Throwing stones

3 Aug

She complicates you & you wonder how it is, that you even came to be here. Standing on the side of the road with her throwing stones, and in convulsive fits she screams at you not to love her.

She devastates you& you ask yourself why you ever thought this was a good idea. Standing in the corner of the kitchen with her throwing plates, and in agitated spasms she screams at you not to leave her.

She confuses you & you agonise over why you never summoned the courage to leave. Standing in the middle of the room with her throwing insults, and in twisted contortions she screams at you not to love her.

She overcomes you & you question why you never entertained a reality without her. Lying together in the marital bed with her rolled into a ball, and in whispered tongues she begs you not to leave her.



Haberdashery memories

30 Jul

Haberdashery. Say it out loud. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Even sounds a bit dirty to me.

Go On:

Pretend you’re a porn star and say it again.

Yet it’s a word that along with slacks and blouses is leaving our lexicon.

“A haberdasher is a person who sells small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons, zips…”

You used to find haberdashery departments in David Jones and Grace Bros (before it was Myers, then Grace Bros, then Myers again).

My mum would drive us “into town” in our humungous green Fairlane: Me rolling around in the back, with no belt on; her perched up on a couple of makeshift pillows so she could see over the dash. We’d go down to Downes Plaza, where she’d do her weekly shop.

She’d leave me sitting on the floor of the book section happily perusing Golden Books until she was done. She’d come back to find me sitting in the exact same spot as she’d left me. Clearly I was a very obedient child. And clearly she wasn’t concerned about strangers offering me lollies. Can you imagine!

Sometimes we’d pop downstairs to the haberdashery department. Of course, I was too little then to know its big fancy name. And mum’s English didn’t extend to the word, at the time. But we both just loved being there. Treasure troves of brilliant boxed up buttons, forests of flowery fabric, and billions of balls of wool just begging to be unravelled. Sometimes the temptation would be all too much…

And I would get a smack.

The ladies with their enormous boobs and crinkly eyes would smile down on me, and I would smile back and then Mum would smile too and everyone would be happy again.

Mum would always come away with bags & bags of Stuff. Stuff she would miraculously make into more stuff. Wearable stuff.

Mum made a lot of my clothes. I didn’t know back then that it was more out of necessity than the fact that she seemed to genuinely enjoyed doing it. Although there was more than the odd occasion she’d start shouting at her shiny black sewing machine. She’d pump away furiously at the foot pedal and sometimes She Would Say Bad Words.

Just recently she told me she’d learned how to knit from the Aussie wife of an army officer who was stationed in Malacca during the Vietnam War. Mum worked for them as an ‘amah’. 10 hours a day, 5 days a week for the equivalent of $10 / week. The lady of the house said if mum bought all her own wool and needles – she would teach her how to knit. Within a couple of months, mum was knitting socks and vests and all sorts of stuff.

She’s a very talented seamstress. And she was self-taught. She can make anything. And she rarely uses a pattern. I can’t even manage to get a button back on without making a dogs breakfast of it.

I remember putting in a special request for the Grade 2 costume parade. There’s a photo lying around my folks’ house somewhere. I have my long black hair in two long braids and a very 70s square fringe. I looked like a little Indian (feathers not dots). In a blue fairy princess dress. She also made me a silver crown and brought me a special wand and I won best dressed. The level of detail in the dress really is something else. I look pretty pleased with myself.

Today I was going through some stuff in my parents’ garage and I found a box of pristine home-made clothes she’d made me. Oh my goodness, the memories! Outfits I wanted to live in. Clothes I absolutely loathed. It was just a little bit sad to part ways with so much of my personal history.

And while most of it has gone to a good home – I have to admit, there were a few lil ‘ensems’ I just couldn’t part ways with. Makes me sad to think that in this day & age of disposable clothes, and time-poor mummies – it’s probably very likely that if there are still any haberdashery departments out there… they’re probably all headed towards that big ole Singer in the Sky.

Vesta sewing machine (L.O. Dietrich Altenburg)

Vesta sewing machine (L.O. Dietrich Altenburg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cocaine Delusion

27 Jul

At one stage, when I was at uni, I thought I might get into Psychology. It took me just one year to work out everyone else in my class was a nut-job.

I was fascinated by the case-studies about the extreme delusions some people have under the influence of certain drugs. Some would inadvertently end up committing suicide.

Mmmmm… Promise I’ll have something lighter for you on Monday morning. Peace out.


Bugs crawl under the skin

I slash at them

With knives that slice

Skin away from skin

And skin away from flesh.

Until I sit


in a bath of blood:

My blood:

Blood infested with bugs

That crawl out

Scurry in haste

To bother someone else



23 Jul

borrowed from

If you were the sun

and I, a bird —

I’d fly at you in

writhing ecstasy


Until I fell


and dying —


A perverse smile

stretched across

my face.




20 Jul

I recently asked my FB friends to give me a one-word topic to write about. A lot of good ideas came up – enough to keep me going for a while. But one of my smart, sassy, sexy friends who is, amongst other things, an eminent Sydney restaurant critic – gave us today’s post about “risk”.

Risk can mean a lot of things. A hole in the sidewalk. A technical climb. The push of a button. A phone call. A cigarette. Unprotected sex. Driving a car. BASE Jumping. Going back into a burning building. Not doing anything.

“Almost every human endeavor carries risk but some are much more risky than others.”

When I think about taking risks, I see an image of a tight-rope walker. She doesn’t know for sure if there’s a safety net below, should she fall. She walks anyway. Is she ignoring the uncertainty? Does she have an unwavering faith that everything will be okay? Has she decided she doesn’t care if everything breaks into a million little pieces? Or that she’s capable of rebuilding it all if it does break?

From a very early age, we learn about risks. Babies risk not getting their basic needs fulfilled if they don’t learn how to communicate effectively. School kids risk being ostracised if they don’t conform. Teenagers risk not reaching their potential in all manners of ways. Adults risk their livelihoods with decisions around work. We learn that taking risks doesn’t always pay off. And so we become risk adverse.

Most folks aren’t comfortable with taking risks. Others love it. They develop a taste for it. Because danger in all its shades excites them. I’m one of these people.

As an attention-seeking two-year old, I scaled a vertical lattice railing on a patio, resulting in a big stack and 2 stitches. As a dumb teenager with a bit of a death wish, I drove my car absolutely paralytic. As an unconscious young adult, I had a brief love affair with gambling. The risks I take today don’t tend to impact on others quite so much – I’m more likely to jump out of plane or dive with sharks.

One of the biggest risks I took recently was to keep travelling through Latin America instead of taking the road most travelled and buying a house. God only knows where I’m going to live when I’m a little old lady.

Travelling can be risky business. I mean, it’s not like I was ever caught in cross-fire, in a land ravaged by civil war. And I never really felt like I was in any real danger in any of the countries I visited in Central or South America.

But you don’t know if that taxi you’re about to get into is being driven by a man who’s part of an operation where they will take you hostage, throw a bag over your head and drive you around, until they’ve cleaned out your bank accounts and leave you for ‘dead’ in the middle of nowhere. Happened to a friend of mine. No shit. Scary stuff. (She’s fine.)

You weigh up the odds, keep your wits about you, and hope for the best. And then you get to experience one of the most untouched, beautiful countries ever.

The biggest risks we take, are always of the emotional variety. Telling someone how you feel. Your innermost thoughts. Your wildest dreams. Letting yourself fall in love. Loving. And leaving.

As we get older, it gets harder. And I‘m just going to put this big fat broad sweeping generalization out there: I think as men get older they take less risks. Whereas I think the opposite is true for women. I can’t substantiate this – I just see a lot of anecdotal evidence to support it as an idea. Gramps who likes going to the same restaurant every week and ordering the usual. Versus the two old widows, Jean & June who are now travelling all around the world.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if my hypotheses is right. What does matter is that we do take risks.

I recently read The Dice Man by Luke Rineheart. Yes, the protagonist is abhorrent. Sometimes he’s a complete & utter nutbag. Other times he sounds a lot like a guru. But I just loved the premise. Of allocating 6 choices to a number and making a decision based on the roll of a dice. That to me is compelling stuff. That is risk.

So, I’ve given it a bit of thought and think I may have worked out what’s necessary to take more risks.

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Don’t give a flying fuck.
  • Ignore the uncertainty.
  • Be vulnerable.
  • Trust it will all turn out alright.
  • Know you can fix it, if it doesn’t.
  • Act without fear.
  • Encourage risk-taking in kids, and grown ups*.

Imagine. If we all did that. How cool would that be?!

*I guess this needs a caveat of sorts , doesn’t it? Within reason? What’s reasonable to you might not be reasonable to me. Can of worms. Consider it up for discussion.

What’s been the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? What happened? Did it work out in your favour? How have you changed as result?

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