Thursday, 29 December 2011

Behind the scenes of the new Edenland blog header.

There was way too much change when I was a kid, so I tend to keep using something until it breaks or dies. I've had the same blog header for over three years now .. knew it needed a revamp about two years ago. I thought about it, and decided to just do something small.

So I hired some graffiti artists to come to my house and spray my office wall. Then I organised a photographer to come over and take some shots of me IN my new blog header. Then I got Australia's best blog designers to tweak and perfect it all. I also now have a new commenting system so I can reply back to you personally.

I've sucked at most things in my life but GODDAMN I love my blog.





Too much?

The artists are Andrew and Levi. Their work is featured in the new book "Zero Tolerance: Street Artists of the Blue Mountains" which you can see HERE



The guys are available for work and commissioned pieces .. even canvases shipped to overseas.

One day last year I was standing in my local post office and told the guy behind the counter I had a blog. And felt like an IDIOT .. I don't usually tell people. Suddenly this voice pipes up behind me .. "What's your blog? I have one too." The voice belonged to Mary Canning and we exchanged heavy life histories before we got out of the shop.

By the time we walked down the street, we knew everything about each other and were friends for life. Her blog is Shines Like a Postcard and her photography website is Mary Canning. Not only is she a hugely talented photographer, Mary is a precious Soul with an inquisitive nature and giving heart. When I retreat into myself and don't return her phonecalls she knows it's because I have to shut down to keep going. Because I am a really fucked-up person. Thank God she doesn't take it personally.

                               Mary I adore you

For years I've tried to find decent designers in Sydney who know their way around a blog. Finally, there is Jarod and Liz Productions 


They are married AND awesome. They are patient and clever ... Jarod even photoshopped my stupid lipstick out. Liz blogs at Lizosaurus and loves dinosaurs and cats. Once she said the c-word on her blog. I haven't even said the c-word on my blog.

They both tried so hard to get me to move to Wordpress, but I just wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. I tell myself I'm staying on Blogger because I'm being ironic and making a statement about the nature of success, but really I'm just too terrified. Ree told me to stay on it too. "Just keep doin' what you're doin', honey." It also helps that my esteemed business associate Mrs Woog and I have the phone numbers of some pretty hot Google executives, for whenever we hit a bloggy snag.

Now what the hell did I do all of this for? All of this time and money and energy? I have absolutely no idea. But man it felt good. Fuck reasons.

I'd blog for free every day for the rest of my life. I don't do it for stats or business or money, I do it for something much more valuable than that ... something indefinable. One day I might even work out what that is.

                     Goodbye, old cartoon header. You served me well!

There were a lot of shots to choose from.





                         Pre-photoshopped lipstick

This one won. My sister said it's like I have a secret. And I do .. I have a fucking million secrets. My tagline is still the same, because I keep trying to outrun it. I don't like any photo of me anywhere, ever. I look too me-ey. But man I love my wall blog header. I walk into my office now and POW. It's Edenland, right there. I created it .. or it created me. Jury's out having a smoke and watching porn on that one.

Anyway, that's enough of my new blog header. What do YOU think about my new blog header? Or blogs in general? Or secrets? Or porn? I can totally answer you in the comments now.

Think I'm growing up. Shit just got real.

AGAIN.


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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Big Strength


I am staying in the house of a woman whose only child died. How do you get over something like that? My guess is, you never do. Why are we so preoccupied with "getting over" things?

She has stunning artwork and sculptures ... Rocco is in love with the "T-Rex egg" in the backyard. Really hope he doesn't break it.


Love this. It's like two people are countries. At a kissing point, with their own laws and policies and customs.


Even the tree is amazing. It grew out of the earth until something big happened, which made it change course entirely. It went in a completely new direction but the knot in its trunk where it all changed and shifted is probably the strongest part of the whole tree.



I've looked at this picture the most. My heart breaks for a mother who could not save her daughter, as death looks on.

It's a beautiful house, I'm sure the owner is beautiful too. There's grief and strength in every room.



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Sunday, 25 December 2011

White Wine in the Sun

4.03pm. It's a fair to middling Christmas Day, complete with prawns and sunshine and laughter. Everybody is concerned about my drinking except me .. sparkling mineral water and lime all the way. I'm completely fine .. clinked my glass and announced to the full room: "Just letting everyone know that I am completely fine, repeat, I am fine. There is no need to ask me how I am anymore."  They all cheered. 

Why would I not be ok? I'm ok as I ever was. I'm as fine as I ever was. I'm as fucked as I ever was. I'm exactly the same as everybody else.

I wrote a trivia quiz with seven different categories and fifteen different questions on each one. Funny, dreadful questions that will make my sisters shriek with laughter .. I know for a fact my stepfather will pick the Sports questions, only to find ones about the wives and gossip of famous sportsmen. He will laugh and I'll say Jim come on .. you *know* I hate sports.

Family of origin, although tricky .. remind you of who you are. It's a comforting relief. All of the women in my family have a deep, generational strength. The Taylor clan. We came to Australia as convicts. We get through anything.

My two boys are laughing and eating lollies, shrieking and jumping in the pool with all of their cousins. I've said yes to everything they have asked for today, and probably will again tomorrow. And the day after that.




Quite looking forward to Boxing Day though. Hope you out there are as ok as everybody else too.



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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The True Parts.

I drove straight off those mountains with one mission.

                                      Accomplished.

My sister Linda lives in Bondi and she made me Spanish Chorizo Chicken and wouldn't let me help or clean. She also made me laugh. Our kids played together and I lay on her couch and felt better.

It's been rough, man. And now, let us consolidate that roughness with Christmas! I just today worked out why it's a hard time for so many .. every single Christmas you've ever had in your life gets remembered. Which is equal parts awesome and terrible.

::

On the way down, I made a split-second decision to drive past our old childhood house in Mt Riverview .. we lived there from 1980 to 1987. Usually, we never stayed more than a year or two in a house.



So weird .. like I could just walk inside the front door, slam my school bag down, and forage for food.

We used to spread our beach towels on that driveway and lie there after a swim. The sun would beat down and mould our towels to the concrete panels and we'd laugh and stand up and do it again.

My old bedroom window is right there above the carport. Inside that room, written in black texta on the inside panel of the built-in cupboard is written "EDEN BARRIE WAS HERE."

In cursive.

For so many years I'd look out that window and wonder what would become of my life. Where would I go? Who would I meet? I always swore I'd never forget what it felt like to be a kid.

As we drove off, my son said, "So mum, that house has stayed the EXACT same for 32 years."

I told him yes, and realised that a lot of me has stayed the same as well .. the true parts. Which is not such a bad thing, not at all.

::



"You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last."


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Monday, 19 December 2011

Awake at a Wake.


Live every day like you've just been to a funeral.

You're at the wake with the curried egg sandwiches going stale on a plate and you're sitting there in shock, seeing the world as it really is instead of how you construct it to be. Reality gets beautifully ripped away and you sit there holding the truth in your hand like some amazing thing.

The truth was there all along. You weren't.

It all slips away .. the pretense and the lies you tell yourself, all the things you think matter so much but they don't and never will. At last count, I've been to twenty-five funerals. Most of them before I hit thirty. That's a lot of dead bodies, a lot of people who can't feel the wind on their face anymore.

You're not dead, why are you waiting?

Live with compassion. Have a sense of urgency in everything you do. Admit how much of a prick you really are - mea culpa, arseholes. Own it all. Stop placing so much value on what other people think of you .. who cares? Kill a pig and skin it and cure the skin and make your own drum. Beat. March.

Wake up. Seriously, wake the fuck up. Because one day you won't and somebody else will be having an epiphany at your funeral and you'll be looking on from the afterlife thinking, dang.


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Friday, 16 December 2011

I told him he could choose one.


He stood behind me, waiting patiently.

"Mate, I said one TOY. Not one whole box of toys."

The sweetest blue eyes stared at me as he half-hunched over and spoke like Robert De fucking Niro.

"I. Chose. One."

He got none.


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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Not a goddamn Christmas post.

I made the mistake of buying the Christmas chocolate advent calenders on the sixth of December this year .. so on the first day, Rocco got to eat six chocolates.

Try telling a 3yr old why he can't have six advent chocolates every day. He will not understand .. tantrums will ensue and the calenders will lay on top of the fridge gathering dust until Christmas morning when they can eat all the goddamn chocolate they want to.

Max did craft all by himself and came up with these:

I'M SERIOUS. And very proud. They are double Ninja Stars.


I paid him $1 for each one and then made them into Christmas decorations.




I had to put the christmas tree up by myself this year. I put it up by myself every year, but this year it stung hard. I'm the only adult in this house now. But I swear to god, nothing ... and I mean NOTHING, says Christmas more than an oversized santa tie from Hot Dollar.

                   He has more Christmas spirit than everybody put together.

Every year I say, I'm going to make a gingerbread house from scratch! And never, ever do it.

This year I decided to do it despite myself anyway. Tried to force myself to get all festive and shit. This is what happened.




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Monday, 12 December 2011

Why this two minutes and fifty-three seconds symbolises everything that's right in the world.


Michael Buble Heckled By Mom - Watch MoreFunny Videos

I love how the mum has clearly had a few wines before she walks up to the stage and asks one of the best singers in the world to please let her son sing. Why? Because she *knows* her son can sing.

I love how Michael Buble humours her at first, and listens. You can see his mind ticking over, flitting between annoyance and then resignation .. and he generously asks the 15-year old boy name Sam to get up onstage and sing with him. He didn't have to do that. He makes Sam feel at ease as the opening part of "Feeling Good" plays.

One of the best parts is just after Michael Buble sings the opening lines, and he relinquishes the mike over to this complete stranger. He's almost cringing, has no idea what this guy will sound like. But he gave him a chance anyway. That's called having blind faith .. in something you're not sure is going to work, but you do it anyway.

Have you watched the video yet? Did you see the few seconds it took for Michael to realise that Sam does indeed have an amazing voice? When Michael pulls away and jumps up and is so excited in his utter glee. That's called "Mudita."

Mudita in Buddhism is vicarious joy .. "the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being rather than begrudging it." World needs a lot more of that going on, don't you think?

I love how this video was completely unstaged and unscripted. It really happened, like a really real thing. That seems to be getting more rare in this homogenised, careful constructed world nowadays. Sam ended up on talk shows over in England, saying how mortified he was when his mother first went up. But he concedes that she could totally be his manager one day.

It was filmed more than a year ago. I've watched it so many times, and can't contain my heart at Michael Buble not being able to contain his heart. What a beautiful guy.

And that young Sam would be 16 now. He's just a good haircut and a decent shirt away from getting a whole lotta tail.

HOLY SHITBALLS MOM.


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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Nathan.

I found out a few days ago that Nathan's mum had put the call out to his old cronies at rehab.
"She is searching for people who knew Nathan. She wants to know a little about his life, from people he knew ... Eden, I find you to be an inspiration in life itself and was wondering if you could fit him into a blog or write something I could give his mother. She called me today and told me she had asked many people to write something about him and she had no replies. I think it would make her Christmas to hear just a little of your story about him .. to please write a few words to her, reminding her of what her son was like."

I've never met Nathan's mum. We could cross each other in the street and just keep walking, unaware. The thought of her getting no replies utterly kills me. Imagine asking the strangers who were in rehab with your child .. for some memories of them. Anything. Seriously, imagine how hard that would be.

Nathan's mum, Nathan was beautiful.

He wasn't a tall guy, but he had the friendliest and most gorgeous eyes. And a wicked smile. He was funny .. genuine, friendly, and very cheeky. He and I were just mates ... which was rare for me back then. I had a habit of cracking onto every cute boy I saw, and took extra care in the mirror before the meetings at night.

There was such a camaraderie in that place on Waratah Street. Nathan was very popular, because his heart and laughter were infectious. We'd cruise out in groups for coffee, go to the movies, watch videos late into the night on the weekends.

I miss that place, and the people. It's easy to glamourise and romanticise it ... and holy shit the group therapy. The group therapy. We were pummelled and pulled apart. Some of us got it. Some of us were cracked open just enough to let some clarity in like Jules says in Pulp Fiction.

I saw Nathan "get it" for a while. He and I were actually quite similar. We flitted around, in and out. Had a few false starts and spells around the track. We'd see each other in the street, and always stop and say hi. It's like we were Ralph and Sam, taking it in turns. I'd boost him if he was down and out, then a few months later he's boost me. One day I walked into the fruit and veg shop and there he was, proudly carting the palletes around. He'd got his shit together, and for the first time in a long time, so had I. We were just so fucking proud of ourselves.

I walked past that church that time and I don't know why I went in but I did. And there's Nathan and Paul C, playing the guitar and piano together, just jammin' out. Laughing, and having fun. Straight as the Ace of Spades, both of them. How incredible was Nathan's guitar playing! You must have paid for lessons? People often talked about it.

I'll never forget the time in group when Nathan had just been to the dentist. The therapist was questioning him about the painkillers - what did they give him and how much was he taking?

He had a whole pack of Panadeine Forte, and admits that he wasn't in any pain right then. But he'll hold on to the pack because he *might* be in pain later.

She laughed so hard she had tears, told him what classic addict thinking that was and got him to surrender his pack over. (Begrudgingly.) I didn't know why she was laughing. I completely understood why he'd hold onto it. Pre-empting his pain, I guess.

Nathan's mum, there was more pain to come. He struggled with it. I witnessed it. I heard him share at meetings and then he'd go back out and come back in. It's a real unique hell, that kind of struggle. I am so sorry.

I cried hard when Paul C came running into my room to tell me that Nathan had died in his bathroom. Paul C came to visit me in 2001 when my son was born. He bought him his first ever stuffed toy .. a blue and white puppy called Bones. He still has it. Paul died not long after - heart attack from too much coke.

For so many years I kept thinking that I saw Nathan in the street. It was uncanny. Then I'd realise that he was gone, and wouldn't be pushing the fruit palletes or playing that guitar or lifting weights. Or stroking his new baby girls hair. All of those undone things.

I am so, so sorry.

I wish I had more memories for you. I wish I could blow you away with insight and funny things and reasons why. I passed a photo I had of him onto his daughter, he was at his grad and had a white t-shirt on with jeans and he was happy and proud. You can see it in his eyes.

I don't know why some of us make it and some of us don't. My thoughts are with you as you spend another Christmas without him. I can tell you that I'll never stop thinking about him. Or the others who have gone now too.

I'll try my hardest to honour them by staying on the right path myself and living life to its fullest. For all of us.



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Friday, 9 December 2011

The People in Line at the Eminem Concert.


In the middle of the Eminem concert the other night, the camera caught some blonde riding her boyfriends shoulders and lifting her top up. Eminem's eyebrows shot up. I was jealous of that chick .. her freedom and fun. But mostly, her boobs. They were magnificent - brown nipples, even.

Some chicks get all the luck.


Seeing him live in concert was unreal. Even though the sound was shit .. it was a pleasure just to be breathing the same air as him for awhile. His opener was Won't Back Down. Which set the tone for the whole concert, and I suspect will set the tone for him for quite a few years yet.

"I feel like I'm morphin, into something that's so incredible that I'm dwarfin, all competitors."


Before he came onstage, we read the screens about how he entered rehab in 2005 and then spent the next almost five years as a recluse, not touring.

Finally, after all these years, he's admitted he's a drug addict. OD'd in late 2006 and spent Christmas in hospital then spent the next few years in a depressive slump. Completely fucked up, wishing he was dead, and questioning everything.

He spoke of this, between his songs. His current album is called Recovery - the one before it was Relapse. Rappers are literal, yo.

"Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse."


Fascinating to see the change. Instead of an angry peroxided guy in a hockey mask, there was this incredibly mature, talented performer. He twitched his hand, like a freaky genius does. I don't think he has much experience in performing straight, yet. He was shy.

"Ok. I'm guessing all of you out there, you people who come to an Eminem concert ... you're pretty fucked up."

The whole crowd goes nuts. He said that he always used to be fucked up too, but this time he's gonna remember the Australian shows because he's completely sober.

"Ok, let's take a lil trip down memory lane."

Launches into My Name Is, Real Slim Shady, Kill You. He sang snippets of each, the most awesomely fucked-up medley in town. I smelt beer and pot. The whole entire crowd was indeed, entirely fucked up.

As he introduced Not Afraid, he dedicated it to anybody still struggling. Watching him perform this song live after I'd done this with it back in March .. was kind of magic.

I've been thinking about him all week .. aside from being incredibly sad that he's not in Australia anymore. He's in the process of huge metamorphosis. The most interesting and talented people transcend themselves, again and again. He'll be back, for sure. Probably doing something completely unexpected, like touring with a symphony orchestra or something. Now that he's clean .. brilliantly clean, he's going to harness up all of his energy in a completely different way. His entire career so far has been while he's on drugs. Imagine what he's actually capable of!

When he talked to me during the concert, Eminem kept calling me "Sydney." That guy is so romantic! My friend Mrs Woog got a whole heap of people on board and they had #edenandeminem trending on twitter. It was magnificent, because here I am standing there, a straighty-one-eighty feeling all different kinds of emotions in this sea of fucked-up people ... and my friends in the computer made me and Marshall be together. On twitter, at least.

(Eminem has 7.6 million followers on twitter. And he follows NOBODY. Goddamn that beautiful arrogance.)

The people were a mixed bag. Young, old, try-hard, jaded, drunk. It's such a spectacle, to  see a big stadium show like that. We're all the little people, there to see this big star. When I stood to exchange my T-shirt because I am never as skinny as what I actually think I am, I looked around at my homies in the merch line. And realised ... we're all just as important as the star we're there to see. We all have a piece of Slim inside. We see in him what's in us. This is why great artists resonate with so many people .. we relate to their truth, their words and their pain.

One of the best parts was right at the end, during the encore chant. I filmed as Em came back on stage and when the strains of Lose Yourself were recognised, 30,000+ people all ejaculated together.



My usually shy, newly ten-year old son fist-pumped the air. Even punctuated it with a few WHOOAAA's. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. The music, the moment .. you better never let it go. My heart swelled out it's familiar decade-long swell.


 Some chicks get all the luck.



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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Edenland Cocktail.



I just received an email asking me .. in this busy Christmas season, how do I create my favourite cocktail?

Ok. Let's do this.

*ahem*

HOW EDEN WOULD CREATE HER FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL USING SCHWEPPES.

Firstly, the most important thing is *plenty* of alcohol on hand, to drink before during and after you create your perfect cocktail. I would choose two bottles of Stoli vodka, a case of Corona, a case of Grolsch, and three bottles of Wolfblass Black label. No I will not share.

For the actual cocktail, mix some crushed ice, lime slices, Schweppes Lemon Lime and Bitters, and a healthy, healthy serve of that Stoli vodka. Swizzle it round with a fancy straw. Get some cool garnish on that, pour into a really fancy glass so that you feel all important and completely ok.

Scull. It does not even touch the sides. Realise you've been born three drinks short and if only you could walk the earth feeling the way you feel with three drinks in you, everything would be fine.

Crack open your Coronas and your Wolfblass. Nothing in this world could stop you from drinking more at this point. You've awoken the insatiable beast that lives within .. only somebody else like you can understand. Put some cool music on and dance. Call your friends on the phone and tell them you love them. Think nostalgically of your shattered childhood. Drink drink and drink.

It's now time to go out ... you have no say in this. You are the girl in the red shoes. In my twenties I lived in a terrace house with some friends and they would all laugh as I slid my sunglasses in my pocket on Friday night. We all knew I would not be home for days.

You're off. Talk to everybody - feel alive, feel free. Feel AMAZING. Drink as much as you possibly can. Bat your eyes at guys and drinks will arrive. Go to the toilet and vomit ... makes room for more drinking.

The world swirls you around. Come-to, out of blackouts and you're talking to complete strangers who know your whole life history because you've just spent five hours telling them but you freak out and run away. Stuff that unwelcome feeling down with more drinking - or at this point, any substance that can get you as far away from yourself as possible. You're not fussy!

(That unwelcome feeling is called "conscience" ... trust me, you'll need it later.)

Mix the grape with the grain and back again. Do not care. You know you are somehow different to the people around you because they can stop and you can't. Go find different friends. My suggested tip is the more hardcore new friends, the better. They will make you feel normal.

Days later you arrive home to a kitchen littered with empty bottles and mouldy lime. Angry flatmates and a horrible heart. You are the worst person in the world, and the only thing that can make you stop feeling this way ... is another drink.

Welcome to hell.

::

This post has been sponsored by a heady mix of anger and rage. I am not dissing Schweppes .. I'd love to win this competition of flights and accommodation to Melbourne. I hear Melbourne has *great* recovery meetings, and my true cocktail is this one from a post I wrote last year called How to Fix a Drink for the Alcoholic This Christmas. Using Schweppes Natural Mineral Water of course.

I'm no prude, but I'm worried about the young kids I see on the news, bloody from bar fights and so drunk they're getting hit by cars and doing STUPID things. I worry .. alcohol is such a socially-acceptable drug. A lot of people can have fun and maintain it and know their limits, but a lot of people can't. People die from stupidity and loss of hope. You gotta go low to know.

I live near a town in the Blue Mountains called Katoomba, and the finishing touches are being made to the third huge bottle shop within a 1-km radius. That is one of the most dumbest things I've ever seen, but it's too late for people to do something about it, right? Every time I drive past it I want to start a picket line. I worry for my boys growing up in this world.

If you'd like to do a quick quiz on whether you think you're an alcoholic, try these 20 questions HERE. They're from the Minnesota Recovery Page ... Minnesota has drunks too, you know. There's drunks everywhere, all across the world. Beautiful, amazing ones.

Is it just me, or is Christmas all about the drinking? For those of us who struggle or have problems, it's like Run D.M.C. said - tricky. I'll be spending time with my sisters at my aunties houses - hopefully I won't be too much of a killjoy. I'll be going to meetings and hearing people talk about things like strength and courage and how to live in this crazy world with no edge-taker-offers. And at the end of the meeting I will feel how I always feel ... incredibly blessed that I have a place to go to where I can be honest and free and myself. And laugh ... my goodness, the black humour. It sustains me and keeps me going. Recovery meetings give me awareness I did not have before. They help me evolve and teach me things. I need to remain teachable.

You feel sorry for me that I can't drink? I feel sorry for you that you feel you have to.

So, I won't technically be mixing any cocktails this Christmas. I'd like to keep custody of my children. I like walking the earth with my head high, nothing to be ashamed of. I like being real ... crazy and all. It's hard and it hurts, especially going through really tough times with no buffer. But my feelings will not kill me. I keep hearing my angel wings unfurling ... you can too, if you want. I'm like an athlete. An endurance runner. A goddamn torch-carrying lunatic of Hope.

Cheers.



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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Winning your own giveaway is like winning the pass-the-parcel at your birthday party. You get excited but you just *know* you can't keep it.

I'm very fussy and protective when it comes to this blog, so it's rare that I do a giveaway. When I was asked to do the Nikki Gemmell/Sony Reader one, I jumped at the chance. The main reason was the subject matter - difficulties in marriage and motherhood. I'm having difficulties in my marriage and motherhood, so it was a *great* fit. Shit's tricky, even for the together normal people.

The comments on that post were incredible .. one hundred and eleven. And they weren't just quick ones, they were well-thought out slices of your lives. That's kind of amazing to me. I remember when I first started blogging, I'd get three comments. Sometimes even nine. Anything over ten and I had MADE IT as a blogger.

I wish I had one hundred and eleven Sony Readers to give away but I don't. Tonight I sat here with a cup of tea, and punched "Between 1 and 111" in random.org ... up came 72. It's the year I was born - it's a sign! So I counted up to 72, to find that I had won my own giveaway. Suck it Sony. I'd commented twice, once to say thank you for your comments and then next to say, "Now I'm gonna win my own giveaway." And I did. I'm a goddamn oracle.

Graciously, I decided to release my Reader back into the mix and drew again. Comment number 74 is Kate from Kate Says Stuff  "That which looks perfect and enviable from the outside never ever is. You only see what people choose to show you and you can only ever find peace in your own soul, not by virtue of anyone else's."

WORD. Kate, email me your home address and I will post you the Sony Reader. (I won it first, but I didn't open it.)

Second winner was for an overseas commenter ... it's Kirsty from 4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle

Kristy once wrote a blog post called The Head Prefect .. and mentioned me. I have never forgotten what she said .. "Eden has had enough drama for a bad reality TV series."

Not just a reality TV show. A BAD ONE.

Her comment was number 33. And it was gold. "I was sitting in the school cafeteria with a child by my side, we were waiting for 3 other children to finish their "activities" so we could then drive them home for an evening filled with afternoon snacks, homework and dinner preparation. I was bored and sitting in a freaking high school cafeteria. Without thinking the words ... "lucky I feel good about myself otherwise this soul destroying existence could really get the better of me." .. came out of my mouth.

That was me earlier this week.

There's a different me today - later in the week. I'm happy that I had the choice of motherhood. I'm happy that I gave up working full-time, I'm happy that I'm writing.

I float constantly between the ups and the downs. I'm either loving it or hating it or just getting on with it. I don't think there is eternal contentment.

At this very moment, on my street there is a Filipino woman outside washing her employers car, she will walk their dog, wash their clothes and take their child to the park. Her own children are back in the Filipines, she see's them maybe every 2 years, she sends money every month. She watches me drop my children to school nearly every morning and waves and smiles as I drive past.

Today, I'm happy. Tomorrow I may stab my husband in the eye with a fork over breakfast."

Kirsty send me your address in Qatar and I will post you the actual copy of the book, like, from the olden days.

Thank you to everybody who entered. It's softening this tricky time for me, knowing you are all out there. With your own stuff. Especially in this lead-up to Christmas and my husband and I navigate our way through living in separate houses. (Bad reality TV series.)

(See what I did there? You just got a bombshell, if you read all the way through this post. JUICY HUH?)

Bring on Eminem tomorrow night, is all I can say.



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Thursday, 1 December 2011

"If one woman were to tell the truth about her life ... the world would split open."

I nearly died a few times this year.

Every morning I get up and light myself on fire. My flesh burns as I stumble in to take a piss. At the coffee machine I start to melt down to the bones. My boys play and fight on the floor and I tell them to get dressed as I burn and burn my motherfucking self to the ground before I hope in the car and take them to school. I meant to write "hop" just then but I'll leave it as hope. I hope in the car and hope at the shops and hope at home. Sometimes it's all I have. I look in the mirror and see ashes and a broken spirit and smoking flesh. This is a good thing.

Every morning I must do this. So every morning I do this. I'm not who I was yesterday and neither are you. Tomorrow I will be different again. As soon as these words are written I'm different. I'm never who I was.

I'm always fucking running. That shadow ... some days it's as big as the world I'm trying to change in me.

My stakes are higher than ever now. I get asked what it feels like. Snakes in my veins. Rats in my belly, restless and hungry. Insatiable. Yet I know I can have nothing - not a sip, a bit, a taste, a line. Nothing. My edges cannot be taken off. I'm very edgy and it's very, very hard.  Some days I dream of running far away and doing dreadful things. Absolving myself of all responsibility of any goddamn thing. I think of my dad and the genes he shared and how easy it would be to fall over and give up.

I give up in different ways, to survive. My head is a roaming beast that's hard to sit with. Surrender to win, they say.

Not too long ago I lay down in my bed and sleep would not come. I had poisoned myself. God set up screens for me, my own show. All weekend I watched the worst parts of humanity played out. Dead people and babies and killers and demons and bloody bloody hate. People jumping from towers. I went classically insane. This is not a metaphor. I begged and bargained as this went on for four nights straight and just when I thought I was trapped forever it all left and my eyes looked like mine again.

I'm a soldier.

When I was a kid we lived in Fiji and had this catamaran. I remember the sound of the sail unfurling, the sharp noise as the wind suddenly caught it. I kept hearing that sound in my psychosis, over and over. It was a set of Angels wings, unfurling and unfolding and protecting.

How cool it would be if those wings were mine. Metaphorically. If I had finally earned them. Maybe they are .. maybe I have triumphed and won.

Until the next day, when I must get up and set fire to myself again. Kill myself over and over again, in order to live.



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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Why I am taking my ten year old son to the Eminem concert this weekend.

Back in 2002, Max was a baby with a mother who adored Eminem. I'd blast it from my old school ghetto blaster, because my car was so crap it didn't even have a stereo. Em was getting caned in the press and on the news and I could not love his balls more. I bought all of his albums and cassingles ... one which he sang with another distinctive rapper I didn't recognize at the time ... Jay-Z.



"Never been afraid to say what's on my mind at
any given time or day coz I'm a
renegade.
Never been afraid to talk about anything.
Anything?
ANYTHING."

Eminem may have matured and evolved ... but man does he still have that raw hunk of talent. Unbelievable. No wonder the black guys all hated him when he was a punk teen. He just waltzed into battles and blew them off the stage with his razor sharp wit and words. He said shit you're not supposed to. He told his truth and it was ugly and mean and horrible. And fucking beautiful.

He and I have a lot in common - lots of schools, getting bullied, failing at everything except English, no dad ... then years later, with specific demons to slay.

My first born son turns ten on Friday. He is so together and level-headed .. that's his nature, nothing to do with me. He loves Eminem - that has everything to do with me. He'll open his presents on Friday and there will be tickets for the show on Sunday night. You know what this means?

It means in ten years from now, when he's sitting around shooting the shit with his pals and they all ask each other the first concert they ever went to, Max can answer Eminem in 2011 for his tenth birthday. I'm proud of that. His mind and heart will be blown wide open because that's just what happens with amazing artists during stadium shows.

I don't mind Max hearing cussing, he knows he's not allowed to do it and he doesn't. I don't mind him hearing certain lyrics to certain songs ... frankly, I'm more offended by the shit that passes as music these days anyway. Ever broke down the lyrics to the latest pop tunes on your FM dial? You'd be shocked.

My biggest concern for him is that he'll want to leave the concert early - which will never happen. Mummy will be there with her age spot and hoodie until the last lighter is held in the sky, sweetheart. WORD UP.

Eminem is a saint, a sinner, a poet, a peddler, an actor, a shaman. A gifted magician. If he had a business card he'd have wordsmith on it too.



The deciding factor in taking Max on Sunday was the fact that Marshall is not afraid to tell his truth, however ugly. And I believe that is something to look up to.

No legacy is so rich as honesty - William Shakespeare, yo.



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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lesson 17: "If we do not advance .. we retrograde."


"A tight little world of Mummyland, symbolised by a mountain of unsorted clothes on the floor at the end of the bed. You can get the clothes into the washing machine. You can get them out. You can arrange them over the radiators to dry. But you cannot, cannot get the clothes back into the cupboards and drawers.

Until that pile at the end of the bed becomes a volcano of frustration and accusation and despair; ever growing, ever-depleting you. Until sometimes, alone, you are weeping and you barely know why, your hands clawed frozen at your cheeks. 'I can't do it.' Sometimes you even say it to your children, horribly it slips out - 'It's too hard, I can't do this' - bewildering them.
You weren't this woman, once. Despised this woman, once."

- Nikki Gemmell "With My Body."

Nikki Gemmell is much more than a story teller. She's a veil-lifter, a mood-catcher. A permission granter.

I spoke to her today about her new book, With My Body. She laughed and told me she'd never spoken to a blogger before. I was so nervous but she didn't mind when I stumbled over my words. I wanted to tell her who I was and what I thought ... where my own marriage was at and did she think we'll get through? I wanted to tell her that the young girl in her book was making me inwardly weep because she was me, with the aching for affection and the waiting for real life to begin. All those years ago.

(I didn't, because I also wanted her to think bloggers are smart and polished and professional.)

Nikki told me how she does not mind at all when she is used as a confessional, by other women. I suspect it happens a lot. "I've always been kind of on the outside, trying to connect with the truth of life, watching it as it all gets played out ... women tell me their secrets and I don't mind, don't mind at all. I'm interested."

A follow up to the hugely successful and somewhat controversial The Bride Stripped Bare, With My Body is Nikki's ninth book. She has four children, the youngest is four months old .. and has just moved back to Australia after 15 years of living in the UK.

She is a hugely talented writer. Gifted. With this book she has taken the pulse of married women with children, and delivered a stunning manifesto .. on how to unlock a woman, how trapped we can feel by the choices we make. It's an intensely personal look at a woman's sexual awakening, as well as a look at if we can ever really know another person.

Sentences keep taking my breath away. "You look at some of the school dads around you and just know they'll be 'dirt' - cheeky, playful, a bit of rough. But you'll never do anything about it. Don't need sex anymore. You wonder at the shine of those women who are man-free by choice: some widows and divorcees you've seen over the years, nuns, septuagenerians; those precious few who no longer seek out men and are strong with their decision and lit with it. You recognise that glow. Unencumbered."

I was reading the book last night, my two boys sleeping soundly in my big comfortable king-sized bed beside me. My engagement ring dug into my pinky and as I turned it around I remembered how desperately I wanted to be married. And how profoundly difficult this road can be.

I haven't finished it yet but I adore this book. It landed in my lap at *just* the right time. I can't wait to see what happens next.

I asked Nikki if she has always wanted to be a writer. "Oh yes .. since I was ten years old. My father gave me a copy of Jane Eyre and I gobbled it up. I remember being so taken by the protagonists journey, my heart in my mouth in terms of what she was going through. And it just connected with me, reached out and grabbed me by the throat. I wanted to be able to do that. I want to move people, if I can."

She can.

Sony have offered me a Sony Reader Wifi Touch to give away, pre-loaded with With My Body. It's the world’s lightest 6-inch reader, has a battery life of up to one month, and storage for up to 1,200 books. Worth $179 each, Sony are giving me one as well, which is very generous. (I told Nikki I would have jumped at this interview with her anyway.) After dissing e-readers for years I can finally make an informed decision on the future of real-live books you can hold in your hand.

I have some incredible international readers as well, and I was sad that you could only enter if you were an Australian resident. So I put a copy of With My Body on my overdrawn credit card at my local bookstore and as soon as I finish reading it (which won't be long) .. one of you get to win a real-live copy you can hold in your hand.

Nikki wondered if the overseas readers would be interested in a uniquely Australian protagonist and I said of COURSE ... the beauty in her writing is that she speaks the Truth. And Truth is universal. Then we got onto a tangent about how she has written the book in these beautiful vignettes and called them 'Lessons' .. some only a few pages long. She purposefully wrote them as snippets, morsels that are so easy to read in this information-laden world we live in. "It's almost like books these days are competing  .. with everything else that's readily available on the internet."

So, if you'd like to win a Sony Reader or the actual (dogeared) book - tell me a something. About your marriage, or motherhood. Fatherhood, singledom - anything. Tell me a Universal Truth that will make me feel connected today. I'm all out of sorts, and my head tells me you are all living wildly amazing and fulfilled lives while I worridly sit here on the couch eating Nutella.

I have problems saying goodbye to people on the phone .. it's so awkward. As I blurted out "Do you have an email address"  Nikki was trying to wrap it up and I could hear her baby squawk so I just quickly said goodbye instead. And that was that. Sad. But I get to look forward to every book Nikki Gemmell ever writes, ever.



(There will be two winners - an Australian who gets the Sony Reader, and an international person who gets the actual book. Winners chosen randomly in one week on Thursday 1st December. DECEMBER IS NEXT WEEK OH MY GOD.)


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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I was going to write out a big important blog post today. But then I found this.



I thought Siri was Tom Cruise's daughter.

(Thanks to one of my favourite bloggers, Mel from Stirrup Queens for the link.)


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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Am I even allowed to do product reviews like this?


This is what's left of my L'Oreal "Refined Ruby" lipstick after Rocco got bored in the car while mummy was getting talked off the ledge by a helpful stranger after a meeting. Please note, Rocco has also destroyed my cute-a-button purse I bought from Anthropologie. Does anyone know how to get lipstick stains out of material? I love that purse. And man I miss that lipstick.


I was sent this Clairol hair dye. I miss having rich red hair - man I used to be hot. A stylist hired by P&G recommended this brand specifically to me. I've never dyed my hair myself before, and am terrified. But I can't afford a professional dye job at the moment because bloggers get paid in product so I will use it. My greys are coming out again. Is it hard to dye your own hair?



My husband and I are having a Mexican standoff with this amazing new Oral-B Braun Triumph toothbrush. It's an amazing piece of machinery ... so I've heard. I haven't used it. I kind of gave it to Dave as a sweetener for spending the day in Sydney a few weeks ago, and now the true ownership of the brush is up in the air. We can both use it, as it came complete with four different brushes. Technically, the entire family could use this toothbrush. Dave used it once and just kind of ... abandoned it there. So sad.

(Harriet from Oral-B, I'm so sorry I haven't returned your email. As soon as I use this baby I will let you know how it goes.)

(Please note the ridiculous glass-brick in our bathroom. Dave picked it. Reminds me of the reception area of Jetset Travel in North Sydney circa 1990.)

Lastly, here is a video of me doing a Pantene Swish.



There's a few reasons why I don't like this video.
1) My eyes look weird.
2) My hair used to be long and now it's short. I am never satisfied.
3) My eyes seriously look weird - like, Gilbert Grape's brother.

Right at the end of my shoot, the camera guy told me I did really well. I said thank you ... I could have been a model but I went to rehab instead. All the film crew laughed because they thought I was joking.

You can upload your own Swissh to HERE and win $10,000. Personally, I think this guy's got it in the BAG.



So. Why do bloggers talk about products on their blogs? What's in it for us? Why do PRs court bloggers? And why would a certain purple drink sponsor two Australian women bloggers to fly halfway across the world?

Next Wednesday the 30th November, I'll be talking in Sydney at Naked Communications #nudiversity with Mrs Woog. You can email Lorraine Murphy from Naked for more info. It's a free event. We'll be answering questions and having some laughs. I'll be laughing and pretending I know the answers to the questions. Because after almost five years of this, I still feel like the biggest rookie in town.


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Friday, 18 November 2011

The Giant Cupcake ... best vlog EVER.



::

I read and savoured every comment on my last post three times. It's like, you save me. I'll go back and read them again. You give me faith in human nature ... all of you would have stopped to help that family too. I like to think most people would.

I see you, seeing me. Thanks heaps. HEAPS.

x


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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Changing the Bad.

This year has been tough. I just weighed it up .. it could even possibly be my third-hardest year ever. I've lived 39 years and a lot has happened .. third-hardest is pretty hard. If all my years were at an Olympic Medal ceremony, this year would be up on the podium clutching a posy of flowers and tearfully accepting bronze.

I always wanted to be a journalist, but like most of the intentions and dreams in my life, it didn't pan out. And yet, having a personal blog is like being a journalist for yourself. Reporting your own life to the world.

I have to hold back a lot, lately. Things have gone from bad to ok to bad to worse to HELL to back to just being plain bad. I've been putting up with bad for so long, I actually became used to it.

Change the bad - that's what I did. Finally put my hand up and said, "Enough. I have had enough." And really mean it, you know?

Things have been TOUGH. Even my suspected aneurysm has taken a back seat. I've hardly thought of it ... I can't even feel it anymore. At this rate, a hospital stay would be warmly welcomed. Nobody to expect anything from me. I told Dave I would love a buzzer, for cups of tea.

::

On Saturday, I drove with Rocco in the car to a recovery meeting. It does not matter what I am recovering from .. we are all recovering from something, trust me.

My sister was minding Max and I drove to the meeting, woke a cranky Rocco up, strapped him into his stroller, turns out the meeting wasn't there anyway. Put him back in the car, fold up the stroller, etc.

All the stupid boring frustrating bullshit minutae of life. I got the correct address and turned on my GPS navigation, which told me to go around and around in circles. It's not possible to punch a disembodied voice. I tried. Tears of anger are always the hottest.

Finally we made it, late and flustered. Rocco ran around spilling water and complaining about the teacake and distracting the hell out of me. I was asked to share and I did ... halfway through, the chairperson rudely asked me to stop sharing so he could ask somebody else before the meeting finished.

In all my years of meetings, this has never happened. You're not SUPPOSED to do that. My anger was beautifully justified, because this guy was so clearly in the wrong. I have been to meetings where a person has droned on for twenty minutes. Instead of judging, I try to use the opportunity to practice my tolerance. And goddamn patience.

I packed up Rocco and left in a huff. FURIOUS.

A guy ran out after me and talked me off the ledge. There are many ledges in my life. Thankfully, many ledgetalkers also.

Sadly, Rocco destroyed my new L'Oreal lipstick, caking it all over both hands and his face. But that's all that was destroyed - nothing else. Not even myself. That is called "a good day."

Drove to my sister at the holiday house, and sat there fuming and introducing myself to her friends as the true batshit crazy fucker I am. The pop of the champagne bottle signified my time to leave. One bottle between four people? Pussies. What's the point of even having one if you can't have twenty? You social drinkers do my head in. There's something wrong with you.

I drove off with Rocco, and immediately got flagged down by a heavily pregnant and distressed woman with her two children. Carrying very heavy groceries and hopelessly lost ... been in the mountains for just one day and they needed help finding where they were staying.

The twelve-year old boy ... I'll call him Louis. Louis translated English back and forth between his mother and I. They were from South America. He handed me a card with their address on it, in big letters it said "DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTER."

The voice in my head said, "Eden, you thought YOU were having a hard day.

I felt chastened and grateful and sad and selfish and spoilt. I helped all three of them into their seatbelts, the three-year old girl smiling shyly at my three-year old Rocco. I assured Louis and his mother that my son didn't have a contagious skin condition, it was just smeared lipstick. They were relieved.

Their tiny unit was on kind of a compound, all joined up by a kids play centre in the middle of the commons. The mother didn't want me to leave. She was so tired. Her eyes held her pain. I said to her ... you have been through a lot, haven't you? She nodded yes - she could understand English, just not speak it. I told her I had been through a lot too. And that she would be ok and she was safe. Louis was the man and put all their shopping away. I asked him if he needed anything - he said, some DVD's would be great.

On a mission, I took Rocco and went and bought them new toys, a football, clothes, five DVD's. I looked around, anxious to buy them the whole world and fix everything. Instead of the KMart Wishing Tree Appeal this year, I'd do this. I spent hundreds of dollars that I didn't have and I didn't care. What *does* a family on the run want from the shops? If I were a non-English speaking pregnant woman with nothing, escaping my violent partner .. what new shit would I like? I decided new clothes. And a doll for the sweet girl. (Parents of girls everywhere, how do you not kill yourselves in the Barbie Doll aisle?)

Finally I found a brunette doll with green eyes.

Doing this does not make me a good person. I'm a complete arsehole - truly, I am. I'M A COCK. Doing this appeased my guilt, and made me feel like I could show a vulnerable family that people cared.

I went back and handed all the bags to Louis and he very officially accepted them all. Very matter-of-factly, showing no surprise.

I drove home, and noticed the break in the weather. My outlook and perspective on where I was at in my life had been turned upside down and inside out. One day, years from now, those kids will be grown up and living lives of their own and making their own choices. They'll probably never remember me. And I will never forget them.

(I know, right? Big things happen to me all the time. But that's it - the big thing wasn't happening to me. It was happening to them.)


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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Social media goes to hell ... in a *very* pretty handbasket sourced from Pinterest.

"Real isn't how you are made ... it's a thing that happens to you."
- Velveteen Rabbit

All I can say is ... what the hell happened? I blinked and now there are social media experts everywhere. Every corporation, every brand and PR agency ... wants a slice of the social media pie. Only a few short months ago, I was still being teased and looked at strangely for having a blog and being online. The next minute, those very same people were standing in line at my local cafe to "pick my brains" about how to set up a twitter account.

(Dear anyone .... you can pick my brains any time you like - I'm flexible! My consulting rates start at $100 an hour, thks.)

I was recently offered a job as a "Web Presence Professional." That's a job description now. After I accepted, the offer was quickly withdrawn .. I suspect it had something to do with the recruiter delving into my blog. (But that's a delicious and passive-aggressive blog post for another day.)

There is something creepy and scary about it - all of it. The facebooking, networking, branding, communicating ... something doesn't feel right. Why? I get close to an answer when I look into the faces of my two young boys, but I can't be sure.

I've been thinking about a follow-up to my Anti-Social media post for some time, but haven't been able to articulate it. Until I saw an television ad last week for a major global computer corporation. The extended family of a newborn are busy passing around the brand new baby, to have a hold. Except, it isn't a brand new baby at all ... it's a laptop showing video footage of the brand new baby. Ending with the grandad finally having a hold and the video laptop baby starts crying .. that goofy grandad making the baby cry!

There's been a sharp tip, with the "media" part of social media now taking over. It's like a big, shiny, ostentatious brass boom band in the middle of town. Even mommyblogging has come of age (or eaten itself .. I can't decide) with the new Babble Voices creating a brand new space for a lot of well-known and popular bloggers to create an extension of their blogs, together.

The information superhighway has now seven lanes, with traffic backed up as far as the eyes can see. Bumper to bumper. Is this the new rat race? The currency is not money, but time and attention. It's too much. It can lead a person to feel quite exhausted, jaded - and very, very overwhelmed.

The future is here. Babies are playing with iPads like toys. Teenagers brains are getting shaped by so much technology. I worry for everybody's alpha waves.

It's hard to know which direction we're all headed .. have you ever imagined what would happen if there was a global blackout with no more computers? I love computers - I love social media. But it's crazy. What are we all doing? Where are we going? Are we being mindful and balanced? What are we teaching ourselves and our children?

Now this is a cool ad ... I love that it's made by the world's leading chainsaw company. I don't understand the correlation, but man there's a great message.



The outside world is starting to resemble a dream. But it's not a dream, it's real. With real jasmine to smell and everything! It's like, those episodes of Star Trek, and whenever anybody needed to clear their heads they'd take a scenic walk in the hologram room made to resemble nature. Because they were on a spaceship and didn't actually have nature.

Last time I checked, Earth still has nature. And real people and warm tea and actual conversations and everything. Sometimes even hugs. And the sky - seriously, how fucking cool is that sky? Have you seen it lately?

Watching video footage of a brand new baby is amazing. Holding one and smelling that smell? That's priceless, miraculous ... but most of all, it's just bloody inimitable.

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Some stories stay with you forever.

A few weeks ago I counted up on my fingers how old Madeline would be turning today .. surely not four? That's too old, that's a proper little girl running around. Not the sweet baby I've always seen her as. I was pregnant with Heather at the same time, for a few months back in 2007.

Maddie was born premature, and faced extraordinary battles in her life, but always came through.

Until the time she did not.

Along with thousands of other people, my heart broke when she left. To me, she will always be *the* most beautiful girl this world has ever seen. Ever.



She lived on this earth with her gorgeous parents for seventeen months.

Her mum Heather blogs every day at www.thespohrsaremultiplying.com

I often think of a post she wrote not long after Maddies passing. It is called Hand Prints.

How can you get through something like that? Heather and Mike are still working it out. I wonder how they are, often. Heather is very honest and open when she writes, but I expect there is a wealth of thoughts and feelings that she holds back on. There's a photo widget on her blog called "Mamarazzi" ... which holds only Maddie photos. It remains untouched to this day, these rows upon rows of the most beautiful baby girl. There's a finite amount of photos in the world, of Maddie. They are so treasured.

Maddie is a big sister now, with a firecracker of a girl called Annabel arriving on the scene about twenty months ago. Annie reminds me of Rocco ... robust and quick and smart. And a bit naughty. She kisses her big sister's photo goodnight. Her parents are mindfully and actively parenting two daughters.

Her parents are fucking outstanding people and I would push the world off it's axis to ease their pain. But I can only lend an ear or some words .. or in this case, a blog post. They are doing a fundraiser this year, for the charity they started in Madeline's name called "Friends of Maddie."

Mike has recorded a song he wrote called "You are the One." It's available on iTunes for less then a dollar in the US, down here in Oz it's $1.69. I bought it and have listened to it over and over in my car. It's beautiful. You can read more about it on Heather's post HERE.

It's only a few clicks and a couple of bucks, but it would mean a lot to a lot of people.

Some stories stay with you forever. I will never forget you, Maddie Moo. Happy birthday.

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Carotid rhymes with garrotted.

I've had this sore neck for a few weeks, because of a lump. Aren't lumps brilliant? "Hi, I'm a lump. I could be nothing ... or I could be everything. AND YOU DON'T KNOW MWAHAHA."
My logic says that because my husbands lumps turned out to be the worst case scenario, then probability dictates I will be fine.

I thought it would just go away but it didn't, it got bigger. Today, the doctor didn't say, "Oh that's just a swollen gland." She asked me all these questions and I told her about the swooshy noise I hear and the light-headed feeling, and thinking I was going to faint. I laughed and told her that I've had an *especially* stressful week and when I get angry it feels like my lump pumps so much blood it's going to explode ... like, Homer Simpson after he ate that huge sandwich.

She laughed too and then she told me we need to rule out a Carotid Artery Aneurysm.

I KNOW .... isn't that the coolest thing? I could drop dead any moment. This is thrilling to me. I'll die on the operating table, of course. My Highly Dangerous Carotid surgery, with the HOTTEST carotid surgeon in town. He will fall in love with me, laying there. And Dave will feel bad for going to footy tonight.

So, I have an ultrasound and some bloodwork tomorrow. If it looks suspect, it will be followed by a CT scan ... the word biopsy was mentioned.

I think this is highly amusing. I know I shouldn't, but it's so absurd - there is no way I have a goddamn aneurysm. We just need to rule it out. Dave has had cancer ... he took the bullets for all of us, forever, right? Isn't that how life works?

Maybe I'm a tiny bit concerned - only because it feels like I have a goitre. So we still need to work out what it is. I wasn't going to write about this tonight, but I need to take the power away from it, lest it all build up like a hot air balloon of mania.

I'm blessed with some of the best blog readers of all time, and as google is not being of ANY help to me, can anyone tell me if they have any experience of this? I would appreciate it.

I know I'm fine.

I also know I'd like to be buried in jeans, my black skull t-shirt, and yellow boots. I want everybody to get so drunk at my funeral they vomit on my casket. I want weeping and hand-wringing. And bagpipes.

And the usual empty promises people make at funerals, vowing to change their lives for the better. And I want the single people to hook up and have sex in the bathroom.

And curried egg sandwiches.

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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I keep thinking about the nurse.

Last week, I was driving up Leura Mall and the battered car in front of me suddenly screeched to a halt and parked, right in the middle of the road. I thought, what the hell? And watched as a harried, annoyed woman got out and marched over to the pavement.

I sat there, amused, as all these cars banked up behind me. Someone honked, further back.

I watched this woman run up to a frail old man, scoop him into her arms, and gently but firmly lead him back towards her car.

In an instant I realised what happened - she was a nurse at the local aged care facility just down the road, and the guy was going for a walk when he shouldn't have been.

I looked at her car again, it had some faded stickers, and was quite old. She would probably rather be anywhere else in the world than holding up traffic one spring afternoon, at the risk of pissing off all the cars behind her. She probably works really hard for shitty wages. She hesitantly looked up at me, and I smiled my biggest warmest smile. I wanted my smile to say, "It's ok! Don't worry ... and you're doing a great job!"

She smiled back, really grateful that I didn't have my cranky pants on.

The old guy, trying to make a move .. I would run away too, if I was locked up in a home. He shuffled out and slowly eased himself down into the car. I wondered what kind of life he had lived until that point, all the things he'd seen and done.

I hope he'd had a good one.

I keep thinking about it. How we all have a shared humanity .. a social responsibility to each other. We are all the nurse. We are all the old guy. We are all the people waiting in the cars, needing to have compassion.


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Friday, 4 November 2011

"I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance."

This is my beautiful and rebellious grandfather and stand-in-dad, Squizzy Taylor. He is showing me how to dance in 1975.


And this is me all those years .. and all that dancing later, showing you.



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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

What's brown and sticky? A brown sticker, baked onto a windowsill for a year.


A certain person in our house is completely sticker crazy. He sticks them everywhere .... doorframes, baths, teddies, tables, floors. I've learnt to peel them off straight away, otherwise they bake on and I'm screwed.

He likes to "award" his stickers to us all. Very gravely, peeling them back and placing them slowly onto our hands. "You have to wear it all day mum."

"Ok mate."

During breakfast this morning, there was an announcement.

"Dad, you will be wearing one of my stickers all day today."

"Ok mate."


I laughed a dog whistle laugh until tears came. Because that sticker is a Dave Riley-sized sticker if ever I saw one.

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

A few good blogs, and the winner of my $2 LA Ink yellow plastic blessed rosary beads.

There are so many blogs out there. I get blown away with the people who come to mine, and write such amazing and interesting things. I'm in the process of changing over my commenting system, to individually reply to comments. I often can't respond to all of the comments and I feel terrible about it, can't WAIT to be able to do it here straight away.

Here's some of my faves today:

I've read SCHMUTZIE for years, and met her in the flesh twice. She's a thinker, a dreamer, a writer, a noticer. She runs Five Star Friday every .... Friday. It showcases the best blog posts from the net each week, which is an incredibly generous and bountiful thing for her to do.

LIZOSAURUS lives in Sydney with her husband Jarod. She loves dinosaurs and cats. She's so soft and shy and gorgeous - and a kickarse web designer. She posted HERE about the amazing makeover she recently got. She looks AMAZING. Happy birthday Liz!

Kit from BLOGGING DANGEROUSLY is a legend. She created #wineparty on twitter ... and even lets me join in, and I don't even drink wine! I met her at BlogHer this year. Her About Me page states: "I've spent my entire life listening to people ask me, "You didn't really say THAT, did you?" and having to answer, "Well, yes, I did." and watching them roll their eyes and walk away."

Allison Tait from LIFE IN A PINK FIBRO is an Aussie chick living near the beach ... I *suspect* she lives in a pink fibro. She's a writer ... a real proper one and everything. She also has a wicked sense of humour, she's very smart, and I sometimes have fun with her on twitter. And she's a night owl - us hardcore nightowls need to stick together.

(That's all for now, but I will be doing this again.)

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It's Sunday morning, and instead of being at church I used Random Number Generator to choose the winner of my $2 yellow plastic rosary beads bought from LA Ink and *allegedly* blessed by my local Catholic priest. I forgot to take a photo of the winner's comment number, which was 13. So I went back to Random Number Generator and sat here for ten minutes trying to get number 13 back on the screen. It's Sunday and I should not be blogging at all. Rocco is jumping on my back, making a cubby with cushions. Saying, "Mum, my bloody hell cubby house keeps falling down."


Finally, the number 13 came back up again! Alison, please email me your postal address, you have won! I looked for your blog in your profile page, but I don't think you have one? I loved your comment:

"I love discussions about spirituality. The journeys are as unique as the person. I'm not finished seeking, but so far I feel strongly that God is Love and Truth and Light. And the word 'God' is just a name for the unexplainable."

A funny thing happened when I was trying to get 13 back up again ... I kept getting 31, over and over again. I thought, "Does God want commenter #31 to win? Should I fix my giveaway?" I decided not to, because that's probably bad karma. But how easy would it be to fix giveaways?! Number 31 is the honorary Aussie Heather Spohr ...  who lives in LA, and is an athiest. I'll be writing more about her next week .. in the meantime, Heather? God totally says hi!

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

You are what you eat. I am a cake.

I have made my body do lots of very naughty, very unhealthy things. It's a wonder it still functions at all. My kidneys and liver still cleanse, my heart pumps up the volume, my bladder fills up with obscene amounts of manwee, over and over again.

One day it will stop. It's amazing, when you think about it. Kind of miraculous.

Last night I was explaining to Rocco that he started off as this teeny, tiny little thing. And look at his big boy body now! His chest puffed up with pride. "Mum, when I grow up I will be bigger than you and bigger than the WHOLE WORLD."

When I was a kid, I suddenly grew these long legs and big feet and my face changed. Women in my family would remark on how lucky I was, to be so skinny. At school I noticed other girls struggling with weight insecurities, when I didn't. All my insecurities and problems were in my head, where nobody but me could see. I would have preferred to struggle with my weight.

Over the years I've eaten like a pig and not exercised. Except for now .. I've been carrying some extra weight around for over a year now. I blame America ... specifically, Five Guys. It's harder to work this shit off, so I point-blank refused to. This past winter I made a conscious decision to cancel my gym membership and get cable TV instead, because I couldn't afford both. Pass me the goddamn Cheetos. Why are my arms so flabby?

It's spring now. I'm making a concerted effort to eat well, and move more. Here is my body now:

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Wait - that's not me. That's a bullshit, highly offensive and bordering on child-porn misogynistic ad for Steve Madden. Reminding me to never buy anything related to Steve Madden, ever.

In my early twenties I read the "Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women." by Naomi Wolf. As well as Susan Faludi's "Backlash, the Undeclared War Against Women." Two top books, that I HIGHLY recommend. The constant media messages women get regarding their looks make me stabby .. when my teenage stepson kept leaving his Ralph and FHM magazines around the house, I instantly put them in the recycling bin. And he would say, "Where are my magazines?" and I would say, "I have no idea."

Why do starlets and young women still feel the need to get their kit off and pose in these magazines? I'm all about empowerment, but come on.

Over at We Heart Life it is "I love my body" day. Bloggers are taking photos of themselves and publishing them on their blogs. All shapes and sizes, some clothed, some not. I like it. I like real things.

This old grey mare .... I turn 40 next year, man. I'm back at the gym and eating healthy food for one reason only - my mental health. But I would also like to have my body hot at least one more time before I die.





And then I breathed out.


Check out all the bloggers participating in We Heart Our Bodies HERE.

And the seriously unreal Curvy Girls Guide is HERE "We aren’t fat. We aren’t big boned. We are gorgeous, sexy, desirable women."  WORD.

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