Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Book Review: A Spot Of Bother by Mark Haddon

I'm in a book club. Did I tell you that before? It's great, a fantastic bunch of girls, and we've read a different interesting book every month, lots of them ones that I wouldn't have thought of reading for myself otherwise. Our book last month was A Spot Of Bother by Mark Haddon. I was looking forward to reading it, because I really enjoyed his other book The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time. (I ran out of steam on capitalising the first letters of the words in that sentence. Did you notice? But do you still capitalise each word when it's a really long title? Is there a limit? If not, should there be? Anyway.)

So, a few things stood out to me about A Curious Incident. (Firstly, aside: if you haven't read these books, please do. Both because they're fabulous books, and also because I may unintentionally let loose a few spoilers in this blog. Check back here when you've finished reading them.) Firstly, the main character is said to have "some kind of disability", this is mostly assumed to be Aspergers Syndrome. One of my cousins is mildly Aspergers, and reading this book really helped me to understand how it might feel, or look, from inside that kind of viewpoint. During a cursory googlesearch I found a review of the book by a boy who has Aspergers, and he seemed to quite like the way the story was told and the character portrayed.

In 'A Spot of Bother' there were a whole heap of different issues raised. Each character had their own secret, their own dysfunctionality, their own private motivations, and mostly they seemed inclined to keep them to themselves, which only exacerbated all the problems until they reached an inevitable conclusion. The character I want to focus on is George. George is described like this by Mindy Laube in an SMH review:

"an unobtrusive, middle-class, middle-aged man politely unravelling. George is a thoroughly decent chap who, in his desperation to avoid making a fuss, goes quietly, somewhat willingly, mad; his growing paranoia only becoming of real concern to him when it begins to look a little undignified."

Let me give you an example of George going "quietly mad". George is sitting watching television when
"someone unscrewed a panel in the side of George's head, reached in and tore out a handful of very important wiring.
He felt violently ill. Sweat was pouring from beneath his hair and from the backs of his hands.
He was going to die.
Maybe not this month. Maybe not this year. But somehow, at some time, in a manner and at a speed very much not of his choosing.
The floor seemed to have vanished to reveal a vast, open shaft beneath the living room.
With blinding clarity he realised that everyone was frolicking in a summer meadow surrounded by a dark and impenetrable forest, waiting for that grim day on which they were dragged into the dark beyond the trees and individually butchered.
How in God's name had he not noticed this before? And how did others not notice? Why did one not find them curled on the pabvement howling? How did they saunter through their days unaware of this indigestible fact? And howm once the truth dawned, was it possible to forget?
Unaccountably he was now on all fours between the armchair and the television, rocking back and forth, attempting to comfort himself by making the sound of a cow."

George has an anxiety disorder (my diagnosis!). As I was reading the book, at first I couldn't help but wonder why he didn't just snap himself out of it? So he's thinking things that part of his brain knows isn't true - well, why don't you listen to the part that you know is telling the truth? What's the point of making up bad things that might happen and believing them? Towards the end of the book I could see that George had no more control over where his thoughts were leading him than I would have over my reflexes of pulling my hand away from something hot. George starts hurting himself, to try to take his mind off his thoughts. It doesn't work.

A friend recently told me about how things felt to her when she was badly affected with anxiety. She said that she woke up in the middle of the night with the complete knowledge that her baby was going to die in around two minutes. Of course, her baby wasn't going to die, and didn't die, but that thought in her head was as irrefutable as fact. She also knew that if she used the microwave, it would blow up, if she would pick up a knife, she would cut herself, if she got in her car, she would have an accident.

Wikipedia lists lots of different types of anxiety disorders. But what I'm most drawn to is the para at the bottom about treatment. There are many ways to treat an anxiety problem, but it must be treated. Wik says:
"The choices of treatment include psychotherapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy); lifestyle changes; or pharmaceutical therapy (medications).

Mainstream treatment for anxiety consists of the prescription of anxiolytic agents or antidepressants or referral to a psychologist. Treatment controversy arises because some studies indicate that a combination of the medications and behavioral therapy can be more effective than either one alone; however, others studies suggest pharmacological interventions are largely just palliative, and can actually interfere with the mechanisms of successful therapy.

Meta-analysis indicates that psychotherapeutic interventions have superior long-term efficacy when compared to pharmacotherapy. The right treatment may depend very much on the individual's genetics and environmental factors. Therefore it is important to work closely with a psychologist and medication provider who is familiar with anxiety disorders and current treatments.

A number of drugs can be prescribed to treat these disorders. These include benzodiazepines (such as Xanax), antidepressants of most of the main classes (SSRI, TCAs, MAOIs), and possibly Quetiapine."

So basically there are 3 ways to treat an anxiety disorder. With drugs, with behavioural therapy, or lifestyle changes. Someone close to me once had very bad anxiety disorder, and managed to change their whole outlook by changing their lifestyle - they starting exercising regularly, looked into natural remedies for depression, and radically changed their diet, to include a much greater proportion of fresh food and vegetables. Did this cure the anxiety? Not entirely, but it did help this person immensely, bringing them much further back into the 'normal' scope of being able to cope with day-to-day living.

So why am I talking about how to treat an anxiety disorder? Spoiler alert! Because in the end of A Spot of Bother, George basically cures himself, as an obliging contribution to a neat and happy ending. With only a "It was time to stop all this nonsense" George seems able to turn off the anxiety, and the book finishes, with the unstated promise that things would be okay from now on because he now wanted them to be. It's not that easy, it just isn't. And I guess I felt a bit cheated that Mark Haddon seems to go into such depth in what an anxiety disorder feels like from the inside, really working to cast aside the typical stereotype that it's an easy thing to just talk yourself out of, only to let the team down at the end and conform to popular misconeption. George has now decided. Oh, he's decided now has he? Well, if only he'd have done that before and saved us all the bother.

All in all, it was an incredibly gripping book. I just felt let down with the unrealistic ending, so all up I'm giving 3 stars.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How My Wonderful Sister Cheered Me Up On A Really Bad Day

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:17 AM
To: Amy

Hey – why does Snoop Dogg always carry an umbrella?

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:20 AM
To: Katy

I don’t know. Is that a legitimate enquiry or are you starting a really good joke?
I hope it’s a joke. What’s the punchline?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:22 AM
To: Amy

For drizzle!

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:25 AM
To: Katy

Ohhhh! Shazam!

What is Snoop Dogg’s favourite tool?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:27 AM
To: Amy

What what?

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:30 AM
To: Katy

Da chizzle!!

(Er... chisel...)

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:31 AM
To: Amy

I like it.

What is Snoop Dogg’s favourite restaurant?

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:36 AM
To: Katy

Ummmmmm... I don’t know, what!

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:40 AM
To: Amy


From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:43 AM
To: Katy

Heh!! I like it.

Why does Snoop Dogg use conditioner??

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:43 AM
To: Amy


From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:46 AM
To: Katy

Fo’ frizzle!

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:47 AM
To: Amy

Damn that was good!

What did Snoop say when he tried on a pair of shoes?

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:52 AM
To: Katy

Haha, it was wasn’t it.

I don’t know, what?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 11:55 AM
To: Amy

Thizzle do.

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:06 PM
To: Katy


What does Snoop Dogg eat for dinner?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:07 PM
To: Amy

Do tell!

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:08 PM
To: Katy


From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:20 PM
To: Amy

What is Snoop Dogg’s favourite food?

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:22 PM
To: Katy

If it isn’t spa-ghetto then I just don’t know. That is a tough question. What is Snoop Dogg’s favourite food?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:24 PM
To: Amy

A rizzole

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:37 PM
To: Katy

Ohhh, it’s obvious now really.

Why does Snoop Dogg have to run out for when he’s decorating his Christmas tree?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:41 PM
To: Amy


From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:44 PM
To: Katy

Fo’ tinzzle!

(Did you geddit? Tinsel? Yeah.)

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:48 PM
To: Amy

That was a good one.
Okay I have a lame one now.

Why did Snoop go to the bathroom...
From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:50 PM
To: Katy

Oh oh.
Why ever did Snoop go to the bathroom?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 12:52 PM
To: Amy

To pizzle.

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:06 PM
To: Katy

Hehehe – I actually didn’t see that one coming.

Why didn’t Snoop want to eat his steak?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:08 PM
To: Amy


From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:09 PM
To: Katy

Because of da grizzle. (true story)

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:51 PM
To: Amy

How did Snoop Dogg hurt his foot?

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:52 PM
To: Katy

How? How did he hurt his foot?

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:54 PM
To: Amy

He stood... on a thizzle.

From: Amy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:55 PM
To: Katy

I’m out. I have nothing else now. And the internet doesn’t either, because I’ve asked it. Do you mind if I blog these jokes? They’re brazilliant.

From: Katy
Sent: Wednesday, 10 September 2008 1:59 PM
To: Amy

Please go ahead, and claim them all as yours. We have cake now, what fun!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Some info

A few things that you ought to know but perhaps didn't before last night.

* if someone is diabetic and they have too much insulin in their system, they will go into hypoglycemic shock. To stop this you need to give them some sugar very quickly - like honey or jellybeans or chocolate. I did hear once that bananas are a good source of sugar, but that was from some random Adrian Edmondson/Rik Mayall tv special, so possibly that information source is suspect.

* if a hypo is bad enough, one of the first things that happens is the persons heart will start racing. So if the diabetic person is asleep, this will wake them up and they can get some sugar, or tell you that they need it.

* if they are tired enough, they may not be able to wake up to tell you that they need sugar, and in this case they will slip into hypoglycemic unconsciousness.

* (From: wikipedia ) Unconsciousness due to hypoglycemia can occur within 20 minutes to an hour after early symptoms and is not usually preceded by other illness or symptoms. Twitching or convulsions may occur. A person unconscious from hypoglycemia is usually pale, has a rapid heart beat, and is soaked in sweat: all signs of the adrenaline response to hypoglycemia

* (From: www.diabetesaustralia.com.au) If a person with diabetes is unconscious, drowsy or unable to swallow THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.

* when you call 000, the first person you talk to is just an operator, they will ask you "Police, Fire or Ambulance?" you reply just one word, and they will transfer your call to the appropriate service.

* when calling a call centre, the best thing to do is listen to the questions the operator is asking you, and answer only those. They know best what information they need to give you the best help possible, and in what order they need it. They don't need you giving them useless information like how scared you are, and asking them what will happen, that will just delay the help you are calling for.

* if you have called for an ambulance, the 000 operator will stay on the line with you until the paramedics arrive. This is so they can monitor the patients progress, and feed back any information to the paramedics so that they are up to speed when they get there.

* (From: www.diabetesaustralia.com.au) Here’s what needs to be done:

Place them on their side making sure their airway is clear
Give an injection of Glucagon if available and you are trained to give it
Phone for an ambulance (dial 000) stating a ‘diabetic emergency’
Wait with them until the ambulance arrives
When they regain consciousness, given them carbohydrate to maintain their blood glucose level.

* after a person suffering a hypo has had a Glucagon injection, it can still take between 15 and 20 minutes for them to become conscious.

* the paramedics will stay with the patient until they are satisfied that the patient is alert, and will not slip back into unconsciousness. They test this by testing the patients blood sugar over a 5-10 minute interval, making small talk and perhaps asking them questions about recent events.

* the patient should have something to eat - preferably something with slow acting carbohydrate sugars, such as a sandwich, or perhaps some left-over fruitcake from a wedding.

* the diabetic person will be extremely exhausted, and will most likely fall back to sleep very soon after the episode.

* in Australia you are charged $290 for an ambulance call out. There is also an additional charge of $2.62 for each kilometre the ambulance has to travel from its base station, and back to its base station after your call out.

* the invoice will be posted to you generally within approximately 3-4 weeks.

* despite the cost, it is important to remember that you have done the right thing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

इम्मिनेंत नुप्तिअल्स!

Oh crikey, the heading has turned to Arabic again!
Story of my life.
Well, not things turning to Arabic, that's not exactly the story of my life, I hasten to add, because that would be a wierd story. And mostly illegible, from my point of view.

Anyway, today has been a good day!

item: the team bought a chocolate cake for me for morning tea (I had to share it with them but I did get quite a large piece!)

item: my fiance showed up at my work at lunchtime today with a bunch of pink roses

item: he had also, unbeknownst to me, picked up my engagement ring from the jewellers where it was getting polished, and gave it back to me

item: I found 5 bucks on the street (wahoo!)

item: it is my last day at work before my holidays

item: my holidays include such events as
a) my wonderful friend Michelle visiting from London
b) my wedding
c) many, many cupcakes
d) more members of my family that you can poke a stick at
e) honeymoon in a mystery resort in sunny Fiji
f) fantastic amounts of wedding presents from our registry scheduled for delivery the day before I have to go back to work

So all in all, not a bad Tuesday I feel.

Have fun til I get back, photos soon!

Friday, July 11, 2008

रेलाक्सेशन टेच्निक़ुए

The title should read: "Relaxation Technique"
For reasons known only to blogger, and surely mostly to add to my stress and confuddledness, it has chosen to write itself in Arabic, and will not change to English.

Feeling stressed out? This technique has worked for me. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you.

Picture yourself near a stream.

Birds are softly chirping in the crisp cool mountain air.

Nothing can bother you here. No one knows this secret place.

You are in total seclusion from that place called "the world."

The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

The water is clear.

You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under water.

Why lookie there... what a pleasant surprise... It's the person who caused you all this stress in the first place.

You let them up... just for a quick breath... then ploop!...back under they go...

You allow yourself as many deep breaths as you want.

There now... feeling better?

Monday, June 02, 2008

I didn't know what to call this post, but I want to tell you about waxing. Yes, it's a tricky thing to talk about - but it is a random blog, so you know, it was bound to come up eventually I guess. I don't want to make it a... er, how do I say this? a provocative post at all. Because waxing, even though it does involve getting a fair amount of your kit off, is not in any sense enjoyable. At all. I'd like to make that as clear as possible. Let me see if I can give you a sense anyway.

Okay, so picture this. You're shown into a little room with a stretcher bed, (like you get in a hospital) a little table with large pots of steaming wax and lots of little paddle pop sticks. The wax is usually bright fun colours, like bright blue, bright green, hot pink, and paddle pop sticks come with nothing but good associations - so so far it seems not so bad!

Depending on what you're having waxed, you might need to strip off and put a little terry towelling velcro robe on, which leaves you feeling quite exposed, vulnerable, and usually a wee bit cold.

So, the beautician (waxician??) then tries to make some small talk, you make a self deprecating joke about how long it's been since you were last waxed, and how you hope she's seen worse, and she (if she's a good sport) agrees that yes of course she's seen worse, and to make you feel better usually chips in with a story about having to wax an unusually hairy man who was akin to something from the zoo, so you feel a bit better about yourself and relax.

And then you remember that you are relatively naked and entirely exposed and about to have astonishing pain inflicted on you, for which you are entirely to blame as this is a voluntary activity, and you remember that relaxing is not what this situation is about.

When she first puts the wax on, it's actually a bit of a nice feeling. It's warm, which is nice because you're getting quite chilly by now in your little robe. If you're having your legs done, she'll put a thin layer all the way from your knee to your ankle, and then your upper thigh down to your knee, and it feels a bit like having a very long, very warm sock. Which is nice! And then you remember. You remember why it is that it has been so long since you came. It hurts! The pain comes back to you! And just like that first calm slope on the rollercoaster where it dawns on you that the big drop is coming soon and there is no option for you to get off at this point - you realise that there is no way you can stop the pain that is about to commence. You tense your muscles as she pats the wax to check if it's dry enough yet. You breathe in, squint your eyes and hold your breath.

It's not dry yet.

She puts some more wax on somewhere else instead and pats that for a while.

Your stomach muscles are clenched, your hands are pressed hard (but flat) against the table (because you wouldn't want her to see how terrifed you are, for some reason that would be even worse) you clench your toes in anticipation, and then suddenly WHAM! A streak of white hot pain erupts into flame along your leg, she puts her hand on the area and presses down, and then it's gone just as fast as if it had never happened.


"That wasn't as bas as I was expecting!" you mumble in a jolly tone. She just mm-hmm's non-commitally, she's heard other girls say the same thing before. All of a sudden she turns into a whirling dervish of candy coloured wax, paddle pop sticks and pain. Spread, rip, spread, rip, spread, rip and pause. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

And that's just the front of your first leg. And that's before you've even gotten to the other more sensitive areas that you'd decided to leave til last.

You try to relax your face muscles, press your hands back down against the bed, and gaze off into the distance or focus on the air conditioning vents on the ceiling - pretend you're not there, pretend the pain isn't still blossoming (Spread, rip, spread, rip, spread, rip and pause) try to remember why you thought it was a good idea to come here again, mentally add up how much you're paying the nice lady for torturing you, wonder how it is that someone would want to do this for a living - and then all of a sudden you're done. She's putting some moisturiser on your red inflamed skin and then leaving you so you can get dressed in peace. You put your clothes back on, they stick to your skin where the moisturiser went, your hair is messed up from lying down. You hobble out to the front of the salon and then hand over money, (money!) for the pain you have just experienced, and then continue on your merry way. Red, sore, exhausted, and with less maney than you started out with - yet oddly satisfied.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Amy likes to...

Fun net stuff. Anna from Little Red Boat has tagged the internet at large to continue this meme. What you need to do is go to google, type in your name, and "likes to" and then copy and paste the results. Well, I love google, and I love googling my own name, so this was a tag too good to resist! It turned out to be even more fun than I'd thought it would be.
So let's see how many of the results were applicable...

Amy Likes To Go Rrr. Not entirely true, and this result came up quite a few times, which leads me to think that there are a few interesting Amy's out there.

Amy likes to search for bird nests and look for animal babies of skunks and raccons and deer and foxes. Not ringing even slightly true I'm afraid.

Amy likes to keep things fun while still covering serious questions. Yeeeesssss... lots of serious questions being covered here ;-)

Amy likes to do all sorts of things. She has fun at just about everything that she does. Not true. I am currently At Work at the moment and not having as much fun as I could be if I were say, at home in bed. Or at the shops shopping. Or at Hungry Jacks eating a large Whopper with cheese. Or canoodling with my fiance. Or, in fact, practically anywhere else, for that matter.

Amy likes to laugh, see sunsets, and eat Kansas beef. Hah, that is an interesting Amy! I mean, any girl who lists eating beef (and not just any old beef, it obviously has to be from Kansas pardner) in her Top Three deserves some respect!

Amy likes to tease other guys on this site. Hmm, hope not.

Amy likes to add a little Wellbutrin to an SSRI. Ah, yes, well, who wouldn't? I mean, you wouldn't want to have an SSRI without Wellbutrin would you? Sch!

Amy likes to imagine herself as a rock star. It's like google sometimes has a direct window into my brain. (Or perhaps I forget to put the blinds down sometimes when I'm belting out the Robert Palmer classics into my hairbrush at home? Possible.)

Amy likes to be called "Lady Fantastic". Yes, that oculd be my rock star name. Love it.

Amy, likes to sit in her cardboard box and watch while people (and bears) are making food in the kitchen. Well I do like to watch people make food, especially if there's a chance I can eat some of it. Not sure about what sort of food bears would make. Although upon reflection, if it was honey based, I wouldn't mind that.

Amy likes to ponder phsyics, like how does the Atom expand and why. Oh yes, many a long afternoon is spent whiling away the hours pondering such mysteries as atoms and physics and suchlike. /sarcasm

Amy likes to kick stuff in her spare time, which she expresses by playing soccer. Yes, but my ultimate goal is to take that passion for kicking things and make it a full time job, rather than just something I do in my spare time. "So what do you do?" "I kick things. For a living." "..."

Amy likes to spend time with her husband, Jason, and her son and bonus daughter. Bonus daughter? What the?

Amy likes to knit, prepare for and endure marathons across the country. I don't want to endure ANY marathon, and especially not one that requires you to knit to prepare for it!

Amy likes to let rip once in a while. Um, wellll... possibly, but never in company ;-)

Amy likes to dance, sew, do yoga and gives high marks to friendly men who can roll with the punches. That's a pretty diverse list of interests. Not sure why I would be punching those friendly men, but at least I gave them some high marks first to soften the blow, yes?

Amy likes to joke that hers is the only wedding she's been to with a "Don't Feed the Animals" rule. Hah! Yes. There's room for a good joke there but I'm still preoccupied with why I was punching those friendly men.

Amy likes to focus on the elements of a wardrobe that are vital, effortless and timeless. *sigh* I would love to be able to do that. Sadly I get sucked in by colourful, sparkly, impractical impulse buys from SES, Valleygirl and Target (oh Primark, how I do miss thee) and have a low quality wardrobe filled with pieces that don't work with each other and dissolve after the fifth wash, but not before dyeing all the other pieces an interesting shade of pink, blue, grey or a tye-dye combo of all three.

Amy likes to talk about fish. Um, true. But not around Sarah.

Amy likes to kiss and tell. Half true!

Amy likes to feel the burn. False?

Amy likes to play pretend. True.

Amy likes to do it. Pass.

Amy likes to shoot. False.

Amy likes to shop. True.

Amy likes to win. It is my raison d'etre, my reason to live.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happily Ever After

So... I've been thinking about things. And for me thinking produces one of two things. Either a) an intense revelation which is exciting and illuminating but then quickly gets forgotten or b) a blog post. And today, it has resulted in the latter, hello internet :-)

I'm... I'm getting married in 121 days! Well, when I say that I really should say that WE are getting married, as it's not really something that I can do by myself at all. But I guess I haven't entirely talked about relationships all that much out here and so I'll just leave it as 'I' for now, and hope that you know what I mean.
Getting married is exciting. Planning a wedding is... not so exciting. Thinking about a wedding is exciting! Thinking about being a bride, about wearing the beautiful dress and having photos taken and being all sparkly and made up - now that is exciting.

Now I'm going to switch topics here, watch this. Have I spoken here before about my intense love of reality tv? Wait, don't go, I'm not talking about Big Brother or Pop Idol or ones like that, I'm talking about the transformation shows. The before/after shows. The ones like Changing Rooms; Backyard Blitz; even Extreme Makeover, which I don't agree with - because I don't really like cosmetic surgery, but I do still love seeing the before and after shots, and seeing the magic of something transformed. The reveal shot, where you've seen what something looked like before, and you know that the magic is going to have changed it into something better... and then you see the end result, and you can't believe how much it's changed, and then before anything can get messed up the credits roll and that's the end!

I remember one episode of the Australian Changing Rooms show where they went back to all the rooms several months after they'd filmed the shows. I was initially excited about seeing how it had changed the families houses and lives, how it had impacted them, what had happened next. It turned out ot be a really disapointing show for me though. The people had lived in the rooms, they'd messed them up, they'd dirtied them, changed things around, and in some cases even taken the new things out and tried to make it back like the old. The magic disappeared and I wasn't interested anymore.

You know what else I love? Happy stories and films. But especially - the Cinderella stories. The ones where it starts fine, then things get worse, and then there's a wonderful, magical ending. Pretty Woman - where she starts out as a prostitute and ends up with a rich man in love with her wanting to marry her. Sense & Sensibility - which starts with the girls losing their father and ends with a double wedding where they each marry the man of their dreams. Dirty Dancing - where Baby starts out as an awkward teenager and ends up as a sexy dancer with a gorgeous man who loves her. I'm a sucker for an amazing ending. I don't like stories which leave you wondering what happened next? were things got resolved? did they get together? did they find their answer? what was the solution? Nope, show me the magic, show me the climax, show me the fun, the sparkle, the joy. (And if it can end with a big dance number, Bollywood style, then bring it on!)

(Btw this did lead me into a bad period after I'd read 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell - I was dying, dying to know what happened to Scarlett and Rhett. I wanted to know so badly that I went out and read the sequel, which was not written by Margaret Mitchell at all. At all! Apparently (a friend told me this, and I'm not googling this for confirmation) after MM died there was a competition held to see who had a similar writing style, and the winner got her notes that she'd written on the sequel, and wrote the book from there. If you haven't read it - let me spoil it for you so you don't need to bother: it's terrible, but they do get together in the end. On, like, the last page I think. If you have read it: terrible wasn't it?)

What's interesting in the examples I've mentioned above though (and any more romcoms or Jane Austen novels you can think of), is that the exciting event, the 'happy ending' always happens at the end. Well, I mean obviously, I am talking about a happy 'ending', which by definition wouldn't happen in the middle, but I think it's interesting that it's rare for a proposal or wedding to happen in the middle of a film. It's usually presented as the end point, the conclusion. It's the wrapping up event of a story or film. "And then they got married, and they lived happily ever after." You don't usually see the happily ever after, you don't need to, as it's not all that interesting - the interesting part was the lead up, the chase, the courting, the danger that it might not work out, the tension where nobody was sure, and then the exciting climax where you found out that it would happen after all.

Think about any TV show where there are male/female lead characters who bounce off a kind of sexual tension - I'm thinking of Lois & Clark in particular. Remember that one? Everyone wanted them to get together, everyone. Who didn't want Superman to finally get the girl? And then he did, they got together, and the mystery left. The tension was gone and it wasn't interesting and the show was cancelled. We'd seen enough. They got together, and they were together - what more did we need to know?

So... now I'm getting married, and I'm starting to realise that this movie-magic is a little bit too far engrained into my thinking. I don't want the rest of my life to be summed up by those three little words, 'happily ever after'. Sure, that's a nice epitaph, but can't there be more excitment and story before we conclude things like that? Can't there be more living? More drama? More chapters? I want there to be many, many words. I want there to be so much excitement and tension and magic and joy that it can't come anywhere NEAR to being contained by 3 little words! I'm planning an amazing reveal, a huge performance, a beautiful dress, a stunning look, an amazing party - but after that... what happens? What happens when the book has finished? When the cameras stop rolling and the audience has left?

I'm asking questions like there's going to be a conclusion here... and there's not ;-) I am excited about being married (and to the most amazing man ever also!), I don't want this to sound like I'm not. Just that I'm worried that I'm such a product of all the stories that I've fed into my brain for the last 28 years that I'm not able to think beyond that.

I feel like this post needs a better ending. But, upon a few hours reflection, maybe it's not an ending I'm looking for.

Hmmm, yeah I like that. Deep.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Disasters come in threes (a long and not so interesting account of my disastrous trip home last Thursday)

Or sometimes they come in more than three - but generally by the time it gets to 3 I don't have enough patience left to keep counting. Take last Thursday for example. It was a good day, it started out well. The girls at work had a suprise tea party for me to say congrats for the recent engagement (hurrah engagement!) with all sorts of tea, lovely teapots and cupcakes - cupcakes! Any day that contains cupcakes is better than a day without cupcakes - it's a guaranteed recipce for success.

Well... except that I was still homeless, and now homeless and planning a wedding, and planning a wedding without my computer or any solid google time.. well, it was getting me down a bit. A fair bit.

I met up with Chris after work. On the train to meet Chris I realised that my flowers (did I mention that the girls gave me flowers? Yay, cupcakes and flowers!) had a little passenger - a little baby snail. Ohh! The poor little guy. I decided to keep him safe and let him out when I got back to Katy's place in Enmore, as there are some good trees in the vacant block next door.

Chris and I were meant to meet at the Lindt cafe, and I waited there for a while. Turns out it was closed, which was a bit sad. Then it started raining, and what with holding the flowers in one hand and looking after the snail also - I didn't have a spare hand to hold my umbrella, so I just got wet. And waited. Chris was stuck on a bus in heavy traffic, so I waited on the corner in the rain for a while, before deciding to sit on a bench in the rain instead - why not choose a small amount of comfort after all.

After about ten minutes Chris called me and asked me to meet him on Pitt st instead - which cast panic into my heart. You may have read previous blog posts before about my complete lack of any spatial awareness or geographical ability... there's just no internal compass with me! No mental map! I stood on the corner and looked around wildly - Pitt St coudl be ANYWHERE. I picked a direction and walked, kept walking, and was not at all suprised when I came to a dead end at George st. Getting really wet, flustered and tired of being lost, I called Chris and told him where I was, that I wasn't going to move anymore, and asked him to come to me. Bless him, he obviously heard the wild note in my voice and came.

We had a hot chocolate in Starbucks (you can always find a Starbucks, even when you're lost, this is immensely comforting) before he had to dash off to football. I walked with him to the train station so I would be able to find the station and not get lost - by the time I got to the station I realised that actually I didn't need to go to the train station, as it would have been faster for me to have caught a bus. Still, taking a deep breath, I told myself that a train was still an option, so I jumped on and went to Central.

I can never get the exits and tunnels right at Central. I kept going down the wrong stairs from the platform, coming back up, trying another one, coming back up - okay, so now I know it's the stairs closest to the front of the train, but I swear I spent about 10 fruitless minutes trying to get to the right underground part of Central to get me to the tunnel that goes to my bus stop.

As I was walking over to the bus stop at Central there was a bus there, but it was raining and slippery so I didn't run.

Note to self: bad idea! Just as Trillian learned to always, always go back for your handbag, I have now determined to always, always run for the bus. It might look undignified, but a bus in the station is worth 2 down the road that never come and if they do they're already full. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

So I didn't run, and it left, and I stood in the rain for a while waiting for a bus. One came, I just managed to fit on, and off we went. For about 2 blocks, and then the bus pulled up with a jerk, the bus driver swore very loudly and jumped off the bus. All eyes followed him as he ran around the side of the bus and started shouting at a truck who had just run into the back corner of the bus. *sigh*

At first the bus driver told us that we couldn't get off the bus as we were parked across a sidestreet. After a few minutes of some loudmouths remonstrating with him though, he opened the doors again and let everyone off. I was up the front so I trotted to the next bus stop, a handy 10 metres away, and waited.

And then watched as the other seventy people got off the bus and stood in front of me.

And then watched as the next two buses sailed past as as they were already full.

And then decided to get a taxi.

So I walked up the road looking for a taxi and not seeing any. Realised I didn't have enough cash to pay a taxi even if I got one, so ducked into a nearby pub to find an ATM. Getting money out turned out to be a tricky operation, it went like this:
* put flowers down
* try to open handbag, realise iPod headphones are wound around strap
* take iPod off, wind up headphone leads, put in bag
* rescue sunglasses which got dislodged by taking iPod off
* get wallet out, get cash out, put wallet back in bag
* put iPod back on
* put sunglasses back on head
* leave pub
* walk back into pub, pick flowers up
* exit pub again, this time with sunglasses on to hide embarassment at having to come back in for wayward flowers

So I walked up the main road (which road? I have no idea) looking for a taxi. Lots of traffic, lots of full buses that weren't stopping, no taxi's. Eventually one stopped and let people off right in front of me, so I jumped in. I tell the driver the address - he barely speaks English and doesn't know where the street is. I ask him if he has a GPS? (Come on buddy, it's not my job to drive people around and I have a GPS!) But he says no. I take my seatbelt off and prepare to get out of the car, at which case he sees that I'm serious and grabs a dusty old street directory out from under his seat and says that he'll find it.

All of a sudden the traffic stops, and I mean stops. We're not going anywhere. Occasionally we crawl forward a carpsace or two and then stop again. The meter is ticking on... after $9.50 of not moving, I decide to cut my losses, give the driver a $10 note and hop out. Into the rain.

Juggling my handbag, flowers and umbrella, and by now in a filthy mood, I decide to walk home. And it's not too bad. There are the normal number of people with inordinately large umbrellas who forget that there are sharp pointy bits on the ends of umbrellas that you need to keep way from other people, but mostly once people see the thunderous look on my face they stay clear.

About 3 blocks up I pass the reason for the traffic jam, the police are loading a car onto a tow truck and have a 4-way intersection closed off. As I walk past the scene they get it loaded up, the truck drives away and the traffic surges through. I shoot a dirty look at the taxi as it drives past me smugly. (It might not actually have driven smugly, but let's just say that for some dramatic tension)

After walking for about 10 minutes and getting wetter and wetter all of a sudden a bus stops right in front of me. "Halleluiah!" I think, and, taking it as a sign that this bus is specifically sent for me, I hop on. And there is 1 seat left - just for me! Things are working out. The seat is right at the back. I lurch down the aisle and sit down. The girl next to me needs to get off at the next stop so I let her out and then sit back down. As the bus is taking off after her stop - I look out the window and realise that was my stop!! *sigh*

I get off at the next stop and walk back up. Eventually I make it to Katy's place, after the longest and most disaster-filled journey home on record. (I stopped counting, was it more than 3?) Katy lends me a vase and I unwrap the flowers and then I discover that the snail is gone. And - for some reason - this strikes me as even sadder than all the disasters that had happened that evening. The poor little guy - I wanted to give him a new home and instead he was probably somewhere in the city - not such a friendly place for a geographically challenged short tempered girl, let alone a baby snail! And, maybe, I shed a small tear or two. Okay, maybe three.

It's tough being homeless. I think the lesson here is that maybe it's even tougher being a snail, and I think possibly there's something in that for all of us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not drowning, waving

Ever have that thing where you're upset and somone might just give you a wave, or a smile, or even just a 'Have a nice day' at the check out, and you feel better? The kind of thing that makes you realise that even though you might not ever be able to communicate to someone exactly how you're feeling, and even if you could, they couldn't fix it, but that they've just shown you that you do live in a world with other humans out there, and we're all just wandering around together and that makes us all colleagues, or family, or friends in some strange way. Just someone being human next to you.

Thanks to everyone who gave me a wave (metaphorical or otherwise).

Turns out the sinking sand has turned solid, someone put a signpost up nearby to Mount Sinai, and the black clouds have mostly blown away. Thanks for bearnig with me during this break in transmission ;-)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I don't think too many people remember this blog, which is making it easier for me to be more honest here. (And to forget to post for months at a time, also, since we're being up front with each other.)
Today I'm wondering... things. Many and varied things. Or, perhaps, not so varied, more on a specific theme. And, since my needy soul feels better in talking about things, and there seems to be a lack of real people to talk things through with in my personal sphere at the moment, I thought I'd wonder out loud here, to the blank face of the internet. So here's some things that I'm wondering.

I'm wondering how it's possible to unload things but still carry the weight?
I'm wondering just what lesson it is that God is trying to teach me right now?
I'm wondering if God could buy in on the theory that P's make degrees, give me a Pass mark and move on to the next lesson already?
I'm wondering why it's so easy to hide?
I'm wondering where everyone went? And then conversely, I'm wondering why it sometimes feels loneliest in the midst of a crowd?
I'm wondering which decision it was that changed the scenery so much?
I'm wondering why it feels too late to change trains?
I'm wondering how it is that there's so much more to read in your tone, yet you don't hear anything in mine?
I'm wondering how deep it gets in the middle?
I'm wondering how high it is from the arch?
I'm wondering if I could even fit through the gaps?
I'm wondering how much it would hurt?
I'm wondering if I'll ever grow up, or if I'll just get old?
I'm wondering if the fringe really hides the tears that successfully, or if people just don't want to ask?
I'm wondering when the big things will start shining, and not just the small, unconnected things?
I'm wondering if the dry words in my bible could ever heal the welling pain in my heart?
I'm wondering if it's ever enough, of if the bar just keeps lowering when I get near?
I'm wondering if I could get anymore cryptic and still feel like I'm sending messages in bottles?
I'm wondering how I could lose this black dog?
I'm wondering if it's possible to ask for help in such a way as to not look like a loser?
I'm wondering if things will ever change or if I'll be stuck 'wondering' around Mount Sinai for the next 40 years?
I'm wondering if one day I'll have a stunning return to form in this blog, and be as witty as I'd like to be, and if that ever happened if I'd come back here and delete this post so that nobody knew that once upon a time my heart was hurting so badly that I felt the need to shout it out loud?
I'm wondering how long it will take before this feels like once upon a time...