Thursday, 23 December 2010
Sunday, 19 December 2010
"Nothing or Food."
"What kind of Food?"
"Anything. Fruit... Chocolate!"
Later when I thought about the idea of actually receiving things I wanted without having to buy them myself (something I haven't been use to after a while of taking care of myself - except when my work took care of them for me), I realized I do have a few things on my wish list.
However, telling people of my wishes has led to a bit of confusion.
Three family members now want to get me a Blender (to make fruit and vegetable and yeah sure, sometimes ice-cream smoothies) and my desires for a subscription to two of my favourite magazines has been whispered to my Mother. Now, I have to let one of the family members know that they can't buy me the blender. It's so absurd. It should just be a surprise. But we're all too thrifty in my family. "Don't waste your money on something I don't want," is a very popular and well-rehearsed sentence for us.
Other things I would like is for my Record Player to play and for a ticket to all the ballet performances I can get and for Netflix to be available in Australia (I miss youooo... I love you) and of course, an abundance of Chocolate.
So, what do you want for Christmas?
Saturday, 18 December 2010
One should most certainly have their own adventures, but when you are a little burnt out or perhaps a little world weary and desperate for nurture, going on a book binge sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
Which is what I'm doing. I'm bingeing on books. I've been here just over a week and I've already finished three books and am now onto my fourth.
I desperately need to make up time. I bought books during my first two years in Manhattan like one buys drinks for friends, but I didn't have many friends so I, yes, bought books! Hundreds of books! It's too much. It costs too much to buy and it certainly costs to much to ship and the idea of shipping books around the world for the simple aim of READING them seems ludicrous to me. So, before my next journey (hopefully), I don't intend to bring them all with me. I intend to conquer them. To slaughter these writers words page by page, but lapping up the blood of their stories like a true admirer instead of just skim-reading like so many tired souls do.
They say that a book should break your heart as you read the last page, and so far, I'll admit, my heart hasn't really been broken but it certainly has been warmed by Payne, Green and Thompson and surely next by Zuzsak. I'm looking forward to living through these characters for a moment, because I am a little lost, and my next chapter is pinned to a cork board in so many scattered post-it notes.
I look back on how little I've read over the past 3 years (minus forgotten graphic novels and periodicals):
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You by Peter Cameron
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
American Eve, Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, The Birth of the "It" Girl and the Crime of the Century by Paula Uruburu
Youth in Revolt and
Frisco Pigeon Mambo by C.D. Payne
The Iliad, Homer
Will Grayson, Will Grayson and
Paper Towns and
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (because I didn't know better)
The Walking Dead "Days Gone Bye" by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
and the only other novel that I recognize as having read out of the piles of new books sitting along the wall is Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. A series I intended to follow but never did. Just seeing it there makes me sad, like a picture I never finished or a photograph of a moment that the memory cannot place.
So what do you do with the books you have read? Especially when you plan to one day only truly own and cherish enough to fit in nap sack (a goal, I know, that will never be realized but a nice goal to aim towards nonetheless, especially when you're tired of owning anything that won't matter when you desperately need the things that do)?
I don't know. Once I have noted any particular delights from The Walking Dead, Frisco Pigeon Mambo, The Iliad and Eat Pray Love, I can easily see myself feeling fine about donating these or giving them away (for I could not bare to ever throw a book in the trash).
I know I desperately want to give away The Tipping Point, for it reminds me of a life that I no longer want to be a part of, but I can't help but fear that I'll slip towards it again some day and need reminding of what works for that life... Fuck it, I can borrow it if I ever venture down those dark avenues again.
OK, out of the books I've listed I'm keeping four, but I'm not going to say which books because it's like Sophie's Choice. What, too dramatic? Never.
"This blog went no where!" a la Brian...
I had first gone to the Museum when I was in First Grade, and I still remember sitting under the strange blue sculpture in their gardens (if it was indeed, the same one) and being upset about my juice popper being mostly frozen.
I didn't truly realize how much I loved the complex, which consisted of an Art Gallery and a Library, too, until I was 18. 2007. I wandered my way through there after a day of auditions, some of you might remember the video that I put up at the time, and thought the whole idea of it and that it was real, was just lovely.
So I was excited to return, especially since I caught a glimpse of it the previous Saturday at the Queensland Performing Arts Center, which links to the Museum via bridge, for the Queensland Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.
One reason to love this museum first up? Free entry. I don't know if all the exhibitions are free at this time, but all the ones I saw were and I love that. You don't even have to donate any money, which is always an extra lovely little perk. Not that I mind giving the Met a dollar for entry, but I do feel like a cheapskate when other people willingly pay the $25 dollars to see the same stuff.
I was on my way to the Symbols of Australia exhibit, which I had read about ("...in Hogwarts, A History") in QANTAS magazine - as I write this, the first roll of thunder lulls on and on for the day, at 3:35pm - and I wanted to see and do more in Queensland during my time here (however long that may be) than I usually would because I
a) needed distraction and,
b) was tired of not knowing enough about my state/country.
Damn those boring history lessons in Primary school, I hardly remembered a damn thing about Queensland, "The Sunshine State." Oh no, wait, "The Smart State." Blaaargh.
As I headed towards the fourth floor, I read every sign or note of information that I could see until an exhibition up ahead, Discover Queensland, caught my attention. I proceeded to read every single little fact or elaboration on the items on display and was inspired and moved and intrigued by it all. It was beautiful. They had this fake tree that you could walk into and press buttons to see the hidden creatures inside, and though it was mainly aimed at kids (the buttons were all below my hips and I was surrounded by children), I still wanted to take part and find joy in discovery. When I pressed one button to reveal a creepy, long-legged insect, a little girl with a splash of blonde hair quickly pressed the button off and smiled, "Don't press that one!"
As a teenager I would have been annoyed by the interaction (I always felt like younger children were mocking me), but I found it sweet now, and ignored the mothers outside muttering about it being, "just for kids," as I wound my way around the corner to next goldmine of information.
After about an hour of reading one side and then walking back and reading everything on the other, I headed up to the fourth floor to the Symbols of Australia exhibit, which was quite small. I didn't mind it as my body was feeling Museum Weary, and after some quaint information on Wattle, Kangaroos, Boomerangs, Vegemite, The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Flag and "the great Australian Holden," I happily walked away from a grinning Paul Hogan and towards the cafe, where I had a sausage roll and a Lemon, Lime and Bitters. Meanwhile the storm that had attacked Brisbane while I was meandering around, quietly made its way out to the coast, dark as night.
The day ended in confusing and then sad phone calls, a flurry of desperate emails, a train ride with Hunter S. Thompson, a bus ride spent ignoring two male adults, eyes red, as they play-hit each other and chucked each other's hats and bags down the aisle. Before New York I would have felt uncomfortable, after New York I was completely unmoved by their silliness.
My Mum said I looked nice as I walked in, which pleased me as - the storm began only moments ago with cracks and heavy rain, I went into the hallway and out to the patio to see the cat, Gandalf, just casually sitting under the table. I kissed at it and it slowly came towards me, seemingly undisturbed by the ferocity behind the barks of those Cloud Gods, and yawned and stretched before it came and sat in the hallway.
For some reason, I decided to sit beside Gandalf. I wasn't scared, but I did feel slightly on edge, as I often am whenever there is a storm on top of me, and we listened to the cracks together and I watched the flashes on the leaves of the garden outside.
Even as I type this, the flashes are still flashing and the thunder, though coming late enough to signal that the storm was kilometres away or above us, still grumbles on - anyway, her compliment pleased me as I've been feeling a little self-conscious about my looks.
"What's new?" My friends closest to me would surely joke, but it seriously hasn't helped that my grandparents seem so concerned about my weight, and if not concerned, they sure do love pointing out how I've changed. I think they aren't use to my curves, since they have watched me grow up stick thin from all the ballet I practiced as a younger me. Still, it was nice of my Mum to say that.
I've immediately noticed an improvement of self-care that comes from eating healthy and going to bed early and living alone and getting up early enough to take time on my appearance. However, it only took me half an hour to get ready that day. Where were those skills when I needed them when I was running late for a high-profile meeting in New York? Alas! You can't begin to succeed in New York unless you're already dreadfully well practiced in the art of Self Care or if you just don't give a goddamn and go blazing through the streets from event to event with charm and a dash of menace in your eyes.
Before Thursday ended with the film, Adaptation, my Mum asked me if I think all the Gold Coast girls are "skanks... or something?" I suppose she asked this because of the difference of dress from New York to - Wow, the loudest cracks are happening now, thank goodness I'm on battery power and not plugged in! The cat is definitely on edge now, and I feel a sense of relief whenever his ears or his head perks up with a crack of lightning. I suppose I don't want to feel like the only "scaredy-cat." - here. I hadn't even given it a thought. Though I've noticed that most girls I encounter seem to walk around in groups here. I've rarely found one young woman on their own, and the ones who are on their own could easily be seen in Brooklyn or New York. Fashion is fashion and most young women, with this global access, can easily look as fine as any East Village model. I'm usually the one who is way behind in terms of fashion.
My response, however was, "I just ignore them."
"Now, you don't want to be a snob (or did she say bitch?)" my Mum replied.
"No, it's not like that..." I began, though I struggled to find the right way of putting it. I love girls but I'm also terrified of them, especially in their groups. Their packs. So, I just ignore them because it's easier then being friendly and ignored in return or possibly meeting a withering glare. Some things just don't change and when it comes to women, no matter where they are on the globe, we are pretty damn stubborn, scarred and afraid.
Discover Queensland and Symbols of Australia at the Queensland Museum in Southbank http://www.southbank.qm.qld.gov.au
Friday, 17 December 2010
As was definitely the case the other day, a Wednesday. I was trying to get through my To Do's list, which meant contacting Dr. Johnson and checking my social networks, as well as trying to conquer the mountain of emails that awaits me in my 7 accounts (I know, I'm trying to close some of them).
A Skype call came through and it was Dr. Johnson and his friends, all sitting around, getting high, and I felt nervous to be on camera in front of him again and boring because I didn't have much to say, not in front of every one else.
At one point when they were asking me about my day, I said, "I have a lot of free time on my hands." It was a joke, but their sad reaction to it, made tears spring up in my eyes. I had to duck out of camera as I tried to compose myself, laughing self-conciously as I always do.
After 47 minutes of delayed video and instant silences and pointless chatter, we ended the call and I felt like a failure. Dr. Johnson was aware that his friends weren't quite involved, and since he was always the Leader of the Momentum for any kind of gathering, he hastily hung up (however, not at all rudely) to get the life back into his own gathering again. I could understand this, but I hate feeling boring.
So, after more unending emails and then Facebook chats with friends that I am nervous to see again, because so much time has past, and news of an old classmate committing suicide, though insensitively mostly just anxiety over missing friends in New York and - Just killed two flies in quick succession, which brings my Dead Fly count up to 7 or 8, one was killed with a check book and the other was killed by fly spray and fly spray can swatting. The two before that were killed by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Book Thief - aaand just feeling lost in general. Seeing pictures of friends on Facebook didn't hurt, especially while listening to 'Home', and so the tears fell, silently and often, until I realized that I was going through all this heart break without any kind of antidote. Alcohol!
The Vodka did not help though, I only had one part in a glass of lime soda and all it did was make the tears fall faster. I fell asleep while typing a long and lonely message to my friend.
It had been a week. I had lasted 7 days before my first tearful outburst. I think that is fairly healthy. So, let's not worry. I haven't had another drink since, because I'm not an unwise woman, however I am looking forward to my Mum's partners sons 18th birthday party. We'll be on a boat. And I will be slightly intoxicated. Magic can only ensue...
Thursday, 16 December 2010
When the lights turned green, I almost kept walking, until I realized that the thump, a large duffel bag/suitcase, was blocking traffic and causing vehicles to slow down and swerve almost into the next lane. It could only lead to trouble, I thought, so I pressed the button to the cross to the opposite side of the road and picked up the bag as I walked, thanking nameless Saints for letting the bag not be impossibly heavy and embarrassing me in front of waiting cars.
I placed it on the sidewalk and noticed that a car had pulled over. "I was just about to pull it off the road." A woman called out to me, as I slowly walked in her direction.
"Oh, sorry." I said bashfully, shrugging. I started to cross the road in the direction of the shopping centre when I stopped and realized that I couldn't simply leave it sitting there. Someone might steal from it or the car might not return to this spot.
I pulled out my phone and turned around, the woman was still in the car. I gestured to the phone and said, "I'm going to call," and she nodded and said it was a good idea. We exchanged pleasant goodbyes and as I crossed the road, I tripped. I asked the world around me to give me a break as I was only trying to do what one should do, even though it would be so easy to just leave it sitting there.
The sun was burning down and I had not dressed to be standing still in such heat. I began to sweat as I pulled at all manner of zippers looking for a contact of some kind. I turned it around, with great difficulty and opened it up with great difficulty and closed it with great difficulty, and couldn't find a number or address anywhere. I started to get annoyed. What if they never came back? What if I had to carry this damn bag all the way to the nearest police station? Was that even the right thing to do? I didn't know. So, I started looking up the number to call Mum.
I felt like a fool standing on this road (you can go for minutes alone before the next pedestrian shows up) as the cars rumbled by and people stared.
I finally found my Mum's number and just as I was put through to her the black ute pulled up and a tall slightly ginger-haired boy ran out and picked up his bag.
I was so relieved that they were there, that my eyes welled up and I was glad to have sunglasses on as moisture hit the tops of my cheeks. I steadied my voice as I said, "I was just trying to find contact details for you!" The Father, I assume, was going through the bag. "I'm just securing it," he said, lifting up a hand to say thanks. "Oh, OK, I didn't want you to think I had stolen anything." They laughed.
I went along my original journey and as I made it to the next crosswalk, the man, now in his car, smiled and said, "Thank you!"
"Good luck!" I replied.
I'm not use to waiting for the lights to change at crosswalks, having so often just jay-walked as it is a New York City residents right. So I find waiting for the little Green Man to appear quite awkward, and even worse when a red car, with two young boys within, pulls up to the light.
I was easily ignoring them when the one in the passenger side, with a broad smile, said, "Hello!"
"Hello," I said quietly, smiling nervously and looking in a different direction. This only made his smile broader. When I turned back to see him still looking at me, smiling proudly with all of his youth, I felt embarrassed. What was this boy doing talking to me? I immediately felt far too old to be talking to this boy, who couldn't be more than 17, and I wasn't attracted at all because I felt (even though it would be a ludicrous pregnancy) that I could be his mother.
"It's a bit hot, hey?" He said.
"It is," I almost laughed, totally embarrassed by the attention, I made a gesture as if to say - though I said it to nobody in particular in the opposite direction, 'Why are you talking to me?'
"Have a good day," he beamed at me. "You too!" I faked.
I wasn't annoyed by the exchange, it just felt completely ridiculous. I was sweating and I was older and they were younger and to even begin talking to this pale almost-foreign old fogey felt like a tease, like I was being mocked.
I'm only twenty-two and I felt almost like our exchange had been illegal. Needless to say, I muttered to myself the rest of the way to the shopping centre.
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Meals Cooked: 2 - Saturday: Pappardelle with Spicy Meat Sauce (only with Penne instead of Pappardelle and Paprika instead of Red Pepper) and Monday: Cottage Pie (filled with frustration because one should be able to cook while angry. Making the Mashed Potatoes reminded me of how I helped make Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving in 2009 with Molly, which helped me not be angry.)
Flies Killed: 3 (possibly 4 if the one I whacked with John Green's novel, Looking For Alaska, finally kicked it.)
"God, I'm a murderer!" I exclaimed to my reflection in the bathroom mirror as I watched the fly I had just pelted over and over again with walter swirl down the bathroom sink.
The remorse didn't last long, as I had a plan to stick to and a day to fill up with Unimportance. Read: Distraction: so that I don't realize that I'm not going to be in America any time soon and don't even know if I want to be. Meanwhile, a fly buzzed furiously over my head.
It's been fulfilling to make dinner. To take out the ingredients and line them up and then combine so that right amount of heat cooks for the right amount of time to taste just about right, and I clean as I go, so as to feel like an organized, functioning adult. I've received praise so far, but I don't like going against the recipe, but my Mum is all for it. So whereas my meal might come out as a clumsy one-act, my Mum's own choices in the kitchen would lead to a polished piece, no matter how small the portion. I suppose I will learn this spontaneity, this art, in time.
One of the ways I'm keeping busy is by waking up early, usually at 6 but always before 8:30, and filling my day up with pointless little adventures. Last week it was mainly setting up bank accounts and health care and identification and posting off Christmas packages and this week it's been more about trying to get down to work. Though it has proven difficult. A thousand other things need to be done. Oceans to walk past, mountains to climb, papers to use and then vanquish... Checking ones email thoroughly can take up quite a lot of time too, and I have 7 accounts.
I become overwhelmed, and then I become sad, and so I take any opportunity to go to the shops and walk around with Mum or to walk by the beach or to climb the not-so-far-off mountains.
Other than climbing mountains and wading in it's streams as baby pythons circled around my Mum's partners hand friendly enough but attacked and shied away from his cell phone that was simply trying to capture the moment in terrible resolution, was to see the ballet.
I saw The Nutcracker, but it was different, original, as is always the way with the choreographer, Francois Klaus and his company, The Queensland Ballet. I adored it. I had my binoculars and found great joy in the seeing the expression on the dancers faces, seeing the lines, so long and beautiful up-close and feeding off the dancers energy, hungry for more.
It was nice to see two Second Years performing amongst the rest of the company, who I no longer recognized, apart from the principal, Rachael Walsh. I remembered them from when I was a First Year (and only ever a First Year) and was just happy to see people make it out from the suffocating grasps of adolescence. It seemed like such a breakthrough, even though, in person, I'm sure they haven't changed all that much. Either way, I was still proud to be watching my peers.
Another activity I have been busying myself with is the great task of reading all the books I own. I've finished two since I arrived and am about to finish the third (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson) tonight. The great thing about Queensland is the fairly long commutes on buses and trains. I can begin a journey only half-way through a novel and find myself having to slow myself down by the bus ride home so as to not finish a book on the bus, a very emotionless ending, I'm sure, when you have to try to "keep up appearances" and pretend you're just as sane as every one else while your emotions are spilling out all over the place as the story, your story, your journey, ends.
I'm going to read The Book Thief next. It was recommended to me by a friend Emma back in 2009 (or was it 2008?) and while I was in Santiago, both Emily and Ryan raved about how much they adored it. I hope I too have a similar experience. I will keep my mind open so as to hopefully not ruin it for myself.
With Hunter S. Thompson leaving me tonight, I've only read a total of 7 books this year (more if I count some more graphic novels and maybe the odd little book I may have read and forgotten about). My Mum says that you can waste your whole life reading, but I feel that I've spent a lot of this year living. Throwing caution to the winds and just being in the moment, if we can ever truly live in the moment. I'm happy to give my life to some stories for now, at least for December... at least until this pile is read. I can't keep carrying it around from place to place and I certainly won't leave it behind and I can't just let them sit there anymore.
I have more stories to tell of my time here, but this ending, this sigh of relief as book dust falls on my head, well, I hope you let out a little sigh, too. When one has the luxury of a page to turn, every thing is not as bad as it may seem.