Thursday, April 27, 2006

my fingers are not as long, nor as skinny, as kate moss'

[warning: this post contains text about six feet under, particularly the episode shown this week. it also contains text about chimney sweeping.]
okay. i am coming down to the wire with my thesis. i cancelled an appointment with my supevisor today so i can write. my days are messy; yesterday the chimney sweep plus my mother managed to combine and suck all the hours from my window of opportunity between school-drop-off at 9am and pick-up at 3.30pm. the hours fly, as they are now. and i have no excuse about blogging do i. the chimney sweep is not making me do it. but i have to have the right mental state in place to sit and write and think clearly about structure and flow and coherence. to be coherent is extremely difficult.
and here i am blogging. i've painted my nails bright red, which is something i don't usually do. toenails, yes. fingernails, no. but i wanted to approximate the kate moss look, you know girls, when she has short nails, but they are red. and they look fucking awesome with her long, skinny fingers. my fingers are not as long, nor as skinny, as kate moss'. it's funny how much i want to put another s after moss' like this: moss's.
to business.
three words.



you will just have to indulge me for the next seven weeks, because for the moment, sfu is my obsession. hear me? obsession.
it's come like a godsend back into my life. there was such a long break between seasons i thought it was lost to me forever. i'd seen it in the video shops but it didn't seem to have the correct shows. then out of the blue, it returns.
for me, sfu is unlike any other show i've ever watched. and i've seen a lot.
so, no big brother [used to watch it and like it until it got too skanky], no survivor, no amazing race. we do watch desperate housewives, and prison break and medium. and neighbours.
neighbours, i love. prison break is ok. like, just ok. not great, but there are characters i do enjoy, such as teabag is just such a thigh-grindingly creepoid. desperate housewives is good for watching bree and lynette, but the others are wearing thin. medium is great but i always feel it should have gone for another hour, and the endings can feel rushed and a bit pat.
last night we watched our taped episode of six feet under. nate and brenda seemed to reach a rapprochement, so i'm hoping that will be the end of the tension. maggie came to dinner with george; i really wonder what the maggie character will do.
seems david and keith are going to adopt a boy who has an older brother as well. we haven't met the brother but there's promise that he might be difficult. but david and keith are getting on so well, i LOVE the dynamic between them. the tender looks, the graceful bowing to each other's preferences.
billy is such a pathetic character, it is so hard to watch; his neediness and his on-the-brink-of-panic is so replusive. claire has such a good head on her shoulders, she is strong and she knows what she will and won't put up with. you can see she can't stand to be near him, and when she was tricked into seeing him not once, but twice, and the second time with the assistance of his mother, you couldn't blame her for just running away from the restaurant when she said she was going to the toilet.
george and ruth looked at a house, in an interesting area of town that is near the market and something else, a museum or gallery? ruth's face looks lighter and george is so loving with her. there was a very subtle after-sex scene, where she looked particularly harrowed and you just knew she had done it for him.
rico spoke about vanessa's private business behind her back to the principal of the kids' school and another mother; a transgression that was unforgivable and completely killed any chance of them getting together. i love the way rico speaks; he is so solemn and precise, and uber courteous. it's delicious.
and finally, a bit of closure about lisa and her death. i was wondering whether it would be mentioned again. it came up in the context of brenda thinking maya should be being told about her "first mommy" and nate was feeling rushed about it. then it all came out, his feelings about the way lisa died, that she'd been having an affair with her brother-in-law, and, shockingly, the thought nate has obviously been nursing that perhaps maya is not his biological child. this is something i had never considered, and brenda said they were also things that she had never thought of.
each episode is so full. i am going to be so bereft when it finishes. unlike arrested development and curb your enthusiasm i feel i have invested so much emotion in this show, in the characters and the stories. they are like family, my family. never has a show so thorougly moved into my mind and taken up residence before.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

old soldiers make me cry. everytime.

we weren't planning to go yesterday, to the anzac march. when i was a kid, me and my friends used to mock the old soldiers, pretending to be them, limping along with spastic hands to the beat of a drum. we thought we were really funny.

somehow, princess and i found ourselves there, right up the front, watching the old soldiers, and the young, marching past. there were oldies in classic jags and rollers, even one in a khaki nissan pintara. i think the tears come from the misguided belief that these old men fought for a people, a country. when in fact they were young and strong, and as much a hot-headed bastard as any.

the best moment for me was when the wrans passed [army nurses], elderly and soft-looking plump ladies with white gloves and faded hair. as they marched by, there were several wolf-whistles from the crowd, which made everyone smile.


on monday, princess said to me:

we learnt about gallipoli at school today. we won! we won! aha! aha! [and she made the movement, you know the 'we rock' type movement that kids do, with the arms in circles in front of their body, like a victory dance]

it took me a second to realise she was talking about the turks, and that she was one of them.

then yesterday she said, we were fighting on the british side. and i realised she was talking about we as australians.

what an interesting perspective for her.


of course, i met her father in 1990 when i travelled to turkey to go to the 75th anniversary commemoration at gallipoli. i met her dad on the very day we travelled down to the peninsula, the 24th of april. i arrived at the site with my friends at around 4am and found good spots right at the front of the fenced off entrance, where the diggers would walk to their seats for the service. as they started coming, just before dawn, each one accompanied by a young australian or new zealand soldier, the crowd clapped and cheered. old men were brandishing their walking sticks, and grinning at the crowd. i couldn't do anything other than clap, and cry. and take lots of photos. i had tears flowing down my face. i shook bob hawke's hand, and hazel's. i was surprised by his soft grip. we listened to the last post bugle, we listened to the speeches, which i couldn't hear very well. the sound system was crap. but it didn't matter. i'd seen the old boys, and then later as we trundled around various cemeteries and monuments we saw a bus of the old soldiers leaving the area. there they were, small and still excited, waving out of the bus windows at us as they passed.

gallipoli is close to my heart for various reasons*. but i'll never forget the first time i read the words of ataturk, on one of the memorials. it still tugs at the heart-strings:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us, where they lie, side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.

* not least the fact i got touched up by a turk in one of the trenches.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

only eight eps to go of six feet under, don't read it if you don't want to know some stuff

six feet under would have to be one of my favourite shows of all time.
i think when it finishes, i will need the dvd collection. i will miss it, the show, and the people.
check out the hbo website to remind yourself of what has happened thus far, and after this week's episode where nate bashed the blue bird (of happiness?) to death with a broom at his surprise 40th birthday party, i just don't know that it will all be ok in the end.
i know the creator Alan Ball has tried to keep it realistic and resisted some writers wanting to break up relationships so they can write new things. he said
sometimes i exercise veto power. for the longest time there was a lot of energy behind splitting david and keith up and letting david move on, because there was concern that keith was not a good partner for him... i fought that. i just felt that this is what these characters are going through, this is what will solidify them as a couple. a lot of times writers get bored: 'i want a new doll to play with.' i think what's more interesting is trying to maintain a relationship with somebody who's so different. what i'm interested in is seeing these two men who are basically good people with different pathologies trying to make them work... no this show is not about moving on and getting the next new exciting thing to happen. this show is about what it is like to remain in a relationship. this show is about what it is like to remain alive while other people die. you stick it out. you don't just jettison and move on.
[taken from the age green guide, april 13, p.16]

what is going to happen to claire and billy? actually, i think claire can take care of herself. in which case, what is going to happen to billy?

is claire ever going to make things up with ruth? they are so hating each other right now.

david and keith have been getting on so well. are they going to get their baby and be happy?

how significant will george's daughter maggie be? was i imagining a frisson or two between her and nate? he was leaning in for a kiss at his party, was he not?

will we ever find out anything more about lisa? it seemed to jump from when her brother-in-law confessed to nate and then shot himself. that was the end of the season, and then this season there seemed to be a gap, or is that just me?

i just love that kitchen. this isn't a question or a loose end. it's just a statement. i love that kitchen.

will rico and vanessa get back together?

will ruth ever be happy again? will george be ok. a heartbreaking scene this week, involving him and his mother. truly one of the saddest things i have ever seen on film.

and finally:

will nate fucking get his shit together and make a life with brenda? she's already feeling insecure, she has done really well to pull herself together, she's pregnant again after a traumatic miscarriage the day before their wedding. why does he seem to keep repeating the pattern, and behaviour, of a commitment phobe? he's done it all along. is this going to be his fate?

and really, did nate die during season two? is it going to be like some sort of inverted bobby ewing thing or the sixth sense all over again? are they going to fuck with our minds?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

the squid and the whale. if you don't want to know about the movie, then don't read this post. there's also a bit at the end, don't read that too.

if you've ever been touched by divorce, i recommend this movie, the squid and the whale. it's harrowing in parts but deftly done. and it has the added bonus of a baldwin, thrown in, along with laura linney, jeff daniels and the rest.

my parents divorced when i was about 14. there's a scene in the movie when the parents sit the kids down to tell them, and the anguish on the younger brother's face made me remember my own situation. my parents sat me and my brother down on the couch to tell us. i can recall my inner voice screaming, no, no, no. i knew it was coming, i knew what they were about to say. the younger brother in the movie also knew, and his face screws up with tears, even before they speak the words.

i remember looking out our loungeroom window to where my younger sister was doing cartwheels on the grass. i remember thinking she's so lucky, she doesn't know yet.

then a generation later, a lifetime later, princess and ali and me are sitting on my bed. we are telling her that we are going to get divorced. i still feel bad about it. but there was nothing else we could do. it was just too hard and we were just too miserable.

i used to tell people that my parents breaking up was the best thing for all of us. that i couldn't have gotten to know each of my parents as individuals had it not happened. that we would have all been mired in misery had they not split.

now i'm not so sure. i feel damaged by it and everything that followed. what if they could have pushed through that? would things have gotten better? would our family still be intact now?
would i have still gone and married such an Unsuitable Man?

my sister and i saw this film last night. then we went and had a coffee in a place with booths on chapel street.

we talked about my dad and her eyes were red-rimmed. she asked me what i think will happen with him in the future, whether we will all become estranged from him. it's been like a slow-motion event, this growing apart? how can you maintain a relationship, a bonded meaningful relationship, with your father when you don't see him that often, and his wife is not your mother?

too many questions. i like movies that make me think.

the other one we were possibly going to see was a french one with with monica and gerard, which looked like a variation on indecent proposal. in the preview it had monica on gerard's lap, as his wife, as he caressed her breast and asked another man, what is she worth, for you to compensate me for my pain, etc etc, in losing her. this other man is rich and presumably he will pay gerard for his wife, who seems to be a prostitute? and without having seen the movie, i think they are in cahoots to do the man out of his $4mill. but you get to see her breasts side on, as she is lying on her back. they absolutely defy gravity.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

am i a real dope?

ok, this is one of those cotton-type posts where you get to vote.

yesterday, when i said i dropped a bag of dope into the caulfield police station, i was not jesting, dear readers.

in the garden, right under princess' bedroom window, we found a large jetstar bag filled with a huge quantity of hydroponic-type organic stuff, which reeked of something other than garden herbs.

i could see the little star-shaped leaves. all dried up. i could see the heads.

it had been wrapped, taped and tossed over the fence. so it seems.

these were the options:

1. try to sell

2. keep to smoke

3. throw in bin

4. throw in bin up the street

5. give to friends

6. hand in to police.

now before we go any further, i must explain john was home from work, organising some plumbing. so, we had the fatherly greek plumber out there as well. in the garden, near the bag of dope. in fact they kind of found it together.

"that looks like marijuana" said the greek plumber, in his accented english. "is it yours?"

"does it?" said john. he has never seen it before. "no, it's not mine!"

"well, i'm going to throw it away, whatever it is," said john and came inside to show me.

i was sitting at the dining table, thesising. i stuck my world-weary head in the bag and smelled the smell. it had been a long while, my friends. i picked out great clumps of the stuff and looked at it closely.

"i'm pretty sure that's dope, honey," i said.

then we had a conversation about what to do with it. options 1,2 and 5 were out of the question. we are fine, upstanding citizens.

the complication was, dear friends, i think this house has been a hydro house in a past life. when we moved in, there were (and still are) holes in the ceilings of the three kids' rooms, some patched some just left. holes arranged in such a way that they form a large rectangle across the ceilings. also, we found a circular hole sawed into the floorboards in a corner of one of the rooms. just left there, with the carpet over the top. so anybody's ankle could go through it.

so i had my suspicions. also, wondered how the young landlord/developer got so rich to be able to own this house, as well as three neighbouring houses. how come his father knows what marijuana looks like?

i don't think there's necessarily any connection between this house's past life, and this bag o' dope in our garden. a coincidence? BUT i didn't want it in our bin. garbage is not collected until monday and there may not be one next monday.

i also didn't want it in another bin in case someone came looking for their dope. i don't want to be in the middle of a drug war, or similar. i wanted it on record that we'd found it, and handed it in. [stop it! i can hear you groaning.]

so i called the police station. spoke to a cop and he said to bring it in. i said i didn't want to drive with it in my car. (we are talking a lot of stuff here. like a small pillow's worth, from my elbow to fingers long at least and a foot wide. think grass clippings in a large plastic bag, several handsful. this was not some "youth stash". this was a big business delivery or something like that gone wrong. it was at least half a kilo)

the police man said to put it in the boot, and gave me his name in case i got stopped.

i drove it to the station and took it in, and handed it in.

i told another officer about the house, how we found it in the garden. he was going to call the agent, he said it sounds like the house was used at some stage for that kind of operation, that electricity would have been re-routed, as it costs thousands. and that's what they do.

i said to him "look, i've got three kids. we've done the right thing here. i don't want my door kicked down in the middle of the night by police. i don't want my kids scared. if anyone wants to come and look at the house, they're welcome. just make an appointment."

he said that shouldn't happen.


oh, and i got a receipt. which very drily says i do not wish the good returned. it's not a wallet with money or a gold ingot we're talking about here. and it has written in the property description section '1 x bag "marijuana" '

not happy about those quote marks. when i asked the officer what will happen with it, he looked me right in the eyes and said "it'll be destroyed."

"rubbish," said my friend on the phone today, "they'll sell it."

the other funny thing was my palms were itching like mad yesterday morning. and that's stopped.

easy come, easy go.

so, now you get to vote.

1. we are idiots.

2. we did the right thing.

be honest. i don't mind. we know we did the right thing, but what would you have done?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

an ordinary life

what do i do all day i hear you ask?

well here are some of today's activities, in no special order:

organise a chimney sweep. hope he has a top hat and is older than four years old.

do several lots of dishes. it just never ends.

collect the mail.

drop off a large bag of dope to the caulfield police station.

then take the library books back.

do some thesis. please don't make insensitive comments about my man hands. i'ts always been a touchy subject with me.



"take a break"

do the school run once. only once though because john is at home today.

which means i can do some more of my thesis.

make some calls.

read the paper.

talk about what to have for dinner.

do a couple of loads of washing.

tell gigi she's a good girl.

this is a very old picture of her, but it's so cute. it's the gigilove.

watch neighbours.

and that about wraps up my day.

by the way, we are having a bbq.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

arrested development, arrested life.

i know i'm slow. i've been studying with my head in books for the last two years, plus being romantically inclined along with everything else in my little life.
did everyone know about this show, arrested development?
we have just finished watching the first two seasons on dvd. i love it. it makes me laugh out loud which is not easy to do. all the characters are wonderful, they all amuse me. it's too hard to break down, but it is so funny.

the other thing we love love love is larry david's curb your enthusiasm. also, hello, did everyone else know about this too?

what else is there i might have missed? once i've got my thesis in i'm happy to commit to almost anything requiring a lot of dedicated time input. but it has to be really really good. no dross. my life is too short.
so we watched arrested development to fill in time while waiting to get a hold of curb your enthusiasm season 5. now i'm hooked on arrested and there's only one more season at the video shop; so tell me please. where am i going to get my laughs in the next 6 weeks once we have finished watching these?
only funny suggestions please. i need to laugh.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

always live in hope

that's what jacqueline gillespie would write in the front of copies of her book, when she signed them for people. in my copy that i've got here [that pic above is from google-image] she's underlined the always. she didn't sign if for me, i got it in a second-hand bookshop for $15. it's a good read. like a lot of women who married muslim men, i went through a stage of being somewhat perversely attracted to reading all the horror stories, of kidnappings and abuse, of running away across mountains with your child strapped to your back type stuff. of confiscated passports and threats along the lines of "you can leave, but the children stay with me."

i am so happy for jacqueline and her daughter, shah. to be reunited after 14 years, of waiting and wondering and no contact. she would send them birthday and christmas presents and videod messages, and never hear anything back. as far as i know, for 14 years, she never heard anything back. how awful that must have been. to think that people might be brainwashing your daughter and son, telling them bad things about you, that you don't love them anymore.

just not knowing.

shah was kidnapped at the age of 6, so little and vulnerable. and needing her mummy so much. now she's 20. we still need our mum, for as long as they are alive.

and this is what her father had to say, the malasian prince:

It's only natural that she wants to visit her mother.
She is a big girl now, going to be 21.
She wants to be with her mother, so what is there for me to say?

so in his mind what he did was perfectly ok. it was so cruel and heartless. i wonder what he's done to the son, iddin. why doesn't iddin want to see his mother?

it broke my heart to read the book, and now i feel a sort of joy, but also like i want to cry.

great heaving racking sobs.

what is it about mothers and daughters?

Monday, April 03, 2006

"it twirled up!"

a few posts back i had something going where i was trying to remember my most favourite movie moments.

i just remembered another.

it was postcards from the edge, starring meryl streep and shirley maclaine. meryl plays the daughter and shirley the mother. the book was written by princess leia, carrie fisher, whose mother was debbie reynolds, in real life. there's some funny mother-daughter moments and the quote in question comes at a point in the movie where meryl-as-carrie is accusing shirley-as-debbie that she (shirl) would always steal the limelight.

and the dialogue ran something like this. i'm paraphrasing wildly, from memory, haven't seen it for years:

m: even at my 9th birthday party you had to steal the show, didn't you. why did you have to get up there and sing and dance in front of all my friends? it was so embarrassing, you were always wanting the spotlight, always getting all the attention. and then doing that dance, and spinning so your dress went up and everyone could see you had no underwear on

s: it twirled up!!!

[maybe i'll watch this again and write down the quote and post here so we can laugh at how far off i was.]