It’s not the most colourful example of street art in St Peters (Sydney, NSW, Australia), nor is it unique but it makes me smile weekday mornings on my walk to the train station. The guy who saw me taking the photos had a smile also.
I’m my own worst enemy. I get so caught down in the drudgery aspect of day-to-day I stop seeing and feeling the magic & mystery around me. When I wake myself up to it, it’s truly miraculous. Living in the inner city of Sydney (& elsewhere, of course I know) it’s ever-present, varied & plentiful. There are the fairies, and many personas adopted by my fellow residents, and you have to love them for the colour and character they bestow. After one particularly grim post-holiday return and reminding myself to open my senses, I even saw Elvis, yes the Elvis, buying out the entire stock of Kraft cheese at my corner shop. So now you know it, Elvis is fit (if still a little chubby) & well and living in the inner city Sydney village of Darlington, NSW, Australia. I see gemstone sunrises & sunsets, rainbows, and clouds trying on more earthly forms of garb. I don’t have to go to a gallery to indulge in great art, it’s on the streets & walls around me. And to remind me of my blessings, neighbourhood cats present themselves just at the right time for pats.
Thank you Universe for your gifts,
“Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place. Start right where you are. ”
Just a note to let you know we made it to our house on the coast after a couple of days travelling and visiting enroute. On the way we stopped and shopped for necessities. We arrived and tidied up, did a few jobs and made preparations. We spent a nice quiet Christmas Day “in town” with your grandmother and aunt & uncle. On Boxing Day we did a few last things as your arrival is imminent and we came up with some ideas to make the holiday experience enjoyable for all:
1. Time: Let us know when you’re getting here. We may like to go out for part of the day rather than waiting, waiting, waiting for your arrival even though we really are looking forward to it (see also*). Especially let us know if you plan to arrive at a meal time, and arrive on time. Otherwise you may find us expired from hunger in front of the fridge. *Let us know when you’re leaving [so we can ensure the sparkly is chilled].
2. Share: We love to shop & prepare food for you but we believe you have culinary skills of your own. At least, we know you watched Masterchef. Feel at home to put them to the test and bring & prepare a meal, a side salad or even some dip & biccies.
3. Kids: We love the kids. We want to spend the quality time you mentioned as the reason for your visit, with them playing games & reading stories, not chasing & yelling at them. That’s your job. If you wish to have a holiday with childcare facilities go to Hayman Island.
4. Participate: As well as sitting & playing cards all day, washing up is a necessary & potentially fun holiday activity. Please feel free to take part. Often enjoyable conversations happen over a dishcloth & tea towel.
5. When in Rome: Do as we do. We love you to be comfortable & feel at home. We like to also. Our location offers you the opportunity to enjoy new cultural experiences – we have no shops, internet & phone coverage but there are frogs, lizards, birds, butterflies, bugs, snakes… wildlife of all kinds, trees, grass, flowers, dirt, fresh air, tank water, stars and usually, peace & quiet.
6. Space: We’ve given you lovely rooms. Please feel free to keep your bags, packages and sundry items there rather than scattering them all over the house where you may lose track of them and leave them behind… again.
7. Don’t worry: If we don’t answer the phone for a few days, we’re ok. We’re just making sure you don’t invite yourselves back until the multitude of sheets & towels we washed after your stay are dry and ready for use once again.
EllaDee & Poppy
In the words of the Gorgeous One, “let’s smoke the back axles up the highway”… It’s holiday time. None too soon. It’s been one of those years. In previous years we always said “no news is good news”. This year it’s been “there’s no good news” and we’ve tried to shut the hell up because no-one wants to hear it. To counter this, I’ve done my best for the economy and made it a great year for wine sales, and the Gorgeous One has smoked his finest for Peter Stuyvesant shareholders. Yes, I know, I know, drinking and smoking are bad for your health but it’s better than gaol time, as they say. So yes, we’re escaping to our house up the coast & no doubt there will be a plume of smoke off the verandah & the recycle bin will rattle with wine bottles.
“She wanted something to happen – something, anything: she did not know what. “
EllaDee isn’t my real name. A google search and wiki entry reveals Ella Dee as the name of a 446 year-old witch from the British TV series Hex. It is however also an anagram of my real first and middle names, and I like it. My real name, which I also like, starts with D and as the card says “D IS FOR DAMN GOOD…”. I picked the discarded card off the street and had no doubt it was meant for me. I’m feeling damn good. Despite the recent birthday pushing me on towards 50, reminded by my uncle in his birthday greeting email. Despite a pretty ordinary year including a bout of glandular fever my doctor didn’t even want to test me for as I was getting into my twilight years. Despite 10 kilos the world would judge me better off without. Despite having the socially awkward status of being married twice, life has been damn good for the past six or so years with my third and last partner who is a wonderful bloke, my best friend of 20 plus years and who was worth waiting for. Despite never being able to resist saying what I think when I think it no matter the deafening ensuing silence and chill. Despite being damn good at what I do falling into career limbo after emerging from three years of a soul sucking project into a post GFC workplace which doesn’t appear to have a place for me but doesn’t want to set me free. Despite moving from our much loved rented apartment and neighbourhood of seven and a half years. Despite every long weekend and holiday the weather being cool & rainy or cold & raining – La Nina take a break pleeeaasse. Despite all this, I’ve been damn good in 2011. Looking forward to 2012 so I can be damn damn good.
As my parents’ only child I often attempt to explain my relationship with Dad by saying I only have one team to barrack for. Whatever he does good or bad, he’s all I’ve got left in the way of parents. This gets him away with a lot. Dad can be infuriating & amusing, randomly & concurrently. The longer you’ve known him helps, sometimes, understand him but not necessarily. Often you are just perplexed. He doesn’t operate on a past, present, future basis. It’s all thrown in a time-sack and he randomly selects or invents whatever fact or memory he requires for the occasion. Grasping many of his quirky-come-peculiar conversations & behaviours requires some familiarity. I’ve seen acquaintances look at him quizzically, refocus, bravely nod and continue listening, which is really all that is required. As the year approaches its close, a few anecdotes from 2011 can be universally appreciated.
It started with the first dinner during his holiday at our house in January, where we’d gone to some trouble with a nice fresh seafood meal, commenced with a version of Dad’s customary pre-dinner grace of “I suppose I’d better eat some of this shit”.
In July, a verbal request to me regarding his “final wishes” after his almost fatal heart attack in 2010 and my advice to him to also convey those wishes to others, culminated in the agonising occasion of Dad announcing to an extended family gathering, apropos of nothing, his intention to be cremated and buried with my Mum, forty years dead, in complete disregard of his wife of 30 years and 3 other children – all present except one.
In November, the day after my birthday, I gripped the edge of my work desk to stop myself falling to the floor while chatting with Dad on the phone in my lunch break, in stitches & tears while he conveyed to me a late birthday gift of the story of his efforts to evict the rat which had invaded my stepmother’s car in search of food. Initially he baited a rat trap with raisins and set it inside the car. When the rat took the raisins but the trap didn’t take the rat he consulted with mechanically minded colleagues and adopted the suggestion of connecting a hose to the exhaust & feeding it into the car interior [I’m having trouble typing this as I’m still laughing…] to conduct an assisted rat suicide. That not working, he backed their camper van up and connected the hose to its far more potent diesel fume emitting exhaust. That didn’t work either. Apparently you can call the insurance company and make a claim for vehicular rat infestation. Who knew?
In December, somehow inspired by his brother’s Movember facial hair growth Dad took the trouble to suggest to him at a special family dinner at a fancy restaurant that he would have been better off getting a transplant from his nether regions to his [bald] head. At the same dinner he visibly and audibly couldn’t comprehend the non-availability of oysters kilpatrick from the kitchen when clearly it wasn’t much of a stretch from the natural oysters being offered on the menu. At least he didn’t start off with his version of grace.
So, that’s the highlights this year. We’re staying the night and having dinner with him later this week pre-Christmas. Must go and pack the wine.
Postscript: Why would I expect there not to be a postscript? To put his finishing touch on the year, Dad sick as a dog with a flu and having had a few beers, didn’t manage to negotiate the thank-God-plastic-not-quite-full wine glasses on the dinner table, rearranged them onto the floor and then only slightly embarrassed & contrite sat at the end of the now damp & sticky dinner table with my sister’s 8 year old stepson and in solidarity protested any sort of vegetable eating just because he could.
Back in the sixties as a pre-schooler my Saturday mornings were spent in the company of my mother doing her domestic duties. Dad worked five and half days a week. We lived in a country town. As was usual, Mum was a housewife. She and I had seven days a week but those Saturday mornings had a particular ambiance, and soundtrack: AM radio – sixties music and wedding calls. That period is a tactile memory. Many Saturdays I call it up. My partners have generally been six day week workers. I’ve always worked five days so my Saturday mornings are gold, awakening to a desk free day. In the past I channelled what is now termed my “Domestic Goddess”, whipped through housework, followed by a grocery shop and cooking. Now and then I still do. However, a move to a smaller apartment where housework is covered off day-to-day, a thankful lessening of my housekeeping standards, and online shopping unfettered my schedule. I now listen to FM or digital radio from my inner-city kitchen via internet streaming. Even free to choose my activities, old habits die hard. I usually put on a load of washing: the thrum of the machine resonates back to days when it was a reassuring backdrop. I burn incense, drink coffee, eat toast in bed, write, read a book or whatever is on the ‘net, take recreational excursions to shops or markets. On Saturday mornings it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do or where I am: somewhere I’m still four years old in our little house on Scott St, sliding on Handy Andy mopped floors, smelling Mr Sheen polished furniture and chocolate cake baking. Perhaps the clearest memory I have of my mother. Thanks Mum for the gift of Saturday mornings.