Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Omg, I hope youse guys don't think THAT'S what we've been getting hysterical about over here for the last six years!
Unrecognisable and not even slightly funny.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
It happens the same way every year: the weather starts hotting up, the tourists start swimming (and people in Melbourne) – while I say to myself, ‘Hmmm, not quite hot enough yet…’ Then suddenly there comes a day so swelteringly hot and humid that I think if I don’t get in the water RIGHT NOW, I’ll die or at least go crazy.
When I do get in, of course it’s a shock – so cold. So I dunk myself straight away and in a few moments the temperature’s perfect. After that I don’t want to get out; I stay until my fingers and toes are thoroughly wrinkled. I’m not talking ocean; never could cope with surf. I grew up in Launceston, at the end of an estuarine river, and swam at river beaches. Tasmania is a very small island, so I did sometimes get to ocean beaches too, but never became at home in the waves.
Here, I have both. What we call the river – really a creek – is just at the end of our street. It’s an estuary too; just a little further on it meets the Pacific at a vast, sandy beach that Andrew and I love to walk on in the cooler months. From our house we often hear the thunder of the surf. I might not care to swim in it but I do love the sound! It would take me three minutes to walk to the river, ten to walk to the beach. But I don’t want to cool off only to get hot and sweaty again walking home, so I don’t; I go in the car.
I’m not one of these bronzed Aussie sporting types, I’m afraid. Even in the creek, I don’t go in for strenuous swimming. Forget the Australian Crawl, all that overarm and turning the head from side to side while spitting out great gouts of water. No, I do a bit of lazy side-stroke, and mostly float happily on my back, gazing at the sky and the tree-covered banks. Sometimes the trees are hung with ibis; sometimes pelicans cruise the sky or the stream. There’s usually a few insistent gulls skittering over the sand.
Today there were no birds. It was a very windy day. The tide wasn’t full; you could see that it had come all the way up to the rocks and then receded a little. The narrow strip of sand was still wet. But it was high enough, and it was flowing upstream. I like it better that way. The current is strong in the middle of the creek, and I prefer to be swept a little way upstream than down towards the sea. Today the wind was blowing the water into rapid waves, and being an estuary it always tastes salt. I could kid myself I was in the ocean after all.
When I arrived, there was a man lying immersed in the shallows and a young couple just entering the water while their tiny dog stood guard on the bank. I passed some polite remarks. I think the man in the shallows didn’t speak English; he looked foreign, and smiled rather blankly at everything I said. The youngsters were friendly, but were more interested in kissing and canoodling in the water than chatting to me, so I tactfully turned in the opposite direction to give them a bit of privacy. After a while, first the man left, then the couple, and I had the whole creek to myself. Lovely.
And by the way, with the weight I've lost the bathing suit looked a lot better today than it did last summer! Then, I used to wrap a towel around my waist as soon as I got out of the water – not only to get dry, also to hide. Heck, I used to wear it before I got in the water, too, just walking from the car to the edge of the creek. I’m still a fat lady, but today the towel was merely for drying myself; I strode in and out of the water without feeling any need to cover up.
rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautifully produced book, this is lovely to both the eye and the touch. It explains what flower essences are and how to use them, in accessible language, drawing on the author's own experiences to illustrate the points she makes. This section is simply a lovely read, as well as informative!
Then there's a detailed, illustrated account of the flower essences stocked by Essence World, her shop and clinic in Eton, England – a comprehensive range of essence systems, lesser known than such systems as Bach and Australian Bush Flowers, and very much deserving to be widely known. (I have personal experience of some of them.) It includes a list of physical symptoms, possible emotional causes, and the appropriate essences to use. There are even lists of essences for cats and dogs, and a special section on working with children.
With a reading list, an excellent index, and a directory of the essence manufacturers whose ranges are included, 'comprehensive' is the word for the whole book - that, and 'beautiful'.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Bold those you've done.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain (as in walking up it – not a crampons and oxygen tanks deal).
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (Rode in a speedboat, saw gondolas)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30.Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (different birthplaces of different ancestors)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (again, a bit of a scramble, not the real sporting deal with equipment and all)
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen a geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (twice! neither of which I acquired nor wanted)
48. Gone deep sea fishing (as observer)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class (don’t suppose Tai Chi really counts, does it?)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (except we call it Girl Guides)
62. Gone whale watching (don’t have to go far, only to local beach just down the road)
63. Got flowers for no reason (both got for self and received from others)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone hang gliding
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (won’t Edinburgh do?)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (as passenger)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (had some of mine published and also been the publisher of other people’s)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (lots)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (well, outside only)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (if a fish is an animal)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (quite a few)
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day
(Why one might wish to do some of these beats me!)
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friend who brought me flowers on my birthday: ‘I can tell when I hug you that you’ve lost about four inches around your waist.’
Colleague encountered at the movies: ‘You’re looking good, Rosemary. Something’s working!’
Letitia, film director, during phone-call: ‘It really shows in the pictures from the latest filming. You’ve lost heaps!’
Conversations which amuse me –
Neighbour, in our shared driveway: ‘You’re on a diet?’
Neighbour: ‘Oh, are you just being careful what you eat?’
Me: 'No, not at all. I eat what I like.’
Husband, at home yesterday: ‘I can’t understand how you’re losing so much weight! You’re eating like a horse.’
Me: ‘Well you know I’m not allowed to tell you. But you live with me – you must be able to see what I’m doing.’
Husband: ‘Nothing! It’s a mystery.’
Other things I’m not doing –
Just for the record, Husband is wrong; I am of course doing something. I’m doing Letitia’s program, with the consent of my doctor. And yes, I have signed a contract not to reveal the details. You’ll all have to wait until the film is released.
However, I do have permission to tell you what I’m not doing – besides not dieting.
I’m not cutting out fat; I’m not even cutting it down.
I haven’t lowered my sugar intake. (It wasn’t all that high to start with, but I do indulge in cakes, biscuits and chocolate whenever I feel like it.)
I’m not doing any strenuous exercise.
I’m not taking any appetite suppressants, diuretics, or ‘speedy’ chemicals.
I’m not using dietary supplements.
I haven’t been hypnotised.
Pleasant surprises –
A month ago I bought some new slacks. I got them from the op shop because I knew I’d be growing out of them fairly soon. It was a lot sooner than I thought! Within a week they had gone from a perfect fit to being rather loose. By now, the waistband sags about three inches below my navel.
I fit back into the black satin pants my friend Pam gave me, which I haven’t worn for nearly two years.
Today I had to do up my bra on the second row of hooks.
(If you're desperate for clues, check Letitia's thinkin trim taut terrific website.)
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Last night the Senate passed historic legislation removing outdated discrimination against same s-x* couples in scores of laws ranging from tax, superannuation and Medicare to social security, health, aged care and employment.
You joined over 53,000 GetUp members on the petition calling for an end to this unfair discrimination and were at the forefront of demonstrating to our politicians that now is the time for equal rights.
The passing of this long overdue legislation marks years of campaigning to end discrimination against same s-x couples. Congratulations are due to the many organisations and individuals like you who campaigned to end this discrimination.
Only when we can demonstrate that the community's attitudes are out of step with our laws will our politicians follow - and you were an integral part of that process.
Thanks for working towards a progressive Australia,
The GetUp team
GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Thanks for taking action
Thanks for taking action to end the Bush-Howard era of national security - finally this is the moment we've waiting for to end draconian features of our anti-terror laws that have brought widespread condemnation and done little to actually protect us.
This moment may not come again any time soon - please take a moment to send this campaign to everyone you know, to counter those pundits whispering in our politicians' ears that they must be seen to be 'tough on terror'. Just forward the original email below.
The GetUp Team
--------- Original email to forward to your friends ---------
Finally the moment we've been waiting for has come.
Yesterday Barack Obama vowed one of his first acts will be closing Guantanamo Bay. This week our Government will receive a report into the bungled Dr Haneef fiasco and the Opposition have joined with the Greens to call for an independent watchdog - this is our chance to demand a new era of national security that protects both Australia and the rights of all Australians.
It's time we make sure no Australian can be detained without charge, without legal representation and without access to the evidence against them. Without clear statements from the community, politicians will again err on the side of appearing tough at the expense of just and effective laws.
Sign our petition for an independent review of our anti-terrorism laws and a watchdog to monitor their use and necessity.
Sedition, preventative detention, control orders, evidence obtained by torture, extraordinary rendition - as the world moves on from the Bush-Howard era of draconian anti-terror laws, Australia can't be left behind.
Governments have a responsibility to keep the community safe. But our law books contain 44 extraordinarily harsh laws that erode our human rights, offend the rule of law, and grant our authorities immense power with little scrutiny.
The best way to protect the community is to make sure our authorities operate under clear, transparent and just guidelines that ensure the best outcomes are gained by upholding legal principles. Sign our petition calling for an independent review and watchdog to make sure our anti-terror laws protect us and our rights.
Three years ago, GetUp members rallied against some of the most unnecessary and harsh measures ever introduced into Australian law. Now the same party that introduced these laws agrees that we "cannot allow extraordinary measures to become ordinary". 1
Join the growing chorus of voices calling for a new era of national security that keeps us and our democratic freedoms safe.
History will remember the Bush-Howard era of national security as one marked by draconian anti-terrorism laws that did little to protect us but created a politically-useful climate of fear. With the end of that era, we now have a chance to write a new chapter.
Here's to the future,
The GetUp team
PS - Many of our anti-terror laws do more harm than good, and do little to make Australia safe. Click the petition link above to show your support for the reform of the Bush-Howard era anti-terror laws.
1 Shadow Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis in this article
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Following the global jubilation and relief at Barak Obama’s election, many were disappointed at the passing of Proposition 8 which declares that legal marriage can only be between a man and a woman, effectively banning gay marriages, which had been happening in the State of California. Whilst a State issue, it obviously has much wider implications.
Collin blogged about this disappointment, I wrote a comment in support and signed it Heterosexual Unafraid of Gays. I adopted this moniker 20 years ago when my son David started at university. On Orientation Day he encountered a club for gays, which also had badges for heterosexual well-wishers.
HUG, they explained, is an acronym for Heterosexual Unafraid of Gays. And wearing it can create an opportunity for conversations about that! When I saw David’s badge I requested one for myself too, and I still treasure it.
I think I might start wearing it more often. As an honorary gay, I think this privilege also carries responsibilities!
In Australia too, there is urgent need for reform. While it hasn’t been put to the popular vote, our politicians have so far refused to legalise gay marriage.
Good on you Collin for blogging about it, getting people thinking and reminding this person of her principles. The first (though not the only) thing to do about injustice is to speak up!
Post-script: The badge is now in my sidebar with a link to this post, as a way of raising awareness of this issue. Click on the "gay rights" tag to see more posts on the subject. This one is particularly pertinent.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Thom was in charge – well I was, but he was hosting it. And the three lovely young men who run the café that sends bagels to the homeless were there too. Some of the youngsters were poets I heard at the Hideout, that very energetic venue I enjoyed so much.
I sold one book and got $6 in my tip jar. Just as well I am having such a ball! And being looked after in terms of food, transport and accommodation by generous hosts. When I exclaimed to Thom about people's generosity, he said, 'Well, you're our guest. And it's a measure of who you are. People like you.' He added that these will be friends for life; I already know that. He said he's met here the nicest, best people anywhere, and I can believe him (though I myself do know some pretty good ones at home too!).
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
They also realised that the humour was in the absurdity of the suggestion that there’s a correct religious way to masturbate, and would have been just as funny whatever religion had been named.
The consensus is that they consider me a sensitive and loving person with whom they are glad to be friends. One, who happens to be a pastor’s wife, addressed me as ‘dearest sister’ – and it’s true that, apart from our respective ways of worship, we have everything in common. As for my post, she said her husband laughed at it too.
All of which has greatly restored my sense of perspective. Thanks, people!
Friday, October 31, 2008
I had occasion to post the following on MySpace this morning. I am copying it here in case it also applies to readers of this blog.
I'm sad and chastened to receive this message from a treasured friend:
I can no longer continue friendship with you..
Your Christian Masturbation blog insults my beliefs.
And she has blocked me from further contact. I'm sad about this because she's a beautiful and gracious person, and I just didn't think. I know she would have been saddened by this too, and did not do it lightly.
And I have other treasured Christian friends here, whom I truly hope I haven't offended beyond hope of repair.
We Pagans are so often villified in ignorant and malicious ways by so-called Christians that it's too, too tempting sometimes to return the favour, though hopefully with less rancour. At least the thing I was making fun of did come from people claiming to speak on behalf of Christians, whereas some of the things said about us have less basis in fact. But after all, that's no excuse. In any case, my friend was certainly not one to do that!
There are indeed many groups of Christians as there are many shades of Paganism. Most Pagans have enough common beliefs and values to regard ourselves as family, but I wouldn't necessarily want to be identified with some few more extreme groups. I can see my ex-friend's point!
And so I apologise unreservedly to any whom I may have offended. I just thought to share a laugh at something absurd, and thought my Christian friends broadminded enough to laugh with me. But indeed it's truer to say I was not being thoughtful.
I HAVE now thought about removing the offending blog, which was my first impulse. But it's been up a while, people have seen it and reacted however they did. Done is done and I take responsibility and live with the consequences.
This will give me pause in the future, however! The Golden Rule of 'Do as you would be done by' applies to all of us, whatever our spiritual preferences, and I was remiss.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
US leadership affects the whole world.
The following letter came to me by email. I've been unable to discover the original authorship, but I see it has been blogged extensively already. I also note that the net is full of open letters to Sarah, from all manner of persons! The concerns this one raises, though, seem to me worth disseminating as widely as possible, so here it is again with no apologies. If anyone can refute it by matters of fact and logic, please feel free!
OPEN LETTER TO SARAH PALIN FROM AN INDIGENOUS WOMAN
'Decisions that have been made for the last couple of centuries have been decisions made without the presence of a real God....from the vision, not of God, but of money.'
--Tom P., MOHAWK elder
An open letter to Sarah Palin:
Daughter of the Earth ~
I speak from the heart of my indigenous grandmothers. I want to share my concern with and for you, your family, and our country. We have only three choices in our lives ~ to act from Love; to act from Fear, or not to act at all.
The day you were chosen to be John McCain's running mate, I decided to find out who you are. I looked up your voting record at VoteMatch.
I read your voting record, and my heart plummeted into a well of deep grief. We have the opportunity to co-create a reality that respects all people and belief systems; all living beings; to explore and use alternative energies that will not harm the earth; to feed all thepeoples of the earth; to address an economic system that is not and has not worked for many years. I would hope that you, and all our government officials, would be looking for ways to accomplish these things.
Yet, you are suing the U.S. government to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for Big Oil. And you are backing a senseless and hopeless war that is being fought only to gain more oil.
Jesus, your teacher and saviour, taught peace, harmony, balance and unconditional love for all. When you proclaim Christianity, what I hear is a need to dominate the Earth and All Our Relations out of fear, greed, and avarice - the 'business as usual' mentality which has so harmed us all in the last eight years (to say nothing of the centuries before).
When you say 'the war in Iraq is a task sent from God', I question your authority to speak for the Creator, and I hear the same kind of mentality that guided Adolph Hitler (April 12, 1922), who said, 'My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a Fighter. It points me to the man who, once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews (substitute: Muslim, Native American, Asian, non-Christian) for what they were and summoned men to the fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as sufferer but as fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish (Muslim, Black, Indian, Hispanic, Asian, non-Christian fundamentalist) poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before - the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago - a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish (Muslim, Black, Indian, Hispanic, Asian, non-Christian fundamentalist) people. '
And, when you proclaim the Iraq war 'a task from God', I hear the same misguided belief systems of the fanatical Muslim sects that proclaim 'jihad', a 'holy war'. HOLY and War do not belong in the same sentence - a 'holy war' is an oxymoron promoted by fanatical bigots who believe only in their own supremacy. I cannot condone such beliefs, and, unlessyou want to take us back into the dark ages of the Inquisition and the Crusades, I pray that you will look at your own beliefs.
You claim that 'We are about to win the war in Iraq'. I question where you got your information. When Bill Clinton left office, we were at -0- national debt - now we are trillions of dollars in debt. . . and no end in sight. To say nothing of the thousands of lives lost on both sides, due to Big Oil's need to perpetuate itself. This is not a 'holy war' ... it is a war of greed. John McCain brought up his experience in Vietnam - one more war fought for the wrong reasons. You're too young to remember, but many of us do remember. Have we learned nothing in the last forty years??
As I read your opinions and the actions you have taken in your short term as governor, I am shocked and apalled, and my heart hurts. You are a mother and grandmother-to-be, yet you are against abortion under any circumstance. Apparently, you'd rather see children all over the world starve to death within a few months of birth because their parents can't afford to feed them, or a mother who beats or throws a child into the garbage because all she can see is the face of the man who raped her.
You don't want any gun control, even though children the ages of yours are killing each other in cities all over the U.S. because guns are so easily accessible to them. Sarah, what if it was one of your children killed by one of those children with guns? Would you still say, 'Guns don't kill people - only people kill people?'
When I listened to your speeches, I don't hear one possible solution to the oil crisis; the war in Iraq; the economic crisis facing our nation. I don't hear anything about better schools, or health care for all, or ways to balance the national debt. I hear ego and arrogance from you; white supremacy backed by fanatical fundamentalist beliefs; the competitive need to slam the opponent so you can 'win' above all else. I do not appreciate the Republicans' 'Perception Management' team 'spinning' lies into 'truths' for the gullible American public's consumption.
My question to you, Sarah, is where is your heart? Where is your compassion, mercy, and the desire to uplift all humanity? Where is your respect for people of other cultures, religions, races? Where is your desire to find true answers to all the challenges our nation is facing at this present moment? You bandy the word 'change' around, but I haven't heard one real word about what you intend to do. At some point, if your voting record doesn't change, indigenous people around the world may start calling you 'Daughter-who-rapes-the-earth'.
As I looked at the crowd at the GOP convention, I noticed very few people of color. Your husband comes from indigenous peoples. In some secret place, his heart must be full of tears and terror.
People of Color - First Peoples, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans - I call on you to look beneath the rhetoric. See the flim-flam of sympathy and self-righteous white supremacist, racist, fanatical religionist 'patriotism'. Understand that NONE of the true issues are being addressed, because McCain/Palin have no answers!! Call for an honest vote count - no 'lost' ballots; no 'miscounts'. . . we all suspected the last election was bogus - it's time to make sure we have a real election now.
My prayer for you, Sarah, is that you learn the true meaning of Love, Service, Humility, Compassion and Mercy. I pray that through this heart opening, you will begin to feel the grief of the world, and all our ancestors. I pray that feeling this pain will level you to the ground, and make it possible for you to examine every belief you've ever held and discard those that do not serve Truth and Love.
And my prayer for my country is that you aren't allowed to 'win' this election. At this time, we need leaders who are open to a new way of viewing the world; leaders who are willing to stop greed and corporate corruption; leaders who will co-create balance and harmony with all. We are moving toward an enlightened age - God willing, we will not fall back into the Dark Ages.
Perhaps, Sarah, in another ten years, if your heart opens and you come to understand a larger picture than the narrow-minded bigotry you presently sustain, you would be a good Servant of the People. In the meantime, the heart of the indigenous peoples will pray for that opening and pray that our country is saved from you and your current belief system.
In love and blessing
An Indigenous Woman
Monday, October 27, 2008
* The gardenias on my desk. One of my regular clients for readings, when I'm at Murwillumbah Showgrounds market, always brings me a gardenia flower. This time it was two, and they're lasting well. It's my favourite flower, mostly for that exotic scent, and also for the delicate beauty of white petals which turn gradually gold as the flower fades.
* Our guest, James, is still here. He cooks us splendiferous meals from time to time, knows how to fix computer problems, and helps out here and there with finances. Above all, he's taken on turning Andrew's health around with nutrition specifically tailored for Andrew's needs, plus lots of laughter and optimism. Apart from all that, it's just good to hang out with him after not seeing him for a number of years.
* Andrew is responding well to the ministrations and already seems much more his old self.
* The fact that I wrote two poems yesterday.
* Kind comments from people who enjoyed the walking blog I posted last night (see previous post). The realisation that the trivia of my life can be enthralling to others, and that I must be writing well for this to be so.
* New posts at the latest Haiku on Friday blog. The tender memories sparked in others by my verse on my mother.
* A new art gallery nearby is going to display and sell copies of Andrew's book at its opening exhibition, 'All's Fairy in Love and War.'
* My new metal water bottle (because I read that plastic leeches into the water). It's lightweight, and has a spill-proof lid.
* Remembering the lovely water bottle carrier with shoulder strap that I got in Peru in 1998, and have just brought back into service (because new bottle lacks a carry loop). It has dusky-hued stripes of blue, red, green and purple, based on those wonderful old Inca designs, and the strap's adjustable.
* The recipe for mosquito repellant which I got from the Neighbourhood Centre – effective without putting nasty chemicals on one's skin. It's also good for treating the stings once they've happened. Here it is, if you'd like it too:
Gentle enough for everyday use and helps with existing bites also
In a large spray bottle
ADD – 200mls Canola Oil
or light Olive Oil
15 drops Lavender Oil
20 drops Tea tree Oil
50 mls water
Spray all over skin daily
* The even easier tip for treating midgie bites (from an Aboriginal guide at Mingjungbal Museum): as soon as you feel the itch, lick your finger and dab the spot with saliva. It has to be your own saliva. This neutralises the itch. Both these tips are vital because I am highly allergic to mozzie and midgie bites, and the dear little creatures just love me. I wind up with welts and sometimes infections from scratching ... but not any more!
And why am I listing all these good things here? Because counting one's blessings is a kind of magick! Energy follows thought. When we think positive, we send out good vibes which attract more positivity, so the happy mood escalates, and blesses all those around us as well as ourselves. Or, put another way – expressing gratitude tells the Universe what we like and want in our lives. And writing things down, particularly for public witness, is a good way to ground them.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I hadn't gone far when I encountered a dog. He was black, and middle-sized. (You have to understand that I tend not to think a dog is a real dog unless it's at least the size of a German Shepherd. This one wasn't, but he wasn't a little titchy thing either.) From across the road he looked thin. I thought he must be a stray. He looked at me hopefully and made a slight move towards me. Despite thinking I shouldn't, I clicked my tongue and slapped my leg and he came across the road to me, cringing down low as he got near. Definitely a stray, I thought, as he crawled on his belly. I let him sniff my hand, told him he was a good boy, patted him and scratched behind his ears. I had visions of taking him home, sorting out the interaction with the cats, and trying to find someone to look after him. (Or, let's be honest, maybe keeping him.)
But when I set off again, he didn't come with me even though I called encouragingly. He started back to the other side of the road. When I didn't go with him, he just stood in the middle of the road looking at me. Luckily there was no traffic. 'Get off the road!' I shooed him, but he didn't move. I sighed and went with him to the other side. Then he made it very obvious we were at his house and he'd love me to come in and meet his people, and perhaps come and live with them. I declined, but I was glad he didn't need rescuing after all.
Round the next corner I met a Japanese girl walking fast and purposefully like me and listening to her ipod. We nodded as we marched past each other in opposite directions. Then I passed the share house where the Koori couple and all the young blokes live. Four of the men were sitting out on chairs by the garage door. They waved; I waved. 'G'day!' we called to each other with big grins.
I went around a court to add more time to my walk, to make up for interrupting it to talk to the dog. Two little girls in their pyjamas were out on the nature strip. 'Hi,' said the smaller one, 'That's a pretty necklace you're wearing.' I smiled and thanked her. When I came back down the opposite side of the street, they were on that side too. 'Hi,' said the same little girl, 'That's a pretty necklace you're wearing.'
Then, as I came towards my house, a very small boy passed me, riding slowly on a very small bike. 'I'm with no people,' he announced. 'Are you out on your own?' I said. 'Where do you live?' He pointed along the street. 'Down there.' I admonished him to be careful on the road – though he was the only piece of traffic in sight – and suddenly he sped away like a veteran. Good, he didn't need rescuing either.
I had no idea that going for a walk at this time of night would be such a social experience!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
But what broke me up was the big, bold heading: Christian Masturbation.
When you masturbate, kiddies, please make sure you do so in good Christian fashion!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I have a roof over my head and enough clothes to wear. I eat three meals a day and sleep in a comfortable bed at night. Compared with millions of other people in the world, I’m rich. When I add that I’m surrounded by shelves of books, have paintings on my walls, and that our household maintains two cats, two computers and one car as well as two people – surely, by some standards, I live in luxury!
Measured by other criteria, too, I’m positively wealthy. I’m married to a man I love, who loves me. My children are all living healthy and productive lives doing the work of their choice. Most of them are in happy relationships with people they love, and all of them have good friends and enough money. I myself have an abundance of wonderful friends, and I live in one of the most beautiful regions in Australia. My health is good. I earn money only in occupations I truly enjoy. So what would I know of poverty?
As I said, it’s relative. When I was a University student in my twenties, existing on a Commonwealth Scholarship and sharing a house in a low-rent area with a couple of other young women, there were times I lived on sixpence-worth of mincemeat and one lettuce per week, and I shared the mincemeat with my cat. Well yes, sixpence did buy a lot more than it does now! In fact we’ve had decimal currency for a long time; it was equivalent to five cents. And that was long before I found out that iceberg lettuce has no real nutrition. I thought I was taking care of my health by eating protein plus a green leafy vegetable. A friend used to give me oranges, and various friends used to sometimes invite me for meals. At the end of one year I pawned most of my textbooks and was never able to redeem them. I still regret letting go of the beautiful Lavengro by George Borrow, a book that’s not heard of any more.
I was poor enough to steal. (Not that that’s an excuse, but it says a lot about my circumstances, not to mention my character.) That was in the days of milk deliveries. I used to go around the back lanes with one of the girls I shared the house with, and nick bottles of milk sitting on doorsteps. If there were two or more bottles, we would take one, and that lasted us a few days. Then we’d pick a different doorstep next time.
Where were my parents, you ask? In different cities far away. My Dad lived near Mildura, my Mum in Launceston, and I was in Melbourne. If they’d been close enough to see what was going on, things might have been different. But I didn’t tell them. A dear aunt in a Melbourne suburb, my ‘second Mum’, didn’t realise either. However I did have that back up if I’d chosen to use it. That’s not true poverty, is it? Even then I had the roof, the clothes (which my parents bought me) and three meals a day even if they were rather strange and frugal meals. And my studies were paid for by the Government.
The next time in my life that things became frugal was when I separated from my first husband at the age of 25. That wasn’t so much because of lacking money – I had my first job as a librarian then – but more because I had never learned how to manage it. I didn’t have a clue. So once again I skimped on food. If I didn’t pay the rent, I’d lose my home. If I didn’t have the bus fare, I wouldn’t get to work. But I could juggle the eating. We used to hear a lot in those days about poor people living on pet food because it was cheaper. I never did that. Pet food was for my cat! (There’s nearly always a cat – or two.) But I’ll never forget the day I found an orange in the gutter. Someone must have just dropped it. It was huge and fresh and bright. It was sweet and full of juice. I thought I was blessed by heaven! I didn’t feel poor on that occasion; I felt rich! (Wealth is relative too.)
Now my husband and I live on the Age Pension. ‘Single pensioners are doing it tough,’ everyone agrees. ‘So are married pensioners in the private rental market,’ observed a Government Minister on TV recently. That’s us! (There’s a long, long waiting list for public housing.) At present, half our income goes on rent, and the rent is going up in a few weeks. No use looking for something cheaper – rents are high everywhere and rental properties are in huge demand. We’re allowed to earn a small amount above the pension, and we do. Also we get a few perks – travel concessions, discounts on prescription medicines, and so forth. As Seniors we qualify for other discounts at some stores and businesses. With all that, there’s nothing over for extras by the time we feed ourselves, run the car, and pay our electricity and phone bills. We buy our clothes at the local op shop – fortunately a very good one – except for shoes; we save up for them. Occasionally we have to ask the Powers That Be for a food voucher, courtesy of Vinnie’s (St Vincent de Paul). We’re grateful that’s available, and long ago gave up being embarrassed about it. There’s no room for false pride on the pension! The people who issue the vouchers tell us we’re not alone. They say they always get a big rush on food vouchers at the start of the school year, when struggling parents have to part out for school clothes and textbooks. I’m glad I don’t have that problem!
When I was married to my second husband, we were able to send our kids to private school. We had a big house in a relatively (that word again!) affluent suburb. We had a swimming pool and spa, and we threw (relatively) lavish parties – lavish in our book, anyway, though we did our own cleaning and catering. We travelled to Bali several times, and around most of Australia. I worked part-time because I didn’t need full-time income and I wanted to be home with my kids after school. Mind you, there was the time early on when he broke his leg and couldn’t work for three months, and we had two toddlers. He was a self-employed abalone diver; his wages didn’t keep coming in while he was off work. But his mates among the professional fishermen kept us in seafood. I’m here to tell you it IS possible to get sick of eating crayfish, after about three months ... but this hardly counts as doing it hard. It wasn’t until the kids were grown up and no longer living at home that we lost everything and went bankrupt! It was the time of 'the recession we had to have' when banks first encouraged people to borrow big and then tightened the screws. (Many years later I cheered the revenge movie The Bank as if it had really happened.) Not coincidentally, that marriage broke up at the same time. We’d grown apart, and the financial stresses didn’t help.
I was still bankrupt when I met my third and present husband. He was self-employed and in the last throes of paying off huge debts so as to avoid bankruptcy. Nevertheless we managed to find a nice little flat in Brighton, Melbourne, another relatively affluent suburb, and run two cars (no cats at that time, and only one computer). We were very happy. Someone offered him a well-paid job and he accepted gladly. I was able to go off unemployment benefits, or Job Search Allowance as it’s now called, and stop looking for ridiculously unsuitable jobs. I was free to teach Reiki, do psychic readings and healing sessions, all from home, and teach creative writing courses at TAFE Colleges. When we first moved to the Mt Warning Caldera, where we still live, rents were so low that Andrew said, ‘I can afford to retire and go on the pension!’
That was 15 years ago, and the pension has to stretch a lot further now. The computers are old and slow and the car is falling apart. The current cats are well fed, though. And so are we, albeit frugally at times. (I learnt from the local Krishna devotees to do a mean veggie dhal!) On the whole, I greatly enjoy my life. We don’t get to the movies much any more, but the local DVD shop rents new releases for half price on Tuesdays. We’ve got a great creek to swim in. The garage we‘ve been dealing with for some years says we can pay off the work our car so desperately needs. Our kids have helped out a lot over the years. And we had a couple of windfalls. We didn’t want my Mum or my brother-in-law to die – but when they went and did it anyway, we were grateful indeed for the inheritances they left us. My Mum (posthumously) shouted us an unforgettable trip around the world in 1998. My brother-in-law bought us an extremely comfortable new bed that was badly needed, and financed the publication of my ‘new and selected’ poems so I had a book to take to Texas when I was invited there for poetry festivals in 2006. My dear friends rallied around and did fund-raising to help me get the plane fare together. I can’t really say I’ve had a deprived life!
And now? The constant stress of exceedingly slow computers, to two writers who use them all the time, can’t be healthy! A friend who’s visiting us just now is a Mac expert and, on the basis of what we actually do on our machines, reckons we need a 24-inch iMac each. It seemed like an enormous challenge. Well whaddya know, the Government is about to give pensioners a big pre-Christmas ‘stimulus package’ which will go a long way towards the cost of one of those computers! We’re still cogitating on how to pay for the other without waiting years to collect it – but nothing’s impossible; my life has taught me that.
There are times when I’ve struggled and done without, other times when I’ve lived very well indeed. All my husbands and I always had to work for our money, like our parents before us, and I can justify my pension by all the taxes I paid in previous decades. ‘I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor,’ said some famous person whose name escapes me, ‘And rich is better.’ Well I’ve been comfortable and I’ve been a battler, and happiness has little to do with either state. I’ve been well-to-do and miserable, struggling and happy – and vice-versa at times. I’ve had episodes of being worried and scared; and more of them when I was – relatively – affluent. The more you have, the more you stand to lose.
But poor? I think of beggars I saw in Calcutta, street children in Peru, TV images of people dying in famines. No, I’ve never been poor!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Well, it happened that when Andrew and I first got together in this lifetime, he recalled exactly the one described above, and I was then able to recollect some details too. It was during the French Revolution. My then husband was an English squire; the lover was a French refugee from the Terror, whom the squire befriended and took into employment. Andrew thought the husband that time must have been my previous husband in this lifetime, the Prodigal’s father; but I immediately knew otherwise, and said, ‘No, it was the Prodigal.’ It explained a thing or two about his initial attitude to Andrew.
We were excited to discover this past connection, until our friend and teacher Jenette said, ‘I’d advise you to clear it, otherwise you’ll be in danger of acting it out all over again.’ Good point. So we did. Only it never occurred to us to clear the Prodigal too.
Marieah’s description was interesting because the Prodigal has a pathological fear of spiders, way beyond most people’s revulsion – jumping and yelling in uncontrollable panic on merely seeing a picture of one. I’ve even seen his face go white.
So I set about doing visualisations of unravelling the web. Our relationship didn’t get any easier. There were some distressing communications by email, and no doubt he was equally distressed. Andrew felt under psychic attack from him quite often, and when I tuned in I had to concur that that was the source. In the end I consulted Carol, my Theta Healing and Thought Field Therapy teacher. Brilliant woman! She gave me a long session over the phone, using TFT to clear some of my emotions around the present issues, and Theta Healing to complete the past life clearing. ‘Now,’ she said, ‘You’ll both be free to go on your own paths without the karmic bonds holding you back.’
After that the psychic attacks on Andrew stopped altogether. There was no communication between the Prodigal and me, but that was a relief. I relished the peace! However, he’s my son and we actually do love each other underneath it all. I consulted my own guides as to what to do and was simply told to be loving. So when it came time for one of those ‘family update’ emails, I included him and made a brief acknowledgment that much as I hadn’t liked his behaviour when he was with us (a matter which was no secret from the rest of the family) I could see that his intention had been to benefit me.
After a while he sent me an email accusing me of telling lies about him! I gave up at that point, thinking, ‘Oh well, we’re poles apart. We’ll never understand each other.’ I just didn’t answer. Interestingly, I wasn't devastated as on previous, similar occasions.
A couple of days ago, the phone rang. Andrew picked it up and I heard him tell someone, ‘I’m fine thanks.’ Then he brought the phone to me, saying, ‘It’s [the Prodigal], do you want to speak to him?’ I took the phone and said hello, to be greeted with a warm, ‘Hi Mum, how are you?’ For the whole call he was unwontedly agreeable. (I found out later he was the same to Andrew.) It turned out that he’s just got a new Medicare card, is soon to leave the country again, and has given my address for where the card is to be sent. He wanted to know if I’d keep the card safe for him and just send him the number. Of course I will.
I got off the phone and said, albeit laughingly, ‘The little bugger! He was perfectly charming. He wanted something, of course.’ But I was pleased. Better to be on good terms than bad. On past experience I’d say it won’t last – but I also know how Theta Healing can shift things, so I’ll wait and see. Meanwhile I notice that I’m not so attached as I used to be. It will go how it goes; I’m calm about the whole thing.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
My current favourite handbag is a black leather backpack, the third in a row of similar design, as I seek to replace them as soon as they - finally - wear out. I was on a lifelong quest for the perfect handbag, and never considered the backpack style until Andrew and a shop assistant persuaded me some years ago. What do you know - that was it! The first one only had one front pocket in addition to the main cavity. I had always thought I needed bags with lots of different pockets, but I asked a friend who created wonderful leather stuff to make some pouches for me, one for make-up, one as a wallet/purse, and some miscellaneous ones. That worked beautifully. I still use the last remaining one she made for my make-up, but the latest bag has more pockets. I sometimes wear the bag as a backpack, and sometimes slung over my shoulder by one strap.
I don't have a digital camera to record the contents visually for posterity, but here's the list.
In the zip pocket just inside the top of the bag:
- My FlyLady wallet (the one my friend made eventually lost its zip).
- A large emery board.
- A packet of Bluetack, to be used for sticking flyers up on community noticeboards.
- 'Rid' insect repellent. (Not soon enough – with the advent of warmer weather, already I'm covered in welts and scabs.)
- A bundle of unused tissues.
- A fold-up-small nylon shopping bag.
- A slim pocket diary, used only to record how many glasses of water I drink per day. (Everything else goes on the big FlyLady wall calendar at home).
- The Ancestral Path Tarot deck, in a fine cotton pouch I bought at a market.
- A purple FlyLady lanyard holding a clip-on spectacle case for my 'Fitover' sunglasses. When I'm out it holds my key ring as well, but at present that's hanging on a hook inside the front door.
- A flyer about a talk Andrew and I are attending next Monday night.
- My FlyLady timer.
- There is usually my make-up pouch, but that's on my bathroom vanity basin just this minute.
- Often there's a folding umbrella too, but not right now.
- Often also a large notebook, either A4 or more often A5.
- And quite often a book I'm reading.
- My small Thoth Tarot deck (about a quarter the size of the original).
- A rectangular magnifying glass that slides out of a hard black case.
- A small velvet bear in a burgundy colour, used as a proxy or surrogate in 'absent' healing work.
- A pocket torch.
- A pocket calculator.
- A smallish folding fan.
- Two pocket-sized spiral notepads, for all kinds of notes including Tarot readings I do for myself when not at home, but mostly for writing poems when away from computer – one with purple pages, nearly full, the other with pink pages, still almost empty.
- A pocket-sized notebook with black vinyl cover, for magickal manifestation work.
- Two pencils.
- A pencil sharpener.
- Two magenta-coloured biros with blue ink.
- One Flylady give-away purple biro with black ink.
- A card from café d'bar, an art gallery/café which is stocking Andrew's book. (That will now go into our card file.)
- Three packets of rose stickers from the local discount store, to identify as mine items which Andrew has identical versions of, such as notebooks and pens. Had to settle for roses this time, as I couldn't find my usual cute purple cats. (This item will not stay in the bag either, but be transferred to a desk drawer.)
It's not compulsory to describe the handbag, but failing a photo I think it's interesting. And I won't hold it against you if you decide not to do it at all.
Thanks, Jenny, that was kinda fun.
Note: No apologies for advertising Flylady! She is A Good Thing. (No, she doesn't give me a commission, in fact doesn't even know I'm doing it.)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The finance company wouldn't do a deal on Andrew's and my combined income, and even with augmenting the Age Pension to the degree we're allowed to, neither of us earns enough singly to be eligible. Damn! The store was very happy to sell to us if we could find a way, and we know it's doable, in fact they were willing to offer us an even better deal on the basis of us buying two ... but, no go.
Meanwhile I have gazed upon the face of heaven! Er, I mean I have had a test-drive of the 24-inch iMac, and nearly fainted with sheer lust. Gotta find a way!
The only option I can see now is to find someone willing and able to buy one for us, either outright or on hp, and have us pay them back bit by bit, as we were prepared to do for the shop if we could have got the finance sorted.
We've started a computer fund already!
He noticed our constant frustration with our slow, antiquated equipment, and being a Mac expert was able to see that for our needs the new 24-inch iMac would be ideal for each of us. Then he found that a place nearby is offering a good deal on hire purchase, and I realise I only need one extra client a month to be able to do this. So James - who is a much better negotiator than me - is taking me up in a minute to look at them and hopefully bring two home.
I might be offline a few days getting the new one set up. Depends on the fine print etc,, whether this actually happens, but I'm just tellin' ya.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Luckily he was pretty healthy in general; that helped. Also I did a lot of Reiki when it happened, and since. My nurse neighbour tells me there is ‘a very small window’ and is sure the Reiki must have been instrumental in saving his life – because it took a while to realise what was happening. He thought a rib was out and tried a chiropractic session before he got to our place, and a painkiller and a hot bath once here. I twigged what was going on when I gave him some Reiki and Theta Healing, during which he felt considerable relief, only to have the pain return as soon as I stopped.
I told Andrew to stay in bed, no sense him coming too – besides, I knew I’d need him to drive me to my teaching job next morning, because I’d be in no condition to do it myself after such a late night. Luckily he had business in the same town that day. But of course, when I finally got home from leaving James in hospital, Andrew was up waiting with cocoa, and had been giving James ‘distant’ Reiki.
James had already been gradually reducing his cigarette smoking. On his return here after the hospital stay, Andrew successfully cleared the addiction by using Thought Field Therapy. TFT has a very powerful process for clearing addictions. It took only a few minutes.
I really must try it on my chocoholism soon!
Friday, September 19, 2008
During the months of September and October many communities celebrate Pagan Pride Day. With Pagan Pride, it's the time to celebrate our Spirituality, give thanks, and a time for renewal and rebirth. September 22nd is the Autumn Equinox, and time to wear our Purple Ribbons! The Purple Ribbon campaign was started by FOTE* in 1997 to show our support for religious tolerance and the freedon to believe in our own paths.
September 22 is the day to wear our Purple Ribbons, but why keep it a single day? We should wear our ribbons all the time! By wearing our ribbons we can help ease fears and promote tolerance!
You're welcome to use the graphic on your blog!
Blessings of love, light, peace, & hope!
Matthew & Melissa
Spirit Apothecary Botanicals & Findings
664 Broadway Ave
Bedford, OH 44146
*FOTE: Fellowship of the Earth
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
A year ago, someone told me about '30 Poems in 30 Days' happening throughout September at PoeWar.com (Writer's Resource Center). I participated joyfully. I'm still grateful to John Hewitt, who started it all, for the poems I produced and the friends I made. That was the beginning of a most prolific year of writing, often in response to other online prompts I found – notably another Poem A Day challenge during the month of April, this time instigated by Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides. My Haiku on Friday profile became popular, and I was recently asked to create something similar on LiveJournal: Friday Haiku, which I then handed over to someone else to host. One of my favourite games is x365, in which bloggers write about people who've made an impact on them, one a day for a year, in the same number of words as their age – so I, for instance am writing 68-word portraits. My one regret about all this poetic activity was that I had trouble keeping up with my favourite poets on MySpace, many of whom are prolific themselves.
Finally the wheel turned and we were back to September. John started another 30 Poems in 30 Days, which I began enthusiastically. The prompts were just as good, some people I met last time turned up again, interesting new people joined …. but by Day 6 I had run out of puff. On that day, in fact, I posted a poem that was a few months old instead of writing a new one, then made my farewells from the project. And I haven't written a poem since. Even my 68x365 blog has been languishing, though I do intend to resume and will have to do some catching up. The only things I've still been able to write are the haiku. (And some people say haiku aren't poems anyhow, but a genre of their own.)
I thought I must be experiencing burn-out. I don't say I'm not, but I realise there's another factor. I've observed that, for friends of mine who have more than one vocation, things tend to go in phases. I know people who are both artists and writers. They'll paint madly for three or four months, then suddenly that will stop and they'll find themselves scribbling furiously for the next six. My own dual vocations are quite different: poet and therapist. During this year of being consumed by poetry, the therapist has taken a back seat. But not any more.
At the weekend Andrew and I did a course in Thought Field Therapy. We've been acquainted with this modality for some years now. Our teacher, Carol, was one of the first people in Australia to learn it. Soon after she became a practitioner, she told us about this exciting thing she'd done, we tried it out and then couldn't stop recommending it to people. That was maybe eight years ago, and at some point she went to America and trained as a teacher. At first we didn't think of learning it ourselves. We already had a number of excellent modalities, and when TFT was indicated, for ourselves or others, we had Carol and other friends whom she trained.
Now we've all moved a little further away from Murwillumbah, in different directions, and one practitioner has more-or-less retired. Suddenly the training called to us, and so we did it – and loved it. I had fully expected to love Theta Healing, which we also learned quite recently, and indeed I do love it. I had not expected to fall in love with TFT in the same way, but to my delighted surprise I did. By the end of the weekend I realised: oh, that's why the poetry dried up – I'm in a healer phase now.
I don't expect the poetry will stop altogether, just as I didn't entirely stop giving people treatments during the writing phase; but the focus is different for the next while, however long that may turn out to be. I'm so excited, I can hardly wait to get into it! I'm getting new business cards printed; I'm creating brochures, and new signs for the market stall.
And aha! Now I can indulge in the pleasure of poetry by reading rather than writing it. All those lovely blogs to devour – whoopee!
Friday, September 12, 2008
He came to see us the other day. In the course of conversation Andrew mentioned what a good day we'd had at the market on Sunday, adding something about 'The Universe' always taking care of us.
James picked him up on it: 'WE always take care of us.'
He went on to remind us, 'There's no separation' and explained that he thinks it's important to articulate that now, that it's time for everyone to become conscious of just who is creating our experience.
It's good to be reminded!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The poet's riposte:
Mrs Schofield's GCSE
An even more amusing response:
Education for Leisure
Monday, September 08, 2008
Julie posed the question:
What book deeply moved you, made you grow as a woman, re-energised your spirit, nurtured you into wise ways and a life of marvellous existence? Do tell!
In an email message to group members she added:
Take a moment please and share with us a book which made a difference to your knowledge and psyche as a woman - did Germaine provoke? Gods Whores and Damn Police?
Was it The Beauty Myth that helped you change, or the gentle words of wisdom from a woman in another age?
It was Germaine. Absolutely! I'd read Betty Friedan first, but I wasn't married, didn't have kids, wasn't a housewife, and didn't live in America - so I couldn't relate at all to what she said, didn't know what she was on about. But Germaine is about my age, we were at Melbourne Uni at the same time (though our paths seldom crossed) and she grew up in the same suburb where I was working in my first job - in a library - when The Female Eunuch came out. Plenty of shared experience this time! Besides, she wrote with such wit and style, and was so unafraid to tell it like it was.
No, she didn't provoke. It was more like a blessed cry of relief to find someone articulating things I had been suppressing, imagining until then that I must be wrong because I didn't conform, didn't think how one was supposed to, how everyone else appeared to. Of course, lots of us were suppressing it all for the same reasons, until someone was clear-headed enough and brave enough to express it all, and to do so with such intelligence and down-to-earthness. Talk about cutting through the crap! She got me thinking - which is what good teachers do, so it's not surprising that a teacher is what she went on to become.
I'm still a great admirer of her brains, honesty and courage. Yes, she has changed her mind on a few things over the years - and because she writes books that sell, and is good media-fodder to boot, she does so publicly and gets criticised for it. Not that that seems to bother her much! Yes she has put her foot in it sometimes and/or said foolish things; haven't we all? None of that, to my mind, detracts from her abiding brilliance.
Her book on women artists, The Obstacle Race, which alas I no longer have, was one of my favourites and another which had great impact. I am a woman artist (poet) and can recall too well when it was common for men to point out that very few women had become great poets, implying that it wasn't within our make-up. I remember Germaine writing about a woman artist of a bygone era who, according to male contemporaries and historians, failed to fulfil her early promise - and the comment that, on reading that she had numerous children (I forget the exact number, but a LOT), we might cease to wonder at it!
Erica Jong made an impression too, with Fear of Flying, particularly when her heroine is asked by her psychiatrist, 'Who said you had to be a housewife AND a poet?' implying that it's enough to be a poet and more should not be asked of one. This of course still doesn't square with reality, where women still have to be housewives as well as whatever else they are if they want the housework done, and poets of either gender still have trouble feeding themselves unless they have some other job as well. All the same, the fact that someone, even in fiction, came out and said that there was something wrong with this, and said it in the '70s - ah, that was balm to my soul. And since then I do give the writing of poetry higher priority than cleaning the house or earning an income, even though I try to do all. I know I'm a poet who just happens to get housework to do too from time to time. I'm not a housewife who fits in a bit of scribbling around that when possible. And my life is certainly a damn sight more fulfilled this way.
Thank you Germaine! Thank you Erica!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I say Melbourne days because that's where I lived during the heady days of the Poets Union (when it WAS a Union rather than a society) and the Street Poets. The poets I knew then didn't necessarily live in Melbourne themselves, though plenty did, and they don't all live there now. We got around in those days, and poets from all over the country frequently attended events in any of the capital cities and even country centres. Indeed this still happens, only I myself don't travel as much as I used to.
Anyway it's good to reconnect with my old cronies on Facebook, including some I never actually lost touch with.
Some close family members and friends are there now, too, and pounced on me the minute I reactivated my account. It's fun to be able to read their status updates, look at their latest photos and see from the quizzes how much alike we are or aren't on various matters.
I don't go there all that often, so I manage to avoid lots of people sending me silly things and expecting a response.
What I can do now is let people connect to my blogs – yes, these ones – via Facebook, an innovation since my last sojourn there.
And I can play my favourite words games — finding to my chagrin that while there's nothing wrong with my vocab, my speed is woefully slow compared with some of my friends. Ah well, hopefully it will improve with practice.
Above all I like being able to join groups of writers and poets.
MySpace is still by far my favourite social network and probably always will be, but Facebook no longer annoys the hell out of me. I actually like it now!