Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
House hatred…dissatisfaction

Best Thing of Today
New season of Survivor

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Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
Mowing the front lawn at 8.45am, dripping with sweat, and having kicked-up dust, sticks and tiny bits of mown grass stick to me…at least the lawn is less jungle-like I guess

Best Thing of Today
Remembering my 14 year-old self, while listening to this song by Steve Camp. He, and the friends who lent me his tapes, were such an influential part of my life.

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
I don’t know…I can’t think of one right now…I suppose, standing in the backyard, with the sun beating down, and the smell of spring blossoms

Worst Thing of Today
I need…something…more space…less space…less judgement…more respect…less manipulation…a softened heart

Just Because

I feel angry and resentful. Just because someone else is disorganised, or self-focussed, or manipulative, or demanding, does not mean that I am required to acquiesce to them. My plans do not have to change just because someone else is put out. Just because someone else is frustrated, or childish, or knows how to lay out a passive-aggressive guilt trip, does not mean I have to feel sad, or controlled, or infuriated. I am responsible only for me, I cannot and do not control other people’s happiness. Just because someone else might lash out, or wheedle, or presume, does not mean that it’s my fault, or that I need to ‘be nice’ just to keep them ‘happy’. Sometimes conflict is helpful in the long-term.

But words are easy.

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
Finding the perfect gift for my brother to celebrate his graduation

Worst Thing of Today
Feeling grumpy about parental presumptuousness

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
The beginning of 2 weeks of school holidays – yay!

Worst Thing of Today
I’ve already begun to shorten it in my mind – and, hence, depress myself – by planning all the things I ‘have’ to get done during the next 2 weeks

Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
Going to work, even though I was feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, ‘cos I ‘had’ to get some work done before tomorrow…wonder what difference it would have made if I hadn’t gone…

Best Thing of Today
Making dinner with HL – much less drudgery when one doesn’t have to do all of it alone

American Things That I Miss #4

Reasonably Priced Cell Phone Plans

Our phone plan in the States gave us 2 free phones, regular upgrades, so many minutes they were basically unlimited, and free ‘family’ talk – HL and I could talk to each other for free and not use any minutes – for $70/month (altogether, not each). We used them almost continually: ‘Hey? I’m at the grocery store…Did you say we needed peanut butter?’; ‘Yep, stuck in traffic again. I’ll be a bit late, k?’; ‘Seriously dude, no…no, I do NOT want to watch Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey’; ‘Hey babe. So…how’s it going? Good, k, bye then.’

We were terribly disappointed when we checked out what was available here. I kept thinking that we’d missed something, that we’d asked the wrong questions and hadn’t been offered the full extent of all the phone plans…Nope…what you see is what you get. So we didn’t get a cell phone till about a year ago.

HL was going into withdrawals a little, and he needed one for his job – cab driver – so we bit the bullet and bought him a phone. At first we went with pre-paid, which is VERY common here, but that was ridiculously, prohibitively expensive, so we got the best plan we could find. $50/month, no free phones, no upgrades, some minutes, but not a lot, free 5 minute phone calls to a couple of designated numbers, and no internet.

I’m so pissed off at the difference in value for money between here and the US that I haven’t been able to bring myself to pay for a mobile here. One day, maybe, that’ll change, but, for now, I’ll just stay grumpy about it.

Commerce just seems easier in America…And we’re lazy here. We don’t seem to care enough to demand change.

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
getting to go to bed at 7pm

Worst Thing of Today
it’s all a bit crap today…can’t really summon any logically-strung together words

Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
After making spaghetti tonight, I grated some cheese and brought it to the table. ‘Cept I didn’t… Must’ve been hanging on to it wrong, ‘cos the lid slipped off, which meant that the whole container became unbalanced and fell on the carpet, open side down. Well…the cats enjoyed it.

Best Thing of Today
Borrowed lots of books from the library, in preparation for the coming school holidays (in 3 days…boy, this term has gone quick)

Are you kidding me? You’re playing it again?

Just heard “Chasing Cars”, by Snow Patrol, on tv. About eighteen months ago HL and I lay in bed till about 4 in the morning, listening to our neighbour playing it over and over and over and over and over again as she had a drunken ‘girls night in’. Seriously, we must have heard it about 200 times. In the end I had to throw on some shoes and stumble, bleary-eyed, next door and ask them to turn it down. Ruined a great (albeit, cheesy) song. (Ruined it more for HL than me – I still listen to it, secretly, sometimes, when he isn’t around.)

Long Ago Teenage Angst

When I was in High School, I would sometimes go to class late because I was afraid that no-one would sit next to me if I sat down first.

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
A lovely, pottering-around, sick day at home

Worst Thing of Today
The NEVER-ENDING coughing

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
A lazy Sunday afternoon trip downtown for milkshakes

Worst Thing of Today
Taking way too much cough medicine…and not reading the warning till afterwards: “Products containing sorbitol may have laxative effect or cause diarrhoea.” Oh.

He felt awful

I studied Robert Lowell in Senior English when I was at school. He was one of the first poets I had studied whose poems needed to be unpacked to be understood, and I found their complexity fascinating and their content somewhat disturbing. We focused on Life Studies, and one of the facets that intrigued me was how open Lowell was about family failings. While my family, growing up, was a very open and welcoming one, it was still very private and loyal, so, to watch the Lowell family dissected and their insides laid out for inspection was a discomforting thing.

Terminal Days at Beverly Farms
At Beverly Farms, a portly, uncomfortable boulder
bulked in the garden’s center
an irregular Japanese touch.
After his Bourbon “old fashioned,” Father,
bronzed, breezy, a shade too ruddy,
swayed as if on deck duty
under his six pointed star-lantern-
last July’s birthday present.
He smiled his oval Lowell smile,
he wore his cream gaberdine dinner-jacket,
and indigo cummerbund,
His head was efficient and hairless,
his newly dieted figure was vitally trim.

Father and mother moved to Beverly Farms
to be a two-minute walk from the station,
half an hour by train from the Boston doctors.
They had no sea-view,
but sky-blue tracks of the commuters’ railroad shone
like a double-barreled shotgun
through the scarlet late August sumac,
multiplying like cancer
at their garden’s border.

Father had had two coronaries.
He still treasured underhand economies,
but his best friend was his little black Chevy,
garaged like a superficial steer
wtih gilded hooves,
yet sensationally sober,
and with less side than an old dancing pump.
The local dealer, a “buccanneer,”
had been bribed a “king’s ransom”
to quickly deliver a car without chrome.

Each morning at eight-thirty,
inattentive and beaming,
loaded with his “calc” and “trig” books,
his clipper ship statistics,
and his ivory slide rule,
father stole off with the Chevie
to loaf in the Maritime Museum at Salem.
He called the curator
“the commander of the Swiss Navy.”

Father’s death was abrupt and unprotesting.
His vision was still twenty-twenty.
After a morning of anxious, repetitive smiling,
his last words to Mother were:
“I feel awful.”

Robert Lowell

Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
HL had to get up at 4.15am to go to work, which meant that I woke up trés early on a Saturday and couldn’t get back to sleep for a couple of hours

Best Thing of Today
Pizza and movies and beer

Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
Dragging my sick self out of bed and ‘getting through’ today

Best Thing of Today
Dragging my sick self home at the start of the weekend

Best and Worst

Best Thing of Today
Dinner made for me, and the dishes washed (yay HL!)

Worst Thing of Today
Foolishly staying up way past the time I should have gone to bed, which will mean getting the appropriate amount of sleep will be difficult…something which I’m going to try to forestall, right now

Sittin’ in the theatre, readin’ the program, and waitin’…

I posted the poem ‘Effanineffable’ a little while ago, and in the last few days there have been lots of people coming here because of that post. Not quite sure why the sudden interest, maybe there’s an English class somewhere doing a unit on ‘The Poems of T.S. Elliot’, dunno…anyway, I started thinking about the first time I came in contact with Elliot’s ‘cat poems’.

Even though we grew up in a tiny little town, many, many hours away from ‘the big smoke’ my parents, and, in particular, my mum, wanted to make sure that we weren’t disadvantaged culturally. Not only did we go to every possible theatrical, educational, cultural or musical performance within 200 kilometres, we were also periodically taken on the 7 hour trip to Sydney to see the ‘big shows’ – ‘Les Mis.’, ‘Starlight Express’, ‘Cats’

Every production we went to see was amazing and cemented a love and appreciation of performance which is undertaken with high production values, and I could rhapsodise about any of them, but I’ll confine it to the relevant one.

I think I was about 10, and my brother 6-ish, when we went to see ‘Cats’. (Actually, I just checked the Wikipedia page, and, yes, I was 10.) There’s a moment, right before a performance begins, when you’re flipping through the program, thinking about the possible plot/music/action, looking at the photos of ‘the principals’, and slowly immersing yourself in the experience, when the possibilities seem uncontained, when you get little glimpses into what the next 3 or so hours could hold, and the anticipation builds.

The set of ‘Cats’ is somethin’ else. The immersion of the audience into the action  environment  world is instant, even as you’re clambering to your seats (in the nosebleeds for us 🙂 ). The rubbish dump that houses these ‘effanineffable’ cats is built to scale and encases the whole theatrical space. As humans play the cats in this colony of strays, all of the props are built to dwarf the humans, so the proportions of the empty cans of Coke and the rotting tires and the old newspapers are huge. And, not only is everything supersized, it doesn’t stay on the stage. All of the seats in the theatre are surrounded by piles of massive and intricate garbage, close enough to touch.

As we were ushered to our seats I was truly aware that there would be no wondering in that moment before the start of the production. It was so apparent that there would be no desire to curl up on the floor and fall asleep during this show. I sat, entranced, feeling engulfed by the elaborate stage dressing that had leaked from the stage into the audience. Even though the excitement and joy was immense during that time of waiting, it was not, in any way, to be compared to the excellence of being swept into the actual show itself.

I remember the delight, even as I was not really understanding the ‘plot’, as Webber’s music and Elliot’s strange and magical and detailed words created something. Something that was about an unknown and obscure, but complex, world, that contained depth and mystery and…completeness, I guess.

I might be overthinking, over-remembering, but I can feel myself – 23 years ago – feeling transported and overjoyed at this glimpse of a world.

I wonder if I forget sometimes that, in terms of eternity, I’m still just sitting in the audience, reading the program, anticipating the world to come. The set’s pretty elaborate, and reminds me that the bit to come – the ‘real’ production – is gonna be overwhelming, and all-encompassing, and characterised by high  perfect production values. Effanineffable…

Worst and Best

Worst Thing of Today
Sore throat, aching joints, throbbing head and much phlegm

Best Thing of Today
Every time I watch this clip I love the joy derived from silliness.

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