Where are the wardrobe consultants for Australian anchorwomen? On permanent lunchbreak? Honestly, if I see any more dowdy, lemon yellow ruffles or oversized magenta scarf-bows I will seek out these people and demand to see their credentials. Yowza.
Yesterday, Mark and I went to Jason's birthday barbecue. Jason's partner, Kevin, braved the heavy smoke from their balcony grill and cooked us up a feast. Yum!
The birthday boy in his kitchen
For his birthday, Mark and I got Jase a DVD of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and the CD, Permanent: Joy Division 1995. There's currently a movie showing about Ian Curtis, Joy Division's late lead-singer, that I'd very much like to go and see. I hear it's fantastic, especially the performance by Sam Riley, the actor who plays Curtis. Might be a Two for Tuesday night at the Dendy!
Because I missed Affable YouTube Monday, here's a little something by Adele. I just got turned on to this singer after seeing a bit of one of her music videos this weekend. She's fantastic. Have a listen. You won't be sorry.
Yesterday, the 26th of January, was Australia Day. Mark, and many other Australians of Aboriginal heritage, refer to it as Invasion Day, a term signifying commemoration of the event that led to demise of a huge amount of indigenous culture in Australia.
On 26 January of 1788, the British flag was raised at Sydney Cove (very near where the Sydney Opera House stands today), and nearly 1400 people disembarked from eleven ships to establish a convict settlement. That event marked the beginning of the detrimental colonization of yet another land-mass, resulting in one of the most scarring and disturbing sociologic phenomena in the history of man. More than two-hundred years later, many Australian Aborigines continue to suffer from the egregious after-effects of European land mongering and false superiority.
But don't let me rain on the parade. In typical Aussie fashion, let's sigh and suck our teeth for a second, then move on to happier thoughts.
Yesterday was also Kye's first birthday party. It seems only a few months ago I was posting pictures of the newly born Kye on my blog. Now he's a big boy with curls to die for. Mark's sister hosted a pool party at her home in Wollongong. It was a perfect day in many ways, although I got a really bad sunburn. Yes, I've been thoroughly chastised for it. And yes, I
was wearing sunscreen, although obviously not enough.
Oh by the way, I just received a rejection e-mail from the job I interviewed for in the States a couple of months ago. I was one of three candidates flown in for a two-day interview process, and they didn't even have the decency to call me to reject me. You'd think that by the time I made it to that point in the competition, I'd get more than an informal, five-line e-mail. Anyway, I'll assuage the pain with some Bombay Sapphire I acquired from the duty-free shops on the way back from that interview. How twisted is that?
The "pursuit of happiness" is a book, movie, pop band and an unalienable right. It's also a concept I have been thinking about quite a lot lately.
Have you ever tried to be happy all the time?
Do you think we are fooling ourselves if we think that it's possible to live life in a, if not blissful, then cheerfully contented way?
Is there really ever a time in our lives, be it as a child or adult, when we can live without worry or threatening anxiety? Or is it cyclical?
These days, in my unequivocal middle-age, I am beginning to question the assumption I have carried all these years that once I reached my 40s, I would simply coast on my talents and the education and life skills I had acquired, and settle into a peaceful routine. I would live life encumbered only by new exciting challenges and quests that I alone had chosen to consider.
I think I've been wrong all these years.
Now, before I go any further I should emphasize that I'm not sitting here with razor at vein. Some things have happened (or not happened) recently that make me doubt I'll ever achieve total contentment.
Aspects of my life are phenomenal right now, especially when it comes to the personal connections I have with others. I have a loving partner and a marvelous step-son. They accept me for who I am, and I love it when I'm with them.
Also, for a couple of reasons that I'll leave to another blog post, I have (re)discovered the ability to relax and enjoy the company of others without feeling so threatened by insecurities or competitively mistrustful. As I've mentioned before, I have met some wonderful people in Sydney, and they have all had a part in helping me see that personal interaction with others is an integral and happy experience of human existence. I owe them all a lot in that regard.
Before, as a performing musician with this or that supplementary job, I was always working during my waking hours. When I wasn't working, I was studying. When I wasn't studying, I was practicing. And when I wasn't practicing, I was often hanging out with the two or three close friends I had...or with my partner. There were few parties, aside from an occasional dinner gathering or post-concert receptions. While my career was on a trajectory, my social life, as well as the connection I had with my family, was far from satisfying.
Here in Sydney, it's the opposite with me. My personal life is on the mend. With the help of others, direct or indirect, I have removed the "in-" from one or two of my insecurities and begun to realize that, no, it's really not so difficult to relax around people. I've become less formal and contrived. I know that I can mix what I've learned and acquired throughout my life with the country-boy from Arkansas that I am at heart, and come up with a relatively decent product.
Now if I could just get a job. That's also where the equilibrium has shifted. I am cut off from the artistic and professional side of my life. I have had a couple of nice opportunities in Sydney, but nothing has been permanent. Moreover, nothing has paid nearly enough to qualify as professional income. It is frustrating, demoralizing and depressing. I told Mark that I want to run to an isolated cliff and scream as loud as I can, unworried about the damage it was doing to my vocal cords.
There have been only four positions open since I migrated to Australia to be with Mark and Zane nearly three years ago. These are professional jobs, ones that my 10 years of higher ed, a doctorate and a Fulbright scholarship have qualified me for. Only one of them ever contacted me after I applied and gave me any kind of information...even a simple notice that they'd received my application. Apparently, from what people tell me, that's not uncommon in Australia. Whether or not it's tradition, to me it is still rude and unthoughtful.
So I wait. I wait for a job to come along. And I wait for that elusive time when I am happy in all aspects of my life.
I haven't done this in ages, but I saw a meme at Tony's that I thought might be a fun way to spend a few minutes. Apologies if it was much more interesting to put together than it is to read.
What is in the back seat of your car right now? Roger's travel blanket and a Sydney street directory that pretty much just languishes, now that we have GPS navigators on our Nokia phones
When was the last time you threw up? The day before my doctoral graduation in Arizona, December 2006. Mark and I had both come down with a bad stomach virus. It was so bad I had to wear an adult diaper to my graduation...just in case. (Thankfully, it went unused.)
What's your favorite curse word? Reetkever ("ass beatle" in Dutch)
Name 3 people who made you smile today? Mark, Zane and Tony
What were you doing at 8 a.m. this morning? Teleconferencing
What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Skyping
Where were you born? Wichita, Kansas
Have you ever been to a strip club? Yes, years ago in Vancouver
What is the last thing you said aloud? "Thanks for the Wii game, guys."
What is the best ice cream flavor? Coconut sorbet, if that counts
What was the last thing you had to drink? a homemade Americano
What are you wearing right now? Old pair of cargo shorts & one of my favorite vintage shirts I got in the mecca of second-hand clothing stores (Tucson)
What was the last thing you ate? Leftovers from the fridge
Have you bought any new clothes this week? No
Where were you last? Downstairs playing Wii with Zane & Pete
What's the last sporting event you watched? Australian Open
Who won? Unsure; only watched for a few minutes
Who is the last person you sent a comment/message on Facebook?Homer
Ever go camping? Sure do
Where do you live? Sydney, New South Wales
What song are you listening to? the Keane/Interpol/HerSpaceHoliday playlist on my iPod
Do you have a tan? Probably, a slight one
Do you drink your soda from a straw? No
What did your last text message say? "At work now"
Who's your best friends? that's too difficult to narrow down
What are you doing tomorrow? spending time with the boys
Where is your mom right now? at her home, probably getting ready for bed, considering the time difference
Look to your right, what do you see? Roger sleeping beside me; beyond that, rain hitting the window
What color is your watch? Silver metal band, metallic-lt. brown square face.
What do you think of when you think of Australia? flip-flops, beaches & how much I want my family to come visit me here.
Ever ridden on a roller coaster? Love 'em!
What is your birthstone? There are a few for October, but tourmaline is my favorite
Do you go in at a fast-food place or just hit the drive through? Go in, as it's usually stopping point on a long car trip
What is your favorite number? 8
Do you have a dog? Sure do; see #28.
Last person you talked to on the phone? Deano, inviting me for coffee...gotta hurry!
Have you met anyone famous? Bill Clinton
Any plans today? wait for my work laptop to get fixed, work when it is
How many states have you lived in? 8 in the US, 1 in Australia (and 1 province in Canada and 1 province in The Netherlands)
Ever go to college? Many times
Where are you right now? Bedroom
Biggest annoyance in your life right now? Getting older
Are you in love with someone right now? Sure am
Are you allergic to anything? Aspirin
Favorite pair of shoes? my suede Ted Bakers
Are you jealous of anyone? Yes, anyone working full-time in music in Australia
Is anyone jealous of you? Dunno
Do any of your friends have children? Yes
Do you eat healthy? Yes
What do you usually do during the day? Weekdays: work (from home); weekends: spend time with family/friends
Do you hate anyone right now? I try very hard not to feel that emotion
Do you use the word 'hello' daily? Yes
How old will you be turning on your next birthday? 46 (reetkever!)
Have you ever been to Six Flags? Yes
How did you get one of your scars (if you have any)? From totaling our family car when I was a teenager.
After six years of intensive research on whether meat, muscle tissue
and milk from cloned animals are fit for human consumption, the FDA
says they "are as safe as food we eat every day."
If that's not obscene enough, the next line of copy reads:
The stamp of approval from the FDA removes the last regulatory hurdle to mass-marketing cloned meat and milk products.
I don't know why we humans cannot leave well enough alone. It was never about safety anyway. We now know that there have been two issues playing the part of the finger in the dyke. One is the wary consumer who (thank God) is reluctant to buy into the horrific notion of creating lives in laboratories with the ultimate goal of shooting a piston through their heads, and carving up their genetically engineered flesh for our deli sandwiches and $10 Sunday roasts.
The other reason is the impact such an industry would have on the economic fabric of modern times. It would stand to reason that this would be the one of primary importance to the U.S. government.
It's true, isn't it? In life, it really does all boil down to sex (or lack thereof, in this case) and money, doesn't it?
My laptop is sick, and I might have to resort to defenestration. No wait, I can't. It's the company laptop.
I think it has Windowsitis. Because the company I work p/t for is located in Vermont, the logistics of setting up a call to our IT fellas are radical. So in a minute, I'll be running a couple of fixes I found at the Microsoft support site.
Wish me luck. This might be the last post for a while. Nah, I'm being a drama llama. I can post from our house computer. But it will be a pain in the proverbial asphalt. I really dislike losing workdays due to technical issues.
Along that line, I came up with two major "ifs" today to insert in my life-algorithm.
If they put cloned animal flesh on the market, I will turn vegetarian again.
If this Windows fix turns out to be a massive debacle, I am turning Mac as I've threatened for many years now.*
Have you ever had a weekend that lumbered along peaceful and contented, like a big, gentle bear making its way through a meadow of fresh berries? I just did. It was both eventful and restful at the same time. While there were certainly errands on the agenda, there was no mad rushing about, no pressing appointments that either traffic or puttering about made difficult to make.
Once again, Zane preferred to spend his summer holiday with his grandmother and cousins out in the western suburbs, but I suppose I can't fault him for that. Who wouldn't choose unlimited video games, DVDs, swimming and lollies over chores, television curfews and normal bedtimes? While it would be nice to have him around on non-workdays to do things with, like any parents, we are enjoying the downtime.
Saturday, while Mark was assisting Zane's mum with the search for an apartment, now that she has moved to Sydney, I took the opportunity to catch up with Mykel for lunch in Randwick. He's had a tough run the past few weeks, but he seems well. As always, it was good to see him.
That evening, as Mark and I were headed out for a beverage, we noticed a vintage Citroën (2CV?) parked in our visitor carspace. What a fantastic car! I admit that I don't know much about the old Citroëns. They're probably a nightmare to keep in shape, but I covet this one, especially the detachable canvas top.
On Sunday, one of those infamous muggy summer days in Sydney, we spent the day in a/c watching DVDs. My favorite was Snow Cake. Alan Rickman is mesmerizing in this film, and it was good to see him and Sigourney Weaver together again in something a little less inane than Galaxy Quest.
What I didn't realize until late in the evening was that Mark had turned down multiple offers from friends to join them with this activity or that sport, in order to spend time with me. Ever the pleaser, that has always been a challenge for him. He hates saying "no" to people, but I have to admit a selfish part of me enjoyed reaping the benefit of this new resolve.
In an ongoing effort to wash myself clean of 2007, I have felt a nagging vestige of the old girl still hanging around: playing with lolcats. I held off on this one all year, but I just stumbled here and felt I really must give it a go before I let it go.
As you can see, I tried my hand at creating a few lolcats of my own, using images of the critters in our house. They're not very inspired, or inspiring for that matter, but it's out of my system now.