Thursday, December 27, 2007

There will be no reflective post of the year 2007, because what is now and what is coming are so much more important. It's sunny outside, I'm playing golf tomorrow, I'm shopping this afternoon and all is rainbows and kittens.

Oh, and I have some excellent new clothes, courtesy of my father and stepmother that will mean I will actually be dressed for summer weather over the coming months.

I know. It's a shock. But it's the time of year for new beginnings, no?

So, if you're on the gold course tomorrow and a women in an Essendon shanks one into your golf cart, I do apologise, but I'm sure I'll buy you a beer back at the club house to apologise.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry etc

Won't have time to do anything bloggy in the next few days, so Merry Christmas to all, Happy Holidays, Have a great New Year, and see you on the other side!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oi! Americans!

There seems to be a surge in the last week of Americans visiting this blog. I can't figure out why, but please, leave a comment on this post telling me how you found me if you are from that side of the Atlantic.

Actually, leave a comment telling me how you find me regardless of where you are.

I'm curious. And I like to know things.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm certainly not the hare in this race

So, continuing in my work pounding the pavement (Not with a jackhammer, fool, I’ve started running) I went for a half-hour run last night. It wasn’t easy, and I felt like I was going to drop dead at the end of it, but I found a rhythm while I was running, and was able to run a fair distance and keep the running up for half an hour without a break. I felt both good and bad afterwards. I felt good that I can do this now. I felt good that I’d gone the whole way, even though it was hard, and I didn’t like it at times, and it was hot and I still went. But I also felt bad that I have left it so long. I know I’m better placed now to start it and keep it up, but I could so easily have done this a year ago. All it would have taken was a bit of willpower. Because once you get out there a few times, you enjoy it. The endorphins everyone raves about after exercise? Real. I felt great this morning. A little weary, but great. And raring to go again.

Anyway. Using the power of Whereis, a ruler and my calculator, I think I ran 4km last night in 30 minutes. Which is slow. Faster than previously, but slow. By my reckoning, at that pace it would take me almost a full workday to complete a full marathon. But it wasn’t about pace, it was about running for the full half an hour, and that meant slowing down. Slowing down to the pace of a tortoise, sure. But it meant I kept that heart rate of mine consistently up for half an hour. It was definitely up at the end of it, I can tell you. And if I can keep this up over Guts-A-Thon 07'/Christmas, then I might not enter January feeling like I have to start again – I’ll just be continuing the good work.

So if you see a girl with a bright blue Ford T-Shirt (It’s a work shirt. And no, I don’t work for Ford. Long story) with pigtails and glasses crawling/running around the North East, give her a cheer. It might not be me, but it’ll make whoever it is feel better about killing themselves in the name of fitness.

Urgent Bulletin

Attention: Flies of Melbourne.

There is nothing of any interest to you contained in my eyes, ears, nose or mouth.

Please go back to buzzing around dog excrement and leave me the hell alone.

End of Bulletin.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Please don't make this harder than it has to be.

I may have blogged about this before, but I’m doing so again for two reasons. Firstly is the article in last weeks Herald Sun regarding the doctor who carried out the termination of a late-term pregnancy of a woman who threatened to commit suicide as she was told there was a chance her unborn child had dwarfism. The second was on reading the stance of political party Family First in regards to “abortion”

Let me make one thing very, very clear from the outset. I’m not advocating anything, I’m not saying it’s what I would do, and I would never, ever presume to tell any women, man or set of parents what they should do in regards to their own personal circumstances.

My personal view, what I would do, changes from day to day. I don’t know what I would do if faced with a choice I had to make. There are so many, many circumstances in which you have to make the terrible choice as to whether you end a pregnancy or not. And I’ve never been faced with any of them. I feel I have no reference point in which I can say, “This is what I would do”. Saying something, and then being faced with the actual circumstance are two very different things.

Which leads me to my first point – choice. Exactly how far do we want to go in restricting a patient and a doctor’s choice? Let me give you two examples of times when a patient, her family and a doctor are faced with a choice.

The first is a medical scenario. The life of the mother is at stake if a pregnancy continues. We’re talking HELLP syndrome or Pre-Eclampsia, or a range of other medical conditions in which the life of the mother is threatened, or her well being put at stake. Her doctor has a dilemma. He is bound to uphold life and preserve health, but the health and life of the mother will be compromised if the life of the child is not ended. In some cases, we can be reasonably certain as to the outcome if the pregnancy is not terminated – in others it is less certain.

The second scenario is that the child (And please, don’t pick me up on terminology – I’m not a doctor. I’m substituting child for foetus, embryo, etc for the sake of simplicity) has a congenital or other type of defect. These can range from circumstances where the child has no chance of survival past birth, to those that will effect the quality of life of the child – and everyone around it.

In the first scenario, we’re facing a very, very difficult dilemma. The patient and doctor must make a difficult decision. The patient must decide whether to preserve her own life by ending her child’s, or putting both in danger. The only treatment for pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndromes is the delivery of the child. Depending on when it presents, you have the option of delivering the child early and hoping for the best or if the syndromes develop before the child would have a chance of survival if delivered, termination of the pregnancy.

Can anyone, anywhere, feel anything but compassion for patients and practitioners facing this scenario? This isn’t something that either the patient or practitioner ever hopes to be faced with. No parent wants to be faced with that choice. But they are. It isn’t anyone’s fault. There’s no one to blame, and largely nothing you can do to prevent it occurring in the first place. Imagine you are that patients husband, father, mother, sister, friend, partner, lover. Imagine that you and she are faced with this choice. You have to choose between a mother and her child. The doctor has to weigh up what he is ethically, legally and morally entitled or expected to do.

I know there are hard-line Catholics who say that ending a pregnancy in this manner is still murder. But so is the alternative. Refusing to treat a woman who will die if you don’t is manslaughter in the eyes of the law. Making a choice to do nothing to assist is making a choice over who’s life is more important. You choose the child over the mother. YOU STILL MAKE A CHOICE.

Do we really want to make a difficult decision even worse? Do you want the first thing the doctor is thinking about to be what course of action he can legally take? Or would you prefer that the patient’s care be taken into account in the first instance? And having made that choice, whatever it is, do you then want some interfering, crusading politician to become outraged and demand the release of your medical records to the public?

In the second circumstance, we tread into murkier waters. A mother has a Nuchal fold test, perhaps, or an amniocentesis, and discovers that there is a chance – or a certainty – that her child has a congenital or other defect. We could be talking anything from Downs Syndrome to Anencephaly, a huge range of Illness’ that affect the child in utero.

I’m not going into what anyone should or shouldn’t do. I’ve said that, but I’ll say it again here.

My family has a history of Neural Tube Defects and genetic abnormalities, amongst them the two I’ve mentioned above. I have two relatives with Down syndrome on one side of the family, and it’s known to be a genetic condition (Trisomy 21 being the technical term) I know that my chances of having a child with any of the above is much higher than most. I would have to be diligent with Folate, get genetic counselling, a CVS test, the works. And then, I might be faced with a choice.

Anencephaly is a Neural Tube Defect wherein the skull and most of the brain of a child does not form. Death typically occurs before or during childbirth, and if it doesn’t, it is typically minutes to hours before the child dies. There is no possibility, none at all, of the child gaining anything approaching consciousness. Would you force, LEGALLY FORCE, a woman to carry a child knowing this will be the outcome? Would you personally make that decision for a woman, without consultation to her doctor, her medical history or, more importantly, herself?

I have no idea, no idea at all, what I would do in most cases. I can’t know – I have never been faced with the decision. But I do know this – I would like to have a choice. I would like to be able to sit down with medically trained staff, my family, and make a rational decision. I don’t want that decision to be in the hands of a group of people who argue, prevaricate and use issues to further their own agenda for a living. I want the man in the green coat who studied whatever I’m going through for a very long time, and had my case information in front of me to be able to do what his training tells him, sometimes, has to be done.

I want parents to be able to make choices for their children, no matter how hard those choices are. I want them to be supported, shown compassion – I sure as hell don’t want their choices made harder by pieces of legislation that cannot possibly help make these decisions and scenarios any easier.

Oh, and to those who are "Pro-Life" - stop calling yourselves that. Because no-one, anywhere - no parent, no scared young girl is pro-death. They are pro-choice. Be honest. You are ANTI-choice.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

21-26 Fine. It's a list of my 100 favourite books. Sheesh.

21. Moab is my washpot – Stephen Fry – If you don’t know enough about Stephen Fry – and trust me, you never do – get this book. His turn of phrase is delightful, and it isn’t the usual celebrity crap – there’s a stint in jail, but no bravado about it. There’s crime, but there’s no boasting.

22. Further Adventures of a London Call-Girl – Belle De Jour – If you haven’t checked out Belle De Jour’s blog, I’d highly recommend it. But the book? The book is fantastic. It’s well written, funny, and a glimpse into a world we’d all secretly hoped existed.

23. The Pythons by The Pythons – This is probably one of the more honest autobiographies you’ll read. It’s also - as you’d expect from a troupe of performers who turned the comedy and Art world on its head – hilarious, bizarre, insane and uplifting in equal parts.

24. Home Truths – Freya North – Freya has written three novels about three sisters – Pip, Cat and Fen. And it isn’t your usual chick lit, either. If you like your sex scenes explicit (and involving a clown, in one case), Home Truths is the follow on from the three books about the sisters that brings them all together, and then scatters them to the four winds.

25. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer - I know it's supposed to be a Childrens novel, but so is Winnie the Pooh, so shut up. The Artemis Fowl books are fantastic in a similar way to Harry Potter, but they are just that little bit smarter.

26. Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella - Not exactly being a domestic goddess myself, I had a feeling I would love this book, and I did. It's well written, and not your usual pap. It's got a main character who is both brainy and clueless, without being ditzy, and without the situations becoming ludicrous.

That's all I've got time for now. More tomorrow if I get a chance.

Oh, and off to see Burlesque Hour at the Speigeltent tonight with B. Should be interesting!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Running Monologue

Okay. So I've started running. Well, I've run twice now. And there are a few things that strike me about running - firstly, it's a damn sight easier when you aren't a smoker anymore. Secondly, if you leave your handy I-pod arm-holder thingy at work, don't put it in a top pocket of the shirt you're wearing. Rubbage. That's all I have to say. Thirdly, take a hat. Because even if you don't need to wear it to foreswear sunburn, it's handy for stopping the flies.

Let's see how long I can keep this up for. I'm predicting less than a week.

Friday, December 07, 2007

14-21. Look further down the page if you don't know what this is all about.

14. Post Mortem – Ben Elton – It’s hard to choose between Ben Elton’s novels, and I’m sure more than one will make the list, but I chose this one in this spot mainly because it’s so different to his other novels, and is a great crime/mystery novel. I never would have guessed the ending, in a million years. Plus, it’s engrossing, and some of the situations are those we could all find ourselves in.

15. A Big Boy Did it and Ran away – Christopher Brookmyre – If you haven’t read any of his books (And they all have long titles) then do yourself a favour and go and get one now. Don’t be put off by the Scottish colloquialisms, either. There’s a glossary at the back. This book stunned me; mainly because I got it cheap and thought it would be crap. I wonder how many other great books I’ve shunned because of the price tag?

16. Is there anybody out There? – Marian Keyes – I don’t approve of people who think that chick lit can have no merit – and Marian Keyes is the perfect example. Of her books, one focuses on drug addiction, another on cancer, another on infidelity and single parenting and another on Depression. Show me a crime novel that does that. Is there anybody out there? Focuses on Grief and how we deal with it.

17. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – What a great loss to lose Douglas so young. His books were completely different from anything else I have ever read, and you couldn’t help but suspend disbelief for the period you were reading.

18. The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkein – I like books that create a world around me. Books are something I dip into when I want to tune out. And J.R.R Tolkein set the way for so many before him.

19. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens – For me, Dickens was not just a social commentator, he was one of the finest exponents of character work I’ve ever read. And his storytelling doesn’t suffer for it, which is rare.

20. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – Oh, Beth. Just when we thought you were out of the woods, you pop your little clogs. Has anyone been able to read this and not cry?

21. Jessica – Bryce Courtney – Oh Bryce. I know there really wasn’t any other way to end the book, and if you’d softened the blow it would have defeated the purpose of showing what a harsh place the bush could be, but again with the tears!

That’s all for today. I’ll post another ten or so on Monday.

Meme Friday

1. Are you dating the last person you kissed?
Yes, as it happens. And damned if I don’t want to do that again right now.

2. Pretend you've had 10 beers. what you would be doing right now?Drinking my eleventh?

3. What do you want?
It All

4. Who was the last person you shared a bed with?
B. By sharing I mean he took up three quarters of the bed, and I repaid him by waking him up approximately every 7.5 seconds by rolling over, having strange dreams and being too hot then too cold.

5. Do you talk to yourself?
Yes. Everyone I know does, they just admit to it in varying degrees. Besides, I picked it up when I worked at a school uniform shop and my main duty was untangling coat-hangers. That is the single most boring, yet at the same time, most rage-inducing duty anyone has to perform, anywhere.

6. Do you drink milk straight from the carton?
I don’t drink milk, unless it’s in tea.

7. Who knows the latest secret about you?
The latest secret? I’m not in the habit of accumalating too many of them. Besides, I’m the world’s crappest liar.

8. How long is your hair?
Just past my ears at it’s longest, above the eyes at it’s shortest.

9. Do you like Batman?
I can’t say I’m personally acquainted.

10. Who was the last person who told you they loved you?
My mate A, maybe? One of my parents?

10. Do you like anyone now?
I like many people. But I’m assuming this question was geared at 16 year olds to whom “like” is a matter of life and death. In which case, the answer is yes.

11. When was the last time you lied?
I tried to lie to my father about what he was getting for Christmas last night, and he saw through me like a pane of glass. That man should work for ASIO. He wouldn’t need torture to get all the info he needs.

12. Is your birthday on a holiday?
It should be a national holiday, but unfortunately, until the Queen dies, I think she’s got dibs on that.

13. What instant messaging service do you use?
I don’t. Well, unless you classify SMS as Instant Messaging?

14.Last thing you cooked today?
I haven’t cooked anything since the pasta B and I cooked about two weeks ago.

15. Did you have a nap today?
Who gets a nap apart from children? Why am I missing out?

16. Whose house did you go to last?

17. What do you wear more, jeans or sweats?
Jeans. I generally don’t do “Sweats”

18. Why is the sky blue?
Something to do with the light spectrum.

19. Do you like green beans?

20. Do you swear a lot?
More than I should, less than I used to.

21. Where did you get the shirt you're wearing?
For my birthday.

22. Do you use an alarm clock?
I use two, and it still takes me an hour to get out of bed.

23. Where was your default MySpace picture taken?
In my ex-boyfreinds ex-car.

24. Do you ever snort when you laugh?
Yes. Sometimes.

25. Whats the first thing you notice on the opposite

"A man!” Ten points for telling me what musical that’s from.

26. Is cheating ever okay?
Before I’d been cheated on, I would have said yes. But knowing from both sides of the situation (I’ve been cheated on and I’ve been the “other woman”) I would say that no amount of short-term happiness is worth the pain you cause others. If you want to be with someone else, get out of the relationship before anything happens.

27. Do you want someone you can't have?
Many things. But that’s okay. I only want what I want, not what I need.

28. Do you wear underwear?

29. Do you wear a bra?
If I didn’t, I would place myself and others in mortal danger.

30. What Size?
Depending on the brand, anywhere from a D to an E

31. Are you a social or an antisocial person?
Both. I’m quite happy by myself, but I also like to be around people. Depends on my mood, I guess.

32. Do you have a tan?
I have what for me could objectively be called a bit of colour.

33. Are you afraid of the dark?

34. Do you miss someone today?
I miss someone every day. Not the same person every day, mind you.

35. Do you still have pictures of you & your exs?
Yes. It seems ridiculous to erease an entire person from your life. Oh holy god. One still has baby photos of me pouting my mother gave him.

37. Who's always there for you no matter what?
My father.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blurry spiders and True Believers

B knows what he likes when it comes to music. He also seems to know what others will like. Last night he took me to see the Roots and All tour thingy JJJ has been putting on all around the country and the Corner Hotel. The main act was Carus and the True Believers, and they were good. There was another band (B, help me out here?) who I’ve forgotten the name of, and Rob Sawyer. B has seen all three acts before, so he acquainted me with what to expect, but my GOD. Rob Sawyer has an amazing voice, but those hands. Those…… hands. You know when you see a guitarist who is excellent, and their hands move like spiders – just all over the place?

Rob Sawyers hands were like blurry spiders. Spiders on speed. He was just incredible. B kind of laughed at me because I’m just sitting there gob-smacked, like a child with Santa or something.

The down side to all this music watching is that you get very tired. Gigs tend not to be held during the afternoon, and last night I got home at half one. Which is fine once in a while, but I can’t make a habit of it. For one, I start work at 8am. Secondly, B gets grumpy when he is tired – and I have less patience when I am tired. Thirdly, we will be poor, even though some of these gigs are free or cheap, if we go to one or two gigs a week (Which is what we’re doing at the moment)

Anyway. The chick up the front who was dancing like an idiot at the Corner last night? Twas I. If this keeps up, that boy of mine is going to wear me out.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The other one

I have two physical scars. We aren’t talking metaphorical scars here, we’re talking real, on-the-outside scars. One is exactly six inches wide, and runs across my stomach, marking where my stomach is (It’s higher than you think it is. Really. Your stomach is pretty much at the top of your rib cage) and is from an operation I had when I was six weeks old for Pyrolic Stenosis. That operation saved my life.

The second is from a scalding hot coffee burn. I was six months old, and was sitting on my aunt’s lap and pulled the coffee on to myself. Cue weeks in a burns hospital and a scar that runs from the middle of my chest to the middle of my right breast. It also means that my nipple on that breast is squared off, and the breast itself is misshapen to some degree.

My parents always told me growing up that if I wanted those scars fixed up, if I wanted to see if something could be done about them, they would. They made it clear that it was totally my choice, and that if it bothered me I could do something about it.

I never did anything about it. It never bothered me. The stomach scar has been there since I was six years old, and given the choice, I wouldn’t have it fixed. It saved my life. Pyrolic Stenosis is fatal if untreated and mine was misdiagnosed for so long that only the threats of my father got me any treatment for it at all – I was going to die. That scar means I am alive today. It isn't going anywhere.

The chest scar has also had some other damage done to it as a result of a car accident, so there are also areas that are redder than the rest of the scar, and it looks a lot “fresher”

The scar itself doesn’t bother me. It’s been there so long it’s a part of me, and the only time anyone ever notices it is when they touch it, and the only people who get to do that know me very, very well. But the shape? Wouldn’t mind if that cleared up overnight. I certainly never would have done anything about it in the past, but as I get older, I’m thinking there’ll come a time where I will. I’d at least investigate the possibility of getting the shape fixed up, if that’s possible. I’m not self-conscious about it per-se, but I think about it sometimes. I think about how it would be to have both of them look at least similar. I guess if I wasn’t….. overly blessed in that area, it wouldn’t be so obvious to me, but blessed I am. In abundance.

Now, just to be clear, if you saw me on the street, you’d have no idea. It’s not obvious to the casual observer. But I know. And when I take my bra off, so does everyone else. It looks like what it is – a burn. But the breast itself? I can’t even explain the shape of it. But because of the size of it, it certainly isn’t round, like it’s un-scarred compadre.

So, a question. If you had a scar, and it wasn’t obvious to the casual observer, would you get it fixed, 25 or so years after the fact? If it was just you it’s going to bother, would you see the point?

I’d like some comments and some fresh perspectives on this, because I’m thinking about it more and more.

*Please note. This isn’t something that bothers me a lot. I'm not crying myself to sleep. It isn’t something that effects my self-esteem, or worries me in any way more than if a picture is off-balance. I just look at it and think “If it can be fixed, why wouldn’t I?” But this isn’t a breast augmentation thing either. I’m fixing and ACTUAL DEFECT here. Not looking to be Pamela Mark II or anything.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Music soothes.....

I have a CD player/clock radio that I received as a present some years ago, and although the alarm function works perfectly, the CD playing bit gave up the ghost when I moved back in with the parents. I think it was just one shock too many for the poor thing.

I received from 78 Records (Look it up, I can't be bothered) a copy of Lighthouse Family's excellent CD Postcards from Heaven. I'd had it years ago, lost it not long after that, and it was so soothing to me at a time in my life when I needed to be soothed.

So with no expectation that it would work, but with a sigh because I can't load it on to the Ipod, I tried it in the CD player.

It worked. Joy. Serious elation.Oh. Small things, people, small things.

And you know the best thing about this CD now? I never once listened to it whilst I was in a relationship, at any time in my life (I don't know why. It's so joyful, this CD. It's perfect for when you're happy with someone) so it is memory free. Driving to Mount Dandenong (Yes, I was in the drivers seat. Much applause to B for putting up with me) on Sunday on a beautiful sunny day and having lunch at Sky high because, hey, WE GOT THERE ALIVE WITH ME DRIVING is now imprinted on it.

Although it does seem to induce some kind of narcolepsy in B, so I might have to keep the listening to it to myself.

More books tomorrow people. No time today.

kisses, etc. mwah

Each and every six of you

Saturday saw B and I at Manchester Lane for Dinner and a Show (I feel more grown up just writing that. Dinner and a show. Whatever happened to gigs and jugs of beer?)

We were there to witness the genius that is Mr. Tim Freedman. Me for the umpteen and tenth time, B for the first.

For a start, Manchester Lane is somewhere I’ve heard a lot about, but never ventured in to. It’s found fairly easily, being on the street of the same name, and you walk in and the staff are lovely. They escorted us to our table, which was pretty close to the stage, with my only gripe being we had to share it with twenty or so strangers. No matter. B got the first drinks in, and I decided to order a champagne cocktail, because the décor was of the kind that just inspires you to do that. So we ordered the cocktail and waited. And waited. And twenty minutes into the waiting, B asked the waiter if he knew where my drink was. By this time, people who had turned up twenty minutes after I’d ordered my drink were sipping in comfort. It was really, really hot in there. I wanted my drink. But I was patient. Then B started getting annoyed, and him getting annoyed on my behalf annoyed me. Then we asked the waiter again where my drink was. Politely, of course. I don’t believe being rude to hospitality staff gets you anywhere. And we probably waited another, oh, fifteen minutes before I decided to go and get it myself. So I did. By this stage I was a bit shitty. I mean, it wasn’t cheap, this place, and I don’t like shoddy service.

But then the entrée arrived. Slow cooked Rabbit pie for me, oysters something-or-other for B. I hate seafood, so I wasn’t paying much attention. It was delicious. One of the tastiest things I’ve had in a long time. And the main was…..I have not the words. We both had Eye fillet with Garlic sauce, roasted carrot, potato and roasted garlic, and it was sensational. Dessert was double chocolate pudding, which of course I loved.

And then the support act came on. B was loving it, and I have to say apart from the lyrics, which were mind-numbingly depressing, he was pretty good. But support acts are only ever delaying devices for the main act, and I was impatient to see how Tim would perform in this kind of venue. I’d seen him perform in the intimacy of the Speigeltent a year or so before, and I was anxious to see if he would treat it the same.

In a word, no. He treated it half-way between the way he plays a big gig with the Whitlams, and how he’s played the smaller solo gigs. He played with verve, although less than I’ve seen in the past, but I was feeling very hot in my air-conditioned chair, and I wasn’t under lights that were un-tuning the piano, so I’m guessing he was roasting. He was lively in parts, but I think he missed that the crowd contained less of the hard-core Whitlam fans than in past (During Hamburgers, only about three of us yelled “Hot Sauce!” when that would usually be everyone, practically no-one did the Woo-Hoo’s, and during Thank-You, he changed the lyrics to “Thank you, each and every six of you, and fuck off to the rest of you” as only six of us knew to cheer at the appropriate juncture) so there was less predictable interaction.

Anyway, my tip? The dinner and the show bit was well worth the money considering it would have cost easily the amount we paid for a three course dinner of that quality anywhere else. But it was really hot. Not just for me, everyone was hot. B was boiling, there were people who had actual hand-fans going, and that almost spoiled the experience. But apart from that, it was a great night out. I wouldn't go there again on a hot night though.