Posted by Naomi on Nov 13, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
Yesterday was my birthday. I spent the rainy morning driving my daughter and her friends to their first high school orientation. The afternoon was spent at the dentist with my kids. That’s all fine. I’m not a child (by any stretch of the imagination) and don’t need a big fanfare on the day.
Today I dropped my son at school for camp, my daughter at her school, then drove across the city in pouring rain to spend time with a friend. What she met at her front door was a tired, angry person, ready to fight anyone and everyone. Someone willing to punch, kick and scream at the world for all its ugliness.
Sometimes life is just not fair. No amount of talking about karma, putting it out to the universe, prayer, whatever, will change that. Sometimes it rains for what seems like days and weeks and months at a time. The feeling of sun is forgotten. Given the situation in the Philippines and typhoon Haiyan, a bit of rain should not bother me, but today it is. I won’t patronise anyone reading this with first world problem comments, an obscenely privileged phrase if ever there was one. I’m just pointing out, to myself as much as anyone else, that really, a bit of rain is nothing to complain about.
The rain suits my black mood. Perhaps it’s me who is bringing this downpour. Yes. Appears as well as being in the darkest of moods I now have a god complex, I can, among other things, control the weather. Apparently.
If I rage against the rain long enough, I can blame the weather for my horrid mood. I don’t need to assume any actual responsibility for my behaviour. This was my thinking today. This was the mood that my friend opened her front door to. Lucky woman.
After brunch and some good coffee, she took me to have my nails done. A small thing, but a thing none the less. She sat by me and entertained me with highlights from twitter and instagram. She sat by me and didn’t talk anymore of the big ugly that is making me so angry. We talked about the weather. We frightened a woman a few weeks away from having her first child. Confirming what we already knew; we are now officially women of a certain age who accost strangers in a nail salon, wishing them well on their impending bundle of joy.
While we talked, my hands were massaged. If I could have stayed there all day, eyes closed, I would have. The closeness of a friend, the hand to hand contact with a stranger, slowly massaging the darkness away.
On the drive home I listened to podcasts of writers in conversation. The rain fell, wipers worked across the windscreen, and words filled the interior space. The constant patter on the roof, the muffled splash of puddles, the honesty of writers talking, took over. Waiting at the lights, I admired my nails. Smiled. Realised after all the world is only as ugly as I let it be. That is enough for me, for today. Let it rain.
photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Nov 9, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
Sometimes a cake is just a cake.
I decided to bake today. I thought the scent of spices, apple and vanilla would warm hearts on a rainy weekend. Spices were ground, flour sifted, eggs beaten. Sugar and butter weighed and mixed. I took my time. Concentrating on the small details. Letting my mind be filled with the task at hand.
Sometimes a cake is a metaphor. All that mixing and measuring. The coming together of separate things to create a whole. The batter tasted sweet, with a promise of what was to come.
I feel a million miles away from people I love this week. Cake doesn’t shorten the distance. But it tastes good. It smells good. I can post pictures of it on instagram and pretend my life is one great big old piece of cake. Easy. Lovely. Sugary. Life as cake.
The thing is, cake doesn’t always turn out the way you hope. Sometimes, even with following the method to a tee it doesn’t do what you want it to.
Sometimes, cake doesn’t come out of the tin. You prise and poke, you tap and shake. But nothing happens.
I foolishly thought if I baked a perfect cake, the day would get better. I foolishly thought if I baked the perfect cake, I wouldn’t think about cancer for a while. Turns out cake doesn’t know my wishes. Turns out cake is, after all, just cake.
In my mind the cake would come out of the perfectly prepared tin in one easy, syrupy upside down tap. In my mind I would be posting another picture perfect cake image on instagram. See? The image would say, today is just one big happy cake filled day.
But cake is just ingredients. It’s just flour and sugar, egg, spice, vanilla, butter and milk. It can’t make distance shrink. It doesn’t remove hurt, or missing, or sadness. It didn’t know I needed a perfect cake.
Turns out even crumbled, falling apart baked goods taste just as good as the ones the keep together. It seems even if the cake doesn’t look the way to should, the tears don’t fall.
Nothing has changed. I’m still sad. I still wish I could place cake in a tin and drive to share it with the people I miss most. But I can’t.
The cake may have crumbled. But turns out I didn’t.
Cake. Stupid, delicious, uncooperative cake. Perhaps it is more than the sum of its parts after all.
Posted by Naomi on Nov 1, 2013 in Family
Today is the first of November. It’s also the time of year men begin to grow all manner of moustache. I can’t say I mind. It’s no secret I’m quite partial to a well groomed mo.
Each year I watch as menfolk face the 1st of November clean shaven, then will their facial hair to grow, grow, grow. I’m not really content with a plain old mo. I want to see style, flair, wax tipped and twisted ends. Any man can grow a mo, it takes a certain amount of dedication and manliness to style and groom a mo into something a little more special.
Movember has taken on a more personal note this year. My father has been living with Prostate Cancer for almost four years. This year, along with my brother in law and a band of merry men and women, we have created a movember team. Together we are Team Charliehorse. My parents are private people, and I don’t tend to talk much publicly about our family life with cancer. But, this movember, with Dad taking part, it’s a little special. You can read a bit about Dad here.
My Dad was a fit, active man. A mad-keen fly fisherman, he’d think nothing of being up at 4am to walk through the dark, cold wilds of the Tasmanian Highlands to be at the perfect fishing spot come dawn. He’d think nothing of having three grandkids piled onto him at once. He’d think nothing of pushing a mower over a huge, hilly block of land. Or of standing in a crowd of thousands, his eldest grandson on his shoulders, for the ANZAC Dawn Service. Backed up later that same day by being in the MCG with his family to watch our beloved Collingwood do battle with Essendon. Oh yeah, he’s also a published author.
Now, while I’m more then certain I could grow a mo, I prefer to help out in other ways. Mo-sistas are the women standing with the men growing the mos. Mo sistas can do all sorts of things to help. For me, that’s taking part on the Melbourne City2Sea fun run. I’ll wear a mo and ham it up. I’ll also be doing a bit of blogging about mens health over the month.
Our family is on a roller coaster ride like no other. Being a mo sista, or in this case a mo daughter is the least I could do. I wear my heart on my sleeve, runners on my feet, and now, a mo on my face.
What can you do? Read up on mens health. Start a conversation with your menfolk. Donate to Team Charliehorse.
photo credit: Gerardo Obieta via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Oct 24, 2013 in social justice
Attention: Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Federal Member for Cook, Mr Scott Morrison
Dear Mr Morrison,
It’s pretty simple really, even my children understand it.
Seeking asylum is not illegal. Using a boat as a means of transport to seek asylum is not illegal.
It is a basic human right to be able to seek asylum.
Article 14 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
By definition, people seeking asylum are not migrants. They therefore do not need valid visas to enter other countries. It’s a case of normal laws not applying. Just like we don’t say it’s illegal for an ambulance to be driven through red lights, or break the speed limit when necessary.
I’d be more than happy to come and explain this to you Mr Scott Morrison. So would my twelve year old.
I’m ready for a chat anytime you are.
PS. I have a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in plain language if you’d like a copy? Ditto the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
United Nations Cyber School bus
Go Back To Where You Came From Series 2
photo credit: ginnerobot via photopin cc
Posted by Naomi on Oct 15, 2013 in running
Running is one of those things. I often hate it while getting going, then love as the kilometres tick by. On a good run the feeling is amazing. On a bad day, it’s all I can do to press save on run keeper. It’s also something that comes with war wounds of glory and a need to talk about the last great run.
So here I go.
I have just completed my second half marathon. It felt good. I ran it in 2 hours, 8 minutes. I would have liked it to have been 2 hours 5. But there’s always next time. I read a lot about running while training. I spoke with my rheumatoid specialist, and knew to listen to my body. I made sure I was still able to chat at the 10km mark, and knew that stopping was not an option. Walking, or going slower makes it hurt all the more. I felt good at the end. A little sore, but that’s to be expected.
My main war story is the blister on one of my big toes. It’s actually beginning to rival the toe itself in size. A week with no running will hopefully see it begin to disappear. I also have quite an impressive graze where my sports bra sits. Actually there are four grazes. I knew it would happen. I tried to prevent it, clearly unsuccessfully. Bra burn, the nemesis of many a female runner.
Like all things that take time, effort and a fair amount of sweat, running war wound stories are all part of the game. At least this time I managed to avoid underarm chaffing. I spotted more than one male with the telltale signs of bleeding nipples, and one of my running buddies has more than one black toenail waiting to drop off.
Yet we go back to run time after time.
I love big run events. There is something in the atmosphere, the willingness to cheer others on and be part of something big. I love the sound of thousands of feet pounding the road at once. I love seeing the people on the roadsides with personalised signs for their mum, dad, friend. My personal favourite this race, the sign telling someone, this race is your bitch!
I love that kids waiting on the sidelines put their hands out and runners high-five them as they pass. Having the chance to see the race leaders running at an incredible pace, heading back to the finish as most of us have not even made it half way – that’s a sight to behold. As is the clapping and cheering that goes up through the throng of runners as the race leaders approach from the opposite direction.
It’s a great leveller. None of us look our most glamorous after 21.1 kilometres. There is sweat, blood, and weird looking official photos. There is also an amazing sense of achievement. It’s addictive to say the least.
So now, I recover. This week I’ll walk, use rollers and take things easy. Next week I begin training for an upcoming 10k event. I’ll reset my training guide, and punch in a new faster time to aim for. Along the way I’ll also run two 5k fun events. One, for Movember, a run very close to my heart.
Next year I may even aim for two half marathons. There is nothing like upping the stakes. But if I ever start talking about a full marathon, hold me down and stop me. Some things are best left to other people!
Thanks to Mrs CeeeCeee for the photo.
Posted by Naomi on Sep 30, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
Week two of the term break is here. In Melbourne that seems to mean one day of wind, one day off, repeat, repeat, repeat.
I gave myself a week to just be. Do stuff, or not. As the day and mood took me. This week things need to be done. Reports need to be written. Planning needs to happen.
So, while I contemplate how to write about twenty-five souls, and hopefully impart not only the skills, but the message to their next educators to see the child, not just their can do and can’t do, I have a list of sorts.
Being lost in a book is time well spent. Carrying names and characters in your head and your heart, is hours well used. Stopping to read again a perfectly formed sentence is worth unfolded washing and a late dinner.
I am reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan.
I am amazed at my legs. At their ability to run step, step, step as I train. When my mind says stop, my legs keep going. Where they get their will from I sometimes wonder.
I am training for a half marathon.
This week, some of my family move house again. We are a family of movers. Houses are buildings made for shelter. Homes are within our hearts.
Last week I drove my son to a friend’s house. As it turned out, he lives just a lane-way behind my second childhood home.
On Saturday I watched as over 100,000 people sat in a stadium. I saw a man singing at the front of a band. He wore a T-Shirt with a slogan. Asylum Seeker. This was the main story in my twitter stream.
Hawthorn won the Grand Final.
Wind blows. Rain falls. Work gets done.
Books are read. Races are run. Songs are sung.
People move. Homes are made. One man sings in a stadium.
Stuff. It happens. It is what life is made of. Live it. Live it well.
As for the song. It’s just a song. Nothing more, nothing less. Listen.
Posted by Naomi on Sep 26, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
Here’s the thing. Some days you really should just stop. You should stay home and not bother with all the things you’re so sure are necessary. Busy-ness shouldn’t be a prize to be bragged about.
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of tips related to do nothing days.
The dishes can wait.
I know. Crazy talk. But sometimes unwashed items can remain on the sink or bench. The sky won’t fall in. Promise.
Kids can load and unload dishwashers.
They can also do the dishes. Even really young kids. OK, so you may want to remove the super sharp knives, but nothing keeps a kid happier than warm water, bubbles and some dirty dishes. Pull up a chair to the sink, so they can reach, pull up their sleeves and let them have at it.
Pyjamas are fantastic all day wear.
It’s true. If you’re really worried about an unexpected drop in guest, or a courier, wear trackeis. Even put on a bra if you really want to. But soft pants are required for lounging.
Piles are so hot right now.
Books, unread magazines, cook books. Whatever floats your reading boat. Put a pile near a comfy chair or sofa. Make a cup of tea, coffee, bonox. Sit and sip it slowly as you read.
You can fold and watch.
Hurl all that unfolded washing onto the couch. Put on a favourite movie. Fold as you watch. Better yet, use the washing as extra cushioning as you watch. On chilly days, use it as a blanket. Also doubles as tissues for those tear inducing movies.
Don’t be ridiculous.
Stalking. It’s almost as good as exercise.
Social media is all kinds of fun. Especially when lurking. Remember when in full lurk mode not to like or favourite anything. Totally gives the game away.
Baking is good for the soul.
So are store bought cakes. Instagraming of either home baked or store bought goods is not strictly necessary. But if you do, remember cakes look better with clean lines and open bench space. If your kids haven’t done the dishes yet, crop any unwashed piles of dishes out of the final photo.
Wine should always be in the fridge.
On stay at home days, wine time comes early. How early depends on you.
Toast is tops.
Toast is a base for many meals. On a stay at home day it can be the main part of all non cake related food intake. You can even get all fancy with poached eggs, or beans. Bacon is a necessity.
There you have it. A non-exhaustive list of things to do on a do nothing day. I’m sure there are more. But that would require effort. And that’s not really in the spirit of this post. Do you have anything to add? What tips do you have for a slow day?
Posted by Naomi on Sep 24, 2013 in thinking out loud
A week is a long time in politics. Three years is even longer.
I continue to be baffled at the decisions of the new government; and if someone could explain to me the weird that was Q and A last night, I’d be ever so grateful. I should have seen this coming. The government, that is. Monday’s Q and A will always remain somewhat of a mystery.
My political leanings are no secret. If you’re reading this and are surprised, pull up a chair, I’ll make you a soy latte and school you in how to hug a tree, while weaving a mung bean macramé plant holder. Problem is, I’m finding it harder and harder to see the funny side of things.
In the past days we have seen the dismantling of The Climate Commission. Have been told there will be little public information on people attempting to seek asylum, and that the weekly information the public is given will be tightly controlled.
I don’t care if you are not as left leaning as I am. I don’t care if you voted above the line, or don’t listen to as much news radio as I do. But what I am finding more and more difficult to accept is that people are willing to take the, well, it doesn’t really affect me, so whatever, stance.
Our government has decided they will tell us what we need to know about any people attempting to seek asylum by boat. They will decide what, when and how much we will be told. Scott Morrison cites operational reasons.
In opposition The Coalition had a stop the boat mantra going. The incorrect term illegals, was bandied about on a daily basis. They couldn’t get enough of telling people of the crisis and alarming influx of boat people. Now, in government, suddenly, we don’t need to know how many boats are arriving. I have noticed a shift in terminology as well. I’m hearing a lot more of the phrase, people smugglers and their customers. Changing the words. Changing the focus.
I have spent my morning reading a range of opinion pieces and news articles on The Coalition’s take on announcing boat arrivals. Some say it is a good thing the public will be less bombarded. Others talk about a faltering democracy, lessening of transparency. I am yet to make up my mind on whether Abbott and The Coalition have unwittingly done people seeking asylum by boat a service (by stemming the media saturation/sensationalisation/scaremongering of their arrival) or just taken away their last available voice and hope of empathy and public support.
While I have been thinking on this, the dismantled Climate Commission has re-launced. The new seed monied, crowd sourced, people powered Climate Council has, since it’s beginning at midnight, managed a press conference, turned twitter into a frenzy of account suspending, un-suspending and re-tweeting. At last look they had 13, 667 facebook likes, and rising. People, with a voice, at their best.
Men, women and children seeking asylum via boats do not have that same voice. We can not let silence speak for them. Because to me the intent of The Coalition at least seems clear, silence the critics. Silence the marginalised. Muffle the dissenters. Change the wording.
So, while I wait to see what happens this week, this year and for the next three, I read, I listen, I talk, I question. And I run. Not away from debate, politics and policy, but towards it. The need for information seems stronger than ever.
Don’t ask me what I’m going to do about it. I’m not sure yet. But one thing’s for sure, I won’t be quiet. Will you?
Please note: I am not affiliated with any political party. At best, I can be described as a swinging voter. At worst, a dirty, tree-hugging hippy. I’m not bothered by either of these descriptions. This is opinion, and thinking out loud, while I try to come to terms with the current political landscape.
Posted by Naomi on Sep 18, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
So, it’s been a while.
Sometimes there is lots of writing, but none to be published. It’s the way of things.
There have been trips on planes, late night drives home. There is work, and family, and all the goings on of the end of another term. For better or worse, we have a new PM. A new government, and, from my point of view, a lot of fighting on our hands.
This space has been changing. I am less willing to write, even in vague terms, about my kids. As they grow and begin to shape lives of their own, I have no right to write them into the posts of this space.
Those of you who have been around for a while, know cancer is a part of family life. The words that are spoken about its presence are for the ears of family and friends. I don’t want to write them here. Emotions are not all that safe around those words. Untyped is best. Some things are not for public consumption.
So, what then do I write?
We have a new coffee machine. I am running still. Training for a half marathon, and wondering how much longer my arthritic joints will take that kind of punishment.
I have decided on the days I am home during the week, I’ll make decent lunches. Life is too short for a hurried salada and vegemite somedays. What’s the point of working from home, and having a free-lance Hubby if we don’t take advantage of time? Is that blog fodder?
Perhaps I’ll instagram the lunches, the coffees, I already have more than enough photos of my running shoes; then again, what’s a few more?
A new story is mulling, I am pulling out the words. Trying to plan out chapters and characters. The task is hard, but it soothes me at its best, and exhausts me, berates and belittles me at its worst. Ah, words, even when I write you, you can be cruel. So maybe I’ll write about writing. Or the not writing, as some days go.
I have thought a lot about this blog, and at the end of the day, even after it’s been a while, I come back to it. So, it seems it is here to stay. The writing may change, but then again, don’t all things? Nothing worth keeping stands still, well, not in my mind anyway.
Posted by Naomi on Sep 4, 2013 in random sweet nothings...
I haven’t been around much lately. Because, well, life. It is happening as I type.
The days have been a promise of sunshine and warmth. Washing attempting to float in the wind, pegged against its will to the line.
Rhythm escapes me as I run the well worn tracks. Magpies eye me as I pass. The perfect playlist eludes.
Sunshine and freshly cut grass, the signs that spring is here; an itchy combination to the hay fever inclined.
I tried to blog the everyday, the ordinary. But life is not about that right now. So instead, the posts remain undone. Snippets of words come in the half-dream of 3am. I wonder about getting up and writing them down.
For now, life is enough. No less and no more. The words of 3am remain half spoken. For the moment they can lurk. I have no time to catch them.
Today the sounds of Johnny Cash singing One, played in a cafe as I sipped coffee. The man in black. He brought to mind another man in black. And it made me smile. And that? It is enough. Because life. It’s happening while I type.