Thursday, November 25, 2004
First thing tomorrow we will be getting up and hitting the road to the south coast to be wed -- Hooray! Bumblebee is at school today, thank goodness, because he's getting very excited and bouncy. Last night I went to a wonderful Hen's Night (thank you, girlhens) which may or may not be related on crazybrave's site today if she has enough braincells to share with us. Much chortling and pizza eating and making over of faces and nails. The obligatory edible undies are now in my bag ready for the wedding night (not just edible! Gummy! Should I have a Brazilian first?!).
One side of the house is almost empty, ready to be gutted and remodelled. Will go around and take shocking 'Before' photos to show people what a change has been wrought on our ex-govie. I used to hate this house. Whoever designed these shoeboxes did so with a meanness of spirit which shall return to them tenfold with any luck. I should explain. I am an Army Brat, and therefore have moved around a lot in my lifetime. When I left home I still had the bug, and spent my first ten years in Canberra moving almost as many times. I have lived in some stunning houses, and some shitboxes. This is the shittiest box of all, but it was bought by my parents years ago as an investment property, and they sold it to Best Beloved and I for only half the retail value, so this will be the last time I complain. It may be crappy, but it is all ours. And it is about to be transformed, so I will hopefully be in love with it in ten days. I'm certainly in love with living with Best Beloved, so how can it go wrong?
And only two sleeps to go.
Wish us luck. We are embarking upon an awfully big adventure. Here be dragons!
I will write again on Saturday week...
I'm giving this one to Jean Mulvaney again (sorry, no trackback, scroll down). I went to her funeral a couple of days ago, and got my facts straight about her epic bicycle ride. It was in 1946, with three other girls. They started from Melbourne, and no one gave them a big farewell, because they thought they'd give up within the month. One did; another stopped at Adelaide. Up at 80 Mile Beach in north WA, Jean and her friend had to get off their bikes, leave their gear, carry the bikes to the other end of the beach, then walk back and get their gear. The two young women worked their way around, taking on all sorts of jobs. At one point Jean worked for a couple of weeks as a crocodile shooter. Her friend stopped somewhere in the NT or the top of QLD, having met and fallen in love with someone on a station. Jean wasn't daunted by the lack of company. She kept going, working and riding her way down the East coast alone until she made it back to Victoria. The whole trip took well over a year. Her family and friends know good chunks of the story, but she never thought it interesting enough to write down in great detail, and so the whole adventure dies with her. And that's only one small part of an incredibly rich and purposeful 81 years. Can you see why I'm going to miss her?
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
One source of underlying worry, so to speak, has been (mal)lingering for a number of weeks now. It concerns a missing pair of undies. I have been visiting outlaws and own parents over the last couple of months and at one point I've come home undie-less. Yikes! I wouldn't worry if they were just normal undies, even if they were my oldest middle-of-a-period scungies. But these are not just any undies. They are my apple-green boy-leg Bonds undies with the words 'Sweet Cunt' emblazoned on the front in glitter. Extremely comfy, and ever-so nice to wear underneath the straightest of clothes. Not something I'd buy for myself until now, now that I've experienced the fun of secret undie messages. These were given to me as a trade by the fabulous Fairy Shop at the National Folk Festival in return for downloading the emails from their laptop.
Once I realised they were missing, I had to think back as to where I could have left them. With my mother? She could cope, unlike my dad, who would turn purple at the idea of his daughter wearing the 'c' word (but would never, ever admit to seeing them, like the good ex-Catholic boy he is). No, my mum would have returned them with a giggle. With my soon-to-be Inlaws? They are both open-minded people, but also both Ministers of the Uniting Church. Well, it could account for the slightly pursed lips on Mother Outlaw when she came to Canberra a few weeks ago. But would she have returned them?
These sorts of thoughts have been running through my mind at 2am when I wake and can't get back to sleep. Today comes the anti-climax. I pulled down my backpack to start packing for the coast (yay! 3 sleeps to go until we head down the highway!) and when I looked through it (again... believe me, I looked at other times), I saw a hint of green on one of the side compartments. I have never been so relieved to see a sparkle in my life. So what was the pursed lips thingy about?
The best thing is that I can wear them under my wedding outfit. Huzzar!
Monday, November 22, 2004
Best Beloved has spent a fair bit of time in India, travelling and studying, so is always keen to partake of a bit of Bollywood. Our DVD collection is getting pretty colorful as well. His theory is that it's not Bollywood without a Wet Sari Scene, a theory which held up quite well for the two very different films we saw, Chameli and Main Hoon Na.
Chameli is not classical Bollywood, although it has a lot of the elements. The storyline is almost Pretty Woman; prostitute meets rich man and changes his perceptions about the trade and they fall in love. This is a classier version. It takes place over one night, and the set is used very dramatically, almost like a stage production. It is set in monsoon season, so it is constantly raining, which on one hand provides the curtains for the 'stage' atmosphere, and also allows a manditory wet sari scene. I loved this movie. I highly recommend it.
The other movie we saw in the festival was a classic Bollywood production: Main Hoon Na (2004). Set in gorgeous Darjeeling, it had the baddest (and cheesiest) of baddies, the goodest of goodies, the most beautiful of beauties (and a wet sari scene) and the most fabulous costumes. It had a touch of Grease to it, especially at the end. Lots of humour, excitement, special effects, singin and dancing. The script is written and directed by a woman, Farah Khan, who pays homage to traditional Bollywood, and injects it with very a modern sense of fun and politics. There are a number of Matrix-like effects, including a brilliant spoof involving mucus. If you only get to see one film in this festival, I think it should be this one, although I have to warn you that it is over three hours long (not that I even noticed).
When I say 'we' only saw two movies, I should add that Best Beloved went to a third by himself, which was Ab Tak Chappan, a gritty police-based thriller, which he really enjoyed.
If you are in Melbourne, go along to the festival, and tell me if you can understand a word said by the sponsor of the festival in his pre-film blurb (no peeking at the programme)! If you know anyone in Melbourne, tell them about it. And check if the festival is heading your way, because it's too good to miss.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Back to the press.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
No, this is not a muppet. This is Lucky, our extremely inquisitive family mongrel. We know he is part Jack Russell and part fox terrier. We think he is also part whippet, as he has very long legs and a whippety chest, and he's the fastest dog I've ever known. Let's just say he's not anywhere near a pedigree dog.
However, he is a wonderful family dog, great with kids large or small, and has a ball obsession. No joke. This dog can play ball until he drops dead of exhaustion, and even then he'd try for more. He also likes sticking his snout where it's not welcome.
He is meant to belong to Bumblebee, but of course he imprinted on me, so I am Ruler of the Universe, which has made me sway away temporarily from my preference of cats. I've never been so unconditionally adored. It's addictive. I feel like I'm betraying my late beloved cat, but what else can I do when my little furry mate just sits and stares lovingly at me all day? Throw the ball, of course.
I am so sick of my digicam dying. I bought the bloody thing duty-free on the way to Korea in June and it did a beautiful job until the second-last day of my trip, which was the first day of free time to look at all the gorgeous palaces and art districts. C*nt! I cried, in between squirts, as this was also the day on which I contracted a lovely case of giardia. I still made it around some beautiful areas, and saw most of the toilets in north Seoul, but I have no photos other than those my colleague took.
Anyway, sent the camera back, and it was returned with the message that they couldn't find anything wrong with it. Annoyingly, it did work when I opened the parcel. For a time. Then it died again. So I sent it back with printouts of the photos it was taking, like the gorgeous self-portrait above. This time it was returned after being 'fixed'. Yeah, well, if my dog was fixed the same way I'd be the proud owner of a daddy dog by now.
This time it lasted less than a month and died again. So this time I have demanded a new camera or my money back. I mean, I have not mistreated the camera! I kept it nicely padded, downloaded the photos scrupulously to the directions, lavished love and attention on it. I also mentioned to the company that I am getting married next week and I am disappointed that I won't have a camera on my honeymoon. You can all vouch that I am not scamming this company. If they don't respond honourably to that I am going to be naming names and going to my local consumer rights people.
So no more nice pics until the issue is resolved. Maybe I'll start plundering my archives. Maybe now is the time to mount some Korean snaps. Hmmm...
These are the most basic things to remember when playing with letterpress. This blackboard entry has not been touched for a couple of years (along with the magic number 0.918), and nor shall it be while my mind continues to operate like a kitchen thingy with lots of little holes. No one could even accuse my memory of being a steel trap. I blame all that dope in the 80s with a healthy whack of genetic demensia.
Anyway, for anyone who cares, whenever I'm swearing at a proof and wondering why the text has a little white shadow on one side, or is only just grazing the page, I look at the board and try to nut out the problem.
Just in case it is illegible thanks to the original low-res quality of the image, let me lay out the law, just in case you're interested...
1. pressure - rollers (inking)
- packing (paper)
2. paper - humidity
3. viscosity (ink) - too thin
- too thick
Considering any combination of those factors saves my arse every time. A bit of press tinkering, and all usually runs smoothly.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
This bouquet is for Jean Mulvaney, one of the kindest, sweetest, strongest and most inspirational women I have ever met.
When she was 18 she rode around Australia on a bicycle with (I think) 5 other young women. Most found husbands along the way, and Jean and one other were the only ones to finish the trip. I'm talking late 1930s. Fantastic.
I met Jean properly quite late in her life, when I worked for her husband, Professor John Mulvaney. She looked vaguely familiar, and we laughingly worked out that she'd been the Girl Guide Commissioner for Canberra when I'd been a Brownie in the 1970s (!) and I'd shook her hand at a jamboree, or whatever those things were called.
John and Jean were complete opposites: she loved dancing, swimming in the sea, eating exotic foods; he disliked all of it. She would be playing on the beach with the kids, jumping in the water, and he would be fully clothed and shod, on the sand (in the shade, if possible) reading the latest book on history -- or, more likely, writing it. Nevertheless, they were a close couple, extremely devoted to one another.
Jean was highly intelligent, had a fabulous sense of humour and a warmth and interest in humans that extended past her 6 children and umpteen grandchildren. She volunteered for many social duties, including aiding nursing mothers and visiting people in jail. She was a jail visitor for so long that she often laughed at the fact that she was visiting generations of prisoners from the same families...
Jean died on Saturday, and my thoughts go out to John and the family. She died at home, and peacefully, but after a long period of complications arising from a botched operation. She will be deeply missed by many many people in the Canberra community, and our area is the poorer for her passing. I only hope that she gets some sort of public recognition for her efforts over the years.
RIP Jean Mulvaney.
Anyway, I am at work, recovering from my weekend of moving art out of my huge metal map-drawers, getting Best Beloved and friend to shift it into the Horrible Decrepid Garage (HDG) and then putting all the art back in with great trepidation -- will the drawers keep the damp out? Will the mouse who lives in the corner cupboard find its way into the drawers and nibble my life drawings? I am on the lookout for a set of drawers that can fit in the beautiful new design for our lounge, preferably in wood, but until then all is banished to the HDG.
Meanwhile, 11 sleeps to go! Builder friend came over on the weekend with colour swatches and design ideas for the kitchen. Very nice, I must say. The cupboard door are to be made of frames of recycled timber with a centre panel of what looks like black cast glass, but on closer inspection turns out to be common old steel panels that trucks use as ramps! Very solid, very noice, unusual, different, yers. Feature panels, including on the lounge-side floating arc-shaped bench/breakfast bar, will be colourbond 'mini-orb' (I think he called it) which means metal with very small corrugations, in a deep blood-red, and the benchtops will be a stone-grey glossy melamine. A bit funky, a bit traditional. Hard-wearing, because I am the world's shittiest housekeeper.
Best Beloved and I went shopping for appliances and hated every moment, because frankly, we'd rather be having a lie-in with a hot cuppa and a good book (have I ever mentioned that most of our wall-space is now bookshelves?). We found a dishwasher fairly quickly, thanks to Choice Magazine. The stove and cooktop took a bit longer; we wanted gas everything, but after looking at lots of options, we ended up with a gas cooktop, electric oven, and a separate grill. We found that all the ovens with inbuilt grills made the space too small, and we didn't think we could grill and bake at the same time (the salesperson assured us we could, but she didn't look -- or sound -- like much of a cook). We already have the uber-fridge, which is so large that the kitchen space is being modelled around it, and a small microwave, and that's probably all the gizmos we'll need, apart from the small plug-in ones that rapidly accumulate. Did I mention that my sister-in-law in giving
So this is my materialista rave. So many new things, so much to do and think about. Map-drawers done, now to pack up kitchen appliances, take down curtains, finish the bloody wedding announcements, pick up beautiful wedding clothes (and Best Beloved's ring) and try to get some sleep. Yay!
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
The kitchen is being remodelled by a friend of ours who is a master-craftsman. We asked him just to give us some ideas on how to organise the space in our tiny Private Jetty, and he offered to do the job. We then gave him a small budget, and he is planning to do wonders with it, including knocking out a wall, pulling out a chimney, putting in a skylight, making all the cupboards himself. I feel so lucky, grateful and in awe all at once. What a wedding present!
I feel so blessed that I feel like doing something for someone else. Best Beloved and I were discussing whether to buy each other a wedding gift to give each other on the day. It's something my ex and I did and it was a lovely thing. But we're getting so much, and spending so much on ourselves, that I think I'd rather decide on an amount of money that we would have used for the gift, and give it to the charity of the other person's choice. that way I won't feel so self-indulgent when I come home. I don't know about Best Beloved, but my pet charity is Catherine Hamlyn's fistula hospital in Ethiopia. If you've never read or heard about the women she helps, have a look.
I can't stop yawning, and it's only mid-afternoon. I try to blog at night and on weekends, but it seems to be high-traffic time, and my blogs never make it through the mosh. I figure that gives me licence to blog at work. I don't smoke, don't drink coffee, so how else can I take a break without someone asking me to do something for them? Sit on the computer with a 'just give me ten minutes' look on my face, that's how. And curiously, it works.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
I went to the gyneacologist the other day (the same one who said, while examining me with my legs up in stirrups, 'I think I was at the birth of your son'. I kid you not. What else could I say but 'Why, does it look familiar down there?'. She had the decency to blush and laugh.) about my fibroids and the lack of pregnancy therewith. Apparently I have to have a laproscoscopy (I think I've spelled it right) which is a horrible invasive procedure which puts a telescope through my navel while my abdomen is pumped up with gas. Thank goddess I am to have a general anaesthetic during this. So I am on a waiting list, since I refuse to pander to Government blackmail about private health insurance.
Meanwhile my fabulous aunt, a Chinese-Medicine practitioner, has prescribed four different pots of herbs for me to drink through my cycle. One is for my bleeding days, the next for the days between my period and ovulation, another for the three or so days around ovulation, and the last for the days until I bleed again. Auntie has a great reputation in her country NSW practice as a baby-maker. She is trying to make the fibroids less dominating, and trying to enhance my fertility. I tell you what, they taste foul, but anything is better than a telescope whacked through my navel.
So I will persist, and hopefully something good will happen. We are giving ourselves two years to try everything, even IVF if needs be (but only with our own components, i.e., eggs and sperm), and then we are just going to stop and get on with having a happy life.
And for the record: I have had an abortion, way back when I was too young to be able to cope with a young child; I have also given birth to a child who turns out to have been a complete miracle and maybe the only child I will ever have. It doesn't make any difference to my attitude towards abortion.
I support, and always will, the right for a woman to choose what she does with her body. Abortion is something which women will always seek if they have to. It has been around for as long as Humankind has been. When abortion is illegal, women have illegal abortions. Far better for them to have access to safe facilities than to die in unsafe environments under dirty tools with doctors (if they are lucky) who are terrified of being caught. The only difference between legal and illegal abortions is the rate of death -- with illegal abortion, more women die.
But don't just ingest my little morsel on this debate -- take a great big mouthful of crazybrave's sensitive polemic.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Friday, November 05, 2004
I love this photo. Makes me think of Vermeer.
I can't believe how much rain Canberra is getting. The view from my study window is lush as lush as lush, with little pink camelias nodding at me in the rain. Some smooth jazz coming out of the speakers and I'm ready to do some boring rainy-day financials. I hate the way the Government has made me play tax-collector as well as all theother bloody things on my plate. When I rule the world I will make John Howard eat my tax records, page by page.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
1. It's none of his business (i.e. it doesn't change any of his access or legal rights)
2. I'm sick of him making snarky comments about my personal life when we're alone. He never does it when anyone else is around, which proves how much of a coward he is.
He's probably grumpy mainly because I haven't told him in person, but I think a good chunk of it may be the realisation that I didn't reject him while pregnant because I'm a lesbian (as he has postulated to me a few times) but because he's a fuckwit. At last! The penny drops!
At least he hasn't expressed any of this negativity to the Bumblebee, who came home saying that his dad seemed pretty happy that we were getting married, but that they did have a bit of a talk about how Best Beloved isn't really his dad, and you can only have one real dad. Duh. We have no intention of downplaying Important Father Role in Child's Life. Unless Important Dad does something really stupid and dangerous like go senile (perfectly possible, since he's the same age as my dad who is starting to have lost moments).
Still, 24 sleeps (and counting). Nothing's going to spoil my fun.
*See glossary on sidebar
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
This is my second wedding, and Best Beloved's first. Neither of us are very taken with the idea of a big wedding, we just want to wake up one day and be married. Unfortunately, to do that, you have to go through some sort of ceremony. In the Territory of the Free it is not possible to just stand in front of an official desk and do the bare minimum. Apparently they no longer have a dedicated room for ceremonies. So in Canberra the bare minimum is hiring a celebrant. We did look across the borders, but to have a registry wedding in Sydney involves starting with an appointment during office hours just to set a date, and neither of us have time to visit Sydney during the week. Civil wedding facilities in sunny Queanbeyan involve standing in the foyer of the courthouse with a Judge between 4 and 4.30pm on a Thursday afternoon. Not really to our taste, especially as you had to take a chance as to who would be in the foyer with you, waiting for their hearings. And every time I rang someone about having a simple registry wedding, the vibe on the phone was "Why don't you get out there and do this properly, you tight twats?"
There's a very simple answer to this vibe. Because I have better things to do with my energy and money than spend at least $20,000 and over a year of planning on a day that I won't even enjoy due to anxiety that I'm not doing it right. Best Beloved and I like buying books, eating and paying off the mortgage on our tiny little house. We don't need masses of white fabric, scads of flowers and a limitless bar tab. We have a friend who is getting married in October next year, and she's already been planning it for over a year already! We have a sweep going on how much she's spending, and the general consensus is not under $40,000. It's a number that takes my breath away.
My first wedding was a simple affair (and a fantastic party, thanks to my terrific friends) but it will look like Charles and Diana's wedding compared to this second one. We decided that if we had to get a celebrant, then we might as well have a celebrant marrying us somewhere we liked being. So we are going coastal. We shall stand on the beach, barefoot and splendid in something nice to wear, and say our vows in front of our immediate family. Bumblebee will get to participate in the ceremony by holding rings and saying a po-em, and then we shall sit down somewhere shady with a case of champagne and a bucket of prawns. Divine. Friends are grumbling, but hell, it's our day. I'm sure we shall celebrate with them some other way.
OK, I've cheered myself up and distracted myself from impending American doom. Everyone send good thoughts into the ether tonight to boost Kerry's voting appeal.
Monday, November 01, 2004
I dunno: it's raining, I've got some bluesy jazz on the studio stereo, and all I can think about is whether Americans are going to shock me and show some sense or if they're going to be as cowardly as most of Australia and stick with a horrendous Government just because a change is too scary. The afternoon has had overtones of a cliched Hollywood movie, but at least it's been productive.
Oh shit. I just remembered that I left my bike light on the bike all day and it's probably going to malfunction on the way home, which means a wet and dark ride. Nothing like a sustained mood, eh?