Friday, October 18, 2013

The moment in the water

There’s a moment when you’re in the sea and you realise you’re not okay. It just materialises. It isn’t there, the thought, then it is and you know the force pulling you back is stronger than you are. There’s nothing below you and two-feet of white water bearing down on you and not a thing to hold on to.

Harry knew it too. The moment we realised he let out a cry. I know, I said, I’m trying.

There was a man on the beach with his kids so I waved that straight-armed wave of panic. He looked and I waved again then he was there. I gave him Harry. I can’t, I said.

I got half way home before I almost cried. But there was music on the radio and Friday afternoon traffic around us and we were fine. It's just, you know.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I've got your stuff: An open blog post of apology

A selection of the 15 million books I've borrowed, suffering Stockholm syndrome.

There are a stack of things I can do quickly: run to just miss a train, eat tacos, get to the head of the beer queue. But one thing I'm never going to do is get your stuff back to you in a reasonable time. I'm sorry, it's bad, I feel bad about it. But age has not wearied my capacity to hold on to your stuff.

Books are my main problem. They're just so damned interesting and I want to read them all and you have so many! And you're so kind and sharing and offer them to me, and I snap them up greedily, knowing they won't see you again until your children have left home.

You may not even remember I have them? I recently bumped into someone who had lent me a Jonathan Franzen book a while back. I stuttered something like, "Hey I've started the Franzen! Yeah finally, I had this thing I had to finish but now my evenings are clear and I've read the first 30 pages and I'm really enjoying it (the language is great!) and I should have it finished and back to you by..." At which point I kind of trailed off and she looked at me like I was a cat short of a crazy lady then muttered something about a meeting she had to be at. So Franzen lady, I'm sorry, your stuff is with me.

So my question is, should I work my way through all the books people have lent me (project-style), or just return them wholesale and unread and add myself to some global 'Do Not Lend' black list? What would you do?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Because it's an election year

I've been thinking about doing some kind of low-brow election year commentary, just for shits and giggles, but I've been a little intimidated, frankly, with all the political smarts of politically smart people flying around.

But after the fun of today, what with Crean and Gillard and the leadership challenge that never was, I reckon an untrained monkey has as much chance of making any sense of it as anyone else so what the hey, why not have a crack.

So what do I bring as a political commentator? Absolutely nothing. But I do promise to:

  1. re-watch The West Wing
  2. drink enough beer to make Hunter ST proud
  3. bring everything back to the carbon tax
  4. never, ever say 'Juliar' even if I really, really want to (so lame, so very, very lame. So very lame.)
  5. base my political analysis on fortune cookies and horoscopes
  6. hold my suburb's third, maybe fourth, least sucky election night party.
So comrades! Let's get this shit on.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wallet, where the bloody hell are you?

So I lost my wallet on the weekend which is really, really annoying.

Of all the shit in my bag, I would have preferred to have lost:
  • any, or all, of my 16 million pens
  • my high-tech, secret-squirrel work pass
  • my double-barrelled pencil sharpener (seriously the best sharpener ever, which I have carried with me (I shit you not) for eight, maybe nine, years)
  • any of my many USBs, replete with awesome blackmail-worthy images.
But no. I lost my wallet, which has all the really cool stuff like my driver's licence and my credit card and, bloody hell, my Pet Barn membership.

So because it's late and I'm grumpy and possibly a little over-tired, here's everything I blame for me losing my wallet:
  • The two boys on the train who were smoking this morning. Far out they were dumb
  • My darling friend Kate who continues to live in Canberra when I would much prefer her to live in Sydney
  • Big Brother, what's that shit about?
  • Petrol prices
  • Climate change
  • Time machines (lack of)
  • Rota virus
  • The cost of living
  • Capitalism
  • Lenin (premature death of)
  • Abdominators
  • Chumps (generally)
  • People who hose their concrete
  • Unequal pay rates
  • Sexism
  • Plastic Christmas trees
  • And Tony Abbott. He just out and out sucks dogs balls.
Oh bloody hell, I have nought to blame but myself. All I can say is love your wallet right (or else come join me for a pale ale to dull the pain; either way, win-win).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is that a guitar in your lap or are you just happy to see me?

I have just started learning the guitar, and goodness me! Isn't it a marvellous instrument? Not only do I feel like Leonard Cohen (I sound like shit but in my head it's all Cohen) but I'm developing suitably rock-god-like calluses.

This is all very well and good, these calluses, and I am deriving a great deal of pleasure showing friends and loved ones my toughened digits (tapping them on benchtops, desks, any hard surface, "See look! Look! Can't feel a thing!"), but I'm beginning to realise that with every gain to my hardening fingertips there is an equal and opposite loss of everyday functionality.

You see, I'm discovering that wicked string-stopping calluses mean no fine fingertip sensitity.

This may sound like a small thing but the consequences are potentially massive (or at least very slightly life-changing in a handful of mildly inconsequential ways).

You see, I can no longer use chopsticks gracefully, or peel grapes, or pick lint off my clothes.

Or type properly, or do up bottons with aplomb. And my days as a hand-model? Over, baby.

I know what you're thinking, I probably couldn't do these things beforehand and you'd be absolutely right, but now that I really can't I'm starting to wonder what other inconsequential things I've been doing on a daily basis (like a chump) that I can get away with not doing, like working, cooking, vacuuming (occasionally), parenting, you know, participating meaningfully in society and shit.

So tonight I'm giving it all up for the couch, a glass of red and my guitar. Every once in a while it's good to be me.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

So I went sailing on the Endeavour and stuff

Now that the histrionics of my last post have passed, I can get on with actually telling you about my trip on the Endeavour.

And what holiday re-telling is complete without a turgid holiday snap slide-show? None that's what, so here we find ourselves, turgid slide-show and all. So I entreat you to settle down with a nice cup of tea (or a beer if it's after 10am). Ready? Great, let's get started.

Slide number one, please.

Like all good holidays on the high seas, mine started with an interstate trip to the library. But not just any library, the National Library in Canberra which very conveniently happened to be showing an exhibition on Patrick White the day I was passing through (en route Sydney to Eden, where the Endeavour was docked).

My darling parents very conveniently live in Canberra so accompanied me to the exhibition where we nerded up a storm then ate Nicoise salads and drank wine at the library's cafe. It was a very, very good several hours.

After the Patrick White nerdgasm subsided I got back on the bus to Eden. We rattled south through Canberra then on to Cooma, where we stopped for a meal break.

In Cooma it was inhumanly cold; the little sign above says six degrees. I would have taken a better photo but my fingers froze so this was all I could do. Sorry about that.

We eventually made it to Eden at some late hour. I had the nine-hours-on-a-bus crazies:

But sent my family this photo instead, so they wouldn't worry:

Then I slept and had a nightmare about being stuck on a bus for nine hours and having to stop at Cooma and freeze my arse off and then getting the crazies in a budget hotel room in Eden (no wait).

The next morning started with instant coffee (which we won't speak of), then, goodness, this:

And look! This:

Is it not the most beautiful boat you've ever seen? I think so too.

On the boat there was lots of rope.

We eased it and hauled it, then we coiled it. Rope is cool.

When we weren't on watch (four hours on, eight hours off) we were scoffing food down in the teeny weeny galley (or, more likely, playing cards):

Or trying to get some sleep in the hammocks:

Or up on deck enjoying the wonder of it all:

[Thank you, dear crew member Foremast Number Six, for helping me climb aloft. You rock Mr P.]

Despite the sleep deprivation, the non-surfeit of showers, the sometimes-we-work toilets and the constant rolling of the boat under our feet, coming home was very hard and I wasn't at all sure I wanted the voyage to end. Sailing into Sydney harbour (almost) made the end bearable:

And after a week at sea nothing, absolutely freakin' nothing, could have tasted better than this did:

Where to from here? My small boy and I were out on the ferries again the following Sunday, and I'm busily planning my next trip into the great blue. Huzzah.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The worst thing about writing a nonsense blog is that every now and again life slaps you in the face and what you want to write about doesn't fit the frippery you've been throwing around.

This, of course, comes with the danger that you're taking yourself too seriously and there's nothing worse than that (really, absolutely nothing).

So what to say? I want to tell you that I sailed on the Endeavour for a week and it was the best week of my life and the worst. It was physically hard, mentally hard, cold, wet, rushed, panicked, incomprehensible.

But it was also ridiculously fun, other worldly, companionable, magnificent, irreplaceable, unrepeatable.

For the first time in my life I get this:

There is no static middle ground, really. Who are we kidding? We swing right across the spectrum in everything we do. And I like that. If we didn't, how would we know we're alive?

Time to sign off before you start snorting in derision at me.