Sunday, January 24, 2010


The past week has been one of the tougher ones in recent times. Seems to affirm my thoughts that even bliss has its challenges.
Chief challenge in the past week has been the death of our little dog Cassie. By now my friends are maybe a bit fed up with hearing me speak of her, but god, she was a great dog and didn't deserve to die at five years old. Cassie was a pet shop puppy, bought after we had scoured the rescue centres for some time and still hadn't come up with a doggie that we felt we could look after properly. Ignorance has its benefits, because if I knew then what I know now of how and where pet shops obtain their stocks, we'd never have bought her. But we did, and she was not only the joy of both my life and my son's life, but also my dad's. When she came to stay with us dad's kidneys were going into renal failure and the other organs were beginning to shut up shop. And then Cassie came, and he stabilised. They were constant companions and he loved her so much, and she him. He lived for three more years because of her. She saw me through a divorce and time on my own. If I was at home she never left my side. She'd always be there for a cuddle or a play or just to hang out. She saw my new husband come into my life and my new life take form.
Last Saturday she was at the groomers, and she had a seizure. She spent the night in the vet hospital but by Sunday afternoon, after all the tests, it was apparent she'd had a debilitating stroke, probably caused by a brain tumour. She couldn't stand or walk properly and her head was tilted permanently to the side. Her eyes seemed to be sightless. We took the decision to let her go and we held her as her little body became limp and lifeless. I can't quite remember my heart being this much broken. We buried her and of course had to keep on going.
In the meantime we've had to look to the needs of Scarlett, our other dog, who's rather confused at not having her playmate around, but also is revelling in the attention she's getting without another dog in the house.
Grief is a weird thing and just when you think you're getting over it, it sweeps over you unexpectedly, bringing you back to square one. Anyone who say's it's 'just a dog' has never had a dog, I think. It is different to the grief you have for a human, if only that the animal has shown you pure untainted love, without any of the complications we get from other humans. The loss, I think, in some ways is greater.
And still, life moves on.
Work is a great therapy. It allows one to put time between yourself and the source of your grief, so I was very pleased to see the days whizzing by this week, packed with busy days and a full 'to do' list.
It was my hubby's birthday yesterday, his 50th, so pretty special. We had breakfast with the Pandas at Adelaide Zoo. Coming from someone who was quite apathetic about the pandas, I have to say it was a tremendous experience. It was a privilege to get so close to these beautiful animals and observe them.
Last night was a terrific trip to see Avenue Q with close friends and then today a lovely afternoon at the in-laws and with family.
One week, and it seems a million years since we said goodbye to little Cassie. I still have the tears, but they're becoming less. She's in the garden with our two cats, Crystal and Simba, who passed away. Each night three little solar lights light up on their graves - one for each of the little souls that shone so much light upon our lives.
It's been a privilege to have time with each of them, and through the ether, the collective unconcious, the human spirit, I am thankful for their lives and for their love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

On Heat, Tidiness, And Getting The Girls Out for Clergy

I just typed and wiped some really boring shit. Its too hot to think right now, and even though its nighttime its still very warm. All this means that there's danger of this blog entry being very boring.(See? I just used 'boring' twice in the one paragraph. How boring is that!)
The week's been busy but unremarkable. What is remarkable is the untidiness of our house, just like my car, and my desk at work. I just don't seem to be able to maintain an orderly environment. I feel most times like Pigpen from Peanuts with a cloud of mess hanging over me wherever I go.
My sister's the opposite - her house is always lovely and tidy and a real pleasure to visit, whereas sometimes I feel like I need a machete just to hack a way through for a midnight visit to the bog in mine.
My husband's a particularly neat and tidy person too - god it must be torture for him to live with me. I'm just looking at the dining table that I cleared yesterday to take an audit of my mess. Hang on...there's the newspaper, the ipod and phones that are mine, oh and the laptop case, but everything else is hubby's! I knew it! Its not all my fault! Woo hoo! This post is worth it already.
Oh, I know what I did that was mildly exciting. I commented on a Guardian online article discussing a book about breastfeeding older children. I don't think they mean teenagers (ewww), but kids up to 7, 8 or 9.
Personally, I think it's weird and despite protestations that its for the kids, I think the mums are a bit 'wanting' in some respect when they maintain breastfeeding past the baby stage. They claim it's natural. I beg to differ. Give a baby what a baby needs, but the needs of a toddler and an older child are different.
My own breastfeeding experience wasn't entirely successful and a bit altogether weird. I'll save the worst of it for a future comedy routine but suffice to say it was the only time I ever got my tits out in front of a priest.
There, I've said it.
I'm glad we've had this chat. Have a good week!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Generation of Stupid Girls

It occurs to me that we have succeeded in raising a generation of stupid girls.

Not that this applies to all girls, I have to say. Thankfully there remains a decent cohort of sensible, balanced young women who have self-respect aplenty, ambition for better lives and a sense of their worth in society.

Society, however, hasn't contributed to this, though. It gives the sensible women no worth while at the same time promoting the living Bratz dolls that are better camera fodder.

I detect that one of the major changes took place when the television program ‘Sex and the City’ became popular, and a whole set of false values were sold to our girls. The importance of designer shoes, no matter your income level; the importance of promiscuity; overall the importance of materialism.

At the same time we had the rising tide of celebrities being implicitly positioned as role models via their constant presence in a material-hungry and morally vacant press, while their behaviour wasn’t really fit for anyone to witness, never mind emulate.

And so on the cusp of a new decade, forty odd years after the women’s movement began to enjoy the first fruits of its long-fought battle to gain equal rights, we have the spectacle of girls in their early teens dressing like prostitutes and calling it fashion, and by that I mean no disrespect to prostitutes - they’re women with a job to do. Could a girl dress as a welder and then be surprised when people think she’s a welder – even if she is 13?

The cult of pleasing men has reached ridiculous proportions amongst the teen and twenty something women.

We have the ‘trend’ of bisexuality displayed by young women for the viewing pleasure of their partners or any onlooker who’s passing, and we have the growing feeling that one should always accompany one’s male partner to a strip club to view the ladies, as to do otherwise would not be cool. It brings memories of University and Stuart Hood’s work on 'women as the watched, and men as the watchers'. One can only wonder how the young woman struggling to come to terms with her own genuine lesbianism feels when she sees so many others try it ‘off the peg’ for a bit of a laugh.

I often work with young female journalists. To a woman they look like gorgeous china dolls, and I wonder what happened to all the talented female writers who don’t happen to look like that? Are they automatically discounted from the shortlist because of their looks? The same stringent quality controls are very obviously not applied to the male equivalents.

I shiver when I hear young women declare ‘I’m not a feminist’, because by saying that you are telling everyone that you do not believe that you deserve equal rights, you are negating the pain, suffering and sometimes deaths of women who walked before you in order to gain the freedoms that you take so much for granted.

Worst of all your mothers and grandmothers have allowed this to happen.

Shame on all of this. We have sold our daughters' and granddaughters' futures to a world where they’re held less than worthy if they don’t look like a model while achieving that PhD.

Maybe it’s more apparent to me coming from a non-Australian background, but I’m still shocked at the way a good proportion of Australian men speak about women; the utter disrespect, arrogance and ridicule that is the starting point for any interaction with the opposite sex depresses me on a regular basis. This is in contrast to the many Australian men who I know who do treat women well, who know how to be real gentle-men and have no problem with being on an equal footing with women. So how come the latter never get the limelight in this macho society. What are the Neanderthals afraid of?

I certainly never heard men speak of women like this in Europe or UK. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but that it’s not tolerated openly in society, which is a starting point.

The hero worship of the Sam Newmans, Shane Warnes and the like is beyond belief in a supposedly modern society. Until women - especially young women - get the guts to say ‘no’ and stop playing the gender politics game to the agenda set by the Neanderthals – whether on a domestic, professional or political level – and start working together with the many men who do want to work together with us, it will remain as it is, and our daughters and granddaughters will have been cheated of their legacy – a world where they can ditch the stilettos and the diets and still feel they’re worth something.