Saturday, November 19, 2011

Last Monday I attended a book launch where the guest speaker, Ray "my hero" Mooney, told a story I can't forget. He was speaking about a friend of his who had recently passed away, but in the weeks leading up to his death had taken the chance to reflect upon the world. He said to Ray, as the two old friends stood by the Yarra River, "It's a wonderful world we live in when we have to invent a God to explain the things we can't understand".

The launch was for "The People Are Revolting", and I was lucky enough to have a small piece added to the collection of some stunning works on the topic of revolutions. I wrote simply of my personal revolution, my emancipation from the pentecostal church, aged 23. It's a topic Ray and I have talked about before, but it was the words of his late friend that on this night that spoke to me so clearly.

The issue isn't whether or not we believe in God, whether science and evolution disprove an existence, whether bat sonar points to creation. The issue, at it's core, is what a wonderful world we live in.

My issues with a God created world began when I lost a dear friend. There was no man made reason for his death, it wasn't the result of free will, or choices. He died, aged 22, from leukemia. I had two choices, either God could have cured my friend from his illness, but He chose not to, or He couldn't - and what else couldn't God do that He said he could? Either way, I knew the former wasn't a God I wanted to serve anymore. So I began looking for the latter God - the one who created the world and everything in it - but couldn't control what happens to it after that point.

But I found so many problems in a created world, the idea that it was purposed and left to fail, broke my resolve. I gave up looking for answers - and started enjoying the world for what it is - flaws and all. And I can't encourage you enough to do the same.

A created world suggests every thing is available for our benefit - the trees, animals - all given as a gift from God for us. A wonderful world is something to be cherished, appreciated, nurtured. "We must bear in mind that we belong to nature, we are born in nature and have to work with nature in order to live life to the full with plenty of health and vitality"(Source unknown/I forgot - it's still good tho, right?).

I don't know what I believe in, but I know that whatever we think we know, however high up on the food chain we think we are, Mother Nature can still kick our asses. So maybe we should pay for our carbon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When you're busy making plans

Last week I had the rug swept from under me. The plans that I'd been so happily making over the last few months were stolen in a moment.

It happens all the time, of course. 99% of our lives are outside of our control. We share this world with people, with mother nature, and we get very little that we can control.

They're the things I like to focus on, obviously. I can control my values, my behaviours. I choose what to eat, how to look after my body (albeit determined to some extent by the outside factors; finance, time...). I choose what type of person I want to be, what kind of employee, friend, partner, mother I want to be seen as.

That's great and all; but it's not enough to build a life for yourself - and so you let other people in. You plan holidays, you share houses, you form relationships that offer you the things you can't do by yourself. You trust. You hope. You cross your fingers and pray for the best.

And when the worst happens? You breathe. You scream. You curse. You shake it off. And you make new plans. Because that's what we do - and what we do best.

I didn't ever imagine being a single 26 year old girl with a puppy and a lease and a car I can't afford on my own. But I'm here. And I'm making plans again.

I'm making new plans; the kind of fun, spontaneous plans only a single girl can make. Plans for travel, for adventure. And if some dashing, ruggard and athletic man comes and pulls the rug from under those plans - well then I'll just have to make new ones again.

I rarely look back to my church days fondly, but there is one scripture I remember and think of often. It's in the book of Jeremiah (chapter 29, for anyone that would like to look it up). God told Jeremiah to build homes, and plan to stay. To plant trees and eat the fruit they produce. To marry and have children. The great thing about this story, is that Babylon, where Jeremiah was living at the time, was later destroyed. And assuming God would have known this in advance (that's the theory remember) he still told Jeremiah to knuckle down and make plans.

I think of this often - a gal that's moved as many times as I have still has to find a way to feel at home. So I always plan to stay. Even when I know I likely won't. I plant things in the garden, I make the effort to 'finish' decorating the house. I make sure that wherever I am, is home. Whoever I am with, is family.

The other thing I'm thinking about at the moment, is the plans that got lost before you made these last lot of plans. What did you have to sacrifice in order to make room for your new plans? What can you put back on your list of 'things to do'?

John Lennon says 'Life is what happens when your busy making plans.' But I disagree. I think life is what happens when your plans turn to shit, and you look around, see where you are, and realise there's still plenty of places you can go.

And that's my thought for this week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Farmers Market

This morning I attended my second ever farmers market. Since becoming a girl-of-the-burbs, there's one just around the corner every month. YAY!

Or so I thought. Here's a summary of my experience:

- Buying from the farmers market is insanely expensive. How so? Aren't we 'cutting out the middle man' so to speak?

- For some reason, it's not until you've gotten home and looked at what your fifty bucks got you that you even pay attention to the $7.50 loaf of olive bread or $6.00 roasted garlic dip

- People are much more courteous/forgiving of prams (Charlotte, month one) than beagles (Shaun, month two)

- A super excited, happy dog is great at the beach or fully enclosed dog park. Not at the petting zoo, or orange juice stand

- Shaun fucking loves rabbits

Honestly, I blame James for making me go alone. That extra pair of hands would have meant I didn't have to hand my wallet to the farmer to get my money himself because I was busy holding down a squealing puppy.

But here's my thought. Is the 'farmers market' just another one of those things that seems so much better in theory than it is in practise?

Like house-parties where you drink cheap alcohol on an empty stomach, get stuck talking to a loud, drunk acquaintance and miss the last train home. Or wedding ceremonies that photograph beautifully, make great memories, but really are boring and awkward the entire time. Or family christmas?

As I get older (that's old-er, not old) I'm becoming more and more attached to the things I enjoy, not the things I'm supposed to enjoy. Quiet Saturday nights at home watching The West Wing. Lunch dates in the park eating noodles out of a box. Drinking one glass of really nice wine (instead to numerous plastic cups of the cask variety).

It's been a contentious issue in our home of late. But I've decided I'm happy to be 'boring' because I'm never bored when I've got Alison Janney for company, and if I'm out of bed at 11pm at night, something has gone horribly wrong.

Olive bread for lunch anyone? It had better be delicious.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For the record

Tonight I finally snapped. I lost my temper at the radio.

You know what? I don't care if your opinion is different from mine, but have the decency to be honest about your motives, and the simple common courtesy to allow others the freedom to make their own.

The way I see it, there are three answers people give in relation to whether gay marriage should be legalised.

1 - Sure, why the hell not?
2 - I don't care what they do, but do they have to call it marriage?
3 - No. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

Number 1 is answered by 90% of Gen Y, and a growing number of Aussies. Even the liberals oppose a "Nanny state" declaring that if it doesn't hurt anyone else you should have the right to make your own choices (irony?).

For anyone in category 2, this is why: because it's about equality. Having the right to make the same choices as straight couples. If you can make the choice for yourself whether or not to marry, why shouldn't gay people be entitled to the same basic freedom?

Now this is when my blood starts to boil. When people say a 'traditional' marriage is between a man and a woman and should remain so. Why? Because like it or not, Australia was founded on Christian principals and our government doesn't have the balls to declare enough is enough.

If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, and in legalising marriage we are sinning, say so, and say it proudly. Don't hide your beliefs behind 'traditional values' and 'family ideals'. Have the guts to stand for what you believe in.

Tonight a Christian male called up the radio to discuss his views. He said that he'd been thinking a lot about marriage and what it meant because he was getting married in two weeks. He believed marriage was both a union between Christ and the church and a union between a man and a woman and placing God's covering over their relationship.

The journalist asked the man if he felt if gay marriage was legalised it would remove God's covering from his marriage.

'Of course not.'

So what's the problem?

I know a few gay couples, and none who would request the covering of God over their mariage anyway, so that's okay, the Christians can keep that.

James and I have made the decision to remain un-married until gay marriage is legalised. Why should we have rights denied to our friends? How can we be expected to raise our children with values of equality and acceptance when we continue to behave like homophobic rednecks?

It's time to grow up, Australia. And you don't like gay marriage, great. Don't get gay married.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Giraffes are the new Paris - A life shared in status updates

Five weeks ago I set myself the challenge to go one whole month without Facebook, twitter or Blogspot. I wanted to measure just how much of an important element it had become in my life, so as well as July without social media, I gave up three big loves: dairy, caffeine and alcohol.

Today I report on my findings.

My initial hypothesis was that as a good vegetarian girl, my biggest sense of loss would come from cheese. I was so wrong. Not to be misunderstood, dairy was the hardest vice to give up in that it was all around me. Day 1 I accidentally ate the little chocolate that came with my decaf-tea. Week 3 I brought spinach and ricotta tortellini for a quick dinner. One morning in week 2 I was running late and grabbed James' up'n'go from the fridge. But it wasn't the vice I craved the most.

I spent most of 2010 under the influence of alcohol. Back to full-time study with a part-time job in a pub and no car... You do the math. But since shacking up with the boy we hardly drink at all. James only drinks when he parties, and I don't really do that. = Easy.

Now caffeine is a vice for two reasons, sure the obvious one is coffee, but rest assured a soy hot chocolate is a pretty fine substitute. But Diet Coke has been my crutch for forever. I tried caffiene free Diet-Coke week 1 (don't) and it nearly made me ill. After that I settled for sparkling apple and soda water with lime. Not too hard.

From day 1, my biggest challenge was the overwhelming need to 'check' something. I'd get to work in the morning, put the kettle on, open my inbox and it was there, haunting me. The question that never left my head, the entire 31 days: What's happening? I learned I could quiet this desire with The Australian, The Age and, followed later in the month by Steve's suggestion, Before I knew it, I'd developed a second addiction; current affairs. I figure, hey, better to know what's going on in the world than what my old high school chums are having for dinner.

So i survived it. But isn't the biggest lesson I learned.

At some point in the last two years, I have stopped thinking like a normal person, and started thinking about events in my life as status updates. Constantly, I'd hear something, or have some good news, or something stupid would happen and I'd think of a witty one-liner in which to relay such information to my extended network.

And when I didn't get to post a status update, I felt ripped off. Not only for myself, but for everyone else who missed out on my pure genius.

Where to from here?

I'm not going to reinstall the Facebook app on my iPhone. I have access to the internet at home and at work. That'll do. But I did realise that Facebook wasn't the reason I can't walk down the street without playing with my phone. My phone is. So I'm trying to leave it behind more often.

I've accepted Facebook does have a place in my life. I freaked out when James and I had 2 weeks to sell our Splendor tickets and 600+ potential buyers I was ignoring for 2.5 more weeks. WHOOPS! Luckily James knows my password. Thanks baby.

I'm happy not eating as much cheese, or drinking as much alcohol or coffee, and I've given up Diet Coke.

Next challenge; a month without bread and sugar. Because a detox hardly feels like a detox at all when it includes olive sourdough bread with hummus and raspberry licorice. But that can be a month down the track. I owe Anna and Harry a belated Xmas in July.

I can't encourage you all enough to do the same; if not for a month, then a week, and if not for a week, try a day. Remember what life was like before it all got so instant.

PS Hi Matt.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mind, Body & Soul Detox - July Challenge

On Monday I was walking down Glen Huntly Rd running a work errand. And it happened again. The all-consuming, uncontrollable desire to reach into my handbag, pull out my iPhone and check for Facebook notifications, followed by the equally demanding, equally strong need to refresh my twitter and see if @joshthomas87 had tweeted anything new and hilarious.

I have to admit it now; I'm addicted to social media. No, I don't spend hours a day checking out pages, 'liking' silly anecdotes or chatting to friends. But I do have a need to constantly refresh, and make sure I'm not seconds behind the 8 ball.

Last week I was terribly upset when I thought a best-friend of mine was going through a hard time. Instead of calling him immediately, I spent days worrying before I finally called and found out it was just bad humour on the part of a mutual friend. I hated the thought that if something did happen to my friend, I would find it out on Facebook, and not because he picked up the phone to talk to me about it.

It is for these reasons, and many more, that I am declaring the month of July my Mind, Body & Soul Detox month.

I will not be checking my Facebook page or updating my status, refreshing my twitter feed or posting a blog for the entire 31 days.

To make this more interesting; I'm also going to be giving up Dairy, Alcohol and Caffeine. Why? Mostly because I'm turning into a slob with no self control, but also to see which of these four vices I struggle the most without.

My hypothesis is cheese.

If anyone has any suggestions of other challenges to add, feel free to hit me up. Or anything good I can substitute with (I'm thinking frozen raspberries and hummus and avocado. OOh and sparkling apple juice - YUM).

I'm excited. But then I haven't started yet. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 10, 2011

when life moves too quickly

I don't know when I became one of those people who feel the need to keep absolutely everyone updated on every aspect of their life. Somewhere between MySpace/Facebook/Twitter & Blogspot things didn't seem official until I had broadcast them into cyberspace.

Today I am overwhelmed, because there is too much I feel I 'need' to say. Life is moving so fast for me, even my social networking can't keep up.

Sure I could summarise my activites of the last four weeks in dot points, but what's the point? That's not life. My friends and I don't sit down for coffee and 'catch up' in point form on the seemingly 'important things' we've been up to. We talk about life: how we feel, what's making us smile, what's giving us hope, what we've learned.

So today, I recite no list of accomplishments, no update as to my current employment/financial/social status.

Today I offer my cyber world a thought. The thought that's been in the forefront of my mind and conversations the last 24 hours.

Why don't they just adopt out all the stranded beef cattle until they figure out what to do with them?

James and I will happily add a cow to our new home. I can't promise you can have it back to send to slaughter, BUT STOP COMPLAINING THAT THEY ARE SUFFERING BECAUSE YOU'RE NOW NOT SENDING THEM TO GET TORTURED TO DEATH.

Really, beef export industry, really???? We're supposed to feel bad for the 'stranded' cows because you're NOT sending them to Indonesia??

Sure it's going to cost you money to move them back to somewhere with food. But really? You don't think it's better this way?

I was so proud of the government for making a financially reckless decision in order to make an ethically right one. I am so proud that Australia stood up and said they will not tolerate that level of cruelty. And I am so proud of the ABC and Four Corners for bringing the message to Australia that what comes from us remains our responsibility.

I WILL ADOPT A COW. I want to adopt a cow. Shaun would bloody love it.

End rant.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Social Anarchy #2

A lot has happened since I last blogged. I started a new job, which I quickly realised was the start of a new career (because I don't ever want to leave). I got the loan and insurance approved for my very new car, coming in a few glorious weeks. James and I made the very exciting decision to shack up together when our leases run out next month. Shaun celebrated his first birthday. The Age emailed me with the news they want to publish my article. AND I stumbled upon this sticker in the movie theatre toilet:

'When stub roll finished, push leaver to left for large roll supply'

There is so much I have to say about this.

1 - It's shocking grammar. Really? 'when stub roll finished...' Who talks like that?
2 - Does the leaver push to the right?
3 - How do I know when the stub roll is finished? I mean, what are the signs? I think I need more information.
4 - I'm not sure how the smaller roll feels about being called 'stub' while the larger roll gets called 'large'. Seems very sizest.
5 - It's parading as a sentence, capital letter at the beginning, nouns and verbs and all, but they didn't bother with the full stop. Who does? They're totally overrated

My loyal followers will remember an early blog I posted about instructions on toilet roll holders, and the premise that being told to do something, sometimes makes you want to go and do the opposite. Previously, my toilet roll had instructed me to 'use this roll first', so in an act of total rebellion, I used the other roll.

However, if I'm to rebell against this new instruction in my life, there are too many options to chose from.

For example:
a - I don't wait for the stub roll to finish, I push the lever to the left anyway.
b - When the stub roll is finished, I don't push the lever at all. I leave it for the next person to do - because that's the kind of inconsiderate girl I am.
c - I complete option 'a' and use the large roll supply.
d - I grab a whole handful, run it under the tap, scrunch it and throw it on the ceiling.

I have a confession to make. I was a suck up at school. In fact, I'd probably dob on you.

I never, ever in my life have wet toilet paper, scrunched it up and thrown it at the ceiling. But I promise, if my movie wasn't about to start, reading that damn bossy sign on a toilet roll holder, would have changed who I am.

Don't tell my new bosses. I really love my job.

Friday, March 11, 2011

on the hunt

This week I very suddenly lost my job. I was hard at work 10pm Sunday night, 10am Monday morning it was all over. No more pub. No more Ted. No more Sunday penalty rates. No more knock-off drinks. The official story (if you can call it that) is some kind of landlord/tenant/insurance company botch up but we all know that when a pub like The Grand View Hotel shuts its doors its very unlikely they will re-open at all.

Which is sad. Because that makes this the end of an era.

When I started at the GV, I felt I was finally in the job I was born for. I loved the people I worked with, I loved the regulars. I loved the way I could make someones day better so quickly and easily; by pulling them a beer, or asking how their day was and waiting for their response. The money was good, I pretty much set my own hours and I got to have a chef prepared vegetarian delight 4 nights a week.

Like all dreams, I had to wake from it. My fabulous manager, and BFF Steve, left me, and was never replaced. And a bar without a manager is madness. My friends moved out from upstairs, the chef moved on, the beer stopped flowing and eventually most of my regulars stopped coming in.

And (as I learned the hard way) a job with zero security isn't worth all the perks in the world.

So now I'm on the hunt, for the next job I was born for. If any of you would like to make this all a lot easier for me, and offer to publish my book, or convert my blog into a weekly column, I'd be forever grateful. But reality says I must work, at least for a little longer. And working is so boring.

I think that crisis I didn't have when I turned 26 is happening now. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do. All I know is it has to be fabulous. So no pressure.

So my darling followers, this week I offer you no advice. No life lessons. This week I'm confused and overwhelmed and a little stressed. And really glad I have a savings account. And really glad I didn't buy a new car last week (I was this close)

Anyone with a fabulous idea hit me up. I'm all ears.

Your friend. (With a lot more time on her hands)

Monday, February 21, 2011

all of me

This weekend I witnessed the pain of failing love; the moment in my friends eyes when they realised that love isn't enough. The moment they realised you can't love enough, can't love the way you want to, because it isn't there.

I write about love a lot. I'm a hopeless romantic for love. I believe in love. I want to see love overcome all. But sometimes it doesn't.

I believe the reason love fails is because its all consuming, or its nothing. To love something you need to love all of something. You can't love nachos if you don't love cheese. You can't love Melbourne if you don't love the rain. You can't love the beach if you don't love sand.

And you can't love a person if you don't love everything about them.

Passion will sustain love for so long, so will excitement, companionship, joy, adventure. But love will leave if you don't accept the person for who they are completely. Accept, and cherish. Accept, and celebrate.

It takes a long time to find all of someone. To discover the small things, the things that make you smile, the things that make you cringe. I've had James in my life for three years now, and I'm still finding all of him, and he's still finding all of me.

When you find something new, love changes. It increases, or it goes away. But it can't stay the same, because in love's eyes, you've changed. There is something more to know, and you can't un-know it.

Once you've heard somebody say something, you can't un-hear it. Once you've seen someone do something, you can't un-see it. But once you've felt something, you can un-feel it.

Love will leave, and when it does, it's because it wasn't there for all of you. And a love that doesn't love all of you, isn't the love you want.

Because that love will come, and it will stay. Because it can't leave. It's yours.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I’m finding myself at an age where all my peers are convinced this is as good as it gets. We’re twenty-somethings; and it’s all down hill from here. In fact – it's so down hill you might as well top yourself when you get to sixty.

This is a thought I’m struggling to fathom. Last week I went and visited my ninety year-old Grandfather who has recently been moved into a ‘facility’. My darling Grandpa, or GP as I call him, is in picture perfect health. He looks exactly the same as he did when he was seventy (except for a minor upper-middle-age spread) and he’s still as charming as pie. The problem is that his dementia has advanced to a stage where my family are no longer able to care for him. GP doesn’t understand this, as ‘he’s been looking after himself for the last one hundred years’, but he hasn’t. He’s been under the full-time supervision of my aunt for the last ten, and the part-time supervision of my father and I the five years before that. He doesn’t understand why he is in care, especially in a facility with such ‘nutters’.

This is what's fabulous: my GP is so unaware of his condition, he’s ‘looking after’ the ladies he’s living with. He’s making the most of everyday, and what he forgets... doesn’t hurt him.

I understand why some of my peers may see this as a lack of quality of life – but I think they are wrong.

How truly amazing, to be looked after everyday, and still live a life whereby you feel useful. Besides, isn’t that what we all want? To feel needed?

I work at a local pub, and have the privilege a few times a week of seating a gentleman named ‘Ted’ down for dinner. Ted has been coming to the pub for ‘over forty years’. He always tries something new on the menu.

I assumed Ted was in his sixties, maybe seventies, but I was wrong. One quiet night I had the honour of sitting with Ted as he waited for his meal. Ted is ninety-four years old and lives alone, since his wife passed. He eats out most nights of the week, and has recently taken up photography. He has entered his photos in numerous competitions, and travels the country as a competition winner. When I asked him how enjoyed living alone he told me he was thinking of moving somewhere else, because ‘sometimes, he’s sick of making his own breakfast’.

I believe life is a gift. I believe every day is as precious as the last. And if someday, for some reason we find ourselves unable to make our own breakfast, instead of feeling that it’s all over, perhaps we could celebrate the fact that someone is prepared to make it for us.

Sure, being a twenty-something is great. We have the world at our feet, decisions to make, children (or puppies) to parent. But is this really as good as it gets?

Maybe a slower, more peaceful, more reflective life is one to be yearned for, aspired to, instead of feared. Maybe this isn’t as good as it gets. Maybe, it just keeps getting better. And then you die.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How to turn 26 with grace.

For the first year of my adult life I'm not approaching my birthday with the cliche 'I'm so old' groan.

22... that's SO old.
23... that's SOO old.
24... that's SOOO old.

I think 26 is going to be great. I'm old enough to know that "what am I doing with my life?" really means shit.

do you know what my goals were for my 25th year were when I was 18?
- ride a motorbike
- have made my first million

and my goals for my 18th when I was 15?
- get married
- have kids
- save the world

my goals for this year are simple:
- be happy
- spread happiness

I cringe at the things I thought were important. Money, status, celebrity.
My 25th year was sensational. It humbled me, inspired me, and challenged me.

I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't failed every one of my previous goals. And there's nowhere else I want to be than right here, right now.

- for the record, right here is my gorgeous home in Brunswick I share with 2 of the best friends I have ever had and 2 delicious puppies who wake me up every day with a smile. I'm waiting for my incredible man, James to get ready so we can go to a party with our fabulous friends and typing on my shiny new macbook pro I was able to afford when I started my own business, 6 weeks ago - doesn't sound too shabby, right?

So to all of you out there dreading your next birthday and regret not achieving your so called goals... ask yourself this: Am I happy? If the answer is yes, have a happy birthday. If the answer is not yet, be happy you've got another year to get it right.

and besides, I still get asked for ID.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Raising Shaun

Things I've learned in 2010, courtesy of one young Beagleier
(...and a few others)

1 - Life is better shared with someone you love.
2 - A good diet and lots of exercise makes you happy, healthy and better company.
3 - Sometimes you know what's better for someone than they do (eg. onions).
4 - Sometimes they don't care (eg. cake).
5 - When you love someone, you never give up on them. You never judge them. You're never ashamed of them them. You just want to hug them.
6 - Unconditional love takes you away from work, away from your own problems, and makes you be a better person.
7 - Family is precious and should never be taken for granted, or abused.
8 - It takes quality time to build a special relationship. Time, and a lot of patience.
9 - A new puppy might move in next door and steal your heart for a minute, but true love always finds its way back home.
10 - Life is better shared with someone you love.

Best thing I've learned in 2010? Love. Find the right person (or puppy) and love them with everything you can. Choose love every day. It makes you a better person, and makes the world a better place.

So my New Years Day message is simple: Fall in love in 2011. Fall in love for the first time, or fall in love all over again.

And to the boy who truly changed my life, James, thanks for loving me. You make me better.