Love and Hugs

After a long, complicated day at work, my husband opened up his arms for a hug and suggested I change into my pyjamas and get cosy.

The hug was well received. And somewhat muffled by his jacket I asked a question that led to this conversation:

Me: If you could do any job and make a living off it, what would you do?

Husband: Hug you.

Me: You’d make a killing! Except I’d have to pay you which would be counter-productive.

Husband: Be a good job.

Me: Seriously though, what job would you do?

Husband: Hug you.

Me: I think I need to rephrase the question.

Buying our World

Occasionally, you read things that resonate.

Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want – Anna Lappé

I feel like I’m at school again, and I’m staring at this quote on a large piece of paper with only one word after it.

Discuss.

Okay, so I’m crap at essays. I’ll skip that, but really, how does this make you feel? How are you buying into the world?  Is it a healthy choice?

The first thing I feel is denial. Denial and guilt. Guilt and denial. Denial and guilt.

Shut up.

Not you.

Never mind.

Denial is a form of optimism. I’ve discussed this self-preservation mechanism before but at times we’re in denial to save ourselves from our choices. Like how catching a plane is bad for the environment,  but it’s okay because when you booked your ticket you clicked a button to plant a tree. Or you convince yourself you don’t travel much because Soandso travels much more. Or soon there will be fusion energy so what you do now is irrelevant.

I exaggerate somewhat. I have ‘planted a tree’ to counter my air-travel and while that is better than nothing, I have no way of verifying that said planting took place. It’s a guilt button for travellers to make us feel better about our choices.

I buy sushi for lunch sometimes and it comes in a crinkly plastic container. I look at this packaging and feel guilty everytime. I’d bring my own container but I’m told that in the unlikely event of food poisoning, the business could argue it was my container and not their food that made me sick.

So really, I should take my own lunch to work to avoid all this. I DO sometimes but otherwise I have no excuse – I’m just lazy.

Take away coffee cups are another poor choice I make. I believe I don’t have the time to wash a KeepCup but I really should try harder. Make time.

What world do you buy?

Tourist Eyes

Travel is a curious thing.

We returned two weeks ago, and the first thing people ask is “What were the highlights?” or “What was your favourite part?” or “What were your top five places?”

It’s a difficult thing to measure. I loved meeting up with my international friends and family which is a whole different kind of wonderful to seeing megalithic monuments, and a different again to visiting a castle. These things can’t be compared. Why can’t it all be amazing?

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Castle Howard, Yorkshire, UK

Even things that one might consider to be poor experiences had nothing poor about them. Not serious stuff, but conversations with unusual strangers, or odd service at a pub or a quirk with your accommodation. These things add humour and texture to your experience. It’s makes your experience more meaningful, more memorable.

More amazing.

Similarly, every place has its sadness. People who were homeless, the odd filthy, graffitted street, places you wouldn’t wander alone at night, abandoned houses falling into ruin.  They are small observations between all the wonder of travel.

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This house at Ballyvaughan, Ireland had a brand new letter box on its gate.

Returning home, its like your ‘normal world’ has been highlighted. The local birdsong, the smell of eucalyptus, the blue mountains – everything is amplified.

This does not make or imply that one is better than the other. Only that, when separated from home, you’re able to view it more objectively.

With tourist eyes.

nanopoblano1

 

Extra Ordinary

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Find the ‘extra’…

I don’t own a single album of David Bowie, so the devastation I felt upon his passing seemed disproportional. A similar dichotomy happened only days later, with Alan Rickman.

Extraordinary strangers. People who I’ve glimpsed through the world’s eye with their extraordinary talents, while they undoubtedly continued with their ordinary lives, viewing themselves as unremarkable and simply creating, working and living.

I’m drawn to this humbleness. Not those who bask in their success but wonder at it, are confused by it and possibly curse the attention it brings.

I follow The Bloggess. I cannot claim to know her but she gives so much of herself on her blog and in her books that it is difficult to not feel connected. She wrote this post about David Bowie and Alan Rickman (among others) which I marvelled at not simply because I felt exactly the same but because she does not see herself among them. She is among them. She is extraordinary.

She’ll never read this.

Wil Wheaton and Anne Wheaton are extraordinary. They are good people and I would happily say I adore them. I feel delighted that they share their lives on social media because they make me laugh but they’ve dealt with enough nonsense for Wil (at one time or other) to post instructions on how to be respectful, and for Anne to quit twitter. Just before she quit, I sent her a direct message.

Twitter comment

She didn’t read it.

If she did, it didn’t make any difference – I didn’t expect it would. I am one of hundreds upon thousands of people waving my arms around her.

She’ll never read this either.

These are five people who have touched my life without their knowledge, be it by their humour or sensibilities or genius or grace, or they’ve simply shared a part of their life. There are many others. Writers, artists, creators, comedians – people I’ve found on Twitter or Instagram or WordPress or TED talks. Often not famous. There’s a part of me that believes if the world were smaller, we’d be friends. With some, I already am.

I am thankful for these connections – however large and worldly, or small and obscure.

Extraordinary strangers. Those who are likely think of themselves as quite ordinary but are remarkable. Not necessarily in a Bowie way, or a Rickman way, but in their own way.

And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking I’m not talking about you. Why not? Life is extraordinary . The mechanics of a purring cat. The brain. An opening flower.

Ordinary and extraordinary are not mutually exclusive.

The only thing that limits us is our perception.

Songs Without Music

I started writing poetry before I wrote it down. They were songs without music that I’d made up and they were relevant to me. I didn’t know it was poetry until school gave it a name.

My writing began with poetry – but you woudn’t know it here.

In hindsight, I see now that poetry was the coping mechanism of my youth. It helped me process heartache and conflicts within myself and sometimes within the world. As I began to feel more conrol over my life, poetry writing dwindled.

Lapse

I don’t write poetry much

Anymore.

A lapse in concentration

Or something

More permanent.

Ideas struggle to be polished.

Come like the rain and never go.

And I fear –

Go the like the rain and never come.

I was nineteen. Beside this poem in my scrap book, I wrote ‘Is this even a poem? I don’t even know what it means.’ I wrote two poems after it and nothing since. Well, nothing finished.

Eventually I realised, I was perhaps mourning the loss of something I no longer needed. However, some of my favourite poems I wrote in those last few years. Like this one.

Nothingness

Nothing is

     The empty inside a jar,

The answer

     To a rhetorical question,

The sound

     Of silence in a vacant room,

The light

     At the entrance of a tunnel.

Nothing is

     The hue opposing white,

The expression

     On a blank face,

The difference

     Between two things identical,

The impression

     That nothing is.


nanopoblano2015darkDay 23 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

Post Apocalypse

I am easily amused. Most recently I posted a letter, in that old fashioned way that requires a mailman. On the box, under the word ‘Post’, someone had written ‘apocalypse’. I stood with my letter poised at the mouth of the letter box and laughed out loud.

See. Easily amused.

It was 1997 and I’d just emerged from a mathematics exam. I sat on a bench seat and waited for my parents to pick me up. Ten minutes transpired and I moved into the shade, the mid afternoon sun burned at my skin. On the University lawn, a sprinkler snickered its rotation in the background. Thirty minutes transpired. They were never late.

I grabbed the family mobile out of my bag. Yes, the ‘family’ mobile. It WAS 1997. The battery was dead. I looked up to the phone box and stared in amazement as the lawn sprinklers rotated in and out of the semi enclosed area.

I dashed in with my phone card, dialled my parent’s number and said something along the lines of ‘Everything okay? I’ve got to be quick, the sprinkler is on the phone box, hang on, I’ll be back in a second-‘ dashed out while the phone was showered with water.

‘What? The car broke down?’

I listened and nodded.

‘Wait, the sprinkler’s coming back-‘

Ducked out again.

‘You’ll be another half hour? Okay, I’ll be here. Sorry, gotta go.’

 

Have you experienced a moment in time that feels like that should be in a film or sitcom?


nanopoblano2015darkClick on the link to visit the team of Tiny Peppers. It’s Rarasaur’s version of NaBloPoMo and it’s called Nano Poblano.  Or, as I’ve been calling it lately Nano Problano.

We’re blogging every day in the month of November! I think I’m actually getting the hang of this.

Possum Magic

Sometimes I think Australia is misunderstood. When I visited the UK and Ireland a couple of years ago, it was interesting to hear how different countries (and indeed, my distant relatives) viewed ours.

A pattern emerged. Australia is made of venomous spiders and snakes and glorious beaches,  sharks, bikinis and surf boards, and a large rock, kangaroos and echidnas. We have a bridge and an opera house and sunshine.

And we all go around saying ‘G’day’.

We don’t.

I mean, some people do, like some people say, ‘hello’ or ‘hi’ or ‘how are you?’ and maybe that includes those from non-English speaking backgrounds or our indigenous population, or it might not. We are a big continent – our accents get broader or thinner depending upon the part you grew up in.

It’s like going to Ireland assuming everyone says ‘Top of the mornin’ to ye’ and it’s all leprechauns and clover leaves and Riverdance and Guiness and St Patrick’s Day. It’s not. This is what tourist advertising does. They tell you what you think you want to hear and they get it all wrong. If I had been given an outsiders’ idea of Australia –  I wouldn’t come here. Except perhaps for kangaroos and echidnas.

We also have quokkas and platypuses and extraordinary wildlife and wilderness and beaches that aren’t covered tanned folk but are blustery and rugged with lighthouses. Bush that can be rainforest or alpine or dry. We have areas that get snow and sunshine. And these are only in the small parts of this continent that I’ve touched. I’m sure there’s much more wonder to be had.

I’m getting way off track.

On the downside, we also have possums. They’re quite cute when you catch them, wide eyed, with a torch on a midnight walk but not so much fun if they’re in your roof space. One took up residence and woke us up the other morning as it returned from whatever-possums-do-at-night to our place to sleep.

We could hear it creaking around, fitting into walls and snuggling into nooks. As my husband and I were sitting in the lounge room, I heard it in the ceiling next door.

“It’s on the move” I said.

My husband dashed upstairs into the attic.

After about twenty minutes of silence, I ducked into the attic to see my husband in the darkness, with a finger to his lips before pointing to possum’s place in the roof.

I quietly retreated downstairs.

Five minutes later, my husband emerged and threw on his shoes.

“He’s out! I saw him jump from the roof to the tree.”

And my husband was outside with a touch and a ladder, lopping our tree so the possum couldn’t access the house.

Welcome to Australia.