Tuesday, 28 April 2009

leichhardt. it has two Hs in it.

I went to Leichhardt this morning for a doctor's appointment, at the same practice I've gone to since I was 5 years old and Dr Ovadia came to our house every day before and after work to check on my paralysed meningitised self. I feel an attachment to that practice, though it has changed buildings and I've changed doctors over the years (to the friendlier, rounder, female and wonderful Kate George).

Walking round Leichhardt always has a strong affect on me. I have a real physical attachment to place and memory, creating a sense of nostalgia in a really short space of time. While I've spent most of my life around the inner west - never essentially leaving Leichhardt (we moved one suburb away to Haberfield in 1996), I have a definite nostalgia about those early years in Australia, living on James St, with neighbours Sue and the Browns and Heather & Skye and Elaine and that place where they kept their dogs under the house.

Because while Leichhardt has been gentrified and de-Italianised (damn Thai restaurants, what's THAT about?) it remains in many ways the same, with stalwart, memory joggers round every corner.

I walk past the school and remember the spots I waited for parental collection; the place where I first remember being shat on by a pigeon...elicits a sense of revulsion still, and humiliation as I look down at my fore arm - I remember the heat on my skin of the grotesque brown...the panic at not knowing how to make it go away. I see the steps where my friend Cleo and I were caught looking up a teacher's dress...though I have forgotten the teacher's name I remember my embarrassment and my conviction that it was all Cleo's idea! Despite extreme parental frankness at an early age, many of my first understandings of sex happened in that friendship, watching Grease and Dirty Dancing and negotiating an idea of what it all meant; I remember dragging my toy rabbit to school in a cardboard box on a string, spinning it round and discovering some scientific process that held the rabbit in the box even when I spun it round and upside down. I did this for so long, fascinated that she didn't fall out. Poor dizzy rabbit...

I remember my first Australian summer thunderstorm raging against the awnings as we walked up Norton St to school.

Irish dancing competitions in Leichhardt Primary hall.
Apricot pieces from the canteen.
The day my mother, Teresa (no Mother Teresa) threatened a girl who had hit me...an interesting parenting practice...

Rooms and teachers and childish confusion and friends who I have no way of tracing as I only remember their first name and would have nothing in common with them now anyway.

And James St, which I have passed so often, still makes me close my eyes and see bicycle rides round blocks (we were so unbothered by repetition), Grainne and I flower stealing to make revolting 'perfume' and street parties where particular games, or particular dishes stand out vidily in my mind.

The walls on Campbells' Cash & Carry where Rowan and I would bash tennis balls crying "WAMSTECKERS" with each hit. Only years later did we find out where we had discovered that word (which went so well with the thwack of a tennis ball). Hank Wamstecker was my mothers' accountant.

Pizza at Leichhardt swimming pool when it opened til 8pm and the infamous incident when Louise accidently got anchovies on our pizza. Travesty.

I remember sitting outside the house in the rain under an umbrella reading a book and pretending to be homeless. A few years on, I sat in my cupboard the day we had to move, sobbing and devastated to be leaving a home I loved so much, not understanding the logic behind this departure for Hateful Haberfield and its quiet streets and lack of broken glass.

I could list on, try harder to create a montage in my head of all those moments and firsts and family rituals, but nothing does it like a walk through old DykeHeart. I can almost do the same in Haberfield, Bathurst, even Newtown now, where I am creating a lived nostalgia, a sentimental attachment to little moments and corners. But not like early-childhood-Leichhardt, where the memories are framed in childish fascination and wonderment.

I cling to my past, grip fast to memory and panic when it fails me. And at the same time I spend so much time day dreaming about potential futures.

It's amazing I have any energy for the now...

Friday, 17 April 2009

money money money ah-ah, must be funny

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! K-Rudd stimulated me last night!

I would like to hereby state that I think the tax bonus is a stupid idea and am, in principle, opposed to it.

That said, Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I shall be placing mine into my savings account.

I love nothing more than watching my savings account climb. Especially after the mildly traumatic months abroad in which I watched its rapid descent. I like making my savings account into neat whole numbers by transferring odd amounts. I like checking when the interest comes in. I like developing strange savings schemes. I like putting everything that is left at the end of the week into my savings and starting fresh with a new paypacket. I like spontaneously tending to my savings account with small amounts like $20 or $50. I like trying to calculate how much I will be able to save this year. I like trying to work out what my tax return will contribute to my savings account. I like imagining the grand things I shall buy / do when my savings account is healthy and robust at the end of the year.

Potential recipients of my carefully tended to and adored savings account:
- a trip around Australia
- a trip to the Americas
- cookwear (various)
- a shiny, fancy camera
- gardening equipment and plants
- an apartment

But for the moment there shall be no spending, no sir. The stimulating buck stops with me. I have a love affair with my savings account and I is stimulatin' her good.

Sorry Kevin.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

reflections on the west

I ran into some guys from uni the other day, most of whom I don't like. One of the charmers saw fit to sit with my friends and I for a time, feigning friendliness. He said nothing particularly offensive (unusual) but his presence bugged me. And so did his comment that I "have not changed."

In the 3 and a half years since I left uni I feel I have changed a great deal. This is, in part due to growing up, but when I think back on who I was then and place her next to who I am now I notice marked differences - and at times it is hard not to feel angry about who I let myself be before.

I allowed myself to feel ashamed of my politics and to think that my rage was unjustified. I apologised for my "radicalism" and I let my sexuality be exoticised by straight men and, bi-curious women who confused me.

I let my brain get lazy, and shunned my academic side and allowed people to ignore my skills and criticise the fact that I did not have physical talents, without standing up and saying "but this is what I DO have."

I let myself be mistreated by a lover, and I at times mistreated her. I let myself live in a place where there was little choice in lovers and we believed this was the best we deserved.

I tried to prove I was some form of normal, instead of being proud of the fact that I was not.

I believed that I was ugly and bought into a beauty ideal that does not belong to my community. I developed a language of body shame that I am still trying to un-learn.

I would never change my choice to study in Bathurst. There is a list of what I learned as long as the list of what I gave up. I needed to leave my cushioned inner-west environment to SEE what the rest of Australia can be like. I needed to see that open-mindedness and care come in many forms and that judging someone based on their background or religion or education is just as bigotted as homophobia or sexism or racism. I saw the beauty of rural Australia, its history, nature and people. I learned that I could be left in the wilderness for a few nights and survive. I learnt teamwork and discovered I could write but also that I like driving trucks and drilling holes in stuff - and that these practical skills were just as valuable as the academic ones I proved I had at high school.

I learnt a lot. But I will never go back to a community in which I am the minority, in which I am ridiculed and in which I must compromise my values.

I have changed. I am not hiding or apologising anymore.


Sunday, 12 April 2009

i know better about me

sometimes i wish i didn't take the advice of others. i knew i'd need a bigger ipod (more space, not bigger object). no, no said the naysayers, 8GB is enough. it's not enough. i listen to a lot of music. i'm not taking advice anymore. i clearly know best.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

the story of Maeve's Wednesday Night:

i went to soccer. i was SO tired as i haven't had a good night's sleep in ages due to a) insomnia b) cramps c) staying at my mum's house thinking it'll give me a good night's sleep forgetting she has internet and cable and a tv in the spare room.

but i went to soccer nonetheless and ran around learning skillz and made friends with bev. we kicked the ball to each other but she didn't seem to like me very much cos she kept aiming it at other people not me. she has named us 'Super V' cos we both have Vs in our name. she googled super v and found out it is the name for a very powerful gun, a brand of vitamins or a brand of ten pin bowling pins. she made us a logo.

after soccer a different friend drove me home (soccer = instantaneous friendship) and i saw another car of soccer people drive past on enmore rd and then ran into jen and carl and i felt like i was postman pat.

then laura brought me a cheese and spinach triangle and i ate it and we went and got gelato. i bought a big gelato thinking i'd save half for a rainy day. there is no more gelato so on said rainy day methinks i shall have to exercise to cancel out the gelato i scoffed last night.

i watched two episodes of big love which i really truly think is an excellent show. then i took a happy blue sleeping pill that laura gave me and passed out.

the end.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

think about THIS while you are eating your lunch

Having my period makes me believe in intelligent design over evolution. Well, not intelligent design, rather evil, misogynist, stupid design.

"Some" would claim I know "nothing" about "anatomy," but my friends, riddle me this:

What other body parts need to regenerate themselves monthly??? Ok, skin and hair reject themselves and start afresh, but they are outside the body so it's a kind of self-cleansing due to the grubby, grubby elements. We get rid of poo and wee, but they are the waste products from stuff we put into our bodies.

But the lining of my womb is made by ME right? No outside germies or last night's dinner? So why has it got to go the way of my sister's dead goldfish? What is so defective with my womb that it can't stay garden fresh while it waits for a baby? My veins don't split open in time with the moons and eject all that dirty, dirty blood before refilling themselves with the good stuff.

The only male comparison I can think of is the regular ejection and regeneration of sperm. BUT YOU DON'T SEE BOYS DOUBLED OVER IN PAIN AND SNAPPING AT THEIR FRIENDS IN RAGE EVERY TIME THAT HAPPENS NOW DO YOU?

Scientists, Enlighten Me.

Or I shall have to become a God-resenting Christian on the morrow.

Alternately, deliver hard core pain killers to me at my desk.



I can't sleep. I lie awake waiting for it to come, I run around all day trying to tire myself out, I breathe in, breathe out, can't sleep. So I stay up, watch a movie, read, mess around with computer. The activity stimulates my brain, so of course, I can't sleep.

My eyes are red, my body is sore, I can't focus on uni or work or you.

I can't sleep.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Why the Courthouse Hotel is the Mardi Gras of Pubs

It's an age old problem that when something is good, people find out that it's good and it inevitably becomes crap. A victim of its own success. This process can take the form of gentrification / wankification (think Paddington or The Bank Hotel) or, in the case of Mardi Gras and the Courthouse, it's simply a takeover by the hoardes.

The courthouse used to be a cosy, beer gardened place where one could find a table and chat with mates. Now, to find a table, you have to a) wait b) share or c) seek out the eastern suburbs bus-ins, sit a little too close to them and talk graphically about sex, making them feel uncomfortable / oddly arroused til they leave.

Bar queues take FOREVER and I have many a time had to contend with sleazy menfolk wishing me happy birthday and winking sleepily. Check the hair do and baggy jeans matey - do the math!

Speaking of hair dos, there is a poshifying straightifying element going on as the clientele moves from vinnies to vintage - a problem facing much of the Newtown area.

I like space, comfort and like-minded friendly folk. I don't like waiting around and I don't like sleaze.

Crowds, waiting and straight-sleaze also sum up my Mardi Gras experience this year. My friends and I saw more homophobia that night than we do in an average month of Newtown ghettodom. The mammoth parade is overpoliced, over-sponsored, and no longer a particularly pleasant experience for participants with gawking crowds full of tourists who sneer when you seek out a cheer.

Mardi Gras is like a family tradition for me and I have supported it longer than many. But next year, I think I'll have a subdued Mardi Gras in Newtown. Maybe with the hoardes lining Oxford St, I'll head to the Courty for a quiet beer.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

oooohhhh I Wanna Dance With Somebody

To Dance or Not to Dance....
I love dancing more than most things in the world. I would place dancing up there with eating, fucking, watching TV and swimming as my five favourite things to do. It saddens me deeply that my passion for dancing is sometimes misunderstood as skill...or the belief that I think that I HAVE skills.

I have no skills. My dancing takes the form of faux-krumping, bad-robot, jumping, bottom-wriggling mania. When my "friends" say they don't dance (we can't REALLY think of them as friends in this case) because they "can't" I feel like bitch-slapping them...in time with some super-fun, wicked beats. Teehee, I don't think I've ever used the phrase "wicked beats" before.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Never Again

Our first soccer game is on Sunday. As in the first competitive game with another team of people who aren't (necessarily) lesbians so can't be distracted from my lack of ability by my charming charm and asymmetrical hair do.

I hadn't really thought about the First Game til today when an email full of sporting information came through and I wanted to hit the panic button. You see, I've been jollying around with soccer peeps about how I Don't Do Sports and I Hate This Stuff for weeks, but it's all been in laughter.

The Problem:

Not because I can't. I am competitive, reasonably strong, unfit but not the least fit in the world, I like team stuff and I have good hand/eye coordination (useless in soccer, but still worth mentioning). I don't do sports because they evoke the trauma of childhood obesity (which we just called being fat back then cos it wasn't an epidemic). Up until high school I was trundled through a number of sports in an attempt to get me into exercise.

The end result is that sports make me panic.
Doing sports in front of others makes me panic.
Especially if those others are more sporty than me.

Case Study: I love climbing trees. Once I locked a friend out of her apartment and came to save the day by climbing a tree onto her balcony, all nonchalant like I did that every day. This was possible because a) I like saving the day b) it was my fault so the least I could do c) my friend is less sporty than me so there was no pressure. Last week I went to the beach with Soccer Girl and I said I liked climbing and we went to climb a rope play equipment thing and she bounded up all tall and efficient and looked back to see what was taking me so long. Result: I panicked, slowed down and climbed gingerly up like I'd never climbed anything in my life.
Pressure = Failure.

Do you know what there will be on Sunday at the soccer match?

Sometimes I think my fat / body image / food neuroses are on the way out. Improvements include:
1. enjoying food without excessive guilt
2. being naked with the lights on
3. joining a soccer team

But then I think of the panics that still remain, and I wonder if I will ever NOT feel like the fat kid.

1. Panic at the thought of actually playing soccer
2. Panic every time I have to choose something on a menu (considerations: a) will people think I am ordering too much? b) will it be good enough? food = fat so if it is bad it is WASTED FAT)
3. Panic when choosing what to wear when going out, resulting in being an hour late, sitting on bed wanting to cry

Oh well. Baby steps.


The Blurb

For maevegobash: yeah, I just like thinking/writing/talking about myself. That's what blogs are for, right? For vegepalooza: I have been vegetarian for 25 years now - so that's always for me. My mothers cooked a storm up in the kitchen and I am carrying the torch filling my friends bellies at every opportunity. I love food and want to share my recipes, tips and tricks here to encourage creative vegetarian eating. There will also be a lot of vegan recipes for my friends with more willpower than me (sorry kids, I just love the cheese). Anyway enjoy, feel free to criticise and most of all Happy Eating!