mordwen: (Default)
People keep asking me how I am and I keep answering that I'm tired. It's true, but for some reason, I never get around to saying the rest of what's going on, which is that I am growing as a person in ways I never imagined but had an inkling might be possible or that I sensed on the horizon the way you can smell the aroma of a fantastic restaurant around the corner that you've never been to — you've no idea what it will look like, or who will be there, or whether you'll like it, but you know the food smells like something you'd like in your life.

Yesterday, we went to our storage unit and selected a large quantity of items we'll be selling at the Northcote high school car boot sale next Sunday (9am till 3pm, come along and say "I admit I'm a geek" to us and we'll give you a special LJ-reader discount). Last Sunday, I went around the house doing the same thing. I'm a pack rat: voluntarily discarding things to make space in my life, not for the new, but simply to have room, to have space, is unheard of. I'm even getting rid of the black octagonal crockery set I've had since my 21st birthday (and I have tons of the stuff -- it was an eight-piece set with matching wine glasses, cheese platter, salad bowls, the lot). It is too hard to keep clean and shatters into tiny shards that are too dangerous for a baby. In its place for now is a simple 16-piece set of hand-painted bright rainbow crockery, sturdy and fun.

I'm learning... )
I'm learning to treasure the moments of silence with our arms around each other, becoming a family.


Dec. 8th, 2008 09:45 pm
mordwen: (fertility)
Omigod, look at what Doug just made for Harper!

beanie by doug

Sooo cute!!!

mordwen: (Default)
Just had an intense and meandering conversation with Doug that started with the US gun laws (due to the recent Supreme Court decision) and ranged to changes in styles of female violence due to feminism, rights cultures versus duty cultures, building respect in relationships, and the fact that gun-related deaths in the US have only just overtaken motor vehicle deaths per annum, which led to discussions of peak oil and finally somewhere in there to the idea that we need to teach the next generation both how to have respectful relationships all the while teaching them about self-respect so that they can talk down the previous generation so they don't get beaten to a pulp by someone running around bashing random strangers with bricks.

I treasure having conversations like this.

Which reminds me: I'd just like to flag the idea of an American-themed 2008 US Election Night Party at our place. For us, that means Wednesday November 5. Polls will probably close around lunchtime our time, but there'll still be lots of interesting stuff going on at 5pm our time, methinks. And it's the day before Doug's birthday, so it'll be a combined thing. Waaay ahead of time organising.
mordwen: (happy)
Two years ago, [personal profile] journey2master  arrived on my doorstep with his suitcase.

At the time I wrote this:
Sunday was an extra special day for me. It's been a long time since I've had this kind of intense physical and spiritual connection with someone, brief as it was. [personal profile] journey2master  was here from mid-afternoon until he flew back to San Francisco this morning...

We walked down to the stone spiral and walked it, separately, for Samhain, then walked up to Westgarth and to Denn for dinner. Back home and it was one of those nights, discussions and intimacy ranging across crazy landscapes. It ended at about 5 this morning in my fabulous huge bath tub drinking scotch and eating organic orange chocolate...

What a perfect way to start the year. What a perfect way to warm my new home, first the housewarming and then this uisge beatha of a man ending the drought (and it's been a long time between drinks). I asked the universe to let love into my home and my heart and it brings me this!

There was more, but that's private. I honestly thought it was going to be a lovely one-nighter and nothing more. I even titled the post "Ships in the Night". Anyway, happy anniversary, my darling. Thank you for knocking on my door. Thank you even more for ringing me when you got home and inviting me over to your place too. I love you.

Safe home

Mar. 24th, 2008 05:33 pm
mordwen: (Default)
Just in case my sudden silence hadn't made it obvious, Doug is home from New Zealand with a provisional resident visa firmly lodged in his passport. He brought back a cold from the plane and then gave it to me (bad Doug!) but we're getting better now. He's much calmer and we've been snuggled up doing couple things for most of the long weekend. It's been divine.

Thank you to Tracey & Craig for looking after him! And especially for returning him safe and sound. Well, as sound as he was, anyway... *smirk*
mordwen: (Default)
Doug visited the Australian embassy in Auckland today and they placed a peach-coloured sticker in his passport which will be "activated" as a visa when he re-enters the country next Tuesday. Yay!

Now that he's got all the official stuff out of the way, he's off to the Great Barrier Island for five days, starting very early tomorrow. I am ridiculously envious. It looks stunning! I am sure there will be photos...
mordwen: (Default)
Whoever thought I'd be writing a subject-line like that, huh?

Still, Doug just got his confirmation letter granting him a Spouse Visa (Provisional) and saying they're transferring the file from Washington to Auckland which usually takes three working days. He has to go get the actual visa placed in his passport, and then he can come home (flight is already booked for March 18th) and apply for work, sell photos etc and get a Medicare Card! More importantly, it ends the up-in-the-air feeling which was beginning to give him sleepless nights. Let's hope this means things really settle down now.

Whoo hoo! And other noises.
mordwen: (Default)
November 6, 1967 was to become an important date in my life. Of course, I didn't know it then, three years from being born.

On that day, somewhere in Lakemba, in Sydney, Australia, I believe, a 25-year-old beauty named Helen Levine, smart with long, almost-black hair curled up into a beehive, was getting ready for her wedding to Ian Jeffrey Bersten, a tall, lanky 28-year-old world-traveller with blue eyes and a head full of ideas. I don't know much about what happened next; I don't know whether it says more about me or them that I know more about her work at Fisher Library in the rare books department and more about his adventures in the Andes and Eastern Europe.

Still, they went to a synagogue, and a rabbi intoned the prayers and a cantor sang and my father lifted his foot and crushed that wine glass wrapped in its white-and-blue cloth -- well, when I say crushed, it neatly snapped into bowl and stem and remains that way today, wrapped back up in a dining room drawer -- because that's the way it was done, so I know those things occurred.

Later that night, when the newlyweds were tucked up into bed for the first time together -- I don't know where, whether it was already in the little apartment above the shop that my father would start or whether it was a hotel -- halfway across the world, where it was still November 6, something else happened.

At 10.15 in the morning, Joy Lorene Cloud, née Mundon, a slight, small woman whose own wedding day photos had included her in her white dress being wheeled down the main street of her town in a wheelbarrow by her stocky groom, gave birth to an 11-pound baby boy she named Douglas James. His 6-year-old sister wasn't impressed.

Happy 40th wedding anniversary, Mum and Dad.
Happy 40th birthday, darling.

It's almost enough to make you think fate was planning things: okeydokey, those two are married, they'll have a child in about three years, better get a friend organised for her.
mordwen: (Default)
The last couple of days have been crazy. Intense and sad and scary.

We were exhausted when Doug's lovely sister picked us up at the airport: we hadn't slept much in the last 48 hours. And we were beginning to show the signs of some food poisoning or traveler's diarrhea. We went to bed early, missing my mother's phone call to tell us my grandmother had died.

The next morning, I got a message and rang her back, got the news and cried while Doug held me. We went out and did a bunch of chores in a fug. As the afternoon wore on, it became more and more clear that Doug was not doing well. He started to experience severe stomach cramping and by night he was losing liquid through "both exits, no waiting". At about 8pm, I made the call that he was going to hospital. He got weaker and weaker waiting in the er but they finally took him back, pumped him with four liters of IV fluids, took a bunch of blood (with effort, as he was so dehydrated) and sent him home around 3.30am with scripts for anti-diarrheals and anti-biotics. He's doing okay but weak. A lot better than last night though.

It means I've barely had a second to think about Grandma, although I just had a good chat with my cousin [profile] vanessa_rodd about it and that was good.

Millicent Levine was a strong woman. She went to a selective high school, Fort St Girls' High School, at a time when few people completed secondary education. She had twin girls, my mother and Vanessa's mother, and brought them up for a while on her own while Grandpa was in the army in World War Two. She made little devils out of gumnuts and cloth and I remember staying in a little room downstairs at her house in Northbridge with a huge map of the world on it and pins in it where they'd been. It's hard to say much about her that isn't about her and Grandpa — them playing Scrabble together and so many other things. I can hear her voice clearly in my head but I think she didn't know much what to do with herself after he died. Whenever I asked her what she'd been up to, she always said "Nothing much," and passed onto the next person. She must have been a strong person with her own mind to live with Grandpa all those years. As Vanessa and I were just saying, you don't bring people home in our family unless they can hold their own in political discussions at the dinner table.

I understand she went peacefully, which is what she wanted. It was unexpected: although she was 90, she was mostly well. It's just hard being far away.

I wrote this poem for her in 2005. Maybe it's worth re-reading now.

Four generations of women

That's her in the middle. I'm sitting on her mother's knee and that's my mother on the far right. Four generations of women. I'll miss you Grandma. Travel safe. 
mordwen: (Default)
For all the folks asking if things have changed since the ceremony:

Doug and I went kite flying this evening in Mountain View as the sun set and then went to Zucca for scotch (15-year-old Dalwhinnie, neat, him) and a cocktail they call Oh, Beautiful (Remy cognac, Grand Marnier and Earl Grey tea, hot, me), tapas (spicy garlic prawns, piquillo peppers with goat's cheese, mushroom croquettes) and then panna cotta with berries (divine, me) and Manchego, pear and walnuts (him) with a scrumptious dessert wine I can't recall the name of, and we discussed anarcho-syndicalism and interest and tulip futures in 17th century Holland and Lazarus Long, and then we went for a walk and went book shopping, in which I bought Burning Book (by Jess Bruder, previously discussed) and Healing a Fractured World (by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks).

Life's simply awful, I tell you.
mordwen: (Default)
… plus c'est la même chose.

Translation: the more it changes, the more it's the same thing.

I wanted to wait until Doug had told some of his closest friends and family and me the same before posting this publicly.

Doug's daughter has made it clear she doesn't want to live with us any more, and so we are free to go. The complicated mechanisms which brought us here to take care of her have released us just as I was beginning to forge connections here. I am sad and frustrated and a whole swathe of other emotions but there is nothing I can do.

Our current plan is to go to Burning Man, give notice on the apartment, do a farewell tour of the US and then return to Australia.

Because we will be applying for partner/spouse status for Doug in Australia, we have various hoops to jump through in the next three months. We'll be having a party in the US on September 22 for Autumn Equinox and to say farewell at our apartment (phone or e-mail for details) and a handfasting/nuptials on December 22 for Summer Solstice in Melbourne, Australia (phone or e-mail for details).

Keep those dates free!

And I'm someone who doesn't like change all that much. What was the old joke about what to do if you want to see God laugh?
mordwen: (Default)
This will come as a surprise to many (hell, it comes as a surprise to us) but Doug and I will be moving to the States for a while rather than living here as first planned. I'm not going to go into the detail publicly for various reasons. I will however say that it's nothing negative, nothing to do with Doug's visa or anything like that, just an opportunity we have that we intend to take up.

If you see me in person, feel free to ask details.
mordwen: (Default)
At Burning Man, last September, on the first night, stepping out into the darkness, Doug and I went exploring a strange world of glowing el wire and flaming sights. We wandered into the structure beneath the Man, a maze of games and artworks, intricate mindmaps and galaxies of wonder.

In one room, there was a magic roundabout, a spinning surface driven by a bicycle, with a camera on it, filming shots every few seconds. We joined the line, watched others fall off, flung off, collapse in heaps of giggles. Me in my purple mini-kilt and purple wings, he in a long cloak made by a friend. Our turn came, we got on, held each others hands and leaned back, laughing, loving the centrifugal force and playing mirror games: first his hand snaked out to one side and mine followed, then mine to the other... He started to get down on one knee... and suddenly, he was saying something. "Will you marry me?" It was so crazy, so sudden, even though he'd said it before "accidentally". I got down on the other knee and asked him too, and then we both said yes.

Someone asked if we were ready to slow down and we slowly stood, didn't overbalance, came to a standstill, stepped off exhilarated and then understood that the camera was connected to a printer and the printer produced a flipbook. We have a flipbook of our engagement. How cool is that?

So, why am I writing this now? Because it's finally all square with the family and everyone knows. Last night, Mum held an engagement party for 50 of the family to squawk and gawk at the poor boy. We didn't need one -- in many ways that was more for her than us -- but it was lovely and he impressed. Tons of food, no insanity, and I got to meet my new niece, Olivia, and see how my nephew Leo is growing. Mum spoke, Dad spoke, champagne was drunk, Doug and I responded. All the usual guff.

The "wedding", of course, will be a handfasting, more of which later.

We're off to the zoo now. After I help clean up, that is...
mordwen: (Default)
Woodford was wonderful, as usual, though somewhat calmer than I remember. Might be something to do with the mostly dreamy state I'm in right now. Léo (the French gypsy ska band I raved about years ago) were fabulous as usual. Sydney siders can see them as part of Sydney Festival; Melburnians, they're on at the Corner Hotel on the 14th. Batucada Sound Machine from New Zealand fused Brazilian rhythms with horns and hip hop but will only be making it as far as Sydney, I'm afraid. I didn't see Penelope Swales at all and only saw Kristina Olsen once. Martin Pearson and John Thompson's Breakfast variety show gets better every year: the interview with Kerry O'Brien was fabulous. John Williamson was amazing too. Martin and John's song "I will arise" was one of those amazing uplifting anthems I am still singing. Blue King Brown are still one of the best live bands I've seen. See them whereever you can. Newcomers this year didn't impress as much as they might've although Kaki King's guitar work was superb stuff. Hung out a lot with my old friend Melinda, which was delightful.

New Year's Eve we spent in the amphitheatre for the percussion festival -- this time not in the throng but snuggled under a blanket on the hillside beneath the trees. A lovely way to bring in the new year.

The two people inadvertently responsible for introducing us were there too, but circumstances meant that thanking them wasn't and isn't an option. This makes us sad but we accept that this is the way it is.

After the festival, we dropped in to Bribie to see friends of Doug's. And I struggled with computers that didn't want to let me post my Léo review to the 64 web site. And then moved on North, where we discovered a gem: a Swiss café in the hills above Gympie serving roesti and good coffee to weary travellers.

The aim is to make it to Eungella National Park and then turn back for Sydney and Coenstock (three days of Coen Brothers films at a friend's place) by the 12th. I hope you all had as wonderful a New Year as we did and may 2007 bring you joy, delight, beauty and pleasure. The word for this year, by the way, for those who know that I do this, is 'replenish'.
mordwen: (Default)
Dear World,

It seems that I have no time any more. This may have something to do with running two magazines and being deeply involved with a protest movement and then having a relationship all at once.

I have been having fun but very busy. We went to see Hot Club Swing on Thursday night at Manchester Lane and the food was rich and yummy but the band was not the funky French gypsy jazz I was expecting. It was good background dinner music though.

Friday was deadline for 64 magazine. We made it on time. Not so much stress this time.

On Friday night, we rode to Earthcore on Alsvidir, the new scooter. It was mad fun. We danced and talked and lazed in the river and listened to cockatoos and watched the stars and danced more and had fun in our new bright yellow-and-black wasp tent. Then we had a shaky ride back in 15km headwinds but we made it safely and had a big hot bath together after and ate pad thai and stuff.

I went to work today. I have another deadline this Friday for the new mag we are doing. It is slightly insane.

It's all good. Okaybye.

mordwen: (Default)
…or "fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity" as the old graffiti used to say.

I am so disheartened by the events of Saturday and the subsequent over-reaction by police that I barely know where to start.

First of all, there was my beautiful carnival and its hijacking by a bunch of people in white paper suits and bandannas, who -- I understand -- organised themselves on Friday night, made rash decisions on Saturday morning and acted without thinking through the consequences for themselves and others. This undid 9 months of planning for a peaceful carnival -- and now there is debate in the activist 'communities' about refusing the media dichitomy of the good protestor/bad protestor. But it's hard when I feel betrayed and feel despondent about the future of my society... if in a radical autonomous organising environment, we cannot communicate enough to garner respect, how will this society function in post-capitalism? Saturday is not the community I want to live in... and one of my mantras is to "be the change you want to see in the world". So, I am disillusioned. For now.

Part of the problem is that I do believe in the 'bad protester' -- or at least the idiotic one. Akin, who has been named now in the Age so I guess it's okay to name him, is a bloody twit. He's Turkish, on a protection visa for humanitarian reasons. He was hoping for citizenship, or so he said. What sort of idiot in that situation goes into a protest, smashes up a police van and steals its logbook? As the article says, he had a ticket to go overseas for three months on Wednesday. Nutbar.

Then there was the State response: absolutely disgraceful use of force against people who either hadn't been there or weren't responsible. Where Akin and his cronies threw bins and signs at vehicles and barricades, the police hit bodies with batons. A 20-year-old girl is still in hospital with her injuries. They smashed into a party we were having in the middle of the road on Saturday night, tipping over a guy in a wheelchair. They smashed into people dancing near the Melbourne museum yesterday, smashing into bodies, the same overhead blows condemned in the Ombudsman's report in 2001 [full video].

But I can't help but see that this time, they feel they were provoked. Because the white-suits were foolish if they thought their cute confetti-on-the-cops tactics wouldn't encourage idiots like Akin. Because Akin and the drunken yobbos who saw a good opportunity for a brawl hurt their friends, for no known reason. And they see protesters dressed in dreads and figure they're the same people... and somehow they fail to see the *children* in the stroller before they start swinging. Nothing, absolutely nothing, though, excuses abducting random people off the street who happen to be sweet vegetarian cooks for Lentil as Anything, preparing food for the G20 Alternative Forum.

On the good side, I went to the G20 Alternatives Forum and listened to Heriberto Falas of the Zapatistas talk about organising in Mexico and what's happening in Oaxaca and I got to ask him about how they deal with diverse tactics and people who want to be violent, and he said there are armed groups in Oaxaca who are respecting the request from the people not to use force, and that developing clear principles and guidelines and communicating them clearly is the key. That was inspiring and powerful to hear.

And now, we are here. And I no longer no what to feel... I flip-flop from one argument to another as I listen to people's reasoning... and at the same time, my lover and I struggle to find a place for ourselves in this new life together under one roof, in the face of a pretty emotional and rocky experience Monday and Tuesday. This has not been an easy week.
mordwen: (angry)
This entry is for the many people who I'm sure are popping by from [ profile] greenglowgrrl's journal to see what the Devil looks like.

Let's start from the top. She never asked directly me to remove her from my friends list nor asked me not to read her journal. I only read that in her journal claiming I'd already done it.

[EDIT Seems she did ask me, by SMS from an SMS web site and so I misinterpreted the slightly oblique wording as some form of sms spam... eep. Sorry, Chakae, didn't mean to mislead anyone and as I've noted, I have indeed now unfriended as requested.]

I've now unfriended her, but, as most of you will know, that doesn't magically make it impossible for me to go directly to her journal and read what's there if she makes public, non-flocked posts.

Since she's made some quite vitriolic unlocked posts, I'm responding in an unlocked post too.

First of all, I have nothing against this woman. I've never met her and feel nothing but compassion for her. Please don't start assuming you know anything about this situation. Secondly, Doug has loved her, still loves her, and is quite distraught about the pain she is feeling over all this.

When Doug was here the first time, he was at a strange point in his life. From what I can gather, just about every woman who met him fell in love with him and instantly wanted to have children with him. His loving behaviour and -- I would argue -- naivete meant his actions were misinterpreted for reinforcement far too often. She is not the only person hurt like this, to his sadness and chagrin.

He and I met during this time too, but it was different. We both decided to tell certain people things in person. We haven't told most people we know how serious we are about each other. Doug thought he and Chakae were just intimate friends and didn't realise how deeply she felt about him. In retrospect, that has caused some serious hurt. If we had the time over, we would do things differently.

Before everyone starts ranting about how they are going to drag Doug's name through the mud throughout the SF Bay and elsewhere, I think it's fair to note that he kept his promise to go to Brisbane first and share his birthday with her. He forgot about her mentioning Woodford -- but it's a folk festival. There's nothing to say we couldn't have all gone together. We could have camped together and become friends. Is it evil of him to have forgotten something suggested to him 9 months ago? If it's never been mentioned again, that could make it hard.

And I note a couple of friends of mine have taken 'sides', one on Chakae's side, another on mine. Please don't. It doesn't help anyone.

I am so sorry that you've been hurt, Chakae. I am so sorry that the two of you didnt communicate more clearly. But I feel that I know what I need to know and I don't feel I need to be warned off Doug.

And we now return you to our usual, drama-free programming.

PS: Mum, it's okay. But thanks for the worried call. I'll call you shortly.
mordwen: (Default)
Woke up early and headed over to [ profile] fizit's. We jumped in a car and drove down to Queenscliff on the Bellarine peninsula. Had breakfast and a coffee spearmint shake like I used to have from Chatswood Chase Oak Milkbar and then wandered around looking in shops, looking at lovely jewellery...

Then headed for the jetty, got into a long purple wetsuit, and headed out to the bay. Snorkelled and saw gannets and fish and starfish and lots of seaweed. Swam with seals and a pod of dolphins.

The seals rolled on their backs for us, slipped into the water and played, snapped at each other and teased each other. The dolphins were graceful and demure, rising from the water in harmony, then dipping beneath us. That bit felt a little rushed, unfortunately, as we were holding onto a rope played out behind the boat at the time and I kept feeling like I was being told 'watch them, watch them or you'll miss them' instead of just enjoying the experience. It was a little like my skydive experience, actually, where what other people are telling me I "ought" to enjoy and it isn't necessarily what I enjoy and next time I do it I'll know my own needs.

On the way back, saw fairy penguins and basked in the sun. Apparently there was also a stingray but I missed that one.

We were hungry after that so we ducked into Farm Foods and bought smoked trout and olives and portobello mushroom paté and beetroot relish and ate them at a kerbside table.

And then we drove back to town, relaxed and happy and when I got home, I got a phone call from [ profile] daisynerd and a text message from [ profile] journey2master saying he's arriving tomorrow at 4.30pm!


Like I said, a good day.
mordwen: (happy)
Happy birthday to my dearest [ profile] journey2master. Hope the Queensland heat is treating you gently and that you're not too jetlagged.

Love you lots, honey.


Nov. 4th, 2006 03:42 am
mordwen: (Default)
My love, [ profile] journey2master, is on a plane right now, winging his way into Brisbane to share his birthday with [ profile] greenglowgrrl and then meandering down here at some point in the next few weeks.

It's a very good thing for him that he will be in Brisbane for Cup Day; he won't have to avoid it quite so hard.

Meanwhile, I'm cleaning the house to wile away the time and trying to decide what to buy him as a token of my affection.

I was supposed to be in Queenscliff today, swimming with dolphins, but I've rescheduled that for next week due to continuing sniffles. As a result, I failed to put the Walk against Warming into my calendar and missed it entirely. Oops [1]. Sometimes my brain is a sieve. Anyone go? Was it good?

[1] On the good side, this means I have a cleaner house and a clean scooter. It would have been just another excuse to procrastinate.


mordwen: (Default)

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