Friday, 25 September 2009

today: the good, the bad and the ugly. not in that order.

the bad:
- Lateness. I am once more becoming incapable of getting to work on time. This must be rectified. These basic human tasks - falling asleep / waking up - have for so long now alluded me. I have so many random skills (e.g. remembering numbers, walking on stilts, carrying humans bigger than me, singing very loudly...). Why can't I get sleep right?

- Seeing a man in a fitness first uniform doing push-ups at a cafe on my (late) way to work. Fitness first has no place in my suburb with its uniformed athletes putting protein powder in my milkshake; a milkshake which will NOT bring the girls to the town if the (new)town becomes this crappy, increasingly homophobic, gentrified craphole I see it becoming more and more with every fake-tanned himbo that treks in to suck face at the Marly.

the good:
- Wonderful photoshoot for the front cover of Made You Look. If we don't speak, MYL is the magazine I am editing. I am not a journalist, let alone an editor. This amazing gift landed in my lap earlier this year and I really don't want to fuck it up. It's been touch and go, but on a sunny day like today I thank the heavens when the subject turns out to be hot, hot, hot and I catch the ball he throws at me instead of letting it smash a window. Plus, a bunnyrabbit ran out into the laneway where we were shooting. A bunnyrabbit! Who doesn't love a bunnyrabbit?

- Friendship: new + old.
1. Tomorrow night is my-favourite-person-in-the-world's little sister's birthday party. I had forgotten about it til an email reminder let me know and I felt so thrilled and relieved and joyous at the prospect of drinking bar tab with her and her family away from web-of-death mania.
2. I awoke to a message from Cameron, manlove of my life, to let me know he shall soon be visiting.
3. I am engaging in all sorts of written sassy banter with new potential gin-pals and playmates and it is super fun. I do love the written word. It's harder for me to interrupt people so I hear so much more of what they have to say. I am a firm believer that it will be a perfectly composed text message that will one day win my heart.

the ugly:
- My hair. Seriously. I don't know if I miss-aimed the hair spray or if the growing length and weight means a product change is in order, but things are NOT looking good today. I am yearning to get home to fix it. It disturbs me how much of my confidence lives in my hair.

- My room. Mess: I make it. It was going so well til my Clovelly jaunt, then I came home, didn't unpack and have consequently been frantically hauling clothes out of the suitcase every morning (see above re lateness) leaving room disaster zone once more. Oh well, at least with the mess I might start sleeping more soundly!


Monday, 21 September 2009


Some people regret Big Life Decisions. They fret and analyse and find each time a greater failing falling moment that led to the disappointment of the now.

Perhaps it's that I have not made enough Big Life Decisions, or perhaps it's that I cannot begin to conceive of my life now had I not decided on Bathurst, Croc, that first fated relationship or other great life changes that now have a bittersweet taint of "maybe that wasn't the best idea..."

But I do not go over and over these problematic choices. That said, oh my, how I sweat the little things.

My Great Regrets generally fall into the following categories:

1. Cooking Mistakes
2. Stupid stuff I've said
3. Clumsiness
4. Purchases

And now, for your reading pleasure, I shall elaborate on these points with examples. This will be neither eye-opening nor informative nor witty.

Cooking Mistakes:
In case you hadn't noticed I take great pride in my cooking ability. The only problem is that it is not always consistent. When I am cooking alone, it is nearly always spectacular as I lack outside stimulation. Unfortunately, cooking for others can often go awry as I am easily distracted, leading to burnt or un-taste-tested dishes. One bad dinner party can lead to weeks of disappointment and shame. I go off cooking, start eating toast and repeatedly acknowledge the failure to all who will listen, even though they don't care. Forgetting to put corn in the corn mufflettes I made for the div 9 bbq nearly led to tears. On Saturday night I cooked a tried a tested beetroot dish which FAILED. I have, through careful analysis on the night's events decided that the problems were as follows:

- too many veges in the oven tray stopping them from crisping
- oven too low for beetroot, too high for fennel
- garlic purchased not as strong as normal garlic thus needed double the quantity
- not enough tabasco as was concerned would put too much on and burn guests' mouths
- wine consumption prior to commencement of cooking distracted chef
- good looking dinner guests with witty banter and requests* for dramatic readings distracted chef
* "Requests" may or may not mean me forcing them to listen to dramatic readings

Stupid Stuff I've Said:
Oh the stupid things I say could fill a book. This is due to my lack of tact, inability to comprehend my own privacy (or others') and a general nerves-based tendency to talk more and more in already awkward situations. I can and do relive these moments in my mind's eye, but with the advent of social networking sites (and my subsequent addiction) such mistakes can also be viewed by the world wide web. Well, 532 members of the world wide web should they be stalking my faceborg page. I have been particularly nervous lately after a VERY CLOSE CALL. Using a friend's iphone, I attempted to facestalk someone. Just as I was about to press go, it was pointed out to me that I was typing not in search but in status. IMAGINE. IF. I. HAD. WRITTEN. STALKEE'S. NAME. IN. STATUS. Sheer luck it didn't happen really, as this sort of thing always happens to me (along with talking about people when they are standing behind me, paying someone out behind their back only to discover I am talking to their girlfriend and writing a text message about what a big crush on someone I have only to send it to that very person).

Spillages on clothes in front of hot people. Tripping over in front of hot people. Breaking my belongings. Breaking other people's belongings. Spilling coffee on my desk. Getting make up on my clothes. You get the picture.

Oh, this is a bad one. See, I don't like spending my money too much. I am a saver. I also find clothes shopping oftentimes distressing because, well, I am an eater. Thus, I have, in my time, bought clothes that I have never ever worn. Get over it, one might say, give the clothes away, chuck them in the charity bin. If only it were that simple! Instead, I keep them in my cupboard, mocking me with their ugliness for years on end. Punishing me with memories of poor choices. I once kept a silver velour jacket for 8 years, wearing it once. The counter-point to this is the clothes I HAVE chucked out only to frantically search for them months later and then flog myself silly with regret once I realise they are gone (flog with thoughts not an actual whip). Same purchase theory applies to technological devices which I tend to a) know nothing about and b) impulse buy without proper research. Thus, an ipod without enough memory and a really shitty phone.

Le sigh.

I would like to learn to either not over-think these errors or, better yet, stop repeating the same old mistakes. But I don't see it happening. I am sitting here writing this and, even though I just made a killer stir fry, I am still forlorn about Saturday's fail. I am wishing I hadn't said a few silly things on the phone with a friend. I am mourning the stain on my favourite hoodie. And I was mighty frustrated by both phone and ipod on journey home.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

he's like the wind

Throughout primary school I spent most weekends in the company of a dear friend named Cleo. Our friendship is defined in my memory by dance classes and two films which we watched incessantly. Shaping the cushions of her brown velour couch around us to make dashboard and roof, we pretended we were at a drive in that played weekly reruns of 'Grease' and 'Dirty Dancing.'

When I logged on to facebook this morning, my feed was filled with messages of woe, commemorating the death of Patrick Swayze. I sat on the train and reminisced in his honour, about two 7 year olds, fascinated by the movement and energy of films that (pre-High School Musical and the like) dealt with real youth themes such as sexuality, parental control, class difference, trust and peer pressure. We may not yet have understood what exactly Rizzo and Kenickie were doing in the car, but we were transfixed.

I have fond and vivid memories of my early years spent at Cleo's Queen St abode. I remember the food her parents cooked; I remember the mosquito net over her bed and how it made me feel regal; my fascination at her asthma apparatus; choreographed dances to Grease songs and Ace of Bass; and the way her older sister pronounced 'Swayze', all fancy and Sean Connery-esque. It made us laugh to try and copy her tone.

Some films stick with you throughout your life and Dirty Dancing was one of them. In later years, new friends feigned irony when we pumped 'Hungry Eyes' out of p-plated car windows on the way to school. When I took up salsa with a friend in 2007, "I carried a watermelon" became a repeated joke, along with "this is my dance space, this is your dance space," when the bachata got a little flirty. Just recently I joined the hordes at Carriageworks for the Dirty Dancing Wrong Prom and we cackled with glee through each hip thrust and spin.

I think sometimes I am still 7 years old and waiting for Patrick Swayze to sweep me off my feet and turn me into a dancer. I want strong arms to lead me and teach me and one day, I'd like to look good in a pink leotard and denim shorts. It's strange reaching this age when the idols of early childhood start to die. I felt sad today, not for the death of a man I never knew, but for the loss of that wide-eyed wonderment I experienced with a friend I no longer know; that sense that a whole life could change in one summer and that someone would one day lift me high into the air.


Friday, 11 September 2009

My Giant Friend

I wish I had a Giant friend. She would clamber through the city, punch a whole in my tenth story window and gingerly scoop me up from my desk. Cradled in her palm, all soft and pillowy, we'd amble away, my handbag swinging from her pinky finger. Detour via ocean and she'd dip me in and spin me around, salt cleansing my tired limbs and eyes. Then as we moseyed over to Enmore she'd dry me with warm breath. My Giant friend would lift the roof on my little mansion and push back my bed sheets. Ever so softly, she'd drop me in and cover me up, smiling from above as roof was lowered back into its place. And there she would stay, singing lullabies, watching over me and blocking my windows, making temporary night with her shadow so that I may sleep easy in my bed and dream of peaceful slumber.

Important point to remember if you are fearing for your safety:
- My Giant friend would have tiny feet which she balances on as if by magic. All reasonable scientists would not be able to explain how she balanced on such tiny feet, but she would say she was made that way so as not to crush the little people.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

a story for the writer

I have an old friend. She is an old friend as we have known each other for more than a third of our short lives. And she is old because of her insides, all they have seen and felt, both throughout these later years and in those that came before.

I love my friend. I don’t tell her often. I still have scars she dug in my heart and so it tries to keep her at a pretty distance. But I think, deep down, she knows she is one of the most important people in my life. I see her fight and struggle to be better. To be strong. To heal the scars cruel people etched in her. The scars she suffered and the scars she made when all alone. I see her fight and fall and crumble and break and it makes me so sad. But it inspires me too. To watch her grow. It makes me believe in healing and friendship and all the others things I call my religion.

I wish I knew a way to wrap her up, warm against the night. These women see the fire in my eyes and think it’s their reflection. They see my love and think that I want sex and ownership, that I want to keep her for myself. But that is so very much not it.

I have been through their fire and have come out the other side. I broke so completely and rebuilding took time. And even in my most recent loves I see her shadow, wrapping round me and holding me back from letting go. The memories we made taught me to protect myself and keep cool; to hide from those I love lest they smash my trust to bits. And in those moments, I hate her for what she showed me. I hate her pain and its ravenous depths, and I hate myself for falling in and believing I could save her.

So when I see them try the same, it makes me rage with pity and frustration. Because they can’t save her. And now I see that she needs to save herself. And these distractions and blows to her self-worth set back this process so thoroughly.

I know my friend is difficult. I see her myriad flaws. And she sees mine. I see her hurting others and I understand their anger. I remember it well.

In public and in future, I will tease her, poke and prod. Sometimes for humour, sometimes in retaliation, sometimes just because I can. People will call me bully and I won't deny it. They will laugh at our clowning and wrestling and strange attacks. But today, I’d like her to know that I believe in her, that I think she is amazing and brave and has so much to give. That I know she can’t see a future for herself, can’t muddle through the vast unjustness the world has given her. But that I do see her future. That it is bright and big and not as lonely as she thinks it may be.

Today, I want her to know that I love her, not because of what she gives me, but for all of who she is. That I am not asking her for anything except the trust, respect and friendship I intend to keep giving her for years to come. I think she needs to hear that this week.


Monday, 7 September 2009


I dreamt on Saturday night that I was in a strange dusty town and it was the annual, terrifying day when strange creatures came from beneath the soil to hold the town to ransom. These creatures wanted money and food from the townsfolk and would stream out of the drains to attack passing cars. They trashed the joint.

I was trying to convince the town that if they just gave the creatures food and money in small amounts, regularly, they would need to complete the annual attack. And at least the buildings wouldn't be burned. But the people didn't listen.

Last night I dreamt Amy and I were singing the theme tune to Captain Planet. I woke up thinking The Planeteers would be a good name for a band.

I love that moment of waking when the dream reality is more real than the present. I grieve the loss of my dream memories every day, as the working week wears on and odd imaginings are replaced by filing and train trips.

My soccer team doesn't have a game this week and I am sad because playing soccer still fits into a bit of a dream reality to me. I still don't quite believe I had the balls (teehee: pun) to take it up, when for 25 years, sport /health / exercise have been so bound up in pressure and failure and a devastating awareness of my size. The fact that I have pushed myself to do something foreign and exposing gives me the same thrill as awaking after dreaming I could fly. I am embarrassed a little by my childlike response to this new hobby, but there you have it. Despite being really quite a terrible sportswoman, I am still giddy with pride each time I manage to go out in public wearing those shorts.

Travel had a similar effect last year, though much, much more so, and when I am trying to press my insomniac body into sleep each night I catalogue each day of my trip, committting small details and feelings and fears to memory, trying to lock in that sense that I was invincible. Trying to recreate that dream. And each week when I am paid for my filing and train trips, I get a thrill in clicking the transfer-to-savings-account button as, slowly but surely, I build the possibility of setting off again. I can taste my savings as icelandic geysirs and french romance, turkish delight and slovenian mountains, a cosy bulgarian hostel and thumbs-out adventures round Ireland.

Until I can afford that dream I will settle for soccer, strange creatures and the planeteers.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

strange contentment

When I was little(r) I always always always wanted to be older, to have more responsibility, to be taken as an adult. - (To me, older was about 17) - So desperate was I that I chased worshiped "older women" (read: 16) and felt consistently distressed at having been born to late. I should have been the oldest. I came too late.

I was convinced 17 was an appropriate age to start having children called Eliza (named as a nod to Pride and Prejudice) and that I could totally manage study and child rearing at the same time. Thank God or Science I'm a homo or I'd have been barefoot and pregnant as soon as you could say "oops I skipped that sex ed class to go practice for the Shakespeare Festival."

I wanted respect which I didn't know how to earn and I wanted to grow into a person my childhood self would chase and worship. I wanted to look after people smaller than me or weaker than me, as evidenced by a saviour complex that gets me into trouble some days. "No, Maeve, you can't go punch that homophobic boy who called your friend a faggot. He's twice your size and you like your face a lot," she said last week.

This year, for the first time in my life, I feel content with the age I am. I am in my skin and while it is not entirely as I would wish it, it feels more right than it ever has before. I am flirting with having a sense of my place in the world and I feel...dare I say it...content. I have what I need. And it is leading me terrifyingly towards writing a blog that is neither funny nor angry. Panic Stations!

And yet there it is. My strange contentment. My small and colourful home littered in memories of houses spanning Sydney to Bathurst, family to friends, happiness to rage and pain. Vegetable garden. Flowers in tupperware vases and the most delightful, thoughtful musical housemates who bring the ice cream addiction and dance off madness I had always dreamed of.

I miss my drama though some days. I just can't invoke the misery or fear I used to run to. I can't hate quite as I used to or scream like I did. I yearn for the days when I could throw a lovers belongings at her doorstep and yell bloody murder. I don't think I could do it with a straight face nowadays... I am loving with a force field to protect me from past ills repeated and I am burying deep my guilt at this happiness. I have watched some of the most important people in my life crumble and fall so many times and I often wonder what I have that saves me from their fate. Am I foolish to not see the chasm of disappointment they find in the world?

I have rage, oh how I rage. But I don't convert it into the depths of sadness my loved ones tend to find. Sometimes I think the rage is so huge I can't fathom it so I ignore it like other terrifying unknowns which don't fit into my realm of understanding. Like outer space, how the internet works and why people find men interesting.*

*(excepting my beloved male folk who defy this generalisation and know who they are)

I ignore the fear that my family will never truly heal itself. I ignore my sorry conviction that I will, in fact, spend my life without ongoing romantic love, not because I think I am unworthy, but because I don't know that I have the staying power. I ignore the concern that I don't know what my contribution to society must be, that I have left it too late to create a career, that I still don't know what that career should be. I ignore the devastating awareness that I will not see, in my lifetime, a world I would be proud to live in. A world where I don't have to be scared walking alone at night just because I am a woman. Where we can sit safely in the front seat of a taxi. Where governments work for good not votes and the earth isn't dying.

I don't write about my personal personal life on this little blog too often. It's for rants and foolish musings. I find it painful when others do, airing the laundry of the inner west for all and sundry. I'm a talker. If you want to know what I think, I will, 99% of the time, respond frankly (ok tactlessly). I don't need this for an outpouring.

But I thought, maybe, if I acknowledged the fear and celebrated the contentment, I could get a handle on the balance of the two. Either embrace the simmering terror in my belly, or calm it with a good dose of 'my what a beautiful day it is how much do I love bagels and cheese.'

I'll see how I feel in an hour or so.



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!