Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ab Fab Sunday

Gorgeous doesn't begin to describe this weekend. Hot, breezy, sunny. I was to have gone to a friend's place on Saturday night to meet up with an old school buddy who's up from Tasmania but when I tried to confirm, the phone wasn't answered. She lives in Avalon on the Barrenjoey Penninsular about an hour and fifteen minutes from me so I wasn't going to turn up on the off chance.  All dressed up and nowhere to go, I put on my comfies and relaxed at home. Anyway, turns out the gig did happen and I received a message at 2am this morning to come over 'today'. So, willing to catch up with John from Tassie and share a bevvy with Steve and Ros, I mosied over to Avalon Beach with 200,000 other Sydneysiders who decided that the last weekend before school goes back would be a good day to visit the seaside.

All in all, a lovely day. Al fresco lunch on the balcony, a walk down to the rock pool for sun and a swim and a few drinks before heading home. Sadly, I forgot to take my camera so these are from the iPhone. Not the best but show you the best. Hope these warm up some of you who are freezing in the northern hemisphere. We're in for a couple more super hot days this week so I'm quite grateful to have the aircon at work:

View from My Friend's Balcony

The Back Yard

Avalon Beach from the Southern Headland

Avalon Beach

The Rock Pool

Looking SouthFrom the Rockpool

Tessilated Pavement for Jeffscape (Love it when I know something he doesn't)

Tassie John and Son James who 'said' he could swim!
You know the great thing about living here, isn't the culture, there's very little. The wildlife is great but hard to find . . it's the lifestyle. Absolutely fabulous.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Well you all know I'm partial to a glass of Semillon or Chardy but I never drink and drive.

A Darwin man who insisted police breath test him to prove to his boss that he was not drunk has been arrested for drink driving.  Police say the 34 year old delivery driver was sacked on Australia Day morning, when his boss accused him of being drunk on the job.  Duty Superintendent Louise Jorgensen says he then turned up at a police station demanding a breath test, at the suggestion of his union.
"We advised him that we didn't want to get involved in a civil dispute between him and his employer," Duty Superintendent Jorgensen said.

"Anyway he insisted that he have a breath test. He had actually driven to the police station.
"That breath test proved positive and he was arrested for drink driving. "He was subject to a breath analysis and the breath analysis resulted in a reading of 0.53 per cent which is just above the legal limit.
"When we conducted investigations into his driver's licence we found that it had been suspended in December." Police say his licence had been cancelled by the Fines Recovery Unit.


Weekend is here again. Weather's steamy the men are not. Out and about tomorrow night so keep your finger's crossed. Have an awesome weekend.  Mine's spent preparing an entry on  Jesus knows what for a nine part challenge on The Tenth Daughter of Memory.   

If you're up to it . . party hard or go home.

Sorry the vid's not totally relevant but who doesn't like Den?

Booze, Bubbles and Too Much Heat

 Well yesterday was "Australia Day" a public holiday bang smack in the middle of the week which I hate. I'd much rather a long weekend. The day marks James Cook's 'discovery' and is also known as 'Invasion Day' to our indigenous folk but frankly we just have fun. I'll post some other time about the injustice of colonialism and the pathetic way we treated our indigenous  population. But frankly, it was 42 in the shade and all we wanted to do was keep cool. It also happens to be one of our fave radio station's count downs of the top 100 hits of the year so the music was awesome:

Under the shade of a Coolibah Tree? (actually it's a Carob)

Shady haze, sombrero and an esky or 'chully bun' depending where you come from

Lilo, beer, lounge . . hey tough job but someone has to to id

Lily loves Westy and Westy clearly is fond of Lily

Mobile music is essential

Backyard golf. Balls in the rough

Can't cook but can play pool

Wii Dance and yes we made them do Pussy Cat Dolls

Slip n Slide
Soap gets in your eyes

And in your pool

Only drunks erect a beach umbrella at 10pm (nah it has LED lights0

And it all ends in a kind of warm and fuzzy glow

So who won: Brother and Sister combo Angus and Julia Stone  -  No my choice but has resonance. Although if anyone has ever smelled daisies . .


Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday Suckwit

NB: I forgot to post it, sitting in edit all weekend GAH!

Well after a week of angst, tantrums, worry and stress, floods in Queensland and Victoria, server hassles at work and my swimming pool going green overnight - I think we could all do with a little  lovin' down under - er no that didn't sound right but . .whatever you're partial to, a passionate moment can lead to big trouble: 

 A woman was temporarily partially paralysed by a love bite on her neck from her amorous partner, doctors reported in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
The 44-year-old New Zealand woman went to the emergency department of Middlemore Hospital in Auckland last year after experiencing loss of movement in her left arm while watching television.
Doctors concluded the woman had suffered a mild stroke but were puzzled about its cause until they found a small vertical bruise on her neck - a love bite or hickey - near a major artery.
She had received the love bite a few days earlier.
"Because it was a love bite there would be a lot of suction," one of the doctors who treated her, Teddy Wu, told the Christchurch Press.
"Because of the physical trauma it had made a bit of bruising inside the vessel. There was a clot in the artery underneath where the hickey was."
Dr Wu says the clot dislodged and travelled to the woman's heart where it caused a minor stroke that led to the loss of movement.
"We looked around the medical literature and that example of having a love bite causing something like that hasn't been described before," he said.
The medic said the woman recovered after being treated with an anti-coagulant.

And you thought falling into the gutter was dangerous! So my darlings, if you're up for a bit of suction action make sure you're gentle wherever you put your kisser. Have a wonderful weekend. That pool had better be crystal by the morning, we're in for a hottie.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pass me a Fucking Baguette

I had the stitches taken out of my eyebrow some weeks ago $52. I'll get most back on Medicare of course (our socialised health system) but it did strike me as an awful lot of money for five snips of a scalpel and a little tug. No pun intended.  Then there was the ambulance $640 for a 20 minute ride with a hot ambo that I was too drunk to flirt with effectively. despite trying. Again the Health Fund will cover it.

I threatened to Clare and Jeffscape that I was going to take the stitches out myself and both berated me no end. I've done it before, hey the wound's healed it doesn't hurt but no, I was pressured into doing the right thing and going to the Doctor at great expense to have them removed.

Which got me thinking about pressure. The sort of pressure exerted on you by people you love and how you compromise your own decisions in favour of their influence.  I thought I was over that. Being influenced by others but clearly I'm not.

Someone says "You should . . ." or as is more frequent these days "You shouldn't . ." I still acquiesce. It's taken me a long time to revolt against that and I still succumb now and then.

Yet dare I suggest that someone else 'should' or 'shouldn't' invariably I'm met with resistance. What's the story there? Are we creatures built on giving advice whether it's good or bad. I've given plenty in my time, rarely is it acted upon so what makes one person more influential over another, or one person cave in against their better judgement.

I am not the person I used to be. I don't have the confidence, the trust, that I used to have and it's turning me into someone a little fearful. I am negative and think the worst. I drive people crazy with my worrying. Then I worry people sick with my recklessness. I am a contradiction in terms.  I tread on eggshells with bastards and I protest to much against the gentle.

Tell me the truth gracefully, point out my faults gently, but praise my attributes honestly. Be my friend. Friends are supposed to put up with the good and bad in each other without recrimination. I am what I am, which is mostly the reason you're my friend in the first place.

I guess life experiences aren't strengthening my resolve as much as I thought they would. I don't like it. I don't like being who I am at the moment. Needy, worried, cautious, afraid, then the upside is I'm more understanding, forgiving, loyal. Does there always have to be a trade-off.  I was so buoyed and happy last month.  Not so much this month and it's all in my over-thinking head. Or is it? My kid's left home, which I think I'm fine with. My closest online friend is having an 'episode' which I understand but am not particularly fine with.

I think I have the answer. I am too good at building up hope. Hope is a wasted emotion, it's like jealousy, destructive and rarely ends up well. I hope I sell this stupid block. I hope I will meet this wonderful person. I hope my kids will always be there for me. I hope my finances will improve. I hope that clunk in my transmission isn't anything serious.

So if I annoy you, do things you don't like or appreciate, I'm sorry. It's usually because I'm either having a hedonistic moment or I care about you. Take your pick.

Although 99.9% of the time, it's because I care. Oh pass me a fucking baguette.

Me in my Happy Place - Florence, October 2010

OK Tomorrow it's the Friday Fuckwit so I'll lighten up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I've never thought much about 'mental health' seems like a bit of an oxymoron to me but I've been reading quite a lot lately about depression and bi-polar disorders since the symptoms really fit a friend of mine.

Strange, I read that 1 in 7 people have depression or bi polar. I remember feeling very depressed just after I lost my job in 2008. Tears, lethargy, worthlessness and I ticked all the boxes on those online questionnaires. Clare said "Mum, you're not depressed, you're just sad and it will pass." She was right, I was sad. Probably for about a year and it did pass. So how do you tell the difference between the disease and sadness? Worse still, how do you get someone to recognise their symptoms and do something about it?

The symptoms of a major depressive episode include:

  1. depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (definitely evident at the moment)
  2. markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective report or observation made by others)
  3. significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), a decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. 
  4. insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
  5. psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
  6. fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
  7. feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
  8. diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
  9. recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
  10. Sexual interest, appetite, and general interest rapidly drops. Stops answering the phone, stops visiting friends/relatives, stays secluded.
Criteria: Five (or more) of the symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

This is from a reputable psychiatric site, not just a 'mood' questionnaire. Apparently most 'depressed' people are taken to their doctor or therapist or both by friends and family.  I hope my friend's family have the stamina to take that step.  I'm too far away to be of use on that level and it tears me apart.

How were you persuaded to seek medical help?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Drowning My Sorrows with Possums and Cosmopolitans

I don't know why but a friend, a dear friend, gave me something very special today. His blog. He closed it on the 13th and gave me access. Why I don't know. A parting gift? I hope not, I hope that in time he'll come back. 

The free concert last night did not happen. I seemed to be in a well of tears and looking through a fog all day for reasons not necessary to explain here, until Clare, clearly upset to see me in such a state, invited me over and we drowned my sorrows. I sobbed, she and her lovely flatmate talked and drank. My desolate feelings overcome, intermittently and temporarily, by copious amounts of numbing white wine.

Apologies to Kylie who called me late to see where the Hell I was.  I'd arranged to meet her at Los Lobos Latin night in the Domain but it was raining at the time we intended to go and with all the drama I was feeling . . well I just didn't fancy Latin beats and a Festival atmosphere.  Kyles we'll do lunch, soon, I promise. I thought about a blog sabbatical and taking a break because I feel so numb.

So, how does one temporarily subdue feelings of grief and loss:

Liked the name

Gomes held reservations

Sex in the City - Cosmopolitans of course
Not for me but they looked pretty

Evening Visitor
The lure of mango

Tame enough to touch. This is the first time apparently.

Breakfast with champions
If you're reading my sweet Prince. You are missed and loved by more than me, so please, get in touch.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Fuckwit

YEP folks, the silly season is over and we're back to normal programming and in the interest of being a better blogger her for your elucidation and humoration is the first of 2011's Friday Fuckwits:

The Saudis have very ruffled feathers after catching yet another spy on their protected soil. The cloak-and-dagger apprehension of Saudi Arabian security agents have them claiming to have brought down a high-flying spy, code-named R65.
The officials are accusing Israel of sending a specially trained vulture into their airspace near the city of Hayel. The feathered operative apparently made locals nervous by looking down on them last week. (I'd have been more nervous about what might be 'reigning' down if you know what I mean.) When captured, the bird was found with a GPS transmitter and tag with the number R65 from Tel Aviv University stamped on it.
Suspecting a clever Zionist plot, officials locked the bird up. Researchers in Israel say the bird is just a normal vulture, and part of an innocent long-term study. But it’s not the first accusation of suspected animal agents being sent off to do dirty work on foreign soil.
When tourists near the coastal resort of Sharm el Sheikh were attacked by a shark late last year, one Egyptian official reportedly suggested the biting menace might be an Israeli-trained provocateur.
And spy birds are nothing new to the world of spooks and watchers. In 1940, British covert operatives were involved in a battle of the skies, by training peregrine falcons to take down Nazi-trained homing pigeons.
It's a jungle out there! 

Have an awesome weekend folks. We're turning into Culture Vultures and off to the Sydney Festival Latino Night, Los Lobos and some Apero if the weather holds! Ole!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Blind Man Who Didn't Bluff

So, I kid you not. I’m walking down the Metro Raumier stairwell on St Sebastopol in Paris, loaded up with bags of Apero and Rose from  MonoPrix and heading back to our apartment. I’m focussing on the gazillion steps with a bung knee and dodging the peak hour crowds to avoid spillage of the bag contents which include le saucisson, pate fois gras,  a rather nice sock-smelly Cambembert, corcherons and two still warm and yeasty smelling baguettes. I also need to ensure that the chilled and succulent bargain-basement bottles of Rose stay nestled in their now slightly-tearing extruded plastic bag.  Oh the guilt I feel for not having the foresight to bring my green bags. Shit that bread smells good.

I’m teetering down the steps against the crowd with one heavy bag in each hand. My camera bag slung over shoulder with the solid bit bashing into the small of my back and banging uncomfortably just above my bum. I’ve come down the steps on the right, against the wall and now wedged in a rather familiarly urine stenched corner, squished by the outpouring of peak hour bodies surging upwards towards the surface.  I have about three more steps down before I hit the platform and everything begins to roll in slow motion.

And I mean slow. Keanu bullet-dodging slow. Watch the replay of that googly bowl by Ricky Ponting slow.  Like a fly watching a human hand trying to swat it slow. Take that you fetid little insect and you know all the time he’s sitting there yelling “Is that all you’ve got you biotch . . hit me!” Before the little buzzy bastard pisses off and leaves you smacking some unsuspecting appendage with a sting. Yeh, that kind of slow. Yeh, like that.

Noise slows down like it’s being played on a vinyl LP just after the power’s gone and it’s grinding to a halt. The fabric of everyone’s garments ripples languidly but discernably, trains glide in and out with a serenede of muted screeching and then he comes into the frame. A blind man with one of those extra long guide sticks with a big red knobbly thing on the end of it.

He’s short, wearing dark glasses which always strikes me as hilarious, “Hey dude, you’re blind, you don’t need the shades!” He’s wearing a black three-quarter winter coat which is also weird because it’s hot as hell down here and humid as a whore’s underwear.  Do whore’s wear underwear? Perhaps that’s not a great analogy. Then I get to thinking, well he’s blind, maybe he didn’t realise what he was wearing. I mean I have friends who look like they get dressed in the dark and they’ve got 20/20 happening.  Anyway he’s walking normal speed right. Cane outstretched, swinging wildly from side to side, working that red knobby thing.

Now I’m still moving when I see the cane sweeping the pathway as if he’s wielding a machete in a corn field or a scythe in a hay meadow, scanning for gold or detecting landmines, this man’s on a mission. I’m thinking, get out of the way, jump that thing but hey, the dude’s blind, I could knock the bastard over or worse do some damage to the Rose bottles so I just keep going, sure that he’s going to mark a target as big as me. Then, WHAM sure enough that thing cracks me fair and square on the side of the leg, and brings me down baby! Crumbling to my jetty stump knees on the cold tiles with a crash and a bottle of rose rolling menacingly towards the departing train.

Ok so the scene begins to speed up like my escaping bottle when a very nice man pulls me up to my feet, rather familiarly brushes my knees off. How very French I’m thinking as they have no concept of personal space but having your knees rubbed by a stranger is a little disconcerting. So before I actually told him to piss off and take his hands of me, he had the good grace to disappear into the crowd.

So now I’m on my feet, the train’s pulling away, no harm done to the shopping, the knees will live. No sign of the blind guy who has clearly had no problem navigating 75 steps in an overcoat at speed and without knocking anybody else over whilst swinging his knobby cane at a 180 degree angle in front of him. How rude. Not so much as a ‘pardon madame’. Bastard. I hope he gets run over by a bus.

Rather late Theme Thursday Post for "Stairs"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weather Happens

In 1974 the Brisbane River broke it's banks and swamped the third largest city in Australia. Tonight, it's expected to peak again and the CBD is a ghost town. Boats are sailing tied to their dismembered pontoons down the river, ferry terminals ruined, riverside restaurants swamped and electricity supplies cut off in anticipation of a flood the size of Germany and France combined which is currently inundating the people of Queensland. Crops have been destroyed, townships are under water and I can barely imagine the mess left behind when the waters subside.

It's a serious thing indeed from the land of droughts and flooding rains. Budding reporters are putting their lives at risk (I wish) standing near raging rivers and spouting hyperbole about Global Warming. The media monsters love a disaster like none other and even our Government channel, the equivalent of the English BBC is going sappy on the whole thing.

I don't mean to denigrate what's happening 127,000 homes are affected, 12 are dead and many others living in makeshift shelters waiting for the waters to subside which won't happen, or so we are told, until the weekend. I have a a friend east of Brisbane who is hoping she won't be affected and another in Labrador on the Gold Coast who's headed home for a while just in case. It's a real disaster there is no question.

Australia is used to natural disasters and extreme weather. We've had 11 years of drought, hurricanes devastating crops, raging seas, levelling cyclones, grounded ships, hail the size of tennis balls. Recovery is always quick, action is taken and despite the devastation to individuals, things return to normal without the sensationalism of media.

Yet amid this, in the work lunchroom today I heard a conversation that disturbed me. A colleague is planning to drive to Noosa, a rather ritzy resort town on the mid Qld Coast next week, and is pissed off because the resort won't refund his money if the flood waters don't subside. It's not flooding at Noosa but the path there is a little soggy. "Why don't you fly?" I suggested (knowing that he's a wealthy man and can easily afford the fare. Not only that but he's driven before and also planned to drive straight through with an overnight in Brisbane so it's not like he's sightseeing on the way up. "Because we've planned to drive! We always drive".

I left the room before losing my temper. It's not anyone's fault. Weather happens.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cutting the Apron Strings

I haven't experienced the separation anxiety that I thought I might now that my lovely girl no longer lives at home. In 2008 she travelled the world and for a while there, I was a total mess. She'd lived at home all her life. We are incredibly close and the thought of her traipsing through the Amazon was horrifying. If it hadn't been for internet cafe's, Skype and Facebook, I'd have completely lost the plot. Old as she was, I just wasn't ready to sever the apron strings and the relief of having her back in the country was overwhelming.

However, when she announced a readiness to make her own way in November 2010, it was just right. I guess after having a month in each other's company and no arguments other than me complaining in Paris one day after walking for hours in search of a Lonely Planet Guide recommended tea house, we got on like a house on fire. She'd matured, wanted to cut her own path in the world, as she should and more importantly, I was ready to let go.

She'd made the decision and I was fine with it. Found a flatmate, someone she barely knew for a 'fresh' start and settled into a lovely flat overlooking the harbour. Well it would be a lovely view if there wasn't a huge Jacaranda obscuring the view it but she'd prefer the possums and Rainbow Lorikeets. I guess come winter she'll have a nice view of the North pylon of the Harbour Bridge. She was fortunate that her flatmate had most mod cons and all she needed was her enormous TV and her bed and frankly, I've never seen her happier.

Surprisingly she does know how to operate a washing machine, keeps a clean and tidy house, has developed a penchant for nice bed linen and even ventures into the culinary world by actually cooking once in a while (helped in no small way with a little 'beginners' cookbook that I made for her on Blurb). Ha! I guess that makes me a published author.  Although I am looking forward to spilling coffee on her carpet and leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Oh wait, I managed to fall over drunk and split my eyebrow and have never properly met her flatmate.

We talk daily via phone or email. She's home at least once a week and only 20 minutes away so very accessible and of course, I still have my lovely Adam and Amy at home so not quite an empty nester yet. Although it will be mighty quiet once he's left the roost.

I guess it's all in the timing.

Apero on the Balcony

Shady retreat

Kitchen (Not sure what "Wally's" sorry for but there's an apology on the blackboard

Living Room - Compact but comfy. And yes, that is a cleaning product on the makeshift coffee table. Who'da thunk it?

Yes somewhere behind that tree is the Harbour Bridge, so close you could spit on it

 So, I am left with . . .

My beautifull daughter-in-law to be

Arguably he funniest man in the world during a serious moment

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Lounge Lizard

I don't think you realise that when I talk about 'lounge lizards' I'm not referring to some lazy bod sprawling out on the couch of soporific splendour. Yes I do have such a couch guaranteed to take you to the land of Nod. 

No, I'm talking about reptile visitors who are often seen perched atop one of my couches, sunning themselves and feeling right at home. These however tend to be small Eastern Skinks (about 15-20cm long) that live in the damp course around the house and they're very handy for eating fallen corpses around skirting boards. Which I appreciate because it means I don't have to deploy the Dyson crevice tool.

I'm a chronic bring-the-outdoors-in person and have every damn window and door open in the fine weather.) I'm pretty accustomed to the odd magpie flapping stupidly in the corner. I had a bat in the shower once. Yesterday however, I had a rather larger visitor who decided to wander in through the open French doors. A particularly handsome Blue Tongued Lizard.

Don't you dare go behind that cabinet!

Or turn around and go under the filing cabinets!

Such a disobedient reptile, nobody ever listens to me

Ah turning tail and heading outside

Ah a little sun before departure

Finally out on the patio and being ushered into the bushes. The leaf is about 5cm long.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy Birthday Skyman

I don't think I've ever done this before. Singled out one blogger over another because so many of you are dear to me, email me outside the blog, talk to me on Skype and, some of us have met; each experience has been lovely.  Some have even kept in touch after they've deserted the blogworld.  There is one in particular who's company has been beyond delightful.

In June 2009, I started commenting on a blog, Irreverant Irrelevance. It's author, was in the habit of responding to his commenters individually, something I've emulated if you leave an email link with your comments. A few emails went back and forth between us (and other commenters of course) as posts were read and comments left. By December I received a chat notification in Gmail from someone who's name I didn't recognise. He soon clarified who he was and so began the odd IM conversation. The man can talk the leg off a chair and I can talk underwater so conversation comes easily. By January we were regularly communicating then in March, he loaded up Skype and chats turned into voice. He moved slowly from the East Coast to the West and we introduced webcams. It was pretty cool putting the face to the voice. Our chats tend to be long, interesting, informative, funny, collaborative, sober, drunken, serious, stupid, playful. And I cherish each one.

For almost a year now, this has been going on. Unless of course I light a cigarette in which case I am summarily 'terminated' from the call or heavily berated to put it out while he chain chews Nicorette. Our contact has been interrupted only by bouts out-of-city work, vacations, intermittent connections or the odd weekend away. It's  a lovely liaison and I am proud to call him my friend.  Not only is he my closest male friend and a fantastic online companion but he's led me to places I never thought I would venture this past 12 months.

He's solely responsible for me starting Creative Infanticide and encouraging me to write. I've been a copywriter in a past life but never ventured into fiction or indeed way out of my comfort zone as I have this year. Together we decided upon The Infanticide Exchange a private collaborative blog, where aspiring writers can receive some constructive criticism from published writers, editors, readers and their peers. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in honest critical appraisal. 

He generously reviews and critiques my work, and the work of others, before we post or refine for other media.  He's a fine writer in his own right but denies it and I recommend you read some of his posts on Irreverant Irrelevance, they're wonderful.  

He's been a joy to co-write with on a rather long piece that we did for The Tenth Daughter of Memory. A project I loved doing as much as he did and one I hope will take us somewhere over the next 12 months. Again, we encourage would-be writers to join 10thDom. It's competitive, creative, generates wonderful quality, much fun and a great bunch of contributors take part. As I've said before, it's not for the feint hearted, wannabes or those with fragile egos. It's certainly not there to garner sycophantic comments. The beauty of it, is that it's a small field of quality writers, who contribute and vote on each others efforts. I am humbled each time I post by the excellence of their work.

He's opinionated, impetuous, interesting, well-travelled, moody, arrogant, damaged, talented, creative, honest, hedonistic, detailed, loyal, intelligent, stubborn, articulate, funny, encouraging, protective and infuriating but always multi-talented and most importantly, there for me when I need him and tolerates my neurosis with the patience of a Saint.

He's OCD with cleanliness (trust me watching him vacuum is porn for women), loves his pets more than people and is single-handedly trying to monopolise the noodle market.  His grammar is impeccable, his general knowledge amazing. I learn something from him every day.

2011 is going to be his year, I know it. The career will take off. More works will be published. He'll find his muse. His travel aspirations will begin.  Most exciting of all, I get to meet him in April, hug him until he's blue, cook for him, travel with him and spoil him rotten. He has indeed become a valued friend and part of the family.

Why so blue?

Oh and of course, teach him how to talk 'strine and introduce him to green vegetables as a food group, a concept that has so far escaped him. 

We've kept each other company on high days and holidays, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. He talked to me for hours on my birthday because I was home alone and in need of a friend. He consoles me when I'm sad, castigates me when I'm irritating. He won't thank me for this post, or for wishing him happy birthday, these events have little resonance for him but I love him to bits and wish him wonderful things this year and always.

I believe during one of our conversations (sadly when I was sober) I made a promise to jump out of a plane (expert and parachute attached). We shall see. This song may be my anthem and hopefully not my requiem.

Thanks matey for just being 'right here'. You and me, we're just fine. One million invisible lines, up your head and into mine . . . we're just fine. You're the light in my Parka and you're jumping with me!
Hmm . . hardly a stretch for an ex-Paratrooper.