March 25, 2009


Hello there!

Yesterday, I heard a lady telling her friend that dogs can smell cancer.

True dat.


In the kids choir I’m playing for on Saturdays, is Alexander.  He’s barely 7, hair that looks like it needs Brasso to keep it clean.  He’s generally so dreamy and vague that he can barely put one foot in front of the other, let alone speak a whole sentence out loud.  This Saturday, the kids were allowed to get up and sing in front of the rest of the group.  A treat!  Alexander got up….a surprise in itself…and looked quite nervous.  The other boys were rowdy on Saturday…goofing around, being naughty…laughing at Alexander.  He started singing, stopped, and then said “I dont know if I can do this, because people are laughing at me, and I don’t like it.”  No problem!  Silence in the room, the boys looking remarkably sheepish,  Alexander began not so much singing as quietly groaning his way through the song.  His preferred style.  Such tiny vocal cords!  Such an underdeveloped sense of pitch! 

I wish I could sometimes be more like Alexander.  Not so much with the chronic pitch problem, more so with the ability to note when things aren’t working in my favour, when I’m being treated with disrespect, and to do so with remarkable clarity and no great emotional upheaval.  How do we dislearn that behaviour?  Where does it go to?  Probably the same place as spontaneity and flexibility.

Sunday – a really lovely and moving day, for a number of reasons.  One of them being that I went to a concert at the Art Gallery of NSW.  It was to celebrate Peter Sculthorpe’s 80th birthday.  There was even birthday cake!  And champagne!  I’m sure he loved celebrating his birthday with a bunch of society dames and competition winners.  But I say hey Peter, you’re famous and we love you.  So enough with the complains ALREADY.  Geez.  80 year olds.  So complainey. 

So. I’m a pretty good pianist.  I’m not amazing, I’m not brilliant, but I’m really quite good.  Good enough that I’ll always earn an income from banging the 88s.  And that’s a pretty remarkable way to have a living, when I stop to think about it.  Hmm.  Stopping to think.  Hmm.


I’m quite happy with the level of my pianistic ability, knowing that my talent also reflects the amount of time I choose to devote to my craft.  But sometimes, I DO wish I’d practised harder.  Or just had a bit more natural talent.  I wished that on Sunday.  I wished that on Sunday because the performers got to hang out in a special place where us concert goers couldn’t go.  They got to hang out in the rooms beside the booze room, beside the recital room.  They got to hang out in these fantastic rooms, dripping with Cezanne and his good friends, all UNLIT.  I don’t know why the unlit-ness got me so much…but I stood at the ropes gazing longingly at the dark rooms, imagining how quiet and private all those rooms would be, would feel, overnight. 

And then we were jammed in an overlit room, with art stuffed on the walls, none of it bearing any kind of aesthetic relationship to the one next to it…Roberts, Lambert, Meldrum, McCubbin…all just jammed in together, all jostling for space, and all because this was obviously the “Australian Painting” room, and heaven forbid that galleries are hung in any way other than this.  Sorry, I rave.  Remind me to stop next time.  So in this room, having no choice but to rest my thigh against the thigh of a stranger (only an old society dame….shame….), I listen to Peter Sculthorpe reading from DH Lawrence’s “Kangaroo,” and listen to one of my very favourite melodies:

And I stare at the ceiling, at the man in the Max Lambert staring back at me, and I think: I am who I am.  My joy, my grief, my confusions, my knowing-ness, my confidence, my anxieties, secrets told and secrets kept, loves lost, and love yet to be gained.  All of it is me, and all of it is fine. 

I close my eyes and Ian keeps playing.

Tomorrow’s post today

March 22, 2009

I have many things to say.


It will involve: ranga children, Australian classical music, outrageous blazers, art scrapbooks, and dimly lit hallways.

March 21, 2009

This morning when I was walking to the Rozelle markets, I saw a cockroach on his back…legs going crazy, and ants just starting to crawl over him.  I think what he was trying to say to me with his flappy flappy antennae was “Shit….this time I’m really done for.”

90 minutes later, walking home, he was dead and his little body was swarming with ants.  Amazing that you can behead them and they’ll still kick around, that they can (apparently) survive atomic blasts, but are defenceless in the face of the common garden ant.

Ants.  So great.

Sexy, sexy nails

March 19, 2009

I have quite lovely feet.  Yes, yes I do.  They’re small, they work pretty well, I have high arches.  And after working on the Gold Coast for 6 weeks, my one little habit that I picked up there, one that has clung on like a hungry hungry little tick in a Jack Russell’s ear, is my love of a good pedicure.

Today, with a spare afternoon, I went up the road to Sexy Nails.  I don’t think that toenails have ever been considered sexy…especially not the nails that were being presented in the chair next to mine.  Gnarly, gnarly claws.  “Neat” or “tidy” might be a better description.  But they probably wouldn’t get as much business as Tidy Nails as they do at Sexy Nails. 

Sexy Nails was perfect.  All dainty little asian ladies, all doing amazing work, and all making me feel completely paranoid.  I’m convinced that the conversation between my lady and the one working on the claws next door went something like: “This lady has really stinky feet and disfigured nails, ohmigod I’m never going to be able to make them look sexy, and then I’m going to lose my job here at Sexy Nails, because I can’t live up to the shop name.  And then what will I do, run a photo sticker shop?  Those things are money pits!”

Anyway.  It was very good.  I almost managed to get through it without getting the ticklish feet giggles.

Street fighting machine

March 18, 2009

One day, in Barcelona, I was going for a walk with the lovely boy, Hany.  We were in a public garden, and travelling up an escalator.  I KNOW!!!!!!  How great are the Spanish, putting escalators in GARDENS??!!?!?!  Maybe Sydney could take a leaf outta their book…

Anyway, so we’re on an escalator, and at the top of the escalator were two old gypsy ladies.  Flowers were thrust at us, and then money demanded.  Hany got out his wallet to prove he didn’t have any, so they turned on me.  Sometimes, old ladies really know how to fight.  Sometimes, I really know how to fight back. 

I may or may not have pushed an old lady over that day.  I may or may not have screamed at her to “FUCK OFF!” 

I’m not proud of it.  But sometimes I am.

Sometimes, I wonder whether lovely boy Hany was part of the whole operation, and whether I escaped something nasty by the skin of my teeth.

It’s fun to think of those senarios after the fact.  Makes me seem both stupid AND tough, all at the same time.

  1. Successfully grow carrots
  2. Provide foster care
  3. See the completed Sagrada Famiglia
  4. Walk the Overland Track
  5. Walk the Camino de Santiago
  6. Go camping again in the Lamington National Park
  7. Relearn crotchet
  8. Buy a bird guide
  9. Go bird watching
  10. Sing in a choir
  11. Spend a weekend in bed (alone)
  12. Spend a weekend in bed (not alone)
  13. Sublet in Europe
  14. Send some writing off somewhere
  15. Have Christmas at my house
  16. Get my tax done on time.  At least once.
  17. Volunteer at Sacred Heart Mission
  18. Work Christmas Day at Sacred Heart Mission
  19. Go to a dance class
  20. Yum cha all day at home
  21. Write an arts funding application
  22. Spend a day on a boat
  23. Do another fun run
  25. Wear my hair differently every day for a week
  26. Go to a Quaker service
  27. Preserve fruit