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I was readings someone’s blog and they did a meme which started with ’10 years ago, I was…’
Ten years ago, I was 16. I know, right? I was, exactly 10 years ago, right in the middle of my exchange to China. I was living in a forieng country, eating with chopsticks, trying to do maths WAY above my level (after a certain point I just sort of stopped bothering to go to class) and, for the first time, I wasn’t living with my mother.
I have such vivid memories of that time. Not complete, but vivid. Smells and sounds and sights. Sitting at the hot pot restaraunt eating good food with the foriegn teachers and drinking pepsi or beer. Going into the city to the japanese supermarket and getting crepes (which I will still make myself sick on, for nostalgia’s sake). The dorm room (I stayed at a boarding school) and going home to stay with my dorm mates on weekends. Their crazy rich parents. The boy who asked me to be his ‘Australian girlfriend’ and how completely disinterested I was. The impassioned farewells and greetings and letters and emails from my friends at home.
It seems so close and so far away at the same time. It definitely happened to someone else, someone who isn’t me anymore. And yet, at the same time, I recognise myself so fully in some of those memories. It was a weird moment of vertigo, especially when I realised that I am wearing a jumper today that I bought on that exchange trip.
All I can really say, to sum it up, is that I am so, so glad to be where I am now. That the 16 year old me couldn’t have dreamt of this life I live now – one in which I am, most days, happy. She didn’t know that it was an option.
And I am sad when I think about her, and so pleased to be able to tell her, the bits of her that still make me up, that we did it. We made an awesome life, with the help of some lovely wonderful people we met along the way, and a whole lot of luck.
Gosh, I’m deep this week, aren’t I!
You sure do get to interact with some interesting people, when you catch public transport!
I catch a bus into town, and then a bus out to get to work. Because of the way the Adelaide public transport system is set up, this is the only possible way – everything goes into the city and back out again. I used to like a 10 minute drive from work but it took me about an hour bussing because I had to go in a long pointy triangle. This morning, I missed my connection by about a minute, as usual, so I was settled in at the bus stop in town to wait. There were only two people on the bench, as usual, and they were all spread out along it, as usual. I barged in anyway, as usual. Unusually, one of the people – a man – said ‘oh, sorry!’ and smiled at me as he moved his stuff. This man was WELL bogan. He was dressed neatly, but his hoody had a Jack Daniel’s logo on the front. The was carrying an iced coffee and smoking, and his teeth were almost completely rotted away.
A couple minutes later, he turns to me and asks if I can hear him (I had my earphones in) and if it’s ok to interrupt. I say, of course! and he asks a question about what bus goes where. I’m not sure of the answer but a primary schoolgirl does and she chimes in. After she left to catch her bus, the bogan dude asked me, wasn’t she lovely and friendly? He had no tickets on himself, most kids would be scared of him (he bared his teeth at me) but she was a bright spark, so helpful and non-judgemental. Then he asked me why I knit, was it to relax? Seems like a good hobby – you get clothes at the end of it! And then we had a lovely conversation about coffee and knitting and hobbies and the weather. I got the impression that he was just a lovely, open person.
I get on the bus, which is the same one he’s catching. We don’t sit together, though, which I sort of appreciate – you know when you talk to someone at the bus stop and then they never leave you alone ever again? (Like last week, when I got the paranoid woman who thought someone had followed her into town to bash her – well, maybe they had, I don’t know her life.) The bus I catch to work is also the airport bus, so there are always a lot of people who don’t catch buses much on it, looking uncomfortable and lugging huge suitcases. I sit on the back-to-back seats in the middle, and behind me are a posh old lady and her posh son. From overhearing their conversation I can tell you that they are going up to Brisbane to go to a remembrance ceremony for a hospital ship that was sunk in the war, which has just been found. The posh old lady’s dad sunk with it. When I sit down, she is saying ‘She married Jim Butterworth, you know’ and telling a story about how he was an engineer who had however many children and a story about him falling through the second floor of a derelict building.
Favourite overheards from this couple:
Her She has three sons, you know. Well, two professional sons. The other one is a painter. He paints houses.
Him: Oh, THAT kind of painter! Haha! Not an artiste! (He really truly said ‘artiste’) (also, I bet the painter son earns more and is a happier, nicer person, you old bag, I don’t know where you get off implying that the man only has two sons, because one of them does a real job. Grrrr.)
Him: Those school children don’t look happy, do they?
Her: Shakespeare spoke about a schoolchild, going reluctantly to school.
Him: I am surprised that they sent all the kids to Catholic schools
Her: They chose them because they are cheapah.
There were plenty more of that type, but I can’t remember them all. She had that kind of artificially plummy voice that slips when she has to raise it, as she did on the rattly bus. You could hear how she would practially hiss at you, if she were mad. And she said ‘Mercedes’ like ‘Meerceedees’, which seemed a bit ridiculous to me… but what do I know? I’m not posh. In a nicely timed lull in their conversation, I could hear my bogan friend up the back, on the phone to his son. He was telling him how much he loved him, that he couldn’t wait to go fishing with him again, that his ‘little mate’ should be nice to his mum, cos she’s going through a rough patch, and that he’d see him soon, and how MUCH he loved him.
I know which chance encounter I’d rather be friends with.
This post sums it up nicely.
The truth about what happens when something wounds you is that first there is pain and bleeding. Then you start to heal, and a scar forms. A scar is vastly better than nothing; at least the acute pain goes away, and you don’t bleed to death. But it’s never the same as it was.
I was chatting to a friend and to demonstrate a point which I can’t remember anymore I showed her this.
It’s Sweet Honey in the Rock singing verses from Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’. Those two things have a whole bunch of associations for me, but the base line is, I love this song a whole, whole lot for so many reasons.
Anyway, later in the day I was thinking about it as regards me and my own mother, and whether it’s still relevant (conclusion: yes). And I had a moment where I just intensely missed my dad. The first one without grief all tied in. The kind of missing you might do if someone were overseas, or you just hadn’t had a chance to catch up for a while.
And then of course I was even sadder afterwards. Because I am sort of used, now, to the emotion of missing my dad with anger and grief mixed in, or for feeling bad for missing my dad because he made dealing with my mother easier, or any of those things. But I am not used to missing my dad in a way that makes me think ‘I should call him’.
Clearly, I cannot call him.
And I am angry that, because of the way he chose to leave us, and because of my mother, it has taken me TWO YEARS to be able to just miss him. To just want to hear his voice and share a joke with him, without any other emotional meaning behind that impulse.
There we go. Anger AND grief. That’s more familiar…
I’ve been sucked into What Claudia Wore lately. I LOVED the Baby Sitter’s Club as a kid. I even knew they were shit, but I loved that they were formulaic and that there were LOTS of them. Not that I am hoarder or a maker of lists, or anything. I liked that nothing ever changed, and I liked the way the kids could do things that were CLEARLY never going to be allowed to happen in real life. Pretty much the same reason that I liked Nancy Drew, incidentally. And What Claudia Wore is making me want to read them again. Ironically. Only, totally not ironically.
Mary Anne was my favourite. I know, I know. She is SO BORING. Not to mention wet. And boring. But I definitely identified with her. I was a pretty square kid. I never had much use for Stacey and Dawn but Claudia was my second favourite.
Did you know that they all have twitter profiles? True story. Also, I have only just worked out that Claudia clearly had an eating disorder and that Kristy was probably a lesbian. DUH. (I worked that out about Bess and George from Nancy Drew some time ago).
It was wet and blustery here in Adelaide over the weekend. Trees were down, power was out (not at my place, thankfully!) and my backyard is squelchy and slippery. I have been trying to remember summer and how hot and dry it was, to make myself thankful for the water. I’d feel better about it if my garden beds were all mulched and the water tank was functional. I think the tank really needs to be emptied, because I suspect that the bottom half is full of gunk, and I can’t even turn the tap on. But it’s a fair way down the to do list, I’ll be honest with you.
Last week was pretty wet and wild, too. And every time it rained and my lean to leaked, I thought about the packed spare room, and how my sister had just chucked boxes in there, right up against the leaking wall. Like I’d specifically asked her not to. And there was s sucpicious smell. But the thought of rearranging the crap in the shed so I could rearrange the crap in the spare room was just a bit overwhelming.
My weekend started off slowly. On Friday S came and picked me up from work because we were going to the Adelaide Show on Saturday, and he was getting over a migraine, so we just sat around watching QIand chatting. Lovely. On Saturday, S obliged me by helping me re-ye my hair blue over the bits I’d missed, and then I got a bee in my bonnet and tidied up my bedroom and the loungeroom. Not that that took long, but it felt SO much better. All the ‘too hard’ piles were dealt with and sorted, and even though it’s still about the same state of neatness now, after being used all weekend, it still feels cleaner and more organised. Nicer to be in. I sorted out my WIP system, although it still needs some attention due to all the random almost-finished things I have lying around in baskets. Emma and Osk and Sally came around and Emma pruned my poor neglected rose bushes for me, since she has the know how. And we had a cuppa and a chat, and laughed at the baby for pulling faces. And then we got sorted and went to the show.
It was WET. And it was WINDY. And I had just a lovely time. We looked at none of the sideshows and didn’t even consider the rides. We looked at pigs and cows and sheep and alpacas and goats. And I bought some local natives from Trees for Life which were actually just what I wanted, and they were only 2 for $5. A hardenbergia to grow along the front fence, and a hakea although I’m not sure where that’s going. And we looked at the craft and the flowers and did the Yellow Brick Road. And then it got dark and we thought about the fireworks and went home to sit on the couch instead. Lovely.
Sunday S tootled off and I bummed around for a bit, picking things up and putting them back down again. Then I plugged in my iPod and got stuck into the spare room. It took me about 4 or 5 hours all up, but it’s now clean and clear and lovely. I moved the crap in the garage around enough that my stuff is accessible and my sister’s stuff is at the back. I got all of her stuff out of the spare room (minus the clothes I had to throw out from the boxes against the wall because they had gone mouldy. I TOLD HER SO.) so now my house is SISTER FREE. Then I organised and sorted and threw. My bins are full and so is the op shop box, and I keep thinking of more things that I don’t really need. The spare room now houses the cat litter and some galvanised shelves with the inside-tools on them, like my drill and the screwdrivers, so that if I decide at 10pm that I need to put in a hook, I don’t have to go outside. Everything else got sorted and is in the shed or the pinboards in the garage which I can now GET to. Then I tackled the junk that was accumulating in the laundry. The garden stuff is all still in a pile for sorting, but everything else got sorted and stored, chucked or placed. Then I swapped the desk that was in there for a table. A friend is storing stuff in my shed while he’s interstate, and he said I could use anything I like, and his table is just the right size. So now I have a place to eat! So thrilling. Shoosh, it is thrilling.
Actually, the most thrilling bit was when my laundry was completely empty. I swept it twice. The cat likes to wipe his feet on the edge of his litter tray when he’s done, so there were bits of litter everywhere. And then I mopped it. Twice. It was GROSS. The wall in there isn’t completely weatherproof either. It’s not as bad as the spare room, but if anything touches it, it will leak. And there was crap everywhere, so it was leaking. Then I sorted the shelves and the cupboard under the sink, so that all the buckets and random pieces of cleaning equipment that seem to live on the washing machine now have designated homes. And then I scrubbed the laundry sink, which was covered in paint.
The craft room is a bit of a dumping ground, and I still have too much stuff for my house. But I can get ot it all. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting that is. I can get to it to deal with it. I think I might go through my bookshelf tonight and be ruthless. There are some things there that I am tempted to keep but, lets be honest, I’m never going to read. I bought a bunch of second hand books the other day that I will read, over and over, and I would like to have room for them. I expect I’ll need another op shop box.
Do you think the op shop will take my cat, too?
After all that cleaning and tidying and sorting, I sat down on the couch and I cast off the blanket that I have been knitting for Sally. I was knitting it at her birth 6 months ago, and I wanted it DONE, but at 500+ stitches a round it was taking me a while. It’s off the needles now, and all I need to do is find the floorspace to block it. Then I think I might go through my WIP baskets and have a bit of a finishing party. I know there are hats with two round left to go, and things that only need the ends woven in. And THEN, I think I might cast on for Get Off My Cloud, without the cloud pocket, I think, like the Storm Cloud version.
This morning as I was getting ready I picked a bunch of tulips and filled up vases. Crisp, dew covered tulips. Lovely! I feel much much better about my house and its contents. Things are moving.