Tuesday, March 13, 2007


For any of the millions of readers of this blog - ha ha hee hee - I am working on other projects currently and rethinking the whole blog thing. I'm sure your lives will flourish without me and will beam in when I have my eggs back in their basket.
Ta ra
The Contessa

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Welcome in 2007

The New Year has come and gone and it has been SOOOO long since I wrote anything here. Why is that?

Too much work during the month of January is definitely the quick response. But an overall flux, a feeling of being adrift and rudderless is the better explanation.
The stars say it's an odd time for one like me. How much faith should I put in just letting it all go and how much effort should I dedicate to getting my shinola together?

I'm always thinking about my shinola - the reason I'm on the planet this time round, the things I am doing with my life.

I babysat two littlies last night and that's was an adventure as always. There's immediacy to child care - and child rearing no doubt - that blocks out all other requirements for a while. It must bring such relief in some ways because you are clearly doing something meaningful and directed in your life when building little human beings. And still people do that and more.

I have been reading a lot - always do when under pressure. And, let's face it, there's so much to read out there. Recently a relative told me she cannot read fiction because "there is just too much to get through in the world". By this she meant there is just sooo much factual information to take in - she reads only non fiction and biogs and the rest. I get that but I feel EXACTLY the same about fiction. There are just sooo many thoughts and fantasies to hear, so many people's musings, over the centuries, on life and living it. Make believe or reality, what does it matter? In good novels the author ALWAYS gives you insights into how they see the world or they imagine a way of living that they might not have the courage, mean spiritedness, audacity or opportunity to live themselves but they just need to explore it anyway.

I've written about comparing oneself to others many times before. I still believe it was one of the most solid developments I made in 2006 - the final acceptance that comparing oneself to others is the path to a big pile of hot, steaming you know what. I'm not saying it NEVER happens anymore. I am saying that I give it a nod and move on. You never know how truly happy anyone is until you are right there in that person's head. I found myself thinking of that last night while baby sitting. There was a moment when the two children were so heartbreakingly divine that I thought, if you looked in the window and saw us, you could concoct a whole happy story as you watched. And yet, I could be a young mum, staring at those kids, and thinking about suicide or some other spiritual pain. God I'm upbeat aren't I?

The reason I cannot compare myself to others was brought home to me clearly this week when I looked at the lives of two fascinating people and was blown away equally by them both. One is a friend's sister who works for the UN and is in Dafur 'brokering peace' - not bad for a girl from country Victoria. The other was an author who goes by the name of Jed Rubenfeld. He is currently a Professor of Law at Yale University and is one of the USA's foremost experts on constitutional law. As a Princeton undergraduate, he completed his thesis on Freud. At the Juilliard School, he studied Shakespeare. He's written a damn fine novel too. I mean really! Can people just stop?

So ... I am not sure where I'm going with this. What a rave! Basically I am sorting through the fog and, with the help of those in high places, some solid forms will be making themselves seen in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Who brought the lavendar?

White lillies covered the coffin. Were they Christmas lillies? It was Christmas after all.

In between, just peaking out, were the lavender buds. Who had put them there? And why?

As she moved close to the coffin, lining up to receive a little Communion, the urge to pluck some lavender was strong. A frantic thought to distract from the sorrow.

The priest had a voice like the film reviewer, the one whose brother is a famous actor; a soothing voice, a voice of wisdom. How interesting. You could sound wise just by the timbre of the voice. Note to self: make a conscious effort to speak at a lower tone.

As people shuffled back to their seats, the Catholics re-joining their non believing brethren for the day, a screen at the front of the church powered up. Images from the dead one's life began to flow, the smiling, happy faces of camera times - births, marriages, parties, dress-ups, restaurants, dead fathers, 15-year-old tennis pros. Is this the sum of us? The snapshots from holidays, the frozen grins from the happier days?

Funny how we don’t take shots of the meaner times – the day our dad dies, the moment we lose the job, the meeting where we get the diagnosis, the point where love is lost. A very different slide show!

Chubby doll-like arms, a blunt, short fringe, the baby on the soap powder box - visions of the gal some 50 years ago. Faces on the screen were faces in the crowd too. The images held power, such power … hot, stinging, tissue-wielding power. A whole row, five from the front, wiped their noses and the pregnant girl on her own, at the end, the one with crutches, swiped across her face with a broad, open palm. She had no tissue.

So many faces, so many smiles, so many showers and new outfits and vacuumed rugs and cleaned toilets and fresh flowers and milk in the fridge and last minute panicking. So many things that make up a life of having friends and entertaining and going out and laughing loud and making tomato relish and working hard each day. Is this the sum of us?

Maybe so and what’s the problem? The sum is the hole we leave behind. The hole, not the whole. The quick punch in the guts we deliver, unexpectedly, to a few dozen people who see a photo, smell a smell, hear a song and think of us, they know we're gone. The sum of us is the hole, the gut punch, the unexpected tear or the wry, cheeky smile, the message of the lavender is what we leave behind.

Monday, December 11, 2006

choke on it

She picked up a piece of the chocolate cake and pressed it hard against his closed mouth.

"I hope you fucking choke on it," she said.

"You're a nasty piece of work Hannah. You better get out of here before I fucking belt you. You've gone too far this time."

In another room, the phone rang. He went to it.

"Matt speaking" she heard him say as she grabbed her keys and handbag. Her hands shook as she started the car. The radio and the aircon were blaring from her last drive. Where was she going?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Missing the party

She did that great thing; that thing where you flick the tobacco off your lower lip, using your thumb and your pointer finger. She loved that move.

She looked across at him, at the slackness beneath his chin, at the whiskers he'd missed at the corner of his mouth.

"I fucking hate you," she thought.

She inhaled deeply on the cigarette, felt it heat her lungs, fill them up like a microwave and a popcorn bag. Little black kernels probably lay at the bottom of her lung, like they do in every shitty popcorn bag.

"So you'll miss the party then, if you go I mean. You won't be coming to the party."

"Yeah I'll miss the party. No big deal is it?"

"S'pose not. I was organising it for you though."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The gift is returned to the sender

Religion must be an amazing thing; true faith I mean.

Sitting in a church, staring up at Saint Someone in the stained glass windows, I pondered how truly fabulous, how reassuring and comforting rock solid faith must be. I envy it.

As grown men quietly brushed away stray tears and hankerchiefs were gripped in worried hands, surely true faith would wipe away all this sorrow? After all, how can one grieve if one knows that those who have died have finally moved on to the most joyous, peaceful, beautiful place we can imagine?

You can dip into pretty much any faith or formalised religion and find succour, find something worth listening to, something to take away, stroke, rub against your soft cheek.

"The gift is returned to the giver" - that's what I heard as I looked at Saint Someone in her stained glass prison. God made us and, when the time is right and we've done what he needed, he takes us back. An interesting concept no?

At the time I was really blown away; I mean, it's kind of beautiful. After all, the gift of life is a little more special than eau de toilette or a pair of thongs and a $10 note that a grown man recently told me he got for his 39th birthday.

Since then, however, I have thought some more. Taking the gift back? Hmmm, some might say it's a kind of miserable thing to do. Others might say it's never a gift in the true sense, it's more of a loan!

Friday, November 24, 2006

things that happen when your father dies

for Carmen

as the original support posts in your life disappear, the free-standing structure becomes all that more exposed; its integrity is tested

no one wears beanies with handmade pom poms on the top

there are gifts you will no longer have to buy

you look at your mother differently ; you look at her as a lover

you avoid a certain seat in the loungeroom

you wonder what to do with his car keys

you begin to look for him in the air around you

initially your own pain is too much; eventually you come to dwell on his

you really do remember some of the funniest times; his smile (even when he didn't wear his teeth) becomes so precious

IF YOU ARE LUCKY he had a chance to see you grow; you had a chance to see him real

you wonder at his strength, his will, his sheer hard work

you see him in yourself a little more

you think that's not so bad

you cry a lot and you wish there'd been just a tiny bit more

there is never more; it will always have to be just enough