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Sunday, October 27, 2019

precious scars ...

the Japanese have an artistic technique called kintsugi, in which broken ceramics are pieced back together with seams that include precious metals, mostly gold

the result is a work of art that draws from the original but transforms to a new and unique piece

I have realised recently that the technique applies equally to people, ourselves uniquely flawed works of art, and that the precious metal that creates our golden seams is sprinkled by our friends

I am privileged to have truly special friends in my life who have been the gold that helps heal my breaks and embrace the damage life bestows

as the moon reflects the sun's radiance, my golden seams are a reflection of the luminescent love those friends provide me

I thank you all

Thursday, October 24, 2019

musing on bubs ...

ROFLMAOWDB *with discarded baby*

Leunig, you're an old, entitled, outdated, archaic dinosaur - but a useful one for starting this conversation so I toss an irreverent salute your way Gramps

you have often made me laugh - you did so again with this 'misdrawing', but for all the wrong reasons

but on to bubs that are much nearer to me, both in location and in my heart

the odd part of living life near the fringes and between or outside the lines, and of being a writer so therefore an observer, is the unexpected joy of translating between members of diverse communities

I kid thee not, while living in Seoul, I often had to translate the English-ish spoken by Irish friends to that spoken by US buddies. The best language job I ever had was accompanying an official group to a multi-Asia summit, to repeat what was said in English heavily accented in one accent in an accent neutral enough for all to understand. I also earned major KRW for a morning facilitating a workshop at a Town Hall Meeting - basically inviting people to speak, closing them down when they needed to share the mic and reporting back to the main meeting over a gourmet lunch at the luxury hotel this took place in (breakfast and coffee and morning tea were also included - I would have gone as a guest for that alone!)

that facilitator role has not lessened here in Melbourne, but the communities I span and the intersections between them are equally diverse

one such intersection is between a group of new-ish parents, grandparents and carers and their children, and the mostly lovable dinosaurs at my bowling club, where I volunteer at Bubs and Bowls when available. I check off names, offer tea, coffee and iced water and usually bake something (a couple of children came straight to me this week asking for cupcakes and I couldn't deliver - I also give lessons in disappointment - but they settled for shop-bought biscuits)

the bowlers  and managers set up a bouncy castle and get out blankets and balls and set up the urn for coffee and tea (and race to the shop when the milk has turned or we're out of tea bags)

but those who are there at that time are usually either of a generation who weren't involved in child raising or who don't have children

working at a different club, which has an abundance of child visitors, I look around a green and identify dangers, and try to mitigate them or warn carers of their potential

cue Wednesday's conversation:

Bowler: There's no wind. We won't anchor the castle.

Kiwi: Anchor the castle - the big kids can push it over.

B: Keep them out of it.

K: *looks at B, shakes head internally, thinking 'ermmm, it's Bubs and Bowls'*
Anchor the castle, it's a safety issue.

*castle anchored*

(To his credit, a pair of bowls was passed to the Kiwi mid-Bubs morn and she left them on a table in the bar. When she went to find them later, they had been moved by the Bowler, as they were a safety issue. Well played!)

having worked as a nanny in the past (yes, yet another role in an eclectic non-career path), I slot in with the carers and children well, and wrangling children is often easier than wrangling drinkers

I also have good friends with multiples, including an unexpected friend who is extremely special and who shares her wonderful twins and their older brother with me

one mum told me of one male family member who, when she referred to motherhood as her second (and busier) job, replied that it wasn't 'real' work though, was it?

I relish the chance to help these new parents, whom mostly only get to look at their phones while in the bathroom, and that will only last until the precious little angels / utter hellions start crawling and then even bathroom time becomes shared

if I can hold a babe while a mum plays with her older brother, or enlist the help of a young dad to guard the cookie jar while I'm away picking someone or something up (we have our own cookie monster who climbs well and can smell sugar through an airtight canister - he's also a fabulous problem solver so no cookie is safe)

so I offer a response to Leunig, also in verse:

Leunig was chasing relevance
Attainment of which had a helluva chance
While mummy womaned on
Disregarding his scorn
As less import than what filled her bubby's pants

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

going oddly bowlo

growing up, the Kiwi knew what lawn bowls was, of course, other people's grandparents played it

she could even recognise a bowling green, from spotting them intermittently while on family drives or, as she grew older, while cycling somewhere new on a mission

the Kiwi's mind equates bowling green with rural settings, nestled beside orchards and market gardens, as that was the environment she grew up in, picking fruit and vegetables alongside cuzzies and extended family

much later, the wonderful mother of a very dear friend bowled, on a lovely green directly across from her home on a picturesque spit of the Akaroa Peninsula. There's a memorial seat for her now in this beautiful tranquil setting. The family were British and bowling seemed a quaint, elderly, white, well-off, still thoroughly Brit thing to do.

on arrival in Melbourne, the Kiwi's eldest sister made her aware that bowling clubs were the place for barefoot bowls, weddings, parties, and anything

then the Kiwi met a guy. A lovely, brilliant, loving and lovable man, whose face lit up when he saw her and who quickly became her sun

he was an active member of a bowling club, and a Brit, but his membership was more the Australian version

they visited often and she quickly came to recognise the players and politics, dramas, scandals and sorrows inherent in any such community - who was in, who was out, who'd been caught red-'handed' out back of the club (picture your school bike sheds but populated with geriatrics who should really keep their privates strictly private)

they even bowled occasionally, the Kiwi more than the Brit-Boy, although he first showed her how to roll

the Kiwi joined the club and subbed in a few games - the two would regroup after and regale each other with new tales to laugh at

the Kiwi wanted to spend the rest of her life gathering stories to make him laugh, and watching his smile migrate across his face

she got to spend the rest of his life instead

in the aftermath, the Kiwi returned to his club a few times but it lacked his heart and presence, and she had been seen there as part of him, not as herself

she returned to the flat she had been in the process of leaving and, in turn, to a bowling club one block away, where they spent their first date sharing stories and laughter

the local bowls community was kind, and brusque, and accepting and she worked for the club during the summer party mayhem

and played a few games for them also over the season

then got a job at a different bowling club, which hosts every event imaginable, and became an ancillary part of that community also

as is known with the Kiwi, it all may have gone too far

last week was a busy one at work, where she wrangled small children and obstreporous adults, served sausages and sympathy and schlepped tables, kegs, supplies and bowls

the Kiwi has decided to play a team sport for the first time since school for one season only this year, so has put Tuesday aside to bowl in the pennant comp, where her baking abilities outclass her bowling. (Tuesday is Pennant lite - more social and fun and less of the sports side of the politics, and if it stops being fun, she'll stop taking part)

she also fell into volunteering on Wednesday mornings when free for Bubs and Bowls at her local club, when mums, dads, grands and other carers bring their little ones to socialise while throwing balls, playing in the bouncy castle and trying to maim themselves on anything handy, while the carers get some non-child conversation

it's fun, especially learning the personalities of both carers and children, and how different siblings can be from each other

the past Wednesday was dismal, so only two groups turned up and both left early for story time at the library. A friend of the Brit-boy happened to pass through on the way to their old club for a social game, so the Kiwi joined for an afternoon on the green

'his' bowlo again, but there now on her terms

the season should make for some interesting stories, as the community is filled with characters, and her work place is set in a St Kilda filled with its own stories

watch this space ...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Permission granted ...

permissionnoun U ]US 
 the act of allowing someone to do something, or of allowing something to happen:

When I lost my love, I gave myself permission to do whatever I needed for a year to survive that loss, or not survive, if that's what was to be.

If that meant trudging through each day simply putting one foot in front of the other, so be it. I expected nothing of myself, but gave myself a deadline. If I survived the year, I would then give myself permission to start living actively again.

There were times during that year when survival was neither guaranteed nor particularly desirable. Times when my world was reduced to the space of my bed and my plans for the future reduced to how to erase any future. Times I tried to drown my sorrow in a bottle and consciously erase myself in a combination of pills and alcohol.

My body refused to cooperate, but I allowed myself to wallow in despair if I needed, without chastising myself for it.

Last month, the day after the first anniversary of my love's passing, was my deadline. The day I gave myself permission to live again.

I stopped drinking completely, which was surprisingly easy once I remembered I wasn't drinking. The universe being the perverse place it is, the first day of not drinking saw me win (and give away) three free drinks at my local. That week was one in which I was offered free alcohol multiple times, whether by friends celebrating good fortune or customers thanking me for looking after them, and I laughed as I remembered I no longer drink.

I've also returned to regular yoga practice - too regular to begin, my body quickly told me. Note to self: after a year of no yoga, eight classes in seven days might be a little excessive. Particularly if you want to move without pain. Just getting out of bed hurt.

After a weekend off to recover, I took a gentler approach this week and started with a restorative yin class and a meditation session. Being gentle on myself is my mantra right now.

Most importantly, I'm looking for fulfilling work again. It's not that I don't enjoy my current job - I do. I take pleasure in helping people have fun, and that's pretty much the job description I have right now. But I want to take that further and find pleasure in doing good as well as helping people feel good.

If I'm fortunate, I will find a position that allows me to do that while using my writing, editing and storytelling skills, and there are two amazing possibilities that nudged my attention at the perfect time. I hope very much that one of them is the right fit for me, and those making the decisions recognise that I'm the right fit for them, but I'm confident that the right fit will make itself known.

I'm eager for a challenge again, and excited about what that might turn out to be.

Most importantly, I'm open to opportunity once again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Hey Y'all


It's been a hard year.

For those out of the loop, I met the most amazing person, fell head over heels giddily in love, then lost him.

I think I've written about that before, but can't face reading it yet.

ANYWHO, it changes a person.

More than I would have imagined.

It affects you mentally, which affects you physically. There is trauma involved.

Then there is the challenge / trauma of dealing with the other people who have loved your loved one, and being pushed aside because you were only new in his life.

I understand that - I do. It doesn't make it easier.

I'm blessed that his sister and mother do understand how much I loved him, and care for me for that.

But, damn, I miss that brilliant boy.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


I worked today

I enjoyed working

but I had to get home afterward

in Melbourne, Australia, a city that should be safe, but a city where we have buried too many women recently who were not safe here

raped, bludgeoned, murdered

when I was a kid at high school, I learned not to put my hands in my pockets, because I needed them to protect myself from kids who wanted to bully me

when I sailed the Indian Ocean, and hitchhiked around Kenya, I learned to open my Swiss Army Knife and have every sharp object available to attack an attacker

I should not be fearing for my life getting home in Australia, but I am

I, and I have to say I am not a wimp, am afraid to take public transport in Melbourne, am afraid to wait for a bus alone, am afraid to be a woman here


Pick an answer ...