Friday, November 2, 2012

thailand once more.

Happy times for the family of four at the moment. Sure, there's been some tummy bugs, and a substantial mosquito problem in our villa, but it is Thailand. And that makes everything okay.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the bougainville bamboo band

as the sun sets

shake that grass

merging with the crowd

our girl in awe

....and what kids come up with when the parents are eating.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No title.

This week I am remembering my friend, who one year ago, ended her life.

I have had more conversations with her in the past year than any other year in recent times. It's been quite a flurry.

The prevailing feeling I have as her anniversary rolls around, is that I just need to see her one more time. Then I can capture her essence and bottle it, once and for all. Hear her laugh, have a fight, clink glasses, shed some tears, drink too much, rehash 20 year jokes that only our trio thinks are funny, be ridiculous, and feel that absolute comfort of being with your own.

If I could just have that one more time, maybe I would know how to let go.

I have spent the past year trying to find that technical glitch in the finality of life and death. Not to be outfoxed however, death remains steadfast against my pestering and occasional optimism that I have found a way to make it happen.

One more time. That would be enough.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Some final words on the matter.

Dear local supermarket,

You have been but a stone’s throw away for all these years. My one stop shop for … well whatever you had on the dusty shelves at that time. I stopped writing a shopping list somewhere back in our first year together. What I wanted was of no import! It was your shelves that determined what we ate.

But of course!

Eat local, as they say. Only buy the freshest of ingredients and let the seasons determine what you plate up day after day. I never could find a good recipe for chicken feet, oranges and apples, but I assure you – I tried. I hope one day someone buys that AU$25 punnet of withering blueberries, you know the ones tucked away in the deep dark corner of your room temperature refrigeration ‘system’? In any case, you should certainly continue with importing blueberries, times might change, right?

In recent months, you felt the winds of change blowing right through your isles. I know you did, because suddenly there was rampant renovation underway. This included the installation of a refrigeration and freezer system that looked as though it was designed to do as the name suggests. The car park guards got new blue shirts. The pothole that went below sea level was repaired, after an adventurous nine months of actually driving through it. New registers were installed. Isles were expanded. Your products did not change, but you were making an effort. That much is clear. Yes, my old friend, you knew that a multinational was moving into your patch. Finally, it was time to compete.

I recalled with fondness an earlier time when your efforts were somewhat shallower, cosmetic you could say. Remember when management purchased that compact of blusher, and made it mandatory for the checkout chicks to wear it during work hours? For a while there (I assume, until the compact ran out), all the ladies had little red circles of blusher on their cheeks. I do not think it was applied to illuminate the cheek-bone, but rather to ‘look as though we give a shit (but we don’t want to spend a dime), so we better objectify our female staff’. I would have been happy to give some quick makeup tips. For future reference, blusher does not go on as a circle. But now I’m just being picky.

In more recent times, I was excited to see a wheel of washed rind perched happily in the new fridges. Oooh! I exclaimed. How exciting. It’s not that I don’t trust the ‘new you’, but old habits die hard and I did find myself checking the expiration date before I went any further. Alas. It expired some months ago. Given that this cheese has never been for sale before, and you import all dairy products, I wonder how long that wheel had been buried out the back? A year? Have to fill all the new shelves with something I suppose!

In what was to be my last foray with you and your dying monopoly on this side of town, I was forced to buy a phone card from that sour faced woman perched on her stool-throne. ‘What!?’ she spat at me as I woke her from slumber one last time. I stopped using words with her a long time ago, and now just let the kina do the talking. With a shudder I took my card and left. Fare thee well.

At the checkout the ladies moved slowly. I stared at the wall. And stared some more. My girl pulled all the Schick razor blades down from the display. Then I think I saw the checkout chick staring at the wall too. In the distance was the sound of a rotating saw and the not-so-faint aroma of toxic chemicals wafting through the supermarket and over the bakery as people compulsorily worked around the clock to complete the transformation. After an eternity, we exchanged words.

She says to me “Now we have to compete, you know?”

Yes, I do.

The glistening, functional and fully stocked evil multinational has opened its doors. 

Like a moth to a flame, as they say.

Time to find something else to talk about!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Social media: just do it.

A quick look into the hoo-ha regarding Target's range of slutty clothes for young ladies has really got me thinking.

Firstly - no matter how hard I try (and I really do try), I just don't seem to be using social media the way everyone else is. Never in my wildest dreams would I think to 'like' a retailer's facebook page. Never in my wildest dreams would I even think to look up my local retailer on facebook. Why bother*? I don't care where it went on holidays, or what it is eating for dinner. Retailers belong in malls. That's the first thing.

Another thing, is that if I did allow a commercial entity into my facebook activity, where would I find the time to monitor developments on their page, when I am already working around the clock to monitor what 167 other people are doing at various critical points in their busy, fascinating days. I am too busy stalking people I no longer care to speak to, to have time with writing down discount coupon codes that can be renewed elsewhere, at an online check out. Really, who has this kind of time?

And say for example, I did have this kind of time, as well as some odd inclination to participate. Well, would I actually bother to write responses to sale notifications (30% off ALL towels!!)? And if I did, would this mean that I had to read the 564 other comments to ensure mine was relevant and unique (a quick look at the Target page suggests this is not standard practice). People are writing paragraphs on this stuff! I tried to read some to get across the general vibe, but honestly. I could not give less of a shit about what Maryanne thought when she went in to buy some leggings and a new lunchbox for Isabella.

If I had a few moments of my life I wanted to piss up the wall (already all used up by facebook participation), I may have tried to peruse some of the little fights customers have with each other in the comments box for some cheap amusement thrills ... "you are all such selfish materialistic women, I just want a cuddle from my kids on Mother's Day".  Oh my God. I think I just projectile vomited across the compound.

And the other thing that really had got me thinking hard is this: Target lost me at the sequinned g-string for the under 10s the minute I laid eyes on it. No, I didn't want to buy knee high hooker boots for a young girl thanks, and actually those appalling slogans on various garments are so excruciatingly embarrassing, I could not imagine any person in their right mind buying them. Surely this shit does not sell, right?

You just take your cash somewhere else. Let the money do the talking. Best to let the money do the talking actually, much better than the voices of literally THOUSANDS of your average Target customer bleating on about tablecloths and ambient air temperature and shopping philosophies and ..... <insert coma here>.

Finally - I am just curious why people even bother to get annoyed. It's not like Target is the overlord of the kids' fashion world, leaving parents with no choice but to dress Olivia in hot pants and a crochet crop top saying "cheeky, naughty, and the gates are wide open". No, we actually do have a c-h-o-i-c-e.

As some insightful customer duly pointed out on the Target facebook page "just go to Gucci and Prada for kids - they still look good and cover everything up." Yeah .... thanks for that. Said as though the Target audience easily hops between high end and high street. There's always gotta be a tall poppy!

Until next time .....

*The first time this really dawned on me was the Airwick ad on TV. You know Airwick, the toilet spray for unpleasant odours? Yeah, that Airwick. At the end of the ad, viewers were asked to 'like' Airwick on facebook.

A few things ...
1. facebook is no longer what it thinks it is when toilet sprays have a status.
2. No Airwick, I am not keen for my 167 'friends' to know that I 'like' you ... even though I may have a can of your product perching on my toilet.
3. Airwick - please don't do social media anymore. It just makes us all look bad.

A whole lotta paperwork, and a little thrill.

Ok, so the tables have turned in life a little. After an eternity of being on the 'tenant' side of a lease, I am now co-occupying the 'landlord' title.

How strange!

We are homeowners, from afar. The papers are signed, the money is gone, in a faraway land called Australia, our purchase was settled today.

We didn't even have to turn up.

Someone is dropping our keys to someone else. The tenant just keeps on keeping on.

Meanwhile, I am drinking champagne and picking out wallpaper.

Yeah baby ... first step - feature wall with cool hooks in the entry.

I've become another statistic! Never been happier.