Saturday, 29 November 2008

Just saw this over at Heather's blog. This little gadget analyses your writing style on your blog and tells you what "type" your writing style is, based on the Myers Briggs definitions. Apparently my style is an ISFP. Now, I feel a bit multiple personality when it comes to Myers Briggs anyway, because every time I've done it over the past few years I've been an INFP, and yet previously whenever I did it I always came out ENFJ. So who knows? Perhaps I am a depressed ENFJ. Perhaps I was always a latent INFP. It is a mystery. So it is no surprise that my writing style is different again :) I don't think anyone I know in real life would describe me as the "gentle type" although I am compassionate. And not a friend of many words? Hmm. Well, some days I go without saying a word to anybody, it is true, but I can also talk the hind leg off a chair, so I'm not sure about that.

I would be interested to hear what you guys get and what your thoughts are :)

ISFP - The Artists

The gentle and compassionate type. They are especially attuned their inner values and what other people need. They are not friends of many words and tend to take the worries of the world on their shoulders. They tend to follow the path of least resistance and have to look out not to be taken advantage of.

They often prefer working quietly, behind the scene as a part of a team. They tend to value their friends and family above what they do for a living.

Edit: I put in the URL of one of my archives for last November, and it gave me a different result, an INFP. Which is what I test as. So that is very interesting.

Of course, writing style is not the same as personality. The Typealizer forum on the net discusses this here. A woman complains that she entered in eight blogs belonging to three people, and none of them ended up geting anywhere near what these people's actual real life personality types are. But of course, I guess it doesn't necessarily correlate. In my case, at least last November, it did, which is interesting.

New Musical Category


Saturday, 22 November 2008

Sheesh, three posts in one day. I hardly know myself. The reverb will probably hit tomorrow and I won't post for six months :)

Anyway, I am just about to sit down and draw something and I'm looking for music to play. I have discovered that "music to create by" is something akin to a new musical category in my head. I want to listen to stuff that I normally wouldn't listen to. I want to listen to way out weird stuff or African drumming music, or Indian music. Exotic stuff. Stuff I wouldn't necesarily listen to for relaxation or enjoyment. I have a desire to purchase said music. I have a world music CD here that I have never even listened to before, and I am going to sit down and draw to it.

Just wondering, what music do you listen to if you are doing something creative? If you are sewing, cooking, painting, drawing, sculpting, chiselling, do you find your musical tastes are different from when you are listening to rock out, or mellow down? It is an interesting phenomenon. I would be interested to hear what you listen to and if it varies from your usual listening enjoyment stuff.

Pic: Perla

Rahab's Kitchen

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I have been meaning to do this for weeks and weeks but haven't, but I do it now. Come over and hang with us in Rahab's Kitchen. A safe place to hang out and share stuff. Come on down. There's cookies. There's also biscuits. There's chocolate. There's pre-menstrual discussion on the verandah, there's beer drinking and wedgie giving out on the deck. Come and chat about whatever. We haven't been going for long, but so far it is a good place of acceptance. Always a handy thing for a bunch of Christians to indulge in, wot wot?
It's cold today. Well, not Northern Hemispherean-wear-19-layers-and-mufflers-in-the-snow cold, but cold comparatively speaking cold. Cold enough to have the heater on cold. Which, considering it will be summer in nine days, is cold. (In other news, it will also be my birthday in nine days as well. Mark it down and send me presents - December 1, Susie's birthday. Get it? Got it? Good. You know, when I think about it, it was nice, neat birthing by my parents to deliver me on the first day of my favourite season).

It's cold and I have the heater on. Eight degrees Celsius/46 degrees Fahrenheit. Raining. Storms brewing. Especially cold considering last week we had a hot spell where it reached 35 degrees Celsius/95 Fahrenheit. Melbourne weather has always been changeable. Most of the time it keeps things interesting. However, such a variation in temperature has caused many people I have seen around the city and on the train to be spending the last several days yawning.

It has been overcast and drear for three or four days. They are all running into each other. I miss the sun. It came out this morning, for about five minutes. I went and sat on the front step and let that beautiful golden vitamin D seep into my bones :)

I have prepared myself. Got some DVDs last night. Brought pens and pencils and erasers and pencil sharpeners out into the lounge and here I shall be plonked today, I think, with the heater going and the wind blowing outside, when it's not raining or hailing. I can only pray that we get some sort of decent thunderstorm, while Lester is away at his dad's so that I can enjoy it without feeling guilty that my dog is shaking himself into pieces beside me :)

There is a blackbird that lives outside my window. I listened to him yesterday singing his funny little tunes that have very little melody to them. Still, they have a charm of their own. He's going now, as I speak. He only stops when the rain gets hard. Sings through showers and wind. Last Monday at my art therapy session we sat outside and were harassed by animals. I had Elly with me, brought her in the car for the long drive and the nice walk afterwards. She cried in the car. Could hear us outside. I had to go get her, and put her on her lead, and have her sit. Which she did do, eventually. Actually, she was pretty good after a while. Maggie spoke sweet soothing words to her and she lapped up the attention. After a while she lay down and let me draw things with charcoal and oil pastels in peace.

Well, relative peace if I ignored the beautiful king parrots hanging around outside Maggie's house waiting for seed. They are on a good wicket. The young male, a teenager, cheekily flew very close to my head on several occasions, on his flight from the tree to the top of the roof, to the brickwork away to my right where he lapped up the seed. Several days previously he had apparently sung the most beautiful melody to woo his potential love interest. And yet, when it came to food, he was happy to try to peck her to keep her away. Indeed, she had been gouged at some point. A potentially violent relationship. Probably best not to go there. However, I have no idea of the mating habits of king parrots. Perhaps it's a whirlwind courtship followed by some babies followed by divorce. See, who said parrots and humans had nothing in common? ;) I'm not really that cynical, dear readers, not really, deep down. Deep down I want happily ever afters for everybody. They just seem a bit thin on the ground at this point in time.

So today here I am with the blackbird outside my window whose song is no less endearing because it's not beautiful like the king parrot. I'm sure the blackbird knows of things the king parrot will never know of. Of course, the blackbird is not caught up in existential angst and self-conscious conundrums about its state of being. It just does what it does. It's never been told that it lacks something in its blackbirdiness. It probably wouldn't believe it even if it was told that. It would seem absurd. It could sit next to a king parrot and not feel in the least bit inferior because its worth is not based on comparisons. The blackbird sees and hears and thinks blackbirdy things and it does them, instinctively, without questioning. It sings its funny little songs without melody, but are those songs any lesser because they are not the Beethoven of the king parrot? There is charm in the strange warbling that comes from this bird. I like to think that it is more into experimental music than beautiful parrot lilts. It's songs have no rhyme nor reason to them, and yet some parts of them sound familiar to me, as if he (she?) has sung them before. Complex little portions that change beat, tone and time within themselves. The blackbird doesn't have inferiority complexes that it doesn't sing like a king parrot. For all we know, the king parrot feels stilted in its 4/4 timing and has a latent yearning to break free and be a punk.

But I doubt it. Because that is the beauty of animals, is it not? That they just go on and do and be themselves and fill up their own confines because nothing has taught them that how they are is wrong and that they need to change their nature. They just be. Whereas for us self-conscious, wounded souls the way to be ourselves so often seem to be in ways that seem counter intuitive - to get bigger we need to go smaller (but it's not the going smaller of wounding by others, even though it may look the same on the outside), to learn to love better we first need to acknowledge and embrace how we hate and fear. I think Lewis Carroll was onto something with his Alice stories. It's so much harder and more complex for us, isn't it? How nice if we could fly away from it all, from ourselves, from the endless repetition of monkey mind.

I think we can. I think that place is called God. It is a place where comparisons cease (bliss). A place where you can go on in your life and be and do and think your own thoughts and be your own you and see things in your own way - where you are free to be yourself in a greater measure than any human being has allowed. And yet also it is a place of safety, where you learn the discipline of love and how in this space discipline doesn't even feel like that because it is so wrapped up in love that you don't experience it as discipline.

But you have to believe it before you see it. And sometimes, believing it requires a lot of work. It is not surprising to me at all, in this topsy turvy land of paradoxes that we must strive to enter that rest.

Hey, happy Saturday, bloggers. The sun has come out for a brief spell and I'm heading outside :)

Pix: king parrot: Jon Bragg blackbird: Lip Kee



Thursday, 20 November 2008

Pic: Matthew Poon

This kitteh was born in Perth, Western Australia yesterday. It is being monitored closely (I don't know whether it is male or female), but it survived its first night, and is eating, and seems content, and is purring. This cat meows simultaneously out of both mouths, which is why they think it has only one brain.

I hope it makes it.

Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The abovementioned book, by Betty Edwards, has sold 14 squillion copies since it first came out back in the seventies. I got it in the mail the other day, the latest of my online purchases where the cost of postage from the States is 10 times the actual book itself. I have approached this book seriously - I want to do this properly, you know? I need to learn to draw properly because it is starting to irritate me seriously, this distinct lack of technique in creative areas. It is humblefying. So. Purchased as requested a piece of A4 sized acetate plastic with crosshairs drawn in the middle. Two viewfinders of differing sizes. All ready to go. But am I going? Nay, I am stopped.

Not doing much of anything creative, really, the last few days. Nothing is very enticing to me. I have to be disciplined to pick up anything, and I can't seem to muster the discipline. Even writing here is a chore, I must say, dear reader. Sometimes, in my darker ambivalent moods towards blogging, and in certain circumstances, it feels to me like something akin to relational masturbation. Here, have a shot in your arm of this person for 5 minutes. Bah. Still, that is in my darkest moods :)

And blogging is blogging. It can't be compared to real life interaction. It's not. It's patently not and it never will be, nor will it ever take the place of it. Blogging is flatpacked, and in its more negative connotations it can be smoke and mirrors. Still, if you don't think too deeply about it (the way I tend to do with everything) and take it for what it is, and don't mistake it for what it isn't, blogging is a blast. I shall return to blast-off at some point in the future, I imagine! Still, it is nice to not feel any compulsion to post here.

It's a tad frustrating, not creating anything. I feel out of my depth and vulnerable. But still, I know I always emotionally blow these periods out of proportion. It always feels like I will never do anything again. That somehow it will all be taken away from me, or something. Strange. But still, I don't quite believe all that. That's just emotion. The desire will return, probably tomorrow.

But really, all of those excuses aside, the real thing that is impeding me from starting this fascinating looking book is fear. Because the first thing I am to draw is a portrait of myself. The before shot. Look, here's ones other people have prepared earlier:


What a difference. Drawing the before shot when you know the after one is going to be a million times better is an exercise in humility. It has me stalling at the moment but it won't keep me away for too long because I am far too desirous to get into the book to let an hour's feeling small stop me. I am fascinated by her description of the process of drawing not so much as mechanical ability as a way of seeing. I think I understand. I tap into that seeing; it makes all the colours intensify. It's just that I haven't tapped into that way of seeing when a pencil is attached to the end of my hand. This is very exciting, new terrain, if I can look past the fear.

Been thinking a lot about looking past certain emotions to see what lies beyond. I suppose in a way it is a strength of mine, although it hasnt been anything so much as a necessity, over the past 10 years. A necessary reminding of gratitudes, to keep me from sinking under. How strange my life appears to myself. Nothing at all the way I would have expected. So much suffering that I am grateful I could not see into the future. But so much learned. Does the learning make the suffering okay? No, it doesn't really do anything to the suffering, it seems to me this evening. It doesn't make it one iota less painful. And yet what is learned through the suffering, as some sort of byproduct, redeems it somehow.

I saw a young woman today, walking ahead of me into Melbourne Central. Long legged, confident, breezy. I was once like that, just with shorter legs :) And I looked at her and thought, next to her I am like a sparrow, insignificant, ageing, a woodwork dweller. And while my ego recoiled at the loss of my feminine powers, my irritating spiritual type voice said, "Well, oooh, what jewels there are in this space. Sit directly squarely in the middle of it." And so I accepted the challenge, and thought about the good benefits of becoming a woodwork dweller, the things that can be gotten away with because no one is taking any notice of you. I thought good things of that young woman who will be facing the same challenges as me 15 years on from now when she is no longer confidently striding through Melbourne Central. I thought about how my face and my body are not anywhere near the most important part about myself. I thought about how if I was ravishingly attractive to everybody I would recoil from the attention anyway. And I thought about how I am much, much more than my physicality. And then I felt peace.

It's the same thing, on and on, over and over. A withdrawal of yourself down, into a space smaller than you would like. A sitting in that space, if you dare, though it is painful enough to catch your breath on the way in, like brambles on your sleeve. But once in, a spying of a new opening, and walking out into a place that is more spacious than the one you originally left. When does it ever end, this crazy journey where you lay things down only to have them handed to you again later, in a completely different life form? And yet the knowing doesn't make the laying down any easier, because the laying down is death. You know. The usual paradoxical suspects :)



Monday, 17 November 2008

Walking into the food and vegetable section at the supermarket this evening, Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division began playing over the PA. And it was just too weird! Hearing that most depressing of songs in the bright fluorescent light of a food emporium, squeezing tomatoes and avocadoes for freshness, sometimes it's the smallest things to make you feel the disconnect :) The lead singer of Joy Division, Ian Curtis, committed suicide - which is, like, duh when you hear that song. I despise that song. It made me want to go and impale myself on a pineapple head and rip my entrails out and drape them all over the mushrooms.

Driving home on the radio, the DJ back-announced the last song and, without missing a beat before announcing the next, launched into a promotion for Sexpo, the three day consumerfest of goods for the bedroom coming up in Melbourne, a cornucopia of vibrators and other spicy toys, with a free porn DVD on arrival. At Sexpo you can do and buy all sorts of weird things. There is a sex-themed ghost train, like the ones you find in amusement parks except that throughout this train are different scenes of people having sex. And I have plenty of friends who go to Sexpo each year, and drop it casually into conversation as if they're going to a cattle convention or going shopping for aromatherapy products. And the disconnect is strong.

My Mum works at an aged-care facility. Yesterday she told me about how next year, for six months, she will be working at one of two other facilities while the one she works at is being refurbished. The last refurbishment was 20 years ago, it is a perfectly fine facility, but apparently it's required to tear it all down, perfectly good housing, to rebuild it all. Makes me wonder how deep the guilt must lie, and how stupid the bureacratic hoops that must be jumped through, that taxpayers' dollars can be spent getting facilities that are fine the way they are up to relevant "standards". Makes me wonder how much of it is simply so everyone can sleep better at night knowing that our elderly (in this case those with dementia and/or schizophrenia) are being looked after in luxury.

None of these three things are connected. But they all made me feel disconnected :)

Autumn Leaves


Saturday, 15 November 2008

Abbey of the Arts has a great blog and great commenters. Here is a comment, about autumn leaves, from Kigen:

The new vibrant hues are the “original nature” so to speak of the leaf. The green leaf in spring is actually a masking of that original color by the influx of chlorophyll. When the chlorophyll is no longer secreted in autumn we see the true colors of the leaf.
That just rocks my socks, dear reader. Almost makes me jealous that many people are in the throes of autumn. Almost, but not really. I'll sit where I am, thanks very much, where the light is stretching out, trying to finger midnight.

This past winter though was the easiest one I have had for years. Every year that passes and my health improves, it is becoming easier to bear. Certainly it went faster than other years. My art therapist loves winter, lives on Mount Dandenong which is always 5 degrees colder than where I am, and often rainy and dark. She likes the inwardness, appreciates the closeness, the upswing in creativity that comes for her at that time of year. For me, having such disordered circadian rhythms, I need the overabundance of summer light to truly feel alive and most energetic. Perhaps as I regain more energy I shall revere it less. But summer will always spell freedom to me personally. And yet, listening to Maggie's take on the darkest of months, I think I am beginning to enter into a bit more of an appreciation for the mystery of death, the undergroundedness of it, you know? In a world where the true colour of leaves are those that swell our hearts in autumn, everything shifts.

So my appreciation for winter has renewed somewhat, our standoff diminished a point or two. I think listening to Maggie whilst in the midst of the environment of the Dandenong Ranges once a fortnight has done something to alter that. The mystery is on display there in a way it cannot be in the suburbs. I feel, in my bones, one day I shall live there. I was up that way last night, actually, at Ruby's Lounge in Belgrave, seeing some live music. It was great; there is something about listening to music fresh out of the oven that does something calming to my soul. Plants my feet further into the earth somehow.

So I sit here paying homage to autumn and winter when its almost summer. What is wrong with me? I guess I just have a renewed appreciation for everything belonging, you know? All the seasons speak to us in different ways. Now, autumn will speak to me even louder than it already does. Our true natures on display most when living next door to the season of death, the melancholy and fear that can overwhelm if we miss the redemptive beauty existing even in death. My freedom in summer can be diminished if I contemplate the inevitable onrush of winter, the gradual slide down into diminished hours. But I want to embrace it all, because it all matters. It all matters in a world where everything, love and life and melancholia and death, have been enfolded in the arms of grace. Surely in such a space we can all learn to straddle the redemption of the dark.

Pic: from the garden and camera of Kentster



Thursday, 13 November 2008

Every time I see Andrew Symonds I wonder - did he pay a visit or two to Mrs Irwin while Steve was off wrestling crocodiles?

Symonds pic: www.topnews.in Irwin pic: www.topnews.in

In Through the Out Door


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The young woman
hopes that
maybe this time
she'll find her lack
invisible flutters beneath
sophisticated flirting
impossibilities into eyes
as lost as she.

The young man
hears the faint
mewling of
a kitten weaned early
a sucking skin request
to make her real
such a lot to ask
the soul of someone
who's as lost as she.

The young woman is
looking for clues
proof she exists
for what was stolen
a coupla years ago
by a different set of eyes
in a different fucked-up soul
of another human being
more lost than she.

The poor in spirit


Monday, 10 November 2008

“How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs”
(Matthew 5:3)

What an opening line! I always say it’s the opener of Jesus’ inaugural address. “How happy are the poor in spirit.” It’s crucial, a key to everything Jesus is teaching.

Poor in spirit means to live without a need for your own righteousness. It’s inner emptiness; no outer need for your own reputation. If you’re poor in spirit it won’t be long before you’re poor. In other words, you won’t waste the rest of your life trying to get rich because you’ll know better.

Richard Rohr



Charcoal pencil, 4B pencil, metallic copper paint.

Just been to the art supplies shop :) What do I do when I borrow money off my friend? I go and spend 30 bucks at Westart :)

Why, when these things make my mouth water and always have, has it taken so long for me to begin playing with them? It makes me sad in some ways, you know? Sad that I have allowed the loudest voices, the ones that caused the most hurt, to silence me in this way. But hands silenced do not need to stay that way, as dangerous and as vulnerablefying it is to begin to move them, to dance with them, to say what I want to say, words that are mine, swimming inside forever, waiting to be birthed via a medium other than language.

It feels like some kind of wonderful, to begin to speak in this way, however falteringly. I look at my table, and there is something I have shaped with my own hands, and it is rough as guts and I love it. I have a mask hanging on my wall that I have shaped with my own hands, and it is rough as guts and I love it. I love to allow myself to make bad art. Does anyone understand, really, what a grace it is to be able to make bad art?

(Not of course that I think those pieces are bad. On the contrary, I think the technique requires much work, but I think the concepts are totally shit hot. Even if I do say so myself ;)

I do blather on about messing around with bits of paper and paint and clay a lot. It just feels so amazing to be doing this at all, you know? It is something I am still coming to terms with, after supressing myself for 25 years. Twenty five years! A big fat opinionated loudmouth, too scared to draw and to paint. But now. Now, this is for me, entirely for me. Not to prove myself to anybody else, none of those irritating reasons that so often drive us. Not for the sole reason but that I desire to do it. That's enough. Sometimes it's even more than enough. I am rich. Do you understand?



Saturday, 8 November 2008

Wow. That was really very unpleasant. I finally feel like I have gained some equilibrium back from the hell of Wednesday night.

I'm glad I'm not an alcoholic, because my liver is already stuffed. Seriously. Which is probably why I reacted the way I did on Wednesday night. In Chinese medicine, each organ is associated with a particular emotion. The liver's emotion is anger. And oh, boy, have I been angry the last few days? I've been exploding with it, spilling out of my eyes, my ears, but most definitely my mouth - yelling at the poor dogs to get out of the way when they happen to be in my path. This morning they were both sitting there staring at me and it was driving me crazy ape bonkers. They were wondering who this weird freak was who had come in and replaced the nice lady that gave them treats a few days previously. I made them go out of the room and closed the door. Couldn't stand them looking at me. Made me feel horribly guilty :)

I've been thinking for months I need to do a liver cleanse, so it looks like I am suddenly in one. Today I have done liver loving things - eaten beetroot, drank green tea and shitloads of water - and this afternoon bought some tablets that are for "liver detoxing". They are already helping. I am feeling more normal again.

Last night I borrowed a few DVDs, smoked a joint like the good Christian girl I am (which just made me feel worse than I already did, so that was some sort of of backfiring :), and watched The Meaning of Life. Hah :) Good stuff. Tonight I am about to watch Against the Wind, a mini series that was made to great acclaim here in Australia in the 70's, I think it was. Did it make it to the States and England and other places? I know Jane watched it in her childhood in South Ifrica because she was just waxing lyrical about how she loved when she watched it as a kid. I know I loved it too but I have forgotten so much of it. I love this way of watching mini-series - on DVD, so you can gorge yourself on 2 or 3 episodes in a row if you're so inclined. It feels very luxurious to me :)

My internet/telephone connection has been playing up ever since the heavy rain of last night. I think maybe it means I have water in the telephone line or something, if such a thing is possible. It's very annoying and I shall ring and complain like a grouchy old cow on Monday about it. Last night I grouched and smashed the phone around when it kept cutting out. Today it's been intermittent. Tonight it seems to have righted itself. Like me.

I'm off to lie on the couch and feel not angry. It feels really lovely :) Whee! And now I am going to feast my eyes on a youthful black-eyed Jon English :) (What an old perve I'm turning into. Cripes).

Thanks for prayers for me :)

Heavy Metal Hell


Friday, 7 November 2008

I saw a guy at Def Leppard the other night, early 40s, who was wearing an old denim jacket with a Dokken transfer on the back. I saw tons of people in Kiss t-shirts. Lots of skanky bogan people. A guy my age in leather pants. Leather pants are barely able to be worn by even raunchy 25 year old sex machines. And even then, you probably need to be in the band or something. I think maybe wearing leather pants is more offensive than being buck naked :)

I am doing a heavy metal detox. I know there are things still for me to do to regain good levels of energy. This is something I have had a strong gut feel about. Especially mercury. I haven't actually been tested for high mercury, but I do have amalgam fillings. Not only is mercury in some older amalgams, but it is in vaccinations we receive when we are babies. Hell, there's even high levels of it in our tuna. We are so overloaded with toxins in our environment. Unfortunately, they are invisible, so it's not until they drive you under that you start realising it. Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on how you look at it - when it starts driving you under you don't have any choice but to consider the things that might seem flakey, like mercury overload.

Now, it's a good thing I'm a lover of paradox. It features so heavily in my life. Take, for example, my journey from sickness to health. Ever since I got smashed in the face with glandular fever back in 1999, almost everything I have taken (apart from supplements and vitamins) has sent me three steps back before I took a leap forward. A necessary dose of courage and gut feel is required to do that dance. There's nothing worse than gritting your teeth when you have been unwell for months, years, and doing something you know is going to make you feel worse. I was on antibiotics for a year, one week out of four for a whole year. This was to treat the rickettsia. Amongst many other symptoms, it made me feel mentally ill. It's difficult to explain. I know I have tried to here before, but I can't describe how those bugs dying off into my bloodstream would affect my emotions. I knew I hadn't suddenly become mentally unstable (well, no more unstable than usual, anyway :) And yet, it felt like it. Doing this detox, I'm reminded of that most unpleasant scenario. I am feeling so grouchy and irritable, so decidedly unmyself as this stuff leaves my system, that laying low is the best thing for me to do when I feel this way. Like the Toxic Avenger.

Another paradox about being sick is that it has taken getting this low for me to get glimpses of what good health actually feels like. Can't get much more paradoxical than that, huh? When I look back over my life, I actually think my health has been like most other people I know - like the proverbial frog in the boiling water. Like so many other things, it is easy to believe that you've got the real thing - health equalling absence of sickness, in the same weird unlife way that much of Churchianity equals the same old performance trip with a few spiritual things stuck on. Both of those things can take us through life thinking we've got the real thing when we're actually miserable. General malaise is so low-level that millions of people drag themselves through life not realising that they could feel so much better. I have had glimpses of something different, like an oasis up ahead. I have had a glimpse now of how much my health is in my own hands, and how many things there are out there to aide it (none of them in a doctor's surgery), and how much is required to get yourself out of the sludge pit that is ill health due to our toxic environment. How strange that in such an age the road to good health is a crockpot road, according to the wisdom of conventional medicine. How strange that good health is only achieved when we take responsibility for our bodies instead of being dictated to by Glaxo Smith Kline. Health has been commodified and taken out of our hands like everything else. Like everything else, there is some sort of fight reuired on our parts to gain back what is ours to start with.

I am taking something called liquid zeolite. Taken in water, it goes into your cells and mops up heavy metals and other nasties. I can tell it's working because I can feel it. The recommended dosage is 10 drops at a time, 3 times a day. I didn't start out slow, like I now understand you should. I just jumped right in and took 10 drops straight up on Wednesday night.

I had to lie on the couch for over an hour without moving (except to go the toilet from the 2 litres of water I drank along with it - the more water the better, it is how the toxins are removed from your body). I lay on the couch with this localised headache that felt something like a migraine but without the accompanying need for darkness and no movement. It felt really shite and a bizarre feeling. I felt so toxic, so terribly ill, like a river with the local Acme Sludge Smelter spewing stuff out into it. Thing is, it's the same level of stuff in me all the time, causing less energy, and bouts of brainfog and fatigue. It's just that now the pot is being stirred. This is the dance. Eighty five steps back in readiness for the leap forward. I'm glad I have been forced to learn this crazy helldance. It's the way forward for me.

Several hours later on Wednesday night I was feeling reasonable again, back on my feet. But feeling kinda wonky, the way you feel after you've had a bad dose of the flu. I have learnt my lesson. The latest lot of zeolite I have just taken is ONE drop in water. Just one. Because obviously I am full of toxic stuff. Which doesn't surprise me at all.

What amazes me is how the body is able to continue on, functioning after a fashion, while so full of toxins. I feel really crap. Toxic. Really irritable. Itchy. Brainfogged out of my ... well, brain. Just really ... unwell.

It's amazing how much more body conscious I have become since being sick, much more able to tune in and feel how things are going. I've gotten pretty good at the old intuition/gut feel. It has served me well in many things but in terms of improving my health, it has been my saviour. Modern day medicine is as institutionalised as everything else in our society. If I had listened to the man behind the desk, I guarantee you I would still be sick. Hell, when I first got sick, many doctors didn't even believe in CFS. Doctors serve their purpose, but when it comes to chronic illness they know diddly. I guess if I could say something else I am grateful for that came out of CFS, it would be this improved turning inward to listen and watch and feel my body and how it works (amazing machine), and to really start to realise that the only person who could really decide in the end what was best for my body was me. I have done plenty of things to get well that would be considered on the kooky side by mainstream medicine. But from my position looking back at them, they're the kooks. So wrapped up in their half knowledges and specialisations that they can't see the organic whole.

Zeolite was recommended to me by one of my online buds, Brandi, who has begun taking it for her fibromyalgia and is seeing good results. I happened to mention it to my real live breathing friend, Jane. Funnily enough, she had just ordered some of the granulated form the day before to help with certain chemicals in her house that are affecting her. Neither of us had ever spoken to each other before about this zeolite stuff and suddenly here we are both ordering it within 24 hours of each other. Weird. I find those coincidences in life quite thrilling. They are little signposts to me that I am on the right track.

I know I am on the right track. Just like Jane does. She has suffered from CFS for 12 years. She was sick before I met her, has been sick the whole time I have known her. Jane is on her own bout of moving forward into wellness, trying new things. Yesterday she emailed me in excitement to tell me that the night before she had slept straight for 7 hours, woke up feeling refreshed, and had less brainfog that day than she had had in years. This is amazing.

I'm so glad I have Jane in my life. She has the same level of pigheadedness as I when it comes to regaining health. Whatever it takes. I believe that there are answers to be found to good health. We just have to be willing to follow the crumbs.

This post has taken me so long to write!! So anyway, if I seem weird and flakey to you at all over the next few weeks, please forgive me. It's the mercury talking :) Doing this particular part of the dance makes me feel somewhat disconnected from the world around me. Prayer please, if you are of the praying persuasion. It's difficult to keep perspective when you slip down into feeling so awful.

A Grouchy Old Cow's Small Thankfulnesses


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I'm feeling very satisfied today. The sun is shining. Last night I went and saw Def Leppard and they really are such great showmen for a bunch of old farts and they did sing Photograph, just like I asked, and Joe Elliott doth twirl around a lot, and yea listening to a talented guitarist playing great riffs is almost as good as sex (but which is, after all, a dim memory so it's probably not scientific comparison. And guitarists seem to feel the same way, otherwise what's the deal with 'orgasm face' when you're playing the electric geetar?) And I am happy from seeing my friends Andrea and John, and them listening my whingeing and complaining about public spaces without walking away, and getting to chat until 2am and eating McDonald's in the car and ... I feel good. But oh, I feel tired :)

And I feel good because I saw my new friend Louisa the day before and we sat in the sun and had a glass of whine and then we sat on the steps of the beach and bagged everything, and there is something healing about sitting with other Christians and bagging everything, as if we need to make up for all of the years where we had to pretend that everything was fine when it wasn't. And Louisa said, "You can be my complaining friend" and I took that as a compliment, heh! :)

I have my washing machine fixed finally. I hung a load of washing out before and it was sunny and sometimes it is just the littlest things and the joy sparks so deep I feel like I might catch fire, but there is an element of pain in it too, and I think about how maybe one day there will be joy undistilled but we will have to be different creatures in that place or else we will spontaneously combust.

And I am happy because I have $38 to last me until next Monday and it feels like a challenge :) (which is a much different space to be in when you know you have a bit of cash coming to you from unbanked cheques and people you can borrow money off and how sad and lonely it would be having $38 to last until next Monday and no one to help you out if you fell into a heap by Friday, which is probably what will happen to me :)

And I am happy because my brother has left his entire CD collection in my garage and I'm about to go out and delve into it.

And I am happy because it’s almost the US fucking elections and I can stop hearing about how desperately some people seem to need to have a big great leader to hang onto and can’t they see the system will still be just as corrupt as it was before their chosen Messiah came along and why can’t people think for themselves instead of always asking for a king. And I have a theory that a country becomes great when its people live goodly in the small pocket of power that is them living their lives using their own brains and loving the people around them to the best of their ability.

And I am happy because I am a grouchy complaining bitch and I have to end this post on a bad note and even that makes me happy because there is so much to complain about and there is great fun in being a grouchy old cow who complains about everything and yes, I am going to email Rod Laver Arena about their ridiculous no plastic bottles policy and yes, I am happy to be the kind of person who is always complaining about that stuff, like Keith Rugg from Beaumaris who writes into the Herald Sun every time I happen to pick it up. That's who I'm going to grow up to be like, unless God intervenes and makes me a nice girl :)

Image: tricky

We Are All Artists


Sunday, 2 November 2008

Kent mentioned on his blog this morning how he was walking the dogs earlier this week and got to thinking about how we are all artists, because the Creator made us that way. Which was exactly the same conversation I was having with myself the week before while I was walking the dog. Must be something about walking dogs :)

I think this is partially the reason why I got so snarky when I went to the art gallery yesterday. It's been ages since I went. I wanted to go and immerse myself in other people's stuff, give me some inspiration and motivation to go and play with stuff because I haven't in any real fashion for a few weeks now and I'm starting to get bent out of shape. So off to the gallery I went. And I do love going there, I really do. But still, I think going there when I'm already bent of out shape is probably the best time to go there, you know? Saves time.

As soon as I got to the outside of the building, with its chlorinated water wall stinking up the atmosphere, a uniformed customer service person directed me to go in through the entrance to the right, not to the left. As soon as I got in the door a slightly overzealous second customer service person accosted me and told me I couldn't take my backpack in and had to check it in at the cloakroom. I told him that was a shame as I wanted to carry my water bottle around with me, only to be informed that water bottles were not allowed to be taken in either. I then asked him if I was allowed to breathe while I was in the gallery. Maybe he didn't like me very much :)

It was good to be in the art gallery yesterday because hardly anyone was there. As I walked in I battled that always-present feeling that accompanies public spaces that somehow you are not meant to be there. That you don't fit right. That you are guilty as charged for a crime you don't know about. And nowhere is that more apparent than the hallowed rooms containing capital A Art.

What annoyed me about the paranoic requirements of the government to have no water bottles in its gallery was that the only things I saw that were squirtable - ie not behind some form of glass, or bronzed sculptures - were some large Pacific Island totems made out of wood, but surely those also would have been sprayed within an inch of their lives to try to keep them for as long as possible? And anyway, those were being kept a close eye on by one of the many gallery ... what do you call them? guards? - who patrolled each room.

The architecture of the art gallery is interesting. There are little twists and turns and routes to walk down that you are unsure will lead anywhere, only to find around the corner yet another exhibition. It really is a space that invites playfulness and exploration, surely the very essences of creativity. And yet paradoxically, all of the walls are grey - either steel lattice work, as I saw on the escalator, or concrete gunmetal grey. The floors, often, are steel grey also. Rather cold materials and colours, in a place that is ostensibly meant to be about the creative outworkings of our fellow human beings. But then again, maybe gunmental cold is the perfect material for such a place - in my more cynical moments I consider the art gallery the perfect representation of what happens when the best of humanity is shat out through the very small hole of our peace and safety, reductionist, flatpack culture. But then, of course, the building is not meant to be the focus. We are, after all, here for The Art.

I make it a practice to mentally say "fuck you" shake the dust off my psychological feet when I leave places that make me feel unwelcome in some way - ie all of them, so it was nothing new to me to feel unwelcome in my state's own art gallery, owned by me, as a taxpaying citizen of this country, blah blah blah. And indeed, in my own small little way, on my beginning trip of creative self-expression, I went to the gallery because I wanted to be inspired. I wanted to fall into the art of others to fill my well so I could go home and make some of my own. Which is maybe the ultimate fuck you gesture, really.

So anyway, political irritations aside, I did actually wade out of my cynicism for great wads of time, you know, and actually allowed myself to fall into other people's stuff and be transported :) I stood in front of this giant painting by this Pacific Islander (bit of a theme going here) painter called John Pule, and I barely understood what he was saying but of course in another way I totally understood what he was saying and I stood fighting back the tears.

I want to open a "touch, taste, smell" art gallery where you have to roll around in everything you touch. Kind of like a Scienceworks for grownups :) The artists could display there on the proviso that their work might get broken every now and then but what the hell. I know I'd go there :) It's always and forever ironic that a place showcasing the outworkings of the dangerous act of creativity are such safe places. Really, I think gallery guards combined with surveillance cameras combined with glass enclosures combined with extra sensing devices on some pieces will ensure that the Weeping Woman does not once again go on a little trip and the trustees can breathe easy and be unembarrassed. It's just a shame that it makes it so much harder for the rest of us.

But I will be back. There was something about the paranoia and mistrust that fit, somehow, with the spirit of art-making. I just don't think that is their intention. Neither do I think it is their intention to convey to the public, everyday people like the ones who painted the stuff that's on the walls, amazing though it is, that this is somehow above them. But then, most people feel that way anyway. It's the culture we live in. But the fact remains, we are all artists. The Creator made us that way.

It's a Good Thing I Love Dire Straits


Saturday, 1 November 2008

Do you people who live anywhere other than Australia have little ice cream trucks that drive around your suburban streets, like the one above? I have fond childhood memories of hearing the music coming down the street and beseeching my mother, with plaintive hungered cries, for some money so I could get an ice cream.

I have one of those vans in my area. He has just started driving around the streets again now the weather is warming up and eating ice cream is not something you do while shivering under a blanket (well, at least that's how my winter goes).

I find myself singing Dire Straits for six months of the year. It is a good thing I love them, because the music that plays like the Pied Piper to lure all the young kids out (and not so young) is the music that plays at the beginning of Tunnel of Love. I don't know what it is, apparently some French traditional hurdy gurdy carnival music. It's really cute. Which is really good, 'cause from now on, it's gonna be playing on high rotation on Radio Susie :)

Fight the fight, Otto. Some may call you a terrorist. But imprisoned octopi the world over will hear redemption songs ;)

Edit: (I'm joking, BTW. Just mucking around, in case any of you think I'm crazy. I'm just joking. It's necessary to insert such things because boy, looking across the blogosphere, people are flinging labels as fast as they can about political candidates. For mine, it's still the same old stinking ship whatever side of the ledger you're on)

From Telegraph.co.uk:
An octopus has caused havoc in his aquarium by performing juggling tricks using his fellow occupants, smashing rocks against the glass and turning off the power by shortcircuiting a lamp.

Staff believe that the octopus called Otto had been annoyed by the bright light shining into his aquarium and had discovered he could extinguish it by climbing onto the rim of his tank and squirting a jet of water in its direction.

The short-circuit had baffled electricians as well as staff at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, who decided to take shifts sleeping on the floor to find out what caused the mysterious blackouts.

A spokesman said: "It was a serious matter because it shorted the electricity supply to the whole aquarium that threatened the lives of the other animals when water pumps ceased to work.

"It was on the third night that we found out that the octopus Otto was responsible for the chaos.

"We knew that he was bored as the aquarium is closed for winter, and at two feet, seven inches Otto had discovered he was big enough to swing onto the edge of his tank and shoot out the 2000 Watt spot light above him with a carefully directed jet of water."

Director Elfriede Kummer who witnessed the act said: "We've put the light a bit higher now so he shouldn't be able to reach it. But Otto is constantly craving for attention and always comes up with new stunts so we have realised we will have to keep more careful eye on him - and also perhaps give him a few more toys to play with.

"Once we saw him juggling the hermit crabs in his tank, another time he threw stones against the glass damaging it. And from time to time he completely re-arranges his tank to make it suit his own taste better - much to the distress of his fellow tank inhabitants."

Otto opening a jam jar. Photo: EUROPICS