Sunday, 30 April 2006

i'll have an appletini - easy on the tini

so the cocktail party happened last friday...i think i'm still recovering. not quite sure, the weekend has been a bit slooow, but then it might be that i only got three hours sleep on saturday and then went to the church working bee as well. nothing to do with the cocktails. nothing.

it was a strange day. i was stressing myself out again, and getting all worried that nobody would come when i kept getting all these SMSs and emails from people saying that they couldn't make it for one reason or another. eventually i stopped feeling sorry for myself, reasoned that the people i knew were definitely coming would have fun, and surrendered myself to the hairdresser for almost three hours. at the end of it she even put glitter in my hair because, well, it was my birthday party and you had to have glitter.

i raced to redfern to pick up my brother, then we went to broadway and bought a whole bunch of fresh fruit and lovely cheese from harris farm, as well as four huge bags of M&Ms (try the mint ones, they're yummy!). of course it was peak hour by this stage and i was trying not to get worked up again as we sped back across town. mum was waiting with some delicious chinese food, which i wolfed down, then got all dressed up and sat back with a glass of sparkling shiraz.

all round a lovely bunch of people turned up. we drank delicious things containing various combinations of lychee, passionfruit, mint, raspberry, chocolate, and the white spirits of course. there were broadway musicals, interludes on the roof (which my neighbour, seth, didn't appreciate - though it was just me and nic having a chat), a bizarre moment when my brother insisted we put on his chicago CD (the band, not the musical - what is that about?!) and all round good conversation. it's nice to be dressed up and looking glam in your own house; when you get over it all you can just kick off your high heels and relax on the couch.

nic is very talented at this cocktail mixing lark! unfortunately he seemed to be on the good ole one-for-you, one-and-a-bit-for-me kind of thing as he made the drinks, and was at his argumentative, belligerent best by around 2am. half the party had left by this stage, and so it was bek, john, jackie and nic's girlfriend linda, who can all argue back at him and know what he's like, so for a while it was kind of interesting. but then he and i got into a heated discussion about something or other and he ended up making me cry - it's my party and i'll cry if i want to - but it was all good in the end. there's a lot of highly emotional stuff that lies just under the surface with him and me, and it can all be going along swimmingly and one of us will scratch the surface and it's all over. he was mortified that he'd upset me and when i saw him the next day he was extremely apologetic. bek rang me the next day and said "hey we all get it, it's just family!"

i've only just managed to mop the kitchen floor (so sticky it sounded like bubble wrap when you walked on it). and with that, the birthday week draws to a close, but celebrations are not over! some people who couldn't make it to the party are feeling guilty and wanting to take me out for dinner and/or drinks...hurrah! wonder if i can spin it out to a birthday month...? :)

now i'm going to sit down with a cup of tea and watch before sunset which i just bought for $8, and then wander over to mum's for dinner. i'm trying not to think about the fact that i have to go back to work tomorrow. nooooo!
this is my first...i swear!
the broadway moment
my brother holding forth to a bemused audience
me and claire

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

half time - in which the author is pampered to within an inch of her life

so i'm halfway through my birthday week. it's been a funny kind of week; a big mix of emotions.

my birthday day was really lovely. picked mum up in the morning, and found that dave had left a present and a card for me on the table (DVD of king kong). went to say goodbye to mum's best friend sandra, who was flying back to manchester in the morning and she gave me a book - a short history of tractors in ukrainian by marina lewycka, which sandra assures me is a brilliant novel (though oddly titled). we had to take a detour into town to drop off my second birthday camera (i had bought the digital camera (dad contributed), and i had gone to pick it up the night before. there was all this rigmarole about how the order hadn't shown up at the shop even though the guy i spoke to said it would be there. eventually they gave me a camera and were very nice about it; the next day the original camera was waiting for me at the post office. two for the price of one? sadly, no).

then drove up to leura with mum and met jennie at loaves and dishes, where we had a pleasant lunch and chat (mark and jen gave me the strangely addictive game bohnanza, which we had played at new year’s, and a beautiful card that said the most wonderfully affirming things). we wandered through the shops, bought candles (mum bought me a chocolate candle for work and a spanish rose candle for home, I bought stacie some cinnamon candles and myself a cinnamon votive and a coffee and chocolate votive) and books (going postal by terry pratchett), then went to lilianfels.
<-- me and jen in the lounge

we checked in and had devonshire tea (with fig jam) in the lounge, which has overstuffed couches and crackling fires, just as jennie and i had been dreaming about for the last couple of months. we had to leave jen there to go and have our massages in the gorgeous spa. it’s a lovely place, so peaceful. my masseur was a bit intense and recommended that I try Neuro Linguistic Programming instead of counselling because counselling hadn’t helped her and her schizophrenic and manic depressive sisters. I just smiled and accepted her note with the details on it (i'm not a huge fan of masseurs who boss you around, which is part of the reason why i stopped going to the guy in glebe, even though he was the best masseur i've ever been to, just because he wouldn't stop lecturing me about how much water i was supposed to drink). regardless, she gave me a fantastic massage.

we went back to our lovely little room and lay around for a while. it was a very sweet room, calm and peaceful, with a well-appointed marble bathroom and comfortable soft beds. we got dressed, me in my new black dress and high heels, and walked down to darley’s for dinner. it’s a gorgeous restaurant, although, as with the last time we went, you seem to be forced to eavesdrop on people nearby. maybe the tables are too close together? or maybe we always just end up sitting next to people who are very self-important, very loudly.

anyway, this is what I ate:

  • appetiser of Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle cream

  • for mains, free range pheasant, roasted breast, slow-cooked leg, spatzle, fresh chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, salsify, spec

  • for dessert, ‘Jaffa’ orange blossom ice cream, dark chocolate mousse and cumquat marmalade

  • and to drink, a half bottle of Henschke Keyneton Estate 2001

a very very nice meal indeed. and very expensive, all round. I was going to pay for the massages and dinner, but mum insisted on paying for the lot. gulp! thanks!

the next morning we got up and went for a swim in the gorgeous indoor heated pool, then sat in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. so luxurious! and aside from the old man doing laps in the pool, we were the only ones down there. we had breakfast (some fresh fruit, eggs benedict, coffee), checked out, and sat in the lounge reading the Saturday paper for a couple of hours, drinking peppermint tea. we eventually felt we had to move on, but it had been really restful and restoring.

i feel so lucky that we were able to have such an oasis of a weekend in the midst of a very stressful and emotional time. this week i've been off work, but i've found it really hard to chill out (despite the incredible kick start of relaxing at the mountains). haven't been sleeping properly, and have been having many bad dreams. i've also been really, really, inexplicably sad, which is a little bit frustrating. i've tried to ameliorate it by making sure i am catching up with friends, and have things to do, while at the same time i'm craving quiet, alone time. yet when i have it i feel depressed and aimless.

it feels very selfish to feel that way when over the last week i have realised how blessed i am with friends and family who love me, and how i have every thing i need as well as amazing luxuries that are just over and above what i need. the overwhelming sadness feels wrong somehow, but it's very hard to get out of even when i want to.

having said that, i think it's starting to pick up, and tomorrow i am hoping to sleep in and maybe read all morning or something like that, and just be kind to myself. and i'm having a buffy night with the baddeleys tomorrow and cocktails on friday! things to look forward to!

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

and the clock is ticking

"no, the clock doesn't really start to tick until you're thirty six."

one and a half days left till my 30th birthday! i think i've gotten used to the idea. i've used it as an excuse to buy myself a digital camera, as i feel it is a birthday that should be marked. :) (i used my MA graduation as an excuse to buy my ipod and it was one of the best things i've ever bought, so i think it's valid) also i have a dress and shoes to wear that make me feel like a grown up (and make me feel good when i wear them, more's the point) - but the jeans and blundstones are never far away...

mum always jokes that i never just have a birthday day, it always has to spill over and last at least a weekend if not longer. well, why not? especially at the moment, when i am in need of a bit of TLC (and have been for a long time); just the occasion to spend time doing fun things and resting. and how lucky that i have the time and resources to do all this!

i am very much looking forward to this coming week. starting on my actual birthday (21st), going up to the mountains for a weekend of being utterly spoiled, then i have the week off work and hope to sleep a lot, maybe catch up with friends, maybe read a few books if i feel like it, maybe go down to canberra to see jackie (haven't decided yet), capped off by a buffy night with the baddeleys on thursday and what i hope will be a lovely evening of cocktails on friday with a random assortment of lovely people. ahh.

a week full of maybes with few definite plans, certainly none that will stress me out, and some wonderful things to enjoy. now that's a good way to celebrate a birthday!

Thursday, 6 April 2006

reviving a lost art

today i got the loveliest letter from a supporter about the latest salt magazine (of which i am the editor), saying how much she appreciated it. i take back everything i ever said about older people who write often pointless letters; this was really sweet and gave me a much-needed lift. email feedback is great, but there is just something so heartening about receiving a letter that someone has taken care to write (with lovely penmanship, i might add), that actually has communication in mind (unlike, say, the letter we got from a man once who wrote to tell us that his address was incorrect because "some idiot" had put down the NSW postcode for Newtown and not the VIC one - no point in telling him it was an automatic database thing we hadn't picked up, just had to chuck it out and try not to get too irritated by it... or the woman who wrote to say she was so offended and was never going to donate to us again because I had politely asked her not to send cash through the post, as we couldn't guarantee that it would reach us safely).

i often think about sending people cards or notes just to say hi, or that I'm thinking about them, etc, because it is so nice to think someone has put thought into contacting you. don't get me wrong, i am a firm proponent of email and there is no way i would surrender it! i'm not one of those people who harps on about how technology is making us more isolated, because i don't believe it is so. but i do like the idea of receiving post that doesn't come in a window-face envelope. i don't often follow through on that impulse; maybe it's time to start sending out those many postcards i have amassed over the years from art galleries and bookstores...

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

there is nothing new under the sun

was idly tinkering with web stuff and looked up a couple of old screen names i used to use...there is just no being original anymore. there is a chick in nova scotia who uses one of 'my' names and probably to much greater effect than i ever did (and the other one turns out to be a brand name for something very unsavoury, but i didn't know that at the time, i swear!).

but in reading through this woman's blog and profile, i was struck by how similar we are. both 29, so both born in the year of the dragon (obviously), we both like tori amos, sarah mclachlan, margaret atwood, and the lord of the rings.

except she's a science person and her favourite food is pickled beets. i have nothing against those with a science-bent, but i can't say beets figure anywhere in my list of preferred foods.

as for an original screen it a lost cause?

Saturday, 1 April 2006

why i'm not around much

it's been a pretty full on couple of weeks. my body's pretty much just given up altogether; i think i'm supposed to be nocturnal or something because during the day all i want to do is sleep. and yet, at night time all i want to do is stay up doing random things (like playing need for speed with dave for three least if i dream about being in an x box game tonight it'll just be driving fast cars and not shooting aliens like when i played halo that time). so i'm not getting enough sleep.

but that might be because it's been a weird emotional couple of weeks too, for various reasons.

  • started seeing a psychologist last week after talking about anti depressants with my GP - i think this is a good thing, but it took a lot to get to this step

  • been thinking about all the relationship issues we brought up, which is necessary, but sometimes revisiting stuff i didn't really want to look at again

  • and ironically, this week i ran into someone i split up with over 10 years ago and had been really scared of running into for most of that time, and it was surreal and painful and at the same time really banal

  • for some reason, if i'm not thinking about all the above stuff, i keep freaking myself out at night when i go to bed by inadvertantly thinking about horror movies, which i can't really handle at all, which doesn't help with the lack of sleep

  • in a rare excursion, i went out on wednesday with my brother to zeta bar; it started off well but it ended as it always does, with us arguing about nothing in particular and him getting loud and obnoxious because he's had too much to drink (i hate this, it upsets me)

  • i'm finding it hard to get excited about anything, or even to get through the normal tasks and commitments i have, and finding it really hard to communicate my exhaustion to other people

it just seems like i'm lurching from one thing to another at the moment and trying very hard to maintain some sort of equilibrium. i'm trying to catch bits of sleep here and there, like this afternoon i came home early from work and slept for an hour before going to kids club, and i'm glad i did (and kids club rocked). i try to do very little on the weekends, and i don't see my friends much anymore which is frustrating, but...just the way it is unfortunately.

it's kind of hard though, i tell people about what's going on with me and some people get it, but some really have no idea. when i try to explain that i really can't commit to anything or i just need time out they look as if they've understood and then try to organise me ("all you need is to do [insert activity here]", "maybe you don't get enough exercise", etc). i don't blame them i suppose, but i am getting better at saying no to things outright and not feeling guilty about it.

anyway. it's all going to get better, but at the moment, that's me for the end of march. all i can say is i'm glad it is definitely getting autumnal. :)

and to end on a completely unrelated note, here is my current favourite (schadenfreude) website. enjoy!