Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I have proof that the weather is changing and the seasons are late. We are almost into Summer and my Spring allergies have just caught up with me. I thought I had them beat this year. I've been taking my horseradish/garlic/vitamin c and throwing chopped chillies into everything. This morning, the headache, the streaming eye (it only hits one) the bleeding nose, ringing in the ears and the rash arrived. The rash starts at the ankles and goes to the knees, walking through grass height. The Doctor originally had it as a nervous reaction which was probably 2/3 right as it hasn't been as severe since the Blight left. If Gitmo wants another torture then this is it. Give someone a rash, tie their hands out of reach and don't let them scratch. In past years I have bought calamine lotion by the 44 gallon drum.
The allergies usually hit only the left sinus cavity which is great for the balance. If I drop anything on the floor, it stays there, bending down causes pain, dizziness, swearing and fear of falling. This year something new turned up. The right eye puffed up which left me looking like I'd had a run in with Mike Tyson. I have to think back to when it was okay then work forward until I remember I walked under a flowering tree in the park.
Treatment varies according to symptoms. Sometimes a salt water spray clears it up or I progress to allergy spray, hit it with anti-histamine tablets and if I'm still not seeing straight then I take the small pill. This has enough punch to knock out a Melbourne Cup field so I've learned to take only 1/4. It says on the pack not to drive as the tablets could cause drowiness, but it doesn't say it knocks you out for about 12 hours so I'm a bit more cautious now.
That's what I mean about the weather, I usually get all this in September. Perhaps it's not seasonal allergy as in Spring but seasonal allergy as in Christmas.

On a good note, I want New Year's Honours for the ABC programmer who decided to put on an hour of Dr Who every night. Please keep it going through Summer. I watched the first episode of Veronica Mars last night and I'm going to enjoy this show and Veronica. I've been re-watching David Attenborough's Blue Planet which has re-affirmed my opinion about venturing into deep water. As will a new programme starting tonight called "Surface" about strange new creatures in the ocean. Since we don't know a fraction of the animals that are down deep, this could end up a reality show.
Makes a break from the sharks in Parliament. A thank you to Barmey Joyce, friend of the working class and gutless wonder. You could have had a lifetime of admiration but all you'll get is 15 minutes of nothing. After he gets voted out of office, he could have his own show, "How to cave in to small rodents", all the tips you'll need to knuckle under.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Monash University is working to reduce mother-to-baby transfer of HIV by 'switching off' a protein in the placenta. Mother-to-baby transmission of HIV (mainly around the time of delivery) occurred in up to 40 per cent of pregnancies unless strategies were used to minimise transfer.

Administering antiviral drugs to the mother prior to delivery can decrease the transfer of the virus to the baby. However the placenta acts as a barrier, restricting transfer of the drugs from the mother to the foetus.

Monash researchers have discovered that the transfer of antiviral drugs is restricted due to a protein 'pump' in the placental cells that separate the maternal and foetal blood.

The team is now investigating how to switch off the P-glycoprotein pump. If this can be achieved there is potential to increase the transfer of antiviral drugs to the foetus. More effective drug concentrations may result, and they should further decrease the mother-to-baby transfer of HIV.

Three million children worldwide carry HIV due to maternal transmission.

Universities like Monash are being starved of research funds. They are becoming nothing more than degree factories. If Howard can find so many millions to spend on advertising then why can't he find the same to further the kind of research that Monash is doing which would benefit the world. Where's your voice, Abbott, when this research will be good for children everywhere?


Almost 5 million people were infected by HIV globally in 2005, the highest jump since the first reported case in 1981 and taking the number living with the virus to a record 40.3 million.

More than 3.1 million people have died this year from AIDS, including 570,000 children. Nine out of 10 people in developing countries do not know their HIV status.

In South Africa where the infection rate among pregnant women touched 29.5 per cent in 2005, deaths of people aged between 25 and 44 had more than doubled.

Other southern African countries had more than 30 per cent of pregnant women with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 25.8 million HIV-positive people or 64 per cent of the world's total.

UNAIDS said the number of HIV-positive women reached 17.5 million this year, more than one million more than in 2003.

In many countries, marriage, and women's own fidelity are not enough to protect them against HIV infection. Many new infections are being reported in married women infected by their husbands after visiting sex workers.

In India, 70 per cent of Indian sex workers either did not know what a condom was or how to use one.

In Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Russian Federation, infections due to unprotected sex are rising after the initial momentum given to the epidemic by injecting drug use.

The outlook on accessibility of anti-retroviral drugs for people in developing nations is looking brighter, with between 250,000 and 350,000 deaths averted in 2005.

Too many HIV-positive people are still missing out, with just one in 10 Africans and one in 7 Asians who need anti-retroviral treatment actually receiving it.

Two decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, in many parts of the world, knowledge about HIV transmission was alarmingly low.

HIV is now on the rise in Pacific island nations.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I haven't left out the 'e', it is travelnots, places that I love to look at and learn about but am never, ever going to travel to.
This gorgeous place is call the Great Blue Hole, off the coast of Belize. It's l,045 feet across and 412 feet down (no metres, more impressive in feet). It's origin goes back to an ice age 15,000 years ago when the sea level dropped and exposed the limestones of Lighthouse Reef. Subterranean caverns formed when fresh water flowed through the limestone deposits, then the roof of the cavern collapsed to form the sink hole.

It's one of the best known dive sites in Belize and the deep blue depression is in the centre of more than 75 square miles of shallow blue-green water. Down in the depths, an overhang forms a cavern ceiling from which hang stalactites more than 3 feet in diameter and up to 20 feet in length. The typical visibility is 100 feet and maintaining orientation on the way down is done by staying reasonably close to the wall. The walls of the cavern are covered with green algae, sponges and encrusting worms. Sharks and turtles are unpredictable visitors. The hole is completely rimmed by living coral except for two narrow passages. It requires expertise to dive into the Great Blue Hole.

Reasons I will never visit:

My phobia about flying or rather my phobia about the plane being big enough to fly with me in it. I saw that new airbus land and it looks promising as long as no-one else is flying in it that day.

My phobia about deep water, that is anything above my knees. At a pinch I can take it up to armpit level as long as I can keep one foot on the seabed and the water is clear enough to show what's lurking down there, sharks, stingrays, barracudda, anything with teeth. Accidently falling into very deep water like a great blue hole would bring on instant myocardial infarction.

Clustrophobia brought on by being squeezed into a wet suit (stop drooling rubber freaks), headache forming face mask and half a ton of metal jammed in my mouth for air. One of my favourite movies is "The Abyss" which I usually watch with doors and windows wide open. I go into meltdown every time Lynsey breathes in water and deliberately drowns.

My phobia about getting hit with a bout of Belize Belly inside a wet suit 100 feet down a great blue hole.

Don't let me stop any of you from going and send postcards, it's the closest I'll get to being there.

Friday, November 25, 2005


I was supposed to go out last night but things didn't go exactly to plan. I wanted to meet members of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and get to know them a little better. I'm very new to lobbying and it looks like it's going to remain that way. I'll still be a financial member but my support will be in thought only, thanks to my old dears who take up time and way too much strain on the emotions.
I expected M to have a delayed reaction to last week because she was too exhausted to have it last week but did she have to call just before I rang the taxi. I had already dealt with M-I-L who always checks to see if I'm going to see her because she can't remember which day I do see her. You would think the Blight would get someone to mark off the days on the calendar for her so she actually knows what day it is.
Back to M who thought it was next week I was going out and says she won't bother me now. I know that tone in the voice, the panic tone. My sister's not home, the brick outhouse is missing and now I'm going out. So I've got the phone in one hand, texting my sister on the mobile with the other while M asks me if she should take her anti-anxiety pills. Resisting the temptation to tell her to take the bottle and I'll resuscitate her in the morning, I finally get her calmed down. At that moment, the brick outhouse turns up and she's right, "Okay dear, you can go out now, I'll be fine". Well dear has thrown in the towel by now, it's late, it's supposed to storm and it's the worst time of the night to try and get a cab and there'll be another time to meet the lobby.
This is when I start beating myself up for wimping out. I had promised myself that this year I would try to make a difference and joining the lobby was a big move for me. Going to the Marriage Equality rally was the first time I had been in the city for nine years. I went by train and bus and I stood in a crowd of strangers, friendly strangers I might add, and didn't throw up or hyperventilate. That was a huge milestone for me and I haven't looked back.
I have to keep a lot of secrets from the old dears. I haven't done a lot for the lobby except for writing letters and getting this blog (another really big BIG move) where I can rant about all things homophobic. I just don't have the energy to look after three people and the world. I don't have the energy to explain why I'm doing this and why it's important. I can understand them though, sometimes stay alive another 24 hours is all you can think about and that's what they do and I'm part of that thinking.
So at this late hour, I'm being a bit more rational and have decided to give myself a bit more time to become a dyed-in-the-wool activist. Time to refine the writing, learn a bit more about the politics of lobbying and sharpen up the memory so I can remember where I dropped my reading glasses this morning because I can't keep typing three feet from the screen.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

POLITICS *rasberries* !

The week isn't over and I'm fed up to here with politics. Politics make me homicidal at the best of times, suicidal at the worst.

The Labor party wants Amanda Vanstone to resign over her remarks about using a broken wine glass to terrorise a person on a plane or how to dispose of a boss with a sharp pencil. In my opinion the most important thing she said was that some precautions were only there to make us FEEL safe. To me she sounds like someone who's tired of carrying the can for Ruddock and Howard's mistakes.

Tony Abbott, I can't even think about rationally. A very sharp, very pointed stick for him and not in his eye.

Kim Beazley lost the plot a few times but did okay on the IR protests. I don't care if you howl me down, I still say he's not entirely a well man.

Mr. Olexander doing a Latham on the Victorian Liberals. It kills me to say this but if the party was that homophobic why did they endorse you in the first place? (in the closet) You got yourself dumped because you broke the cardnal rule of the libs - you got caught! You could have driven to Darwin and back, tanked to the gills and they wouldn't have cared but you got caught. You are a hypocrite to show up their homophobia now that you've got nothing to lose.
How much better you would have served the Gay community by exposing their attitudes while you still had a seat in Parliament and had a lot to lose. Sorry, I'm not buying the "I'm gay and look what they've done to me" sob story because if you hadn't been dumped, you'd still be toeing the party line with your mouth firmly shut.

Now not strictly politics as in Parliament, but a political and divisive issue within the Gay community. Rodney Croome has spoken about it, QueerPenguin has a good post about it, Australian Coalition for Equality has the story, various AIDS organizations have combined and taken out full page ads. Instead of being a simple issue of one gay man wanting to donate blood, it's now become a bun fight over whether it is a right to donate blood and whether that blood can be trusted to be HIVneg. The AIDS groups say no to blood from gay men which others say makes a mockery out of their safe sex campaign.
I'm a straight female so I'm outside this issue and I have already blogged about it. Perhaps it isn't a given right to donate blood but we do have a right to perform a civic duty otherwise why would Howard be telling us to dob in our muslim neighbour who buys a bag of fertilizer for his roses. I tend to agree with QueerPenguin that the AIDS orgs. are covering their backs. As I have said elsewhere if a gay man is going to go through the process of giving blood, why would he lie about his contacts? If he was that much of a party animal why would he even bother with a civic duty? Straight men lie about picking up a prostitute, male or female. Would a woman totally trusting her husband even think about testing for HIV? Consider the report out this week which shows heterosexual HIV infection has risen from 7 per cent of new diagnoses before 1996 to more than 23 per cent in 2004.

It's up to the government to help research a quicker more effective testing procedure for HIV or start research into artificial blood. With the holiday season almost here, not to mention the projected terror attacks 'whenever' and their demand on blood supplies, the issue must be decided once and for all but make it about the HIV blood testing efficiency not about the blood givers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I have twelve apples on the tree and about one million mealy bugs. They're like walking fluffy feathers and stick to branches like the proverbial to a blanket. The Blight used to stand there and blast them with the hose and do it by the hour. Small things amuse small minds. I don't use poison spray because of the birds so the bugs have multiplied. Not that I eat the apples, that's the bribe for the possums to stay away from the tomatoes.

While I was counting the apples I spotted these little rippers. When ladybirds get going on mealys it's like an SAS attack. They weave along branches looking so sweet then they go into this superspeed glide and whack, one bug less. I can't help myself, I'm out there with the magnifying glass because those little spotted movers are so great. Most act alone but sometimes there's a group under a leaf like gangs in the 'Hood'. This is the first time in years that I've seen so many ladybirds in the tree. Even in the park this afternoon I could see them climbing the grass. If that's an indication of a good ecosystem then the council must be doing something right.

I'm going to love watching death amongst the leaves for the next week or so. Of course like all good soldiers after a hard day fighting, the boys R'n'R at the nearest shady bar, pick up and shag. I haven't posted that X-rated picture, this blog remains work safe.

Update: 25 apples, biggest haul ever.


After last night's 60 minutes I think I should state loud and clear that I am not that woman. Now you know how I like to play mental strip with every cute thing that catches my eye but no touching, never, ever, ever.

I like my men to have lived a little, can read a book without moving their lips, don't need a road map to a woman's body and have the training wheels of their (insert favourite euphemism).

Besides as a born-again virgin (who did make that 7 year rule?) I don't want to fall off my wings or drop my halo. And never a teenager. Who would want to teach a teenage toy er boy to kiss again. Been there, done that - don't slobber - you're not a lizard - I have a gag reflex - lick the soles of my feet from the outside. There are some things I don't want to do twice and fighting off a tongue groper is one of them.

Not to mention teen hygiene, they have germs and I have an old immune system. On the way to the bedroom to explore the mysteries of love, there's the trip to the bathroom to explain the mysteries of soap and water and the benefits of a dettol bath. "Here sweet thing, glance through this brochure on STIs", while I move south and check for fungus and crotch crickets. By the time I got through that I'd be too tired to show him which end of the condom was up. He'd probably play with the coloured ones for an hour or two anyway. You know what they're like with new toys.

I have my order in for an older guy. Must have luxurious grey hair (that'll piss the Blight no end) green eyes, stunning intellect and the ability to keep a straight face when he looks at me in the cold light of dawn. It might help if he's tall, I have a couple of light bulbs that need changing. It would be a definite plus if his mother owned a jewellery store. Don't worry about a pair of strong arms, he'll need a front end loader if I fall down. Did I mention green eyes? Oh, I did, well make sure they're off set by dark eyelashes. Just one more thing, a voice like warm chocolate on a cold night would be pleasant. Have I forgotten anything, ah that, no problem I do great phone sex.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Thank you Muriels for driving me crazy.

2 names you go by:

Woman of mystery
Spinster in waiting

2 parts of your heritage:


2 things that scare you:

The Blight coming back
John Howard finding the philosopher's stone

2 things you're wearing right now:

Eyeliner (french heritage)

2 of your favourite bands or musical artists (at the moment):

Jon English

2 favourite songs (at the moment):


2 things you want in a relationship (other than real love):

Long distance
WiFi connection

2 Truths:

I am beautiful in my eyes
A part of me is broken forever

2 physical things that appeal to you (in somebody else):

Green eyes
Clean fingernails

2 of your favourite hobbies:

Mentally stripping check- out boys
Wishing on stars

2 things you want really badly:

A friend to be pregnant
Tony Abbott, single, barefoot and pregnant with quintuplets

2 places you want to go on vacation:

Mt Darwin, Tasmania
Seymour Island, Antarctica

2 things you want to do before you die:

Attend the first legal gay wedding in Australia
Wipe out racism, homophobia and bigotry (it's in one sentence, don't nitpick)

2 ways that you are stereotypically a dude/chick:

I cry at happy endings
I sob uncontrollably at sad endings

2 stores you shop at:

Harrods (masquerading as Safeway)
An exclusive little emporium aka the $2 shop

2 people you would like to see take this quiz:

So many people I would like to drive mad, who to choose.
Give me a month or two. I'll get back to you, promise.


Okay Jerry, I'm an equal opportunity perve. This is me in a previous incarnation. The bird is a Sydney Swan in a previous incarnation. Would a body like this hang out with a loser bird like a West Coast Eagle?

Sunday, November 20, 2005


The Goddess of Mothers and Daughters has spoken. No operation for mother, her eyes are fine if just a little fuzzy, like looking through windows that need cleaning. No macular degeneration due to diabetes, no glaucoma, faint beginnings of a cataract but nothing to worry about.

As for me I've survived three days out of five without committing matricide. It was close when I found her hiding another two sets of Christmas lights in the spare room to add to the thirty sets she already has. I will elaborate on the monster that is Christmas house lighting to rival the Griswolds after I've had my blood pressure checked.

How about me then, my first photo on the blog and such a luscious drop too. I have some more of him but I'm rationing the goodies. I've even printed some out for the fridge door. The usual well-intentioned summer diet kick start is due but the door boys need a refresh. I had to get rid one of the best last summer when mother lifted a fridge magnet and said it looked 'just like your father'. Far too much information that was so he had to go.

Speaking of men, no, speaking of weasels, from the Prime Weasel down to the Weasel for Health.
Why all the running around for a drug smuggler when they wouldn't help a gay man in trouble in Fiji? Not that I agree with the death penalty at all but if the government demands our laws are to be respected then they have to respect the laws of other countries. The Weasel for Health, doesn't seem to respect women at all. I suppose we should be grateful he wasn't a doctor, think of the women he would have sold down the river then. As for a conscience vote on the abortion pill, that will work when there is a law making politians park their religion at the door of Parliament. How can they say they revere the life of the unborn child when they have no respect for the bearer of that child?
Democrats Senator Andrew Murray is upset that workers will be forced to work on Christmas Day without penalty rates if they have a contract which does not include them. Surprised?
The Federal Government is considering some amendents to it's IR laws so outworkers in the clothing industry won't be exploited as if they aren't exploited 100% already. Liberal Senator David Johnston says he would like stricter rules regarding the inspections of outworker workplaces. I liked to see that, inspections of every little kitchen where mother and kids work day and night to make food money. They'd be so frightened of losing the work they'd hide everything to make it look good.

On to the trivial. Every TV program is having its final airing next week. Lost is on a repeat which is fine because I missed a lot of the first episodes. So what objectionable little gems are lying in wait for us? I don't care actually, I have eight seasons of the X Files, five seasons of Babylon 5 and ice skating tapes going back 10 years. I think I would have been one of the greatest skaters ever because there's no way I would have let my backside crash onto hard, cold, wet ice. If they ever start playing football on ice skates I might watch a game or two.
I did watch King Solomon's Mines last night. What a waste of time. If they're going to make a repeat then make a good one not a carapace for ads. One of the ads was for Jon English which reminded me how good that gravel voice is. Record search coming up tomorrow because I've got them all and I suddenly miss them.

I'm going to wash the dishes now, I'm down to chopsticks and paper plates (there's a sink under there somewhere) then I'm going to make a dress and dye my hair, I mean enhance my natural colour.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Take that Penguin. Entree, main meal and dessert with a bit left for a midnight snack.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Just in case you weren't sure Americans were sane (oops, sorry JD) this comes to light and should help make up your mind.
There is a law in Georgia that allows children of any age to marry - and without parental consent- as long as the bride-to-be is pregnant. Many didn't know the law existed and it dates back to the early 1960s to prevent out-of-wedlock births. Great way to shut the stable door after the horse etc. At least one woman knew enough about it. The 37 year old is trying to get out of a child molestation charge by marrying the 15 year old boy who now can't testify against her.
Openly gay State Rep. Karla Drenner said she plans to author a bill that would bar children under 16 to marry regardless of the circumstances or at least require parental consent. (under 16?)
This in a state where a year ago law makers passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. I suppose that does mean gay marriage between adults.

Over in London, same-sex couples are getting ready for the start of Civil Unions next month.
The Civil Partnership law goes into effect on December 5. Under the law people entering into a legal domestic partnership must publicly announce their plans at least 15 days in advance. Although the domestic partner registry offers most of the same rights and responsibilities of marriage they cannot be called marriages.

Travelers Protection Services, an insurance company that specializes in wedding insurance sees a potentially giant market in same-sex commitments. So much so it's opened a whole new division to deal with the expected demand.

If the Australian Government can figure out a way to make money out of gay marriage which is more than votes from religious nut groups then you'll have gay marriage before you can say 'I do'. In England they expect as many as 40,000 same-sex couples to 'get hitched' in the first year. An on-going money machine, the Libs would love that.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I have a habit of mentally filing articles of interest which I usually find while looking for something else. I found this while looking for autism.

Temple Grandin is Associate Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She's a leading animal welfare scientist and she is autistic. Being autistic has helped her in her work because she doesn't think in language, she's a visual thinker. She believes that is how animals think, in pictures.

She became interested in cattle handling when she noticed how they relaxed when they went into a squeeze chute. Like many people with autism and Asperger's syndrome she finds pressure calming so when she climbed into the squeeze chute, she found she calmed down. She began to design cattle handling systems to reduce the stress on animals at abbattoirs. She doesn't talk about the philosophy of animal rights because an animal doesn't understand rights. She believes that since we have brought them into existance we owe them a decent life and at the end, a less stressful killing.

She has developed systems that minimise animal distress by assessing five things: the percentage of animals stunned on the first attempt, the percentage insensible before being hoisted, the percentage vocalising, the percentage that fall down and the percentage moved with electric prods. Moving animals through a processing plant can be improved by installing non-slip flooring, removing distractions that cause animals to baulk or installing shields to prevent animals seeing any people ahead of them.

She is not insensible of animals' feelings and thinks we'll one day realise how badly we have treated them. While animal activists try to get legislation passed she does something concrete about the conditions now. She believes that autistic people have privileged access to lower levels of raw information, like animals, both work at the detailed level. She has written two books about autism, Thinking in Pictures (1996) and Animals in Translation (2005)

Some animal rights campaigners maintain that we should allow animals the same rights enjoyed by humans but not Gary Francione who is Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Distinguished Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law, New Jersey.
His idea is that a coherent theory of animal rights should focus on just one right for animals. That is the right not to be treated as the property of humans.

He says at the present animals are commodities and have only the value we choose to give them. We prohibit animal suffering only when it has no economic benefit (pets). There are parallels with the institution of slavery. We recognise all humans as having a basic right not to be treated as the property of others. So why do we deem it acceptable to eat animals, hunt them, confine and display them in circuses and zoos, use them in experiments or rodeos, or otherwise treat them in ways which we wouldn't treat humans.
We cannot justify human domination of non humans except by appeal to religious superstition focused on the supposed spiritual superiority of humans. Recognising animal rights really means accepting that we have a duty not to treat sentient non-humans as resources.

In another article by Prof. Francione, he says if we took seriously the principle that it was wrong to inflict unneccessary suffering on non-humans, we would stop altogether bringing domestic animals into existance for human use, and our recognition on the moral status of animals would not depend on whether a parrot can understand mathematics or a dog recognise itself in a mirror. We would take seriously what Jeremy Bentham said over 200 years ago: "The question is not, can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?"

In light of what humans are currently doing to humans all over the world, should we really worry about animals? Yes, because how we treat animals flows on to how we treat each other. Gary Francione and Temple Grandin, each in their own way, have a concern for the well being of animals. One uses practical methods that work now, one writes philosophically to change minds for the future. I became a vegetarian because I decided that if I couldn't kill an animal, gut it, skin it and then eat it then I shouldn't pay someone else to do it for me. I have the luxury of choice where a lot of the world doesn't so I like the way Temple Grandin thinks and the fact that her methods are applied around the world. I like the way Gary Francione states the animal rights case but it wouldn't be easy to convince a starving villager in Africa or Asia. I wouldn't dream of forcing my views on another culture. Meateaters do though, beef eaters look down on horseflesh eaters. Sheep eaters look down on pork eaters, westerners in general look down on dog eaters. We have our divides too, vegetarians eat eggs and dairy, vegans don't.

We vegetarians can't get too smug either, "The greatest increase in deforestation is in two Brazilian states within the Amazon Basin. One of them, Mato Grosso Province has the largest of the soybean growing empires and because of this, in 2004, nearly half of forest destruction in Amazonia was in this state".

It all comes down to a matter of balance, humanity and compassion, need not greed. If this rambles too much, I did say in my first post that my brain tends to fall out of my mouth without thinking sometimes and occasionally by thinking too much.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I have been trying to write this all day and it hasn't worked. I keep sounding like I'm whining and bitching about two old dears who think I'm an angel and wouldn't be alive without me. I'm not an angel, I am whining and they probably wouldn't be alive without me but it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to.

My mum and mum-in-law, two frail bodies but with wills of iron. I still call her mother-in-law because she insists she is, the blonde is just the other one he married. Since 2000, one or the other has been ill or in hospital and only in the last 6 months have I had time to do what I wanted. The dream of going back to university has long faded although it's still hilarious to my mother that I read New Scientist instead of New Idea. Both of them thought I would die of malnutrition when I stopped eating meat. They would say I should get out more and meet people then worry in case I did.

After passing so many milestones this year, I find I am being sucked back into the parental black hole of dutiful daughter and I don't see how I can fight it. The only fight I have won is to keep my mobile phone a secret except from MIL who loves the fact that she knows something my mother doesn't. If my mother thought she could get me 24 hours a day she would be in seventh heaven and I would be in hell.

Yesterday I had to take her for an eye test. Being in a large shopping centre showed how frail and unsteady she is outside her safety zone. I'd organized a wheelchair and the brick outhouse to wheel her but she had to admit she wasn't comfortable with people rushing around her. It was me doing the rushing, up and down 3 levels of shopping centre following the list of instructions because "we might as well do everything while we're here". "We"? I have blisters on my blisters. She has a cataract on one eye and some wrinkling behind the lens of the other.
We have a visit to a specialist on Friday to find out just how bad things are.

The Blight hasn't told his mother he's going away for 2 weeks after Christmas and won't see her. I won't tell you who the despicable person was who leaked that information. I had to promise I would be there for her and it didn't matter if the weather was stinking hot. I would get to her no matter what and she was happy then. What else could I do, she's nearly 93. What kind of person would leave an old lady, the other one he married, of course. In case you think I'm being hard on the Blonde, I was inclined to step back and let her take my place as DIL. That was until I heard her tell a nurse that MIL was not trying too hard to get better as she loved the attention. The attention she was getting was for a shattered hip joint, joined with 3 huge screws through a metal plate on the thigh bone and she was 89 at the time. I knew what kind of compassion she could expect after that.

So it looks like the next three months of my life is mapped out for me. Perhaps it won't be too bad, I may not have time for the usual Christmas depression to take hold. Maybe I won't even think about when I get to their age that there will be no-one around for me to lean on. Now that bugs me, the fact that the buck stops with me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I found this quote today:

"was not the necessity the plea of every illegal exertion of power or exercise of oppression?
.....Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
William Pitt the Younger (1759 - 1806)

Congrats to all the workers (I was nursing blisters, remember) who turned out to show Howard how much he is loved and adored. Protesting won't stop him but it might cause his party to slow down and think. I know, forlorn hope. I hope it has the opposite effect on Labor and they get moving at last instead of following, because if it doesn't I'm taking my vote elsewhere. Listening to me Beazley! As for that 50 million dollars, I'm sure where that came from. Ask any scientist who put in for a research grant this year and they'll tell you. What's the point of building a synchrotron and not having any home-grown scientists to use it? Plenty from overseas and that's where the research will go. We churn out legal degrees instead (sorry Mr. Lefty) but I suppose we'll need them for all the sedition cases.

By the way, ASIO, if you're going to ferret around in my computer, leave a note. I hate unannounced visitors.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Sunday morning, the peace and quiet time with the papers and brunch, if you can call grapefruit juice and parrot seed bread, brunch. My penance for kicking the diet in the head yesterday. Baked apple in puff pastry, Dordoni feta, cucumber and potato salad with Greek yoghurt and deep fried tofu cakes, not a thing tasteless no-low-fat. This was followed by lots of black coffee loaded with sugar crystals and minty chocolates. Now it's back to sensible eating or 'living death by nutrition'.

Article on Harry Potter, good and what idiot decided that Australia has to wait until December lst for the movie? Matt Price has a suggestion that I really like, free up the rules governing the televising of Parliament and open up the microphones so we can see and hear all of our elected morons going for each other's throats. It might raise the level of debate from kindergarten to high school.

Cricket Australia has heard that wives and children were responsible for team members not bonding during this year's series. One player complained that he couldn't find anyone to have a beer with. Why didn't he text Warnie, he'd go anywhere with anyone? Glenn McGrath had a better perspective, saying more credit should be given to England for winning the series. If the players want their wives and children for support, good for them.

Contrast this with a report that more than half of Australian parents admit they can't control their children. Australian Childhood Foundation's chief executive Joe Tucci said there was no doubt parents needed more support. Parenting expert Matt Sanders, from the University of Queensland wants State and Federal governments to fund compulsory parenting courses. Well, Matt Sanders should come down into the real world where both parents are having to work, having to put their kids in childcare and are so tired and stressed, they barely have time to be parents let alone take parenting courses. Howard's workplace reforms aren't going to make work and parenting any easier.

Where were our Christian Family mouthpieces during the week. Steve Fielding was voicing support for inserting a reference to God in Australia's National Anthem. Our national song does not mention God, unlike New Zealand, the US and the UK and it should be amended to reflect the nation's Christian values. Liberal MP Peter Slipper thinks the importance of God and Australia's Christian foundations deserve to be recognised in the National Anthem. We'll see how Christian we are when snow starts falling on the earthquake survivors in the hills of Pakistan. They still need tents and blankets and a couple of Hercules airlifts would do instead of promises of money.

Australian Family Association spokescretin, Bill Muehlenberg, is against girls as young as 12 getting contraception. He says it's way too young, sends out the wrong messages and it's putting up the white flag of surrender. This was in response to a report that teenagers are turning to GPs and family planning clinics for long-term contraceptive options - without telling parents. I'm not happy with the idea of a 12 year-old playing at sex but if that 12 year-old is aware enough to ensure she doesn't get pregnant and mature enough to go to her GP or family planning clinic where she'll also get STI information then she's in control. These anti-abortion Christian groups can't have it both ways. Abstinence until marriage doesn't work. If they don't want girls to get pregnant and resort to abortion then they have to allow them to take control and get the contraception they need. I'm aware that contraception too early can cause complications later in life but so can pregnancy and abortion. So shut up Bill or use your mouth to get a couple of aircraft full of blankets to Pakistan.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I was going to talk about my week but after shopping yesterday I don't have any memory of it. You're right Sam B., no good deed ever goes unpunished. After giving up my place at the taxi rank to two little old dears with a combined age of 185 who were urging me with their walking sticks to take the cab because I was first, everything that had happened got worse. If my guardian angel ever shows himself I'll have his throat. I had to wait an hour for another cab and by then there was a line of decrepit oldies on various walking aids behind me but I'd done my good deed. I was way into serious pain by this stage and I'd have trampled the first one into dust if they'd made a move towards that car.

The shopping centre had already annoyed me enough with Christmas Carols except for Safeway which was playing the 'fresh food' jingle. Forget it, Head office, it won't make me buy more of your over- priced rubbish. I could save myself the pain and suffering by shopping on line but I don't want garlic from China, avocados from New Zealand and oranges from California. By the time I was halfway round I was tired and that's when my knee went but I was hanging off a trolley, (you know the one, it takes a rugby team to move) so I didn't fall but I had to buy water and painkillers which weren't on my list and didn't help anyway.

Couldn't even ask the cute check-out boy for help because he's moved on which leaves nothing else worth perving at. I might have to go to plan B. Standing in the computer section of Dick Smith's and look bewildered, some of the computer geeks are cute. Plan C is trawling the underwear section of David Jones and looking bewildered. Women can get away with this, whereas a man standing in the lingerie section holding up 10 different kinds of bras is instantly labelled a pervert. I can get away with a lot more than that before warning signs go up. Boring underwear you blokes have. Why doesn't someone bring out a line in pure silk with a little gold trim, something I would want to sink my teeth into. Better go back to Safeway I'm starting to dribble.

Apart from the pain I started with I now had a head start on agony. I dropped things off shelves and kicked them through to the next aisle rather than pick them up, that's what lackeys are for.
Then I had a taste of what Howard's terrorist hysteria has done to ordinary people. I don't doubt that there are creeps out there who want to throw bombs and create havoc but that's what we have ASIO for, isn't it? I don't see why a beautiful young woman wearing a hajib, quietly doing some shopping should be the target of insults. She was in a top and pants with just a headscarf tied a la Audrey Hepburn and just as stunning and she shouldn't have had to put up with the remarks directed her way. So tit for tat Johnno, I'll be insulting you a lot more. So I end up where I started this, waiting for a cab.

Today wasn't much better. My mother rings me every morning to see if I've run away overseas or found a bloke and today she rang at 6.30 because she misheard the radio. Using her demented logic she said she did me a favour because I had to be up early to see Ma-in-Law.
Another hour flat on my back would have been nice since it's mother's genes that are turning my joint cartilage into something resembling biscuit crumbs. Ma-in-Law is fine but still wearing the same clothes as last time (they have been washed) because the Blight and the Blonde don't care enough to see she has clothes that button down the front as she can't lift her left arm to pull things over her head. This puts me in a bad mood, getting rained on walking makes me worse and topping up my mobile turns me pathetic because I haven't used the credits from the last top-up. I really need to get a life.

Rounding out a crappy day was getting a train full of teenagers, always educational. One precious darling had been drinking since 8 this morning. Two other grots had just had their noses pierced so the drunk decided to tell them, in graphic detail, about his friend whose nose fell apart after a bad piercing. Two behind me were ordering booze for their weekend binge. We don't have to worry about terrorists, young people are going to die from liver disease, radiation burns to the brain from mobiles and kidney failure from wearing those stupid jeans that barely cover anything and tops that cover nothing. I felt myself turning into a sour old tart so it was a pleasure to stagger home and kick a couple of whingeing cats.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


The Muriels have a post on what seems to be another homophobic attack on gay men giving blood. The full page ad in the Sydney Star Observer was paid for by ASHM, ACON and AFAO. Tasmanian Michael Cain is still fighting for his right to donate blood.

Any blood transfusion is risky but for every million people who receive a transfusion the risk of HIV or Hep C infection is 1:5,000,000 whereas getting the wrong blood type is 1:400. Adding to the risk is undetected West Nile Fever, Malaria, Chagas disease or cytomegalovirus which can affect immuno-compromised patients. B19 parvo virus can cause severe anaemia in patients with weakened immune systems. Blood donations are also rejected from people who have lived in countries where BSE is found. If H5N1 mutates to human to human infection then blood supplies will be further compromised.

The Red Cross, in Australia, does not buy blood, it relies on the donations of responsible people. Donating blood is not done on a whim. It takes time, not everyone is comfortable with needles or even the sight of blood. A gay man who wants to donate is going to be responsible, dedicated and not inclined to lie about his sexual contacts.

One of the answers to this is to fund research into artificial blood. A long lasting form that doesn't need to be kept cold. It could be given to anyone without testing for compatibility which would make it ideal for disasters like Aceh and Pakistan. It could be stored in any remote area or even carried by travellers. The 55 million dollars being spent on IR advertisements would have been better spent building on research already started by overseas companies.
It's not an easy task because of the complicated nature of blood. At the moment we use a saline solution to replace the volume of blood lost, to keep blood vessels open. The artificial blood has to carry and release oxygen in the right place, be viscous enough to keep blood vessels open but thin enough to flow easily. Of course this is a simplified version of a complicated procedure.

Successful research resulting in an artificial blood product would be one of the greatest advances in medicine resulting in thousands of lives saved. We can't live without oxygen but we can't get oxygen without blood. Maybe then we could end this stupid argument about whose blood is good enough.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I am posting this well before November 11, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, because I know I will be sickened by this government's display of patriotic jingoism. The PM will rattle on about our brave Anzacs on the Western Front, Beazley will follow as usual and all the members will wear the Flanders poppy. The RSL will lay wreaths and talk about how our men in Iraq are following the traditions formed on the beaches of Gallipoli.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, I'll stop and remember the true heroes of the 1914-18 war. The war to end all wars. The men who survived, returned to Australia and lived with the nightmares for the rest of their lives. The women who came home as broken in body and mind as the men they had nursed in the sand of the Middle East and the mud of Flanders.

They stored their diaries, mementos and uniforms in old trunks, hidden away in attics, sheds, under their houses. They never looked at them again, they didn't have to. They buried their memories and tried to live normal lives as husbands and fathers. How normal was normal, when men would sit on the beaches with their backs to the sea because that's how they survived. They kept indoors when it rained because the smell of wet earth was the horror of waterlogged trenches.

As children, we were told of the sacrifices in our name and how we should honour the dead. I would have honoured them more had I known the truth. I am not a child anymore and the ones I honour are the ones who lived. Dying in war is easy, so many ways to die, but living with the dead walking beside is not. They did it year after year, the silent men with damaged minds.

We were never told the real beginnings of this war and I remember the shock when I found out the reason. A few shots in a little known country and young men died in their millions. For the Motherland, for King and country, for old men's incompetence and young men's inexperience.

We heard the romantic heroic poems that fed our patriotic pride in the nobility of the great struggle. What a shame I had to discover for myself the war poems of Dame Mary Gilmore. In a few words she sums up that so-called nobility and throws a harsh light on the truth of sacrifice.

Out in the dust he lies;
Flies in his mouth,
Ants in his eyes...
I stood at the door
Where he went out
Full grown man,
Ruddy and stout;
I heard the march
Of the trampling feet,
Slow and steady
Come down the street;
The beat of the drum
Was clods on the heart,
For all that the Regiment
Looked so smart!
I heard the crackle
Of hasty cheers
Run like the breaking
Of unshed tears,
And just for a moment,
As he went by,
I had sight of his face,
And the flash of his eye.
He died a hero's death
They said,
When they came to tell me
My boy was dead;
But out in the street
A dead dog lies;
Flies in his mouth
Ants in his eyes.


I love books but since the Prime Weasel (ooh, sedition) put GST on everything except his eyebrow wax I can't afford them. I don't go to the library either because I have to give them back and that really hurts. So I made a bad mistake yesterday. I went looking for information in the place where time stands still, my bookcases. The only way to do this safely is to think where the particular book I want is located. Go straight to the shelf, do not look above, below, right or left. Do not think that's a bit dusty, I'll take it out and clean it. Don't pick out the one with the spine to the back and turn it around. It's been like that since the books were last moved and it hasn't come to any harm. Don't get curious about the book jammed in the corner, it's not hiding, it's asleep. Too late, I've crossed the time barrier and I'm gone, emerging hours later with a stack of books I want to read again to add to the pile I haven't read yet.

On the bottom shelf I found this, put out to celebrate 50 years of the Women's Weekly. I love the old fashions, love the 30s dance shoes with jewelled heels, love the dinky hats. Am amazed how Yves St. Laurent's clothes could still turn heads now. Stunning.

I loved these tips on etiquette from the 1930s.

When a man is presented to a lady he should not offer his hand. He should bow and smile. Two men may shake hands at discretion.

I'd love for this to come back into fashion so would men, they wouldn't have to let go of their beer. I must admit I'm a handshaker (it was good enough for Princess Di) because it's the only legit way to grab a strange man.

Don't be condescending when addressing a social inferior, or gushing if the position be reversed.

This is a hard one for women as men are our natural inferiors but I think we pull it off quite well. As for gushing, ladies never gush. Maybe a small delicate gush at a Colette Dinnigan number followed by a slight gasp at the price tag.

A lady should not bring her mouth down to her food - that is for horses to do. She should sit erect and bring the food to her mouth.

Another difficult call here. How one eats in a social situation and how one scarfs straight from the fridge at home wouldn't usually be an issue. Unless one forgot oneself and did a bit too much bringing to one's mouth of the Cab. Sav.

Then I came across this little gem from a Germaine Greer of the 30s.
"a magistrate observed that 75 percent of divorces were due to bad housekeeping."
Nonsense bridled Linda Littlejohn in a spirited and enlightening article.....
No single reason is the main reason for divorce....There are innumerable....The absolute lack of training by both parties in sexual life and its harmonies and disharmonies....the monotony of the daily toil, so often taken for granted....the strain on the tempers of many caused by economic stress....Our present legislation is also tending to encourage divorce, for in some cases we deny to married women the right to earn and in doing so we class marriage as a profession and to penalise....Marriage was never intended as a profession and to penalise women because they conform to conventions of society in their love-life is surely a strange reward for virtue.

What would she say today when women juggle three professions, wife, mother, worker or four if bedroom pole dancing is a profession. Some of our magistrates are still living back in the 1930s though.
I have to say it was my bad housekeeping that contributed to my divorce. If I had remembered to put the rat poison away, he'd have eaten the pie.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I'm not good getting up at 5 a.m. and worse at 5 p.m. after helping mother at her craft market all day. I feel sorry for Costello, it's hard work separating people from their money although I do it with a smile and genuine poverty. My knees give up and my spine has enough snap, crackle and pop to qualify for breakfast cereal. Sorry Bracksie but a two minute shower doesn't do it after one of these days.

Shower followed by new perfume and deodorant, non aluminium brain destroying but herbal neroli. Hopefully not tested on freshly shaved fluffy bunny nether regions. I need deodorant, it's bad enough looking old, I don't need to smell like I'm decaying. I use a roll-on because I have bad aim with a spray but roll-on is sticky so I usually go to bed and hold arms in the air, contemplating the great mysteries of the universe (why are Bush's eyes like a cornered rat's?) while neroli dries.

I always check the ceiling before turning out the lights, huntsman spiders love my bedroom but only a moth tonight. Why does everyone say moths flutter? They flrrrrrrrrp not flutter and in the dark, the flrrrrrrrrrping sounds like Mothra coming in to land on Japan. Flrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp, flrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp, flrrrrrrrrrrrrp, flrrrr................oh for grief's sake, I have a moth struggling to unglue its feeties from my Le Brea arm pit. I don't remember Care of Magical Creatures saying anything about how to get a moth out of an armpit without dismemberment. Holding one arm in the air and frantically searching for anythng to rescue the flrrrrrrrrrping idiot, I finally settle on combing it out.

I know they only live a short time but it wasn't using me as a moth graveyard and the last I see of it, it's crawling under the bed to be a Christmas feast for all those dust mite things that live in beds and pillows and eat skin scales. Given my skin size I must be supporting a sizable population. Not to mention the fungal ecosystems which inhabit pillows which I know about courtesy of scientists who say we are sleeping on 16 different species which get nourishment from the aforementioned skin scales and faeces from the dust mites. Uneasy lay the head the night I read that information.

With moth gone, I go back to contemplating the mysteries of the universe but this time I'm wondering if there's a George Bush dust mite gathering the forces of good to fight the evil axis of fungi. No wonder I have nightmares, I really have to get a life.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I love this date. It's a big celebration day. The anniversary of my divorce, 4 glorious years of freedom and associated poverty. There are other days to celebrate, the day the blight left, the day he told me he wanted a divorce, the day of the decree or the lovely day he re-married and could never ever come back. A bit of an insult with this though since they are supposed to leave you for somebody younger, prettier and smarter not older, uglier and dumber. I will admit I was not the easiest person to live with. It was just as hard to live with his multiple personality disorder, sober-drunk-deaddrunk-paralytic.

Now I don't normally drink but I have a bottle to celebrate in case I want to. It's a very expensive vintage Port and it's his. Before he came back for his things, I climbed a ladder and hid it in the roof along with a few other bits and pieces. He didn't ask for it, too busy wanting to know where his crystal beer glasses were. Crystal beer glasses! This from someone whose idea of class was a basic black stubby holder. Anyway I hunted up the remaining beer glass which I was using as a vase, washed and wrapped it carefully in tissue paper. I then wrapped up every vegemite and jam jar I could find and it made quite an impressive looking parcel.

All the good 'surviving divorce' books say that on the anniversary you should go back and remember at least three good things about the marriage to help you move on. These books assume that you're completely devastated by the divorce. HaHaHaHa

Okay, three good things.
There's the night he went to bed after a party and slept with his hands in the air. When he couldn't feel his arms in the morning he thought he'd had a stroke. That was good.

There's another night after another party when he carefully went to bed in our enormous Victorian wardrobe. I just as carefully shut the door on him. When he woke up in the dark he'd thought he'd gone blind. That was really good.

There was the lovely clock he bought me for a special birthday. No, that's not really good. Getting just the right present was his excuse for the long visits to my best friend. He was undone by me finding the tax receipt in the box claiming it for office supplies. It had a revoltingly loud tick which was just as annoying in the bedroom as he was. (good sign of a marriage in trouble is when he signs the birthday card with the names of your four cats)

So my 3rd good thing is the same good thing I think of every anniversary. He's in the wind, gone, left the building, pissed off, done a runner, made tracks, hit the road, hopped a other words, made me the happiest woman in divorce land.

*sings loudly and off key* "My maaan's gone noowww..........."

Saturday, November 05, 2005


I would really like to have a lazy Friday like QueerPenguin and post luscious naked men but I still haven't figured out how to link or post pictures. I'd guarantee they'd be better than Sam's seedy lot especially that underwear modelling soccer player he directed me to last week. I wouldn't believe that's human until I heard it talk.

So I'll just run through a few odds and ends (still sounds like QP's men).

The Nationals member for Riverina, Kay Hull and Liberal member, Sharman Stone have both called for the ban of RU486 to be lifted. That should get them both branded as Mary Magdelenes and stoned by the religious reich.

Pakistan has raised its death toll from last month's earthquake to more than 73,000. More will die in the next few months from related illnesses, injury, disease and exposure. Put that against Katrina's toll to get perspective. If America stopped bombing for one day and donated the money, the death toll would drop and Americans might regain some respect.

During October, Australia had 7 earthquakes in the outback. Only small, but earthquakes none the less. So stick that, anyone who thinks it's safe to bury nuclear waste anywhere. Where there are grumbles there can be roars.

In England tomorrow they celebrate Guy Fawkes' failure to blow up Parliament. It's traditional to have firecrackers and bonfires but authorities have warned that anyone sneaking household or noxious rubbish on to the fires will be prosecuted. We don't celebrate it here which is okay by me although a ring of bonfires around Parliament House could wake up the morons inside.

Revenge of the Sith is on sale on DVD. (There goes next week's food)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire starts in 14 long days and it had better be in Gold Class.

Serenity DVD on sale in December. (Christmas present for me)

John Howard is a bigger creep than he was last week.

Kim Beazley is trying to beat him by being a bigger fool.

And last but not least, tomorrow is the birthday of one of the two most precious, gorgeous creatures in my life. Happy Birthday S. Alright, Alright, one of the four etc. etc., snivelling cats can be so needy.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Yes, that's us, complacent little mushrooms sitting in the dark, waiting for the Prime Miniature to feed us more bullshit. Well there's a new breed of mushroom, seditious, questioning, disapproving, thorn in the side, blog mushrooms. These mushrooms are prolific and hard to dislodge.

I'm a seditious mushroom and I'm tired of this Government's divisive policies.

I'm tired of being told what's good for me by opportunistic politicians and that I shouldn't question them.

I'm tired of being told gays and lesbians who want to marry will destroy the traditional institution of marriage.

I'm tired of hearing that Christianity is the greatest faith one can have.

I'm angry that religious beliefs of every kind are intruding into places they have no business being.

I'm tired of hearing how workers will be better off when they're at the mercy of greedy bosses.

I'm angry at corporate crooks making off with millions while people on welfare are abused as bludgers.

I'm tired of hearing women being called baby killers when abortion is sometimes their only option.

I'm tired of the old lies still being told to justify a never ending war.

I'm angry at being told there is a terrorist threat but no arrests can be made until new draconian laws are passed, when the Immigration Department can imprison or deport citizens under the old laws.

I'm tired of watching the smoke and mirrors conjured up by the right hand of government while the left hand sneaks along rounding up our freedom.

I'm angry at politicians ignoring my letters of protest, ignoring my requests for clarification of laws being made on my behalf.

Canberra is fond of the monarchy so let them remember Elizabeth I who said while she had the body of a weak and feeble woman, she had the heart and stomach of a King.

To all those king-sized mushrooms out there in blog land, keep the bastards honest, no-one else seems to want to.


A pure culture of an organism. The term is usually applied to fungi and bacteria growing on artificial media under laboratory conditions where only one species is present.

How perfectly this describes our present Parliament, parties are indistinguisable and totally removed from the common man.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I have a new bottle of perfume, Lancome's Poeme, gorgeous and expensive but my sister bought it for me. Now I have a choice of three french perfumes, luxury in bottles. Perfume makes me feel feminine unless I look in the mirror when I'm spraying it on (never a good idea). Going out wafting YSL's Opium makes me feel confident. Clarin's Eau Dynamisante sends me off to citrusy sleep. I cannot walk past a perfume counter with out trying something new, sometimes with horrible consequences. I can't wear any Dior fragrance. They make me feel ill and never develop on my skin the way they should, no subtle notes just pong. Guerlain's Byzance gives me a raging headache, Chanel No.5, forget it and the various celeb creations, well the bottles look great. YSL's Opium for Men goes surprising well though.

You'll note that these are all expensive french goodies. We have champagne tastes on beer money in this family. My father loved Eau Sauvage, my mother loves L'air du Temps and my sister buy Estee Lauder everything by the gallon. I remember Dad telling us not to buy the talc because it wasn't good value, it ran out too quickly then he discovered the grandson filling his sneakers with it because it made them smell nice. Grandson had his own expensive taste, developing a liking for Givenchy aftershave.

I remember a perfume that reminded me of my first cocktail, made from mandarin and brandy, both of them heady. One long lost friend wore nothing but Tabu and if I smell that I can see her face clearly although it's been years since we last saw each other. My mother-in-law will be forever violets.

Perfume is the only feminine thing women don't have to give up as we grow older. Hair styles change to suit the more mature face. Hipster jeans and tank tops give way to power dressing.
Jewellery becomes more discreet and hopefully, more solid gold. Fragile bones drop the 6" stilletos down to 4" or even 3" or in my case, no heels at all.

I started off with light teenage florals, went on to classic woody now I'm into luscious orientals and since I plan to live a long and eccentric life, I don't think they're made the perfume for my old age yet.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I felt my father at my shoulder today.

He was involved in racing for most of his life and worked for several prominent bookmakers. His stories about Cup Day were hilarious especially if they involved the so-called social elite.
I remember one of his friends, a first-timer at the Cup, walking through the Members car park to get to his own car. He was stone cold sober at the first open car boot and paralytic by the time he reached the exit gate.

Back in the 80s, Rennie Ellis was brilliant at capturing the essence of the day. His photographs started with the beautifully turned out ladies in the morning and ended with the shagged out wrecks floating on champagne at day's end.

The old man would have loved this horse but knowing his luck he would have backed some other nag. He would have played and re-played the race until he knew it backwards and filed every horse for future reference.

He was in intensive care for some time and we would leave a radio on turned to the racing station. One afternoon, half conscious, he reached out and grabbed my arm. I had committed the ultimate sin, I was talking during the scratchings. We knew he was back with us then.

In the last week of his life, my sister would read out the form guide for him and he would point to his fancy. Weak from the cancer and on morphine, he still managed to pick the winner of the Japan Cup.

Yep, he was sitting with me today.