100 things

Inspired by the fabulous Maggie Mason and her own tremendous life list, here is mine.

Attend mermaid camp at Weeki Wachee Springs or Boracay — Be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras — Go diving off the Gili islands — Marry Nathan — Visit a pick-your-own orchard — Sew a dress, from scratch — Run in the Melbourne marathon — Finish my bachelor degree (with honours) — Take Nathan to New York, Boston and Washington DC — Publish a book of poetry — No McDonalds for a year — Take piano lessons — Grow a herb garden — Take my parents on holidays for their sixtieth birthdays — Become a certified Iyengar yoga teacher — Stick with a blog for five years — See the Blue Grotto in Malta — Successfully plant and maintain a vegetable garden — Read 1000 books — Eat real Mexican food in Mexico — Trace our family trees back for at least five generations — Decorate my house for every holiday and occasion — Spend Chinese New Year in Taipei — Live overseas for more than a year — Write a novel — Complete a PhD — Stand up on a surfboard — Attend the Melbourne Cup, wearing a giant hat — Give vegetarianism a try for at least six months — Buy my own silicone mermaid tail — Become fluent in Mandarin — Walk through the rock pools at Apollo Bay — Paint polka dots on a wall in my house — Leave a padlock on the fence at Via dell’Amore — Take a month-long computer vacation — Have a baby — Get lost in a foreign city, alone — Start a bonsai tree — Volunteer at an elephant orphanage — Wear lipstick every day for a month— Go skiing at Sundance — Cut my hair shorter than shoulder length — Catch a fish, prepare it, and cook it — Watch a really intense thunderstorm — Climb a volcano — Go sailing with my dad — Cook Christmas lunch for my family — Convince Nathan to come on a roller coaster with me — Be in Chiang Mai for the Floating Lantern Festival — Successfully give a speech — Swim in a geothermal spa in Iceland — Host a big party — Ride a horse on the beach — Spend Christmas in London — Try snowboarding — Visit the Emily Dickinson house in Amherst — Eat a lobster roll in Boston — Drink from a coconut on the beach — Bike around the rice fields in Ubud — Have a grown-up pen pal — Get my driver’s license — See a performance of Swan Lake — Take a life drawing class — Pose for a life drawing class — Complete a cross-country skiing race — Learn to play the violin — Bake a rainbow layer cake — Raise backyard chickens — Make a skiing highlights video for myself and my sisters — Grow a thicker skin against toxic influences — Learn how to use my camera — Live in a Scandinavian country — Have more birthday parties for Posie and Rupert — Create digital back ups of all my parents’ photos — Be an awesome aunty — Go snorkelling/diving at the Great Barrier Reef — Make a giant quilt for my bed — Overcome major disappointment with grace — Go to Disneyland — Design and build a piece of furniture — Be brave and proactive about getting my health issues sorted — Celebrate the seasons with themed dinner parties — Conquer my fear of sharks and get scuba certified — Watch every episode of Law and Order: SVU — Interview my grandmothers and write down their stories — Go cave diving in Mexico — Write a collection of poems about my dogs (à la Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs) — Grow a collection of succulents in pots — Drink 100 different cocktails — Dive with great white sharks — Take cheesy photos at the Taj Mahal and the Leaning Tower of Pisa — Have family portraits taken — Paint my front door red — Sing in a choir — Learn how to throw pizza dough in the air — Go white water rafting — See the Daintree rainforest — Write a lullaby for voice and guitar — Attend the Vampire’s Masquerade Ball (in full costume) — Become proficient at juggling three balls

summer’s end

Yesterday, it rained.

I know – how boring, but seriously, rain is so rare around here that when it does happen, it’s a big event. It was actually a pretty huge downpour too – the football stadium and some supermarkets flooded, and some buildings fell down. I watched the big, fat summer raindrops fall on my scorched garden and was filled with gratitude for the fact that I wouldn’t have to water it myself, but it reminded me of an inescapable truth: summer is nearly over.

Today, it is cold.

Not really cold, but cool enough that my feet have turned greyish-purple (circulation issues). It’s hilarious watching the puppies trying to burrow under blankets so they can stay in bed all day. Poor things. It must be so hard to be an animal, with no understanding of weather or how the temperature corresponds to how uncomfortable they are. During the heatwave, Posie was so irritable and frustrated. She skulked around the house, hid under the couch and every so often she would let out these huge, melodramatic sighs, like she was angry with me for making the house so hot. On purpose.

master of the meat

Round One:

Nathan’s parents gave us a Weber for Christmas. Although it has been almost two months, we still hadn’t gotten around to using it, until last night. I wanted to invite my family over for dinner, but didn’t like the thought of everybody being hungry just in case we stuffed up our first attempt.

Lucky, because we stuffed it up.

The face of disappointment:

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Round Two:

We went crazy and cooked all sorts of things: pork chops, steaks, sausages, ribs. Far too much, but oh the leftovers! Nathan brandished the long-handled tongs and snapped them in the air, like he was a lion tamer cracking his whip. It must be something biological – the primal delight that men seem to take in cooking meat over a fire.

patience, persistence

I get disillusioned easily. Maybe it comes from being too idealistic, but it’s probably really from just being impatient. A symptom of my generation, apparently! One of the things that is bugging me right now relates directly to this blog and how it reflects my life. I want to write the story of my life, but my life isn’t feeling like a story right now. Life is all:

feeling exasperated by my messy house
trying to sort out my room
cooking dinner/cleaning up after dinner/making Nathan’s lunch
looking at everybody elses’ dream houses, Everest climbing expeditions, cocktail parties, sparkly weddings, cute babies, new puppies and fancy desserts on facebook
dreaming of a holiday somewhere tropical
“if those dogs bark one more time, I’ll go mad”
trying to write/failing to write
wishing I had a beautiful garden but not knowing where to start
trying to convince myself to go back to Crossfit

I suppose all of that is a story in itself. I’m the girl who is waiting in the wings, waiting for her life to start. Since high school, everything has been a series of false starts, direction changes and stumbles, but I finally feel like I’m building momentum now – which is a good thing, even though the pay-off is still years away. Nathan always reminds me to just keep going, good things will happen, my time will come, et cetera. All good advice, but it’s hard to remember when I’m busy comparing the boring, messy details of my everyday life to everybody elses’ highlights reel.

schmalentine’s day

We never really get much of an opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day, because February 14th also happens to be Nathan’s Dad’s birthday. This year, we did almost nothing at all, save for a lazy but fairly unromantic brunch the next day.

I’ve seen lots of people making proclamations on facebook about how they don’t need a special day to show their partner how much they love them, that they do it every day. To that, I say: do you buy/make special presents, write a lovely card or come home with flowers every day? Of course not! That’s why it’s so nice to have a day that reminds you to do these things that you might not have prioritized every other day of the year.

For next year, we have grand plans. Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of my favourite movies, and there is a twilight picnic movie screening at the actual rock every Valentine’s Day. I’ve wanted to go for years. This year just wasn’t the right time (with the bushfires, work obligations for Nathan and threatening rain), but next year will be the year!

figuring out my camera

I went on a bit of a spree taking photos of P+R yesterday. How can I help myself when they are: a) so obliging, and b) so damn cute? The fabulously photogenic Rupert looks dashing as always:

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He’s such a good looking dog, it’s almost criminal. I can’t imagine how anybody could look at his darling little face and just drop him at the pound, or lock him in a backyard with a bunch of pitbulls. It’s hard enough trying to deny him little things, like a lick of the ice cream you are eating, or five minutes of extra snuggle time in the mornings.

Rupert’s an easy photography subject, because I know he will look good, no matter what. Posie is another story. She has such complex moods and feisty expressions that never seem to show up in photos. Nathan thinks that she tends to look like “just another little white fluffy dog”, but I really want to be able to capture how much more expressive she is than the average LWFD. It’s been over a year since I bought my camera, and I’ve barely scratched the surface in learning how to use it. This was my first foray into the slightly terrifying world of ‘manual’ mode.

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One of the perks of manually adjusting my camera settings was being able to choose a quicker shutter speed. This made for some pretty cool action shots.

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As I slowly teach myself how to take better photos, one of the things I’m looking forward to is being able to take better portraits. For that, Nathan can be my guinea pig.

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Such a handsome guinea pig!

 

 

 

 

frozen

I went to see Frozen on the weekend with my nieces (it was their second time, my first) at their insistence. As I left the cinema, I was overwhelmed by a sense of grief; for what Disney used to be; for what a big part of my childhood it was; for the fact that Disney movies will never be exactly the same when my own hypothetical future kids are discovering them.

I loved the Scandinavian influences, the town and castle designs, and I even thought the little rock trolls were pretty cool – it was a nifty way of combining legend and comedy. I loved the message of the film and the emphasis on sisterly love being just as ‘true’ as romantic love. And the sequence where Elsa creates her ice castle was a pretty stunning use of technology and art.

I did not love the character design. Elsa and Anna were definitely cute despite their ‘ski jump’ noses, but they fell victim to the same problem as the characters in Tangled – looking as though they are animated versions of dolls, even down to having skin that looks like plastic. For me, this is just a jarring reminder of the fact that these movies are vehicles for the sale of merchandise, but the more the characters are basically pre-empting the doll designs, the more cynical I feel about the whole thing. Another bad point was the music, which was overwhelmingly Broadway-style. As if Disney were covering their bases by creating a movie that would easily be converted to a stage show. It would have also been nice to see more of the cute reindeer; the whiny snowman didn’t do it for me as a sidekick at all. Also, why couldn’t they just call it ‘The Snow Queen’?

As well as being a die hard cel animation fan, I’m probably being too harsh. It is inevitable that things will change over time, and maybe I’m just clinging to what was magical in my own childhood, rather than accepting that these new style Disney films will be magical to a new generation. Frozen isn’t a bad film, it’s just different.

distinguishing marks

I was twenty-one when I got my first (and only) tattoo. It was my first (and only) real act of teenage rebellion, albeit a bit late. I walked into a shop that I’d heard good things about, told them what I wanted and asked if it could be done right away. Afterwards, I texted a photo to my mum. She’s open-minded about a lot of things, but absolutely cannot stand tattoos; she called me straight  back to tell me that now I’d “have to wear a long-sleeved wedding dress”.

Five years later, there is a hint of regret when I look at my wrist. Not enough to actively seek to get it removed, but there is just this little undercurrent of feeling like the tattoo doesn’t quite match with the type of person I am. No value judgements, at all, but just a sense of mismatched identities.

People always ask me what it means, and honestly, I’ve got nothing. They’re just birds. I just picked them because they were pretty. In that way, it seems kind of ridiculous to have them inked into my skin for all eternity. I have so many other marks that actually signify something that happened to me, or something unique about me. I have a mangled scarred nose, with three pink lines that radiate out from my right nostril. I have three favourite freckles, that I’ve had my whole life: one on my butt, one on the top of my foot, one next to my eye. I have stretch marks on my hips and behind my knees from growing too fast.

I used to look at these all as imperfections, but slowly, I’ve come to realize that they are really just part of the physical story of my body and the things it has done; like a record of my life so far, imprinted on my skin. It didn’t have any meaning when I first got it, but now, it’s just another part of the story.