Friday, December 22, 2006

What I’m doing right now

Sniffing the rain that’s so close yet no more than a few drops have landed over the last 4 hours

Watching the radar loop to see if we will get the promised ‘deluge’

Watching the radar image a bit obsessively because I am so exhausted right now a flickering screen is oddly comforting

Feeling the warm glow of having wrapped my last present…well almost…and finished packing…um…almost

Thinking how lucky I am to know such a lovely osteopath who does emergency back cracking, as I had been in fiendish pain since Wednesday

Not thinking about getting up at 6am to catch a plane

Looking at the odd remains in the fridge and wondering how I can make a meal of it as I am too knackered to even think of walking 2 blocks to get delicious Thai takeaways

Egg, tuna, olives, garlic, onion, asparagus = frittata?

Thinking I really should finish off the bottle of rose in the fridge before I go on holiday, I mean it would be an utter waste if I didn’t

Avoiding turning the air con on

Wondering if this will be my mother’s last Christmas :(


See you in the New Year folks. Have a good one where ever you are, who ever you are with, what ever you are doing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

who'd have believed it?

Oooh! T small h E R is in The Starlet R A N Rusty T S I Ssss N is for... Oo W 2 !

Two candles on the birthday cake this year.

Happy solstice everyone - may you never thirst, may you never hunger, may all be well in the world.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

sleep, water, wishes

Sleep is getting better, but still awoke far too early. I was in deep, restful slumber with a content and quiet cat. Why wake at 6am, cheating me of a full hour of deliciousness? After a little while I come to my senses. Smoke. I smell smoke. Not toast burning. Wood. No crackle, no noise.

While the conscious mind can rationalise that the fire is over 100 km away, the subconscious is not so easily tricked. The circulating charred particles of this dying land have risen again, my sleeping nose smells it, alerts the brain. I am wide awake, fully functioning.

Will we burn all summer?

On my solstice altar tomorrow with be water.

Really, that’s all I want for Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

owwwwwwww!

There's an extraspecial reason why I've been dreading December this year. It's a long story, but the short of it is - despite valiant efforts in latter times I'm a bit of a late adopter when it comes to flossing. The upshot is I got booked into a course of 4 particularly torturous treatments from a delightful man, in a dental surgery with a lovely view in Collins St.

Today was the (hopefully) final one. His parting words were something like "You'll feel like a truck has hit you for a few hours. Happy Christmas".

It's more like having gone 5 rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson - at the height of his career. Worse than just feeling as if I'm a drooling mess - the inside of my nose is numb and temple feels oddly tender....all this before the needles have fully worn off!

In the last few weeks I've had something like 16 local anaesthetic injections (some especially memorable) and my wallet lightened to the tune of over $1000.

A word to all the parents out there - "floss".

Thursday, December 14, 2006

unrequited love

Dear Peter,

I’m disappointed you didn’t reply to my email last month. But I guess you’ve been busy helping your new leader support uranium mining, so I won't get mad at you this time.

Last night the Victorian Senate was officially recounted and tallied up. I’m sure you know the interesting outcome. What I’m wondering is, how you feel after urging us all to vote for your mob and not trust the Greens due to their preferences? You see Peter, it seems a lot of people did just that and now thanks to the Labour preferences yet another mad conservative has been elected to an Australian Senate. I’m sure you are good buddies now with Steve from Family First who couldn’t have got his seat without Labour’s help. But down here in Victoria some of us aren’t very happy about the latest loony elected with Labours assistance. This guy from the DLP, who you thought a much worthier candidate than the Greens one, is almost to the right of Family First which is a rather unsettling thought. He wants to prosecute women who have abortions and the things he has said in regards to homosexuals wanting the same rights as heterosexuals are down right hateful.

So Peter, I’m confused. I used to think you were for many of the same things the Greens stood for and opposed to right wing reactionaries?


I look forward to hearing from you, after all – you decided to play a role in this Victorian State Election, so can you come down and sort out the mess that you’ve got us into.

Regards
Another Outspoken Female

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

smoke gets in your eyes

The smoke is back. This State and many others are on fire. I cough when I go outside. I did not walk to work today. Even at work, behind double glazing and quadruple layers of bricks, I can smell it.

The earth is unhappy. It’s a bit like a human body when it’s out of sorts. It sends you messages, discomfort, to tell you to stop what you are doing. Our planet is doing the same thing. We really are messing it up.

All of a sudden climate change is on the agenda, according to the same Prime Minister who has steadfastly opposed Kyoto on the grounds that it will damage our economy. Call me cynical, but I suspect this has more to do with some heavy lobbying from the nuclear energy industry – which presents itself as some kind of saviour. We have lots of uranium in this country – it’d be a pity not to use it. As for the pesky byproducts, we’ve squillions of kilometres of desert out there that no one’s using, enough for our radioactive waste and the rest of the world’s. Not a problem – big hole, lots of concrete and a few bribes for the local indigenous communities. Well, if our forefathers could get away with blankets and muskets, why not?

My family does not have future generations, but I am happy to act as if it does. This one has squandered so much that cannot be replaced – innumerable species of flora and fauna extinct, the bleaching of the reefs and now our entire ecosystem hanging in the balance.

At Christmas I head off to the land of cheap bananas and plentiful water. They’ve been complaining of an endless winter, even pelting horizontal hail in the first week of summer. The green land is beginning to look like an oasis. There is a population that is more politically aware, preferring a voice rather than apathy. A strong Green movement that would never dream of allowing nuclear reactors to be built.

I want to see what the earth is saying to me there.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

sometimes it's hard being green

Melbourne Weather
Now: 39°C Max: 39°C
Cloud and wind increasing


Is this the point I say "bugger the environment, it's time to turn on the brand spanking new air conditioner?"

war criminals

I braved the smoke laden air and blistering heat yesterday to spend an hour in the relentless sun in support of David Hicks.

What heartened me most were the hundreds of, if not a thousand, others who did the same. In particular a strong grey power contingent who were even more vulnerable to heat stroke.

For Australians who never read behind the news, or those from distant shores who have not heard of him, David Hicks is an Australian citizen who has been detained without trial by the US Government for the past 5 years. Initially captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, he was then sold or passed onto the Americans, interrogated, hooded, shackled and transported ultimately to camp X-ray. He is still in Guantanamo Bay, where he continues to be subjected to treatment that defies the Geneva Convention. He was kept in sensory deprivation for 8 months. He has been tortured, including an 8 hour session where he was repeatedly beaten. He has not been treated with the respect and assistance that an Australian has the right to expect from their government, if detained in a foreign country. He has lost the most basic of rights – habeas corpus.

This is not about guilt or innocence, but about human rights. Whether he was a fighter with the Taliban or just in the wrong place at the wrong time is yet to be proven after 5 years of detention without trial. Even a mass murderer (a crime David has not been accused of) has the right to a comfortable cell, exercise and contact with family. He has not seen his 2 small children in over 5 years. His letters are censored with all references to love and support for him removed. He does not even have a date for a trial, nor has it been established what he is believed to be guilty of, or whether he can be tried as a civilian.

Bring him home. Give him a fair trial. Afford him his rights.

How would you feel if it was your father/brother/best friend/partner/you?

Just remember, the Australian Government has the ability to pull the punches that other nations have to get him repatriated to his own country. They have chosen not to.

Who will be next?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday big brother

Here's a personal but strangely seasonal tribute. A pic of my brother circa 1960-something doing the Joseph and Mary bit in kindergarten.

Happy birthday big bro - I'm sad you can't be here to have a beer with me, but there are a couple of cold ones brewing in the fridge which I'll knock the top off in your honour, in a few minutes.



PS: Sorry, I know you hated this picture - but it's Christmas after all (and sadly you aren't in this world any longer to give me a hard time about such things.)

one nation under racism

"If you are seeing me now, it means I have been murdered"...well, she wasn't but she's back with more xenophobic propaganda.

bloglines

Anyone else using bloglines and having trouble logging in at the moment.

Or is mercury in retrograde or something? The Age seems to be down as well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

it's official - I won't be going to heaven

There were friends in the backyard, the phone rang and as I answered it there was a knock on the door. Hurrying, I opened it to two dowdy looking women. One old and smug, the other young and eager.

Before they got their first word out I said with a smile “Ah, you’re from a religious organization”

And while the plump Jehovah’s Witness could barely get an affirmation out, I passed her the phone I was holding and said ”Oh, good – I’ve got a Satanist on the line, would you like to talk to him? He’d really like to talk to you.”

I’ve never seen 2 doorknockers leave so fast.

On the other end of the line My Favourite Propagandist pissed himself laughing.


…and on a not dissimilar note: via a visitor I found I am listed in the “Dolphin-Free, Caffeine-Free & Largely God-Free Blogs” links of Godless Wonder. I feel most honoured, though I have no idea why they think I may be caffeine free and as for the dolphin – it may have got a mention in the post on sex toys.

PS: Because they pissed off so fast I never got a chance to read “Watchtower”, so I had to stop by their informative website to check out the astonishing articles on “What’s So Wrong About Phone Sex?”, why “The End Of False Religion is Near” and my favourite, “Is Astrology the Key to Your Future?”. It makes Green Left Weekly look shabby by comparison.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

exorcism

Drugs. Most of us have some kind of substance in our life that makes our little world go round. The short black to start the day. The excellent glass or 3 of red with a delicious meal. A shared joint with a friend. Oh and all those other ‘nasty’ substances we are told will take us directly to the road to addiction. But all of the above, plus that wonderfully English tradition of punctuating the day with pots of tea and of course the dreaded fags are commonplace and largely acceptable.

While too much caffeine might turn us into a nervous wreck or debilitate with the foulest headache if the daily ritual is missed – it is considered socially benign. Alcohol is hailed as an elixir of health if imbibed “in moderation” and alcoholics are mistakenly characterised as those who pass out on the street or noisily beat their spouses. Smokers, we all know, are social pariahs who are trying to kill the innocent with their passive poison.

But dope smokers – those who love a bong or a joint, they can’t be addicts?

I am not here to demonise drugs, just tell you my story.

Hello, my name is Another Outspoken Female and briefly I was in a co-dependent relationship with an addict. No needles, no hanging around street corners waiting for his dealer, just his favourite bong and a bag of green stuff.

What characterised him as an addict.

Lying: While dating he casually asked one day, “Do you ever smoke?” “Oh, maybe once or twice a year, if that these days. I actually can’t remember the last time,” I answered. “Me too!” he replied emphatically. Perhaps that wasn’t a huge lie at the time. For he had moved off the land and supplies were low. In reality it was only a few days into the New Year and maybe he’d only smoked a few times.

Once he moved in and he did that far too quickly I have to admit (see ‘manipulation’), the lies started to cascade. He needed to smoke, just once, before bed as medicine for his insomnia. He had a new job (his wife had previously supported him) and he “deserved” a little smoke after work to relax. Within a week, the first smoke was before 7am, when he got up to go on the early shift.

“I’m going through a difficult time at the moment with work/divorce/excuse 3 /excuse 4. I’ll stop as soon as it’s over. Just another month”. He promised.

Each month the lies got bigger.

Manipulation: When you are in love with an addict, you are their life support system. Everything they do is based on keeping the status quo – their habit and the person who supports them. Their enabler.

I don’t usually characterise myself as a sucker. I’m a strong, independent woman. I don’t need a man to complete me. This guy was smart. Actually he did dumb things, but he is the most intelligent being I’ve ever gone out with and I know a lot of smart cookies. He sniffed out the one thing I didn’t have in my life and used it for leverage from the first date. It was as if someone had found the key to my psyche and told me everything I had ever needed to be affirmed about myself. It was extraordinary.

So it was, while in those early days of lying in bed he’d mentioned his lease was running out and we discussed how perhaps we could live together later in the year. Just a few weeks he told me he hadn't re-signed his lease and he moved in lock, stock and barrel. I hadn’t exactly said yes. But when I tried to say no, my love for him was questioned.

The questioning of my love became a strong theme. Any little doubts I voiced turned into an out and out war. I hadn’t realised I was his life raft yet. If he didn’t get his way he stormed out, shouting and howling on the way. This was followed with endless days of icy silence.

It was extraordinary behaviour. One that I hadn’t encountered in a lover before. Later, after the silent treatment thawed, I would be showered with excuses.

The skilled manipulator knows your weak points. He (or she) can push all your buttons. Even when you know you are right, they will show you just how wrong you are.

The habit comes before you do: There are the lies, the manipulation and declarations of love. But he’d still smoke from morning to night. Not wanting to go out. Wanting to stay home all weekend. So I’d go to see friends on my own and he’d sulk. The fall out was horrendous. It was like being under house arrest. When I went away to see my family for a few days (he refused to come but thought that I should not go without him) he fell to pieces. It was horrendous. The life support system had left the building and I’d be punished for it dearly. I hadn’t figured out at that point that he was an addict. That he couldn’t get on a plane and leave his drug behind for a few days. That he’d make lots of excuses why he couldn’t go, anything but admit to the truth.

You start to feel guilty all the time: Whatever I do is never quite right. Not a powerful enough declaration of love. There is no room for doubt. I am either with him or against him. I always have to prove that I really love him.

But inside, there is a nagging doubt that begins to grow.

You walk on eggshells all the time: This is because I am now living with Jekyll and Hyde. The lover I fell for and this alien creature that inhabits the dark side. The fear of a 5 day sulk or a storm out starts to modify what I say and do. “This is just temporary”, he promises. “I can change”…”You just have to believe in me”, he counters. It’s his problem but it all comes back to me.

The line is crossed: One day there is a confrontation. “I can’t take this anymore, you have to leave”, I finally say. I’m torn in many directions but I know this is not my pattern and this is his stuff, not mine. The response crosses the line, the foulest name calling I have ever experienced and a whisper of violence. I feel violated and I am not prepared to endanger my mental and physical wellbeing. I have never felt afraid in a relationship before.


I am lucky because I am strong. I have a strong sense of self. I am also fortunate to be financially independent and not have a child with this man.

I ignore the lies and manipulation, I stand resolute. He leaves but I agree to go to counselling with him. Perhaps I think that we could work it out after all? His reaction to therapy is up there with some of the worst behaviour I have experienced. All doubts that maybe I had got it wrong are erased. The monster appears before a witness, something has cracked and I feel shattered but incredibly grateful that another person can validate all that I have experienced.

There are months of untangling. Many tears, mostly my own. At one point a gem lands on my lap. A hand written journal detailing how he will get me back. It outlines the lies he will tell and the justifications for them. It is incredibly lucid. A manifesto of manipulation.

Why do I write this? Blog as confessional? No, it’s more than that.

I read some other blogs, where women are in co-dependent relationships. Are wavering about taking their man back again. It doesn’t have to be so called benign drugs like this, it can be a manipulative depressive or a gambler. It doesn’t matter. The patterns are the same.

I tell my story because I am lucky. This journey from start to true completion borrowed less than a year of my life. It was an extraordinary experience. But still, I was left feeling REALLY STUPID AND ASHAMED. I had declared this to be the love of my life. I felt like I had made a fool of myself.

I have good friends. They are there for me. I believe in myself. I am resourced. I am intelligent. I am lucky. And yet, someone found the gap and squirreled past the early warning switches. I was flattered and feted. I was vulnerable. I changed the locks.

But at the end of the day, being vulnerable is not a crime. Just a human weakness. The worst thing that could have come out of this, other than not leaving, would be never loving someone again. Or worse, repeating the pattern with someone else.

Why do I write this? I am purging the past.

After a courtship that has lasted for years (not weeks like last time) a man who I love is moving in. As I clear closet space I can feel an echo of the last time I did this, in the same house, the same closet. It’s time to exorcise any last glimmer of a ghost.

When there have been so many positive relationships in my past, homes together ended with minimal trauma and keeping in touch with exes who I am happy to see - it’s annoying to have one raw patch that over shadows the others.

This is a happy week. Not one of trepidation. I purge my past with my story. A very small chapter out of a largely fortunate life. A blip on the radar, not to be repeated.

I’m not expecting a life through rose coloured glasses, but one of shared honesty and good communication. Where laughter far outnumbers the tears.

Call me a fool, but I’ve risked finding it again.

Friday, December 01, 2006

men behaving badly

There’s nothing like a journalist in a tussle. Think Helen Wellings doorstepping some shonky car dealer or Ray Martin getting hot under the collar about John Saffran going through his rubbish. But last night, the profession outdid itself with a Murdoch journalist rushing the stage to have a barney with a member of his alumni.

For more on men in monkey suits getting tired and emotional in public check out the Walkley action at the site below.



images shamelessly lifted from Murdoch’s news.com.au
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