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Everything posted by Gisele

  1. Gisele


    It has been a while I have been the best I have ever been, that’s why. Mostly, at least and the exceptions are ripples not waves. I really don’t know why that keeps me away because I like wellness and reading all about it. I just can’t seem to not be a hypocrite. Sharing wellness in a place that exists for the unwell is both the point and so not the point. And that makes sense. And it doesn’t. I wouldn’t after all show my friend, who survived breast cancer, film and (probably even the) trophies from a wet t-shirt competition but laughed my head off when she enthusiastically showed me how she used exactly that as a step in coping. What is giving, really? Taking? Or just the polite choreography that creates the illusion. Greek tragedy with parliamentary rules. On the subject of tragedy, we, as a nation endured one last week. We had an earthquake, apparently. It measured a whopping 5-point-something, which I assume is out of six (?) but I think anyone living in New Zealand or Japan would scoff at that much like we might when Europe has a bushfire. Yeah, that’s cute. Still, they tried to talk it up because 5 bricks fell of the façade of a bakery and nearly but not really hit a tradie who was already helpfully attired with work boots and a hard hat. Unlike the first time in Japan when a nice big one (even by their standards) struck while I was brushing my teeth and almost needed a team of surgeons to retrieve the toothbrush I did not know we even had an earthquake until the kids told me. No we didn’t, I assured them. Yes we did, they insisted. So I asked them when and they said what time it was and then it did make sense. The blind on the kitchen window shook a bit and I remember thinking it was odd that when I called out for our cat to get off the kitchen bench that he appeared almost instantaneously beside me. Alas, he had been unfairly accused, despite recent form in this area. For a creature that exists many, many planes above us loathsome humans, it never ceases to amaze me how quick they are to nonetheless demand a full and frank apology whenever they feel wronged. Two days later, there was an awkward little aftershock. I heard noises on the roof and thought, shit, maybe this is real. Nope. Lucy was up there retrieving a ball, which came with only the faint relief of not being a rocket. Otherwise, I nearly fell over with shock that she was up there at all and up there in bare feet. So I asked her, “Honey, what are you doing up there and whatttt are you doing with no shoes on.” “Shoes are a false sense of security, mum”. The ****? Didn’t say that but would have looked that. Surely I misheard. And no, I didn’t. “Shoes are what?’ “False sense of security,” she said confidently, coming down the ladder and ******* me slightly less with every rung. “****” I did say that. “That’s Dad’s doing, isn’t it?” He would go barefoot to a wedding if it weren’t for my careful supervision. So I went and found him and told him our baby girl is outside wandering around on the roof. He got up to go outside and see and I thought great, he’s going to not be Bear Grylls and give actual careful, cautious, risk-management parenting a go. This I had to see with my own eyes so followed him out. He got to the spot, looked at Lucy, looked at the ladder and said “You have secured that properly, nice job honey.” And went back inside. I didn’t. I stayed outside and died a little bit I hadn’t quite let it go so bought it up at dinner. To no real avail. Desperate, I said something really rather naff, “What if there was an earthquake, what then?” Ruby nearly laughed herself off her chair. “Wouldn't you rather be on the roof than under it, mum?” replete with replica roof-surfing moves that delighted everybody but me At least I have a new favourite natural disaster, if that is all it does. For 18 months that had been the pandemic. I say that truthfully and without being the least bit oblivious to the damage it has done around the world. We fled what is now the most locked-down jurisdiction on planet earth and went to the second-most. And what I found has been the most astonishing freedom. Finally worked it out and all this shit helped me do it. Freedom is the property line and the sum of why I cross it to leave and cross again to come home. Freedom to fall off a roof, even. Going back in time, I think my first favourite natural disaster was democracy. Hasn’t that become that become one giant ****-up?
  2. Gisele

    Platypus and Echidna

    M, Ambivalence, to me, is more than just an interesting word. II think it is a keel on a tearaway skiff, otherwise too light for the winds of change. God knows I had to do the opposite of impetuous and I can see that long periods of ambivalence sign-post every change i ever made since I started to change at all. Change is hard and, in an emotional sense, it is violent and occasionally harmful. Ambivalence takes the sting out of it I think. I'm not sure, maybe I'm better at seeing the whole of something with two-thirds of something. If that makes no sense, I can only assure you that irt makes sense to me. lest you think me reductive, I can also assure you none of that makes my Lada a metaphor. It would be lovely to say that I got two-thirds of a car to help ,me better appreciate it but I think the turth is it just simply would not have occurred to him that anyone would give up proper piloting for something as silly as comfort. Men, right! Getting used to it again though and I do love it. It's funny, my normal car is really quite nice but no-one i don't think has ever approached me in a carpark to openly admire it. I think a couple of people might have been inclined to scratch it but that's a mile away from the genuine enthusiasm for my communist car. I was at the post office the other day and a tradie, standing under an awning waiting for the rain to stop (and, if his handbag was a reliable clue, waiting for his girlfriend) stopped me to say he had been admiring it. So I stopped to say i admired the way he was looking after her handbag. Most men I ever dated would rather have been standing there holding a hand grenade Why do you all (y'all, pardon me) drive on the wrong side of road? The human brain is engineered to veer left to avoid a collision. But don't let that worry you XO
  3. I like this, partly because it reminds me of an older time. I like it more because it, like all transformative wisdom, it leans into the middle. Disease wants of at the edges and this resists that. Thanks for posting it.
  4. Gisele

    Platypus and Echidna

    So far so good for 2021. But kinda not really. It is good in the sense that it has not been bad but it also is a descent from the heady heights of what, in my own mind, I think of as the Year of the Platypus and that makes me a little sad. Or a lot sad. I don’t want to go back. I want the world to change and at a million miles an hour. It was ****ed, it was broken and I would smite all the shrill voices that yearn for the way it used to be. If only I had some free time and a wand. Those shrill voices can be heard here, perhaps not as widely or as loudly as in other parts of the world but exist nonetheless. As long as the majority keeps inviting those to shut the **** up, I remain pleased. All of this makes me a massive hypocrite but what’s my hurry. I’ll get to that later. In the meantime, I will just try to ignore the face-stinging sleet of normal. Just in time for winter. So much normal you could lay down and drown in it. School went back and that super-annoying. I think Alex and I are of one mind; the obscene amounts of money we paid for their education last year while doing the lion’s share of it ourselves was worth every penny. And it was. As much as I tell myself the resumption is for the best because it is for their best, I miss it. I miss it so much. Work is back though not from anywhere but right here if I can at all help it. There is only so much I can do from home. As long as that is hovering around half of what I do then that will do me. Traffic is back. Yay … said no-one. Foot traffic is also back, like rats after a flood. Hang on, I am one of those rats. Moving on… I went home in January, for the first time in six or seven months. I had not planned to but woke up early one day with an urge, so left on a little reconnaissance just by myself. I don’t know what I expected to find and that’s possibly because I didn’t get beyond feeling variously anxious and excited on the long trip up the freeway. Perhaps I just took it to be a logical turning point, to return to our marital home, the only home the kids previously knew and the home I didn’t just help rebuild but was somehow an image of my own rebuilding. It was as we left it. If anything, the garden may have looked a little better but I could not get out of there quick enough. I found myself feeling a bit dizzy walking in and then started struggling to even breathe. And just as a sort of deranged farewell I got the fright of my life when leaving. I closed the front door and turned to walk towards my car and nearly leapt through my own skin and head first through the porch roof. You don’t have to be dead for your soul to leave your body. This time my soul came back and reasoned that the man wearing a suit walking down the driveway towards me wasn’t overtly threatening, just a real estate salesman. The mother****er could not possibly have failed to notice that he frightened the crap out of me. Still, he did not so much as break stride. He got right up close, flashed his downloadable smile and his card and wondered, ever so cheerfully, if I was wanting to sell my home. I’m not proud of it but I pushed his card aback at him and told him to **** off and never come back. We get their crap in the mailbox all the time but this was next level. I’m even less proud to admit that I snatched his card back and studied the details as if to warn him to take never coming back seriously and came searingly close to adding “if you do, there’s plenty of room in my freezer.” I hate violence on every level but horrible thoughts do still pop up. Clearly, much is still wrong with me. So there we are. All the rats are coming back One thing that is gone are face masks. Unfortunately for her, this has closed one of Lucy’s favourite loopholes. Kids never had to wear them and that was always a relief. She more or less came of my womb knowing exactly what she wanted to wear and what she never would … until tomorrow … when her mind might change and ….how could I possibly not know that ... so I had thought that getting her to wear one of these things might be a bit trickier than it might seem on paper. Her other so far unindulged fascination is lipstick. I say unindulged but that might not be strictly true – I found out the hard way when she was quite small how much of a house she could coat when left ever so briefly to her own devices. Estee Lauder, if I recall. At least she is a not vandal without dignity. Both of these things never cease to amuse my husband because, to his tiny, unhelpful man-brain, these are proof that some apples never fall from the tree at all. Being the razor-sharp problem solver that I am, I seized upon the rare the opportunity to fix both of these problems at one supreme stroke. We had just got into town and she asked if she too could wear a mask. So I gave her one, which she tried on. Maybe as much as 10 second later, she carefully pinched one of the straps between two fingers, peeled it off and handed it to me like it was yesterday’s underwear and went “err, no.” Genius me asked, “Do you want me to kiss some lipstick on it?” She of course did and for the next half an hour, her and her sister walked around the shops blowing second-hand kisses at each other and I did my best to pretend to be their aunt. Seems strange now to miss the rituals that I didn’t exactly love at the time. She is also trying to take possession of my newly beloved communist car, which was a gift from Santa. This car is the cruelly maligned Soviet-era Lada and was made, somewhat delightfully, in 1984 so has travelled a long way in time and space to finally enjoy a final, spiritual union with, well … me! I can’t remember how long I have being reminding my husband that I needed to have one of these. I couldn’t even tell anyone why exactly. I just wanted one. I dropped enough hints. I’m sure more than once we might have been curled up on the couch, watching a spy movie or something, so would have to kick him and say “Awww, look, there’s my car!” Being a man, with typically intractable views on what makes for acceptable transportation and what does not, he never I don’t think actually believed me. Once, when he was able to summon enough curiosity to explore this, he was sure I was making it up. “If you want something Russian, wouldn’t you want a Faberge egg or a sable coat or something,” he more or less asked. I more or less would have said the sable coat wouldn’t have been even remotely funny and would have said fewer things are poxier than a Faberge egg. I might have finally said that if I can’t quite find the courage to visit there, I will have a Lada, thank you very much. So maybe in June or July he asked, typically out of nowhere and with a level of suspicion not ideal in a husband, if I actually wanted a Lada. I of course said, with a sad face, that I miss being heard. Then it never got mentioned again. Maybe that was enough because Santa lobbed one in my driveway on Christmas morning, with the most deliciously daggy but gleaming ivory paint job and nice seats and one of those old fashioned steering wheels that seem really thin and a size too big. I was very, very excited. I don’t know what made me think it was just an exquisite ornament but I wondered out loud if it had an engine and could, you know, drive around. He looked over me for signs of concussion and clamy exhaled, “Engine? It’d just be a fish tank without one.” Popping it open and nodding to its equally gleamy insides, there was indeed a brand-spanky new engi… power unit. I learned later, from men milling around a four-wheeled altar, in solemn silence like proper pilgrims that this is the correct terminology. “This is so cool” Lucy said “Fish tank? I don’t get it”, I whimpered. Ruby just seemed a little bewildered. “Mum, this is your dream car?” “Dreams come in all shapes and shades,” I reminded her I did whimper some more when I saw that it was a manual transmission. He was surprised at my surprise. I can’t think why. I go a month without doing something and manage to thoroughly unlearn it and it has been a very long time since I drove a manual car. The last one I had, which was mine but also not mine, disappeared up the back of a tram. That might have had less to do with the transmission and more to do with driving under quite some influence but the dread was similar. It doesn’t matter how good I get, nice moments always have to be hijacked by Yesteryear. It likes to pull my hair, wipe the smile from my face and remind me that it is still here. Still, that is better than some of the things that have been waking me up in the middle of the night lately. **** me, I might need to start going to bed with an ice vest and a sock in my mouth. Lucy, ever the alchemy of both the heartfelt and the pitilessly practical, offered up brightly, “It’s ok mum, I can show you. Easy.” Her sister, clearly more aware than me at the truth of behind Lucy’s claim, clutched her side in mock agony and spluttered, “Ooooh, ouch.” Their dad had the wisdom in this moment to avoid eye contact. It might have been three or four days later when I happened to notice out the window that my newly beloved communist car was either driving itself up the hill and off into the distance or of someone had just nicked it “Honey, I think my car is being stolen.” He stood up, not hurriedly though, and eventually agreed. “What should we do?” I wondered, trying more than anything I suppose to suppress the nascent feeling that someone could be sneaking around all the way out here, miles from anything. Maybe not quite Wolf Creek but I’m not sure seeing your Christmas presents getting pinched can ever be peak-rational. “I dunno. Maybe run out there and flail my arms around a bit? Ring off a few shots? What do you think? ” he said, almost like one hand asking the other. “Well ****, maybe call the police” I said more plaintively that I might have liked. “Police?” he laughed. “You’ve changed!” I suppose I have. “Stop it! I’m being serious” He relented a little but cautioned, “Nah, we better not. Those fugitives are your daughters.” “So you knew?” “I only know the gate needed closing. The rest is initiative and I like it!” As amused and breathless and irritated as I was in the same instant, panic hadn’t quite subsided. “What the **** are you going to do when she gets to the top of the driveway and just keeps going?!” “I dunno, do we need milk?” he asked, still not quite reading the room. The truth is that if he wasn’t like that, I would have cracked long ago. I suppose it’s as much a relief to me that he hasn’t changed. I’ll admit that at the outset of all this I feared he might. And if it got the better of him that might just get the better of me. It worries me enough that what he always gives me is so much greater than what he gets so how could that, if it were to happen, become the pain I turn inward and the sword I eventually swallow. It’s amusing though watching him adapt to not being able to travel (he does have a thing for going places no-one else has on an ordinary bucket list) and stepping back from his business. How does the man that sees everything cope when those he trusts to see something manage to not see anything. Probably not that well. If that only lasts the length of one of his exasperated phone calls, which it does, then I can at least enjoy the travails of a capitalist pig (said with easy affection, I am keen to point out) shrinking into a neo-socialist piglet. Suits him better, I think. It’s most amusing to see him seem so much more like his parents than ever before, really. This is no mean feat because you could not have met two people at once so indivisible but so completely different. His mum was privileged but spat out her silver spoon. She kept every bit of her dignity though and was so insanely elegant it took me months to not be intimated by it. She also never wasted a word so she herself provided the antidote. It just took me to recognise that. His dad grew up in Northern Ireland when it was ripping itself apart and, from what I have heard, came from less than nothing. He saw, perhaps even did, things that no teenager should ever have to, So he bought himself out here and if he had so much as a rusty spoon, spent his too brief life gold-plating it. Together they made many, many children and gave them all the gift of being able to walk anywhere, He filled a room and that was a different sort of intimating. He was warm, generous, incredibly welcoming, unless you were a Protestant. At least he did not pass this on hatred. Alex only wants to see the English bleed on a cricket pitch. He does have his mum’s ability to see deep into me, with no apparent effort and his dad’s ability, when I might need to return the favour, to just disappear. It just amazes me, sometimes even mid-sentence, and I’m just left there thinking where the **** did he go. I have no idea how he does it. At least Harry Potter had a wand to cue his imminent vanishing. Even the kids are left bewildered. “Where’s Dad?” “Who?” “Not helpful,” so off they go, in search. Which they only do because he has been wonderful to them. This has opened their eyes to the world that lay at their feet, ergo wonderful to me to feel this. That’s my problem. The world can’t change fast enough but I can’t get back there fast enough and be in the world within the world that doesn’t change at all. Change without me, more or less. I’ll catch up later when that the hard work is done. The year of the Echidna? I am wary.
  5. Gisele


    So we left what I now regard as our proper home to go back to what I sometimes regard as our proper home (confusing, right) only to learn, two days later, that quarantine was a government shamble and Melbourne is in the middle of either a second wave or a proper first wave or some shit. Never one to not say let’s turn around and go back, I did. Not so fast, was the kids’ view of it all. Limbo it is for the moment then. Oh well, at least there is the option and that is better than the alternatives flashing all over the news. I think I really have had enough looking of it all. If any burglars want to break into our house and take the TV and other devices, I might even help them load it into their van. Even other news is grim, if not quite so grave. The cardboard cut-outs were stunned into silence when Jeremy Howe, Collingwood defender, earthly son of wing-footed Mercury and Patron Saint of the High Mark, popped an ACL …or a BCL or PCL, I’m not sure … maybe all three. Why the demi-gods are asked to walk the earth with sinews and connecty-bits made of little more than fairy floss is anyone’s guess. It reminds us the gods are cruel. For those (I suspect most of you) not familiar with Our Jeremy, he is a rescue from some sheltered workshop cleverly masquerading as a rival football club, which had the terrible indecency to draft him. I don’t know which one because I never commit to these to memory and probably wouldn’t say so if I did. In any event, he trudged his way over to Collingwood, found his true purpose and once more the planets were briefly tripped into another fleeting sort of re-alignment. See, Jeremy is no ordinary footballer. There are enough of those – can’t kick, can’t compete, can’t speak in whole sentences, can’t get drunk without pissing on a window, etc, etc. No, he is very, very special. And this because many, many, many times a game he is able to launch himself into the firmament as if carried up there on the warm breath of the gods themselves, before standing on someone’s head and taking yet another spectacular mark. By way of edification, a ‘mark’ is what every other ball sport in the world might call a catch, but that can be a matter for the rest of the world. A mark is also what a statistician might call it. Any of spekky/ grab/ hanger/ screamer is what a fan might call it. When Jeremy takes one, I call it foreplay. It is quite amazing that TV cameras and no end of replays aren’t quite able to see what I see. Through my own eyes, he is never up there for less than a minute-and-a-half and while way up there always seems able to find the time to turn his head, ever so slightly, and wink right at me. It’s a job to suppress the urge to go fluff his pillow and ensure that he is resting comfortably. If I wasn't spoken for ... ah, nevermind. So, like all imported joy, 2020 has ripped this one away too. Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Went to confession though. For the first time in years. That might have to wait, at least until I rediscover my appetite for self-loathing. That might come as soon as tomorrow.
  6. Gisele

    One Vigil and Another

    M, As it happens, I have several autobiographies to chose from if any were to ever see the light of day. I never had any such intention but rather these are the fruit -variously edible and not - of a lifelong compulsion to keep a diary that leaves nothing out and the worst of myself least of all. On and off, I have tried to edit a version of it for my children. I imagine often that one day, when they get to a suitable age, like 50, or any time after I'm dead, or not quite, or something, then they could have it to read or not read, as they please, and know something about their mother, This worked as well as it could until Lucy was maybe three where it has felt very difficult to feel connected to it. I can never quite decide how I feel about it anymore. It may also be redundant. Last weekend, I thought i would make the most of some very nice silk I had stashed away and make the children kimonos and explain some of the subtleties that took me longer than it should have when I was in Japan. This was all fine and richly enjoyable until one of my curious darlings asked what I did in Japan. Yeah um. By the way, if your conscientious parent wants to keep a social distance and have that honoured by the civic and like-minded, don't take any ridiculously cute children in traditional Japanese costume over to the park for some photos. By the by the way, I'm not sure if wigmakers are attune to the fine, fine art of hiding in plain sight but if you're natural hair colour is dark, then a salt and pepper wig is worth serious thought. XO
  7. Gisele

    One Vigil and Another

    It might be interesting, in years to come, to reflect on how we in Australia largely escaped the pandemic. That’s the good news. The less good news is school is to be going back and work is to be going back and, together, those two things mean our 10 week idyll will soon be dust. Things must return to normal, whatever the **** that means. I’m in no hurry. Return to normal is what they say. Re-open the economy is what they say louder still. They are of course less effusive about what that implies. But we know. It means they think an obscene death toll is a fair price to pay for your shit jobs in tourism and marketing and food service but don’t quite have the balls to say exactly that. Oh well, it will be over one-day and we will resume pretending getting other people to make shit and fighting each other to sell it is the hallmark of a fabulous and febrile civilisation. Oh the fun we collectively empower them to have. I would be being very dishonest if this didn’t all feel like the seven-second thrill of a super-nice dream. That is, if I can exclude the rest of the world and just reflect upon what it has meant to me and mine, which is easier than it might be because I mostly have. I’m more than just a little sad that the children are going back to school next week. They were meant to be going back to school this week but for one reason and another next Monday it will be. There will be staggered starts and probably regular drownings in the new holy water and twists and turns of anxiety to navigate, perhaps more than just my own but I will admit it is starting to feel something like the right time. They are certainly looking forward to it. Even Lucy, who is ever keen to remind me that learning everything, everywhere, except at her desk, has reasoned that her friends and after school things are worth gritting her teeth through school for. It’s part bluff anyway. Thanks to drones and live streaming, we watched the mass green turtle migration to the far north of the barrier reef and she was utterly enchanted and is turning that into a school project. She is also at her dad to build a fence around a large stand of natives near the house, to protect the impossibly cute possums that live in there and wants to turn that into her personal mission. I asked her if we might be inadvertently making them prisoners if we did that. Alas, I was not aware she had already applied her mind to this with some diligence. “Nooo, mum, there could be a wire to a tree outside the tree that no other animals can walk along,” she said, with quite some authority. Her dad watched all of this with a quiet pride and as much as that too was beautiful, it was also a tiny bit smug. I immediately thought better of asking how much fencing pocket money might buy because he has probably walked her through preparing a business case. Teach them everything, he says, and often. Can we just do it a little more slowly, I says. As it happens, I should have said something before her sister leapt in and filled the void. “Mum, there are fences around the horses and the sheep. Are they prisoners?” I think I nearly fainted at the coldness of her logic but managed to stay upright enough to surrender standing. Children never cease to amaze. They don’t hear anything but when they get half a sniff of the widening gulf between what they are wanting and what they are getting, they turn into the world’s best barristers. Because he fosters this, I whispered to my husband that many more fences and one in particular will be going up I do love that my children will rarely argue with each other but will always argue for each other. I find it utterly charming, as much as I might find myself on the wrong end of it. And it is hard not to be proud even if that inclines me to less than first-class parenting like the topical example of Ruby refusing to go back to school despite absolutely looking forward to it unless her sister was going to be going back too. That’s entirely fair, I thought, and let the school know there were no other demands It is said all the time that a mother’s love is the strongest love of all and perhaps it is. The most rewarding love though, for me, is the love the girls have for each other. It might help me vicariously imagine what having a sister would have been like but that is only a tiny part of it. The bigger, better, delicate and precious part is that the burning light of it disarms doubt and tells me we’re doing something right. In the middle of that night I was thinking about this and asked him, not for the first time if he feels anything missing by not having a son. Or sons. I don’t know why I ask this when I know it isn’t a thing and when I probably deep-down know that all I am really doing is asking him to answer my own question for me, I think he knows and knows that I know so tends to make a joke of it. He must know because he has only ever been patient with that question. But he answered it differently this time, so differently that I can actually imagine that I might never ask again. He said that he had a moment of clarity in 2014, while he was waiting six days for me to wake up after crashing my car. He admitted it occurred to him that I might not be coming home and that meant he would be solely responsible for two daughters in what is lamentably still a man’s world. He went on to say that he decided then he wasn’t going to do what everyone else appeared to be doing and tell them they could be anything and do nothing but hope for the best, so he made sure he would give them the tools they needed to go and get whatever it is they ultimately want, for themselves, by themselves. It is a momentous thing when Neptune becomes Venus. It is a more momentous thing when a few short words wash the soap from your eyes and you see in brilliant focus what should have been apparent all along. I couldn’t tell if I was just utterly dim-witted or re-awakened with love. I wasn’t sure how well I would cope with either so I said to him “You’re not off the hook. When Lucy is 16 and 17 and leaves to go to Greenland or Timbuktu or ****ing Saturn just to see something or save something (because this is an outcome I can see more than any other) and when the last bits of my brain melt into my hands because of it, you are going to be handed the pain of that because you will be to blame” Or words to that effect. He said, “17? Oh well, there’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer.” I won’t repeat what I said. Since everyone else is finding familiar shoes, it is probably time I find my own way back to work. I’m still not sure what shape that is going to take but it will be gradual. The justice system isn’t famously adaptable at the best times and adapting to the electronic makeover has possibly been even less organic a transition than giving a 90-year-old a smart phone. It isn’t the only reason. I think I’m struggling with leaving this home for our city home and struggling with struggling about it because it is all a bit silly. I mean, who goes home knowing they will be homesick. I will not miss video-conferencing. Whether it is shitty broadband or kids competing for air time or camera-shy clients and colleagues, there is nothing good about it. The only time it was in any way rewarding was Zooming with my sister-in-law and getting equally drunk. Beyond that, people are just a diminished presence and I think I just tended to find that both distracting and irritating. Presence is very important and especially to my job. It is important because quite a few people that come to me don’t necessarily recognise their own best interests and often barely able to resist cultivating a truth that is not the best truth for them. It’s like 9 in 10 of the blogs I write; I want and need to say something but tend to wander off into saying anything else but that something. I really do miss the visceral things that help me evaluate someone and ask better questions. I will miss having to be only professionally presented from the waist up though. It’s awesome. As much as I love clothes, I have always loved equally not having to wear them so who wouldn’t work in their underwear from one profession to the next. Other than the one time when I got up in haste to get a document and gave someone a nice flash, everyone else was none the wiser. And I have decided that for all the developmental haste, the best invention in the 21st century is snippy tool. They could come up with vaccines for everything and lipstick that lasts all day and all night and the next morning and ray guns that only vaporise vicious, hateful people and ovens that do not burn shit but it would still be snippy tool that would win the award. I. Love. It. * All this self-isolation did push me off one particular cliff. I think I may have hinted at it here a very long time ago but it isn’t anything I ever talk about. Close to never, really. It is my hair. That alone tends to be dissuasive as it is never going to be a headline: Girl Somewhat Touchy About Her Hair. I might even start yawning too, if my sensitivity about this had been less harmful. It isn’t that it has to be kept perfect because it doesn’t. I’m fussy about preparing it, sure, when going out or for work but it endures more than its fair share of sweat and sea-water and mud and I don’t mind a bit if it is roughed up in the bedroom. What I am is hyper-hyper-sensitive about the length of it and have been since the cusp of sixteen which was when I should have died and which I won’t recount because the moment itself isn’t the shadow it used to be. Keeping it that length keeps the shadow small and as much I can read over that and know, intellectually, that it is not sane, I know that it also is. Perhaps I’m more fortunate than I have ever appreciated to know that anyone here that might be reading this has the best chance of truly understanding what that means. It used to be a hell of a lot worse. If I lost the vigil then I would see the blood in it. If I got really bent out of shape, then I would smell the blood in it. The sick, cruel thing about that is I never saw it when it actually was drenched in my own blood because I was barely alive. But I saw it every day for over a year afterward. It happens occasionally even now. So I keep up the vigil. I remember once – I don’t think I had yet turned 20 – when I moved house and walked into an unfamiliar hairdresser after many aborted dress-rehearsals, pointed wordlessly at one who I didn’t trust but felt like I could mistrust the least and said the lady taking bookings that I would book her. I think I saw her the day after and more or less, or exactly, said that this and that and this had to be done without any room for interpretation and would pay her double but if she ****ed it up I would burn down her house. She told me much later that she actually thought I meant it but did it anyway. And was paid what was promised. She was the only one to cut my hair for the next seven years. So, when the pandemic loomed and hair salons were among the first things to be shut-down, I immediately felt anxious. Then I didn’t. Then I did again, and each time slightly worse. I knew I had to do something about it. I just didn’t know what. The only options were myself (yeah, nah), the shearing shed up the road (****, maybe) and Alex (no, I just couldn’t). Well, I couldn’t until I was pacing around the kitchen thinking about it and heard him coming down the hall. So I said as casually as could, which was never, ever going to sound casual “Honey, I need you to cut my hair today.” He did not even break stride and I don’t know if he intended to at least make some coffee first but bailed on that (itself a minor miracle) and went to go out through the patio doors with that much haste he forgot to open them first. “****, who locked this?” he asked apparently no-one, clearly distressed. “You did” “Nuh uh. Not doing it” “It will be fun,” I insisted but absolutely not really. I thought a vein was going to burst in my head. “Get Ruby to do it. She will be very precise.” “Do what?” she wondered from out of nowhere. So she trimmed a tiny bit off my hair. And my head did not explode. It was genuinely therapeutic. The question I have now is how Lucy, when she caught wind of this, just gaped at the gravity of it all, which is impossible because I have never, ever, exposed them to this. Ever.I know that I will not be able to walk away from the vigil, not if I live to 100, but it feels like a stunning success to know it doesn’t always keep it’s foot on my throat. * So there we are. Back to normaL. Whatever the **** that looks like now.
  8. Gisele

    and now I remember why

    M, I remember options once upon a time but if they are no more, you could make do with the ghetto version. This would be to start with making your blog private then adding members you care to name. If that is every member ... well, that would be a marathon and not a sprint Something to while away the hours. Why do you get a room where others might be getting the house is what I can't help but wonder.
  9. Gisele

    Weeks Two and Three

    Week two was like week one. We move on. I should take a moment to point out that given the planet-wide trauma we're all varying degrees of seeing, there will be no pissiness about being couped up with an unrequited life to live. For me, it isn't that bad. Just educational. And like all education, it is so much better when not forced upon you. I don't mean Siri. Having never availed myself, I had no idea how ****ing useless she is and now I find myself asking her stuff all the time, in the vain hope she might come up with something. But no. She was not able to tell me if I should feel awful rather than gleeful that Chester Bennington cannot m*rder Scott Weiland's songs anymore. She is also not able to tell me if donations to Sinn Fein from, say, my house are tax deductible and she wouldn't know the colour wheel if Vermeer himself walked her over to it and gave her some personalised tuition. Most disappointingly, she could shed no light on why Season 3 of Sense8 was never commissioned. Oh well, a re-watch it is. I have noticed I am better if I Ask Ruby. My darling daughter is every bit as resourceful as her father, and without the irritation that knowing a million things that I don't tends to bring. Not his fault of course but that is the difference between a husband and a child. I would also play Ask Lucy if I could ever find her. She has in a very short space of time decided that school is outside hero-worshipping her dad and helping him tend the animals and painting things and other projects and. according to her but very much spoon-fed by a man that might want to build a bigger dog-house before long, "making the most of the new reality." She is not even nine years old yet and can now drive a car. Or at least steer it. Nobody thought to tell me, other than accidently. Given how hard she can be to contain, I thought she would suffer more than any of us. Instead it is her sister that is struggling to cope. We will work through that.
  10. Gisele

    Week One

    M, Alright, 61.03 US cents, then. It was more a week ago apparently but the world has "retreated to the safety of US dollars." They remain coy about what is safe, which seems a fair question given that Wall Sr. is in New York which is royally ****ed, apparently. We have refined the swear jar somewhat F-bombs are as above Ordinary c-bombs (yet to levied I'm proud to say) are $10 Modern c-bombs (with the c meaning corona or any derivatives) are $20 and a period away from the rest of the family, to perhaps cheer up a little bit and not ruin to carefully curated atmosphere of total denial we have made for ourselves And just so it isn't lop-sided anymore, "I'm bored, Mum" is a flat $5 fine. The only one not making any money out of this is my husband. That's awful bad luck
  11. Gisele

    Week One

    Very cute And very clever. Because my extortionate ****ing children won't read that much less hear it, you won't have to cough up a dollar. * * Read your PMs. That wasn't a suggestion
  12. Gisele

    Week One

    Total Isolation seems to be going well. We haven't seen another living soul since Wednesday and as much as that is weird, it also isn't the worst thing. I tried Facetime a couple of times but I really couldn't be bothered with it. I'm not sure why that is other than maybe it is still surreal enough to want to be really embracing the new reality. Home education is going swimmingly. Ruby is teaching my mathematics and, like her dad, is helpfully there to remind me that my left hand is not my right hand and I'm not teaching them much at all. Here's hoping effort ultimately counts for something. If this experience has taught me anything though, it is that I'm going to need a bigger swear jar
  13. Gisele

    Behind the Urals

    I think the crack that mattered might have appeared when I was reading the Worksafe directions for preparing my office for pandemic prevention. My office is less than three months old, employs two people other than me and, since I still don't know how well I'm going to fare at making a working life out of sailing my own ship, and because I cannot help myself, I decided to put a premium on office style. No substance? We'll soon see.but in the meantime at least enjoy my impeccable surrounds. So it with some distress that I imagined dueling soap dispensers every 10 paces and effectively crime scene tape stuck to the tiled floor a strict 1.5 metres from the reception desk. **** me, is it a vanity to think we're not saving lives, only livelihoods, when suddenly the demand is to also save lives. It didn't help that the first person to walk in after the tape was laid stepped straight over it and leaned on the counter. I dearly wish I could pretend I didn't ask if he was ****ing stupid but, alas, I cannot. Even falling angel-sympathisers like me need a sabbath No need to worry for about that anymore, not for the foreseeable future at least. The old cliche that the wheels of justice turn slowly has become a new cliche - the wheels have fallen right off. So we're closed. And I'm all but cartwheeling about it. Nothing non-urgent will happen in our justice system until June at the earliest. The two staff I am responsible for won't have to be exposed and that makes me happy. So they continue to not be exposed by queueing up anywhere for work or welfare.or whatever, I told them they will continue to be paid. To their eternal credit, they squirmed at this but I can promise anyone that the relief to know I maybe aren't as world-weary as i have been feeling is worth every single penny, whatever that amounts to be. It's a bigger relief to not think about this shit anymore, or at least once i have finished typing this. They say everyone that gets it will give it to 2-and-a-half people. Why not go for the opposite and make sure 2-and-a-half people don't get it. We're getting the **** out of here. Going to the farm. To begin new vocations as school teachers. I agree with my husband. He said we might all eventually succumb to this and the real horror is falling prey to it when everyone else is. It isn't lost on me that we have the means and few are so lucky. But **** me if it isn't time to make the most of this. See you on the other side
  14. Dear World, To help us better manage the scourge, could we please, 1. Get a touching elbows emoji. This is now urgent 2. Notice how our children are coping and promote that as the working model. It's just adults that embarrass us all. 3. Enough already with war analogies. There is no glory. It is not the enemy. It is a virus. It is especially odd and coolly ironic how the USA in particular loves these references, given how they have not won a war since 1945. We can only hope science is more successful 4. Stop taking the credit for this new phenomenon of Social Distancing. The mental health community perfected this a zillion years ago 5. If you're going to monkey, maybe marinate it in hand sanitizer for about ... I dunno, three years ... and get the pan proper hot 6. Completely unrelated - Free Julian Assange. Then again, maybe it isn't unrelated. Truth has never been more fashonable 7. Free Julian Assange 8. Immediately
  15. Thanks @Natasha1 ! I quite like being on a watchlist for the right reasons. I also like going years without mostly being kicked out of anywhere when once upon an time I got kicked out of everywhere. Trying my best to explain to my confused children what could of possibly happened in the space of a month that started when the fires were raging and the most extraordinary kindnesses and largesse while here we now are doing the opposite. It's all right for me,. I know what a ___ looks like. They don't. A little over a month ago, three American pilots, who might instead have been at home sipping a cognac in front of a nice, warm fire paid the dearest price for their kindness. You'd hope some people might reflect on that and act like human beings instead of cattle stampeding off the edge of cliff
  16. Hmmm....we're all ****ed, apparently. Or we're not. Big congrats to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore for figuring this out. As for me, everyone else can get all frothed up. I'm here in Positivity Land dwelling on the many, many, positive things. In no particular order then, 1. There is a chance Peter Dutton might die. I don't wish him ill but won't mind in the slightest if a virus has lined him up 2. Possums, cats, horses, sheep and a goat can't get it. 3. I might die from it 4. I might survive it 5. We are reminded that ugly things, like toadfish and redback spiders and viruses are deadly and not to eat them 6. Just when we thought he had bottomed out, Trump looks even more of a d*ck. 7. If you're intolerant, the vote-winning likelihood of 6. will excite you 8. Collingwood can't lose if they cannot play 9. To avoid crowds and other abuses, democracy might begin to be practiced online, which would be so much more akin the sort of direct model the Greeks originally invented 10. People could be buried like the pharaohs of old, entombed in ziggurats bricked with boxes of toilet paper and bonded with a makeshift poultice of flour and brown rice. 11. The boil that is the gig economy will finally be lanced 12. People who do useful things like save lives won't lose there jobs 13. People that do useless things like manipulate search engines hopefully will 14. Venus, Neptune and, dare i imagine it, Antarctica, will suddenly have more appeal as holiday destinations 15. it is a timely reminder that when the kids are grown up, we can go live in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and be surrounded by no-one at all 16. It means my family can eat better food, sourced by third parties, because I don;t have to just pretend there was nothing at the shops 17. Like all crises, it has helped hone my sense of who I like and who i don't. 18. It reminds me that a world oblivious to the wasteland it is leaving its children but shits itself stupid over a cold really is full of ***** 19. It gives my youngest an opportunity to ponder actually missing school, in any sort of wistful sense if not the actual sense for the first time ever 20. It gives my eldest an opportunity to do the opposite 21. It gives me the opportunity to drench myself in a perfume that makes my husband sneeze in hopefully a restaurant 22. And probably think that is funny 23. And then reflect on how it probably wasn't As you were.
  17. Gisele

    Martian Envy

    So the world is running out of toilet paper. Say that out loud a few times if you dare and see if you don't start to wonder whether we, as a species, even deserve to survive. The bad news is the federal electorate in which I live was the first to exhaust its shelves of this now precious commodity. That means I am surrounded by selfish _____. Beyond that, it's all rather funny. There's some good memes in a crisis, especially an imaginary one but the one I saw of a Collingwood scarf rolled around a toilet roll holder re-assuring us we had options was perhaps going a tiny bit far It is one of those times I wish we could see a documentary on Netflix or wherever filmed from a Martian perspective. I mean get inside the UFO and hear what they really think. I wonder if they landed their spaceship somewhere and saw two frumpy adults scrapping over a toilet roll if they wouldn't just shrug their shoulders, all three of them perhaps, depending on which planet they come from, and think "Nup, no intelligent life here". Oh well, it would keep me entertained when everyone else has gone to bed. I do love to laugh at Doomsday Preppers, when I can ignore what these ****wits are really doing to their children. Oh well, it's easy for me to laugh. I want the first bomb to land right on my head. Had a client say the most extraordinary thing to me today. He was talking about his mum and other things and, sort of in context, said, "All mental illness is learning disorder" And **** me if that isn't the best thing I have ever heard said about diseases of the mind. I find myself saying it to myself ever since. Because it is just so true. Learn, learn, learn and learn. Learn to leave, learn to stay, learn to walk, learn to run, learn something. The normal world and maybe even the abnormal world gives up when you can't or won't. Can;t say I blame them if I'm being entirely honest .
  18. I shouldn't tip into this but I will, largely because I agree. That said, it is worth remembering that I'm not really entitled to a view being not an American,. However, since that ____, ____, ____ occupies so much of our media and sets a tone we would all cheerfully ignore if we could and let that be your problem, we have no such luck. I do like Melania though.She knows how to dress and, much more interestingly again, she and the #MeToo are together a nice chiaroscuro. Everything about her says #NotMe but her eyes say something rather different. Car-crash compelling. Hope you get what you want. I'm not sure of the wisdom of barracking for Russia any longer
  19. Gisele


    Have kinda stayed at arms length from here because, happily I suppose, any problems I may have had are all a bit trivial really. There are exceptions and this is mine. It is still a bit first-worldy . And also a bit-new worldy, viscerally and actually and i can't say I'm any better at looking ahead with the eyes in the back of my head but there we are. Just by the way, if anyone has a better term for first world, one that is less faintly racist, I would love for you to share it. So... around a month ago, I was headed home a little worse for emotional wear. The air was horrible from the bushfires toasting Victoria like a marshmallow and I had rang to ask after my animals and the air down there was perhaps even worse. That was really bothering me. A couple of other things that aren't mine to share were melting my mind so I think just dissociated enough to drive home without having really a clue how I did it. It does happen now and again but Ayrton Senna found God in the tunnel at Monaco doing much the same thing, albeit at light speed, and I'm always buoyed by that. I think it was turning into my street that helped me get back to earth and it amazed me that the air was that thick I couldn't see my house until I was about about 50 metres from the driveway.. It amazed me more just how lurid and threatening the sky looked. I have never looked at anything lilac and seen malevolence. I did then. Anyway, I got inside and relieved the children were ensconced there with the doors shut. Their dad was another story. I found him out on the deck drinking his coffee reading something. I had to wonder, "What the **** are you doing." All I got was a cool shrug that would have made Henny Penny get an internet connection and join DF as a member. Your'e not paranoid if the sky really is out to get you. But he moved me on, as he often does. He said, "I'm thinking of going to Antarctica next January." And I though that's awesome. It's good for him and it's good for me. He is my beloved in every sense of the word but our relationship is all the better for wandering off on our own and having, at a minimum, stuff to talk about. I could probably explain this better but I think love is like DNA - a double helix where one helix is inseparable from the other without every quite touching. See, the gods that made us built into us a diagram! He went on to say it would that he though it would be an excellent idea if Lucy, my ... our... and still my ... youngest, were to come to. Naturally, I screamed, wailed, pointed a vicious and deadly finger, and said over my dead body. Except I didn't. I think I was left earth again and all I could really imagine is what wouldn't happen them. No bushfires, no car crashes, no madmen, no man-eating penguins, not much of anything an electric bodysuit wouldn't fix at least. So I just said "Ok ... reallly? ...let's see if she is interested." I knew she would at least be interested because she has an at times maddening yen to go with him on one of his adventures and she have never shown any sign of letting it go. Sometimes i wonder if she might runaway from home, not because she is unhappy, but because she has the itchiest feet a human could possibly have. If I'm honest, I quickly surmised that it would probably wear off. Yep, I was ultimately wrong I said let''s think about it and later we did, exhaustively, and he said it might be good to wait until around her birthday to ask and I reminded him it is a year between christmas and even children can remain excited despite the wait being more than 10% are her preciously young life and he said ok let's do it now then and I called him some names and he said he was going to see if the younger of his sisters was interested along with Lucy's godfather and i felt instantly better about at least that and grateful because my head was about to crack open in the effort to hide that so we decided to await the outcome of that. I wouldn't be worried about either of those two because they could survive anything. His sister, who I have about nothing in common with, played water polo at a very high level and, when that finished, went around the world chasing the sort of surf that breaks as many bones as boards, and might just be the toughest chick I know. I mean deep down tough, where it is unseen but matters most. Lucy simply adores her. So it is happening and, because I couldn't wait to fret about it, again, she now knows and is beyond excited. She wouldn't get dressed yesterday because "I'm practising to be cold, don't you know!" and this is my year ahead. And it isn't a cosy sojourn on the SS Gonorrhea (his words) or a fly-by on a nice warm plane. That's heartbreak but I'm alright with it for now. I have warned my husband it will catch up with me, ergo him, before then. He couldn't resist. "If it is better for her to stay here and whine about her friends on social media, we should reach that conclusion sooner rather than later." I called him another name. But I do like and frequently appreciate the manner in which he say things like that, as hard as that might be to convey. Free to a good home, if anyone is interested though.
  20. If we could trip through time, I could quite happily stumble and fall into late 18th century Paris. What would not be to like? Parasols and plumage and the golden age of millinery and the beginning of the end of the monarchy and tough men ruling the mean streets on penny farthings and the new romanticism that gave us J.M Turner and Keats and air as clean as open sewers might allow and the birth of a better social contract and more tolerance than what came later for open secrets and handwritten letters and the febrile excitement of revolution and ...probably a grim early death from tuberculosis. Oh well, can't have everything. Would also want wifi and all-day lipstick.
  21. Gisele

    Engineered Empathy

    Darling M, I'm happy to report a mostly incident-free night and even more pleased to report I was a model citizen. I think it was just important that I finish that chapter well and not just because there will be an ongoing association between the partners and myself for a while yet. It is always good to avoid the second-degree self-harm of bridge burning. Despite it being a decent trip out to the farm, a good many of my newly former colleagues came. Most of those arrived together and i was a little worried they would stay huddled together but that didn't last long. They seem to have enjoyed themselves. The last arriving was my least favourite and also the woman that I may have described in an earlier blog. I wasn't entirely convinced I was going to behave myself with this one but that was my intention. As it happens, I didn't have to do anything. She arrived alone, except for the traveller in her hand, was clearly already three parts pissed and went to straight to work .... well, making a **** of herself. I shouldn't say this, I shouldn't even think it but it was richly satisfying. It was as if Venus, winking at me from somewhere up there in the heat haze, said 'honey, this one's on me.' It really got quite embarrassing but since I'm still not over some of the inferences she has been happy to draw, I stayed rather focused on being the model host. She even imposed herself on my husband, despite them only ever meeting one time. Someone else had said something about another someone recently separating from their partner but remain living in the same house and she got it in her drunken head that the someones involved were Alex and myself. Out of more or less nowhere, she landed on him with a bony finger and said all sorts of things about who may be to blame for this and what he or I should be doing and not doing and I'm not making this up. He doesn't get fazed by that sort of stuff but did what he likes to do and play up to it just for the broader entertainment of it all. No one seems to not like it. I did have a very interesting conversation with the wife of one of the partners around 3 or 4 in the morning. I thought she had long since left because every else had but she apparently had been taking to my husband and his friends somewhere down the back. Two of my girlfriends and I were floating half-naked in the pool when she wandered over from nowhere and I thought 'great, this is going to look like the last vestige of a weird sex cult' to a very well-to-do woman who is immaculate in every sense. I misjudged that that. She decided to join us and have a good girl chat. The next morning had an amusing moment. I was just waking up after only about an hour of sleep when Lucy said "Mum, why is dad asleep with a light bulb?" Sure enough, there he was on the living room couch, still clothed, with a light bulb in his hand. It seems like he was a bit untidier than I even thought, stumbled in only as far as the living room and perhaps didn't fancy sleeping with the light on but wasn't quite able to remember these things are attached to a switch. So he had stood on the coffee table, unscrewed it instead and passed out face down on the sofa. Oh well, he is a problem solver
  22. Gisele

    Futility and void

    S, Fewer things have mattered more to my recovery than the double helix of well-being and purpose. Whether it is reasoning with it in a historical sense or being intimate with it in an evolutionary sense, those knots and entanglements are the fundament of what we are, what we might be and the shape of how we might get there. How well we understand others is how well we understand the same place in others. I think that is why I tend to gravitate toward blogs more than the forums. Blogs tend to illuminate this so much better. Can I ask, have yo ever envied those with a clear purpose if that meant a shift in your moral compass? Before an older life and this one, I wondered all the time. Would it be better to help and also risk harm, or to just give up. Sometimes it does scare me what I might have chosen to do instead. I have been struck before by your carving for a purpose. I truly hope that counts for something because I am sure you could do a good many good things
  23. Gisele

    Engineered Empathy

    Since it never hurts to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, it might be high time others were given an opportunity to walk in mine. More exactly, since it is usually me that goes a bit or a lot too far, it would only be fair and, let's not pretend, amusing to me if others were given the same encouragement So I'm going to host a party I do like a raucous party It is also my last ever day at work before the new venture on Wednesday so that makes two things in it for me About time, really. Hasn't been the best year ever Friday night is going to be stupid hot so that rules out fancy dress and a little bit of Marie Antoinette. Oh well, still lot's of mischief at a pool party Merry Christmas to all. Can be a horrible occasion between the teeth of all those emotional challenges but that can't stop me from wishing it is all it can be and a little more for all of us
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