Telly’s fading light

We used to have a thing.

Me and the Telly.

We would meet every night, around 8.30 to bask in each other’s light until, satisfied with my daily bout of visual stimulation, my ‘just resting’ eyelids would dampen my consciousness into a helpless, exhausted slumber on the family micro suede lounge.

My Telly would watch over me, whispering sweet god knows what into my shell like (the one not crushed into pins and needles upon the lumpy cushion), standing guard until I’d finally manage to remotely kill it and drag my pop-culture drugged body and brain to my waiting bed.

This went on for a couple of years. I would hang out to give in to this always waiting nightly companion, to indulge its silliness or seriousness; it never stood me up…unless there was a power blackout and candles became my fairweather friends.

Granted, sometimes Telly was a bit boring and repetitive, but I forgave it and pushed through those times with gritty determination not to lose our connection, sealed with my inevitable petite mort.

Telly was my daily release from the stresses of full time work, accommodating the needs of growing children, keeping my mind off emotionally draining personal issues. Until…

Telly began to appear jaundiced, less interesting, untrying, no longer addressing my fickle changing needs. I’d seen and heard it all before, the predictable one-liners, ulterior motives, self-serving messaging and imagery. Our connection was waning.

And my head was eventually turned by another more soothing, dependable suitor.

My Bed.

Pimped with new linen, soft lighting, a plethora of bedside novels, my Bed and I began a torrid affair that continues to this day.

Some mornings I can barely drag myself away from my Bed and the hollow I’ve made in the very fabric of its soul. We eat together, read together and sleep together, often enjoying an afternoon delight I could never dream of experiencing with Telly.

Occasionally I flirt with Telly, and although I sometimes hanker for those old days, I know the magic’s all but….gone, like the pinprick of light in the centre of the screen when “there’s no more Telly, it’s time to go to bed, as Neil from the Young Ones was want to moan.

We know each other intimately, embracing each other’s faults and lumps, celebrating them no less! Bed doesn’t try to sell me new PJs to replace my old faves, instead becoming my bed clothes without complaint or jibe.

We even have our own song…Gonna live while I’m alive, and sleep with my Bed.

Thanks for the inspiration Jon Bon Jovi.original-philips-television-ad-retro-tv-1960s

 

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A pocketful of practicality

LET me take a moment to pick your pocket. I mean your brain! About pockets.

There are so many other important issues I could and probably should be writing about, but I’m here to lighten your cerebral load, and mine, with unimportant piffle.

Pockets.

I love them, don’t you (no answer necessary). In fact, I feel pockets should have featured in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s My Favourite Things, because they are in fact, among them, much like schnitzel with noodles.

I appreciate these nifty sacks in my jeans, coats, shorts, shirts, skirts and dresses. Except that their presence in women’s clothing is sorely lacking, especially in professional clothing, which these days seems to constitute figure-hugging dresses and pants, floaty blouses and tiny, ineffectual jackets, usually without a practical compartment between them.

My work means I often carry a notebook, pen, phone, keys, business cards, camera….Ok – the camera can go over my shoulder, but if I already have a handbag there, it just becomes cumbersome. And running from danger, or towards deadlines, becomes, well, inelegant and lacking in vital speed.

Except for when I wear this one dress with the most bottomless pockets I’ve ever experienced! So deeply satisfying and right on Target (shameless promo alert), it is now very well worn. My keys, phone, pen, small palm-sized notebook, lip balm, a couple of mints and a credit card all fit in these two generous storage silos, leaving me hands-free. And only partially bulky, and jingly.

It’s just like a gentleman’s suit pants and jacket with their overabundance of easily accessible and/or secretive receptacles for … stuff, which men probably don’t even use, especially now that fob watches are a thing of the past.

Is it a marketing conspiracy between designers of womenswear and handbags? If women’s clothing remains largely pocketless, handbags will always be necessary, along with our imagined need to squeeze everything, except for the kitchen sink, inside them just in case.

These purpose-designed clothing cavities prevent a security blanket approach to life. They also prevent that quaint habit of prancing around a sticky pile of handbags on the dance floor, or tripping over the strap as the bag plummets to the floor during other…activities.

And I’m so over being cheated by that flattering pantsuit or snappy jacket that appears to have pockets, only to discover they are sewn-on pretenders. That’s just cruel! Almost as barbaric as those flimsy pockets that develop a fraying hole after just a handful of key insertions.

Maybe it’s about cost. Pocketless clothing does seem cheaper that the pouchified alternatives. But like diamonds, I’d prefer to pay for the real thing than settle for the zirconia version. Yes, it’s that crucial to my daily happiness, and the warmth of my hands during winter.

It’s time to stand up for our pocket rights! Women too, need and value pockets. Maybe even more than men.

For a sing songy reminder of what would we do without pockets, Sesame Street has this beauty from the YouTube vault.

Giving the colour pink a bad name

I am pink with irritation.

Not all women like pink or consider themselves denoted as female by the mere use of the sickly colour.

Not all women appreciate being singled out as such, by being told they can now park more safely in their own special pink ‘female-friendly’ car bays, where the security lighting and CCTV coverage is better.

And not all people are stupid enough to have the woolly fairy floss of laziness pulled over their eyes by a council trying to get away with not spending money on decent car park security for everyone – regardless of gender, age, ability or whether or not you have children and a pram in the back of your wagon.

Here, in the marshmallow-scented capital city of the nanny state of Western Australia, the City of Perth has employed a sugar-coated marketing ploy to encourage women to park in the few car bays that do have proper night lighting and CCTV coverage.

Mary Poppins would recognise this as a cynical attempt to spend less on security, spit spot!

It is a spoonful-of-sugar attempt to provide better protection, but glaringly it’s aimed at only one section of society.

A small article in Perth’s daily newspaper today states the bays will be easily identified by pink signs, walls and poles during a three-month trial close to exits in one council car park.

But here’s the real icing on the cake. The article also states, without attribution to anyone, that the bays are “the same size as regular bays”.

If that statement isn’t a slight on women drivers, I don’t know what is – the size of the bay will not influence the behaviour of would be attackers any more than the colour pink.

So why was this information even in the article in the first place? If it is a question that has been asked by several, prompting that line of enquiry, then whoever supplied the response should be quoted, at least.

If statistics do exist somewhere showing women as the main culprits of at fault bingles, scratches and crashes in car parks, it’s probably because they are usually the ones that drop off children to school/childcare on their way to work before parking the family car, and again later as they are slowly irradiated by fluorescent lighting while foraging at the supermarket.

There are statistics that show men are just as vulnerable to attack in public places at night, with many ending up in hospital after banging their heads on kerbs and bitumen as terrible proof.

At its worst, the pink-ifying of parking bays almost accepts that there will be attacks on women in car parks because they are vulnerable targets. No – that behaviour is not acceptable in society, for any gender.

Yes, women do like it when someone is kind, or thinks of our comfort and/or safety. But so do men. So why can’t the City of Perth be nice to everyone and provide secure parking for all? Not just those born with ovaries and a stereotypical matching obsession with the colour pink, or the men who love the delicate shade and can park carefree in the knowledge that they will not be fined for doing so and will be safer for it.

Now, that would be just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Mascara malcontent – an ancient first world problem

It’s just me, isn’t it…

I have an unhealthy dependence on mascara – extreme black, because black isn’t black enough. Noir, it’s not.

I don’t mean your mascara, the must-have mascara of the moment, or mascara per se.

I don’t horde it, sleep in it, or get sucked in by the unearthly claims some cosmetics marketers of the humble eye lash filler, tout.

No, it’s nothing like that.

My issue is this.

I can’t. Let. Go. Of. My old mascara!

Over many months (more than the three recommended by opthalmologists) I develop a trusting relationship-slash-addiction, to the way my particular brush intimately understands each of my individual lashes, and how the perfect gooeyness of the waxy pigment spreads on them so perfectly and evenly. And in a jiffy, too – I know my mascara so well that it allows me to deftly apply it in just a moment. Or two. No slaving over a steamy mirror for me.

But of course, inevitably, sadly, the tube’s contents get low, even though I have convinced myself its contents are bottomless. About a month after I have begun scraping the bottom of that skinny little barrel, I begin to admit that I’m going to need to buy – shock, horror – new mascara.

It fills me with such fear! Why? Because new mascara, as shiny and as exciting as it looks in its alluring-slash-confusing packaging, it never fails to disappoint me! Even if the claims of extra length, volume and thickness have raised my naïve hopes.

The brush is always too clean – I prefer it perfectly caked in aged pigment; the paint too thin – I prefer it perfectly caked in aged pigment. The whistle-clean brush and watery paint DOES NOT cover my eyelashes!

Like a balancing crane, I stand before the mirror cultivating a stiff neck for an inordinate amount of time so that the fine hairs growing from my eyelids are not naked in public. And it makes me late for work, socialising and life!

Why can’t new mascara be like old mascara! Revlon, Rimmel, Rubinstein – can you hear me! It needs to be viscous – I don’t have time to apply 127 coats to each lash every morning!

And so, what generally happens is, I go back to my old mascara. For another week. Or two. Why? Because I trust its performance even though I’m down to the dregs.

Then I swap brushes, mix pigments (not recommended by health professionals, at all!) and eventually – like in 5 days – the consistency and the new brush starts to become a little more malleable. It would be so much easier if the transition could be seamless, like when you run out of lip balm.

Then I wouldn’t have to store one of my favourite old mascaras in the car’s centre console, for emergencies such as these. And I wouldn’t have to feel as if my eyelashes are dressed only in their bra and knickers instead of the full outfit.

Eventually, my trust builds and again, I am in torrid love with my mascara. We go everywhere together, never disagree and rarely cause inconvenience or lash shame (yes, it’s a thing), until…

Look. I blame being a child of the 80s when it was not unusual for me to wear purple, blue and teal mascara…not at the same time.

In the 60s it was eyeliner, in the 70s blue eye shadow.

In the 90’s, actually, I’m not sure. I stuck with my trusty mascara…old habits die hard.

After all, historical records show that mascara was used as early as 4000 BC in ancient Egypt.

Even I know that mascara is just too old 😉

 

Bucket already half full

I’m not sure if my latest impulse buy is confirmation that I have a bucket list or that I am indeed, part bogan.

Firstly, let me qualify a couple of things. I get BOGANS – Bold, Ostracised, Generous, Aussie, No-nonsense Shit-stirrers. They are comfortable in their own skin, make no apologies for it and believe in living for the moment, regardless of how it looks to others. All while wearing black skinny jeans, a flanny shirt and Ugg boots even if it is 40 degrees – not my chosen uniform, but I do love slumming it in a pair of tracky dacks, gymboots and a sloppy jumper come winter.

Of course, it may also be relevant that I grew up watching Bon Scott on Countdown in a Pilbara mining town before living in a suburb known as Armadale-by-the-sea for a couple of decades, and then moving up in the world (in my language, this simply means closer to Fremantle) to a former market gardening suburb where HSVs are commonplace.

But I had no idea I even had a bucket list. Until I bought myself a ticket to AC/DC. Then it really sunk in. I had given in to a long held desire to let there be rock.

Yep, little old me. Former journalist of 30 years, fulltime newspaper Editor for five, lover of gender fluid funkster Prince and the Revolution, green tea, antique chairs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, period dramas, burgeoning book cases, a 20-year-old book club habit and a heavenly clutch of bookish bosom buddies to go with it.

At this point I feel you urging me to explain the bloody awesomely liberating act of buying a ticket to see Australia’s international rock legends, and I will in due course, but first I must tackle the largest land mammal with a prehensile trunk in the room – the bucket list.

I can remember being baffled by what one was, until someone explained the bleedin’ obvious – it’s a list of things we really want to do before we kick the bucket.

Ohhh, that. How maudlin. When the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman movie (which I still haven’t seen) of the same name came out in 2007 I felt the phrase was a trendy Americanism that I needed to shun. Research suggests that may be the case, although its idiom was used as a totally unrelated computer programing term since the 60s. You really needed to know that!

If we think about the retrospective concept of a bucket list, we all started kicking goals off it years ago – I have flown to Brisbane especially to see Prince, I’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower and Uluru, explored Karijini, done a tandem skydive, skinny dipped at Cable Beach, been on an exotic overseas Club Med holiday, ridden on camels and elephants (the latter now a regret), cuddled a baby tiger, driven across the Nullarbor, sailed the high seas aboard a Bark and scaled its 33m main mast, swum with dolphins, interviewed the first female Prime Minister of Australia and managed to keep two incredible daughters alive until (near) adulthood.

And now I get to see those fathers of rock, Acca Dacca, after years of threatening to make do with seeing a tribute band – the suggestion of either option irking even the thickest of my thieves.

And while I am stoked, if not a little (shit) scared, I can’t wait to be one of those about to rock while being saluted by the makers of a music brand that has the kind of primal, driving, addictive beat only a nest of Sunnis in Fallujah would avoid. There are reports that US troops blasted enemy snipers with Hell’s Bells via loudspeakers during the Iraq War in 2004.

I hope the no doubt diehard folk in the seats next to me can embrace my bookish appreciation as this problem child shakes all night long to some high voltage rock and roll, come November.

What goes down always comes up roses

THANKS to an interesting Facebook post http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/ – relating to emotions people feel but can’t explain – I realised there were a couple among the list of 23 words that went some way to describing the aftermath of my last big fall. No, not the shopping centre slip up of recent days, but the shit-scary bike stack I managed to walk away from in 2006. I put together a descriptive piece about six months after the ordeal, and I‘ve included it below, for your cringe-worthy enjoyment.

I fell off my bike. Aged 37.

It wasn’t just a little bingle, like those giggly stacks you have at Rotto http://www.rottnestisland.com/, it was a nasty, head-over-handlebars-while-speeding-down-a-big-hill style stack that would have appeared painfully spectacular to onlookers.

Perfect fodder for funniest home videos; ugly but hilarious all at the same time, with the rider “no outdoorsy mothers were injured during the filming of this video.”

I can still feel the massive blow to my chin as I ploughed into the concrete path, and that was more than six months ago.

The flashbacks only hit me occasionally now. For a while there everything I thought about doing, driving the car, riding ‘the’ bike, even going for a walk, would end in an eye-scrunching memory of that “bang”. It made me much more paranoid about the possible negative outcomes of doing everyday things, too. I’ve since progressed to riding my bike again, even down that big hill, although I avoid that part of the path if I can. And I am very conscious of never, ever again applying the front brakes without first engaging the rear ones. Doh!

I ended up with a deep gash under my chin that needed six stitches, various superficial facial and limb grazes, two breaks to my left wrist, a broken bone in my right hand and a fracture to my left elbow.

It could have been so much worse – not long after my accident a front-page story on a weekend city paper detailed the story of a cyclist who wound up a quadriplegic after crashing into other bike riders on a Perth cycle path.

For a week I had both arms in plaster. I was unable to drive for six weeks because of the (fluoro pink – so me) fibreglass plaster that remained on my left arm, this initially scared the hell out of me – the loss of control and freedom was claustrophobic. I was unable to work for nearly four months as my wrists strengthened and eventually realigned thanks to lots and lots of physiotherapy (and patience), and as a casual journo, the loss of wages was another hurdle to overcome.

Why did I put my front brake on anyway, I hear you ask? Well, as my two daughters and I coasted down the hill that afternoon, I became aware of walkers chatting on the pathway up ahead and called out for the girls to ring their bells.

I also began ringing my bell, then put a hand to my head to stop my hat from blowing off (no, I was very stupidly not wearing a helmet) and swiftly realised I was about to crash into the rear of my seven-year-old. I immediately applied my right hand brake, it seemed instinctive at the time, being right-handed and already using my left hand to keep my hat on.

The rest is family history. I came to a very sudden, crumpled stop. My children stopped when they heard my squeal, which was all I could manage, and the walkers ran over to help. My 12-year-old called my partner on my mobile, and my father arrived, along with the ambulance.

So what did I learn from this experience? Heaps. It challenged my need to always be in control and to constantly do things for myself without asking for help. It made me realise how we coast through life never realising how lucky we really are and what dangers potentially lurk in even the most innocuous activities. It made me realise I had to slow down and stop trying to do a million things at once.

Being a working and studying mother of two busy children meant it was commonplace to do several things at once to capitalise on my time – when I look back now, my frenetic lifestyle was always going to come crashing down around my well-organised ears. I am just so thankful I didn’t have a car accident, or hurt other people during the “crash I had to have”. Even my bike escaped unscathed. Now, when I feel my life speeding up, I take steps to slow down and yes, the roses do smell great.

PS: The obscure words that related but not necessarily resonated were Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire. Are you kidding!!!; and, Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it. Except that they do…everyone’s taken the bark off or smashed their ego when gravity separates bike and rider.