Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ode to Motherhood

I love being a mum
I love being a photographer
I love having a fat bum
But I should listen to Ajay Rochester

I love my sunburnt country
I love my sunburnt bum
I hope Obama wins
I pray for new manchester

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Find Yourself a Nice Bird

A sound rings from the swamp, a clear clang bird call, slowly emerging from the tweet-clutter.

A boy bird searching for a spring love. Even my human-girl ears are piqued to this heart cry ringing true. All noise litter stops to hear the deep evolutionary song trickle through the air and thick vegetation,  a rythmic ponk ponk sent out with the pure mission to enrapture a mate, to seek for that one set of ears that cannot resist.

Then a hammer starts to bang, a plane flies above, all the creatures titter at once again. Rowdy rainbow lorikeets squawk like a football crowd, cheap chirps fling about in casual conversation about the weather, gossip, where to eat, where to go. The lover's throat is quiet.

Eucalyptus leaves rustle in a high breeze to shoosh the rabble. In the vacuum after a plane trail a space grows.  All the chat starts up again only to give way to the soloist who emerges above the din to pierce a  lovebird heart that beats in the swamp.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cockatoo Island

I was photographing some bullshit stiletto race in the Quay which stank of money and corporate sponsorship, not to mention downright demeaning to women, so I made a gettaway via ferry which dropped by Cockatoo Island, a little re-discovered abandoned patch on the Parramatta River. They used to build big ships there back in the days of black and white. The baby had finally fallen asleep on my chest from the swell of the ferry casting him about, I took my chance, took my leave and pushed the stroller ashore. I need some yin to the yang of 245 women running in high heels.

found myself sucked into a 200m long sandstone tunnel to get some shade. It was eerie, speakers played creepy music as you walked under the wooden pillars that supported the low roof of 'Dog Leg Tunnel', cause it had a big bend in the middle I guessed. Finally we popped out the end into that Spring sun that's taking some getting used to, and found myself wondering what to do next.

This was a Biennale of Sydney location showcasing artworks from around the globe, but the backdrop stole the show. It was like the abandoned mine in 'Thomas the Tank Engine'. It was the perfect place for Scooby Doo Mystery Mayhem, it reeked of an olde worlde forgotten time. Huge factory shells dripping with industrial leftovers. Mega machines lay dusty and rusty.

I'm always amazed by the big scale of men
and their ways, how they build things, shift enormous chunks of machinery around the globe, whether it be a ship or a bridge or a building, they seem unafraid of scale. Why, women get to give birth, that's pretty amazing too.

The more I walk around this decrepit island, the mood starts to infiltrate me, the privacy and dusty corners are filled with floating particles of light that dance and take me to a lost quiet. The stiletto race washes away and I'm thinking about form and light for a change, not celebrity and exclusives, nor cheesy Opera House backdrops and whether some girl is sexy enough to sell a shot.

Why do people do anything?

Why do I toil at all, when I anything I look back on that once gave me pride, I don't feel any connection to it like I do at the moment of execution of creation, it's the doing that counts, not the memory. I get riled looking at old family photos because they are essentially useless, they only stir up muddy emotions, blow a wistful air in my ear, brag of a time that has passed. Why do I even take photos at all?

Mmmmmm, I start to think, this would make a terrific location for a shoot.....shove a pretty woman in front of this stuff and print the cash. Then suddenly there are other photographers next to me, with more expensive large format cameras, like a reoccuring nightmare, they've even bought their cute girlfriend. I breath and force myself to focus on focal points.

And tonal ranges, shadows, blacks, colour temperatures.....

I see a sign that says 'no photography', oops. I presume they mean of the artworks, which I've neglected to actually notice most of, so I try a little harder. It makes me think about the artists, and their current mood, or maybe their mood next week when the Biennale is over and it's all just a dream. All this hard work, just a dream. I think, did he have fun making that sculpture of a crocodile out of what are they.... rooftop capsules????

Somebody made this, they took lots of time to specially write out all the different measurements, to file something that made something, that made something.....and so on it goes, like ants in the nest, we are but put on this earth to roll little balls of dirt about because that is what we do. The rain can wash it away at any time, but it's that drive to do that we follow till the heart stops.

Why does the light of an open doorway appeal to me, why is it my job to notice it? I start to think that I'm ready for my old career back, the last baby is a boy now, but this boy starts to stir in his stroller and upon wakening fully throws himself onto the concrete and wham, I'm back in the day job, fully. But whilst he dreamt that 45 minutes away, so did I. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Mess with the Don

I'm having 'blog wishes' come true. After my previous whinging about having no mobile phone I now possess a sexy white iphone with $500 per month credit...and after moaning about having no career, I did two freelance jobs this week. As it's never come up before I may as well mention I am what is formerly known as a paparazzi, but now that word is too loaded with lawsuits and manslaughter charges, I just prefer photographer.

Today it was actress Eva Mendes, a Cuban hottie who flew all the way around the world to squeeze her little brown self into my camera lens. I am a sucker for a pretty lady and a gift bag. After two kids and low income I now cram as many freebies in with my camera gear whereas in my previous life B.C. (before children) I must have had so much disposable income I just sneered at the promotional perfume or italian water being past around.

So I turn up early to get a good spot, and lo - there's one right in the middle waiting just for little old me! I am technically the shortest photographer in Sydney so I go well in the middle of a media scrum, it's great to double park behind me and shoot over my head, as long as you don't try and use me to balance on like a tripod, I won't accidently step on your foot.

So this bloke I've never seen (fair to say I've been on/off 5 years maternity leave mate) pipes up and says,
"that's Don's spot"
I'm like who-the-fuck-is-Don? "Well where's Don now?"
"He's gone out for a sec but when he comes back he's not going to be real happy"
I'm thinking who IS this Don that's got fatboy really scared.
I said "well he's not here now so it doesn't matter, he'll find another spot"
and fatboy is shaking his head at me like I've just sworn against the mafia. I know I've been a casual drop in since I left the scene to have babies, but this guy doesn't realise that time and space has only made me stronger, why all that time at home I have been wrestling for tiny increments of my own personal elbow room, Lord I finally got the cot out of the bedroom last week and have a child-free nighttime for the first time since the original conception.

"What are you, his bodyguard?" I said "Don knows the rules mate, yer leave a bag or something" I reminded him of statute 21 of celebrity photographer's code. "Possession is ninth-tenths of the law".
He hissed through his teeth like now I'm really gonna get it. "Don't blame me when he get's back and he wants his spot back"
"Don't worry I'll sort Don out" I said, thinking Don is nothing compared to a tantruming two year old.
"Oh there's Don over there" he says, relieved and his shoulders unscrunch.
"Oh what, Don's got two spots going?" I say and overlook fatboy to say hello my oldest colleague behind him - the only one with manners and kids.

I leave early because the fatboy on my right and the photographer on my left started the squeeze on me, but I already got the shot they missed, I decided to get home early and wire it out first. Now I'm sitting here smelling like a tart's armpit and wondering what else I can ask the blog fairy for......

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mummy, where is my career?

What do you tell yourself after you've pushed the boat of your career out and realised you forgot to tie a line? Turn and look at what is holding you to the shore? Turn your back on the sea and delude yourself "it's not so great, I've seen it before." At what stage do I just dive in fully dressed and start to swim like mad to get that little boat back or is it gone forever, nobody told me not to let go, to shelter it somewhere. Isn't that what you should tell your daughters before they have children, before they sink the little part of their heart that is so hard to resuscitate after letting it go? What have I done!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pessimism is a last resort

Very busy dreams last night.  Melinda (she's a fitness instructor) is baking pies. I'm not allowed to touch them. Eunice is at Coles, she walks past me, I'm near a register waiting to be served. I must also find time to enter the Moran Art Prize. The dream shows me ten artworks so beautiful, a whole body of work - pointillist, silvery, esoteric - great stuff. Tiny windows of magic light flashed at me for a second. I suppose my imagination was exhibiting what I am capable of. I drink them down fast like shots.

I wake up to fart and think on this coldest morning of the year. 'Six degrees' reported from MSP who delivers the morning cup of 'hot, steaming Joe', which it is not by the time I pull-up on one elbow. My fingers peep out from under the doona, feeling bitten, looking for pen and paper. My arse does an excellent impression of a trombone. I consider risking frostbite up to the elbow to reach the coffee before it is beyond repair.

This was to be the weekend I meant to rent a six hundred dollar snow chalet overlooking Lake Eucumbeen. Poverty, once again, has forced me to live behind my hopes. Our next fabulous weekend planned in the country of my day-dreams is Dubbo Western Plains Zoo. I shall wake up in August and think 'I dreamt of lion's roaring last night - in Gladesville'. 

It hurts. I like to concentrate on pain in the morning. By afternoon I've worked my way up to mild discontent. If I plan an outing I can enjoy slight boredom. In the evenings I turn to drink. I've decided that making money might get me truly wondrous. That way I can use it to gawp at expensive magazines, spread my legs at top-class beauty salons and ideally visit African animal resorts and centrally-heated winter cabins. I would alleviate my ennui with trips to IKEA and post large packages of gifts to my nieces instead of the piddling efforts I'm currently guilty of.

For this week's menu, in order to buy myself a book or a bra, I'll plan meals that rely heavily on noodles and vegetables. That old temptation to toilet train Chuckles returns every time I enter isle three for nappies. By the time I pay for my trolleyload I'll experience the equivalent of a tiny thrill, smug in the knowledge I can feed the family for another week, or is it just seeing a three figure number on a cash register. In my Coles dream I spot Eunice shopping, I bet she never has to count carefully for groceries. In real life I did phone her for a loan so I could rent the snow chalet. She never acknowledged the request, she did however tell me of her own plans to take her children skiing. I pray to be a considerate friend, so blog bitching about them isn't very good as they are my only readers. Names have been changed.

There is a particular time of morning, when I am due to get up, the sun enters the window, piercing my dim, sleepy world. I am not a morning person because I wake up angry, covered in sleep-mud. Writing helps me beat off depressing, rabid-dog thoughts. I have to mentally kick the little fuckers off me. Sometimes that small, happy square of sunlight drifts over me and picks me up from under my armpits and props me up on the pillows and says 'here, drink this'.

The clouds mask the sun with a grey filter, everything is not so sunny, there is no pick me up. My pen is grumpy, the coffee has gone cold. But today I remember the science, that if I lay here as usual, I know that somewhere the sun is swimming in its blue sky as usual, just behind the clouds, right there where it always is, only obscured by a passing earth mood. It will come back. I cheer myself with thoughts like 'when I am dead I will get to sleep in a bit longer'. My Auntie Christine (pictured in the 60's) died in her mid-thirties of a brain tumour, cleaning the kitchen cupboards.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Space and Time

Lying under the flight-path, I like to listen to old, heavy planes rake across Sydney, this one at ten-thirty pm, half an hour before curfew. Some come later, in bad weather - you pity the pilot, egg him on to his landing strip via tantrummy clouds. The growl of engines taking their time across the sky, big and slow, travelling in an alternate universe it seems, time slowing down.  I think of them from my bed.  The old ones sound different, probably it's the props or the weight of them. Coming in from the desert or some map-dot of a place where things are run differently - places that don't have a curfew or runway lights. They must see Sydney from a hundred kilometres away, a huge hub of light, even at this late hour.  In that glow the Pope is here, somewhere, awake - are his rooms full of 'groupies', post-mass on this Sunday night?

Sydney mums sigh, everywhere, with both relief and sadness. School holidays finish soon, the last day of freedom tomorrow - we'll fork out some goodies for the last time and make sure the uniforms are clean, bananas & ham stockpiled for lunches. Baby siblings say goodbye once again to your playmates. Be ready to rise for the school bell everyone. The roads will clot once more with cars full of kids heading towards ABCs/123s.  Families return from all corners of Australia, from far-flung relatives, spare rooms, the snow or the farm, back home tonight by air or road. The rain falls for the first time this sunny, quiet week they were gone. We are always the ones to stay in town whilst others leave, left to enjoy the empty streets.

The sewage pipe is still broken, the real estate office is useless, all these holidays we've had our waste spilling onto the lower lawn and down into the earth-sponge and sadly, to the swamp I love.  Nobody cared, nobody came when we asked, all were off somewhere.

Me and my children, my husband occasionally wafting in from the world of men. What did we do apart from play imaginatively, roam in pyjamas, make snacks, watch DVD's and read laying in the sun, crawling all over each other?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Love Books

I am supposed to be making a booklist for my pregnant Melbourne buddy, the only smart one from school (apart from moi, in our circle of jocks and social climbers anyway). I loathe going to Borders without knowing what to get, finding myself frazzled  by all the designer dust jackets and busting to go to the loo, it must be just the smell of books that makes me want to 'go'. At home we have Gabriel Garcia Marquez short stories as a loo read. At age 18 a family friend put together a great list for me of 'must reads', they were all fantastic, none of which are included below.

On this list there might be one you like or have not read yet. After trolling our fiction section these fell on me. Must get shelves. Authors with an asterisk I've found good for more than one book:

'The Time Traveler's Wife'  - Audrey Niffenegger
'The Mists of Avalon' -  Marion Zimmer Bradley
'The Dice Man' - Luke Rhinehart
'Moon Palace' - Paul Auster *
'The Way I Found Her' - Rose Tremain *
'Lost in a Good Book' - Jasper Fforde
'The Clan of the Cave Bear'  - Jean M.Auel (series) * 
'Atomised' - Michel Houellebecq *
'Eucalyptus' - Murray Bail
'The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency' - Alexander McCall Smith *
'The Red Tent' - Anita Diamant
'Year of Wonders' - Geraldine Brooks
'Staring at the Sun' - Julian Barnes *
'The Restraint of Beasts' - Magnus Mills  *
'The Old Patagonian Express' - Paul Theroux * - non fiction but hilarious and also excellent fiction writing depending on where you start.

In bookstores I find myself wistfully looking at all the books I've already read, wishing I'd never read them yet, and wonder what the fuck I'm supposed to read now. Please return me a list of your favourites (doesn't have to be the definative list as mine isn't), but I've loved all these books.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stop Scratching Skip

Oh god, 20 days since my last post. Am I suddenly unleashing the perfectionist who has been hiding somewhere? I've decided to spank her and send her back to her room. So please bear with me as I get over my blog hump and break through to the other side. I tend not to respond to compliments as well as criticism so now my mum has read my blogs and said they are lovely I'm basically cured of all attention seeking behaviour (for a while) and can just retire.

But alas, something burning at the back of my mind wants to be born, something called 'a family trip to the country', the remnants of which are still haunting me in unpacked bags strewn all over our bad carpet. My husband's incredibly reliable habit of finding a way to sabotage any attempt on my part to escape the shackles of domestic bliss worked again. I should have a sticker on my Kombi that says 'MY OTHER CAR IS A MERCEDES' (a shit one). That likes to run down its battery whilst the car doors are open to air out the mysterious source of mould.

'Lucky we have two cars darling' said I in a very good impersonation of someone with anger management classes under their belt. Perhaps all the self-help books are actually working. Or more likely I was so exhausted from packing I couldn't put up my fists. Not only was there too many things, I had also worn myself out getting the cat vaccinated and then shipped to Meadowmist boarding school for waaay bad ass cats.

VW to the rescue. South we were heading, overtaken by EVERYONE. Even really tiny little Jap Crap cars that were 20 years old. I'm starting to worry about the old girl and if she'll make it through rego. I finally won the battle of the Berry Donut Shack stopover cause I was driving. I can report they are very hot, sugary and nothing to blog about. 

I'm still scratching, you can't 
be too sure once you find one tick, there won't be more. Nurse Alison, my favourite removalist took to my neck with a pair of tweezers (that I packed) and deftly took out the the tiny bastard of page 55 on 'Family First Aid' (packed by me). The Paralysis (bush) Tick loves me. One year I had one on the labia majus and it wasn't till after a bottle of gin, a match, a wombat and some marital bonding that it was out of my life. Now on this dawn the 'weakness of the face and eyelids, then arms' alerted me to the fact that it wasn't just a hangover, certainly 'irritation at the site of the bite' (jugular) and 'breathing becomes difficult' (more of a panic reaction) - I thought it might be the mattress (holiday cabin quality), but the tingling fingers were an exciting addition to symptoms of the previous years, which I remembered well. I had a tick. I pulled out the secret weapon - homeopathic anti-insect-bite-potion.

Bream Beach is lovely. We are usually the only ones there, every winter solstice. The whales are passing on their way to Hervey Bay to birth. The sun sets early over St Georges Basin, we 
are on a small neck of land between there and Jervis Bay. The best part is we hire 6 cabins, all full of people who shall be called friends, old and young. Someone always swims, someone always sleeps, someone has firewood and nobody ever has an axe. The VW cosied up to a motorbike and the whole scene swum with kangeroo, kookaburra and possum. We burnt through 40 kgs of wood to get the fire just right for all the variety of meats. Nobody claimed the Portugese chicken which was cooked to perfection by the end of all 20 bottles of wine. It's always the Kiwis to bed last.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Call of the Wild

A Japanese man jogging in flip flops. His tight, brown calves are the best I've seen in the selection of leg muscles running past me on the Bondi to Bronte coast walk.

Here comes 'Wolf', an alsatian followed faithfully by his best friend, 'Dog Man' who wears Wolf's leash of colourful beads around his own weather beaten neck. 

I'm sleeping rough in the Kombi parked at Bronte Beach and soaking up a million-dollar view between the old-school VW curtains. I'm all alone for what seems the first time in six years, with neither baby in the belly nor crawling up my leg, laying in what feels like my Nana's spare room. Baba Yaga is looking after me.

The sound of waves crashing is constant, apparently they never stop. Even renovators go to bed. I am experiencing endless time (for today).

Inventory of the food basket offers a choice of grapes, one boiled egg, raisins, banana, bread, peanut butter and a leftover stirfry. Who packed this lunch? I consider a fish burger from the local deep fat fryer down the hill.

Outside my 'room of one's own' are Wild Men - surfers, fishermen, labourers in toolbearing utes cruising the coast for the great wave. I finally find the infamous cliff cave dwelling that is upsetting Bondi house prices and note the holey tarps and begging bowl.

Some budgie cages in a window overlook Tamarama beach, the lucky birds have their curtains drawn back so they can bathe in the morning sun.

Wild Women walk, take photos, sleep with abandon on the sand alone, shedding all the weight of life to soak up the earth.

At sunset, near the shore a solo whale arcs her back, heading north to warm waters.

I start spinning poi on the hill so they glow from  the last blazing rays of the day. Two dogs run to me excited by the possibility of getting a poi each. I stay away from the playground. A boxer, with his telltale nose in a hoodie accompanied by twitchy manager and trainer pass by. I avoid the paparazzi who ruin my sea air with their smokes.

Another night darkens, at dusk I light candles and pull the floral curtains shut, and turn in at 6pm to read in bed, to rest, to think long thoughts. I sleep alone. Charged dreams wake me, I chase after them with my pen. In this cocoon I incubate words flowing in, words flowing out and watch my mind as it discovers something rare - the final line of a book.

'Even in poverty and obscurity, (it) is worthwhile' (to write) - Virginia Woolf.

On the third day I hatch, aware that my self, my wild self is still alive, she is grown and all mine again, never will I ignore her and pretend she can live without being fed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Trip Since the Theft

You know it's cold when you don't have to keep putting the wine back in the fridge, it just sort of lives on the kitchen bench. Last week the VW had it's first major service in 13 months since it was stolen by the naughty boys, and I patted her big behind and said 'Let's Go' (somewhere). To our funky friends in the Hunter Valley, NSW - where they grow baby trees.

This is what happens to you when you own land. You grow trees, you plant trees, you have trees, you start to think like a tree. They planted a whole bunch just so the native animals could get down to the creek without being seen naked, in something called a 'wildlife corridor'. And you can't just dig a hole and shove in a helpless, defenceless baby tree, apparently you need to stir up the soil, dig a deep hole, put in fertiliser, water crystals, carry water from the little creek up the hill, and then pray, and it doesn't end there, you need to fence off the little blighter and give it a pretty pink ribbon to say 'you are special', 'you will one day become a big, beautiful, wanted part of nature, and we will love and nurture you and never chop you down for firewood'. Although this is coming from a man who burnt down his shed.

Nature is crazy beautiful. It's a breathe of fresh air. You fight it until you are drowning and then it's like you can suddenly breathe underwater in a dream, or a kid's movie. This Wedge Tail Eagle got caught by the wrong lens. That's what happens to you when you start to relax, you just can't be arsed getting up.

But in the country there's always something to do, apparently. You can go get firewood, or make pasta from scratch or clean that filthy kitchen window, just so to admire that glorious mountain one more time. Ever 'screw with a view?' You know what I mean.

This is a wombat hole. According to Peter Nicholson - Wombat Schoolboy of the 1960's, the definitive advisor of wombat research: "if you're going down a burrow you want to meet a wombat in the wombat burrow in the end you know, and see what happens. I was 6 foot tall but I was probably only about 9 stone, long and lean. and, you'd get down 6 or 10 feet initially.... but if you were already down 10 feet and you could see another 10 feet and there was something around the corner, it was very tempting to continue excavating. But then I learned that by digging out the floors of the burrows, you still had the structural shape of the hole and it enabled you to get even further down.'

'I was warned that wombats had a habit of squashing dogs while they were down their burrow, and so I was always very cautious that I wouldn't let a wombat get half past me and squash. 
And I also knew that they, that wombats bit. But I was never bitten, in all the time I crawled down burrows, by a wombat, or even outside the burrow.'

And this:

'I was never fearful of going down a burrow. A burrow's a sort of a friendly place. It's someone else's home, maybe, so you're cautious as you enter it. You don't know what you're going to find or whether anybody's home. But it was never a frightening place.'

Thank you ABC Australian Story for that report, just in case you've ever been tempted to travel down a wombat hole. And now in case you've never seen a wombat, here is a dog, Dr Chops to be precise, one who has possibly been down a wombat hole. He's an late rising Schnauzer with pointy ears, 10 years old and has a feisty brother called Bangers. His favourite hobbies are sequesting small titbits from toddlers and snuggling.

Picture of the Kombie.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

'Parks for Pussies'

I like to regularly kidnap MSP & kids in the VW, giving them only 15 minutes notice to gather shoes, hats, drink bottles, nappies and three-horned dinosaurs, then head en familie for a journey into the unknown. On Mother's Day I had supreme power over which direction we went. I was yearning for wide open spaces, Grotto Point Reserve, Balgowlah, just fell into my head - an excellent place for a 'car picnic' should the weather turn.

Me being a 'park right out front' sort of girl, I found us a spot with world class views. We did damage to old-school chicken rolls sitting next to the VW on an upturned crate and a cushion probably issued with the original '71 back seat. Certain members enjoyed the 'standing up lunch' whilst the babe of our clan slept in the back, taking in the fresh air blowing between north and south heads of Sydney Harbour.

On the way there we bypassed various lovingly mowed, 
overcrowded,  sea-level parks which I sneeringly dubbed as 'parks for pussies'. We pushed on to this wilder place where the sea clawed at the cliffs and the vista circled for 270 degrees. A perch from where even the Manly Ferry looked miniature.

It's my job to enlighten our city-living children with the peaceful pleasures of nature, show them the glorious sprays of wildflower decorating the coastal heath. Walk amongst masses of orange Banksia ericifolia and velvety flannel flowers which are incidentally the floral emblem chosen for New South Wales....blah blah blah, all they wanted to do was to feed chips to the magpies!

I  recommend 'Buddhism for Mothers' by Sarah Napthali.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fast Paced World

Being a parent has its perks, like holding the purse in the toy shop, and writing letters to the teacher why your child was absent, and you don't even need to forge your mum's signature.

This morning we had to get our first late pass organised at the school office. When it came to filling out 'Reason for Lateness?' I wrote:

'Fast paced society'

(as in trouble keeping up with).

After shoving my late daughter into an already filled classroom, I disappeared over the horizon to the seaside with my son who at two, has no concept of time nor lack of it.

His main objective for the morning was to do a poo on the beach. Luckily for me (or unluckily) an elderly couple were cruising by, trying to tear their minds away from the enormous pollywaffle gracing the sands. I embraced the truth and asked for a spare tissue (old ladies are famous for carrying them) - she gave me two. Bless her. I vow to carry a box in my purse from now on. 

We marvelled at the beautiful, empty(ish) Sydney harbour beaches in the Autumn. 

At 3.20pm when school was due to finish I bought up the 'Slow Movement' with another waiting school mum (not to be confused with the earlier one).

She seemed nice, normal, maybe even more feral than most, and even admitted to only putting her sons through swimming and some other extraneous hobbie slash improving activity (I started to drift off). I noted her eyebrows rising when I mentioned the Slow Movement. It obviously rung some far off bell for her. Why do parents insist on swimming lessons in the Autumn? For god's sake - it's fucking cold. My child enjoyed cavorting with his pants off, but when I washed his dirty bum in harbour water, I tell you, he wasn't happy.

I used to be the A student, the overachiever, and look where it got me.

Today's excitement came in the form of a 244GL Volvo, powder blue, driven by the octengenarian owner of KHE XXX (best he remain nameless - you know who you are), we were both doing 10 kph over the speed limit, and STILL, we had people on our arses. Is it the coffee they grow these days or what?????

Folk don't believe me when I say I don't suffer road rage, I love tormenting other drivers. Especially tailgaters. But like old ladies hogging isle four of Coles supermarket, you can't just shove us into the honey section, you've got to wait till we decide to actually move. That's what it's like with the Kombi. Heh heh.

So me and the Blue Volvo are growling along River Road, we are holding up all the traffic in the race of the turtles. I'm not sure who won. Me probably. We took turns. Winning is for losers. We both won. We both got to drive slowly, at 10 am, the road ours. If you are late or early for the peak hour, that is your fault not ours. Hmmmm, maybe I'm passive aggressive road rage.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Exterminator for Hire

So after five years of an aversion to reading the newspaper, I can actually absorb a whole page on Saturdays, usually the previous week's edition of the SMH, and not just the movie reviews either.  Today I read all about PM Rudd's totally groovy speech to Peking University.  Obviously my Getup contribution drove him to the edge.

I felt a bit confused when fellow Buddhists were apparently going ape in Lhasa, understandably so, I know how  being pent up for years on end can make you want to leap the barrier, although according to my Facebook confidant, there is talk of them actually being Chinese soldiers (seen above holding robes).  Today I popped over to Bondi in record time, using some of those lucky punk karma lane changes that you can do off peak. On the way there I see a Sydney cab driver do something original - talk about politics.

Free for the arvo, I get to my pregnant friend's birthday party - afternoon tea, innocent enough, and there are twelve adults and twenty under 5's.  I left my children at home because I could.  There was a riot going on.  That'll teach her for having baby number two.  I experienced a zen-like calm owing to the fact I was the only parent with a pass-out, and as a random act of compassion I offered the birthday girl and her one and a half children a lift in the Kombi.

Little did I realise that at the exact latitude and longitude of my VW was an extremely functional 70's three tier bookshelf (our books are currently stacked on the floor) and a very cute toddler bed (a perfect upgrade from a cot) of the roadside chuckout variety.  It was a case of pregnant birthday friend with child(ren) in the rain V's free furniture.

Guess I've matured.  I gave up the furniture and got a nice packet of assorted creams for my sacrifice from birthday girl.  Mental note to self:  there are better roadside dumps in Bondi than any other part of Sydney.  My theory being a/more backpackers coming and going (especially this time of year - yay for the locals) and b/more aspiring Good Weekend readers who have turfed out those unpretentious hardy veneer shelves on coasters for a nice bit of Chinese-made IKEA Billy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ask a donkey for directions

My first blog. Oh well, I got that far before the kids interupted me... This shall be the last time I mention them as I have just now decided it shall not only be about me and what I get up to in my VW but what I get up to minus my children.

One can dream.

So I announced this week that I was going to abandon my responsibilities and skive off up the highway to a yoga retreat and experience some peace & quiet. The cost 'by donation' made it a very attractive getaway option. Me and my 1971 Kombi Volkswagen hit the road with a half tank of petrol, ipod and my most floaty trousers on. As I hit Freeway 1 at a cracking 80kmp my fleeing was synchronously heralded with 'Wide Open Road' by the Triffids.

I knew I was lost when the road ended in a silted creek, three donkeys and a farm gate (damn google maps). I still felt optimistic because if anything happened, like a flat tyre, I would have to deal with it minus mobile reception (bad) and my two kids whining in the back 'when are we going to get there' (very bad).

I went back to the main road and followed the big sign that said 'Yoga Retreat' and just when I decided to give up and head for Wisemen's Ferry pub, I saw the turnoff and was now destined for vegan food instead of a meat pie and schooner.

After that first episode of letting go of the outcome, I came upon the retreat and was greeted by a second opportunity to gain enlightenment - a man in orange robes wielding a jackhammer and doing some damage with it (with a whipper snipper accompaniment). I'd only just fled the overactive renovators of the suburbs in the hope of hiding in the forest for a bit of silence, so you can imagine how fucking zen I felt, but being so grateful for a day pass I actually did managed to see the funny side and presented myself to reception. They were a tiny bit surprised that I was 3 hours late but I enjoyed letting them think they were molding a total loser.

I joined a half hour meditation and relaxation session which felt uh, relaxing, and then it was lunchtime. It was a congealed mass of beans and root vegetables (a/ I didn't have to cook it, b/ it was free and c/possibly slimming judging from the regulars who were dining as if they were part of the 'slow' movement).

After washing my dish (only one!) and patting a real python that slithered across the path, we had a yoga class that was quite easy and simple, except I was a bit distracted by the leader's lack of underpants clearly visible beneath his Thai fisherman's trousers. I must train the mind further.

I ended up heading home before a thunderstorm hit and stopped at a roadside vegetable shed to buy up strange country offerings like mini pumpkins and massive bunches of flowers for $2. Normally, if in the car with my husband driving whom I'll refer to in future as MSP, I would have to throw myself from the moving vehicle at 130kph if I wanted to experience the slow country pace. Now that I was driving solo meo I could stop and photograph silly post boxes, buy useless but artistically shaped pumpkins, ask donkeys for directions, and wedge my ipod earplugs in and sing all the way home as loud as possible to the Indigo Girls.