Turning 40

Jan. 20th, 2011 02:13 pm
mordwen: (Default)
I turn 40 in two days. Needless to say, I've been pondering my life so far. I can't say that I have no regrets (on the contrary, I have many) and I'm certainly not where I thought I would be at this point in many ways (I have no long-term job, I live in a small apartment with no outside space at all instead of on a commune somewhere, my relationship is not exactly smooth right now).

All that said, I wanted to stop and celebrate some of my achievements so far and open the space for some dreams. )

Life begins at 40, right?
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.

mordwen: (python kiss)
Living with a baby means doing everything else in snatches. You grab snatches of intimacy with your partner — shoulder touches and brief kisses in hallways as you pass, one on the way to a nappy change, the other to sort out the growing pile of dishes. You grab snatches of social life, furtive Facebook checking from a mobile phone while lying in the dark feeding the baby, coffee with an interstate or international visitor juggled in with tummy time. You struggle with snatches of work: blog updates, designing people's web sites in tiny increments, problem solving in segmented blocks. And then there's the somnolent necessities: snatches of bill payment and tax calculating and grocery shopping.

So, if you want to know what I've been up to, you can read our sleep woes over at [livejournal.com profile] attachedparents , my post on clothes at Modern Mama and you can see Harper photos on Facebook. You can see my experiments with a new logo for Heliotrope over there, and I've been working on a client site and answering new client enquiries, but there's nothing to show yet, and I've been applying for jobs and finally got a three-month contract with the City of Melbourne working on their corporate site. All of this means I have not written down any of the poetry in my head, and this post has been about two weeks in the making. Ah well.

Snatches of love. Snatches of a life.
mordwen: (Default)
Not a lot of time to sit and write and yet tons of time sitting.

I feel like we are getting on top of this crazy journey... although change is a constant, so it's more that I am learning to flow with the changes.

The money from the video competition prize came through and I hope to go shopping for a new camera soon. I got a call from the people who run Moving Melbourne, where they make posters of art and poetry for trains, saying that "Rapunzel Goes Exploring" has been selected for this season's posters. I am thinking about what work I might do and how much work I want to do soon. I am exploring social networks and playing Lexulous on Facebook. I am thinking about communities and parenting and what it means. I am thinking about what other blogs I could write. I am singing "Que Sera, Sera" and Don McLean's "Babylon" to Harper (I like how the minor notes sound).

I am folding washing and washing dishes and cooking meals, sometimes while a little girl sleeps and sometimes while she is watching me from a bouncinette. I am watching The Wire and Rome and Dollhouse and Grey's Anatomy and loving all of it. I have been tidying our room and I am giving away things on Freecycle slowly, piece by piece.

My good friend Matt has been staying here with his new girlfriend. It's been wonderful to see him and have intense chats about altruism and feminism and parenting. We had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] derigueur and [livejournal.com profile] emilyjane on Friday night and it was a wonderful night of wine and laughter and food and dicussion and Scrabble.

Life is good.

mordwen: (Default)
While I wait in between interminable reloads on this silly web-based CMS, let me regale you with a tale!

[livejournal.com profile] journey2master  and I flew up to Sydney on Friday night as it has been 20 whole years since I left high school. Strange but true.

Unbeknownst to us, there was a huge electrical storm raging in Sydney town and so our plane was delayed for a while. We filled in the time chatting with [livejournal.com profile] thorfinn  who was coincidentally on the same plane. Finally they opened up one runway in Sydney, and all of the planes that had been waiting took off with 10 minutes each between them, aiming to beat the curfew into Sydney. We arrived in Sydney only an hour late, aided by 75kmh tail-winds (we'd left an hour and a half late). Mum was already circling the airport waiting to pick us up.

We went to the baggage claim carousel and lo! The number of our flight appeared on a carousel. But no baggage emerged. After a long time, I went and sat down and did some marking while Doug waited. Eventually, there was an announcement that all flights from Melbourne, including cancelled flights to Melbourne, would be on carousel 3, all for Adelaide on 2, Brisbane on 1 etc. What a nightmare! Told Mum to go park somewhere. At a quarter to one in the morning, we finally got our bags, almost three *hours* after we were supposed to land.

Next day, Mum, Doug and I trooped off, somewhat exhausted, to the Walk Against Warming March. That was quite good. Bumped into [livejournal.com profile] murphus  and chatted, which was terrific.

The school reunion that night was actually superb. Doug went out and caught up with [livejournal.com profile] anthonybaxter , because it was a "no partners allowed" event. There were many, many women I really enjoyed catching up with, many more pregnant women than I expected, and the food was just fantastic -- they'd gone to enormous effort to cater to my food restrictions, event to the point of making me a samosa out of chickpea flour and having gluten-free dark chocolate thingies for dessert. I even networked a little... one of my former classmates is now a human rights lawyer working with a big human rights organisation and we had a good chat about some future projects with her current workplace.

Sunday, Doug and I went to Glebe Fair and discovered some awesome new sources for all-natural baby clothes and other stuff (must send out notes to everyone soon about gifts -- we love the fact that people are starting to gve us things, but we're embarrassed about wanting to give back the polyester things, and the PVC things and the things Doug is allergic to). Then we had a big picnic near the water with family and friends, dinner with the sister that couldn't make it to the picnic and then plane home.

Exhausted, we slept in the van, because every item of furniture we own is currently in the kitchen so the floors can be done. Monday, the carpet puller-upperer came and pulled up the carpet, then the concrete-leveller came and levelled the concrete. Slept at [livejournal.com profile] fizit's. Today, the floorboard-layer was supposed to come and lay the floorboards but he was sick! So we have an extra, unplanned night either staying with the lovely [livejournal.com profile] fizit , assuming she doesn't kick us out... or sleeping in the van.

mordwen: (Default)
What a wonderful couple of days.

First of all, I didn't have to work yesterday (tutoring is over and marking hasn't started yet) and I wasn't too sick to enjoy it. Instead, we cleaned house while listening to KQED streaming online and slowly built up excitement. (Well, I did. Doug was tired and is a little more cautious; I'm *soppy* right now).

At one point, I was standing in the lounge room holding my pregnant belly and listening to the end of Obama's victory speech ("Yes, we can!"), tears streaming down my face feeling immense hope for the future and my child-to-be. I felt like I was listening to one of our century's great orators and that this must be a little like what it felt like to listen to Martin Luther King.

With beautiful timing, all Doug's packages from the US arrived, sent by his sister, so he had an early birthday present: tons of photography equipment, and the foam mattress layer to stop my hip hurting and squee!! She slipped in a pile of organic cotton burp cloths and a washcloth and the cutest towel with a little hoodie for Harper and squeeeeeeee!!!

Then a few people came over for our Beltaine party. Doug and I built our altar for the season, reds and oranges for passion, male and female for the balance of the season, rose quartz for love, a citrine in the clove heart we were given for our handfasting (no negativity in our hearts), a small stone with a turtle in it and an acorn representing Harper and the protective Mama Bear fetish from the Zuni people that Jill gave us as a parting gift last year. And then we lit 700 or so candles and turned on the soft music and had a lovely, gentle night of friendship and massages and liqueur mead (I only had a sip!).

And then at midnight, it was Doug's birthday, so I gave him his present (I bought him an iPod shuffle). And then we had snuggles and went to sleep...

My day was quite good: I had lunch with [livejournal.com profile] blithespirit  and suddenly realised she'd be perfect for the panel on citizen journalism I'm running at Woodford; then I rang Chris Winter at the ABC and talked to him about it and got a great suggestion for the final panel member (and an introduction).

I went to the doctor and got reasonably good news about my plans for Woodford (more info on the maybe baby filter).

And then tonight, Doug made the most heavenly, amazing dinner: salmon steaks baked with olive oil and thyme, lightly grilled asparagus, and fresh mango, cucumber and coriander salsa served on a bed of mixed green. Oh my. Truly restaurant-worthy.

PS: Hi Daniel!

mordwen: (Default)
So, I did my taxes today. Looks like I'll get a nice sum back, mostly due to my usual trick of not claiming a tax-free threshold for any employer. Also, because I scraped through from July to December being supported by Doug and earning barely a cent from freelancing and then have supported him from December till June so I can claim him as a dependant for half the year...

Been thinking about the US a lot today for some reason -- maybe because we watched the Obama/McCain debate on YouTube and I'm sad about how badly it's all going; maybe because Doug has spoken with both Tina and his sister in the last few days.

I miss our little apartment, especially the balcony, overlooking the pond. I miss the ducks. I miss the sparseness, believe it or not (Doug won't... and I know that to get that sparseness back, I just have to Get Rid of Things but that's the difficult bit!). I miss Barefoot Coffee Roasters. I miss Trader Joe's and cheap organic juices! I miss fresh lemonade being at most good restaurants (even though we have minted lemonade in the fridge right now). I miss NOLA, the cajun restaurant/bar in Palo Alto. I miss Fiesta del Mar, the Mexican seafood place in Mountain View. I miss Joanie's, the comfy café in California Avenue. I really, really miss Watercourse Way.

What do you miss?


Sep. 21st, 2008 10:46 pm
mordwen: (Default)
That meme (but with cheating):

Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair - just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with the picture.

pictures... )
mordwen: (spiritual)
Today was utterly wonderful. A marvellous picnic in the park with a parade of lovely friends, in the sun (although the wind was a bit of a pain) and then I wandered up High Street to the High Vibes festival where I bumped into many other friends and acquaintances, some of whom I hadn't seen for a few months and who were amused and/or surprised to see I was pregnant, indulged in an intensely delicious organic, fair trade spiced orange hot chocolate with cashew milk, and danced my little tush off to Tsigas, a gypsy ensemble playing on the street, while hanging out with one of my students and her friends. I always really enjoy events like this: I love being on my own, being my own agent, floating from group to group as I please or wandering on my own. And next year, I'll have a little bub with me, to dance and jiggle with like so many of the other mums and dads I saw.

I'm really loving life right now. I hope that for any of you who are going through dark times that there's something you can hold on to and take pleasure in, because one day in the future, it will get better.

mordwen: (Default)
Lisa's funeral this morning was lovely. I was right: she was about my age -- 6 weeks younger, in fact. We still don't know how she died. My only new information is that she died in her sleep, she looked peaceful and she seemed to have fallen asleep reading a book.

It was strange to see all the old faces from The Age. Many are still in similar roles, others have moved around or up: e)mag's old photographer, Robert Banks is now Photo Editor, Features, one of the designers has moved across to Fairfax Books. My mentor Gaye Murray was there, of course, which I only realised was likely when we got there. We sat with her. e)mag's designer, Anita Belia, was there, but barely spoke two words to me. Angus Holland, who is editor of The (Melbourne) Magazine, and therefore Lisa's most recent boss, spoke beautifully on behalf of all the colleagues, telling some great stories about bizarre shoots Lisa had organised in the past. Angus used to sit at the desk next to mine and it was good to see him, however awful the circumstances.

I got bad news: our old production manager, Steve Berry, is apparently very ill with cancer. And I gave out my good news, which I think people were grateful for, new life, life moving forward. I introduced everyone to Doug, and even though he doesn't want to be a press photographer, and it's bad taste to network at funerals, I think that magazine photography is different -- he likes commercial photography after all, and they use enough of it! -- so hopefully if he now goes up to Rob Banks at some point or asks [personal profile] deepskin to introduce him to someone, he can say he met them at Lisa's funeral and set up a time to show his portfolio.

I still find the whole situation bizarre. I understand that aneurysms and strokes and heart failure can strike at any time and that this kind of occurrence is only going to become more common as we get older. Richard Rannard had a stroke at 33, I think it was, and was lucky to survive and of course, we lost [profile] abiuro from one last year. I don't believe in an interventionist God, to quote Nick Cave, but you can't help but think there but for the grace...

A reminder

May. 24th, 2007 02:06 am
mordwen: (Default)
This is a small reminder for myself and a teensy gift to my love, not because he needs it, but as a way of telling him that I get it when it's put this way. There's a lot of Richard Bach in here, but more succinct. Thanks to [profile] crystal_storm.

mordwen: (spiritual)
The other day, while tidying up, I found an old paper address book, and flipping through, decided to contact an old acquaintance some of you will know, Steven Caldwell. His phone number was the same as it was a few years ago and we ended up having this amazing conversation about Buddhism and communication, grieving, healing, compassion and most importantly for me, silence.

He mentioned that people in silent retreats find it difficult to look each other in the eye. He used words about silence I don't think I would have thought of -- wicked, uncontrollable -- and it seemed to me that I need to write a poem at some point about this silence. When I was watching the seduction scene in The New World, which is mostly silent, it occurred to me again. And thinking back a number of missteps I have made in one of my most important relationships this year, they mostly relate to enunciating things that could have been left unsaid, unspoken, in the delicate collusion of trust.

I am mostly a very social person, an extrovert. I recharge in crowds, as [livejournal.com profile] thorfinn has said many times. Or at least, I used to. When [livejournal.com profile] daisynerd suggested years ago that I should try living alone, the idea terrified me. Now I crave my space. And while I crave company also and too often feel like I am an outsider, even in the outsider crowd, I have started craving the company of only a few people, people I know will challenge me to discuss the world, life, politics, science, rather than the inward focus that I fall into otherwise, filling silences with panicked analyses of current obsessions or boastful retellings of personal history.

I realise that my most treasured friends -- you know who you are -- are those I can shift modes with: we can arc through the world-solving, illustrate with the personal, support each other through crisis and most precious of all, sit in silence, touching or not touching, looking each other in the eye, loved, loving, safe.


mordwen: (Default)

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