August

Tomorrow is the start of August. I’m excited about August. There are special things happening.

A day which isn’t meant to mean anything but means a lot to me.

A big birthday for someone very special to me.

August was meant to be the end of something but looks like it won’t be. It’s the month before September and for the past six months or so it’s been SEPTEMBER in my mind. A month of change, a looming month, a pivotal month. But now it’s unlikely September will be that month so I’m refocusing on August and letting September go, setting it free.

It’s amazing how some days seem like a battle, like nothing will ever work out, like nothing is worth the trouble… and other days everything seems so easy, what will be will be, the future’s not ours to see (nod: Doris Day), life is just how it is, nothing more, nothing less.

This time last year I was getting ready for the New York trip with the Joker. My goodness I love New York, it’s my happy place. I yearn for the streets and the light and the smell and the bars and the $1 oyster happy hour, the surprises around each corner, walking, my sister. I want to go again; often I get an attack of NEW YORK. My brain starts to work out the logistics of just going, next week. But I don’t. I’m an adult, of sorts. It hasn’t much to do with August… except I’ve been to New York in August/September two years in a row and my heart is telling me to go.

But instead I’m going to stay right here and jump into August feet first… and see where the road takes me.

Goodsey

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I don’t know why I’m wading into these murky waters. I’m quite cranky about the social/media storm that’s swept through this week. Cranky and confused and sad and irritated. WTF is going on here folks? Because I don’t actually know or understand what’s just happened here (unlike all the other commentators, amateur and professional alike, who seem to have very firm opinions on everything) I have a need to just spew out my thoughts and see what they look like.

As a long time Sydney Swans supporter and member I have watched just about every single one of Adam Goodes’ professional games since he joined my Swannies in 1999. He’s one of a rare breed of professional sportspeople these days – the one team player – and I have a warm place in my cold heart for him because of this and many other reasons. To cut a long story short, he’s a top bloke.

But the storm around him is about the booing. Since he called out the teenage girl for referring to him as an “ape” opposition supporters have started the unfortunate spectacle of booing him whenever he touches the ball. Now this has been going on for a while but this week it has exploded into a shit fight and I’m not sure why. While there have been murmurs of “racism” it has now become a full blown, all-in brawl. The media heavyweights are into it, the social media nobodies are into it, everyone has an opinion and yet I’m stuck wondering what it’s all about.

Are the AFL supporters booing Adam Goodes racist? I don’t know. They don’t boo the other aboriginal players or players from other racial backgrounds. Is it true that they are booing him because he milks the umpires for penalties (as some are claiming)? If that’s true why aren’t these supporters booing the many other players who also do this? Are they booing him because he is a previous Australian of the Year and as such a “tall poppy” and in need of some cutting down? Again, he became Australian of the Year at the beginning of 2014 and the booing started just a few months ago.

I don’t really understand this phenomenon of booing Goodsey because all the reasons being put forward do not make sense. I suspect the people booing him do not understand themselves why they’re doing it. Therefore they are dickheads.

I’m kind of cranky that there is, as always, a call out for “someone” to do “something”. I’m a bit unclear as to what that “something” that “someone” should be doing is. Possibly the AFL could be chucking out the boo-ers from games and I see some merit in this argument. It would probably only take a few exited offenders to make it stop. But do we want booing stopped altogether? I say not. I love a good boo at a game. Nothing filled me with joy more than booing Jason Akermanis back in the day. Why? I don’t know… he was just such a great villain. Was it stupid? Sure. Is a bunch of grown men in short shorts chasing a ball around a field for 2 hours while a bunch of people drinking overpriced beer shout and cheer and swear stupid? Sure.

I don’t want booing stopped. What if they stop cheering? What if we’re offending the people not being cheered by our one sided cheering? Where does it end? What if they stopped me making lascivious comments about the players I may want to um, do inappropriate cougar-y type things with? I think I stand for people being able to say stupid things at the footy (is that enough of a platform to start a political party?). That doesn’t mean I want people to boo Adam Goodes…

Where does all this leave us? Buggered if I know. We have a bunch of morons booing a terrific footy player and an all round great man for reasons unfathomable to themselves as much as to the general public. We now have a social shit fight with lots of heated rhetoric which amounts to a big fat nothing at the end of the day.

Unfortunately this is not something, like gay marriage or medical cannabis, which can be legislated. You can’t legislate against stupid.

All I know is Adam has had a wonderful career at the Swans, as an AFL player with two Brownlow Medals, as an indigenous man trying to make things better for his people and all Australians. He deserves better than this. I sincerely hope he doesn’t leave the game at this time feeling defeated because he’s much bigger and better than this.

Pop Up

This blog is badly neglected. I don’t know why. Well I do: mainly laziness and an “I’ll get around to it” attitude. I think about it often, every day just about. I read other blogs and I intend to visit mine. Regularly I have an idea for a blog post that feels so very important at that time, it just about writes itself in my mind instantly…  usually when I’m driving or pushing the trolley around Coles or doing one of a gazillion other things. But when I’m actually near a computer all inspiration evaporates and I lazily spend my time reading others’ writing or mindlessly scrolling Facebook. Bad habits: I’m completely made up of them.

There is a lot of stuff swirling around me right now. Almost every aspect of my life has either undergone changes or is about to undergo changes and yet I can’t write about most of it. Some is personal, some is temporarily secret, some is hard to grasp and wrangle into submission with a couple of hundred words in a blog post.

I walk a constant and ever evolving tightrope between gratefulness, joy, satisfaction, plenty and yearning, frustration, crazy anger, defeat.

I want to process my life and thoughts through my writing but I am overwhelmed by too much and not enough.

By no means is this a whingey  post. I didn’t pop up to whine about anything. Life is pretty fucking marvellous really. Wouldn’t be dead for quids. I guess I’m just trying to put into words where I’m at right now. Somewhere and nowhere, like everybody else.

I’ll leave you with my go to song of the moment. You know I’ve been having a very public, very annoying yet totally beautiful love affair with Mr Frank Turner for the last two years and this song has been my almost daily mantra for the past few weeks. I’m all about the lyrics and this song says everything I need to remember right now.

If Ever I Stray

Forgive me someone, for I have sinned
And I know not where I should begin
Some days it feels like you just can’t win
No matter what you do or say.

Things didn’t kill me but I don’t feel stronger
Life is short but it feels much longer
You’ve lost that drive, you’ve lost that hunger
To pull yourself through the day.

But if ever I stray from the path I follow
Take me down to the English Channel
Throw me in where the water is shallow
And then drag me on back to shore!

‘Cos love is free and life is cheap
As long as I’ve got me a place to sleep
Clothes on my back and some food to eat
I can’t ask for anything more

Come on everybody sing it 1, 2, 3, 4

We’ve all got secrets that we hold inside
The worst little things that we try and defy
The worst one of all that you never can hide
Is that you’re never quite as strong as you sound

So I’m sorry baby, for the times I’ve hurt you
Sorry friends, for the times I desert you
Most days it feels like I don’t deserve you
No wonder that you’re all still around

But if ever I stray from the path I follow
Take me down to the English Channel
Throw me in where the water is shallow
And then drag me on back to shore!

‘Cos love is free and life is cheap
As long as I’ve got me a place to sleep
Clothes on my back and some food to eat
I can’t ask for anything more

Come on everybody sing it 1, 2, 3, 4

Come on and join me in the water
Swim for hope
Sometimes it’s hard to remember
I couldn’t do this on my own

If ever I stray from the path I follow
Take me down to the English Channel
Throw me in where the water is shallow
And then drag me on back to shore!

‘Cos love is free and life is cheap
As long as I’ve got me a place to sleep
Clothes on my back and some food to eat
I can’t ask for anything more

I can’t ask for anything more

The path I chose isn’t straight and narrow
It wanders ’round like a drunken fellow
Some days it’s hard for me to follow
But if you’ve got my back I’ll go on.
If you’ve got my back I’ll go on.

The Love Boat…come aboard, we’re expecting you…

One of the first things I remember the Comedian saying to me when we embarked on our rocky romance was that he sometimes worked on cruise ships and would take me on a cruise with him one day. It took some time for that one day to arrive but, like all good things, arrive it did. Even after he had booked me in and I had received my boarding pass from the cruise company I still didn’t believe it would happen… given our history there was a more than fair chance the ship would be full, my booking would be lost or we would simply break up as we had done on so many previous occasions.

But the day arrived, children were despatched and lo and behold I was allowed onto the ship without hiccup. Apart from it being a virtually free holiday it was significant for me because it had not been an easy road to this point. An eighteen month rollercoaster ride with totally unpredictable loops and drops. I was very happy and relieved to finally be at this point.

A cruise is a cruise is a cruise and having been on a cruise last year with the kidlets I knew what to expect. There was the full cast of characters: the drunk bogans, the drunk bogan couples, the drunk bogan singles, the drunk bogan hens groups. We entertained ourselves by creating sub-groups including “couples we never want to see having sex “and “how did those people afford a cruise”.

What I really enjoyed about this cruise was getting to know some of the crew and how things work behind the scenes. One of the things people often say to the Comedian when they learn he works on cruise ships is how lucky he is to get “free holidays”. It’s not all fun and games when you’re working on cruise ships. While he is usually on for only a short time the majority of staff are on contract for months at a time and may not see their family and friends at home for six months or more. Some form empty on board relationships to stave off the loneliness, others drink and embrace the loneliness. It’s repetitive work, in a restricted environment and you are constantly surrounded by ugly, badly behaved, entitled, drunk bogans in holiday mode. It’s not pretty folks.

During a chat with the other on board comedian he described the “before and after” effect of being an entertainer on the ship. How after you perform everybody wants to know you. What a strange little “celebrity” phenomenon that is. It was enjoyable in a creepy, weird way to experience this. This is as close as I’ll ever get to feeling like Angelina Jolie so I’m going with it.

The first couple of days we went about our business unnoticed. Hanging out, eating, drinking (a few too many cocktails), listening to music. Nobody noticed us. Then the Comedian performed and as soon as he was off stage it began. From the first drunken stupid dickhead staggering towards him and wanting a free CD because it was “his birthday” to the constant parade of people telling him they enjoyed his show (which was lovely). Because I’m mentioned in the show as the “carer” there were many remarks of “oh, you must be the carer” as we passed. And people simply stopping, starring, whispering. It is a very strange situation.

Overall I loved our time on the ship. A very rare chance to be alone together in our own little bubble. Cruising is not my favourite way to spend a holiday but a short cruise was a wonderful way for us to spend some relaxed time together. Hopefully another love boat experience is on the horizon.

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Twas the night before Christmas…

… and I was taking a moment to reflect on the year that was. OK, it’s not New Year’s Eve but this is as good a time as any… plus there’s no one in the office and my mind is a-wandering.

It’s been a big year in lots of ways but mainly emotionally. I won’t lie, it’s been fucking tough at times. I’ve said WTF? on more than two (or fifty) occasions. It’s a year I don’t particularly want to remember but I’m very much unlikely to forget. I’ve learnt a lot about resilience. I feel I’m ending the year somewhat wiser and harder than I was at its start.

In broad strokes the kids and I have survived our first full year as a single parent family… and it was OK. Mainly it’s OK because I have a support network around me second to none. My mum and dad and sister are rock solid in their ability to be there for me and the kids at any time and all the time. We are awesomely lucky and grateful. But there’s also my friends who help in all ways, from practical to emotional to just fucking knowing they are there and have my back, that I can call and whinge when needed. I might not always say it straight up but I love and appreciate every single one of the people who are my family in the broadest sense of the word.

Hmmm… romantically it’s been a rollercoaster. There have been awful days and weeks but there have been amazing times as well. I have discovered more than I can share here about myself and for that reason the highs have very much been worth the lows. I end the year in a wonderful place, hopeful of a future with someone who means more to me than I can easily describe.

I’ve learnt to recognise and accept my style of dealing with things and that has been a learning experience in itself. It’s totally glib to say but it’s OK to be me.

This year I’ve got to travel to my favourite, non-Sydney, city on the planet. I’ve eaten great food, seen some fabulous bands and shows, watched spectacular storms from the safety of my balcony, hung out with people I love, been thrilled and disappointed by my Swannies, met people who have opened my eyes and changed my perspective. There has been heartache but I’m lucky enough to say the good has far outweighed the bad.

To those who have hurt me I say screw you. To those who have loved me, cared for me and my kidlets, I say you rock and thank you…. it means everything.

Goodbye 2014. Bring on 2015… a year already bursting with possibility and all the good shit.

NYC 2014: part 2 (the food edition)

So let’s pretend the previous (now MIA) post never happened and get back to our NYC adventure. I’ve decided against a blow by blow, chronological account and do more of a highlights reel. What was awesome about NYC? Well let’s see…

I just love walking in New York. A good day for me is just going out the front door and moving in a forward direction. It doesn’t matter the destination because I’m in fucking New York and there’s always something interesting to see, smell and experience. The people, the buildings, the shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, dogs, trees, graffiti, the way the pedestrian crossing lights have a countdown clock to tell you how many seconds you have left to cross the road.. every one of these things and so many more give me pleasure. I don’t need a purpose or destination there; I’m very happy just to be.

But back to specifics. Food was mainly on the great to amazing spectrum. OK we had some crappy breakfasts with shithouse coffee (how? how? is bad coffee acceptable any more… really? how?) a few times but we also had some very good breakfasts. Of course a Douhgnut Plant donut is the breakfast of champions and my favourite – the Coconut Cream – was just as good as I remembered. We had a delicious breakfast at Dudleys (one of a few Aussie cafes on the Lower East Side) but on our second visit they forgot our order (and we were the only customers – DOH!) so they officially got deleted from our Christmas card list. Our favourite breakfast spot was Spiegel, a sparse Kosher Moroccan cafe a few blocks from home, which did an awesome granola, excellent shakshouka eggs and a very good latte. I miss Spiegel.

A last note on breakfast: we had an excellent bacon and egg roll at The Australian Bar when we ventured there at a ridiculously early hour to watch the Swans wallop North Melbourne in the preliminary final (that was also my last mention of the Swans because: disgraceful). Also… get a good coffee machine The Australian Bar, what’s the point of excellent bacon and egg rolls when you serve them with that tasteless coffee-like swill.

Maharlika. I love you. The end. But no, there’s much more. What started as a disappointing evening when we just missed out on a table at Root & Bone (this no reservation system sucks balls – and not in a good way – NYC) ended on an unexpected high. My dear sister remembered this tiny Filipino joint and suddenly we were ensconced at the bar, being served cocktails by the super friendly owner and over ordering some super delicious food. Shall we start we Spam Fries? Oooh! Really? Sounds awful… tastes DEVINE! Then onto lots of other yumminess including one of the best bits of roast pork I’ve ever devoured. Not a Weight Watchers endorsed meal by any standards but so so good.

Another highlight of NYC eating is lobster and its derivative, lobster rolls. Now I should start by saying M and I both got a pretty bad bout of food poisining on our last night and I’m 99% sure the culprit was lobster (and not the pickle backs – whiskey shot with a pickle juice chaser – that followed). BUT before that night we enjoyed lobster on a few different occasions and it was delish (and non vomit inducing). Our neighbourhood Lobster Joint was a great casual eatery a few doors down from Katz’s on East Houston. A great vibe, really good lobster rolls and an excellent Bloody Mary with a lobster claw in it… doesn’t get much better than that.

Can you walk the High Line, stop at Chelsea Market and not stop for a lobster roll at The Lobster Place? No, you can not. I actually think it’s some kind of legal requirement. So good. And of course don’t leave without a little bag of weirdly flavoured mini donuts from the Dougnuttery (Purple Pig: maple, purple potato and bacon flavour… yes please).

So where else? Momofuku Noodle Bar… a fabulous lunch of supremo smoked chicken wings and excellent (best ever?) ramen. Fried chicken… excellent at Root & Bone (finally nabbed a table at this cute place, didn’t rock our world overall though) and far less than excellent at Tom’s Restaurant (the fabled exterior of the diner from Seinfeld). Hot dogs… finally had a Nathan’s hot dog at Coney Island and sure it was an iconic experience but not one I need to do again anytime soon. As always NYC does a decent cheap slice of pizza and we enjoyed one each for the ridiculously overpriced $2.75 each near home. My heart belongs to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop and I scoffed a Bea Arthur all by myself. The obligatory Rueben (so so) and brisket (delicious) sandwiches at Katz’s Deli. The always drool worthy burgers at Shake Shack.

Almost forgot Peter Luger in Brooklyn… maybe because I got a little tipsy and had to be carted off home in a taxi. Very old school steakhouse. Simple, delicious food, huge servings and prices, awesome steak. If you want  any more details ask someone who remembers (i.e. not me).

Pretty sure those were all the meals worth discussing. If anything else surfaces from the dark recesses of my foggy brain I’ll catch up in the next installment. Y’all come back now.

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Coconut Cream Donut (far right)… my love.

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Lobster (and shrimp) rolls at Chelsea Market.

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The best granola and shakshouka eggs at Spiegel.

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Smoked chicken wings at Momofuku Noodle Bar.

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Pancakes at Dudleys (the time they remembered us).

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The Brisket sandwich and the pickles at Katz’s Deli. Yum.

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Micko… because I love this pic.