his hammer. i handed him the nails. and felt girly.
princess update. i spoke to her today she was watching something on disney channel on tv in the hotel room. she was distracted, and didn't even say she loves me when i told her i loved her, when we were saying goodbye. but they had a great time at sea world and saw all manner of groovy fish-beasts.
she said she wasn't sure of the plans for the next few days.
she said they were going out to eat dinner. that was about 7pm their time so hopefully they have by now and that she is in bed.
today i'm wearing a necklace she made me. it is braided wool (green, pink, orange, blue, purple) and has three beads which are an 'm', a 'u' and another 'm'. these are woven into place at the front, and there are some other beads too of different colours.
we are going to see king kong tonight. have to make the most of child-free evenings and see all the movies on the list.
but will tape golden globes and neighbours. we laughed and laughed at evil harold last night. and paul's sudden agoraphobia (if that's what it is) is pretty entertaining too.
do you think harold's personality has split, truly, as a post-traumatic stress thing? it's just so unreal.
day 19
8 days to go

Monday, January 16, 2006

meanie melbournegirl

i was going to post about head on tonight, but i am out of sorts and so just want to go and watch tv instead.

today i have been mean to three people:

1. bevis
2. bob
3. my special man, current name = john.

as for bevis, i apologise. but i thought i made it clear in my comment that i did think it was funny. did you go to the corner because i didn't do any of those smiley faces that you know i hate?

well, here's one for you, to show you no hard feelings. and you should know i'm sincere because i just have never done one of these things before, ever. not in email, or on phone, or on blog.

so, here you are:

how do you do it?


[insert musak]


there you go!

2. bob. i am sorry, i should have said go away please.

3. my man john. i will say in private to him what i want to say. but he is lovely and i love him.

let's put it down to an overdue day 20.

day 18
9 days to go!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

ho hum

day 17
10 days to go

well, that's about it really.

quiet day, did some work in the garden, and also some writing.

just watched a movie, head on. but the turkish-german one, not the alex dimitriades one.

i liked it.

to bed now, and to book.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

another quiet day. this is very good.

hello all.

well, the producers last night was enjoyable, very amusing. it got a little tedious in parts but was overall good. we kicked back on our comfy recliners and drank a bottle of chandon. this followed dinner at the conservatory, an all-you-can-eat buffet, at crown, where i revealed my homer-tendencies to the point of being told off by a chef for handling the oysters without the tongs.

he did call me madam. and then winked at me later when i grinned at him, as i was heaping up my third plate.

i was extremely pleased with my food choices. i saw people eating bread, rice, potatoes, soup. fucking soup!


why, oh why would you do that, why take up valuable stomach space with everyday items such as bread, when there are platters of seafood, tureens of hot meals, delightful yummy little yum cha items, exotic salads and gourmet other bits and pieces.

my first plate consisted of:

about 8 oysters
about 8 prawns
some iceberg lettuce
seafood sauce

my second plate consisted of:

about 4 prawns (slowing down. portion control is one of my two new year resolution catch-crys.)
about 6 oysters
2 yabbies (come on, they were tiny)
some seafood salad
more seafood sauce.

there was an incident with this second plate. i was a little distracted about the chef, telling me off, and i stupidly pulled off one yabby head in the wrong place. i got a violet gush of yabby head juice down my front. you know that orangey stuff? well, it spurted across my decoletage.

nice. so i mopped and sponged, as subtly as possible. and then asked the kind waiter for a fresh napkin. except i said serviette because i was flustered.

by this time we had had one glass of champagne each, and one glass of scotchman's hill charders.


my third plate consisted of this:

a piece of fish with a type of capsicum chutney
two small pieces chicken in batter (sweet and sour-y perhaps)
a small piece of chicken in a sauce
two little dim sum-type thingies
one little dim sim
a rice ball, small
i can't remember what else but there was no seafood sauce on this one.

and note, the comparative lack of carbs

my fourth and final plate (dessert) consisted of this:

one little berry thing in a glass pot
one little portion of chocolatey-type slice
one small scoop chocolate icecream
one serve banana pudding
one slice tiramisu

i think that was all. then a flourish of melted chocolate from the chocolate fountain.

but i have to say. i saw one guy finish his meal with a nectarine??!! this guy was also one of the soupies.

am i the only one to think wrong, wrong, wrong?

onto princess. spoke to her today, they had just had mexican food for dinner. she sounded good. is still really looking forward to coming home, but is hanging in there.

tomorrow is the show, and she is helping her dad. then two days after that, they will be busy with carpets. so that's sunday and monday. then tuesday she thought they were going to sea world, that's in san diego i think. then back to la, for disneyland something like thursday/friday. then she leaves monday.

that's it for today.

hope you are all having a good saturday.

ps someone asked about the spider story. i will recheck what i wrote and fill in any narrative gaps.

day 16
11 days to go

Friday, January 13, 2006

to borrow elaine's phrase: today's texture = smooth

but it started somewhat unpleasantly.

this morning i had a bad dream. in it, we were at a house, a great house where the garden kind of went down to meet the sea. which then became a river bed and a great rush of floodwater surged along it suddenly while i was in the garden, and the kids, including princess, was down at the river.

i wasn't that concerned until she didn't come back.

then i went to try to find her. i had been confident she would be fine, would know to get out of the way of the water, not to play near floodwaters etc.

i couldn't find her. then i was on a bus, travelling the way the water would have taken her.

then i was in turkey, speaking to turkish police, trying to make them understand that she had disappeared. i was explaining she was half turkish, with an australian passport. they didn't seem to care, so then when i said she had a turkish passport as well, they became more interested.

but i didn't find her, the dream seemed to take ages, until at the end, after going through markets asking people if they had seen her, i watched as a woman in bathers was diving into a really deep pond by the road, that had been created by this "flood" that i realised i wasn't going to find her.

so i woke up, glad it was just a dream. isn't that a delicious feeling?

alot of my dreams are these type of quest dreams.

anyway, so this made me want to contact her. i texted, nothing back. i called, and ali answered. he was in the car, having picked up the rugs, and said lisa and princess were at the beach. he offered to give me lisa's mobile number, but i said i didn't need it. he said he would get princess to text me later and then i could call her.

i wished him good luck for his carpet show.

see, how nice i am?

then i went into uni and had a meeting with an academic who has said he wants me on board a research project he has funding for. what he wants to explore is of great interest to me (national identity generally speaking, very topical) so that was pretty good.

then i tossed down a spag marinara and tumbler of house white for lunch with my sis, her hubby and my nephew and niece. no the 3 and 5 year olds did NOT have a tumbler of white. but they gave me lots of cuddles cause i told them i was missing my girl so much and needed hugs. they were beautiful.

so then i went to mum's and called princess from there.

we had a good chat, she even laughed at a couple of vignettes i told her, mostly one about a huge huntsman spider that sat on the top of our car all the way out to the airport when we went to drop her off. and then what happened with 'pidey after that. she was laughing really hard, which was great to hear.

she was sounding happy and relaxed, so she is over the hump, which is great.

so that's it.

oh, except they are here:

which is san diego, googleimage tells me.

off to dinner at southbank tonight, followed by the producers at crown casino. gold class.

if you don't mind.


day 15
12 days to go

Thursday, January 12, 2006

nothing to report. thank god.

no contact with princess today. i had a reasonable day, a few interruptions to work and then fell asleep in bed at around 3.30pm. until around 5.30pm. then felt like shit, but better after went for a walk with the gigi.

i'd forgotten how arvo naps can just suck your energy. i think the trick is keeping it short, like about 30 mins is perfect. will try that next time.

so, over the hump here. no further word from karen, but i imagine she might send something else. we shall see.

it's day 14

and 13 days to go.

i wanted to write about crash, a movie we watched the other night. pomgirl had suggested it as a goodie, and we already had it out.

it was good and really hooked into the reading i've been doing, and where i got that freaky list of black/not black celebs. i've been reading about language and identity, as well as biculturalism, and of course racism comes up, and how everything is measured against a white "norm".

so crash. it was brave, and not heavy handed. the acting was good. it was not predictable (i cannot stand predictability in anything other than my soap operas) and i liked it. you saw that not every one is bad (which is true), even arseholes have their own story, of pain and suffering.

it made me think of desiderata, a poem i try and remember when i am not feeling buddhist.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

--- Max Ehrmann.

seems so simple doesn't it. but alot of it is really, really hard to do. for me anyway. if you read it carefully, and really think about each one (except the goddy bits, i'm not sure about them for me anyway), really try to get what he means. it is so, so beautiful.

so to say it again:

day 14
13 days to go

Monday, January 09, 2006

okay, so this is good. better.

before the nightly princess update, a quizzy type of question:

what do the following have in common?

mariah carey
jennifer beales
tom hanks
carly simon
arnold swarzenegger
johnny depp
michael jackson
kevin bacon
elizabeth berkeley (showgirls)
paula abdul

it is something you won't in your wildest dreams imagine, the common denominator that ties these people together.

so, go to it.

princess update:

she sent me a text message today. this is how the dialogue ran verbatim:

princess: Hi mum i am in sf. All ok i missing and love u.
melbournegirl: Hi darling! I have been thinking about you and i love you too. What are you doing? Mumx

p: Cheked in hotel at fisherman wharf.
mg: Are you travelling to los angeles? Hotels are fun!

p: No. Wanted 2 c Alcatraz.
mg: Who wanted to? What is alcatraz? Princess are you writing this?

p: It was a jail. Baba helping me.
mg: Ok wow a jail? So what you doing tomorrow?

p: Call me.

so i called her. for those of you wondering, i do know what alcatraz is. i was just wanting to see if she knew. the way she was writing with the u for you and c for see was kind of weird. surely, i thought, she couldn't have become text savvy in a week?

so we chat. she sounds good. any time she starts to get a little funny, ie her voice drops, i keep mine bright and ask her a practical question. i find out that they saw sea lions on the rocks in the bay and have left karen's house because "she had too many drinks and was talking about stuff from the past" which bothered lisa and princess. no further details, but you can imagine how curious i am...

i think it's good they have left. seems like they just left a day early (karen's) and i'm pleased ali is taking princess to a sightseeing destination, even if it is one of the most notorious gaols in the world.

so that's that. at the end of the call she said "i love you and i'm looking forward to coming home"

this is a big improvement. no mention of wanting to come home early. just a slight voice tremble when she was talking about ali being so busy with carpet work and about the stress. i just hope lisa can hang in there. i know how he can be.


one other thing. last night we watched sin city.

i love, love, loved it.

but can anyone comment on the lack of sequencing. do you think it was meaningful? i won't go into detail so as not to spoil, but events were out of order chronologically and i'd like to hear if anyone thinks anything about this.

any suggestions for other movies to watch? we have evenings free here at the ranch, and catching up on films is a good way to pass time.


oh, and ps. continuing the "woman who can do anything" theme:

do you remember that little scar jaime sommers had on her top lip?

day 11
16 days to go.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

keeping a lid on it, just [or] phone counselling your child when she is in america

this will be brief because i don't want to become too fucking predictable.

but first, for bevis:

two phone calls today. the first one in the morning, so it was about 5pm their time. i called her. ali answered and hung up on me. i'll give him the benefit of the doubt and think it was a mistake. i called back, princess answered.

they were in a rental car place trying to organise a car to drive to california and san diego. princess told me how busy they are going to be in the next week. she sounded fine and said she thought she would stay until the 23rd. i was pleased as it sounded like she had worked it out and felt better about things. we chit chatted, she said she'd like to talk to her granny (here) and i told her i'd organise it on thursday, when granny comes back from canberra. princess also said i was right about the day yesterday, it was friday not saturday.

that was all ok. it was cheery and light. her voice got a little quiet when we said goodbye, but i make sure we don't drag it out too much, and keep it short and i don't linger, i say goodbye, i love you, and hang up.

i work today, it goes well. i brush the gigi. i swear the condition of her coat when she came back from the nashville kennel was terrible. great matted knots on her belly, and behind her ears. i brush and brush and she is so good about it. she loves me so much, she puts up with it annoying and pulling at her. i had to snip out the really matted bits, using like a funny curry comb type of thing, which is quite hard on her fur. great wafts of hair come out, and i filled a plastic bag; it was like white fairy floss.

another thing about the gigi, her collar is red and when she was at nashville, she obviously got really saturated from rain or hosing or something, and they didn't take the collar off, so she came back with a ring of pink around her neck, similar to when the cat in the hat visits the children in the snow and has a bath and leaves a pink cat ring in it, which then gets transferred to everywhere in the house and out into the snow.

anyway i had to bribe gigi to come and be washed under the hose. i had my bathers on - woo, hoo - and eventually got her to come. she was very wary of the house, whereas before nashville you couldn't get her away from a turned-on hose. i washed her, then she ran off to do the shake and slunk into the bushes and rolled and crawled to get the smell of shampoo off her. apparently dogs like eau d'snail more than eau de parfum of any sort.

just looked out the back door. she is wet, looks miserable and is filthy with dirt. fuck. i guess i'll have to rinse her off with the watering can and lock her in the laundry so she doesn't roll. bum!

then the phone rang around 3pm, 8pm there in san francisco.

she's in tears, in the bathroom for privacy. i talked her down, trying to distract her, explaining to her that she is just homesick, it's normal and happens all the time, that if she can get through the next couple of days then it will probably improve. i told her it happens at night particularly, that during the day she is fine. we talked about her routine being out of kilter (no dinner, they'd "had a really late lunch". for fuck's sake.) i said if she gets enough sleep it will make her stronger to deal with the homesickness.

during our conversation her dad came in to the bathroom and gave her a hug which i'm quite impressed by. he is good with her, but has never really been sympathetic with her tears, if you know what i mean. i think he was ridiculed when he was little and cried, so didn't know how to deal with someone else's tears. (mine included).

anyway she told me she wasn't miserable during the day, she was ok. i told her i am really proud of her, that even though i didn't expect her to definitely understand that this is an amazing experience for her, and a real life growing time, that i was sure she could sort of get what i meant. she said yes.

i told her to get into her pyjamas. she said that lisa had washed them (big tick) but that they were still wet (big cross). i told her to get onto her bed and start reading the first book in the series of four i got her to take away. she said she had planned to start that book tonight. i said good.

oh, almost forgot. she said karen is saying weird things about me. i told her not to listen to karen, she doesn't even know what day it is in her own country! (trying to make her laugh)

she did laugh. softly. and said something again about karen drinking too much.


the sooner she is out of karen's the better.

so on monday they set off to los angeles to pick up the carpets for the rug show in san diego on the 14th.

i don't know what the next few days will hold, but i'll be sure to report everything here. cause i know it's so interesting for you all....



day 10
17 days to go

Saturday, January 07, 2006

how do i put this? more ramblings from a mother steeped in pathos.

but first, some light entertainment.


okay, that's enough. to business.

i just want to thank elaine and locket for gorgeous, gorgeous words of support. of course they haven't accused me of being smothering and pathetic, they have been lovely and female and soft and understanding. which is what girls like to hear. they want to hear those soft words, the kind, supportive balloon words.

men tend to want to fix things, and rush in with their advice which can seem just a little bit unasked for, they run around brandishing their spanners-of-solutions. i know what they are doing, i get it. but it's just not what i want to hear.

but sometimes we need to hear the things we don't want to hear. don't we? it's part of being an adult. it's like, i'm ok, i can handle it, you can tell me things i don't want to hear.

chai, i know you understand too, and don't think i am singling you out here. you have been brave in standing up and saying it straight to me. (by the way i couldn't find any umbilicus pics in google image. hmmmm.)

and bevis, you too are a rock. a real rock, not a cotton rock.

i don't want to be a suffocating mother to princess. i am just working it all out as i go along. or not even really working anything out much. making it up as i go along.

but it really cheers me to have people say they think i am a good mother. i think i am. i really do. i work hard at it, and i put in. i'm not expecting her to bring herself up. it doesn't work like that. but i want princess to be a whole person. yes, slowly slowly. but whole. where she trusts her own judgment and makes her own decisions, and learns the hard way by making her own mistakes.

it's just that you love them so much, you want to protect them from everything bad.

so, to the current situation.

when i checked my emails today there was one from princess:

"hello mum i am thinking of cumming home erly because i am rilly missing you i will let you know when i know when the date is love you a lot princess"

now i got this email and i started to wonder whether my suffocation from afar had caused this.

seriously, i have been trying to not be worrisome and needy. i really don't think i have. my last two posts here have been a breeze. after the great snowstorm i've been fine. and to tell the truth, before that i was too, i was missing her, sure. but not bleating about it. (just here a bit, but this is where i let my guard down bigtime. in real life, i am as fortressed as anyone else.)

i wondered how to reply. i didn't want her to cut short her holiday and then regret it later. i didn't want her father being able to accuse me of influencing her to leave early. however, i also wanted to support her if she was really feeling bad.

had my text messages over the weekend until i spoke to her made her feel homesick?
had the phone call with karen somehow affected things? ie did karen get in touch with ali and say that i had been panicking? again, i was terse with her on the phone, not panicking.

as i was trying to compose my reply, via sms, the phone rang and it was her. they were back in san francisco.

small voice, sounding as though she might cry. she told me she was thinking about coming home. i told her not to decide quickly, that nothing special is happening here, she's not missing anything. i told her gigi was back, i was taking her for walks in the morning.

how's your work going? she asked

[shit, is she worried that she can't come back because i said i was going to do lots of work, and she thinks she will interrupt my plans?]

it's going all right, i said. i'm trying to do as much as i can.

so what's happening, darling. what does baba say about you coming back early?

he says it's fine with him. you called karen, and you were freaking out, she said.

who told you that? i said

karen said you called, she said.


i wasn't freaking out until i spoke to her, she made me worried, talking about a snowstorm, i said. she made me worried with her talking.

[princess mumbled something into the phone. something about karen and alcohol. i kid you not.]
i'm thinking oh great. now she's hanging out with drunks. that explains karen's dottiness. i remembered ali telling me a story a few years ago about karen causing trouble between him and lisa, telling her he was just using her (lisa) and planning to "go back to his wife." (news to me)

it's all just so high-school.

then karen gets on the phone. i'm thinking, don't fucking start, lady, i am this close to bawling you out.
you know, melbournegirl, princess is saying she wants to go home early, and ali's going to be really busy from tomorrow, he's got a show in san diego, and they have to drive to southern california in 80 degree heat, and he can get really obnoxious when he's working, he really sometimes is not pleasant to be around
karen, i interrupt. he's always pleasant to his daughter. always. and you don't need to tell me what he's like, i've known him for 15 years and was married to him for ten, so really i know what he's like.

[i'm thinking, how the fuck do i find myself in these situations?]
anyway, it's like i phone counsel princess for another ten minutes. it's all coming out, how much she misses me, how she is worried about her new teacher not understanding her problems with spelling and how she bets she'll be behind the other kids in the class, and she's worried about not having enough time to settle back in before school, and how she can't sleep, and she's going to bed too late to read her books, but she is having trouble going to sleep.

i know what the problem is. she is over tired because ali and lisa wouldn't be routining her. she needs routine. she will have been very busy, going full on for a week and be quite exhausted, plus all the emotional stuff. she's had a week of it, and has probably just had enough. she usually finds that when ali comes out here after about a week she's had enough of the high-octane, hyper-emotion-type whirlwind situation that he carries around with him.

i tell her again not to make a quick decision. i stress that it's fine with me if she comes home early (i don't want her thinking i don't want her), just to let me know. to work it out with baba, they can make a good decision together.

so i'll hear more tomorrow.

and another thing. can anyone tell me that i'm not fucking dreaming when i say that at 1.37pm today it was 6.37pm in san francisco A DAY BEHIND, so ie friday? it's saturday today right? we are on the phone at 1.30 this afternoon and booze-addled karen is saying it's saturday there as well.
hugs to you all, even the spanner boys.


* wasn't brigitte bardot pretty when she was young?

day 9.
18 days to go. maybe. maybe less it seems. we shall see.

Friday, January 06, 2006

made it through another day

just to start off, this is for chai

i couldn't find a real one. but there is a double meaning there. can you see it?

today was easy too, to get through. i am working as best i can during the day then go and do some gardening in the evening. tonight i weeded half of the baseline on the tennis court. it was very satisfying.

this morning i took gigi for a walk.

it is the new regime.

i sent princess a text message. i figure why should i worry what ali might be thinking or saying about me, i am her mother and i can write if i want. damnit.

i also then sent him one saying that a cheque i banked for him from england has been stopped. we'll see how quickly he can find a phone to call me about that! it'll be an interesting test.

tonight we watched four weddings and a funeral. again. can anyone tell me why we were supposed to support the relationship between andie macdowell and hugh grant, when really she was a fairly hideous and unfaithful type, who then turns up at hugh's wedding at the end and ruins it all.

day 8
19 days to go

Thursday, January 05, 2006

nothing to say

this is me today. but tomorrow might be a different story.
no trembling lips here, or pathos to laugh at. no pulsating pathetic heart, wobbling and sad.
which is good. thank you all.

day 7
20 days to go

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

and today we spoke

this will be quick. it's been a fine day. i got some work done.
we had a 4 minute chat with princess on the phone. she said they'd been getting my text messages but couldn't send back. i wonder whether her father realised i was worried, because she was reassuring me. saying that she is fine, having a good time, but there was something in the tone of her voice, something that made me think she felt she had to stop me worrying.
today i learnt to ski, she said.
oh, wow. that's fantastic, i said.
but not with the sticks, she said
no, at the beginning you don't learn with the sticks, i said.
what did you have for dinner, i said.
oh, i'm not really hungry, she said.

this is not like her. i am trying not to over-analyse everything.
she sounds so grown up.
before that call, she had left a message on the phone. she sounded impatient with me, for not answering but also for maybe sending them so many text messages. only three in four days. she had a tone that told me i was perhaps embarrassing her by worrying. i can just hear her father's voice:
you'd better call your mother, and stop her worrying about you. (you know she won't let you grow up if she can't let you just spend time with your father, she doesn't trust me to look after you properly, she has to interfere)
* * *
karen sent some pics she took of princess before they left on the car trip up the mountain. she is wearing a shiny pink parka, and i can see some brown fur trim around the hood, which is down. on her head she is wearing a ridiculous looking busy-print beanie which sits up so high on her head. i know it is the sort of hat she would hate, really hate. but there she is, wearing it, tolerating it, with an uncertain smile on her face. she is wearing the hat because she doesn't want to hurt the feelings of whoever gave it to her.
then there were a couple of photos of just after she arrived at the airport. in the one with her father, he head is tilted away from him. he looks intense. he is intense, and she looks tired and pale. the one with lisa in it, princess's head is angled towards lisa, away from ali. lisa looks glamorous and nice, and that does hurt a little. but i am happy because princess is smiling and looks much more relaxed.
it's difficult to scan a picture, go over every detail, to try and ascertain the state-of-mind at that moment of your child. when she is so far away. and that moment in time, the snapshot is now days past. i am like some forensic psychologist looking for evidence of happiness or sadness.
thank you to everyone who comments. every word is a balloon, keeping me up.

day 6
21 days to go

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

and i was doing so well...

this morning i woke up feeling fine. i was going to go to university and pick up some books from the library. i was going to drop in the strappy black shoes that my sister and i timeshare, and i was then going to come back home, walk the dog and settle down to a few productive hours of work.

but then, it was like someone offered me one of these

to go on one of these

around 12.45pm i sat down to lunch of salad, raw green beans and a semi-soft-boiled egg. and fetta cheese. danish. all in a pile in my big white bowl.

i had still not heard from princess, or ali. it had been several days, i had sent another text message asking if they were getting my text messages. i know, free-floating, low-grade anxiety will make people start to be a bit illogical.

so i decided to call karen, a friend who lives in san francisco, whose place they were at getting ready to leave in the car on saturday to drive up to the snow, when i spoke to princess. i know, that is a terribly constructed sentence. please just be tolerant.

i called karen. it was 6pm her time. this is how it went as best as i can remember. i promise i am not adding anything for dramatic or comedic effect. karen speaks really s.l.o.w.l.y and clearly and has a very sing-song american accent, i'm sure you can imagine it:

k: happy new year!

mg: hi karen, this is melbournegirl in melbourne

k: hi there, how are you?

mg: fine thanks, how are you? it's not too late there?

k: oh, no. it's six o'clock here, in the evening.

mg: ok. i was just calling to see if you have ali's contact details of where they are staying? i've been sending them text messages and haven't heard back. i'd just like to call them and see how things are going

k: no. no, i do not have any details. you know, they have gone into the biggest adventure of their lives. i've been trying to call ali's cell phone and i keep getting the message that it's disconnected. so i'm a little bit on pins and needles here. and there's been a huge snowstorm and the highway that they were on was closed for 48 hours. but they had blankets, and food and water. you know he had been cooking for 2 days before princess arrived. i made him take chains with him. and he had good tires on the car, it's his cousin's car, big tires

mg: did you know there was a snowstorm coming?

k: yes, i did

mg: did ali know there was a snowstorm coming?

k: yes, he did.

mg: [getting a little bit nervous cause she is starting to sound like a crackpot] and he didn't say he would call when they got there?

k: oh, no

mg: and you didn't ask him for details of where they would be staying?

k: no, i didn't think of it. melbournegirl, i'm sure they are having the adventure of their lives. they have blankets and food and water so if they are snowbound they will be ok. i'm sure of it.

mg: i don't know about in america, but here when people go off like that they leave contact details with people behind, and let them know where they are going

k: oh well, i've known ali for seven years, and he's a very careful driver, even though he hasn't had much snow and ice experience. there haven't been any news reports of accidents on that highway

mg: ok, i need to call someone. who should i call to try and see if there's been any problems?

[k gives me names of california automobile assistance thingo, and highway patrol type place]

[i am trying not to panic, keeping a lid on it. i can't believe what i'm hearing.]

k: i feel they are ok. you know lisa bought princess two little snow parkas, with fur around the hood, she looked so darling

[i want to scream at her that she is being fucking insane]

k: i am sure they will be all right. lisa and ali are two very clever people.

[oh that's right, i forgot clever people never make mistakes and DIE]

i can't remember exactly what else was said, but she told me she didn't think i should panic, that princess will be ok. all i can think about is that her father has driven off with her into a snowstorm, along a road that was closed in the 48 hours since they left.

i didn't know when the snowstorm started, but i knew it was going to take them about 4 hours to drive, so by friday evening their time, they should have been there.

i got off the phone from karen. luckily john was here. i started bawling. i don't think he's ever seen me cry like that in two years, and has probably only ever seen me cry once or twice before. he held me, i cried. i sat with my head in my hands. i said something like:

"she would have been so scared"

why did i use that tense?

i was thinking of them off the road, covered in snow, and how scared she would be. the air running out. no one seeing the car from the road. once in turkey ali had almost driven off the road on a long car trip. i was in the front, and luckily saw us steering towards the edge. i shouted and he turned the wheel. we were seconds from going over. i have seen how easily and quickly things like that can happen.

i started torturing myself with all the possibilities. john and i got online and i googled to try and get a phone number. it was frustrating and slow.

i called highway patrol direct, and got the most humourless dispatcher in the world. all she could tell me was that highway 80 was open now, and could only check that ali was neither admitted to hospital or arrested for anything. which he wasn't. it was surreal to be spelling his name over the phone to some woman in america, mixing up my letters, you know like alpha bravo charlie. i was doing samantha, echo, unicorn, nancy.

john calmed me down. told me that she would be fine.

i drove off to university but somewhere around the mcg i went to pieces and called my sister. she heard it in my voice and told me to go there straight away. her husband has spent time in america and knows how things work there. i was thinking of a tiny mountain road with steep sides, and probably the highway would be really wide.

they gave me a cup of tea, and calmed me down. we got online again and he showed me the way they would have driven. he also saw weather forecasts for when they come back, and it looks fine. he reassured me and i calmed down. he also saw that the snowstorm had been on the saturday, so well after they would have arrived.

so after sister modelled her new dress she is wearing to a friend's wedding, and which the shoes looked great with, i drove back home.

and princess had left a message on the phone at 5pm. i was happy to hear her voice, and though she sounded tired and not altogether happy, at least she is not trapped in a car under three metres of snow, crying into her stuffed dog and wanting mummy.

i don't know whether they got any of the text messages, but she said that her dad's phone is not working and so they can't call me easily. and that she hopes to talk to me soon.

she sounded very grown up and i am glad i can sleep tonight.

i miss her more than i can say. it's like being in love with someone, yearning for them, wanting to see them and touch them. it's hard. it really is. when i let myself miss her, and think about her, it's like my heart is breaking.

i don't expect people without children to understand me. and i'm sorry to be a sap. but this is my space and it's helping me to write these words.

i'm hoping tomorrow will be smooth. and i can get some work done.

ps here's to all the little children in the world who are away from their parents at this moment for whatever reason. strength to them and their loved ones. it must be so devastating for those who don't make their way back.

day 5
22 days to go

Monday, January 02, 2006

day 3 and day 4

these two days will be a double post. we were down at the beach house yesterday and there is no phone line.

i am doing remarkably well, even though i haven't heard from them since saturday when i spoke to princess again in the afternoon as they were getting ready to go the the snow.

i sent a text message on new year's day our time, so that was yesterday around 11am. i was restrained and calm. and i haven't heard back.

i am thinking there is no mobile reception on whichever mountain they are, somewhere near lake tahoe apparently.

of course the worry-wart which sits on my shoulder constantly (it's very unattractive, large and hairy) (kidding) tells me (yes, this wart can talk) that perhaps princess's father, let's call him ali baba, is going to kidnap her and spirit her out of the country, or he is filling her head with badnesses about me, or perhaps he's simply driven off the road by accident and they are all lying under snow, dead.

i know this is terrible to even articulate, but this is one way of dealing with my anxiety. you see, if i can imagine the most horrible events, then they can't possibly come true. it's almost like negating the evil or bad luck by "getting to it first."

some might think this could pre-empt stuff, or even create it, a la a sort of inverse creative visualisation thing. but as i am here and not there, i don't believe i can have any sway over fateful events.

i'm not being very coherent am i?

ali baba once told me that the more i worried about stuff, that i would make it come true. i do wonder about this.

anyway, john (travolta, remember) and i are off to dinner and a movie.

i am not physically anxious, and am sleeping fine.

organised the office this afternoon, so that tomorrow i can settle down to


days 3 & 4
23 days to go

Sunday, January 01, 2006

you know, day two has been ok

i have sent my most precious person to america.

last night i couldn't really sleep. after i blogged, i went to bed. i slept for maybe two hours or so then woke up. lay there, one hour. got up and went into the lounge. did a woman's day crossword, got stuck on the last few, the time was moving on. it was 3am, then 4am. i knew she was due to arrive about 4.50am our time.

i got a text message from her dad about an hour later saying her plane had landed and he was waiting for her to come through the gates.

under an hour later, about 5.45 i got a call on the mobile. it was her. she was fine. she sounded really happy and excited. said the plane flight had not been that long and that there was only one "incident"

i held my breath.

she had vomited as the plane was coming in to land. my baby. and i wasn't there to help her. there was a nice lady who helped her clean up and then she asked her escort once they had her luggage (very fash pink trolley bag) if she could change. so she was able to run and hug her dad without spew all down her front.

she called me again at about 1pm and they were packing the car to drive up to the snow. the girlfriend lisa is there, and she is being a good second mother to princess. which makes me feel relieved though of course that is hard to hear. but anything that makes my girl feel better, makes me happier too.

so i said, are you going to stay at the snow for one night, or two?

a week, she said.

[avalanches, going off the track and falling into a ravine, snow storm, skiing accident, ice breaking while skating, car skidding off road]

all these things flash through my head.

please say hi and happy holidays to lisa and baba. and have a great, great time.

i will, comes the small but happy voice.

i love you, she says.

i love you too.

ps riss, that wasn't a pic of her. but looks like she did. a bit.

day 2
25 days to go