Friday, December 31, 2010


My love told me a story about a long ago dog.
Its death caused her mom's world to fall apart with grief and depression.
She said, "I know you think that's silly..."

And my heart sank to that dark place.

Because I've known grief.
I've lost babies from my womb and watched as my niece battled cancer
for four long years
and then still die,
only just a baby herself.
I heard her plead, "I want to go," over and over
before death finally came and took her.

I thought that such things had taught me compassion
but maybe grief and sadness
has just hardened my heart

to help me keep on going

without falling


Friday, December 24, 2010

it's not snowing here for Christmas and it never, ever will

I just baked a ham for Christmas. It doesn't matter that it's a muggy and humid Christmas Eve and I had the oven going a wee bit too long and now I want to sit down to let the sweat drain away - butch up Sam and get back in the kitchen!

I've never gotten the point of baking a traditional christmas dinner here, but it's tradition goddamn it, and what won't we do for tradition?

I'm feeling a bit tired this year and my lack of iron is really telling on me today. I've been taking my supplements, but I don't feel any more chipper than I did two months ago. We walked a lot yesterday buying things and today I was on my feet again shopping, making lunch and dinner, baking hams, visiting friends and stopping off at my mother's and then putting together a trifle for desert. Now I'm paying for all that - oh my lord I'm so tired.

Deb's going to wrap the presents now while I sit here and write and that's fine by me, I think I'm too tired to rip the sticky tape off the roll.

Anyway, we drove around last night after dinner and spotted this:

Yep, you're seeing right! Half a lit up tree. Our council couldn't even spring for lighting up a whole tree.
It's not like they lit up other trees either and just ran out of bulbs halfway through this one - nope, this is the ONLY tree they bothered with. Half-arsed you say? I reckon so. From a distance when you drive down to the harbour towards it you think, "wow, look at that!" but when you actually get there, you find that you've been ripped off - totally. Way to go council. I can see what you don't spend my rates on! In fact to me it looks a bit like a Tim Burton sort of Christmas tree - featuring the sad, unfinished, creaky tree - complete with blown bulbs and wonky, uneven wiring at the top. It's the tree all the other trees would laugh at, if they weren't jealous as hell because they have no lights at all! 

And now for something random:

here's the finished ham, minus the cloves. Deb just gave herself a third degree burn pulling them out for me. Have a nice Christmas everyone and may your trees be brightly lit  - ALL over !

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

weird things I did as a kid

I liked some weird stuff when I was a child. I read about bog bodies and witches and I mostly spent my time studying up on canopic jars, mummies and ghosts.

So what you say? Lots of kids like that sort of stuff, which may be true - but I really loved it with a passion. I knew about forensic anthropology, adipocere and poltergeists long before I knew about how to play with dolls. In fact one of my most vivid childhood memories was using a red hot needle stuffed in a cork to pierce my dolly's nose and forehead. I wanted her to be able to wear an earring in the middle of her head just like I'd seen Indian women do on TV. Ok, yeah, I know now that those are actually stick on bindis on their foreheads but back then I thought it was the coolest look ever and with childish logic I figured that if they pierced their noses, obviously their heads must have holes in them too.  I heated up that needle with my dad's lighter and set about doing some home-made body piercing. After my stylish success with Sindy (the less popular British version of Barbie) I was itching to try it on my sister too - but she caught a whiff of burning dolly plastic and ran a mile. She knew me very well.

I'd spend my time using Ouija boards to contact 2000 year old spirits from Mars (looking back, I think it was lying about the living on Mars thing) and wondering what my cat looked like underneath its skin. I remember being very frustrated that we lived in a block of units at the time and that I had nowhere private to bury her and dig her up when she died to find out.

Weird and bizarre things used to thrill me to bits. I found out that during the mummification process, the Ancient Egyptians thought the brain was nothing important - they'd pull it out with a hook through your nose by breaking into the sinus cavity and then they'd throw it away.  The lesser organs - The stomach, intestines, liver and lungs where all stored in separate conopic jars and each was guarded over by a specific goddess. The most important organ was the heart, which was the seat of the soul and it was always left in the body. In the afterlife the heart would be weighed against a feather by Anubis. A heavy heart full of bad deeds would be fed to a monster. A light heart full of truth would go on to paradise.  I don't know about you but I used to think that was a pretty neat way of sorting the wheat from the chaff.. until I found out that most of the writing on the pyramid tomb walls consisted of cheat-sheets to help you pass the test - even if you were an utter bastard in life.

I'd spend hours lying on my back in the grass looking for UFOs or Santa's sleigh (depending on what time of year it was) all the while wondering how the hell Santa was ever going to get into my Nan's house to deliver the presents. You see we had no fireplace and no chimney and the only thing I ever spotted on the roof that was remotely a mode of access for him was the toilet's stink pipe. I figured he must contort himself to fit down a pipe only a few inches wide and emerge smelling of sewerage to delicately place our presents in the pillowslip we left at the end of our beds. When I asked my nan about it she told me she simply left the screen door unlocked for him, which was such a letdown I almost cried.

I wanted to know how hospital drips worked and better still how catheters were connected. I almost got a chance to find out when my nan was put in hospital, but I got sprung by my mum before I could follow the golden tube all the way to its source.

I used to have contests with my sister to see who could stop breathing the longest and I'd lay on the floor and play dead. Being a corpse really appealed to me back then, or better still - a vampire. I often went outdoors at night and swanned around in my nightie waiting for the undead to have their way with me - right up until my 40's.

I think too, that being a geeky weird kid must be genetic. All my own kids are a bit strange too, but unlike my own mother, who scarcely paid any attention to me and certainly never encouraged me, I've given my kids free reign to be as geeky as they like.

After all, studying the stomach contents (burnt cereal cake and traces of mistletoe) and ligature marks on celtic bog bodies never hurt me, right?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

my soul needs some temple time

We went to the Buddhist temple today to have lunch with Deb.

I love that place.

I love the name - Nan Tien,  I love the food (mushroom and tofu soup with rice noodles) and most of all - I love taking my kids there.

Alec said, "There must be some deep universal human need inside us that makes us love to sit under a tree and watch the water."

and I agree.

It was one of those moments I'll treasure. Me, my kids, clear blue summer skies and a river of lotus.


And finally, there's a tortoise in there and a koi as well... 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Best Gluten Free Brownies I've made.. possibly ever.

Yep, yep.

Gluten free brownies.. mmm

Here's the recipe. I would have posted a picture of them, but they're long gone and I never thought of taking one - I'm such a sad, hopeless blogger. I will try to do better next time.

The simplest and best GF brownies

1 cup GF SR flour
1 cup almond meal
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 Nestle baking cocoa
100g butter, melted.
2 eggs, lightly beaten.
1/4 cup milk
1/2 pkt cadbury milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 170c

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and then the melted butter, milk and vanilla.

Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then add the choc chips and stir those through.

Pour into a 8"x8" or 20cm square baking pan lined with baking paper and cook in oven for about 30 mins

Brownie will still be a bit gooey in the centre when cooked, but don't worry this is how it's supposed to be. Slice into even squares when cooled and enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

She's apples

I'm one of those people that can get quite worked up about stuff. My partner is one of those people that generally doesn't. She's pretty level-headed and grounded about most things, I on the other hand, can get really pissed off mighty fast, especially about things I think are unfair - either to me personally or to the world in general. Stuff like that eats at me like acid, whilst Deb has the attitude of just sitting back and letting it all unfold.

I often wonder why that is. What was it about our upbringings that makes us so very different? Is it because I'm the oldest child and she's the youngest, or was it because her parents were pretty supportive and she knew security because of that? Why does she wish to avoid conflict (and pretty much does just that) while I am always in the centre of one drama or another?

Now don't get me wrong, I don't usually cause the dramas, I just have drama thrust upon me. Even when I try my best to do the right thing it all goes bung and I end up in the middle of a wildfire. I have seriously wondered many times whether Eris, the greek goddess of strife is sitting upon my shoulder, tossing her golden apples of discord all over the place for me, and every one else around me, to trip over. If you don't know who Eris is this is her btw it's probably enough for me to tell you that she was the one who started the Trojan war. She was pissed off at  being the only goddess not invited to a wedding and so she gatecrashed the party and threw down a golden apple that was inscribed, "For The Most Beautiful One." The goddesses Athena, Aphrodite and Hera all decided that they just had to be one that the apple was intended for, and poor old Paris, the prince of Troy was voted to be the one to choose between them. Of course they immediately tried to bribe him - Hera offered him world power, Athena offered him great skill in battle and good old Aphrodite offered him the most beautiful woman in the world..

You can guess who he chose, right? Aphrodite got her apple alrighty, and Paris got awarded the gorgeous Helen. The only problem being that Helen was already married to the king of Sparta. The unfortunate Paris doomed his city with his choice and Troy was annihilated in the war that followed.

You may have guessed by now that I'm a Classical myth geek too - but my point is that like Paris, I get swept up in having to make choices that end up with everyone being pissed off at me. Even worse than that, I can actually end up in wars that make the whole Trojan thing look like a mere scuffle. There'll be his amazing whirlwind of chaos going on around me, people not talking to me, nasty emails ricocheting back and forth, snubbings, snippy telephone calls, character assignations and final ultimatums - Some of these wars I've been involved in have been with people online that I've never even met, but that doesn't make them any less nasty. At the time, I'm usually alternately outraged and hurt, then sad and remorseful, and all the while Debra will just smile serenely like the Buddha.

I wish I was more like her and less like me. She'd keep all her apples nice and safe - I just have mine pelted straight back at me. Maybe in this life I chose to have conflict around me to help me grow and learn to resolve things. If I did, I guess I'm failing royally at it because I still don't have enough self-confidence to believe in my own stance. I waiver backwards and forwards like a sapling in a
cyclone - Yes my point is valid, and then in a flash, no it isn't.

Ah the bliss that must come of knowing your mind and feeling confident in your decisions, but then again it's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not. Maybe the key lies in realising that even if you're disagreed with, you're not being persecuted.

After all, we all make our own apple shaped monsters, don't we?

**"she's apples" or "she'll be apples" is an Aussie term for everything will be alright.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

There but for...

I was driving home today and the news on the radio was all about the sinking of the boat full of asylum seekers trying to make it to Christmas Island..

To die on Christmas Island - just before Christmas, how bloody sad.

Apparently the boat was full of families from Iraq. None of them could swim. They were thrown into the diesel contaminated water as their overcrowded boat was slammed into the cliff rocks over and over  -driven there by a fierce NW wind and high seas. The boat splintered into pieces, hurling people into the water and onto the rocks. The survivors have fractures and other injuries that are horrific.

They say that there's at least 30 people dead, but as the boat had over a hundred people aboard the death toll is probably much higher. So far no one has been able to find any survivors amongst the many children that were aboard.

On the radio, the man who helped out with the rescue said he was woken by screams that went on and on. His nightmares are full of children floating face down in the water and the smell of diesel fuel..

This is one of those times I give thanks for the fact that I am here, safe and sound. All those things I complain about are really just blips on the horizon. How horrific life in Iraq must be if you are willing to risk the unforgiving ocean for the chance of a better life for you and your family and how utterly desolate those survivors must feel knowing that they've paid the highest price possible and lost their loved ones...

There but for the grace of the various deities go I.  It's just such a shame we lose sight of that so often until it's brought home to us in such a terrible way.

here's a link to what the SMH has to say:

Christmas Island asylum seeker tragedy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

pained and chained

Do you remember chain letters? Those nasty pieces of crap that people used to send you in the post? You know the ones - they promised a terrible, grizzly end to your luck, or if they were really heavy, your life - if you didn't follow the instructions to send five zillion more of them along to some other hapless people.

I got one of them once. It was hand-written and hand addressed and sent to me at my home. It foretold I'd be plagued with bad luck and various poxes unless I wrote out 20 more identical chain letters and sent them on their merry way to some other poor unsuspecting folk, and in doing so, totally ruining their day too.

Did I do it? Hell no. Instead I lit a match and with great satisfaction, burned that letter to a crisp. I then buried the ashes in the garden where I figured all that negativity would be nicely grounded and harmless. After doing that, and I assume breaking the chain, I didn't get the pox nor did my luck disastrously change - but I'm pretty sure my personal karma improved greatly.

With the rise of email, the chain letters of old seemed for a while to have gone the way of the dodo, but unfortunately they didn't die - they just slyly changed form. Now they're in your inbox instead of in your letterbox and they're sneakier than ever before; with flashing graphics, pink coloured fonts and subject lines that lull you into thinking that the sender actually means you no ill...

One type of chain letter (or should I say chain email?) I hate the most is the one that starts off all sweet and loving. Its opening paragraph says something like, "you are so loved, you are my best friend, you are worth the world to me..." How nice, you may say and how sweet. But by the time you scroll down just an inch further things start to change...."if you love your friends and your health, you'd better send this to 25 people, including the person you got this from in 15 seconds or you'll be VERY sorry."**

Another one sends you pretty pictures of rainbows and small praying children. It tells you how wonderful the world is with shots of breaching whales and panoramic vistas before exhorting you to show you love Jesus by, yes you guessed it, sending 25 copies out in 15 seconds before the Lord himself rips you a new one. I'm sure the saviour appreciates the sentiment.

One friend of mine still has this as her signature on her emails: 

(\__/) This is Bunny. Copy and
(='.'=) paste Bunny to help him
(")_(") gain world domination

Nope, I kid you not! Years after the bunny gave up it's bid to rule the world, she's still not lost the faith!

Usually I just delete chain emails, but sometimes I send them back with a short note saying, don't never send me shit like this again. What I'd really like to do, however, is gather up those wicked bad bunnies of world domination, send they whizzing through cyberspace and set them free inside the sender's underpants.

**being VERY sorry may include threats of bodily parts dropping off or you losing all your friends, your luck turning so bad that your own mother will disown you, or your dog dying on your birthday.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our Tree

Someone called it fancy. The secret to fancy seems to be not using tinsel. I'm firmly in the 'tinsel is superfluous' camp because I'm sick of finding shed off tinsel bits all through the carpet for the whole year after Christmas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

not for the squeamish

If you're squeamish, look away now or better still skim to the next post.

I was a good girl today and went and had my endometrial biopsy hurt 
and I still hurt and now it looks like I'm going to get two bleeds in one 
month!! yay! 

I never want to have one of those done again..ever. Just one look at the HUGE 
old fashioned metal needle for numbing my cervix and only sheer willpower kept 
me from jumping off the table, well that and the fact the gynecologist had my 
cervix clamped down to keep my uterus from moving, and I had no knickers on.

At this point my fears got the better of me and told the gyno that I was nervous 
and a bit scared of the procedure to come. He basically told me I should be 
thankful I was in Australia and not doomed to an early death from a terrible 
women's cancer in Peru or Vanuatu - which I suppose was the gynecological 
equivalent of, "Shut up, eat your dinner and think of all the starving children 
in Africa." - which is to say, not very comforting, or very helpful, or very 
sympathetic. I answered that that may be true, but such fears are rarely 
rational. He agreed and told me not to wince. It was then I noticed he was 
left-handed, which is one thing we have in common - him not having a womb to 
scrape or a cervix to clamp, which is a crying shame karma-wise.

After it was all over, he gave me a wad of tissues and told me to jump up 
quick-smart. Bleeding away, I grabbed my knickers and put them back on as he 
slapped the specimen container with all those pieces of my womb sloshing around 
right in front of me on his desk. I watched them swirl in a macabre dance as he 
wrote out the pathology slip and stuck it on the bottle. With a brief, "You'll 
be on the surgical waiting list a year. Goodbye." He made me carry my own pap 
smear slide and womb pieces out to the receptionist's desk. This lends greatly 
to my theory that all male gynecologists are misogynists not too deep inside.

And that was my afternoon. 

Good grief.