I don’t like cooking very much or thinking about cooking very much, so I have a standing fortnight menu and shopping list. Not very exciting. We are vegetarians so the things that would traditionally have meat like shepherds pie have a legume/veggie mix that takes a bit of prep. When it’s pizza night, we make our own base. We had a pleasant surprise a few years ago, when my mum gave me a bread machine and we used unbleached flour. The IBS issues I had had all my life disappeared. Awesome.

big brother

Tidying up my desktop comp. Found this from a few years ago…

To try to redeem myself from the sordid lazy delight of watching the ‘reality’ show BB, this week I borrowed 1984 from the library. Might have been 20 years since I read it. This time round, I’m trying to retain some detachment – because it’s compellingly bleak and brilliant. Bad arse combination.

To be honest, I was hoping to rekindled my undergraduate certainty that damnit I was oppressed. I thought there would be interesting parallels between Orwell’s London, and modern day suburban Australia. (Apart from the obvious prole entertainment that is the Big Brother TV show, which I would thank you not to mention again.)

Well, it aint happening. Life here just isn’t as awful as poor old Winston’s.

We can complain, loudly and often, we can turn off our tellies – YES we can!!! Chocolate isn’t rationed and we can buy real coffee legally. We can write in a diary (archaic: blog written on paper) without fear of being sent to labour camp for 25 years. We can publicly fall in love. Thankfully we don’t have to love our government, nor wear blue overalls. No one seems to give a shit if we single, double or triple think, and reading books in the late afternoon isn’t punishable by death. We can be slapdash and thoughtless with our facial expressions, body language and conversations. When someone fails to turn up to work for a few days, we freely bitch and moan about their slackness.

The care and planning with which Winston navigates daily life made me think of the constant, fearful vigilance of someone living with domestic violence. Winston knows, long before we meet him that he is a doomed man. Like anyone living with violence – he knows it’s only a matter of time before he suffers.

Doesn’t stop him trying – he meticulously guards every aspect of his demeanor. This is fascinating. Why does he bother when he knows he’s a dead man? Something compels him to continue his careful treading, even when he knows it’s futile. Paradoxically – something also compels him to continue his rebelliousness, even when he knows it’s suicide.

I suspect it’s his humanity, plain and simple. He kept on because he was alive. Winston’s no Rambo – he’s not exactly a big H Hero. I get that he broke in the end. But fallibility is human too. His vulnerability only ads to the aching humanness of his story.

Orwell wrote 1984 while he was dying of TB. Wrenched the story out of himself. One man’s final act of heroism – bringing us the final driven and desperate acts of Winston.

But back to the comparison between the book and life now.

Here’s one possible similarity. We ARE engaged in an interminable and stupid war about nothing anyone understands. Still we have the freedom to think and say it’s bewildering. In response, the government doesn’t waste valuable resources trying to change our minds. It enjoys the freedom (at least til the next election) of ignoring us. Actually in fairness to Kevin – who I don’t love but have sneakily admired ever since he took the entire country’s breath away by apologising – he is planning to bring the troops home.

And surely, surely those indignant current affairs programs come close to Hate minutes. Still, we can change channel without fear of recrimination.

Nonetheless, we just don’t live with a totalitarian, violent oppressive dictatorship. Complain about the government all you want. Still alive? Exactly. 

The other day my beautiful 15 year old daughter asked me for some general advice on life. Luckily I was prepared for this moment – for years I had been writing down thoughts that occurred to me to tell her. This is the compilation:

Cooking something savory and want to add some veggies:  Carrot, Celery and Onion.

Beware anyone who asks questions where you can’t answer “no”.

Have enough water. Have enough fun. Have enough sleep.

Beware people bearing surprise  gifts that aren’t beautiful or useful.

If a boy/girl doesn’t call, forget it. You can find someone who will.

Ditch the levelers. They put you down to feel better. They suck.

Don’t worry about being the best. It’s really really really unlikely. Just do your thing. The world still benefits!

Marry someone who makes you smile. That’s a recipe for a good life.

Don’t panic if your life partner shits you sometimes. That’s normal. Marriage is about averages – if on the whole your life is better for them being there, that’s good!

When you are procrastinating, maybe the job is too big. Find a tiny bit of the job and do that.

95% of beauty is carriage. Stand tall and move with pride.

You cannot trust one word from an addict’s mouth. Ignore this at your peril.

Don’t give away YES’s easy. Agree to do stuff you are happy to.

Dragging out the boring stuff is crap. Chores – get in, do them just well enough, get out.

Credit is the party, debt is the hangover. And baby, this hangover can go on for DECADES. Be smart. NO CASH, NO BUY.

Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Ads manipulate you to buy stuff you don’t want.

High Status doesn’t make you happy, just lonely and unsatisfied

If you have a book in you, FOR GOD’S SAKE WRITE IT.

Don’t let the washing up get away from you. Sufficient unto the day is the washing up there in.

You probably can’t change other people.

A boy/girl who is wild and exciting will break your heart. But you’ll have a fun time first.

If you want to have sex with someone, go for it. Use a condom and have some fun. Also if you don’t want to do, then don’t. (Women fought so hard for the right for no to mean no under any circumstances. It’s your right.)

Psychologists have discovered kindness is the secret to happiness.

If you find a boy/girl who will do anything for you, don’t become high maintenance just because they’ll take it. Shameful behavior.

Remember to fuck shit up a little bit. Sometimes it’s important to stick it to the man just because rebellion keeps you young – it’s the sauce of life though – keep it in balance.

Don’t argue with the police. Be polite and don’t give them any more info than they ask for. (In fact same goes for anyone with a gun!)

Women can lose valuable life energy feeling that they are not attractive enough. No one will judge your looks as harshly as you do. Most people wont care what you look like and people who love you will think you have the most wonderful face on the planet.

Social elegance means making other people feel comfortable and welcome. It’s not about fancy place settings on tables. Real grace never goes out of style.

Some people who just don’t get it, are doing the best they can.   They aren’t trying to be annoying – that’s just the way they are

Most stuff that happens has nothing to do with you. It just feels like it does. Even the way people treat you generally has very little to do with you.

Your gut knows. Gut instinct is a safety device.

Do your thing – follow your calling. In the end people can spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not they can earn money following their calling. Just do your thing. Pay the bills. If they coincide great. If they remain separate – that’s OK!

Sleep is essential to health. Anyone who tries to convince you that you don’t need to sleep is wrong. And you must wonder why they are spinning shit at you.

You will lose friends if you flirt with their boyfriends/husbands/lovers. Learn how to treat these people appropriately. You can absolutely control the signals you give out.

Walking. Hallelujah.

Buy good shoes. If your feet hurt you are stuck.

There are some people who are very successful in life – not through talent but through wheeling and dealing. It’s a good idea to keep your distance from these people, because they will use you to get ahead, in whatever way they need. On the other hand every now and then you need to be a little bit strategic yourself. People who believe all you need to do is be good, work hard and follow the rules and the universe will notice, care and reward them often end up burnt out and bitter.  So you can learn something from observing these folks from a safe distance!

The grass is greener where you water it. If you neglect something it can be crap. It’s amazing what five minutes a day for a week can do for a neglected thing!

Not all drugs are the same and not all people are the same. Some drugs are much more addictive than others. And some people are more likely to become addicted than others. Alcohol, tobacco, heroin and ice are addictive. Stay away from speed. I’ve met too many speed freaks in my life – and they are screwy. Be careful with alcohol because it’s legal and most people drink, you can slide into an addiction without realizing.

When you’ve given too much to other people you are spent. The solution is simple. Be selfish for a while.

Be careful of dodgy seafood.

When you start at a new job or organisation of some sort, just sit back and get the vibe for a few months. Don’t go too berserk.

Work places don’t offer love. They take whatever you give, and give you a paycheck. Make sure you don’t give too much to work.

Your children’s grandparents are there to help. They took that job on when they had you. Never be ashamed to ask them for help.

Take cuppas seriously. Tea bags and instant coffee are an insult to civility. If you can’t make time for a proper cuppa then life is wrong and you need to fix it.

When you want something from other people the more you use humor the better negotiations will go.

As far as I can make out current post modernism is comprehensively stupid. But I suspect Foucault had some really good things to say.

Don’t Fuck with Centrelink. They put people in jail.

Remember how wealthy you are. Be grateful for the great work of generations and generations of humanity that have brought us to this place. safe drinking water on tap. Free health care. Suffrage. decent state provided primary secondary and tertiary education. The Internet!!! Electricity. Equal pay. Medicine. No one shooting at us.  Shops brimming with beautiful, healthy food. Libraries. Civil liberties. Ladders. washing machines. pegs. clothes hangers. Bricks. toilets. Immunization. Language, poetry, literature. music music music. Bridges – we’d notice if they weren’t there!

Your dad is a really good man, and he’ll always look out for you.

my professional blog

wow doesn’t that sound fancy?

I am a singing teacher, and have started a professional blog on singing teaching, including several workbooks I have written for children learning singing

singing books for children

Gruen Transfer is an insight into how fucked advertising and marketing are. These people are so smug and yet they are moral criminals. They are wrapped in the funness of the show – good humoured, respectable, highly creative folks. Who proudly take money from the population by preying on guilt, fear, low self esteem. surely this is emotional violence. And one more thing to be ‘free’ of when we consider the ‘free’ options of the 21st century.

it works something like this. Ok So let’s establish the facts. 1. you suck and have much to feel bad about. 2. I am cool. The ONLY hope you can possibly have to redeem yourself is to associate with me. Of course I am actually way too cool to be bothered with you on an individual basis, so I’ve written my name on a thing, and you can buy the thing. and show people how we are associated. Well actually I paid someone else to write my name on the thing, because I’m too cool to do that myself. And it turns out other people suck too – so there are lots of people who need to publish their association with me – I’d hardly have time to write my name on enough things for everyone! (of course you wouldn’t be interested in these folks, because I have put a lot of resources into telling you how much you suck – you have become obsessed with your own drama, and can no longer afford to care about the plight of others. Which conveniently makes you and others genuinely less connected, slightly sadder and consequently more susceptible to my narcissistic charms.) Because we both know you suck, I don’t actually care about you personally in the least, except to track that you continue to have money and continue to feel bad about how much you suck and continue to believe that redemption can come through association with me. Because you suck association with you would just bring me down – I need to protect myself from you. I will avoid you at all costs. I will set up illusory facades: shop fronts, call centres, complaints department, web pages, advertisements that tell you how much I care but in fact keep us apart. Someone I pay to deal with you will put you on hold for an hour playing you recorded messages telling how important you are to me.
(unbelievers might think that I also need to protect myself from you discovering I’m actually not as cool as you imagine. Idiots!)
You will be so grateful for this association you will offer ‘loyalty’ but I want ‘blind devotion’. So I will consult psychologists and masters of communication to discover how to manipulate you and the many other sucking folks into adoring me.
And I will perfect true bastard genius – whereby the association doesn’t actually work because after all everything I offer is bullshit – but I make you feel that it’s your fault – you didn’t consume enough from me, or you didn’t consume recently enough until you become addicted to what I pretend to offer and never will.
And I take your money and laugh and laugh and laugh. Sucker.

standing up straight

Turns out my posture has been so bad for so long my neck and chest are so tense, I can’t stand up straight just by deciding to. physical challenge. You tube will save me…


ok. so the last time I exfoliated, the wee tube of goo seemed to be little gritty things and cream to hold it all together. Very expensive. Because the grit was micro something.
Well, seems to me Bicarb is gritty and sorbolene cream holds the grit together. So I made a goo wtih bicard and sorbolene cream and then a little bit of oil – just stuff in the pantry.
Seemed to be fine. And much much much cheaper than whatever was in the tube.