Tuesday, 27 November 2012

#fmsphotoadaynovember 8. something you do every day

no photo for this one: fallen off the instagramwagon a little bit, and in fact the blogging wagon, again. but don't worry & never fear, for i'm on it.

something i do every day is to lament the general lack of interest of my creative brain in stuff and things. i've loved writing blogs here over the past few years, and i just don't seem to be channeling that need to communicate and create, to write things that make me feel less alone in the world. i wonder, is it working full time? is it having my boyfriend here to tell all my things to, whenever i feel the need? i do find joy in works, in that i love to reflect upon the things i know, and the parts of my life, and the spaces all around, where other things might be or have been.

more to the point, something i do every day is to lament my lack of communication with my global family, the loves of my life who are scattered here there and about the place. i've started writing letters, and i think that i can be happy with that as a start. sending little pieces of homemade hand-written love across the world.

this is another thing i do every day:

#fmsphotoadaynovember 6. a favourite thing

i am well aware that it's a little bit gross to post a picture of your boyfriend as your favourite thing. i mean, what am i, a teenager? what's next, those nonsense sums you do to work out how compatible you are with someone else as a percentage? don't i know boys have boy germs?

having a boyfriend, or a partner (as the grownups call it) is one of those funny things in life. i've had a few different ones so far, and a list of a great many who i'd have liked to call my boyfriend. after my last one didn't work out, i decided to settle into singledom in whistler, a place where (i believed) relationships based on love and mutual respect could not flourish, unless you are kate and phill, or mark and lisa.

actually, more relationships happen than you'd expect, but there's also (and excuse my bluntness here) plenty of whoring about. an excess of endorphins, alcohol and party drugs, combined with a general sense that nothing that happens in a whistler season is applicable in the real world, leads to many many walks of shame.

i barely ever dabbled in walks of shame myself. i instead fell in love with the snow, and the place, and the lifestyle filled with friends and extreme sport activities. wholesome stuff, you know? i sat back and appreciated the cuteness of boys in outerwear and toques (for boys they all were), did whatever i wanted nearly all of the time, and liked the freedom of it. no walks of shame, just tired and slightly drunk walks home from the hill or the bar or a potluck dinner, filled with shiny joy at falling snow and at the good in simple things of life.

the happy thing that happened next was that a person came along who i really quite liked, who for some reason also seemed to be quite liking me. and the very best part was that i still got to do all the fun stuff that i liked, without compromising my freedom or my friends or my energy and space. the second-best part was that he laughs at my jokes. if they're funny, anyways.

we had a lovely summer, followed by a tough winter when it became clear that due to my ankle injury i would not be one half of the most awesome snowboarding couple of all time. that was a struggle and somewhat of a black mark, only in the way of it necessitating the painful readjustment of expectations. not always so good at change, me, but i beg my humanity as an excuse there.

there were other bumps, like his inability to procure another visa for Canada; the making and breaking of plans, leaps of faith where people put others on planes not knowing when they'd get to see them again... just the regular stuff people do when they're in love and live in different countries.

anyway, not to spoil the whole story for you or nothin', but he's here now, in my house and my proximity, and my arms and my thoughts and all the places. i'm happy in a way that (mostly) makes allowances for the fact we've never lived together before and both have quite the propensity for moods, of all different sorts. true to form, i try to make him think what i think, and he just thinks what he wants to think; i keep trying to make jokes he'll laugh at and he keeps only laughing at the ones he actually thinks are funny; i keep forgetting my toothbrush when we go places and he keeps packing it for me; i keep making plans and he keeps up with me.

he really is a favourite thing, my person. and i still like him, and he still likes me, which i think is something of an accomplishment. and that is all i have to say for now about one of my favourite things.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

#fmsphotoadaynovember 5. 5 o'clock

this is boolominbah. it is an old building. it used to be a private residence, but since then it has been a functioning part of the university where i currently work, UNE. it is divided up into offices and special rooms for meetings, and a place to eat (that is varying degrees of tasty), and to get coffee.

i've been reading stories about it which have come across my path while working on a project, and the one that keeps striking me is that most of the university, in its first incarnation as New England University College (from 1938 to 1954 in fact), fitted into this one building. Granted, it is a big building, but students lived, ate, studied and hung out here. How did they all fit in??

Another element that interests me is its life as a private residence. i imagine servants and dressing up for dinner and etiquette in manner of Downton Abbey.

these are just some of the things i think about as i walk past this building every afternoon at 5 o'clock. one day i might make jennifer take me on a heritage tour. then i would definitely have more to share.

#fmsphotoadaynovember 4. TV

i know, it's not a tv. i know that.

i've watched a lot of things in the past few years. i used to be a reader, and a writer, and that's what i want to be again. so i'm avoiding TV. not quite in the way you might attempt to avoid someone in the supermarket (never works, by the way). more in a way you might aim to avoid a bakery if you were trying not to eat wheat anymore.

the books above are not at all high-brow. i know this. these are the books you might read on holiday, or on sunday night when you need something mindless before you go to sleep. Miranda's Big Mistake, and Jill Mansell in general, was introduced to me by ellie, and i tell you, they are simply delicious. over the years i believe i've read them all. they have a reliable plot, they inevitably have one character who is a curvy size 14, completely happy with her body, and drives all the men wild. they have a set up where the main female character meets the man she will eventually end up with in some scenario where they are enemies, or have a falling out, or some such. but as the book progresses, they gradually come around to the realisation that they love each other. the side plots are equally concerned with those girls getting their man too, and i tell you, they're just wonderful.

i'm working up to more impressive books. i think i'll read some fantasy next, on my way to literary merit.

#fmsphotoadaynovember 3. breakfast

i don't have so much to say about this one, except to note that the perfect breakfast has many different elements to it. in my humble opinion the most important element, the part that ties everything together, is a soft to medium poached egg. you cut it open and watch the yolk ooze everywhere. then you mop it up with toast, or bacon, or mushrooms.

this photograph is of my birthday breakfast this year, in gloucester NSW, on the way back from seeing Mumford & Sons (amongst many talented others) at their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover show in Dungog.

I woke up, and my lovely was laying there next to me, and the weather had cooled off, and then we got coffee, and then we drove to gloucester for breakfast. and it was nice.

#fmsphotoadaynovember 2. colour (coffee)

i have this sort of dependent relationship with coffee. sporadically i give it up, having become alarmed by my dependence, by the sometimes unreasonable expectations i have of the relationship, and also sometimes it's because i've read some sort of literature that convinces me it's killing my body very slowly from the inside. quite separate to that, announcing you've given up coffee always elicits some sort of reaction, whether it's horror, puzzlement, or on some rare occasions, you get someone who supports your choice (someone who has clearly been reading the same things you've been reading. someone who likes to rant in tones of superiority about health benefits).

my point being that coffee is one of the enduring loves of my life. my favourite coffee comes from melbourne, where the italian influence in carlton (which backs onto University of Melbourne, that place i went once) makes everyone a coffee conniseur, with an opinion on everything. i knew a guy who took a coffee course once, whos family started a cafe, and this apparently made him an expert on coffee. what a drag! everywhere we went together, my eyes would be rolling back in my head with the joy of the delicious coffee and he would, without fault, find some element to criticise. every. single. time. i think there were 2 cafes where he approved of the coffee, and one of those was his sister's place.

we're not friends anymore, but rest assured the fall-out was not only about coffee.

my favourite coffee drinking times have been worldwide. annica made a damn good coffee in whistler, and always seemed to have a sixth sense about when i really needed one. in highschool, kat and i used to drink too much coffee at caffiends in the mall. height of cool = a big betty blue sized mug of milky coffee.and hanging out outside, where people from other schools could watch and be watched. i drank a solid amount of coffee at uni, between castros kiosk, where the lovely opperman girls both worked at the time, and a cafe on lygon st in carlton, name of which has been lost to me (but i can tell you exactly how to get there).

i've had long cups of coffee on my own in creekside starbucks, cursing my ankle and trying not to cry about missing pow days, i've had coffee on the go, rushing to work or a lecture, i've had coffees with friends in need of a chat, i've covered all the problems of the feminist world over several lattes (yep, it takes several). i've had awkward coffees, when you're relived it's an easy temperature to drink and run.i've had coffees right before awful, sad and tearful goodbyes to loved ones. i've had bottomless coffee from southside diner in whistler, and let me tell you, that will wire you right up.

i often think about the taste and the smell, but the colour of coffee is one of those lovely ones, a warm and comforting colour. there is nothing so reassuring as a good cup of coffee.

the end.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

#fmsphotoadaynovember 1. something beginning with 'c'

clouds persist. the australian girl inside me, no matter how i squash her, waits and looks for clouds in the sky. a day of fluffy white clouds, a thunderstorm approaching, or wisps spread sparingly across the sky.

i learned about clouds early. i even learned their names, although now that knowledge has fallen away for other things to slot into order. between growing up on a farm and being dragged to dusty gliding competitions, i learned to revere and despise them for the happiness they offered, or took away.

i often wonder how i spent my days before i had things to worry about (probably until i was 10 or 11), but i suspect that there was some green grass, a shady spot, and a pillow to lay my head so i could watch the clouds go by. and a book. always a book.

there are photographs of us in year 12 on our final day of highschool, dressed in full uniform (as i rarely was), laying on our backs in the park, giggling with the sensation of equal parts joy and fear. i imagine us laying there, looking upwards with heads too full to notice fluffy white, set on bright blue.

and now, every time i drive home in time to catch the sunset, i stop to take a picture of the light caught by those tiny water particles, the ones that reflect the oranges and pinks. my collection of cloud photos is growing in size, in case there comes a day when i leave all this and go somewhere without clouds.

a daily challenge: november

i'm keen to start writing again, i just don't know where to start, having both not enough and too much inspiration. a good friend jenny suggested i use fatmumslim's 'photo a day' (of instagram fame) as my prompt, an idea borrowed from another blogger. and it can't hurt, right?

so i'll still be playing along on instagram, but the plan is to also be playing here- to re-post the photo, along with some words. i might write prose, or a poem, or a dot-point list. the only rule is to write something every day. my posts my not go up daily, as on the weekends i have desires and tendencies for escaping to mum's, where the internet is reminiscent of dial-up and therefore wears at my generation Y patience.

here's the list. wish me luck.

Friday, 5 October 2012

secret: what happened in september

oh listen kids, i know i haven't written for ages, it hung about me the past few months like a guilty conscience, but the truth is i had no inclination to write at all. and sometimes you just have to go with that.

a little bit of everything has been happening, and also plenty of nothing much. it's a strange place to find yourself, back in the town where you grew up, soaking up the cold but familiar winter that new england is known for.

we'll start there - i missed summer this year. i had hints of it in oregon before i came back, one sweaty weekend down in new orleans, then bam! into june, frost on the winscreen in the morning, frozen brakes, minus 12 degrees. wooly socks and open fires and the occasional luxurious bath. i do love winter, and new england does nice cold clear days, where the sky is blue and the sun is shining, when you can sit at a window with the light streaming onto your skin and you get to feel warmth, of a sort, for a second.

but i missed whistler- the summer in full scope, the long days, the warmth just gradually fading as the sun does, making the mountains all pink and glowing with snow still sitting up there on their tops. i missed my wonderful friends and their adventures, i worried about their injuries, i thought about them all the time but  held back from being in touch too often, like a post-break up, when it's best just not to have any contact for a while. it's hard to stay in touch with people when your news is nothing like their wonderous shiny happy happenings.

also, i gained full-time employment. nothing takes the spare time and extra energy out of your day like work. and actually, after having all that time to contemplate my existence (unemployed for 3 months) it has been nice to have a sense of structure and purpose to my days. it makes the weekends sweeter, it makes sitting down to watch a movie and drink a glass of wine feel well-earned instead of lazy.

we snuck up to brisbane to visit a slightly sickly version of little hugh (unknown to us at the time, he didn't have man-flu at all, but was in fact descending into glandular fever. that, my friends, is a real kind of illness. poor little buddy) and drank at the scratch bar, ate breakfasts at pear, and an extravagant meal at caravanserai, a turkish place of unending deliciousness. it was a rich and lovely weekend, filling me with enough warmth to get me through the last week before aaron finally arrived.

so yes, the big thing that happened was that halfway through september, my boyfriend arrived from germany. i put him on a plane in vancouver at the start of may (with the most excellent kate jenkins as my trusty driver lady) and hoped i would see him again. sure enough, 4 months later, out he popped in armidale, just walking into the small town airport terminal like he does that sort of stuff every day.

luckily for everyone, turns out we still like each other just as much as we did before, if not a little more (yeah, that thing about absence making the heart grow fonder has some truth, although it surprisingly did not help me to hear this repeatedly over the 4 long months of his absence) and we've been playing house in the small town of uralla, housesitting and finding out the various fun things about living with someone. nothing too drastic however; any tension can be resolved by a game of fifa. or that's the eventual hope; just now, i'm learning, so he keeps taking the ball away from me, which causes me to retaliate with a slide tackle. we're working through these issues.

what else happened in september? i made some new friends (well actually, what i did is to just start hanging out with kate's friends, who all work where i work and are funny and non-threatening and can always recommend tv shows and movies), i gradually caught up with all the family. i have a lot of family and the trick is to see them bit by bit, giving you the ability to check in with each individual instead of bellowing your recent happenings to a swarm of people in the hope of being heard. oh, they're not that bad. in fact, some of them seem to have turned out quite well. it is fun to get to know them again.

that's enough for now. in october, it is my birthday, there will be mumford and sons, and adventures in a little van. so that's what i'll aim to write about through october. also, i just got myself an indonesian penpal through lovely letters exchange run by kitty and buck and modern buttercup. so i will be sending and receiving letters in the post, all thanks to kate who told me so.

now, here is a silly picture.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Sunday, 29 July 2012

secret: my complete lack of survival skills

i wanted to write this post because i always like to pretend that i know shit. but it's just not true, folks.

i would die in the wilderness in less than a week.
i cannot macgyver myself out of anything.
i cannot plan ahead.
my common sense is sketchy at best.
my maths is terrible (and i don't mean calculus, i mean like figuring out how long it will take you to get to a place if you're travelling 270km and driving at an average of 90kmph).
i cannot park, not really.
i can't even drive a manual car properly.
and i don't know things about geography. in fact, there are a lot of things i don't know about, but i pretend i do. people name-drop bands, books, movies, famous people, world events, political movements, philosophers, and so much more besides, i pretend like i've heard of it. i haven't. i'm pretending.

this self-examination really started this afternoon when it became clear to me that i can't, for the life of me, light a fire at my dad's place. what. the. fuck. ? the most perplexing thing to me is that at mum's house, i light the shit out of her fires. i think it's because they're so easy a chicken could light them (and they don't even have opposable thumbs. do they? i also don't know about animals). but no, at dad's house, i fill the room with smoke, and although the old saying goes "where there's smoke, there's fire", it turns out that no, there will be no fires lit here tonight.

i tried the other fireplace, the one i feel more confident that i can work. i couldn't work it. i couldn't make it go.

if there is ever an apocalypse, i am screwed.

Monday, 16 July 2012

treasure: having someone to miss THIS much

secret: checking in

in february this year, i wrote a post about all the things i was looking forward to about australia.

i thought i'd check back in and measure my progress. and i think i nearly win at everything. congratulations me.

the list:
  1. meat pies. check
  2. cheese. check
  3. family (is it bad that came in 3rd? oh well) check
  4. magpies singing in the morning. check
  5. getting a tan. slight fail. arrived in winter.
  6. friends. 1/2 check. melbourne visit next week shall remedy the rest of the missing ones.
  7. kate and phill's wedding. if i knew when that might be happening, i'd be rich and famous.
  8. beaches. byron bay & noosa. check
  9. tax included in prices, and (sorry to say it) no tipping required. hearty and enthusiastic check
  10. $2 coins. i like the way they sound when they jingle together in my pocket. and plastic money! you can go swimming with that shit. haven't had a lot of money. only really had the chance to shake my head at the ridiculousness of the 50c piece. foolishness.
runners up to the top ten include beer (another hearty and enthusiastic check), mum's place at rockvale (check), bar etiquette on sydney road (next week), driving on the left hand side of the road (it's really the only side of the road i've driven on since i got here), no black ice (check) and good coffee (check check check check check).

travel: new orleans

i barely know where to start with this one. let's start ourselves off with an eloquent statement: mind = blown.

all you can do with a place like new orleans is to drink it in. many, many times throughout the trip i was filled with that desire i get as an aspiring writer to try and catch everything, pin words to paper, shrink the wide breaths of my experience into chewable portions to share with everyone else. i guess i resisted the urge at the time, because similar to trying to photograph or record an experience as a treasure, thinking of the words to allocate to this would have meant i missed out. and i really, really didn't want to miss this one.

i spent 4 nights in new orleans, louisiana, with my family- aunt and uncle, cousins and partners of cousins and family of cousin's partners, and partners of family of partners of cousins (still with me?)... and more. we were a party of 13 by the time we all arrived and settled in. i'd love to write this down day by day, to keep it solid in my mind, but the truth is it's all melded together, delicious and sweet.

new orleans is hot. like, humidly wetly warm. even spring heat and humidity was more than enough for me. i've never been comfortable with the sensation of sweat dripping down my back, from my knees, under my eyes. probably out of my ears as well, let's be honest. i've never been a hot climate person, but it's interesting to see how the climate affects the new orleans population. the locals, what i saw of them amongst the tourists, seem pretty damn laid-back. you get the feeling the place runs on new orleans time, which is just a half-beat slower than everyone else's watches. i don't think i was even wearing a watch by the end of the weekend.

i mention tourists. the first night we were there we headed for the famous bourbon street. it's all neon signs, cheap sugary cocktails and semi-naked women beckoning for you to come into their establishment. on one level, this is awesome. on another, you fear that your weekend will quickly become a drunken trashy nightmare, where you drag yourself out the other end saying "culture? what culture?" wearing plastic beads about your neck and questioning your life choices. happily, this was not how we were destined to spend our weekend.

we found a bar with real live jazz going on, and enjoyed mint juleps while we soaked up the music. it's such a good and soul-warming kind of music, where you can really appreciated how well the band knows their stuff. there's something inspiring to me about people who are musicians for life, and while i imagine it's not as rose-coloured and glamorous as it looks, there is still something romantic in the fact of it.

it was lovely to awake on our first full day in the city and feel its undiscovered potential beating just outside the window. new and unknown cities such as this one are delicious: i loved having a few things on my "must try" list and i loved the unfilled day beyond those few things. in all the foreign glamour of the famous town, i confess that one of my favourite times of the day was the very civilised breakfast with my aunt and uncle in the hilton breakfast bar. luxurious air-conditioning, a lox bagel and plenty of hot fresh coffee... the part of me that needs routine and calm loved sitting there, covering all or none of the pressing issues of the world with bob and sally. it's not to say that those mornings were without their touch of n'awlins; our server was definitely inclined towards calling us baby (not uncle bob, but i'm guessing he didn't mind), bantering with us in that glorious southern accent. breakfast is often best served with a side of banter, as long as it's friendly, and there's already been coffee handed over.

to think about it, i'd say that most of my favorite things that happened, happened on that first day. there were beignets, a delicious fried doughnut-type thing famous 'round those parts. there were markets, where sally and i dared to sample alligator jerky (turned out to be a rather soggy form of sausage, which i was fine with until sally commented upon its texture being close to that of masticated human... after that it was more a challenge against my imagination and my gag reflex to finish it), we wandered with strawberry Abita (local beer) in our hands, we tried fresh oysters (to wash away the taste of alligator)... there was shopping in the markets, with several pairs of goofy sunglasses purchased and modelled to perfection by moya, there was lunch and window shopping round the french quarter.

we found a little bar with a more local feel in the afternoon and took it over, all 13 of us, comandeering the jukebox, the pool table, the bar, the comfy window seats. we were so enthusiastic and just generally awesome (see ross and heather's posing skills) that the owner of the bar invited us to his shrimp boil a little later in the day. ladies and gentlemen, a shrimp boil is something of a southern treat. it's a bit of a backyard event, sort of like a barbeque. we all lined up dutifully at 6pm with plates, along with plenty of other local characters, having tipped the chef a few dollars, to get our fill of shrimp boiled up with full heads of garlic, lemon, chilli for a bit of bite, and various veges. but it was mainly about the shrimp, and holy crap were they tasty. big fat juicy ones, attacked with fingers to be pulled apart and enjoyed standing on the street outside the bar, of course with more beers on hand.

we got a free show, too. there was a guy and a dog called hair, yes, hair, and there was another guy who may or may not have said something that may or may not have been offensive to the dog-owner. anyhow, it all got smoothed over by george who just bought everyone a drink and put his arm around them in a friendly and reassuring way. it's hard to know exactly what went down, but everyone seemed ok at the end. the other part to the free show was the ambulance collecting someone further down the road... it all happened there, all at once.

there were many other highlights. we took a cruiser bike tour the next morning, a prospect that filled me with anticipatory dread (wouldn't currently consider myself to be a very competent biker) until it became obvious just how flat new orleans really is. we saw all manner of houses, we learned that americans were known by n'awlanders (of the spanish/french persuasion) as hallway lovers, for the housing of choice was a 'shotgun', so-called because if you opened the doors that ran through all the rooms (no hallways) you should make a shot clean through the house. i learned a lot about history in the south, including the slave era, which i'd never come across as an australian citizen. it was a glorious day for pedalling through the colourful neighbourhoods, enjoying the tree-lined streets and smiling at the locals. there were even hints of breeze from time to time which minimised sweatiness.

i ate fried shrimp, fried oysters, po-boys, all manner of seafood. i enjoyed the world's best ham at Mothers. i learned that a freshly made hurricane is much much tastier than a mix-made one. i managed to keep hydrated; no mean feat in the humid southern weather. in any tourist town, there is a beaten track. not to say it wasn't an awesome track as far as the beaten go, with the expected kaleidoscope of locals from friendly to tolerant to slightly amused. it being the weekend, there was of course an oyster festival in town which we enjoyed in small shady portions- by sunday afternoon it almost seemed too much, and to find ourselves in a sports bar watching america play canada in the soccer was hardly a surprise given the soccer-driven company (in case you're curious, i was all Canada: seemed fair when everyone else was on America's side).

we saw some quite amazing jazz on a saturday night: i think i might still be in love with the trumpet player, who not only played some epic trumpet (yes, it's a thing), but also had one of those husky female jazz singer voices that makes you feel sexy just by sitting there listening. there was amazing dancing along with it, a perfect side dish. we clapped and cheered a lot, and being a healthy sized group, the band couldn't fail to notice. so then we got to feel a little famous by conversing with them between sets. no big deal.

myself, bob and sally managed to sneak out of the city itself on sunday morning, off in search of a real live plantation house. we found one, complete with a local tour guide with a wonderful southern accent and a not-quite-right sense of comic timing which only served to make him more endearing, if a little awkward. he walked us through the basement, the house itself, the kitchen gardens, the slave quarters... i'm glad i had the chance to see it all, and pretty interesting to have the opportunity to soak up some history that was both strange and familiar. to add atmosphere, the weather was sweatily humid. humidity, my friends, is not for me.

it's hard to know if i've communicated the magic of the place with this travel entry. i mentioned at the beginning, way back there, that i was struck by the desire to capture it at the time, in the moment. i resisted so n'awlins could swallow me up, and swallow me it did. on saturday night we sought out a place to eat called elizabeth's, recommended to us by our cruiser tour guide earlier in the day. the food was very tasty, and we all ate until our bellies were full. struck by a need for momentum after the solid sitting eating portion of the evening, we walked back into the busy part of town. and that's the magic bit that got me. it was dark by the time we started to walk, but only dark in the way cities are dark, with streetlights and passing headlights and people home in their houses spilling livingroom lights out into the world. it was still plenty warm but no longer sweaty, and we drifted apart into twos and threes to wander the broken up streets (literally- huge potholes). there were trees and flowers and the air smelled sweet. the simple walk in the night with scraps of conversation as we walked, fading in and out, warm and comfy, on our way to hunt for another spot of n'awlins jazz.

i just want to end this post with an expression of thanks to my aunt and uncle, sally and bob, without whom this magical weekend wouldn't have been possible. i love and miss you, and am so happy i got to have that time with you. lovely and amazing barely begin to cover it. so i send you loads of love.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

secret: social anxiety & my hometown

having just moved back to my hometown of armidale, nsw after almost 3 fun, snow-filled years in BC, Canada, i've noticed a peculiar phenomenon. apparently i'm not the only one, but whenever i go "downtown" in armidale, i get nervous about who i'm going to be seeing.

while i lived in whistler, bumping into people i knew was part of the charm of the whole deal. in fact i sort of enjoyed it. i would even smile and say hi to people i didn't know very well at all, but perhaps were the ones who sold me my coffee every day, or scanned my ski-pass, or were just a customer i had bantered with at work (actually, there was a scary one of those, who remembered me from a supposed conversation we had while i was talking her into buying her winter coat, and creepily popped up everywhere, on my bus, in the coffee shop... she was either one step away from being my very own stalker, or from falling into the category of over-eager friend). the point is, the possibility of running into people i knew filled me with happiness, a sense of community... like things in whistler were just a big party.

however, here, in the place where i grew up, i just worry about who i am going to run into in the supermarket. to the point of some form of social anxiety. which isn't really me at all. i've been thinking about it a lot, and i think the main thing that causes me stress is that these are people i haven't seen for 8 years, some of them anyway, and everyone changes... people don't look like they used to look, their adult incarnations have unrecognisable qualities. like children attached to them, or new haircuts, or some have got skinnier and some have got fatter... some have got taller. i haven't seen any shrunken ones yet but you know, it could happen.

i guess i just worry about the chitchat, because as a general rule, the conversation goes:
"oh hi, how have you been? what have you been up to?"
"i've just got back from canada, i've been living there the past 3 years"
"oh cool."
"anyway i have to go do my grocery shopping".

i'm not good at those kinds of conversations, to be honest with you. i guess the trick will be to settle into things, make some armidale friends so that the awkwardness, or the fear of it, melts away. the problem is going to be that i might always be that person who is moving around, (hopefully) living in other countries for extended periods, so it may be that i will just have to make peace with my fear of Armidale's various supermarkets.

and maybe those Armidale people who fill me with such irrational fear are merely regular friendly folk, who have all sorts of stories about their own adventures.

but i don't know. right now i'm just a little scared of them.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

treasure: books, friends, brown paper packages tied up with string

tis a wonderous invention, mail.

today i got a care package from my favorite french-canadian. a package of books. books weighty with significance. books with a butterfly hidden inside, to flutter out at me the first chance it got.

the best people are the ones that give me books. and send me mail.

and now i get to curl up with a cup of tea and read things. my sigh is one of deep satisfaction.

Monday, 9 July 2012

secret: contemplating the alternative

i've been visitng my brother in brisbane. i love to go and sneak into people's lives and live in them a little while, see what i like about them, see how they fit. i like to know ever after the parts of my loved ones daily routines, like breakfast at Pear, or chilling on a comfy couch soaking up some tv, or sneaky/not so sneaky pints at Archive.

i've just got to the point at the end of this visit (i leave tomorrow) where i feel like there is really something missing from my life. well, besides the aaron-shaped thing. i met some cool brisbane peeps tonight, and what makes them so are the minutae of their lives. the sweet bits (afore-mentioned tasty foods and drinks) and the semi-sweet bits like work or uni, and the many other-flavoured bits like gigs, family, love triangles, housemates who have noisy sex... everything you might think of.

i still have this feeling like i'm taking a holiday from my life, and i don't think i want that anymore. but my life here hasn't taken a shape yet, and so i'm in the wonderfully terrifying position of a white middle-class australian of being able to choose the mould to which i form it. from there i start to thing about all the things that could have happened, and i get to enjoy screen-saver style scenarios (my friend thea called it this once, where you sit staring at one thing for long enough and the screen-saver in your mind kicks in, showing you something interesting and most likely pretty, that you can watch repetitively) of the many alternate universes in which i might live.

i could write a whole novel about the alternate universes of the life of helen taylor. and what a novel it would be, glamorous and intruiging and the whatnot. but honestly, i'm here now, and there's a very simple shopping list of things required to make this holiday of mine a proper life:

  • one aaron, including all the added extras that come with, not the least of which is the way he sometimes laughs at my jokes, when they're funny enough anyway.
  • a job that brings me money but doesn't make me lose my will to live
  • inspiration for writings of a very high calibre (instead of simply writing a frilly version of a first-world-problems-style whine about the fact i miss my boyfriend and don't know what i want to be when i grow up).
  • the mental willpower to learn and retain useful parts of the german language.
  • a puppy.
  • the confidence to drive a manual car.
  • an electric blanket. 

i think that's it for now. i endeavour to fill my life with real stuff, to stop and move away from the holiday.

not that i have anything against holidays.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

secret: that wonderful moment when they do actually know the right thing to say

he said to me today in an email:

"I can't stay in Germany without you".

it was pretty nice.

treasure: talkin' bout the weather

the weather. it's a foolproof topic, unlike money, religion and politics. in fact, in my case, it's even safer than telling your grandparents what your career plan is (for all those playing at home, i am a happily semi-directionless no-hoper who lives with her parents).

i grew up in the country, the daughter of a sheep-farmer. a sheep farmer who also happened to be a glider pilot. i never thought it was weird that my father could pause to pass the time of day with any old country folk and devote the majority of conversation to the weather: past, present and future. it's a currency of sorts: the bizarre competition between farmers of how many cm of rain they've had. in drought times, even an extra drip or drop inspire envy and a general propensity to wring one's hands and look to the sky.

without even knowing, you learn things about clouds. for making farmers happy, you want the heavy wet cloud, full of rain. for making glider pilots happy, you want the fluffy ones, full of rising hot air and promise.

when i moved to canada it seemed normal to monitor the weather so closely; this was the first time it had ever been relevant to me personally. la nina, cold fronts, snow, inverted temperatures. forecasted snow could change your whole attitude about life. it meant early nights for early powdery starts. or it meant late nights, resigning yourself to waking up late, hungover, listening to rain.

something i have noticed since i returned to australia- the clouds. australian clouds are like nothing i saw in canada. they're fluffy- almost caricatures of themselves.

inevitably, while i soak up the winter sunshine on the very farm where i grew up listening to weather talk, enjoy the clear cold blue days, i must admit that for the rest of my life, the weather here is exactly what it should be. there are thunderstorms, there are windy afternoons that make the pine trees whistle, there are peaceful still summer days for mowing the lawn and finishing up on the deck with a beer. and no matter where i live, waking up to rain will instinctively make my heart sing.

there's a lot more to life than the weather, i know that's true. still, there's something nice about living so close to the earth, relying on it for your lives and your happiness. i'm happy to talk weather with my grandfather if it means i have something to say to him that we both agree upon. yup, this is me, embracing my wholesome country upbringing. it may be the flavour of my writing for the next few months.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

secret: powers of invisibility

suddenly, and without any pretext, i feel as though i am invisible.

i sit quietly on the internet catching up with everybody else's lives. i swap emails with a few faithful friends who write to me, keeping up a constant dialogue of the little, the precious, the mundane. underwritten is a sort of soft reassurance that i am a real person, who people know and remember from my past life, when i wasn't hidden off the grid at my mum's house.

the internet is not enough. it shocks me a little to realise it; i've championed the internet my whole time away in canada, i've believed in it as a way of connecting, but now, on the far end of all of this i really have to wonder why i felt that way.

i feel invisible because i'm out and far away from things. because i have a boyfriend in germany, and the more that time passes, the less real he gets. he's turning into a theoretical person, and so am i, in response. an invisible, theoretical person.

i prescribe myself some long walks, a cup of coffee with an old school friend and then next week, thankfully, hours and days of time with my little brothers, the ones who make me giggle and laugh and flesh me out to three dimensions again, filling at least one of those dimensions with beer. to them i am not invisible, nor computer presence, nor theoretical anything.

i shall set myself some writing goals too, any minute now, and write myself back into a person-shaped person. that's what i'll do. and maybe i'll put together a playlist too. stay tuned. let me know when you can see me again, when i'm visible once more.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

treasure: when the words come back

i know it's been all quiet on the western (now eastern) front.

there was too much and not enough to say. but today... today is the day the words start to come back.

it's just it's just it's just... sometimes it's hard to find the right place to start.

that's the dream

secret: return of the prodigal

a few months ago i made a reflection that the day when i woke up to look out the window and realise my mountains were missing would be a tough day.

yesterday i woke up at 6am, wide awake almost instantly. jet lag is a bitch. i lay in my cocoon; sleeping on the futon that was mine all through my high school years, wrapped up in blankets i've known and used for cubby houses since my childhood.

at 6 am, the world is very still and quiet. as the minutes pass and my mind wanders, there are hints of pink and orange. in a slow miracle, the sun rises, and i watched out the window, curled up in warmth. i thought about a lot of things, like who i was and where i was. i thought about the one i love, so very far away from me, both in kilometres and time. i watched the world become real again and the night disappear, i watched the bare rolling hills and the few gum trees in my eyeline.

no mountains. it's winter here, or starting to be. winter in new england is delicious, smoky and cold. crisp like an apple. sparse. familiar like family. there are clear blue skies and a tentative warmth that disappears as the sun sets. the sun has a way of shining off the frost that often appears from the cold clear night before. it widens the day with the sparkle it makes, and then it melts. i like when my nose is cold in the mornings outside.

i worried, those months ago, that i would always want to be somewhere else. i've never been so satisfied with a sense of place as i was in canada. my poor jumbled brain needs to feel that feeling, to have a base to work from. it was perfect, that sun rise, for showing me that things can shift, and any place can be my place. wherever i go, there i am.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

secret: dear diary, this coffee was too strong.

dear diary,

i'm comfortably set up in a coffee shop on campus, looking at the uni students, reeling from a caffeine high because i ordered a 20oz latte, forgetting the fact that i've nearly given up coffee and so i don't need that much to feel alert and perkified. is it normal to have tingles in your hands and the left side of your body? am i dying right now? should i be alerting the authorities?

perhaps we'll just make this blog my official cry for help. perhaps i need to give up coffee.

you know you're on holidays with nothing significant happening in your life when the small issues become bigger issues, and you have nothing to distract yourself from the fact that your boyfriend now lives in germany, while you, in fact, live nowhere really. nowhere! who would live there? and who would live in germany when they could live nowhere, with me? (the answer to that is of course aaron, and if you're reading this, it's ok, i'm just using this factor for dramatic effect... loooooove yooouuu!)

other pressing issues in my life include the weird sleeping patterns (5am til 11am is not right. just not right at all), the fact i've nearly watched a full season of grey's anatomy and am somewhat convinced i could be a surgeon if the necessity arose, the fact i've been window-shopping university webpages and have picked several different career directions for myself. there is such a thing as too much spare time.

i'm not unhappy to be on vacation, i'm just amused by my own choices in how to spend this luxurious leisure time. things i should be doing include organizing to ship my crap to australia from canada and writing an updated resume. things i could be doing include restringing my guitar and then actually playing it, learning german, doing yoga, writing sensible blogs that don't reek of coffee and crazy...

but where's the fun in that?

that is all. love, helen

Saturday, 19 May 2012

secret: gravity and seriousness

i think it's important to acknowledge change. change is the factor that keeps life moving along. change is inevitable, despite the white-knuckled grip we have sometimes on the present.

i haven't really figured it out yet, but i've set myself up to have time to take the time to consider the myriad of ways that everything about my life just changed. it wasn't even involuntary; i chose this outcome for myself, as many factors as i could control, anyhow.

i wrote myself a brief reflection the other night which goes like this:

          "I had built up this empire of people; these arms and hands, legs and feet all hovering about to meet the needs for 'human' that I had always tried so hard to avoid acknowledging. 
I had built it all up around me and in just over 1 week I lost the bunch. They all up and got left behind by me, and I moved onto some solitude, some deep thoughts and a small amount of bad poetry, relegated to a leather-bound journal where my secrets will be kept.
You think you're a lone wolf, an artist, a philosopher, but take away your empire of those to hear your words and share your oxygen, take away the lover who wakes you up with kisses on the back of your neck, take away your mountains and your sense of how things work and where they go and how they live, take all your empire away and you're really just a person pretending not to care about how lonely they feel."

i've always found that time to reflect helps to keep me sane, and i have craved it from time to time in the past months, but now i realize that people are really what i need. i feel silly for not having come to this realization earlier in my life. i guess what's nice to know, that i know now for sure, is that i have people everywhere. i've even got a bit of people collected in corvallis to be my people until it's time for australia.

and australia- i honestly haven't processed the implications of Going Home yet, beyond the endless creation of a story by way of repetition to all and sundry questioning my plans. i just leapt into a ticket-booked frenzy. all i really know about home is that my mum will be there to collect me from the airport, and that both of us will probably cry. beyond that, very blurred visions of gumtrees and drinking beers with brothers, and a birthday party for dad. 

what i aim to get beyond as i prepare for home is the waiting. for honestly, not one person knows when my love will set foot in australia. a waiting game is only possible when you have a date, and even then, there's the little voice in my warped brain which insists "what if you get hit by a car and the only thing you've been doing for the past 3 months is waiting for aaron to arrive from germany?". i don't want to waste a day. 

wish me luck with that.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

travel: west coast oregon

while there was a car at (sort of) my disposal last week, it made sense to travel about the countryside and see some things and stuff. kate, phill and grace were in oregon with me all of last week, so we took the opportunity on thursday to venture towards the ocean.

with kate having studied some maps on the interweb plus a little bit of luck and a sense of adventure (and optimism) we set off with the intentions of visiting a brewery and seeing the sun set over the ocean.

a few u-turns and some sheepish laughter later, we found ourselves in eugene, where ninkasi brewery lives. they were practically giving the beer away at $5 for a 5 sampler tray... yumyumyumyum...

i'm quite partial to the more hopsy of beers; IPAs and double IPAs. top vote for me was the tricerahops (see what they did there?) double IPA. the believer red ale is also pretty darn good, even taking into consideration that moya has biased me with her own preferences. we had a lovely old time sitting in the sun, pretending to be beer experts. then we bought tshirts which totally ruined our cool factor, but we'll be cool wearing them in australia... winning.

after blowing a wad of cash on souvenirs we went for a very wholesome and tasty lunch at a bakery nearby, and then onto searching for downtown eugene, to get some local culture up us. no luck though, and i'm sure we just weren't looking in quite the right spots, but we drove away empty handed.

onto the coast, through some stunning back roads... the forest is so green you need sunglasses, the road twists and winds its way to the ocean. and when you get there, and step out of the car, it's... fucking windy.

yep, you heard it here first folks, windy windy ocean. lovely to look at from the warmth and safety of your vehicle. i enjoy nature more when it's not whipping sand into my legs and ears and mouth and eyes. after looking around outside very briefly and stopping to use the washroom (pit toilet... who even heard of that anymore?!) we drove on along the coast, north to newport. we passed a sea lion cave, all organized for humans to look at for the small fee of $12 admission- no thankyou- we saw some more amazing coastal scenery from the safety of the car....

we ate dinner in newport after seeing a real live sea lion for free, just off the dock. all sorts and flavors of seafood were on offer. we ate several. whoever invented things wrapped in bacon as a concept, i take my hat off to you good sir.

the sunset, which we tracked down a pretty good spot to see, was lovely. well, we didn't quite make it to the part where the sun hit the horizon, mainly because we were all in the car on account of the windiness, except that after dinner there turned out to be quite a lot of wind inside the car also, and sitting in a car full of fart loses its charm quite speedily.

so we wound down the windows a little and left town. there is something lovely about winding your way through the darkening forest with mumford and sons playing. especially when someone else is taking care of the driving part, and you're simply looking out the window, singing along to the music and daydreaming about whatever it is you're most obsessed with currently. for me it's picking people up from airports.

i love day trips- when you arrive back at the place you left that morning, and things have happened to you, but you still get to crawl into your cozy bed at the end of the day. bliss.

travel: portland

so i decided i love portland a little bit. i went there on the weekend with my posse, which is kate, phill, grace and annica. my lovely cousin moya and her also lovely man-friend dusty showed us a few sights, fed us some whiskey and gave us some things to giggle about.

i've decided to share highlights by way of a list, as i am always fond of a good list. you guys like lists too, right?

reasons i love portland:
  • the sensible layout: N-S and E-W. i can deal with that. no curves in the roads thankyou.
  • the copious brew-pubs: we visited deschutes, rogue and rock bottom breweries. tasty and delicious. deserving of their own post really... we'll see how that goes.

  • the weekend markets. there were witty tshirts, there were hot dogs, there was beer, there were preachers and buskers with piano accordions and feather earrings (i am powerless before feather earrings)! we enjoyed these things and many more. love me a good market.
  • the river. the willamette river runs right through the centre of the city, which means it is a city of bridges. on the weekend there were many local folk taking full advantage of the shady trees and grass in the riverside park.
  • the people. most of the ones we met were friendly and happy. the enthusiasm for the beautiful weather over the weekend meant everyone was joyfully soaking up their share of vitamin D, and loving it.
  • cartlandia. the food carts open during the week, and saturday (not sunday as we very sadly learned), and oh the wonderous foods that you find there. $5 pad thai! german sausages! bubble tea! elephant ears (not real ones, portlandians aren't monsters)! 
  • powell's book store: a city block with 3 levels of books. 3 levels! city block! books!
  • eggs benny at the place with the funny books... i can't remember its name though, ask kate.
  • the hotel and the guy who always opened the front door for us. made me feel famous.
  • warm nights conducive to sitting outside with drinks, talking some talk and passing the last night with some of my favorites.

of course my favorite thing was the time spent with my friends, who i will miss for more than their good looks and their charm... but that's a story for another day.

Friday, 11 May 2012

treasure: the calm after the storm

i'm writing to you with a blue moon belgian white ale on hand; cold and delicious. i've made it out of whistler and into the grand old U S of A; Corvallis, Oregon.

it would be a lie to say it was easy to leave whistler; there was one freakin goodbye after another, and these people have been my family away from family in my home away from home for almost 3 years. i love them all to tiny little pieces, and will miss them more than they know. saying goodbye to people that you love is heartbreaking.

putting someone that you love on a plane when you're not sure when/if you'll be seeing them again is also more than a little heartbreaking. it's what i get for falling in love with someone from germany, i guess it serves me right.

still i'm sure some of the best literature is conceived of in dire romantic straits; no motivator of words quite like being apart from a person you love. i'm optimistic about how this story will turn out, but it won't stop me from writing some bad poetry and perhaps even a song or two in the meantime.

anyhow this is not a sad story of love, this is about ME, ON VACATION.

leaving town in a flurry of goodbyes and tears (i tend to cry in high-emotion situations), we set off on our adventures. my trusty travel buddies kate, phill and grace, plus swedish emma who needed a ride to van, provided light banter to distract me from the actual bit where i left whistler never to return (or, hopefully, to return with loads of cash for an actual holiday). the music was mostly jaunty and tasteful (it was from my iPod, so... duh).

we left emma in the middle of nowhere  at a skytrain station a little ways out of downtown vancouver, and set off for the border, thinking to sneak through quietly in a smaller, more out-of-the-way place.

40 mins in a line of traffic and we got to take on the american border security. these are the folk, bless 'em, that just want some power. any power will do, and they're giddy with their ability to deny you entry to the United States of America, the very best country there ever was, they take your passports and insinuate you're probably in for torture and punishment, as well as ruined plans and general unhappiness.

the guy at the first point caused grace to drop the c-bomb as a general description. he scared us all, boy oh boy were we polite in response to his questions. we were all a little shaky when we got inside, only to find that the men we needed to deal with one-on-one were actually capable of making jokes... we stood in shock until one of them observed that in response to their general hilarity we were allowed to laugh (i thought there was a law against that, but it was kind of funny when they told the korean family next to us that one of their passports had been shredded).

we won! america, fuck yeah!

after getting ourselves some cheap american gas and refueling our bodies with subway (it's a local delicacy, don't you know) we made a path for ourselves southbound. we passed by seattle, we admired portland (we'll be seeing you later), and we warbled along to the Flight of the Conchords and gradually found ourselves in little Corvallis, a university town in the Willamette Valley with town streets that run numbers one way, american presidents the other. my aunt and uncle live here, and are graciously putting the 4 of us up for the week, in order that we might enjoy real life; the bedrooms, the supermarket, the garden.

we hit up bombs away cafe for an awesome show by dusty, the great man who envisioned a tribute night to both weezer's blue album and green day's dookie. such an awesome show, and so nice to see my cousin moya, as well as a few familiar faces amongst her friends.

it's a revelation to get out into the real world and realize that most people don't want to just talk about the snow forecast and their new board or their latest hike. instead of one-upmanship over avalanche stories, people compete over other things; uni workloads and general beer expertise (this one is localized to oregon, microbrewery capital of the WORLD).

i love being here. i love meeting people who are artists and musicians and folk of creative substance. not that i don't love ski-bums also; it's just nice to be reminded of What Lies Outside the Whistler Bubble, seeing as i have officially left the bubble now and must soon fend for myself.

so here i find myself with 3 bestest buddies in corvallis. mainly we're drinking beer, but we did partake in several barbeques, mixed with some locals in green grassed backyard with an impressive vege garden set-up, finally sampled the bonfire delicacy known as "s'mores", confusing grace, who simply heard "are you down for some s'mores?", followed by a guy saying "if you give me the money i can go to freddy's and get the stuff, and be back here with everything in 10 mins". grace thought some sort of illegal substance was coming her way, but it turns out marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers are totally legal and quite tasty.

we've mowed some lawn and weeded some garden beds, and had plenty of beer-drinking, strolling and reading in the sun. i got sunburned! high and giddy on vitamin D, there have been bike rides (i opted out and walked down to feed my coffee habit).

also, we saw the avengers. it was explodey.

this week has been a delicious blur of low-key activities, but this weekend we're heading to portland to up the ante; annica, the bestest birthday buddy i've got, is meeting us for a few days of what i expect will be a whirlwind of party, beer and fun.

not a bad way to spend my first week away from the whistler bubble. now i'm free, there'll be more musings, some wise and some not at all helpful. and i might start learning german.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

treasure: denial, anger, acceptance

i can't wait to get out of here and i never want to leave...

with one week left in this beautiful mountain town i've called home for almost 3 years now it's getting to the blurry panicked stage where i don't think i'm ever going to manage to have farewell drinks.

denial: leaving your packing til the weekend before you move out. waiting til the week you leave to organize your bank account and your phone plan. working til the day before you leave town. training your replacement at work in everything at once, a 2 week crash-course.

anger: resentment at time passing so fast, at the injury that kept me off the mountain most of the season, at the rain and the piles of gravel left when the snow melts away. at my bathroom not being self-cleaning. at getting a headcold and feeling like a heap of crap for the past 5 days. at those things that are completely out of my control.

acceptance: it's been sweet, whistler. good things are coming, new exciting adventures and beer drinking with buddies, sitting in my aunty's garden, reading and writing and breathing. not working for 6 weeks or more! in the 3 years i've been here, my breaks from work have been frantic vacations of seeing as many sights as possible or catching up for tiny increments of time with friends, trying to fit everyone in. i plan to have long and glorious tea-drinking sessions with many many lovely old friends, all everywhere.

if i had the power, i don't know if i'd speed up time so this goodbye, tie-up-loose strings, goodbye goodbye time could be over and done with.... or if i'd slow it down so i could fit in all the goodbyes i'm probably not going to have my time organized well enough to say.

either way, i'm leaving town. and i'll have a lot of time to blog about it... so get excited.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


i'm not sure how many more deep breaths i can take.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


you play your role, i'll play mine &
we can charge all the spectators a fee to watch the show

Saturday, 21 April 2012


do you ever get that feeling like you've been faking everything the whole time, and all the people who thought you were clever and dextrous at things are about to uncover the evil truth, and you'll have to leave the country and change your name?

treasure: a love song for bobby long

lovely annica, who maybe one day i shall write a love song for, showed me a great movie tonight that i'd never seen before: a love song for bobby long. it has scarlet johansson in it, who i love, and lots of good music.

now, because this always happens to me with such movies, i wish to live in a falling apart house in new orleans with alcoholic writers and failed english professors. i'm a sucker for getting caught up in whimsical daydreams of the sorts of adventures i could have if i had another life. with nothing decided at all for me in the coming months, instead of being scared about it i think excitement is a better option.

oh! the places i will go.

Friday, 20 April 2012

secret: the accumulative effects of thursday night

the heart is a funny creature. even the wisest of us cannot abandon ours.

in my life, on this night, sits fabel with the inkling to tidy up his tiny head and the big heart that goes with it, all the way over east.

all the way over west, i sit with my mumford & sons, my incense burning, late april snow falling outside. it's not late- annica and i drove our tentative way back from kate and phill's, where we were spoiled with delicious dinner, and i could soak in the glorious distraction of their company. the snow is unexpected and lovely, if cold and wet as it does tend to be. falling snow makes me happy. the snow will always keep right on coming down, whether or not i can watch it, whether or not i want it.

with the internet as my weapon, no conflict or obstacle is insurmountable. god bless you, internet.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


Give me hope in silence
It's easier, it's kinder
And tell me not of heartbreak
It plagues my soul
It plagues my soul

We will meet back on this road
Nothing gained, truth be told
But I'm not the enemy
It isn't me, the enemy

But I came and I was nothing
Time will give us nothing
So why did you choose to lean on
A man you knew was falling?

Give me hope in silence
It's easier, it's kinder
And tell me not of heartbreak
It plagues my soul
It plagues my soul

And bury me beside you
I have no hope in solitude
And the world will follow
To the earth down below

But I came and I was nothing
Time will give us nothing
So why did you choose to lean on
A man you knew was falling?

secret: it's like

the ground from beneath my feet
the breath from out of my lungs
the muscles of my little legs lacking oxygen
my brain on a short circuit loop
my favorite song and i can't remember the lyrics
a guitar with no strings
peas without carrots
a comb without its teeth
stopping short of finishing
a teapot full of no more than hot water.

that trick where the magician pulls the tablecloth out from under the set table
except nothing stayed quite where it was.

a breath of fresh air
finding a twenty in the pocket of a jacket you were just about to give away
popeye's spinach
finding some music in the wind whistling through the forest
making a promise to your oldest friend and keeping it
taking off the stage makeup after the play is done
making peace out of pieces
opening the window for fresh mountain air
telling a story that's funny because it's true
showing someone their new favorite band.

treasure: home

firstly, set this song to playing.

i would not claim myself to be anything so glamorous as a gypsy of life, an eternal traveller, nothin' like that. i've not seen a lot of the places i would like to see, but i prefer to sit back and expect in a calm fashion that i shall visit them some day.

there's no rush, no panic, no fear of missing out.

with so many places to visit, the one thing i wonder about from time to time is where i call home. and honestly i couldn't say. the house i first remember living in has since been reclaimed and reorganized by a chaos of cousin's children. that house, if i'd inherited it, i would have loved for its balcony, its view, and its sentimental value: the photos i always looked over as a child from before i was born (because that time is so foreign, especially as a child... the time before me? couldn't be), when my parents were together and just starting out at marriage and adult life. there is a photo i will beg from my mum to take and make myself a precious copy of: my parents, younger than i am now, standing in front of the recently built (and not-quite finished) house. mum is in red gumboots (i think- in my memory they're red) and dad stands behind her with his arms around her. knowing what i know now about the world and relationships and reality, i can see the excitement and apprehension in the photo. a young couple in love on the family farm with plans of kids and chaos of their own.

perhaps it is fitting that my cousin bought the house to build his own young family, after all.

in that house i shared a bedroom with my brother stu- dad, or maybe my grandfather (i never thought to wonder til now) built a unique twist on bunkbeds- and i remember the green curtains and the pattern on them from the hours i guess i spent as a young child staring at them when i was meant to be napping or reflecting upon my bad door-slamming behavior. i remember how the hallway seemed so long and dark, even though mum and dad's room was just next door. i remember our blue bathroom, and how we took all the balloons blown up for one of our birthdays and put them all in the bathtub, then insisted on taking a bath in there.

i'm certain i have romanticized that time, but it truly seems in my memory that that house was the time we were closest and maybe happiest. us kids anyway, oblivious to the havoc we were creating daily for our beloved mother to clear up behind us. i think those years are the reason that me, stu and hugh love each other. in my mind, that house is pure childhood goodness.

we moved into the bigger house when i was maybe 10. we all had our own rooms, spare rooms besides those. the homestead houses a lot more for me. it soaked up my teenage angst, depression and artistic woe. holy crap, the bad poetry i wrote in that house. that house tied me to my dad's teenage years, my aunts, uncles, grandfather and beyond, all the way back down the line. there is history that i didn't appreciate at the time, and now i simply wonder about the sort of people my family have been, so many generations back. i don't think so much of their quiet, well-mannered adult years of wisdom. i think of all the times they felt like yelling and slamming doors and all the times they didn't.

because that house was always cold i always felt the ghosts. it's not to say i didn't continue with my joyous existence of oblivious childhood and teenagehood. i lived a blessed life as a daughter in my parents house, and i realize the treasure of that as an adult; that which my parents worked so hard to give us, doing the very best they could.

since i left the safety of a house with parents in and went out into the world (not for a second pretending they weren't there right behind me if and when i needed them), that family homestead has been host to more angst and doorslamming, and i am glad to know (in a way that ignores the trouble this causes parents) that my newer family have kept on with my legacy. i am always welcome in that house when i'm home, and i love to be there. i love the new pieces added on to the house and the changes. they feel right to me. but that's not to say the ghosts aren't still there. the house is too old not to have ghosts.

a newer place for me to stay is the warm mudbrick house that jon and louise built. this is a little oasis and a refuge for me, finding peace in the sun, on the armchair closest to the fire, at the dinnertable with candles and red wine, soaking up in the deep bathtub with the water luxuriously up to my chin. it's a place to hide and a place to gather my thoughts, which always serves me well.

since leaving new england, my houses have been in melbourne and in whistler. between one thing and another, i don't have a house i call home.

edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros offer up their sweet sentiment that home is the person you love. i love the idea of that certainty and aspire to feel that way about somebody. i would love to travel with home in my heart and holding the hand of the person who made me feel that way.

Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my Ma & Pa
Not the way that I do love you

Holy Moley, Me-oh-My, you're the apple of my eye
Girl, I’ve never loved one til you.
Man, oh man, you’re my best friend,

I scream it to the nothingness
There ain’t nothin’ that I need
Well, hot & heavy, pumpkin pie,
chocolate candy, Jesus Christ
There ain’t nothin’ please me more than you

Ahh, Home

  Yes we are Home
Home is wherever I’m with you (2x)

I’ll follow you into the park,
through the jungle, through the dark
Girl, I’ve never loved one til you
Moats & boats & waterfalls,

alley ways & pay phone calls
I’ve been everywhere with you
That’s true

We laugh until we think we’ll die,

barefoot on a summer night
Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you.
And in the streets we're running

free like there's only you and me
Geez, you’re somethin' to see.


“Do you remember that day you fell out of my window?”
“I sure do, you came jumping out after me.”
“Well, you fell on the concrete and nearly broke your ass
and you were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you off to the hospital.
Do you remember that?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well, there’s something I never told you about that night.”
“What didn’t you tell me?”
“While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought
was going to be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you
and I never told you ‘til just now.”
“Now I know.”


Let me come Home
Home is wherever there is you
Ahh, Home

Yes, I am Home
Home you are me and I am you.

Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

on "why tattoos?"

i have 3 tattoos. the most recent one is new; fresh ink from yesterday.

they are not a secret, but i have not announced this one this time. i'm verging on a guilty conscience because my mum does not like tattoos, and i never ever want to make her mad. she says the same thing whenever i tattoo or pierce: "you have such a beautiful body, why would you want to change it?".

i've been working on my argument, because i'll be home soon (in australia) and i will inevitably have my mum to answer to (don't we always have to answer to our mums at some point?).

my first tattoo, right shoulder, is an owl, and i got her as my whistler souvenir. she is inspired by a drawing i saw on a book cover, drawn by an artist local to British Columbia, which is the province of Canada i live in. an owl is a powerful female symbol, as well as being a symbol of wisdom and connected to books and reading. these are my things. well, i'm working on the wisdom.

my second tattoo, left shoulder, is a girl with a red umbrella and red boots, with snow and rain falling on her from a dark cloud, and puddles at her feet. i loved the image when i first saw it, and it fits in with the idea "love will keep your feet warm and your head dry". i'm a girl so i do believe in that sort of stuff. love stuff i mean. i do also believe in umbrellas, but normally forget mine on buses, trams and trains.

my newest beauty is a bit more of a commitment. it's on my hand. but really, for me, that's the only place it could go. i have a white feather quill pen, with a red nib, and some splashes of red ink on the knuckle- one is the shape of a rough heart (more love; gross, right?). in writing this blog for the last 2 years, i've realized how much i love to write- i've written stories to myself since i could string an alphabet together, but i kept them to myself (possibly a wise decision considering the tomes of teenage angst i churned out- thanks to the instincts for that call). i may not be a great writer, and i may never write a classic, but i do like to write, and i intend to keep on it for the rest of my life. and to be as much myself and as genuine as i can in what i write. so perhaps i shall steer away from scripts for unscripted infomercials.

so, why? they're permanent! god help us all, no amount of scrubbing is going to get me out of this mess. honestly though, i think everything that happens to you in your life leaves a mark of some kind, and i don't just mean "remember that time you cut your leg open really deep and needed stitches".

for me, tattoos are about collecting beautiful things. i think both dave petko and lacey jean, who tattooed their works onto me, are amazing artists. i love having artwork as permanent parts of me. i love all my tattoos. i like the process, the ritual, i like seeing a master at work (hangin' out with lacey yesterday reminded me how much i like to see tattoo equipment being prepared, the ink, the needles of various sizes, the care and carefulness), i don't like the pain but i do like knowing i can sit through it (haven't done anything seriously hardcore yet, not like ribs, i hear those set you up for some hurtin').

to my mum i might say that i don't believe a tattoo will change my body, nor does my wish to get tattoos mean that i need to look different to be happy. and, honestly, this body of mine, i'll have it to do things with for another 55-60 years tops, and a tattoo will not hinder any part of phyiscally living my life. it's not political. it's self-decoration, souvenir. they're mine.

as my closing argument, i offer up the sentiment below. i know for a fact i will not be laying in my deathbed, struggling with my last breaths to say "i wish i never got that tattoo". 


that anger you feel when someone shatters your dearly held illusions of how things are

Saturday, 7 April 2012

top ten reasons kate is awesome

  1. her dance routine to "single ladies" by beyonce
  2. her re-wording of several hiphop classics including "ice ice baby", all in aid of improving her work environment
  3. her lasagna
  4. her appreciation for the finer things in life, like cheese and clever lines in movies
  5. her banter. witty, thought-provoking and relevant to our modern times
  6. she reads my blog
  7. her enthusiasm for activities: skiing, riding, hiking
  8. the way she sings along to james taylor (i grew up listening to james taylor)
  9. that one time when she wore predominantly purple clothing
  10. her patience, generosity and love... not everyone will get out of bed to rescue somebody at 2am.
  11. (i lied about there being 10 reasons) if you be really good, sometimes she'll let you feel her boobs.

love you kate.

Friday, 6 April 2012


Missed the last train home.
Birds pass by to tell me that I'm not alone.

Over pushing myself to finish this part,
I can handle a lot,
But one thing I'm missing is in your eyes.

In your eyes 

Have you seen this film?
It reminds me of walking through the avenues.

Washing my hands of attachments yeah,
land on the ground,
one thing I'm missing, is in your eyes.
In your eyes.

In your eyes 

secret: preparation (deep thoughts on a thursday night)

it's a month now til i leave whistler. i'm not entirely certain how to prepare for it. there's the logistical stuff, like packing up my things, passing on the treasures i can't keep. there's a checklist: phone, bank account, tax return. that sort of stuff is easy, mundane but easy.

it's trying to soak up every little bit of this town that i love. it's the possibility i mightn't be back, for who ever really knows when they'll see a place again once they've left it? the places i love, the foods and drinks (mopsy's pork pizza at creekbread, double caesar and warrior burger at dusty's, wings and pints of lion's winter ale at crystal, banana bread on the mountain, waffles at crystal hut, pulled pork at bbq bobs, roll combo at samurai sushi, latte and breakfast wrap at lift coffee co., brie apple caramelized onion panini at cracked pepper, tuna salad sandwich at burnt stew cafe, breakfast bagel at moguls, and many more), the places (the re-use-it centre, kate and phill's house, the walk from creekside to home, home itself... and the many homes i've made for myself here: hugh & cam's couch, the tiny 1bed studio with hugh at the vale, the floor in the vale at mitch, kirsty, steve and andy's place, the crazy alpine party house, the mellow alpine summer house, bayshores house, bayshores bitches mansion and now the vale again). all the spots on the mountain. the people. my little whistler family who i love so dearly. the familiar strangers i walk by on the valley trail who smile at me because they know i'm a regular, even though they don't know who i am.

it's trying not to squeeze the life out of whistler, trying not to make every experience over-done as "the last time i'll...". i'll be back in australia just 2 weeks sort of 3 years since i left. in the grand scheme of things, it's not a long time, but at this point of my life, it's been huge. it's been forever. i'm wrapping my head around the fact that there will be a morning soon that i'll wake up, look out the window, and realize there are no more mountains to be seen. i won't lie, it's going to be a tough day.

it's making peace with the fact i won't see the person i love for more than 2 months. that next time we see each other, we'll be in a different hemisphere. that we just have to hope whistler is not the only thing we have in common.

i was so different when i arrived in town. i'm happy with who i am these days. i hope i'm wise enough to be this same person, alive and confident and a little bit silly.

i'm trying not to think ahead too hard. i want to just soak it all in, to have later as memories to laugh at with the friends i've made here. they're stuck with me now, for life.

i know i will look back as i leave this town.