Friday, April 30, 2010
I never did quite manage to work out how to upload the last article in the Herald onto the blog, but lucky for us all, my trusty graphic designer friend has put it up on the website. You can find it under the 'news' tab. Very exciting indeed! Have a great weekend blogees.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have just returned from a lovely trip to the supermarket.
Not possible you say. I would have thought so too.
When I lived in New York it seemed normal to buy your coffee and milk at two o’clock in the morning and do your laundry just before the sun got up, (there was a little beer garden out the back and a sign requesting you remove all bullets before placing your clothes in the machine) but that doesn’t appear to be the norm in old Sydney town.
The closest to it I can get is a spin through Woolies at midnight and let me tell you, what a joyous shopping experience it is.
You see, I get horribly distracted in a supermarket. By the selection of lettuces and the variety of jams, by the babies screaming and the mothers joining in. By the old men leaning on their trolleys because they’re too old to hold themselves up, and the barefoot uni students buying a loaf of white bread and a packet of skinny sausages. By the horrible music they play that always manages to sound like a Christmas tune, by the Nutella spill in aisle three, by the choice of eggs (which took me a while to locate in the first place because in the US you’ll find them in the fridge) when all I want is an un-hormoned, happy hen that lays its eggs in a little straw nest and an old lady called Marge collects them every morning, pulls off the feathers, wipes off the poo and sends them off to the supermarket for people like me to buy. By the number of items the deli calls sliced meats, by the frozen peas and my eternal debate about whether the name brand is of lower quality. (They aren’t, I don’t believe, and I keep a packet handy in the freezer to mix with a mashed potato or put on a swollen post-knee run).
By the time I get back to the checkout, I’ve forgotten half the things I actually needed (milk, oranges and peanut butter – absolute staples in my diet) but do have three different boxes of crackers, (something wheaty, something foreign and the standard box of Jatz) half a dozen fresh figs the price of which I gag at when the checkout person weighs them, and dryer sheets even though we don’t have a dryer.
Not the case at eleven thirty at night, with half an hour to go till they close, and the only thing to worry about is running over the deodorants left waiting to be stacked in the toiletries aisle. There is no irritating music, no distraught youngsters, no one parking their cart sideways while they read the ingredients on every tin of Campbell’s soup, no overwhelming smell of all day cooking barbequed chicken, no kamikaze grapes to dodge in the produce section.
I can take my time in the cereal aisle (I have been known to live on breakfast alone and take the buying of such an item very seriously indeed) carefully reading the ratio of fibre to potassium though I don’t know how much I need of either anyway. I wander down the miscellaneous aisle filled with tea strainers, pencils and paper plates and wonder – again – why I didn’t skip it.
I actually read my list of essential purchases and have the patience what’s more to seek them out.
It’s me, the nighttime stackers, some lady in an aubergine dressing gown and a bloke buying enough cigarettes to supply a small village.
Peaceful, polite, late night shopping. No queues, no madness, no nonsense.
And I tell you, my groceries taste all the sweeter for it.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
If any of you get Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald, take a look in the careers section. I know, not a spot you'd think to find me in, but have a read of this week's 'the office'. It's written by yours truly!
I can't seem to find the online link unfortunately, but i'll keep looking!
I can't seem to find the online link unfortunately, but i'll keep looking!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Today was not a good day in the life of Naomi. The literary agent rejected me. Nicely, but rejected me just the same. The rejection came with a very helpful critique of my work and a tag in an email that said she thinks I am a talented writer of humour.
And that, friends, is unfortunately enough to keep me keeping on. Those few words are enough to encourage me to get back to the computer and try again. That’s the problem with artists. No matter how well aware we are of the realities of our profession, and how dreadful the odds of making our passion our career, every time we submit our work, or ourselves, there is a part of us that genuinely believes we’re going to get it. Otherwise, why would you do it in the first place? How could you do it in the first place? Would you go for a job in HR if you really didn’t think you had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting it? Probably not.
And it’s that (so far) unyielding sense of optimism that won’t allow me to quit and find an easier path to take. Don’t think I haven’t tried to talk myself into a full time career as a long distance truck driver, (though I have serious case of driving narcolepsy so that’s perhaps not the best choice) but there is nothing else I want to do.
Just sing and write.
And until that optimism, that belief in myself that somehow, someday I will make it all work, fails me, I’ll still be here, blogging and submitting, writing and editing, singing and dreaming…and running. Because this is what I thought about while I pounded around the edge of our beautiful harbour and tried to cheer myself up.
You put yourself in this mess Hart, so you can find a way out of it.
This is a war of attrition. If I hang in here long enough, one day I will win.
Monday, April 19, 2010
So I didn’t go to yoga. I needed to run. These last couple of weeks I’ve had a bit of Gregoryitis. I miss my husband. Just once it would be nice to have more than twelve minutes a day with him. Maybe even have dinner together, watch a movie, go for a walk, talk. You can see what type of mood I am in and ninety minutes of someone telling me that ‘this is today’s journey, just embrace it’ while I’m desperately trying to reach behind me and grab my left heel with my right elbow just wasn’t going to cut it.
And so I ran...terribly. Butch our thirteen-year-old dog could have done a better job. But you know, with running and me, that’s just not the point. Sure it wasn’t a run to be proud of, but it did clear my head, I wrote the start and middle of two new stories and had an imaginary conversation with my husband on our perfect night out. This is why I run. And this is why nothing else will suffice. Dancing is glorious and it makes me feel free, swimming is methodical and fun for a change, walking is for old people and yoga for those who’s zen is far easier to locate than mine. But running, running eases my soul.
And now I can go to teaching without taking my gregoryitis out on my students. And that, is a good thing to be sure.
How many kilometres is it from Town Hall station up to the Mint building for coffee, through the park to the art gallery, through the Archibald Exhibition, out to the café for lunch, back through the Art Express Exhibition, back across the park down to the bus station and home? Because that’s what I did instead of running today. I talked about running if that counts. On national radio no less. You can hear it if you like. And since today was such a lovely, low-key, hang out with my mother and cousin, look at art sunshiney day, I didn’t need to run as much as I normally do. I’m a little antsy and taking the dog for a walk hasn’t quite cured it, but sometimes I wonder, if just like someone on long-term prescription medication often tries to reduce their dose, if that’s not a bad idea for me. Am I too reliant on running for my sense of wellbeing? Without it am I difficult and withdrawn because I haven’t had a chance to process the day’s incidents? Do I find it difficult to relax if I haven’t worn myself out? The answer to all these questions is unreservedly yes, but I’m not sure that’s healthy. So, unadvised by any medical professional, I have forced a reduction in medication by not running today and deciding to yoga instead tomorrow.
This could be interesting folks, I’ll let you know how I (and anyone around me) fairs.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Is it just me, or has the number of breeds of small dogs in Australia increased dramatically during my absence over the last seven years? I don’t mind the occasional game of dodge the dog, but the smaller they are, the bigger the problem. They’re harder to see, they dart rather than trot, their movements are unpredictable and they are NEVER ON A LEAD!!!!!!!!!!!! I appreciate giving dogs their freedom – I would try with ours but he has no street skills and we live just off a major arterial road. He would be free all right. Or his spirit would be, as he took up his place in doggie heaven.
All I mean to say is, sometimes it’s a little frustrating to have to hop, skip, cartwheel, gallop and levitate to avoid squashing a dog the size of my sneaker under my pounding heel. Truly this is not a rant against dogs, or dog owners, I am one and a lover of both. But it’s a bit like when people are strung out all along the footpath and the person directly in your way refuses to move over to allow you passage despite the fact that footpaths are, as far as I’m aware, a two way street. Dogs don’t speak English, so I don’t expect them to understand. But presumably their owners do. Does it not occur to them that their untethered midget canine is actually rather a nuisance? If the situation were reversed and I was blithely allowing my pet duck to wander at will across a path, would they not find themselves frustrated?
Don’t worry, I didn’t let this issue with the vertically challenged pooch ruin my run, and it was a glorious one in the warm, fading autumn sun. Owing to my article in today's Sydney Morning Herald, I had skipped Yoga out of fear that someone would recognize my name when I checked in to take class, but will be back again tomorrow. I don’t normally do this many yoga classes in a week, but the tight arse in me is lured by the flat rate they offer you for the first seventeen days. I guess they hope you’ll develop a yoga-addiction, but for me it’s purely mathematics. This is a good deal and I’m going to exploit it.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I did it. I went back to yoga. I know I vowed to weeks ago, but making it public really forced me to go…eventually. And it wasn’t too bad. Honestly. I think the instructor designed the class just around me – all the stretches were the ones I should have been doing after every run but somehow seem to always forget.
Flatulence is an interesting problem in Yoga. Perhaps it’s the positions you worm your way into, or maybe it’s the way the instructors foster a sense of sharing and togetherness. “We’re all on a journey, supporting and encouraging each person’s individual path.” Maybe so, but does that really include their bowel movements?
I always wonder what my fellow devotees (as we’re sometimes called) are thinking when the instructor is banging on about our journey. If you’re lucky they let you get into child’s pose (though to this day I’ve never seen a kid actually pull this move) where you fold your legs under themselves, lean forward between them and stretch your arms out in front. The instructor can’t see your face this way so I tend to consider it nap time and let my mind wander. While they are busy telling me about the joy of a yogi’s spirit I am busy planning my next meal. Baked beans or eggs, I think if it’s an early morning pre-breakfast class. The good thing about yoga is, you can usually get by without talking to anyone so I tend to rush out of the house without cleaning my teeth. I don’t deem undies essential either since you’re in form fitting clothes as it is, but I do consider my peers and wack on a bit of deodorant. I wish I could say the same about them. Yoga is often synonymous with vegans, being at one with your environment and dreadlocks. None of which I have a problem with. Abandoning hygiene however, I do. If you’re living in a hut, practicing your warrior three on an abandoned beach, go ahead, smell as much as you like. But this is Australia. We consider ourselves a civilized nation. Deodorant is not a conspiracy, it’s a necessity. Trust me people, nothing puts you further away from being ‘at one with your environment’ than filling the room with the stench of last night’s tofu curry.
I also tend to get a bit distracted by the ujjayi breathing they try to make you do. (Other names include ocean breath, hissing breath, or victorious breath, though I’m not quite sure what you’ve won or whom you’ve beaten). Apparently we’re trying to constrict the throat to find a more powerful breath but the logic doesn’t hold for me. I’ve tried it, but I feel like I’m gargling my own spit and everyone around me sounds like they are preparing to hock a loogie which makes me very wary to slip into a yogic state and find my zen.
Having decided to breath exactly as I’ve been doing for the last thirty years, I proceeded through the class and worked out some of the knots in my left quad. The best part is the final move where you get to lie down, close your eyes and meditate. I enjoy a little mini-nap here, and am about to go an enjoy a longer one in my waterbed. Goodnight blogees. I’m sorry I haven’t written more of late, life outside the yoga studio has been very far from zen.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I played another focus game with my students today, and decided to use Easter as the theme. Again, they had to come up with words associated with the holiday and one of my students said this; “oh you know…excellent Friday.”
Isn’t that fabulous! Close, but so much better than the original. Don’t just have a good Friday, have an excellent one.
And today is, indeed an excellent Friday. One of those autumn days where you can pretend the glorious sun and gentle breeze is going to last all the way to September when it will start to get warm again. My imagination is my greatest device but sometimes I wonder if it could also be my downfall. Sometimes when I hear about a landslide, or an earthquake, and people are discovered alive under the rubble three days after the disaster, I wonder if I could be one of those people. What would I do stuck in the dark for seventy-two hours straight? No one to talk to, nothing to eat, nowhere to run. Would I survive? Or would I do myself in? I like to think my vivid imagination could transport me to an alternate universe where I forget that I’m lying under a collapsed building and am, in fact, at a wonderful party, or swimming at the beach, or running through the bush. But I’m an impatient kid, always on the go, which could definitely work against me. Gregory’s stubborn streak would see him prevail. Ain’t no way a building is getting the better of him. They're a bit macabre, these thoughts I'm having and I’ve got no idea why they are consuming me today. This is not the attitude of Excellent Friday. Time to change track, get out for a run and live! It's Australia. We haven't had a tsunami, we don't have volcanoes, earthquakes are a remote possibility. The closest thing to dangerous on this run is me tripping and falling into the water. Hope I haven't jinxed myself...
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the grass is green. There is a gentle autumn breeze rippling through the turning leaves and I am going to get out in it. My two lily-white legs will carry me around the shores of our majestic harbour and I am going to love it. Simple pleasures I agree, but if seven years in New York teaches you nothing else, it’s that simple also often means free, and that’s the best kind of pleasure to have.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Are you meant to exercise over Easter? Sometimes I can be discouraged by the feel of autumn in the air and wuss out. Tomorrow, I think, as I snuggle into my slippers and bathrobe. It’s such a lovely holiday, the Easter long weekend, and my first one home in eight years was even more so. Family, friends, yummy desserts and Easter Monday takeaway. Long walks, longer talks, crisp sunshine, bright cool nights.
But I still awoke on Sunday morning far earlier than I intended owing to the extra hour we gained as we abandoned daylight saving. Usually I love this day, and consider the sleep-in the only good thing about winter. This year I didn’t even get that and by 8.30am while Gregory was still sleeping soundly, the ants in my pants were busy indeed. So off I went, listening to my favourite running album and running my new favourite route. Easter is about renewal, and that’s certainly how I feel living back in my old stomping grounds. Everything has changed but it’s all still the same. I’m still me, my family is still mine, Sydney still has bad public transport. And yet, I’m now the me with my husband, we are our own family, an off-shoot from whence we came and the buses I catch seem to be running on time.
The passages of time slip by with great excitement and yet also great mundanity.
This is the glory of life. And I pondered it while I ran.