Bad Day, Good Weekend

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You know what? I’m having kind of a bad day today. Not a good sign given it’s only 11am.

Sometimes it would be nice if you could just switch your brain off for a little while. Unfortunately, my brain is switched into overdrive at the moment. And thanks to one of the multitudes of medications I’m taking at the moment, I’m having especially vivid dreams every night as well. I have what feel like indecently vivid dreams most of the time anyway (not to be confused with vivid indecent dreams which are often more fun), but at the moment they’re the kind of dreams that are cutting through all of the random subconscious crap and really getting to the point of how I’m actually really feeling.

I think I prefer the whole skirting around my actual feelings way of dreaming – they hit you less hard and you don’t wake up feeling restless and slightly upset and/or angry.

Ok, enough complaining now. I wanted to write about my weekend, because it’s been a month since I’ve been free to write about regular everyday occurrences and it’s been driving me crazy.

Remember Liam from Q is for Queer? I caught up with him on Saturday night for dinner and drinks. He’s just gotten back from the UK where he’s been studying, so I haven’t seen him since we saw Liza Minelli together back in October of last year. This meant that we had a lot of catching up to do – so we caught up over tapas and a number of bottles of wine.

Little plates of food and big bottles of wine are a fun Saturday night combination. This is the first weekend since I got sick in early May that I’ve gone out and really drunk a lot, and honestly it was GOOD. You take a bit of a break from regular life to feel crap for a month or two, and then afterwards everything seems so much more fun. I highly recommend it. Well, not the being ill part, but definitely the taking a break to better appreciate the good things.

It was completely worth the hangover the next day, although to be honest, the hangover wasn’t as bad as it would have been if we were drinking cheap wine. I can definitely testify to the fact that we weren’t drinking cheap wine, because as a drunk I love everyone, which instils in me an overwhelming desire to pay for everything without regard for what it costs. Hence I woke up the next day with an enormous headache and an even more enormous credit card charge.

It was a lot of fun though. We even discussed Tom a little, and how he has plunged himself (metaphorically) into being the stereotypical gay, while Liam has remained the same core person that he always was.

We’ve made plans to catch up again soon, when Liam’s partner is back from the UK for a few months before they move there to live for a few years. I’m looking forward to it, and looking forward to getting back into the swing of regular weekend life as well.

Random Thought

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

If you go to a party or something where there is a bit of a bonfire going, you’ll wake up the next day to find that your clothes as well as your hair are infused with a horrible smoky smell that only thorough washing can get rid of.

If you’re a guy with a moustache, does the same thing happen? Do you wake up to find that all you can smell is a terrible day-old smoke smell, only to discover that it’s because your moustache hairs are infused with the scent of last night’s bonfire?

I like to think so, but without the ability to grow my own moustache, I may never know for certain.

Z is for Zenith

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Zenith - as in, I have reached the Zenith of my A to Z of me!

Although I never really doubted my ability to write every day, I seriously doubted my ability to write something coherent and worth reading for 26 straight days. But I think I've succeeded fairly well - there's very little that I would change. And I think it's helped me get into the habit of writing again, and out of a kind of blogging rut that I had slipped into. I've even found myself with a bit of a back log of things that I want to write about - so I guess it's been a pretty worthwhile exercise.

So after 26 days of exploring random crap about myself, what have we learnt about me?

We've learnt that I’m an:
Animal man-slaughtering,
Ballroom dancing,
Catchable with bad accent,
Direction impaired,
Eating obsessed,
Freaky Sistered,
Grandad Remembering
Inside of handbag sharing,
Joke telling,
KJ head matching,
Long term goal setting,
Mexican food making,
Nanna Loving,
Odd event experiencing,
Photography fanatical,
Queer dating,
Random fact sharing,
Scrabble obsessive,
Talking challenged,
Use-By Date ignoring,
Vehicle adoring,
Yearlong remembering Blogger,
at the Zenith of a 26 day challenge.

I think that's a lot to share in 26 days. So now, if you'll excuse me, I think I might take a well deserved day off from Blogging!

This entry is the final part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

Y is for Year

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Writing 26 solid days worth of crap about myself has really got me thinking back over everything that I do. It’s easy to look back over the last year of your life and feel like not much has happened, which is probably not the case. Given the amount of stuff I was able to write about in one month, I thought it might be a good idea to look back over my last 12 months and see what sorts of things happened to me in the space of a year. I was surprised to find that for a year that seemed relatively dull when viewed day by day, a lot of big-ish stuff happened.

I had my First (and only) Ebay experience. That’s a pretty big deal for a massive nerd like me – I’ve shopped online a fair bit, but I’ve always resisted the urge to become an E-Bayer.

I learnt a fair bit about Aussie music, and I got to see one of my favourite bands, The Whitlams, play my favourite album of theirs start to finish. I also saw Liza Minelli – not a highlight as such, but definitely memorable.

I got Glasses. I had avoided getting them for a long time, but found that having glasses had more pros than I expected.

A new family member came into the world. My Niece is about 4 months old now and very sweet – she looks like a tiny little doll.

I saw a Stripper who may or may not have been slightly over the hill. Not sure that it was an event worth remembering, but it happened this year and I don’t think I’ll forget it.

I freaked out about my age. Twice. Not sure that bodes well for future years of blogging.

I posted my 100th blog entry here on blogger. I’m now well past my 200th, so I guess I’ve been pretty active in writing this year.

I began, and tomorrow will finish, a solid 26 days of writing random alphabetically ordered crap about myself.

And these were just the things I blogged about - on top of these, there were a lot of events that I didn't write about that I can look back on as being pretty memorable. So it’s not been an entirely uneventful year. I did new things, changed my look, welcomed a new person into the world - all in a year that I looked back on yesterday as being reasonably dull. I guess the next step here is to try and fit more of these big events into the coming years, so that when I look back on them, each one seems full and interesting.

X is for Xmas

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ok, I was going to go with the good old faithful ‘X is for Xylophone’ and I probably could have told the story about when I was 8 and I was part of a primary school student working bee in which I got to hollow out a piece of wood to make the ‘G’ block for a Marimba – but that would have pretty much been the end of the story, and at this late stage of my A-Z, five lines on my marimba making skills probably wouldn't cut it.

Instead I’ve grasped at the only other word that I could possibly come up with that starts with X, other than X-Ray. Since I’ve never had one of those it would make writing about it pretty hard.

So today X is for Xmas and some of my memories from over the years.

I think I’ve pretty much flogged the subject of Xmas to death here on my blog. Anyone who reads regularly will know that I love Christmas. I think it’s because I can still remember all of the childhood excitement of waking up on Christmas morning, knowing that downstairs the best day of the year awaited me. Family, presents, food, fun – every year since I was born these things have featured in my Christmases – although the way in which I rank them has changed over the years.

When you’re 5 years old the order is something like Presents, Fun, Food then Family. Nowadays for me it’s closer to Family, Fun, Food then Presents. I guess the only thing that hasn’t changed is how I rank the fun-level of the day.

I can remember waking up on Christmas day at 5 years of age and running out of my room to see if Santa had come while I slept. The house was covered in red string. My brother was there, reading a letter that Santa had left, saying that if we followed the string, it would lead us to our Christmas present. We ran all over the house after this piece of string; back and forwards countless times, until it led us to the back door. We opened it up to find a new cubby house in the backyard – about the size of a small shed, but half the height. We were beside ourselves with excitement. I don’t think we left that cubby for the next week except to sleep – and only then because Mum made us.

I remember handing out presents from under the tree when I was 4 and getting upset when everyone laughed because I didn’t know that my great grandfather’s name was Eric – I thought someone had written the wrong name on the gift (he was just ‘Great Grandad’ to me).

I remember my nanna giving me a really old-fashioned gold mesh purse with 20 cents in it when I was 7, and her telling me that it’s bad luck to give someone an empty purse. I remember laughing at that memory at age 25 when my mother in law gave me a purse for Christmas and I opened it to find she’d left the price tag inside.

I remember my nanna’s sister giving us a cassette tape of Christmas songs she had made for us, and that one of them was what we called the laughing song – Some guy laughing his way through Jingle bells. We listened to it so often and laughed so much that Mum had to confiscate it.

I remember one of Mum’s distant relatives coming to visit one Christmas when I was really little. He was a very jolly, very tall Greek man with an enormous walrus moustache. We were very young and none of us could pronounce his name, so we called him Mr Moustachio. He thought it was hilarious.

Now that I’m 28, I don’t wake up with that same feeling of excitement that I did at age five, but that hasn’t changed how much I look forward to the day. I appreciate it for a whole range of other reasons than I did before, but I appreciate it all the same. The day might not have the religious significance for me that it was originally intended to, but I think the celebration of family, fun, good food and giving gifts to the ones you love is worth just as much.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

W is for Worry

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As I head into the final few days of my A-Z, I find myself dealing with the tricky letters of the alphabet, and also with the difficulty of finding more random crap to tell you about myself.

So far I think I’ve mostly managed to keep things in a positive light, but that seems a little untrue to real life, because as well as things that make us happy, or memories that we think of fondly, everyone has fears and worries that help to shape who they are.

Those worries and fears aren’t things that you tend to wear on your sleeve, so other people only learn of them after years of knowing you - or maybe you never say them aloud at all, and just carry them around with you ; permanent and invisible baggage.

For a long time I’ve been a fan of the PostSecret website. I like the idea that people have a way to get those deep, dark fears and worries out into the open without having to feel embarrassed or ashamed about them. A lot of it is junk – people just wanting to see their random crap on the web, but in amongst it all, you find cards from people who are willing to say the things they normally keep to themselves.

In the spirit of PostSecret, and of being honest and open about myself in this A-Z, I’ve decided that I’ll share some of my worries and fears. Not the trivial, petty thing that every woman worries about, but the things that I don’t ever say out loud.
This isn’t by any means a full list – it’s actually not even that long. And like most worries tend to be, a lot of them are things that worry me even though I know they have no real foundation. But I’ve decided to share them anyway – it seems the honest thing to do, and maybe writing them down somewhere might make me feel a bit better.

  • I worry constantly about my perpetual state of social retardation and whether I have inadvertently offended someone without meaning to; or alienated them from me without intent. Often, after a night out with people who I don’t know especially well, I will lie in bed running various conversations through my head to try and make sure that I didn’t say anything that could be misconstrued.

  • I worry that the things I’m on track for in life aren’t the things that I really want, and that I might end up regretting them later on.

  • I worry that I don’t feel emotional enough about some of the big things that happen in life. Like when my Nanna told me she had to have surgery for cancer. I didn't feel anything about it, and I worry that it means there is something wrong with me, that I've lost some part of myself somewhere.

Lastly, more than any other thing:

  • I worry that because I’ve never told a single soul about it, I’ll never be able to completely get past the things that happened with KJ & Flavio’s Sister. I worry that it has changed our relationship forever. But I also worry about how it would reflect on me if other people knew, so I’ve never said a word to anyone.

So that’s me at my worst – or at least, at my most insecure. And that’s all I have to say about that.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

V is for Vehicle

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

About a year ago, I wrote that I had given up my wonderful old classic car and bought myself a new Hyundai i30. I thought that today I would write about my old car and how important and influential it was in my life.

Not long after I got my license, I was discussing cars with my boyfriend at the time. He was into older cars and had built all of his own cars from parts rather than just buying them complete. I was complaining that I was too broke to ever be able to afford a car of my own, so he suggested that I should buy a car and fix it up. He had a bit of a look around and came across a shell of a car that was sitting in some guy’s backyard. On first inspection, it looked like a total heap of crap – 70’s body shape, metallic poo-brown paint, spots of rust everywhere. But it was cheap and it had a motor that ran, so after a bit of indecision, I forked out a whopping $150 and bought it.

For a while we did nothing with it, and to be honest, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I liked it. The body shape and styling didn’t appeal to me much, and it was hard to get motivated to work on something that I was uninspired by.
Then one day I was flipping through Unique Cars magazine and I saw a photo of my model car as it was in its racing hey-day.

I fell in love.

To me, that’s when my Torry was first born. The car I had purchased was an LX Torana, a piece of Australian Muscle Car history. They were bold and muscular looking, with a torque-ey V8 engine, and they were famous for their prowess at Bathurst in the 60’s and 70’s.

I took that car from being a rusty metallic brown piece of junk and built it piece by piece into an awesome red & black muscle car. I did everything from the bodywork to installing the transmission. I built the engine from the ground up myself and I have to say that it was my favourite part of the entire job. Taking all those tiny pieces of metal and assembling them carefully to create a big, throbbing V8 motor. The total rebuild meant it was reliable, although like every old car it had its idiosyncrasies.

There was no air conditioning, and when the motor got warmed up, there was no way to stem the flow of hot air through the vents – which made for some leg burning rides home in 40 degree summer heat. On those days I had to use my AWD100 air conditioning – All windows down, 100km/h.

It didn’t have power steering and the turning circle was absolutely abysmal –a tonne and a half of metal is a difficult thing to manoeuvre in a tight space, and there were many days when I had to do a 400 point turn to get out of an odd spot.

It had a foot pedal instead of a hand brake that required you to twist and pull a lever while easing up the pedal. Not many people could get the hang of it, although I had it down pat.

But despite these things, I loved it. It had personality, it was comfortable and I met more new people through driving it that anything else I’ve ever done before. I loved it because every single inch of it was the way it was because I had built it that way with my own two hands.
It was more like an old friend than a vehicle, and every dent it gained from some stranger opening their door into it, every stone chip and mark broke my heart a little.

I drove my Torry every day for nearly 7 years. It cost me an absolute fortune in fuel and the insurance was insanely expensive but I couldn’t bear to part with it.

About a year ago, someone ran into it while it was parked in the street, and after the difficulty I had in getting it fixed properly, I knew that it was time to take it off the road for a while. It broke my heart to do it, but I put it away in the garage and got myself a cheap little run-around car. I felt guilty for nearly 3 full months, and every day when I parked my car in the garage, I would look over at the Torry and sigh a little.

She’s still there today, waiting for a day when I have the time and the money to rebuild her again as a hobby car. Even after being without her for over a year now, I still can’t bear the thought of selling her. She will always be the car that was built by my own two hands from the ground up; the car with more personality than anything I could ever buy from a dealership; my first and only real car.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

U is for Use-By Dates (and the Magical Oven)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I’ve blogged before about my stomach’s amazing iron lining thanks to years of childhood sand eating. Thanks to those many years of chowing down on handfuls of sand, I very rarely get stomach illnesses. What I haven’t blogged about is how my mum’s complete lack of food hygiene helped in developing that immunity as well as an immunity to a lot of other illnesses as well.

My mum’s fridge is like a vast, expansive ocean of elderly food products. Jar upon jar, tub upon tub, bag upon bag of random food items are added and then pushed backwards to form an epic wodge of mostly out of date food.

As such, very early on in life, we learnt to distinguish between the (mostly) strictly adhered to ‘Use-By’ date and the general suggestion of the ‘Best Before’ date. When your fridge is overflowing with food products of varying vintages, your selection criteria is carefully planned around which food item is the least out of date.
‘Use By’ items are useable anywhere up to 2 or 3 days after the date on the packaging, but only after careful olfactory and visual inspection. ‘Best Before’ dates can basically be ignored, but a quick visual inspection will tell you if the product might genuinely be well past its best.

This carefully managed system meant that our bodies were trained not to be precious when it came to germs, and I’m absolutely certain that it’s the reason that when I get sick, I get properly sick. None of these 24 hour bugs or mild colds – if a germ is going to affect me it’s going to have to be a gargantuan germ with a posse of equally gargantuan friends.

I don’t want to make out like my Mum was negligent when it came to feeding her kids – we never ate anything that was spoilt. We just weren’t as picky about food freshness as most other people.

We quite often poke fun at Mum and her odd ideas on storing food. We tease her about her ‘Magical Oven’. The Magical Oven is just a regular 1970’s wall oven. Mum will put leftover pizza, still in the box, into the oven (switched off) and store it there overnight, rather than putting it in the fridge. It’s guaranteed good until lunchtime the next day a far as she’s concerned. The same magical oven storage properties apply to various other foods as well, all of which remain perfectly edible until the next day – so long as they’re stored in the Magical Oven.

It sounds pretty bad, but just like a little kid eating sand, this food hygiene thing seems only to have served to make us all stronger. I can’t say that I’ve carried on Mum’s particular special brand of food hygiene – there’s no Magical Oven in my house – but I have to respect that Use-By dates and the Magical Oven are all to thank for my abnormally (and wonderfully) low sensitivity to stomach bugs.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

T is for Talking

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yes, the fact that I talk sounds like a pretty obvious thing to tell you about myself. But it’s not the talking so much as the lack of talking that I want to write about.

Over the past 10 years or so, my job (and in fact my entire lifestyle) has become very much centred around the digital world. This means that unlike when I first started working, I am sending more emails than I make phone calls. I have less meetings and more online chats.

Likewise with my social life, the advent of Facebook, email and live chat has meant that keeping in touch with friends requires a lot less actual out-loud conversation. I’m still expressing myself, getting my thoughts out there, but it’s less vocal and more touch-typed. This suits me because I like having the opportunity to think through what I want to say before I put it out there. I can take an extra few seconds to think about what I’m going to type – or in some cases hours longer. It’s kind of like streamlining my thoughts rather than just blurting out the first thing that pops into my head.

Monday to Friday I find that most of my conversations are held online and Saturday/Sunday are my talking days. The trouble with this is that I find talking less has made vocalising my thoughts both much less desirable and much more difficult. Remembering the fact that I’m already totally socially retarded, limiting the bulk of my vocal conversations to two days a week means that I’m out of practise.

I find that I stumble over sentences way more than I ever used to. Sometimes the word I’m thinking and the word that comes out of my mouth aren’t exactly the same. They often sound similar, but aren’t. I found myself singing along with the radio the other day and came out with ‘Won’t you take me to, Monkey Town’ at which I laughed, and then tried to sing again correctly, only to say ‘Monkey’ instead of ‘Funky’ yet again.

Trying to talk out loud while typing is also something of a challenge. A while back, while drafting something in AutoCAD, a colleague walked past and said ‘See you later’, to which I responded ‘Insert!’ while typing the word ‘ bye’. He just looked at me funny and continued on out the door.

I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has this problem. I’m sure there has to be some kind of epidemic sweeping the world of desk-job employees. Maybe I need to quit my job and get back into hospitality work. The only problem then would be that all of my talking would be dealing with abusive customers and then bitching about them once they were gone. I think I’m probably better off staying semi-mute and socially retarded.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

S is for Scrabble

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Scrabble is my big internet addiction. If I only had 5 minutes of internet access per day, I would probably spend it playing online scrabble. Luckily, I have around 10 or 11 hours of internet access per day, so I can play as much as I want.

I play Scrabble, Lexulous and Words With Friends almost compulsively. I know all sorts of words that non-scrabble players have never even heard of, including 6 different words that use the letter Q without using the letter U. What can I say - I'm a scrabble nerd.

I've never really played scrabble a lot as a regular board game, but I used to do a lot of crosswords, and I've always been a big reader, which I think has given me a good word base to start from. It's only been with the introduction of Facebook and the iPod touch into my life that I've found myself playing scrabble all the time.

I prefer to play against friends and family rather than random strangers. Games like Scrabble seem to be more fun when you play against someone you know, but also, when it comes to online scrabble, I find that only playing against people I know limits the amount of time I actually spend playing the game - otherwise there is no way that I would ever get any work done.

What with playing Scrabble so often, sometimes I feel the need to mix things up a bit. So my sister and I will occasionally play what we call 'dirty word scrabble'. We'll turn off all of the settings that stop you playing words that aren't real, and then we play as usual with one exception - any word we play must be dirty, a swear word or have some kind of dirty connotation. Spelling is secondary to conveying the word, so you can be as creative as you like. It definitely makes for interesting play and a lot of laughs.

If it weren't for online games, I guess I wouldn't have this same obsession with scrabble, but with so many different options for play and my innate general nerdiness, I guess my Scrabble addiction was completely inevitable. Oh well - I guess there are worse things that I could be addicted to online.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

R is for Random Facts

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I’ve told a few specifics in my A-Z of me, so I think it’s time for random facts that aren’t big enough to warrant an entire post. So here are 20 random facts about me.

  1. I have my nails done once a fortnight. I’d be happy to stop having them done, but I like the social side of it, so I keep going.

  2. The album I’ve listened to the most number of times is CAKE’s Comfort Eagle.

  3. I still get nervous when a good looking guy talks to me, even if he’s only asking the time.

  4. Feet freak me out.

  5. I’m the only person from my family of 5 who doesn’t have a given or middle name that starts with the letter M.

  6. I am super ticklish – to the point where I once kicked a masseuse who was trying to rub my feet.

  7. The only food ingredient that I dislike enough not to eat is cooked pineapple.

  8. I had my hair done yesterday and my new colour makes me feel hot.

  9. I’ve had a girl crush on Jennifer Garner ever since watching her in Alias.

  10. Internet me is less foul-mouthed, more outgoing and slightly shorter (by about 2 inches) than real life me.

  11. My favourite colour is red.

  12. I had my first kiss at age 6 with a boy named Leigh at the far side of the school yard under a big willow tree.

  13. I am way more gullible than I like to admit.

  14. I don’t like wearing shoes and would go barefoot all the time if I could.

  15. The boy I lived next door to for years grew up to be a pervert who went to jail for touching up little boys. He was a pervert even when we were both 6 years old and I feel bad that I never told anyone about the pervy things he did, although I feel certain that his Mum knew what he was like.

  16. I sleep on the left side of the bed. If I try to sleep on the right, I can't sleep through the entire night.

  17. I have more than 20 pairs of shoes but I only wear 3 or 4 of them. Even so, I can't bring myself to get rid of the rest.

  18. I once accidentally punched a stranger in the face. She was walking past as I stretched out to take off my jumper and I hit her fair in the face with my fist. She was a pretty good sport about it.

  19. I've never had a nickname. It's very un-Australian.

  20. I have been blogging since July '04 and not a single person I know is aware that I do it. I prefer it that way.

So there you have it - 20 very random facts about me.

This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

    Q is for Queer

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    A while back (it seems like only a little while, but I guess it has to be about 10 years) I was sort of seeing a guy named Tom. Tom was a really nice guy, but after a few weeks we realised that we made better friends than partners, and that’s what we became. We used to spend a lot of time together, mostly just driving around at night stopping at random places to get a drink or at The Jam Factory for giant steins full of coffee at the cafe in Borders.

    It wasn’t just the two of us on these trips – there was also Liam, a guy that we’d both known since early high school. Liam was a funny thing – he epitomised the stereotype of the closeted gay man. For years and years he insisted vehemently that he was heterosexual while everyone around him told him that it was ok, we understood that he was gay and that it was no big deal. Instead of admitting it to himself and coming out, he continued to persist with his denial, making any attempt to land a female partner that he could - much to our amusement.

    So the three of us spent a lot of time together driving around in Liam’s bashed up old Mitsubishi Colt and I remember it all as being huge amounts of fun, even though I don’t recall a lot of the specifics now.

    About a year after Tom and I had dated, he had a birthday party. As kind of a joke gift, a friend and I got him an erotic join-the-dots book which we thought would be good for a laugh. When he unwrapped it, he wasn’t as amused by it as we thought he would be. He gave us a wry sort of smile, and asked us to go for a walk with him. We walked, and as we did, he told us thanks for the present, but it really wasn’t for him. He wasn’t interested in porn like this - because he was gay.

    At first I thought he was joking. I mean, we’d dated after all, and I’m absolutely certain that I’m no man. And it didn’t make sense – Liam was the one we knew was gay, not Tom. But when he looked a bit put-out by our disbelief, I knew he was serious. So I laughed – because I realised we couldn’t have bought him a more inappropriate birthday present. And that was that. Tom came out to much surprise and exclamation, followed by complete and total acceptance. And life went on pretty much as usual.

    A couple of weeks later, encouraged by Tom’s willingness to accept his own homosexuality, Liam outed himself to us. The response to his coming out was not what he’d hoped for, I’m sure. I’m not certain but I think he was disappointed by the lack of surprise or gossip. It was more of an ‘oh good, we knew that – we’re glad you’re ok with it now’ response, and I’m sure that’s not what he had expected. I feel a little bad that what was such an enormous moment in his life didn’t get the attention that it probably deserved. I think that perhaps Tom’s announcement had more of an impact on me because of the fact that we had dated.

    I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about having dated a guy who turned out to be gay. I’m not sure if it makes any difference to me. I don’t think it’s had a huge effect, other than to make me slightly more wary when someone is interested in me. I think if you let yourself over-think it, you’ll start to question your looks or your personality or the whole thing, and that’s a hole that I don’t want to dig myself into.

    I think the biggest effect the whole situation had on me was to impede my own dating possibilities, because once the two people you spend most of your time with come out, you start frequenting a lot of places where single heterosexual men are scarce.I think that's a large part of the reason that I didn't date huge amounts in my very early twenties, which makes me a bit sad when I look back on it.

    I fell out of touch with Tom a couple of years ago, although I still see Liam.I think it's probably because to me, Liam never really changed a lot, so the guy I knew back then is pretty close to the same guy I know now. Tom, on the other hand, embraced his new lifestyle and became this whole other person. I'm happy for him that he was able to do that, and when I see how different he is now to when we dated briefly, I can't feel bad about our relationship. The guy I dated wasn't this new person, and there is no way that anything I ever did could effect a change this massive on someone's personality.

    P is for Photography

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    A bridge in Melbourne CBD
    A little while ago, I started to get into photography. I had messed around with some old film SLR cameras that my dad owned years ago and really enjoyed it, but the cost of film and printing when you’re a uni student living off very little cash made it a hobby that couldn’t last.
    Then about 2 years ago, I got my hands on a cheap digital SLR and started to play around. I found that it was just as much fun as it had been before, and it was easier to learn more with the ability to immediately see the results of various camera settings.

    Wooden Mask - Hayman Island
    I splurged and bought myself a Canon 40D and a few lenses, and since then I try to take photos as often as I can. I’ve made quite a few new friends through the hobby which has been nice, and It means I often get opportunities to go out with a group of people to take photos. A few of them are incredibly talented and are starting to shoot weddings, so I usually learn a lot from them.

    My Newborn Niece
    The only problem with my new hobby is that the digital medium means losing your work is a lot easier. A little while ago, my computer hard drive died unexpectedly, and I discovered that my backup hadn’t been working properly – I lost all of my original files. I still have lower resolution files of the best shots, but unless I want to pay $1500 for data recovery, my photos are pretty much gone.

    After a bit of house renovation I had been hoping to get some of them printed up larger to hang on the walls, but instead I just have a dozen empty photo frames.

    Daisies, shot using a
    Star Bokeh Hood for the
    Photo 5 Competition
    Having had the opportunity to take photos in some great locations and at some big events, I've sort of started to find myself developing a style - or at the very least a preference for the type of photos I like to take. I find myself drawn to the little details of things. I like taking semi-macro shots; getting in close to the textures and colours of things. I also really like taking portrait photos, but I think I lack the guts to be good at it. The best portrait photos seem to me to be the ones that you take when the subject doesn't know they're being photographed. I, unfortunately, feel bad pointing my camera at someone without them knowing. I guess I'm worried that they'll be upset or possibly angry, and i'm not that keen to be chased down like dodgy paparazzi and have my camera smashed. So for now, I tend to stick to taking photos of small details and kids, who don't seem to mind at all when you point a camera at them.

    Chalk Stencil on a City Corner
    taken on our last night-time shoot
    Some time over the next few weeks we'll be going out with our friends to take some photos in the city at night. We've done this a couple of times before, but I've never had a lens that was much good for night photography, so I'm pretty excited about this trip. Since our last trip I've managed to pick up a couple of lenses that work great in low light and I'm looking forward to testing them out on something a bit more interesting than my backyard.

    Taken at the Fox Car
    , Docklands
    I think photography is probably my favourite hobby out of all those that I've had over the years. It's the kind of thing that stays interesting and that everyone seems to appreciate when it comes to family functions etc. - even if they give you a hard time about always pointing a camera at them. I can imagine that it's something I'll still be doing 20 or even 30 years from now. I hope very much that it is. 

    This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

    O is for Odd

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Recently I remembered a really random thing that happened to me one night which I thought might warrant a blog entry. Since it was so strange and completely random, I thought O for Odd seemed to fit.

    A couple of years ago, we used to spend our Saturday nights at a pub in the city. It was a reasonably quiet-ish sort of place most of the time as far as city pubs go, but it was on a road that is basically just bars and pubs from one end to the other, so you got a pretty big turnover of people coming through during the night.

    A friend of mine had twin sisters who played in a band there, which is how we ended up going along. The twin sisters were both lesbians - which sounds like something out of a porno, but they weren’t blonde, big-breasted, frisky or slutty, which I think are porno lesbian standard requirements. They were pretty much almost the entire opposite of that, aside from the big breasts – well, they had big everything, to be honest. The lead singer was also a lesbian and looked a lot like Alanis Morissette but with straighter hair and minus the long face. She was dating one of the twins.

    This particular night had been a big one. It was probably about 1am and we’d been there since about 8, so we were pretty thoroughly liquored up. Most of the group were lounging around looking drunk and melancholy. We were into the ‘I love you man...’ stage of the night.
    My best friend and I were still feeling pretty good, and because everyone else was too drunk to carry on, we were left to dance together. We were using our best moves, spinning each other around and I guess we were touching more and a dancing a lot closer because of the state we were in.

    Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to find myself face to face with a man dressed head to toe in a full bunny suit – ears, fluffy tail, pink belly and all.

    “Hi!” said the Bunny man. “You guys should kiss. That would be hot.”
    “Errrrm, no, I don’t think we will thanks.” I told him.
    “You’re sure?” he asked
    “Yeah, thanks.”
    “Oh well.” He said and shrugged, looking a little dejected. Then he hopped away and out the door, where three other bunnies were waiting. They all hopped off down the street.

    Very odd.

    He looked pretty disappointed – if only he had known that not five metres from where we were dancing, there were two girls who would have been more than willing to kiss, as well as lesbian twins.

    What am I trying to say here? Actually, I’m not really sure. I guess maybe it’s that sometimes the distance between fantasy and reality is closer than people realise.

    N is for Nanna

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    It’s actually pretty perfect that today is ‘N’ in my A-Z of Me, because I intended to talk about my Nanna, and I’ve been thinking about her all day. This morning she had surgery to remove cancer.

    I’m still waiting to hear how she’s doing. My Aunty is at the hospital waiting to find out – at this stage I know that she’s in recovery, and she should be moved to a ward soon, so I guess she’s doing ok.

    Nanna is a funny old thing. She was always little – her dad was a jockey – but in her old age she’s shrunk until she’s technically a dwarf. She measures in at a tiny 4’9” tall, although I’m pretty sure that her perm has grown proportionally in size to compensate for the height reduction.

    She’s 81 years old but aside from this recent and sudden cancer thing, she’s the healthiest 81 year old I’ve ever come across. She still lives alone and does everything for herself. She doesn’t even wear glasses – 81 years old and she can still see as well as she did 30 years ago.
    Try telling her that and you’ll be hard pressed to get her to believe you. Nanna loves to talk death – especially her own. She’s eased up a bit in the last few years, but it used to be that you couldn’t make plans more than a few weeks in advance because she was convinced that she would be dead before the time came.

    If you told her you liked one of her belongings, she would tell you that you could have it after she was gone. She’d offer to stick a band-aid on the bottom of it and write your name on it so that her will wouldn’t have to be too specific, and no one would fight over her stuff when she had passed away. We joke about it all the time now whenever she mentions something that she owns – we’ll have a little fake argument over who gets to put their name on the bandaid.

    Nanna has been pretty influential in my life. We spent a lot of time at her place when we were kids, so I have a lot of memories about the kinds of things she’s taught us.

    Nanna was always our arts and craft grandparent. She loves to sew and to create, and she’s actually very talented at china painting. When we were little, we were always making things whenever we were at her house. Dorky fabric photo frames (with lace) and dolls clothes (with lace) through to paper chains to decorate the Christmas tree (lace optional). If we could dream it up, she would help us make it. They were the kind of things that you would expect to find in a house full of doilies and lace curtains (both of which she makes herself) – the kind of things that make us cringe to look at now, but that she still loves.

    She‘s reasonably skilled at dressmaking, so a lot of the clothes I wore before I was old enough to pick my own outfits were made by her. It’s actually one of the main reasons that 80’s fashion will always make me squirm and that the return of shoulder pads horrifies me.

    Nanna taught me to play cards. She taught me how to play rummy games and solitaire. We used to play blackjack and poker for matchsticks or snakes. Matchsticks were the norm, playing for snakes was high stakes – you could do well if you had the willpower not to eat all of your currency before the game was over.

    She fostered in me my complete and utter hatred for washing dishes by forcing my sister and I to do them after every meal while my brother watched TV. It was an old fashioned gender allocated chore that the women did. She’s the reason I insisted on buying a house that had a dishwasher.

    She’s an odd little lady who has a really good life and a pretty cynical outlook. I think I probably get that from her a little. Her cynicism is kind of endearing rather than annoying, and I love her to bits for it.

    I know she’ll breeze through this minor hurdle, and I can’t imagine her slowing down any time soon, even to start putting band-aids on things.

    M is for Mexican

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    More specifically, M is for 'Mum's Away Mexican Monday'. This is a little tradition that my siblings and I have developed to perfection through years and years of careful trial and error.

    Mum's Away Mexican Monday is a silly but awesome tradition from our childhood that has survived right through until now. It started when I was about 14.  We all still lived at home, and often when the subject of dinner came up, we would ask for Mexican food. Mum would always 'um' and 'ah' about it, and then she would always say 'No, not tonight. Maybe another time.'
    After a while, we got sick of asking and instead, every time she was away we would cook up every type of Mexican food we could think of. Usually quesadillas, tacos and burritos, and sometimes fajitas or enchiladas.

    We carried on doing this for a few years and as we got older, we discovered how much better Mum's Away Mexican could be when you threw ice cold Coronas or frozen Margarita's into the mix. We even made a trip to Taco Bill to earn ourselves some free sombreros by drinking giant frozen margaritas. That night didn't end well for me, but such is the awesomeness of Mum's Away Mexican that even violent illness can't put you off.

    Now, despite the fact that we're older and my brother and I have long moved out of home, we still keep up the tradition. Mum is travelling overseas at the moment and last Monday we got together and cooked up a big Mexican Feast - Nachos, Tacos and Fajitas. It's just as good today as it was 14 years ago when we first started.

    Mum has always been a bit put out by the whole thing. I guess it's a bit cruel to have a celebration in honor of her not being there, but it's not so much that we're celebrating her absence, it's that we're eating a meal that we wouldn't otherwise be able to have.

    I always thought her dislike of the event was just because we all got together while she was away and she wanted to be there, but I asked her about it recently and as it turns out the real problem she has is that we get together AND we do the cooking. Usually when we all get together Mum cooks.

    I guess she's just out of luck, because as long as she won't eat Mexican food with us, our cooking will be dedicated to Mexican meals, and the Mum's Away Mexican Monday tradition will continue.

    L is for Long Term Goals

    Why is my post a day late? Because I have just had the crappest two days stuck in a tiny room with the most obnoxious, vile reason not to have kids that you could imagine, without even an internet connection to distract me from her horridness.

    I had forgotten we had planned to head down to KJ's family beach house with some friends until KJ told me on Friday night that they couldn't get their 5 year old daughter looked after, so they were bringing her with them. I thought about cancelling (and in hindsight should have) right then and there.

    This kid...honestly, I can hardly explain. I've always been a bit on the cusp about the whole issue of having kids, and one of the reasons is because the idea of breeding some obnoxious little shit like her scares the crap out of me. This kid is the quintessential reason for not having kids. I won't bore you with the whole story, I'll just give you the highlights of what made my weekend so wonderful.

    I've been averaging about 3 or 4 hours of very light sleep per night for the last week and as a result, I have a permanent headache at the moment. Insomnia sucks - but it sucks more when on day 8 of your insomnia, some snotty little kid with a lisp is screaming right in your face and when you ask her to knock it off and she keeps going, her parents chuckle as though she's being endearing. I have a pretty low tolerance for drugs so it's a wonder I'm not in a freakin' coma from the amount of codeine I had to take to stop my head throbbing.

    Then at 6 am the next morning, when I finally managed to slip into a light sleep, I was immediately woken by her screeching at the top of her voice as she had a tickle fight with her dad. Fun times.

    She's a weird kid - she's a bit over 5 years old, but she's big for her age, built like a very sturdy 8 year old. And I guess her behaviour is as much about her parents as it is about her.They didn't discipline her even once, even when she refused to go to bed at 9pm and sat down to watch a pretty graphically violent movie with us.
    The little shit talked back, demanded that everyone give her things, ignored everything her parents asked her to do and went through the entire house top to the bottom opening every door and cupboard and sifting through them to see what was inside. The whole time her parents just watched on in amusement, as though everything she did just fell under the category of 'oh well, kids will be kids.'

    When the grotty little thing wiped her nose on her hand and then wiped it on the couch right where I was sitting and they laughed at her, that was enough for me. I hid myself away in the bedroom until they left so that I wouldn't be tempted to dig a hole in the backyard and throw her in, followed closely by her parents.

    Sitting in a bedroom listening to some horrible little shit yell at her dad that she wants some chocolate now gives you some time and incentive to think about the things that you really want out of life.

    I can't say that I managed to work out what my long term plan for life is, but it did give me opportunity to think about some of the little things that I've always longed to do. There aren't that many of them, and they're mostly quite simple, but they're all things that I've thought about and wanted for a long time, so I know that they're probably not things i'm going to change my mind about wanting.

    I've always wanted to learn another language. I've made a few attempts to get that to happen, and I think that soon I'll be taking a class with my sister to learn to speak Greek. My mum's background is Greek, and we always give her a hard time about not teaching us the language when we were little. At the moment, my knowledge of Greek is limited to how to say 'Nice Flowers' or 'Say hi to your Mum for me'. I'm hoping to improve on that.

    I want to learn to swing dance. I've covered this before in a previous post, so I won't go into it, but basically the more I thought about it while I was writing that post, the more I realised that I really want to give it a go.

    I want to travel. I've never been very good at travelling - i get pretty bad motion sickness, but I want to see the world. I've been trying to convince KJ for a few years now that the USA would be the perfect place for us to start out, but he's not really all that enthused about the idea. I think I might have finally convinced him that it would be a good idea by promising we can go to Memphis. He's a big Elvis fan.

    I want to meet more people. I think it gets harder as you get older to make new friends, and the old ones tend to drift away a lot of the time without you realising it's happening. I don't want to find myself 10 years down the track from now without at least a handful of good friends.

    I want to find myself without regrets in my old age. This is where the kids issue gets a little hazy for me - All the things that put me off wanting kids weighed up against the possibility of facing huge regret in later life for not having them. I'm not really sure where that leaves me on the issue. After this weekend though, I was ready to write off the idea of kids altogether. At the very least its shown me that I'm just not ready for kids yet - although will there ever be a time where I am?

    Most of these are things that KJ and I have differing ideas about, which I guess is why a few of the simpler ones remain undone. I think I'm going to make a conscious effort to get through some of them sooner rather than later. And I guess in the meantime, I'm going to try to find someone with decent, well behaved kids so I can try to assess whether how I feel about kids has changed completely from two days with the super beast.

    This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

    K is for KJ

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    I try not to write about KJ too much if I can help it - it seems a bit unfair to write things about him that he won't read, but I can't write an A-Z of Me without including a little something about him, so this is is a story about how someone out there knew from the very beginning that we would end up together for a long time.

    KJ and I had only been dating for a little while - a couple of months at the most. I think it seemed like a bit longer because we had known each other distantly for years. It was a saturday night and a group of us were at the local pub. It was Melbourne Cup weekend, so the big screen TV was playing the horse races, and as the night wore on the place slowly began to fill with people returning from a day at the races - dressed in their best and so drunk they could barely stand up.

    One such guy, a regular at the pub named Shannon, was sitting slumped in his chair looking like he was ready for the trusty old pass-out, puke, pass-out cycle that follows the races for so many people, when a Cup Race replay came onto the TV.

    Suddenly, he jumped up and he was wide awake. 'I won money on this race!' he shouted, and began to call the race over the top of the TV announcer. In his enthusiasm, he leapt onto his seat and began slapping his thigh as the horses ran. His voice reached fever pitch as he relived his glorious money winning moment in detail while the rest of us looked on in amusement.

    When the race came to an end he jumped back down off his seat, pumping his fist and yelling 'Yesssss! Best race ever!'.

    We all laughed, which caught his attention. He sauntered over, having found his second wind, and began blinking at us drunkenly. 'Evening all' he said, and proceeded to shake everyone's hands. When he got to me very last he stopped, still holding onto my hand. He looked at me with surprising clarity for a man in his state, then over at KJ, who was sitting 3 seats away from me. He pointed back and forth between us. 'You's two, you's are gunna get married.' he informed us.
    'Oh yeah?' I asked, 'What makes you say that?'
    'Easy,' he said 'your heads match'. And with that he let go of my hand and wandered back to his seat.

    And that was that. KJ told that story at our wedding, and as he so lovingly put it - what else could you do but take the advice of a drunken stranger and spend the rest of your lives together!

    This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

    J is for Joke

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    On the first Wednesday of every month, my evening is reserved for dinner with the in-Laws. KJ & I, his brother & sister and their partners, and his step-father’s daughter and her husband head around to KJ’s Mum’s place for a home cooked meal. It’s like some big, corny TV-show family dinner with all of us squished in around a table that’s not quite big enough, passing dishes of food to each other over the top of one another.

    We’ve been having these dinners for almost a year now, and a new tradition has started to form. Every month, we share the best jokes that we’ve heard since our last dinner. Usually not everyone has a joke, but you’re guaranteed to hear at least 3 or 4 mostly cringe-worthy jokes.

    This new tradition started with KJ’s brother sharing a joke that he’d heard that he thought was so funny, he was still laughing while he told it to us. The joke itself was only mildly amusing, but it was his reaction that had us all laughing, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason that we ended up doing the same thing every month.

    This is something like how that first joke telling went:

    BROTHER: A duck walks into a pharmacy and says to the pharmacist, "Gimme a chap stick thanks." *brother pauses here to laugh to himself some more* “No Problem” says the pharmacist. "Will that be cash or charge?" The duck replies, "Neither - Just put it on my bill."

    ALL: *appropriately small amount of laughter*

    BROTHER: *still wetting himself laughing* Hahaha – as if a duck would have an account at a pharmacy! Hahaha!

    SISTER: (who I’m pretty sure missed out on getting a sense of humour altogether) That’s not why it’s funny – it’s because a duck’s beak is called a bill....

    BROTHER: What!!? Aaaahahahahahaha *proceeds to laugh so hard that he chokes* A bill! That’s classic! *laughs for another few minutes* Oh right - and he's buying a chap stick! Hahahaha!

    At this point we all joined in with his laughter, because the idea of him finding the joke funny without getting the bill reference was funnier than the joke itself.

    Since then we’ve heard quite a lot of jokes, but none quite as funny as that first one.

    Because I have a sieve-like memory when it comes to jokes (the clean ones, anyway), I haven’t told one at dinner yet at all. So I’ve got four weeks to come up with one that can rival my brother-in-law’s duck bill joke. Any suggestions would be welcome – but keep in mind, my father-in-law is a church minister. Also, they already think that I’m kind of crazy, so anything even a little bit dirty might get me into more trouble than it’s worth.

    I is for Inside

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Since this is supposed to be an A-Z of me, I tried to think about things that I could write about that would provide some kind of insight into what I’m like that you wouldn’t get from regular everyday blog reading.

    Then I got to thinking – there's one item that says enormous amounts about a woman - her handbag! Looking into a woman’s handbag is like a secret insight into her personality. It can tell you everything from how clean she is at home to what her health and fitness levels are like.

    I had a quick peek through mine to see if I could work out what it said about me, so i thought I'd let everyone else have a peek in there too. So here it is, everything that was in my handbag today:

    My purse (Olga Berg) with $14.70 cash in it.
    My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas 3 years ago.
    It's overdue to be replaced, as you can tell from the way the
    teal suede is now cack-brown suede.

    Napoleon Perdis Lip Lacquer in 'Baby Lips' colour.
    It's in there n case i need to tart myself up in a hurry.

    Napoleon Perdis Camera Finish Powder Foundation.
    See above for reasoning.

    A Chap Stick

    Vicks Vapodrops.
    No one likes to listen to someone else cough.

    Hollywood Fashion Tape. I'm not sure how I lived without it before.
    It's been my saviour a million times over for holding
    things in, up, under and out of the way.

    Kwells. I always find myself without travel
    sickness pills when I need them, so now I carry them with me.

    My keys – a car key, 3 house keys, a key for my parents place
    and one for work. I don’t have any keyrings anymore,
    mostly just because I haven’t found anything worth having.

    3 prescription pill bottles. Yep, still diseased.
    They actually don't look anything like this.
    I've never seen a pill bottle that does, actually.

    A small plastic bag full of tiny diamantes & a small plastic bag with a
    giant button. They probably shouldn’t be in there anymore.
    I had to throw on some new clothes in a hurry a few days ago
    and realised when I was sitting in the car that they still had
    the tags on, along with obligatory spare button and diamantes.
    The tags came off and the spare bits went into the vast and mysterious
    reaches of my handbag.

    32GB Ipod touch.
    It enables my terrible, loud car singing on the
    way to and from work. Also good for playing scrabble.
    It lives in my handbag because it has my calendar in it - without it I
    wouldn't be able to keep track of my plans (or lack thereof.)

    Samsung F480 Mobile Phone.
    Biggest heap of crap I've ever had the displeasure to own. I rarely
    take it out of my handbag because I can't bear to look at it and
    realise that i'm stuck with it for another year until my contract is up.

    Tampons. If you need an explanation for why these are in there,
    then you should have paid more attention in school.

    Stamps. Or rubbish, actually, now that
    they've jacked the price up by another 5c a stamp.

    3 almost expired Coles Myer giftcards with $3.15, $0.97 and $17.59 on them.
    Not exactly sure what I can get for 97c....

    Ticket stubs for a Saturday matinee of Cats at the Regent Theatre.
    Worst Musical I've ever seen. If I ever meet Andrew Lloyd Webber,
    I'll demand my $110 back. With interest to cover mental anguish caused.

    Ticket stubs for a Thursday evening Jersey Boys show at the Princess Theatre.
    Didn't buy these for myself, but I'm really glad i got to see it - it was interesting and
    the music was great throughout - no crappy filler songs. COuld have done without
    the 6 flights of stairs to get to the grand circle though.

    An Ikea pencil. Handy when life seems a bit like
    a giant warehouse full of stuff you'll never
    get to go together quite right.

    So that's it! All the crap that makes up my life in one easy to lug around bag. Some of it's useful, some of it's just junk, but all of it means something to me. Except for the Cats tickets. They're definitely junk.

    Looking over it all, I guess my impression would be of a crazy sick person who likes to watch musicals while playing scrabble. I don't think that's what I'm like, so maybe it takes a slightly deeper analysis than that. Either that or I really am a crazy sick person and I can't tell, because I'm crazy and sick. You be the judge.

    This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

    H is for Happiness

    Wednesday, June 09, 2010

    H is for happiness, and in particular all the tiny little everyday things that make me smile. So here are some of them (in no particular order).

    Slipping into bed at night when the sheets are freshly washed. It’s the most comfortable place in the world.

    Dancing in stiletto heels. It makes my posture better, I feel more attractive and my body moves in ways it otherwise couldn’t. It puts a smile on my face every time.

    When a random person favourites a photo of mine on Flickr. I mostly only post stuff for the people I know to see, but it’s still kind of nice when a stranger likes one of my photos enough to make it a favourite.

    Rearranging my scrabble tiles and then realising that I can make a bingo AND that there’s somewhere on the board to play it. I play a lot of scrabble against a lot of people, although I only have two opponents who are a real challenge to beat, and it always makes me smile when I can play a bingo against them. Against the others it just seems kind of mean.

    Drinking an ice cold beer with Indian food. My beer of choice is Crown Lager; my Indian food of choice is dahl gosht (lamb & lentils). The colder the beer, the better.

    Driving fast along sweeping roads with the music playing loud. It’s relaxing, especially if I sing loudly and if the sun is shining warmly but the air is still cool.

    Family dinners. We have a big family dinner at least once a month, and the idea of seeing everyone makes me smile because they're not the kind of family that makes you cringe.

    Getting unexpected snail mail that isn't a bill. It's nice to know that there are still people who use the postal system for something other than demanding money or sending you stuff you bought online.

    Laughing at something that isn't that funny, then finding that you can't stop. It happens a lot when I'm having dinner with my family-in-law and someone comes out with an unintentional double entendre. As a result I'm pretty sure they all think I'm a psychopathic pervert or that I have frequent small seizures that they're too polite to mention. That just makes me laugh more. They say a LOT of dirty things without meaning to.

    Getting messages from my Nanna on my answering machine where she doesn't realise she hasn't hung up the phone properly and then bitches about how she hates answering machines. Guaranteed to happen at least once a month.

    I guess I could keep going on forever about the little things, but I'll leave it at that. I think if I didn't have all those little things, I would probably be pretty miserable. A few big happy things in life could never compare to the happiness that the little things bring.

    This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.

    G is for Grandad

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    Recently I watched the movie Gran Torino. The character played by Clint Eastwood reminded me a little of my Grandad. He was a quiet, grumpy man who tried to keep to himself and had little tolerance for that which was different. He was kind of racist, but without malice – he just came from a different time and found the increasing multiculturalism of our country hard to accept.

    To be fair, I never really knew my Grandad all that well. I was too young to know him when he was active and we spent a lot of time with him; and then as we got older he withdrew more and became that introverted, grumpy old man who didn’t want a bar of anyone. I mostly just have little memories – things like him brushing my hair when I was 5; the way he would get up at the exact same time every day and eat the exact same thing with his breakfast dishes in the exact same place; his love of reading.

    He had an amusingly cynical outlook on life and an abrupt bluntness in his dealings with people that we all remember fondly. How can you not love a guy whose opening response when asked by a virtual stranger “How have you been?” is “Oh yeah, alright – a bit sick – nearly carked it actually.”

    He had a brother who I don’t think I ever met. They didn’t see him very often, and apparently he wasn’t 100% all there. My Nanna, who has been known on occasion to embellish and often entirely make up stories, told me the reason he wasn’t quite right. Apparently when his mother was in labour, she was in the car on the way to the hospital when he started to arrive. According to my Nanna, his mother refused to deliver in the car and pushed his crowning head against the car seat so he wouldn’t come out before they got there.
    Clearly, I don’t believe a word of this story, and it makes me wonder more about my Nanna than it does about the distant relative that I don’t really know. It might have been the 1920’s, but I’m sure people weren’t THAT oblivious to how childbirth works.

    Grandad had a triple heart bypass when he was about 70, and that’s the memory that stands out the most for me. The medication he was on after the operation didn’t sit well with him and it made him go ever so slightly crazy for a while. They stuck him in a ward with the other mentally questionable seniors, and that made visiting him somewhat of an event.

    The man who was in the bed across from him had been in the war, and seemed to be reliving his time in the trenches. He kept taking off his shoes, banging them on the table and wailing:
    “I’m in the trenches! Ohhhhhhhh! I can’t feel my toes! Ohhhhhhhh! They’re coming for me!!”
    In the end they had to restrain him when he tried to escape.

    Grandad’s condition was a little more on the paranoid side of things rather than being an unpleasant trip down memory lane.

    He became convinced that the hospital staff were trying to kill him. On one visit, I remember that he told me that he could hear them having séances up the hall at night, and that he was worried they were coming for him next. He started hiding his pills because he thought the nurses were using them to poison him, and then when Nanna visited him next, he slipped a piece of paper into her hand that said “Call the cops; they’re trying to kill me”. Disturbing and amusing all at once, really.

    Some of the other things he said were a lot less troubling and kind of funny – like telling my sister that he heard over the hospital PA system that she had lost their dog (their dog had been dead for over 5 years).
    Luckily once they took him off the medication he went back to normal, and I don’t think he remembered a lot about what had gone on.

    Grandad passed away about 2 years ago. It makes me sad to think that I learnt more about his life from his eulogy than I ever knew when he was around and could have had the opportunity to ask. I’ve been thinking about him a lot this week because my Nanna is going in for surgery to remove bowel cancer. Thinking about hospitals usually reminds me of Grandad because all of my last memories of him are his trips in and out of hospital, and then my last visit to him in palliative care the day before he passed away.

    I choose to remember Grandad pre-heart bypass, when he was still reasonably fit and active, but with a little bit of that cynicism that we all knew and loved thrown in. He was an interesting and often difficult to live with man, and that’s why I loved him.

    F is for Freak

    Monday, June 07, 2010

    Freak is the nickname that I gave my little sister when I was about 12 and she was 10. All those years early teen years of calling her Freak mean I still call her that today, but without it really meaning anything. In fact it never really meant anything to begin with – I think we just decided that she needed a nickname and that it should be ‘Freak’.

    She’s never minded the nickname, but there was a time during her teenage years that I felt a little awkward in calling her that, and that she was a little over-sensitive to hearing it.

    When my sister was 16, she was getting her dress fitted for her deb by my Nanna. When it came time to take it in a little at the back, Nanna noticed that there was something odd about the shape of Freak’s back. Her spine seemed to curve up on one side making her shoulder a little hunched. It was a pretty pronounced curve, which made it odd that no one had ever noticed it before, but I guess at 16 the only person who sees you scantily clad on a regular basis is yourself (depending what kind of 16 year old you are, I guess), and you can’t see the shape of your own spine.

    A trip to the Doctor’s ensued, then a trip to the specialist, and before she knew it, Freak was scheduled for major surgery to correct Scoliosis.

    Freak was opened up from the top of her back to the bottom, and they stuck about 20 grand worth of titanium rods in her to straighten up her spine. They did something tricky that they called Spinal Fusion and her before and after X-Rays ended up looking a lot like the ones you can see here.

    Freak ended up with a gigantic scar down her back with little dots either side of it from the stitches or the staples or whatever it was that they used. For the next year or so, she was super paranoid about her ‘zipper’ mark, and you couldn’t mention it even in passing without her being bothered by it. On top of the zipper marks, she began to be paranoid about walking through metal detectors in case her spine set them off. Even to this day, when she travels overseas she carries a doctor’s letter with her in case she’s stopped at the metal detectors. I think her fear is that she’ll be strip-searched by an angry foreigner while they try to find some hidden metal item that they could never locate without an x-ray.

    She’s 26 now and 10 years on she’s still a little sensitive about the whole subject. But the zipper mark is so faded you can barely notice it, so I don’t think the nickname is such a problem. But you can understand that during that year or two, the nickname ‘Freak’ was a little on the inappropriate/awkward side.

    This entry is part of my ‘A-Z of Me’ Series. 26 Days of alphabetically ordered random crap about me and my life. You can read the rest here.