1. yesterday was good. i wrote a lot. i'm working on the opus i have been working on very sporadically since 1999.
2. the brownlows were boring, boring, boring. i knew they would be, but i had to see for myself. first and last time i watch them.
3. i was going for richo. what a spunk. WHAT A SPUNK!
4. there was one girl that i saw in a shocker frock. it was a backless number, red with black lace that looked like tatts all along the top of her rump. she was a little heavy for that frock, if you ask moi.
5. highlight was strauchanie. i love him. he is the funniest. he is the best.
6. today was good until i found headlice in 2 of the 3 children. well, the hairdresser found them. so i am up to my elbows in cheap hair conditioner and it's so fucking awful. maybe i need a glass of wine now.
7. we are going to the movies tonight. the boys will see wall-e, and us girls will see something called wild child. sounds... great. no really. the girls are pumped.
8. i am still enjoying the geraldine brooks book. next one will be thepeople of the book, i think. is this a good choice or should i go back to the beginning and read in chrono order?
9. i'm having a manicure tomorrow. it's just so decadent. i've never been a manicure person, but i am trying to be now. they just do it so much better than a nut trying to do it at home.
10. i'm realising some new visitors to this blog are, like, really young. i'm wondering where they've come from, and why they read. it's nice, but i don't really get it. i'm so boring to anyone who's hip.
11. i haven't managed any writing today, but plan to get back to it tomorrow.
in the old blogging days, there used to be regular haiku around these here parts.
last night, while at the mcg, i was finding it hard to concentrate on the game. i was reminiscing in a blasphemous way about the geelong footy of the late '80s and early to mid '90s, about how it seemed more exciting (a certain ablett factor?), more thrilling, more watchable.
it was a beautiful, balmy night. i have never been at a night game in short sleeves before. the showers held off, and i was more enamoured by the circumstances than the game.
we were sitting near a lot of dog fans, and while i don't begrudge success for certain victorian teams (western bulldogs, st kilda, even hawthorn) it was a little annoying when they were chanting their bulldogs thang.
i took photos of my old man with his little spiral notebook, jotting down the scores at the end of each quarter. that's another difference to the old days. back then, he had his quad-colour bic biro, and each colour represented a quarter, and he would meticulously record not only the goals and behinds, but at which minute mark they occurred. he would have those notebooks somewhere, i'm sure. but now the game's too quick, i guess, for him to keep doing that. you blink and you miss something. but still, gary the younger is a joy to watch. the way his speed bursts out of him.
the only real negative of the night were the seagulls. at first, they were lovely; circling high in the dark sky well above the grandstand's roof line. but then, later in the game, they had descended and were either in flocks just above the players where the ball's trajectory followed, or in clusters on the ground. i just don't get why they do a night final. well, i do. but it's wrong.
the person who invents some kind of inaudible sound system which to gulls is a banshee wail, and scares them off - you know, like shop keepers install outside their doors to keep teenagers away at night - will be a wealthy, wealthy person.
haiku for the cats
my nirvana is tapas at movida, yum before the finals game.
gulls flying at night in the black mcg sky full of poesy.
the balmy night air soothes my soul for the present yet i am disturbed.
for i know that soon i will have to join the crowd and decide a course.
do i catch the tram from the seething, close platform? or do i walk on?
i walk towards lights my boots are not well-fitting i struggle on, yeah.
i come to the stop i have to wait for my tram it does take an age.
i wait at the stop wearing my hat of victoire soon i will be home.
i collapse a'bed my balls of feet are flaming yet again, shoe shit.
the cats have won, true but should i have stayed at home? and watched from plump couch?
bordello-red couch so comfy and inviting no shoes necessaire.
* * *
to other matters. i am a list person. i can't help it. and probably my list with the greatest longevity is one i've had going for maybe 20 years or so. it's a list not on one piece of paper, but on many bits. scraps of envelopes, post it notes that have lost their stick or been torn carefully in half, bits of newspaper white-space.
this list is of books that have been recommended to me, that i have seen in medical clinics all over the place, or that i have seen in book shops but not bought for one reason or another. books i have read about in articles, in reviews, in interviews with authors i admire, or more recently online.
all are books that i want. books that i can't even remember why i want them; while sometimes there is the isbn and publisher details, sometimes they are just a title and author floating in space, without any note about what it was that made me write it down.
this is my list, going back years:
goodbye to all that - robert graves
brewer's doctionary of modern phrase and fable - adrian room
an imaginary life - david malouf
cherishing our daughters - how parents can raise girls to become confident women - evelyn bassoff
the historian - elizabeth kostova.
vampire story set in istanbul.
a passionate marriage - jonathan schnarch?
libby/elizabeth southall - book about being in the tsunami. (heard her interviewed on radio - she also lost her daughter a few years before in a tragic way, the girl catching the tram in melbourne to dance class in prahran, and her "friend" killed her through jealousy. what a life for this poor woman. loses her 16 year old daughter, then survives the tsunami. there is no god.)
maranatha et in arcadia ego - by a bunch of holy grail researchers.
i LOVE holy grail stuff.
food - a history, by felipe fernandez-armesto
the boy with the striped pyjamas - someone boyne?
animal speakL the spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small - ted andrews
god on a harley - joan laidig brady
chapters - candice carpenter
a woman of substance - barbara taylor bradford
the enigma of japanese power - karel van wolferen
the holographic universe - michael talbot/tolbert. also noted here the celestine prophecy - this is a really old note.
ogilvy on advertising - david ogilvy
blonde - joyce carol oates
falling angel - william hjortsberg (this is the book that the old movie angel heart was based on, according to the credits of the movie. this is one of my oldest leads that i've tried and failed to find.)
the power of gold: the history of an obsession - peter l. bernstein
as i lay dying - william faulkner
a fine and private place - brian matthews
isabelle the navigator - luke davies
reading the muslim mind - obviously i would have been interested in reading this when i was married to a muslim mind, and trying to work it the fuck out.
turkey unveiled: ataturk and after - nicole and hugh pope
how to really love your child - dr ross campbell
sasameyuki - junichiro tanizaki
shayou - osamu dazai
oriental carpet design: a guide to traditional motifs, patterns and symbols - prj ford
norwegian wood - haruki murakami
women and sex - nawal saadawi
embraced by the light - betty eade
the physician - noah gordon
the perfumed garden - william heinemann (i may have managed to get this one, can't remember)
la nuit du serail - prince michael of greece (another i have tried to find, and failed.)
in the name of a dead princess - nora someone.
life in istanbul at the time of suleyman the magnificent - robert montran
the koran - a abdulla yusuf ali (i have managed to find this one)
women of sand and myrrh - hanan al-shayk (i think i have this one)
honour and shame: women in modern iraq - sana al-khayyat
beyond the veil: male-female dynamics in muslim society - fatima mernissi
two queens of baghdad - nabia abbott
aisha - the beloved of mohamma - nadia abbott
sultana - prince michael of greece
price of honour - jan goodwin (i think i have this one)
ayesha - james morier
anastasia: the riddle of anna anderson - peter kurth
millennium: a history of the last thousand years - felipe fernandez-armesto
snowdon, the biography
the books list is the longest, and it is my life's work to try and acquire them all. now with modern technology and a credit card, it might be easier. also, i've just gone through the places where all the separate lists have been languishing these many years, and put them all together. into one big list in a plastic pocket. and i will work through it, and try to find them.
but sublists have emerged: songs that either must be ones i can sing for karaoke or ones i want to dance to at my 50th birthday party?
is this love - whitesnake
i was made for loving you - kiss
sweet dreams - eurythmics
modern girl - james freud
tusk - fleedwood mac
into the wild, with sean penn
secrets and lies - rec by "me moom" and watched recently. really good, pretty depressing.
if only - recommended by a student at an english school
drowning mona - bette midler
a simple twist of faith
the road home
whatever it takes - teen movie
doco - taxi to the dark side
yol (the road) and the herd - by yilmaz guney
* * *
one final, last scrap of paper that i have carried with me since 1994. in ukrainian, the name and address of a young girl i met at a pension we were staying at in marmaris, turkey. she was 11, and she was so beautiful. long, blonde hair, nut-brown skin from the turkish sun, long-limbed and friendly. we "made friends" even though i was a woman and she a girl. she was staying there with her mother, and also her brother. she told me one day, in halting english, that she had a sickness, and pointed to her throat. i slowly worked out that she had become sick from chernobyl, and after marmaris that year, we exchanged letters between australia and ukraine a few times.
now, all these years later, i wonder if she still walks the earth. i can't throw away that piece of paper.
just thinking about her makes me teary. sweet katya.
if you'd like to be asked back to a school to teach, don't spray with your saliva the vice principal's face at recess when you're talking to him.
it doesn't matter how emphatic you are being.
also note to parents of melbourne. if your shit of a kid is having "social problems" at school, you turning up at school, standing at the fence and glaring at his aggressors is not going to help. in fact it's FUCKING INAPPROPRIATE.
get a brain parents. i know none of us is perfect, but jeez.
the blister is healing. i wore high heels to a wedding saturday night. i bought new shoes last week. they are beautiful. and the following is required viewing. i think i've posted this before, but really. it is worth revisiting. enjoy.
this happened to me in the space of about 5 mins in fitzroy st.
1. i waved away a man who approached me on the street, saying "excuse me, miss..."
"i don't give money, and i don't talk to people on the street" i interrupted, not stopping.
2. then, walking in the other direction after buying what i wanted he came towards me, made a beeline, and offered me a slim, french stick in a white paper bag.
"i just bought it" he said "do you want it?"
"i don't want it, thanks" i said.
so he gave it to a man passing by who was a bit toothless and really chuffed. he turned up grey street saying he was going to give it to [unintelligble mutterings]
3. joel edgerton walked towards me in a baseball cap, shorts and funny shoes, holding a yellow sherrin. i strode past, after the baguette incident, thinking before i realised who it was coming towards me, he looks a bit strange even for st kilda, but it's nice he's carrying a footy. oh, boys and their balls... especially at this time of year.
we locked eyes as i passed and i realised who it was.
books that have been moved from their little piles on the floor next to my place of sleeping:
as yet unread -
rohinton mistry such a long journey
eric clapton the autobiography
brothers grimm complete fairy tales
germaine greer the change: women, ageing and the menopause
mark seymour thirteen tonne theory
naomi wolf promiscuities
read already but is talking to me again -
tim winton the riders
dipped into -
his holiness the dalai lama the essence of happiness
the dalai lama's book of wisdom
cormac mc carthy blood meridian
charles bukowski the most beautiful woman in town and other stories
books i have left beside the bed in one pile:
gregory david roberts shantaram
a.b. facey a fortunate life
nancy friday the power of beauty
geraldine brooks year of wonders
buddhism for mothers by i can't be bothered going back in there to see.
the one that i've been reading mostly recently is the nancy friday one. this was interrupted by reading the twilight series, in tandem with princess. i've also been reading the papers, magazines, that trashy kind of stuff. and going in and out of a fortunate life and shantaram.
it's like i can't settle down and read happily like i used to. i feel i'm in between books, and it's a disturbing feelings. i can't be happy enough if i haven't got a book that calls me from the other room. and happy enough is all i am hoping for, really. it's all anyone can hope for. forget blissful. forget great, or wonderful. if you can be happy enough, you're doing pretty damn well i reckon.
tonight i am looking forward to starting year of wonders. i hope it keeps me. i feel like i'm kind of going off fiction - well, not going off but i feel i've almost had my fill. does that sound crazy? i turn towards non-fiction, because fiction seems to disappoint these days as much as it delights.
must go and sew some buttons back onto a cushion. it probably won't end well.
i was never meant to wear shoes, i'm sure of it. uggs and thongs work best for me. no backs to rub against my heels with the thongs, and big space between ugg boot backs and my heels.
the disadvantages are: thongs let my feet get filthy in summer. uggs stink.
and neither are suitable, professional wear.
today i wore some flats that killed* me when i first wore them. and then the next time. and then the next time. but the next time they seemed a little better. i even wore them yesterday teaching. on my feet all day, doing yard duty, etc. and no new rubbings.
but today, when i am at an area in chadstone shopping centre furthest away from where the car was parked, all of a sudden, a huge, fucking welt on the side of my heel. i swear, it measures about 1.5cm and there is a circular flap of skin that is hanging, and underneath it's all slippery and juicy and weepy.
why? why me?
i think i was a cave girl originally, and therefore i am just not made for shoes. uggs are really just the modern-day equivalent of animal skins wrapped around a foot and tied on with a leather strip, but without the leather strip; thongs are just bare feet but with a rubber bit at the bottom so you don't cut yourself with all the glass lying around st kilda.
1. postscript to post about daniel chirico and his fine, prettily-dressed bread servant-girls/baristettes:
do you think you could get them to wear some gloves? is there something about latex that just doesn't go with those whimsical sundresses and oh, how about the accents. there are uk accents, a european, /franch/ accent. ok, the bread is to die for, the girls are all spunky daniel, i get it, BUT THEY NEED TO PUT SOMETHING OVER THEIR HANDS WHEN THEY PICK UP THE FUCKING BREAD.
they have tongs for the patisserie section. i can see why tongs don't work for any bread product bigger than a bagel.
but you know what. just cause they're pretty, and wearing nice frocks, and have nice hair-dos DOESN'T MAKE THEIR LILY-WHITE HANDS ANY CLEANER THAN THE DUDE WORKING THE DELI AT IGA DOWN THE ROAD.
we all pick our noses, or rub, or scratch near there. we all go to the toilet, we all shit, we all piss, we all cough, and fart and have GERMS ON OUR HANDS. they're handling money, for chrissakes. isn't there some research saying money is the dirtiest stuff in the world? or that hands are? put them together and you've got a bacteria-festooned bunch of digits.
i'm pretty sure that they used to use a square of wax paper a la baker's delight or whichever declasse bread shop it is. one of those (baker's delight/brumby's) does and one doesn't. or didn't.
but chirico's - they need some paper squares. really. it was fucking packed in there this morning at 7.30am. maybe it slows them down using paper squares - and i tell you, they could learn a briskness tip or two from brumby's/baker's delight.
2. sorry number one turned into such a whinge. it was a real poppy moment. anyone who gets that reference gets a gold star. and anyone who can guess whose voice i had in my head while writing it gets TWO gold stars.
number 2 is short. i've thought of something else we did as kids that i wouldn't like to know my kids were doing. we used to get hold of matches and "smoke" them. this is how you smoke a match - you light the match, you breath in the stuff that comes out at the moment of ignition, and then you breathe out smoke. i don't think i did it that often, but it scares me that i did it at all.
3. RIP killer kowalski. reading his obit the other day brought back all the big wrestling names to me. mario milano with his blue shorts. killer carl cox. brute bernard. we used to love watching it as kids, and my grandmother loved it too, and would watch it in her fancy-pants toorak villa, where all the tones were lilac in the lounge room. my memories of the wrestling are blended with memories of the world of sport, with lou richards and the big guy with a rich voice- name? jack dyer? - sparring, and talk of huttons hams, and patra orange juice (big guy with rich voice would make the patra orange juice sound delicious, the way he said it, sounded juicy, and he'd always use fricative force with the P of patra). there were handballing competitions, and letters in, and guests, and i think i used to watch it to see whether the man i loved peter mc kenna would be on. oh, how i loved him, with my weedy 9- or 10-year-old girl-brain.
so that's it, this fine, nay glorious, melbourne morning. this weekend for us is quietist, but with large, italian festivities tomorrow for father's day at the in-laws. there will be food a-plenty as is the custom, and then we will roll home and hopefully not miss too much of the geelong v st kilda game.
ps thoughts are with a certain someone who is entertaining lady-guests at his house this weekend. i hope it goes well P.
1. brendan fevola apparently has taken the moral high ground saying that he doesn't care what the afl think about him because they can't even spell his name properly. and this makes them the tools, and him not a tool for having a plastic tool hanging out the front of his boxer shorts, or some such nonsense.*
2. parents of melbourne - do your children's teachers, nay the whole of society, a favour. please. will you fucking tell your brats NO and stick to it? just occasionally would help i think. draw some lines, place some limits, have some intestinal fortitude, they won't hate you, you won't damage them, they won't die from disappointment. really they won't. and hearing the word "no" won't make them explode either. if you don't let them rule you and the household, then they won't think they can rule teachers and school. thanks.*
3. is there any kind of sadder dream than the one where it's you and a famous person, getting on really well in a mates way. there's not necessarily kissing, or sex, or even flirting (though sometimes there be). but the dreams where you are having a great time, laughing, chatting, and they are so comfortable with you and they like you, and you are not a freaky stalker in their eyes.
this was my dream, this morning, with jamie oliver.
4. regarding number 2 above. you parents are responsible for me pulling out the old grey goose, whacking 4, COUNT THEM FOUR, olives on a toothpick, and cleaning a martini glass on a thursday evening. i hope you're happy.
1. people who try to say that long day-care for children of any age is beneficial for them (the kids), and "doing good things" for the child are idiots and should shut up. day care is necessary, and it may not do any harm, but show me a mother who would still put their kid in long-day care from the age of 6 weeks for the good of the child, and not for financial or work reasons, and i'll show you a liar. (p4 the age)
2. breastfeeding - the idea that decreasing breastfeeding will result in higher illness and hospitalisations amongst deprived children who might be raised on formula amuses me. (also p4 the age). anecdotally, i've observed that kids who were breastfed for longer than mine and more successfully, tend to get sicker, more often, than her. i said it was anecdotal, so shut up.
3. sarah palin's husband is known as "first dude" in alaska, and their children are called willow, piper, track, bristol and trig.
4. what benefit are school concerts where the kids have to practise and practise, schoolwork gets neglected, they are exhausted, mothers are exhausted having to sew costumes or find costumes or buy costumes. then stage the performance on a tuesday night, so everyone is up until 11pm, knackered for the next day. everyone's sick - with three kids i haven't had a week in the last month where they've all been at school, every day. it's ferocious out there, with very evil bugs moving around, infecting our young, and our teachers, and parents. but re the concerts, i just don't get it. it's out of control. it should be reined in. i'm sick of it. and let's face it, the only people who think it's cute and/or enjoyable are the parents themselves. which means you have to sit through every other year level of interminable songs and "acts".
5. so it's 1st of september and therefore spring technically. it's cold and breezy and i am sick of this weather. it's really pushed me to the limits this year. i'm one of those people who enjoys the variety of melbourne's weather - i like the changing seasons. but this year, i've struggled. shut up, i'm not getting old.
6. i'm getting old. saturday night saw me out with a single girlfriend. while she had eyes flitting around, checking out all the boys, i was nursing a bucket of diet coke and wishing i could be home with my book. while she was trying to flirt, and failing, i was thinking fuck, what am i doing here? i even said it to her. can we get a video and go back to your place?, i whined. she just looked at me. look around, i said. everyone is young. this is their domain. we don't belong here. do you see any people our age?
she said it's ok for you, you're married.
and i tell you, i am glad. but even when i was single i didn't do all that shit. it's horrible and i hate it and i was so glad to get away from there and i'm never doing it again. i even said to her you're out with the wrong person.
UPDATE. tell me, it's insane isn't it to spend $140 on a brush for a dog? even if it is the gigi and the brush is called the furminator and promises to strip out her undercoat so much that it won't shed all over the house?