Monday, February 26, 2007

she's back

Guess who's thrown her hat in the ring for a Senate seat?


when your lovers love life gets in the way of posting

Melbourne Girl asked for more info about life with the Not Boyfriend. Well let me see, how does this weekend sound to you?

Had lunch with NB and an (unfulfilled) object of his affection on Friday. Her marriage has recently ended. She is a lovely woman and doesn’t deserve any of the shit that is happening in her life.

Friday – Sunday his long time ex girlfriend (in fact his first ever girlfriend) stayed for the weekend. We dined, cooked, breakfasted together. They had time out on their own. No big deal. I knew when she turned his portrait of "Osama as Christ" around to face the wall that things had changed since they were together. Oh and the crucifix around her neck.

He sleeps in his own room, in his own bed some nights too. Which as an sporadic insomniac I have to say I enjoy having a night by myself cuddling Princess Prissy Paws who went off him in a big way before he moved in.

Ah, just another weekend in paradise!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

a seasonal rant

Last night as I left work there was a queue of about 20 people, mostly men, outside the flower stand. It was after 6pm and few of them looked at home in such a place. Most appeared a little harassed.

While I waited for the tram I saw a blonde woman being picked up by a man, presumably her boyfriend, in a yellow porche. There was the flash of florist paper and she gave him a big kiss. Then a present. Two. Flimsy items of lingerie. She nuzzled into him more each time the wrapping was opened. I couldn’t see his face clearly but she was truly in bliss.

What lengths does a man have to go through to get sex these days, I thought.

I know I am a cynic. No doubt I have posted about this before. I’ve only had one partner who bought into the commercially engineered Valentines crap and unlike the blonde in the porche, it made me feel very uncomfortable.

Not that I am knocking romance. When someone really knows you, can throw the perfect surprise and act with heartfelt care – is a beautiful gift. I will accept flowers most days of the year, you can tell by my home and workplace that I love them – but if you know me it would probably not be a spray of carnations or long stemmed roses. Overblown rosebuds from your garden are a whole different issue though. But please save your money and avoid it in mid February.

The first year with Valentines man, most unusually he called at work one day to see if I was free for lunch. This was most unusual, but I didn’t twig. We had a quick catch up, over lunch he asked if I was free for dinner too. That’s keen I thought. But I wasn’t, actually I was meant to be seeing a friend, a distant ex boyfriend. We were better companions than lovers and both living on our own as we were, often caught up for dinner or a movie. Valentines man had an unreadable look on his face. Back at work, half an hour later a bunch of roses arrived by courier. At this point the penny dropped. I noticed it was the 14th of February and rearranged whom I would dine with that night.

But it didn’t feel right. Why roses? Why dinner? Why this day? I guess it was my first relationship with a traditional bloke and it didn’t sit well with me. Successive years I learnt to not catch up with ex boyfriends on this particular night of the year. Each year there would be a bunch of roses. Sometimes chocolates too. Dinner at a fully booked restaurant.

What happened to imagination? Why do so many people buy into the commercialisation of romance?

I went on a first date once with a guy who wasn’t a natural cook but had found out about my dietary perversions and made a wonderful picnic (he cooked quiche – ah but it was the 80’s). He took me up a hill, a spot I had never been to and we snuggled into the contoured earth ate, chatted and marvelled at the view. He also turned up for said date wearing a rainbow wig. But that’s another story.

The most meaningful gifts I have received over the years have been handmade things from partners. One made me an axe. It was perfect, I needed one to chop wood – but what made it so special is he’d actually honed and welded the metal himself. Another took almost 2 years to make a piece of furniture that I still love and admire. He delivered it about a week after we broke up. If we hadn’t split I think it would have taken him about another 6 months. But still, each bit of wood was lovingly selected, the design reworked til he got it right. An amazing gift.

The Not Boyfriend gives me art, pieces that he’s painted. I hope he always will. What do I do? I’ve massaged, cooked, collaged, I’ve collected photos, decorated the packaging, hidden concert tickets inside books and T shirts.

In the end it’s not actually about the gift, it is the giving. It is remembering a friend’s birthday or an important date in their life. It’s knowing them well enough to give a token that says more about the receiver than the giver. It is about honouring friendship, saying thank you, sorry or just – I’m glad you are in my life.

But please, do it any day - just not February 14.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

something in the air

There's a whiff of something in the air, is it romance? No, its even too cheesey for that. It's a cat with a pus filled wound on her head.

Just in case any of my recently single readers have wild delusions as to the significance of the date, I thought I'd let you know that the not-boyfriend and I have spent a very romantic evening at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital with a less than happy and rather malodourous cat.

Now if that didn't make you feel better, I'll post a picture of the very nasty looking feline injury.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

a whiff of displacement activity

Does the flurry of posts at the moment suggest something to you? Can you smell of a deadline looming?

My thought for the day “I can procrastinate, as long as I procrastinate creatively”.

Some things in the blogoshpere tickling my creative fancy at the moment:

Keri Smith a powerhouse of ideas – journal work, collage, visual arts and much more – don’t leave without checking out her “100 ideas”.

Whip Up - if I read craft blogs will I osmotically acquire the abilities to sew, knit and do all sorts of nifty things with found objects?

Jenny Diski a writer I have admired for years since I read “Nothing Natural”. In her blog “Biology of the worst kind” she begins posts with priceless lines like I'm troubled about being a miserablist. A mentor for all grumpy, but creative, older women.

…and so much more. But I really must do something now!

Another pretty picture from yesterday before I go.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

a whole new take on mood music

What happens when you play death metal?

Artist date part 2

After an early hour spent at the farmers market in Collingwood tasting morsels, wandering through the gardens and taking photos it was home to drop off purchases and refuel.

Part 2 began in the middle of the day, ambling through the Rose Street craft market, walking through the back streets of Fitzroy, browsing at Zetta Florence and then hitting Gertrude Street. I have mused about the wonders of these glorious few inner city blocks before but since my last visit barely a week has gone by when some cool shop in the street hasn’t appeared in a design magazine. There is still a bit of grunge (it is the home to the housing commissions sprawling towers) but the expensive price tags have certainly moved in. None the less my stalwarts – Deans Art and Artisan Books remain unchanged. I got some lovely linen A4 paper for a song, freshly sliced by a helpful assistant. In Artisan I stumbled across yet another book that could almost make me take up the knitting.

Heading home again, in the fine rain. A wedding group was sheltering under umbrellas outside the museum, the lemon scented gum emitted it’s uplifting fragrance and from inside the Carlton Gardens came the beautiful tones of a lovingly played brass instrument. Nestled in the crook of a tree a good few metres above the ground a guy was playing the saxophone.

It is on days like these that I love Melbourne.

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artist date

My trip to the farmers market at the Collingwood Childrens' Farm today was not about feeding the Food Nazi, but nourishing my soul. I needed colour, nature, birds and bush. All this just 10 minutes from my door.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

the strong, silent type

I couldn’t sleep last night and what was I loosing sleep over? Peter bloody Garrett. I’d seen his shining pate on TV and it bought back the pain and disappointment of him not answering my letters last year. All 2 of them. There he was standing behind Rudd. Yes supporting that smug, catholic school boy, as if Garrett’s ex-rock star status could him some street cred. It all but made me sick.

Then I heard Garrett actually spoke, on the first day at school, a 9 word question in parliament. Now this is cause for celebration as he have been very quiet, just a figure looming behind his leader in all sorts of unlikely places. Even on his website the latest “news” is from last November. These 9 words should constitute a news flash or an email alert at the very least. If I was him I would also be asking the ABC to offer an on-air retraction, they stole a word and reported it as 8! But then again, there probably aren’t many people listening to news radio in the early hours of the morning, so maybe his energy would be better spent campaigning against the coal industry, closing down uranium mines, putting an end to the nuclear energy speculation – even writing a song or answering his emails!

Monday, February 05, 2007

“Analyze This” meets “The Secretary”

Choosing a therapist can often be a minefield. Finding a ‘good fit’ with a health professional becomes more difficult when it involves the workings of our mind and untangling the many psychological layers we form in our need to survive the world we inhabit. Let’s be honest – few people enjoy therapy. It is uncomfortable to disarm the protections we have adopted. A good therapy session is rarely about a pleasant chat and a cup of tea.

Despite professional regulation of psychologists in this country, it can be hard to find a ‘good’ one. Some of it is just personal, but despite all the checks and balances there are some individuals who really fall through the gaps.

Take the case of Perth psychologist, Bruce Beaton. With a little digging you can find evidence that he is well experienced and generally respected. Respected that is until, the case where he diagnosed a client as ‘suffering from’ BDSM. If this was a movie it would be “Analyze This” meets “The Secretary”.

According to the Australian, reporting on his current trial, a police sting uncovered the use of whips, coat hangers and orders via SMS, in his attempts to cure a young bulimic woman of her problems.

There can be little doubt that the extent of his ‘role playing’ over stepped professional boundaries and has no doubt damaged his vulnerable client further but what has really got his colleagues all of a twitter is to whether liking some bondage and discipline is a psychological condition or a lifestyle choice. The profession says emphatically it is all about lifestyle, there is no compulsion or illness underlying the desire to be restricted, beaten, controlled or finding pleasure in pain.

While I’ve known a number of men (and a few women) who get sexual enjoyment out of what others would perceive of pain when they are in the state of sexual arousal or get turned on by being submissive, I have also encountered the odd individual who’s ‘lifestyle choice’ enters the zone of pathology.

Take, for the sake of anonymity, “Gary”. Gazza, was a frequent caller to a telephone counselling service I partook in a long, long time ago. While women were warned it was common to get men calling purely to get their jollies off, Gazza was a little different. I’m guessing he was in his late 20’s at the time, educated by priests at a notorious catholic school and decidedly single. Gazza repeatedly needed to call to talk about the effect that corporeal punishment had had on his life. The brothers had often beaten him with a strap. The effect of this kind of outdated discipline had eroded the self esteem of what was likely to have been a very sensitive boy. As an adult he needed to relive the treatment, frequently. While Gazza could have been discounted as yet another sad-arse masturbator (of which there were many) who got off talking to young, relatively inexperienced women on a crisis line – unlike many of the other sexually excited callers what he exhibited was severe psychological damage. Gazza needed to ‘demonstrate’ the blows that he had repeatedly experienced at school. What part of his body the strap landed on, if we hadn’t managed to derail him from his call, he never described. Gazza was not sexually explicit, unlike the other blokes he never had an opening gambit of “what colour are your knickers”, he was never looking for stimulation from the person on the other end of the line. What Gazza needed was a witness. He needed someone to validate his pain that had been transmuted at some point into erotic pleasure. Sure I was young and only minimally trained in counselling. Our role was to listen and refer any people with real issues to appropriate professional services. But to this day I wont forget Gazza, or discount his affliction as one of choice.

What Bruce Beaton allegedly did was not professional, legal or ethical. But does a faulty treatment disprove a diagnosis?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

writers block

Some days the list of what I can’t write about outstrips what I can. Or rather the precious cargo of other people’s secrets is so delicious and tempting that it makes everything else seem dull by comparison. I sit on my fingers, the amusing stories itching to be told.

Some things I can’t write about:

The play dates the not-boyfriend has when his friends visit (things wives wouldn’t want to stumble across on the internet)

My clients

Some of my friends’ jobs and how at times they have intersected with my own life

My family

The not-boyfriend’s family

So, you see why I end up posting about politics.

Go on, write a secret anonymously in the comments, it’ll make you feel better!

Friday, February 02, 2007

ten minutes

Weather – gorgeous, days warm without being stinking hot and nights where you no longer have to lie prostrate and naked across the bed dodging mosquitoes.

Social activities – that post holidays, everyone’s back in town, it’s summer and we want to have fun kind of buzz. Keeping resolutions to reconnect with people again.

Work – should have been laid back and relatively undemanding for the first month of the year took a u-turn. Busy. All the extra work related necessities – planning, tax and new projects, have not been completed as expected.

Exciting – stuff in the wings, but oh so slow, not helped by the aforementioned busyness.

Pressure – background worries higher than usual. More trans-Tasman flights in the wings. Aging parents a constant concern.

Getting used to the changes at home – slowly. It’s great to come home from work to dinner in the oven. Not so fun to be out of synch in the sleep department.

Optimistic – about my abilities, the new domestic arrangements and achieving deadlines.

Not so optimistic – the assertion that 2007 will be funeral-free.

Things to do before the summer ends – more picnics, outdoor movies, walks, bike rides, socialising, sleeping.

Note to self – need to get back into blogging.
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