An Ode to Sleep

I have not been sleeping well since Anna went to America. Neither has Wuz.

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I believe this is a combination of missing Anna and now being the first bedroom port of call for burglars whether they break in through the front or back door. That’s a lot of responsibility to shoulder.

This means that by day, I am one 31-year-old lump of tired and if any of my joints move to an angle which my limbs can even vaguely construe as horizontal, I fall asleep. At night; however, I fall into bed exhausted and then lie wide awake, eyes glowing in the dark for hours.

Because The Wuz knows I am Queen of the Pack, when I am awake, she is awake and if I am awake, she knows her chances of pats are exponentially higher than when I am asleep and much more likely to accidentally kick her off the bed and when she thinks she might get pats, she purrs and when she purrs, she drools and so if you times the amount of hours I’m not sleeping with the amount of drool she can produce in the same number of hours, there’s been huge puddles of drool in my bed every night.

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It’s been gross.

Last night though, I had a reasonable sleep. I enjoyed some Oryx and Crake and took a melatonin and slowly drifted off to the sound of The Wuz’s face motor and the steady drip of her tongue.

The difference a little sleep has made to my mood has been amazing!

How happily I took bathroom breaks today! How many conversations I started over the communal cookie jars at work! How enthusiastic I am about my deskmate’s outfit! How many jokes about turning things off and on I made with IT! What a slow-burn of a Roxette joke I created!

Sleep! We need it, we need it for fun and for dancing and for jokes.

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Oryx and Crake

oryxI always forget how devastating the first third of Oryx and Crake is.

There are so many heartbreaking moments of reflection when Snowman remembers being unable to tell his mother that he loved her when he was young, that he was cruel to her in small degrees to provoke reactions so he could see that she knew he was there. How doing that made him feel terrible, but losing her would be worse.

How the fear of abandonment was realised when she left, how it became a pattern in Snowman’s submission to people like Crake and like Oryx who would always be more mythical than actual.

How he comes to live amongst the Crakers whose complete openness and warmth is so foreign to him that he feels abandoned regardless.

There’s something so  terrifying about the way Jimmy realises how small his space in the universe is and that protection is not a given.

 

Four Fists

P.O.S and Astronautalis are Four Fists.

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Photo by Graham Tolbert

They are hip-hop, they are smart and they are angry. For me, both have been a touchstone in the last five years on the emotional climate of people my own age, halfway across the world, whose lives are nothing like mine, but who share my concern about where things will be in the next five years or the five years after that and who have a voice and opinions on it and don’t give a fuck about the package in which they present it.

Kel & Vad

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I met Kelly in 2002 in the small fire hazard of an office of Interp, the university paper of the Bathurst campus of CSU. We were both Associate Editors, I was new to the team and I can remember thinking I had never met anyone so tanned or who could speak so fast before. It was months before I could fully understand her rapid-fire conversations.

I moved with her and another Interp-er, Amy, into a small fire hazard of a house and we’ve been friends ever since. I moved to Sydney, Kel lived in rural NSW, Kenya and Laos before finally heading to Western Australia, yet no matter how poor the connection from Africa, or the time differences in Australia, we’ve stayed in touch.

Last year she met Vad, and it became very obvious very quickly that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together, so it was with great pleasure I attended their wedding in September at Kel’s parents’ place on the Central Coast.

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I was honoured to be asked to give a reading at the wedding, and wrote something that I hope represents them both:

Marriage means many things, but regardless of what analogies or fables you use to represent it, in the end it is always about adventure. It’s perfect, then, that Kelly and Vad should choose to marry.

To be born on opposite sides of the world, to both have the spirit to leave behind everything familiar and to set out independently and experience whatever this chaotic and infinite world had to offer, not looking for one another, not even knowing the other existed, should have been odds enough that their paths never cross, and yet here we are.

In one of those chances of fate, Kelly and Vad’s adventures ended one night in the same place, all the lines they had been creating up until that point crossed, they fell into step beside one another and it felt like that’s the way it should always be. Having seen the rewards of chance, they decided to take another, this time together.

Marriage itself will be an adventure, Kelly and Vad are adventurers.

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Let Them Eat Cake

A few weeks ago, B and I took an extra long weekend so we could head out of town both because it was my birthday and because B has had a lot of good things happen recently that deserved celebrating.

We hired the smallest orange car to ever have existed and with a playlist heavy on late ’90’s second-wave grunge, Janelle Monáe and Phil Collins, we drove to the coast.

B had booked a suite at the Mantra in Ettalong, so we spent a few days there swimming and going for walks, reading by the pool, having long dinners in quiet restaurants, filling the spa up with bath bubbles, eating gluten-free cake and (in my case at least) waging imaginary wars with the tween boys who ruled the pool.

I was lucky to have only had a sugar hangover on the first morning after discovering a local store selling Candy Corn. There was a distinct rationing of sugar over the subsequent days.

It was the most relaxed I’ve been in a long time, the most laidback and enjoyable birthday I’ve had in many years. I’m extra lucky to have been able to spend it with my favourite person.

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One season changes as we wait for the next …

October to December tend to drag for me. Christmas holidays are looming, not quite close enough to be excited about, but plans for next year are definitely on my mind.

Some are smaller: I have almost all my reading for the rest of this year planned (finish Joan Didion’s We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, re-read a book that captivated me about five years ago: Normal Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song and a re-read of both Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood so I can read the last book of the trilogy MaddAddam over Christmas holidays); I have some ideas about some things I want to change about my share house, mostly in my room and the back yard to get them ready for summer; finish C25K again before the end of the year and update this here blog with some of the things I’ve been doing recently.

Some are medium-term plans: I need to sit down and actually budget now that my monthly pay is typically a standard amount; get into the swing on my new work hours (8am – 5pm) so I have time in the evenings to go to the gym and practice guitar.

The biggest plan though is finally planning another trip back to the US. At this stage planning is really preliminary, but I’ve already got three Google docs and changed plans from my initial idea to fly to Dallas and then a short-ish drive to New York, to another road trip, which has blown out to look like this:

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… and this:

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The drive from LA to Arizona is too amazing not to do again and take more time with and from Arizona to Texas … well, if we’re driving already, why not see more scenery? I also want to spend more time in the Pacific Northwest and San Fran as I didn’t get much of a feel for the latter in particular last time.

At this stage April is on the table but I want to actually book flights after Christmas to make it real.

31, feeling fun!

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Then: turning 30.

I turn 31 on Saturday. Some differences between this year and all other years I’ve been conscious of birthdays and celebrating them is that I had to double-check whether Saturday was actually the 5th or not. Usually birthdays seem to mark something off for me, like a little bit of hope that something will get better, or turn around, or I’ll make resolutions, whereas this year I just feel happy most of the time and I haven’t felt the need to count anything down.

I have had a really quietly excellent year.

I am challenged by my job and have exciting projects coming up. I have an excellent housemate, who I can lounge around with, listening to Elvis while admiring our ever-growing vinyl collection and mocking The Wuz, who we both love.

I’ve read fantastic books and seen amazing movies. I’ve been to Western Australia and Queensland. I’ve learnt how to run 5kms without stopping, ice-skate and play the guitar.

I have a gorgeous newly minted niece and another on the way, to add to the amusement and general feel-good times I have with my amazing nephew. Things with my family are awesome, everyone’s doing cool things and in good places.

I got to read a speech I wrote at my closest friend’s wedding, and I’ve made a whole bunch of great new friends throughout the year. So much has happened that it’s hard to keep track.

And then there was B and The Incident of Two Seafood Pizzas. I’m super duper lucky to have a boyfriend I get to hang out with a whole bunch and who is someone I think is amazing and inspires me to do things and teaches me new stuff (Like video games! And feeding donkeys! And thinking about where you’d like to see your life take you!) and makes me laugh at least four (hundred) times a day. He is the actual best and one day when I learn how to change from a C to a G and back again, I’ll write him a song about how great he is, to the tune of ‘Atlantic City’.

So! Here’s to 31 and seeing what happens next!

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 Now: turning 31