I worked a shift with RED today, for a fashion show/awards night for Blue Illusion at the ballroom of the Regent Theatre. WOW, what a gorgeous venue, very Romeo & Juliet. I was glad to know all of the people on the crew, had worked with each of them at least once before. Including the woman I did my first two shifts with who got very annoyed with all my questions. This is the second job I’ve been on with her since and I was convinced she still held it against me. It was killing me that I was the newbie that asked too many questions, because she seems really cool. She barely made eye contact with me today, and when I asked if she needed a hand Continue reading
I squeezed my own orange juice yesterday morning, not from our oranges, but from the Tangellos (mandarin-grapefruit cross) we got from Emma’s Grandma’s place near Mildura a few weeks ago. Lots of seeds but the taste was worth it!
I found a potato in the tub of spuds and we put it, sliced, on the BBQ with the fish and it was really tasty!
I’ve been eating a fair few nectarines and thinking about what to do with the rest of them as they start to ripen, you can pick soft ones from the tree now! We’re thinking stewed nectaries, maybe dehydrate some of them, freeze a few more. The fresh ones are much better cold, tho eating them fresh and hot is interesting.
The peaches didn’t fare so well, we got a few but it was a bit too hot as they were ripening and many of them cooked on the tree and had bugs in them. I am surprised that I’m enjoying the nectarines more than peaches and not from availability.
The apples are starting to get big and one fell in my bunny proofed section of garden under the orange tree and within a couple of days it was a tiny bird pecked core! No wonder the birds love our place so much, the feast on our fruit! I’d rather they left the strawberries more, i don’t mind sharing but we’ve only had a handful of the 20+ berries that have fruited.
I feel really blessed to have this food from my garden but it’s alot of work and it’s a bit tricky learning to deal with bugs and other nasties when you want to raise them naturally, no chemicals for me thanks! I’m learning what grows where and how to protect the plants from some of the things that want to eat them, and find nice surprises like a handful of rasperries, hiding under the leaves, not visible to birds! And the potato was a nice surprise too.
The joy of having food to eat in your own back yard is such a treat, despite the challenges, like empty rain water tanks, and its’ not even February! I used mains water for the first time this year. Praying for rain amid my gratitude for the long and sporadic harvest!
In this moment i have very little to say, however, it’s been a long time since my last post and my journey has meandered a great deal with hardly a moment to blog! Much less provide new coordinates of my location to my communities! So this is simply to say, i’m here, in this moment, and having just returned from a weekend workshop of Deep Ecology/Work that Reconnects facilitation skill building, i feel renewed, with a fresh perspective of what’s next.
I have been reading the book Presense by Peter Senge, Otto Sharmer et el and it’s blowing my mind. I’ve been connecting to a few others who have also been influenced by it and am looking for ways to move forward with the ideas. Whole systems change is really what i’m up for, what i’m here for, what i’m hungering for.
One of the last processes we did at the workshop this weekend was “Letter from Gaia”. Second time i’ve done it, and said very similar stuff, to focus on writing my book and to trust, focus on my own process than what it may provide for others. Its’ a birthing process and a rebirthing process. It it my role as midwife of the new and hospice of the old.
That’s what’s here for me to share in this present moment.
We made it back safe and sound from Queensland. It was wet season and flooding followed us but never impeded our way. Some heavy rains were no fun to drive thru but the lightning was cool and did a great job of illuminating the very dark surrounds.
We had a fantastic time and did SO much. We flew to Brisbane on New Years Eve, our flight was delayed an hour and our hostel was on the south side so getting to the gay pub was not only unlikley but our desire to go anywhere was minimal. We still managed to watch the fireworks from the hostel balcony. The poor weather had fireworks cancelled in the Gold Coast just south of us.
On Jan 2 we picked up our Wicked Camper and started our trek to Port Douglas. In Bundaberg we toured the Rum distillery (i can still smell the molasses vat!) and the Ginger Beer brewery. Mon Repos Turtle Rookery was in the middle of egg laying season so we got to watch a turtle build a nest and lay over a hundred ping pong sized eggs.
In Townsville the Aquarium, Reef HQ captured our fascination, sharks, turtles, starfish, sea snakes, maori wrasse, baramundi… Learned a fair bit about the reef and what to expect, there was a climate change educational display and a section about how different generations regarded the reef and didn’t realize they were depleting the fish stocks. It was really well done.
Most of the way up the coast the threat of box jellyfish prevented any swimming, even the ‘stinger nets’ we saw were closed cuz people were still getting stung!
We crossed the tropic of Capricorn into the humid tropics and rainforest. A cave system we visited had a cool light display from a particular hole that allowed sunlight in around noon at the time of year we were there, not as spectacular as Bucchan Caves but pretty cool.
More about the rainforest in the next installment.
She spoke loudly to me. Simple messages in her multitude of expressions. Banana Slug taught me about responsiveness. The rocks crumbling into the sea spoke of impermanence. ‘This too shall pass.’ Frogs echoed in time, mini-scale creatures creating a deafening sound. Calling the rain, in praise of pure water for survival. Something larger than individual species or landscapes at stake.
She knows i can feel it, in dreams she tells me i have a message for the world. My mind listens to the voice of doubt, that i’m too young, that no one will listen. But this time her voice rose above the uncertainty. It’s time to put the excuses aside, let my love for the earth sing loudly, to share what it feels like to be loved back by the earth. To feel held by her arms extending in tree branches. To know that the deeper my sorrow, the brighter the joy shines out of the other side of my tears. To feel deeply the pain of the world and consequentially, the deep love of earth, of my larger body, my ecological self.
Earth love is self love, when the earth loves you back, it’s oneness. She is me, i am her.
We’ve been staying with Stacy in vancouver, been fab!
now we’re at Ashely’s, the host of this blog!
he got my phone to work so now i can finally call people!
we went to the dyke march the day after we got here (4hr delay on our flight from SFO to YVR) and the pride march the day after that, which was only yesterday!
We’ve been gone a week and feels like 3! Loving it here, having a great time, will be going to Kelowna on Thursday.
PHEW! Two days ago it was a pleasant spring, warm and even cool. Now it’s 33 at 7pm. A bit of a shock, and not fun to ride in let me tell you! The hot wind blowing pollen and bits of trees, etc. makes for an added challenge. I actually wore sunglasses more for keeping stuff out of my eyes than for the sun today. Tho my ride home left me with really sore eyes, not to mention the head wind!
It’s the Anniversary weekend, neither me or emma is working tomorrow, and we are going out tonight but i have lots to do before then, and i’m blogging to procrastinate! Will let you know how the weekend goes.
hey blog readers,
i’m not sure why this shows up as title case, i’m writing without any capitals, have looked at all the settings and haven’t been able to sort it, am investigating further with my lovely host mrashley.
It’s been a year already since i’ve been in Oz! i’m sending out a big update to everyone, it was January since i sent the last one! Seems insane, it went so slow to start with and now time just keeps speeding up! My life has changed so much, who i am has changed to much.
I finally bought a copy of ‘What the Bleep do we Know’ yesterday! Watched it with Emma last night, thougth her scientific mind would be intrigued but she was looking for concrete evidence. Maybe she’ll get more out of it the second time, it was my 6th time seeing it. Totally affirms my life and especially since i did the Landmark Forum. It’s like the ‘how to’ version, how you can create your life and get freed up from past crap that you didn’t know was running your life.
Be skeptical all you like, i was but i’m much happier now, having given up my skepticism, i still have doubts about Landmark and there’s stuff i don’t like but i don’t let it spoil the rest of my experience, just like how my relationship is with some of my family memebers, they may have different and way more conservative and ultimately right-wing values from me but doesn’t mean i can’t love them for who they are as humans and as kin. Nor do they condemn me for being gay or left or a greenie even if they have a fundamentally different perspective or lifestyle.
I realized how much time i spend looking for whats wrong, man does that take up a lot of energy and zap my vitality. And living in that headspace sucks, it’s no fun, i don’t want to wallow in that, i want to soar. I was so invested in being right about everything else being wrong that i didn’t even think of what it would be like to get beyond that state of mind.
The impact on my activism has been great, especially my experience with Stillness in Action in combination of what i got from doing the Forum, i don’t have to be so focused on how fucked things are, i can accept that and move on to making a difference, articulating my vision and taking action. Like doing the Peak Oil Workshop. More on that another time.
Anyway this tangent is taking away from getting that update out, chances are you were directed from there to here, so it’s a done deal by the time you’re eyes are cast on these words.
Ah the nebula!
Meet me under the clocks and i’ll tell you about my life in melbourne…
Meet me under the clocks and we’ll walk down Flinders Street to Elizabeth Street and wait for the signal for all pedestrians at once, where you can legally walk diagonally across the street! We’ll go up Flinders Lane, a little one-way, ‘recaptured laneway’ full of micro-businesses, tiny stores and cafe’s. Up past the City Library is Ross House, that’s the building i work in. It’s like the ‘save the world’ or ‘bleeding hearts’ building at 620 View St in Victoria but it’s purposefuly filled with 90% non-profit groups and 10% for profit businesses. Since 1985 the building as been inhabited by mostly self-help and community groups as a result of a partnership with ANZ Bank, The National Trust and what is now the Ross House Association.
From there we’ll go into a smaller ‘recaptured laneway’ Degraves Street to the Organic Deli for some organic coffee. Coffee language is vastly different here. A ‘flat white’ or a ‘long black’ will confuse the hell outta most foreign coffee drinkers. I’ve learned to ask for a long black with hot soy on the side. We’ll sit in the lane in the only non-smoking section, people don’t walk with their coffee here but they sure like to smoke. They smoke in the doorways of buildings and on the street, because they mostly can’t smoke inside but i still have to hold my breath much of the time i’m on the street, especiall in the narrow lane ways.
After our coffee we’ll go across to the other side of Degraves thru an even more crowded cafe strip with tables and chairs in the middle of the tiny pedestrian only street. just before we enter the shopping arcade that leads to Bourke Street i grab your arm and stop you, pointing to the left, it’s where the garbage tips (dumpsters) are kept but it’s covered in bursts of colourful and raw art, graffitti mostly, some stencils, some large sticker figures (bulbous rabbit-esque creatures) and even a few light boxes that usually have a stencil or painting of some kind on them. It changes all the time. When i first saw it the light box on the top had a very common news image, the shape of Lindy England hodling onto a leashed prisoner at Abu Graib, her head was replaced with a large hamburger.
ponder that one!
The shopping arcade has several tiny shops, and a few medium sized businesses. A travel agent, a barber, three shoe stores, two of which are birkenstock and a brikenstock like brand, a few pricey ladies clothing and accessories shops and a barber. In the middle are stairs that go down to the language centre, at the end, the entrance to the one of the main streets in the CBD sits a very boerd looking security guard on a stool.
There are endless arcades and open concept shopping malls, not quite like the ones in taiwan but lots of nooks and crannys and domed lobbies with stained glass, all in a three or four block radius. You can pretty much walk through most of them to get to other streets, and many have overhead walkways on the upper floors of the department stores. Oh yeah, if you think ground level is level one, you’d be wrong, they are two different things. At Ross House there are three levels below the first floor, ground, street level and basement/garage, which is barely underground at all.
Grab your train ticket, we’ll use it to get on a tram, tho most locals don’t validate their ticket on trams, only the super honest people do it. We’ll go up a few blocks to the State Library. It has some lawn on the front that people sit on to have their lunch, and there is a statue of Joan of Arc on the right in front of the building! Across the street we’ll see a decorative bench that’s made of steel or wroght iron i think, it has these great big metal sunflowers towering over it and a beautifully decorated welding art in the middle of the wide double bench that i’ve never seen anyone sit on till i showed it to George and Merrily, she was the first!
From there we go down a less populated laneway, a store on the left has a very cool graffitti style painting advertising the very pink ladies clothing store. Most of the rest of the street is boareded up due to construction, there’s LOTS of construction in Melbourne, cranes are speckled across the skyline along with several half finished buildings. On the left is one of the many entrances to Melbourne Central. A massive shopping centre that you’d hardly know existed unless you are on a certain side of it or are in it. A few levels down you can catch a train under it, on the city loop. It’s the first and only (so far) shopping centre in the southern hemisphere without air conditioning thanks to Gilbert Rochecouste, whom i work for at Village Well. He did the master plan for the place and that was one of the recommendations they actually carried out, it was designed to use passive solar cooling, and it’ve been in there in the heart of the summer before i knew about this, and it was very cool, natrually!
In one of the crannies of Melboune Central is a well loved chocolate bar, THE experience for chocolate lovers, its’ set up like a cafe, you sit down and get a menu after passing by the large vats of swirling chocoalte that’s attached to the taps used to create many of the desserty items. You can have a hot chocolate with orchid oil made of belgian chocolate, waffles with bananas and coconut icecream drizzled with thick melted chocolate with a chocolate dip… Max Brenner was inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and created a legacy. I’ll let your salivation imagination make up the rest…
Now that we are stuffed to the gills with chocolate treats its time to head up toward parliament station. Around here and many places throughout the downtown you can see that this was an extremely wealthy colony city. Lots of ornate buildings, makes me proud and sick at the same time. I’m not even sure why i’m proud, maybe something to do with that Australian spirit of ingenuity and making something from next to nothing. I don’t fully understand what made this country so wealthy, likely massive resource extraction, that’s the part that makes me sick, not to mention the treatment of aboriginal people. For the longest time they really just thought it was ok to simply kill ‘blacks’ (i still shudder when i hear that word used to describe people). At least there is a concerted effort toward reconciliation with an actual National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week! A group called Reconciliation Victoria is on the same floor of Ross House as Village Well. There are lots of groups working toward recognition of aboriginal title and social issues. There is a yellow metal sign in the lobby of Ross House Acknowledging the land the building is on belongs to the Wungundjeri (sp?).
We pass the very old elaborate buildings and see a massive church spire on the right after parliament house and the boring treasury buildings. There is a park, fairly manicured but refreshingly natrual after all that concrete! The Fitzroy Gardens have these majestic and gigantic morton bay figs, bigger than many of the houses here. And at night possums will come right up to you and smell your feet, if they like the smell, they’ll grab your pant let and snif the air infront of your knees. Of course you want to feed the cute lil thing but you know that human food is not good for possums and there is plenty of food for them in the park, especially with all the figs dropping to the ground!
Walking through the park i choose to walk on the grass instead of the wide (as the lanes) paths, because the human foot is not designed for a flat surface and my arthritis flares up when i walk on concrete for too long. The grass is super thick and spongey. On the other side of the park is the Master Builders Association Building. On the second floor is the Building Display Centre, all sorts of alternative techology and environmental building products etc, nestled in the front side is the SLF offices. It was a hub of activity when i first went, about a month before the festival. It’s a bit quieter now but still plugging away at excellerating the uptake of sustainability. Such a great org! The Environmental Jobs Network is also in there and is back in the other side that SLF occupied pre fest. Gorgeous views of the fig trees in the park from those windows!
Just on the other side of where SLF is we can catch another tram to Smith Street for a bite to eat before we head to the ever funky and vibrant Brunswick Street. If you want to get a perverted book from Polyester or a shredded and sewn back together T-shirt from Dangerfield we’ll have to get ther before 5 when the stores close. I don’t know how anyone has time to go shopping in this town if you work during the week! And many stores are only open limited hours on Saturdays, like closing at 2pm or 4pm. And don’t even think about Sunday, forget it, only restaurants and some cafe’s are open on sundays. This is certainly not North America! And the customer service is often crappy. Not that i really care most of the time but it’s funny the things you notice.
One of the things i notice that’s hard for me to accept is the fashion sense, i find it to be quite chaotic and illogical. At times i’d use the word hideous, but that makes me sound pretty damned pompus! The selections of women’s clothes are excessively girly and i havent’ found anything i really like, tho i was in an op shop (thirft store) today that was, wait for it… open till 7pm! and i found a pair of pants that i sorta liked but they fit wrong, doesn’t help that my ice cream inflated behind makes lots of styles fit poorly on me.
Thankfuly i have a bike now and can get about 80 min of excersize a day from riding to and from work! If the weather holds i’ll be fitting my clothes again in no time! Oh Tangnet ! Where were we, oh yes, showing you Melbourne… we started out under the clocks at the main railway station, we made it about 5kms to the cool part of town, where you can see mullet-mohawk after mullet-mohawk saunter by in acid wash jeans or black on black. Labret peircings are common and you’ll see the odd tattoo except for those who are covered in them, and they usually have a plethora of piercings as well, same as home i guess. I’ve notived lots of vampy goths in Degraves st lately, they seem very out of place next to the regular folx but they clearly don’t give a shit. The diversity in Melbourne makes it pretty difficult for people to stand out. It’s only recently that i’ve started to really realize that there’s no reason for people to stare at me, i was so used to looking different and attracting attention with hair colour or genderfucking or wearing buttons that say things like ‘i love my cunt’ but that’s not me anymore, that’s who i was and i sorta miss that part of me but i’m forging a new self, slowly but surely.
This city is creating me in a new image, shaping the fabric of my being, making me glad i did fauxhawk without a trace of mullet. The new me is less about what i look like and more about who i am and what i do. It’s much harder to make a statement without those tools i once held so dear to my identity but it seems to matter less. The new me, the Tathra of Melbourne is embryonic, barely formed, incubating, observing the world around me and deciding what to take on and into myself and what not to. To be clear, the new Tathra will not be sporting a mullet any time soon!
So now that the stores are starting to shut we can take a bus from Johnson Street to Kew Junction and catch a tram to Cotham and Glenferrie back to Dad’s place in sleepy old Hawthorn. We could get a tram back to Parliament station but it would probably take about the same time i think. This way to get to see Yarra Bend park where the biggest bats you’ve ever seen come out at night.
Another time we’ll explore the night life of Melbourne but only if i can stay awake long enough!