Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 177: paper blogging.

I've invented a new thing. It's called paper blogging. What you do is, you take a notebook with you everywhere and - here's the new bit - instead of blogging on your actual blog, you just blog in the book. With a pencil. I've been trying it out over the past week and I've only really hit one snag: you guys can only read it if you can access my handbag, and despite my most valiant attempts I haven't been able to hook my handbag up to the internet. So you'll notice there's been a bit of a flurry of entires, which was me transferring the data from my paper blog to my online blog. Phew. As much as my new invention is GREAT, I think I might just stick to the actual blog from now on. Until of course someone manages to produce my other cool invention idea, the cut and paste pencil.

Day 176: feeling fine.

Next time I start sounding all paranoid and angsty, could someone please just tell me to go to yoga? In addition to the lush softness of my cashmere jumper (which I am still deeply in love with), my yoga class this morning completely turned my shit around and made me feel fantastic. We're still busy as all hell at work, but my whole day was perfectly pleasant. And now I'm heading home, and while I'm a little exhausted, I have no inclination for wines or anything. I'm feeling fine.

Day 175: I love my cashmere jumper.

Do you own a cashmere jumper? If not, may I quietly suggest you get your hands on one? Not even necessarily to own; just to touch the darling softness of cashmere is worth your while. It may or may not have been glaringly obvious, but over the last little while I have felt a little troubled. Troubled about my abilities, troubled about the fact that others appear not to give a flying damn about me, troubled that a beautiful, caring (totally cool) man persist in not presenting himself, troubled even that yoga might give one cellulite. Amongst all this though, I made the enlightened decision to purchase not one but two cashmere jumpers from one of my favourite online boutiques, The Outnet. And today they arrived. One in particular is such a feat of flattering drapery and yet deep, soft comfort at the same time, I am tempted to proclaim Vanessa Bruno (its maker) a gifted magician, nay, even miracle-working angel from above. Suffice to say, it has made me perfectly happy. So if anyone ever tries to tell you retail therapy is an empty, fleeting and ineffective pleasure, tell them to stick it, then try a little cashmere on their arse. Because they are of course entirely wrong (and they'll thank you for it afterwards).

Day 174: I think I want my life back.

This was unexpected. Or was it? I just saw a me-ish lady heading off somewhere on this sunny public holiday afternoon with one demure little bottle of wine tucked neatly under her arm, presumably to some lunch or picnic or afternoon with friends. I want that. I want lay afternoons spent happily lazing and laughing and chatting with wine. Where has that gone? Why has it gone? Is wine a necessary component for enjoyable interludes like that? I hate to say it, but I think the answer's yes. It sets the tone, it sets the mood, it makes things cruisey. The absence of alcohol makes everything focused and businesslike. You get on with the job and then look for another one. It's one thing after another. Which is good if you're on a mission. Which I am. But you also want the relief of a hazy happy laze. Some relaxed none of this matters time. Where's mine? It's disappeared. I want to get somewhere, true. But I also want to have fun. Lately I have let the fun factor slip out of view. I tried to have a party, but nobody came. Am I putting out the wrong vibe? Do people sense that my veins are bereft of loose juice? Are people repelled by my purity and focused brain of steel? As I have recently noted, I haven't even made halfway yet. I'm close, but still, halfway means the same again to get through. I don't feel like I'm going to break and wreck the mission, but I don't want my year off the piss to also be my year of boredom and misery. Well, I'm not bored so that's one thing. But I do need to get out more. So maybe I'll just have to focus on that. Stepping back into the alcohol zones but not partaking, trying to soak up some of the party vibe while ignoring the alcohol stench (just lately when walking past pubs I have really noticed the smell - they effing wreak.). Just keep on battling. After all, no one said this'd be easy.

Day 173: awesome rainy Sunday.

Today I woke up and it was grey and rainy, which was absolutely perfect. It meant I could take care of all sorts of pottering tasks - or none at all - without any guilt for having not left the house. It also seemed aptly solemn weather for ANZAC Day, our commemoration of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought at Gallipoli in World War I, and indeed every soldier who has fought and died or survived since. For my own part, while I didn't make the dawn service, I did spend a large chunk of the day watching the ANZAC Parade on TV while stitching petals, leaves and one long, thin flower stalk onto my patchwork cushion from yesterday. It did occur to me that, this being a long weekend and all, in olden times I would most definitely have been revving up for an enormous evening while still recovering from a large one the night before. If you'd told me that in the not too distant future you'd find me watching telly, celebrating the fact that I didn't have to go out, and addicted to patchwork, well I probably would have kicked you. Or fainted from extended laughter (and alcohol-induced dehydration). Ah well, times change. Now where's my yellow thread?

Day 172: crafternoon tea.

Today I partook of a curious activity and growing phenomenon: the crafternoon tea. In fact I have no hard evidence that it's a growing trend, but based on murmurings from girlfriends in various camps, chicks are getting crafty of an afternoon or evening and they're not afraid to admit it. Today's group was a selection of upwardly mobile professional and artistic females all of whom enjoy a little knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidering, you know, making shit basically. Today was my first crafternoon tea, and as much as it might not sound it, it was cool. True my stitching was a bit wonky, and I'll probably have to re-sew that leaf on my patchwork cushion, but it was such a pleasant way to spend a few hours, chatting, eating nice things, stitching, both with a sense of purpose and no need to commit to any of it having a point. I loved it. And the other gals finished things off with Campari, blood orange and tonics. A very pretty looking end to an awesome afternoon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 171: brutal honesty.

Does it freak you out when I tell you my scary honest truth? When I fess up about feeling lonely or like I've lost faith in my life-long dreams? Honesty is scary. When you let it out of the bag, it acknowledges things you didn't even know you thought. And that you didn't want to believe you thought. Like, for example, my hunch that yoga actually brings cellulite to the surface rather than eradicates it. I didn't want to acknowledge it, because I love yoga, but the other day I had to admit that girls thighs look more rumply after a class than they do going in. This is a truth based in shallowness (or might just be my warped mind inventing things) and doesn't really matter. Anyway. Here are some others. I belong to a group of people who are deficient when it comes to caring for and showing true support for their friends and family. That's a big statement. Note I didn't say they don't care or support at all, only that their care and support level leaves a little to be desired. Let's step that up to a lot to be desired. No matter how much people feel they care about others, in my circles at least, I just don't think people are very good at following through. People let themselves off the hook by pleading no time, no money or the burden of raising children. But last time I checked, being busy, cash strapped and/or a parent didn't mean you had to lose your sense of decency. If you're a human who has ever felt alone or lacking in confidence or in need of a friend, be aware that every other human on the planet is vulnerable to those feelings too. And if you're lucky enough to have found a person who loves you, and you have your cosy nook of happiness sorted - or even if you don't - don't let that be a cue to shut off your receptors to other human beings who might not be so lucky. Don't assume people are doing fine on their own. Take the time to find out and make sure once in a while. I am equally as guilty of practising our new age selfishness (although I'm seriously rethinking this approach) so I can't exactly complain. It doesn't make it any less the truth though. These days, in the most part, we are selfish bastards. Truth no 2: I am extremely (perhaps unfairly) hard on myself almost all the time and am not sure how to stop being that way. I have known this off and on throughout my adult life, and as an adult have been able to identify it as a trait in myself as a teenager. I have always had finely tuned critical abilities, which comes in handy when writing University essays and the like, but isn't such a happy friend when you apply it to yourself, your talents and your self-worth. I was made aware of this second truth today, by two kind comments. One came from a work mate who said he thought I had the ideal female body and that if he wasn't gay he'd be thinking I was really hot. What struck me was my level of astonishment that anyone could think this, and the flood of rebuttals my mind sent washing in of the no you're way too heavy/strong/not petite enough variety. I realised that my body size (which has always been completely normal) has been a constant worry to me as a young adult, something that has tormented me and which I have been, perhaps wrongly, highly critical of. Where's the love? Why can't I give myself a pat on the back for all the exercise I do and concentrate on my good points? The second kind comment came from my singing teacher. She quite rightly spotted my tough perfectionist streak and reinforced on no uncertain terms how much progress I have already made and that I'm doing really well. Again, it just struck me how seldom I actually believe I'm doing well enough at anything. There's always some stupid thing I could have done or be doing better. What's my freaking problem? (See, I'm doing it again. Maybe I don't have a problem. Maybe I'm fine.) I come from an extended family of high achievers. There are excellent brains (teachers, engineers, doctors, professors, scientists, writers, lawyers), people who have achieved through sheer energy and drive, people with special artistic or musical talent, people who are just, well, impressive basically. I don't think my parents ever put any pressure on me to have to be a certain way (except for insisting I went to University, which I am extremely grateful for), but as a group there has always been a sense of keeping your standards up and doing the best you can do. And when everyone around you from parents to brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles, aunties and grandparents, friends at school, their parents etc are all doing amazing things and being amazing, it's hard not to want to be that way too. I am lucky really in how many clever and talented people I have been surrounded with during my life. But it has instilled in me a belief in the need to achieve and at all costs avoid being average. Weirdly enough though, I think my exacting standards often actually stop me from achieving. It's like I'll go, no I'm not in good enough shape yet to be a rock star, I'll put off sending in our demo until I can look perfect in the photos. Or, the production doesn't sound good enough yet, we won't try and get it on the radio until it's perfect. So perfection becomes a reason for procrastination. Psycho. Must do something about that. Okay, and truth no. 3 (because today's (lengthy) entry wouldn't be complete without some musing on boozing): I think not drinking cuts you out of the social sphere. Not drinking socially too, is not as fun as drinking socially. So there, I've said it. It's not something as a born again teetotaler, apparently high on the goodness that is sobriety, I want to admit. But it's true that one, not drinking means I don't go out as much, and two, when I do go out, I don't have as much fun as I used to. It might have something to do with how long it's been since I've touched a drink. I am far enough away from the damage I used to inflict on myself with alcohol, that maybe I can't really remember the un-fun side anymore. I mean, I do still see inebriated zombies in the streets, or hear them brawling outside my my house at night, and thank my lucky stars I am not them in that ugly and undignified predicament. But I would also like, of a Friday or Saturday night, to be able to unwind with a wine and maybe enjoy just a tiny bit of my laughy, flirty side fluttering to the surface again. Being straight all the time just makes you so goshdarn matter-of-fact. But what, at this not even halfway point, is a me to do? To be perfectly honest, I don't rightly know.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 170: I like to be in America.

The tickets are booked, the dollars are paid. I am officially going to the U. S. of A. WAAAAHOOO. Excited. Do they still have prohibition states over there? Maybe I should stick to those if I want to maintain my policy of good clean fun, and minimise temptation. Oh, they abolished prohibition? Hmmm, maybe I'll just have to keep myself happy with donuts and tacos. Mmmm, Fat Plan...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 169: is my drummer cheating on me?

Today my drummer (Ben) called to say he'd been asked to play drums for another band. Which is fine. I think. Ben and I have played in various bands together since we were 13 years old. He's not the only drummer I've ever played with, but he is the only drummer I've ever had in my bands (as in projects I've originated and really care about). So knowing he's going off to play with another crew definitely feels like a wrench of sorts. But at the same time, I don't feel like it's a wrong thing for him to do. In fact I kind of feel like it's a good thing for him to do. But I still feel weird. Does it matter if a drummer plays in more than one band? Can a band member divide their attention between two bands or does it spell the beginning of the end for one of them? My first thought is that it's fine to be in different bands. I guess it only gets difficult when commitments for either group clash. Then one has to be prioritised over the other. One has to be chosen as more important than the other. One becomes the wife, the other a sometimes mistress. But, as we currently don't actually have a band, only a two person computer project, Ben actually isn't playing in any band at all right now. Will his starting to play in someone else's, mean our new band never gets born? We can only wait and see.

Day 168: the crackly chirp.

Is it just me, or is my voice sounding worse every time I do my singing exercises? Actually, you can't answer that, because you haven't been lucky enough to hear the croaking squawks I've been subjecting my housemates to of an evening. My high notes seem to be sounding better I think, but my low ones just seem to turn into crackly growls by the end of a session. Is this a case of things getting worse before they get better? Or am I just wrecking my voice? Or is it my destiny to sing like a canary, chirping only in the upper registers? Don't know. Should probably ask my singing teacher, but what I think I'll actually do is go watch Project Runway (which, come to think of it, is more ostrich in approach than canary).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 167: the squeaky door.

The other day at my singing lesson I learnt an exercise called the squeaky door. It involves making sort of nasal squeaky graunchy noises through the front of your face while doing various scales or arpeggios or triads. Sounds weird, is amazing. Doing it sort of feels like you're polishing metal. The notes are the metal and you polish your way from one to the next in little lilting squeaks. It allows you to go from register to register without any apparent vocal break, which for me right now is an awesome thing. I'm sorry, I'm probably speaking gobbledegook. But for the next at least four weeks, I'll be spending my Friday nights - not drinking - but using exercises like that one to open my own often squeaky door into new vocal territory. In plain English, I have decided to honour the original intent of my non-drinking mission by devoting some of my Friday nights to singing lessons. And now I'm going home to practise some more squeaky door.

Day 166: zonked.

Today I built a large shelving unit for my bedroom. It took quite a long time. Now I am very tired, but my various belongings are very organised. Woot woot, time for some zeds.

Day 165: entertainment.

Reading books while drinking hot coffee or tea is truly one of my favourite pass-times. I love books and always have. And of a Saturday or Sunday morning, if I have the good fortune to have a decent window of spare time (what unadulterated luxury), reading is what I do. On reflection, I think the reason I love books so much is for the enormous worlds they bring to yours. By simply opening the cover, you can step into a completely different reality to your own and experience it like a local, someone who knows the inside stories and the secret reasons why, the history. And of course, you get to experience the exciting events that make up the story itself. It puts interesting things in your life and mind that wouldn't be there if you were simply living your actual, everyday, what I call life. For a mind like mine that gets bored very quickly with the same old blah, books, I think, are an important component of my keeping it together. By giving me little pockets of imagined other-worldly experience, they allow me to do things like hold down a steady job for any length of time for example. Or stay living in one country. Now it's interesting this, because it also got me thinking about the role alcohol used to play in my life which, it occurred to me, was similar to books but profoundly different too. I've said it before (and I'll say it again) that alcohol presents a distraction. Similar to a book, it offers a different head space; an escape from the straight dealing of day-time life. What's more, the way I used to use it, it would definitely offer the potential for some crazy adventures - meeting strange new people, visiting weird parts of town, pushing things in directions you might not usually just to see what happens next. But then of course, alcohol also kind of totals your memory banks, ruthlessly wiping out any number of boring and entertaining conversations, events, thoughts or happenings. So it acts as a blocker too. And in that way, it's the opposite to a book; where a book gives you a different reality to distract you from your own boring one, alcohol just comes in and stamps the boring (or exciting) reality out of existence: boring day? Nope. No boring day I can see anywhere here. You must have imagined it. Speaking of days, the one outside is looking rather beautiful. Might be time to get out into it for a little light entertainment. Something like, oh I don't know, maybe a stroll in the sunshine to my favourite bookshop (that's ariel on Oxford Street if you're wondering).

Day 164: did you say alcohol?

Judging by the past week's entries, you could be forgiven for thinking this blog wasn't about alcohol at all. Actually, come to think of it, it's not about alcohol, it's about the opposite: its absence. And really, this week alcohol has been so unobtrusively absent I haven't even noticed the space it's left behind. True, I have said that under the circumstances of the past week, a girl might want to reach for a glass of red, but I genuinely didn't have any desire to do so myself. And otherwise I was too generally preoccupied with events to give alcohol a second thought. Is this really me talking? I can't even actually remember at this stage how I used to feel about the intoxicating liquid of which I used to quaff so much. I have a vague sense that I viewed it not as my friend so much as a monster I let out every now and then (aware it would probably injure or damage me in some way). But that could be my "now view" wrongly reporting on the past. I am certainly glad to be out of its grip now and am not keen to let it get a hold on me again. Because many people are in the grip of alcohol's clawing hand. They cannot take it or leave it. They use it habitually, reliably, and as an emotional crutch. And maybe it helps in some small way, but also it doesn't. Over the past week, maybe a drink or two might have calmed my nerves or softened my edges. Maybe when my party looked like it wasn't rocking, it would have helped to drink myself into oblivion and forget about it. Maybe then I would have done something bad myself and that might have distracted me from how wronged I felt by others. And maybe it would have left me feeling even worse afterwards. Speculations aside, I swallowed each shot undiluted, experiencing the raw reality of what was happening unaided by painkillers. Which is kind of like being punched in the face with a bare fist. There's nothing to cushion the hit, but you do come out of it tougher.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 163: the storm passes.

This is going to sound ridiculous. But I'll say it anyway. Over the past few tormented days many things seemed to be conspiring against my living an easy happy life. One of them (this is the ridiculous bit) was that when I went to yoga, someone had taken my mat. The bag was there hanging up on a nice little hook, but the mat was not in it, which meant that someone in my class (cue hawk-eyed scanning of all suspects clutching purple mats) was sweating all over my mat while I had to use one of the house mats (a million shades of ew). Now as I'm sure anyone who has ever taken their yoga the tiniest bit over-seriously will understand, this represented mat violation and was accordingly distressing. Add to the situation that I was feeling wounded from the party failure, stressed by work and riled by random comments, and that yoga was meant to be my one untouched, saviour haven for de-stressing and feeling okay again - well, it was like taking the last scrap of blanky from a small, lonely child who just dropped their lollipop in the dirt: forlorn city. Anyway, yesterday they found my mat! And Haley, fiance to owner Darren, had sprayed it with disinfectant and put it behind the desk. Angel person. As I said, it's ridiculous, but in the midst of a storm of ill-ease, this felt like a sign. My clean purple mat was like a beacon signaling a change in the weather: better times ahead, it will all be fine from here. And since the return of my mat, everything really has turned around, even if only in my head. My yoga class was great, with a friendly sense of camaraderie amongst the yogis, my best back bend yet and a tiny but significant breakthrough in one of my other poses. I mended the rift with my workmate and we are friends again. And I stopped feeling hard-done-by by everyone who didn't make my party. Anger, self pity or even just negative attitudes towards others can be powerfully damaging things to feel. The effect of holding them in you is that you start radiating negativity, and negative shit starts gravitating towards you. I've experienced this first-hand over the past few days. And I guess what I've learnt is, even if other people have done wrong to you, don't let it turn into wronging yourself. Let it go. Clear your skies, and let the sunshine in.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 162: aggro all round.

Not sure what it is about right now but I'm copping it from all sides. Today I wasn't feeling pissed off in the slightest. Yesterday's news of the loss of an old friend put some of my petty issues in perspective and made me rethink my approach of greater selfishness as the way forward. More selfishness is not what the world needs now. So I wasn't feeling angry today. There's a possibility I was feeling a little bit sad. But whatever it was, it hasn't agreed with some of the people around me. One co-worker heckled me for not walking the halls with a constant grin plastered on my face, while another repeatedly accused me of being negative when I patently was not. I just seem to be a shit-magnet right now. It's enough to drive a girl to drink. Not this girl obviously, but it would be understandable if a girl in similar circumstances might reach for a cuddly glass of red. Oh well, what can you do? Go to yoga, try and chill the flip out, and hope you'll be less misunderstood in future (or curl up into a ball and suck your thumb. That always worked when I was little.).

P.S. This is the current theme tune of my life, by my favourite band of the moment, The Soft Pack.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 161: oh man.

Today I found out an old primary school and family friend my age committed suicide over the weekend. He was a really cool guy, one of my very early boyfriends in fact (so early in fact that I never even kissed him. I think we were eleven, and the thought of kissing really freaked me out at that point). He was also always really funny and happy and up, and smart and a talented swimmer. All of which makes it even more appalling that such a bright spark of a boy would take his own life. It certainly puts my stupid party in perspective. I seem to remember my Mum had him pegged out as a husband for me. Now she's gone, and so is he. As Dad said on the phone, it is a part of life. This mental, difficult, painful, punishing, awesome, beautiful and constantly amazing life.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 160: positive steps.

As you may have noticed, I was pretty bummed by my party throwing experience. It left quite a lot of my inner pictures of friendly niceness shattered, with splatters of the sauce of human kindness on the wall (ew!). But today I decided that feeling bummed was not the way forward. From time to time we have run-ins with people being foul, selfish shits. It doesn't mean they have to bring us down with their low behaviour. So, I have resolved to withdraw a little from those repeat offenders, and learn a little from their shittiness; from now on I will not put myself out to accommodate them, I will put my own needs first. Being an astute bunch, you might have spotted that this approach is flawed, in that it perpetuates the very behaviour by which I have recently been so appalled. However, I don't plan to be selfish towards everyone, just a little more choosy with whom I go the extra mile for. Or invite to parties. Or probably in reality I'll get over this latest mortification and slip back into being nice to everyone and get done in by the same bunch of inconsiderate dicks, or another bunch, a few months down the track. Whatever. At least I'm not the one getting a reputation for being horrible. And until I do get done over again, I will be focusing on making other positive progress, with fitness, with my vocal training, with my band. So there. Step it up. Let's keep moving.

Day 159: reflecting on humanity.

Events of the last few days have given me cause to ponder the state of my surrounding humans. After my Mother died, I discovered that the person who genuinely cares about others and who acts compassionately towards them on an ongoing basis is an extremely rare, perhaps even imaginary, individual. No matter what state of warranted distress you are in, people apparently can only manage to help you out or cut you any slack for a very limited period of time before they forget what you're going through and become demanding again. I particularly noticed it in the workplace. And at the time I accepted it as the way of the world and a lesson in toughening up. Yesterday I was reminded of people's enormous capacity to put their own needs before anyone else's, regardless of what hurt that might inflict. Again, it's one of the ways of the world. If you don't look after yourself, who will? But then again, if we don't look after each other, where will we be? From my recent experiences, I'm not sure humans are in the best place. Or is it that I'm not in the best place to find good humans? Is Sydney an emotional graveyard full of feeling-devoid zombies going greyly about their very important personal business? Are there other societies where being courteous and caring towards others is an expected minimum of respectful and respectable behaviour? Or is it simply that, as someone famous once said (oft quoted by my Mum), "there aren't very many good anythings in the world"? I've kind of been entertaining a private fantasy recently, that somewhere in the world there is a pocket of awesome people who just get it, people that not everyone would love but that I would, and it's just a matter of time before I find them and live happily ever after. Or maybe I just have to travel around slowly collecting the scattered people of quality and somehow gather them into one place. Hmm. Smacks of a cult. And I can't really be bothered forming one. For now then, I will continue to ponder, and try and remember to treat the good people I do know as I myself would like to be treated; with just the tiniest bit of caring consideration.

Day 158: party fail.

Warning: this entry may be offensive to some readers. It contains untempered judgements on people's coolness and quality of character. Read on at your own risk.
I'm not joking. I'm about to lay some shit down. Because last night's party revealed some things about much of the company I keep, my so-called friends and family. It's not easy to write because it also reveals things about me; how I feel about people I know and how they behave, but more painfully, how people evidently feel about me.
Last night's party was a fail, and for a number of reasons. First, it failed because the theme was too cool for most people. It's an ugly thing to say, but it's true. The small handful of people who came and actually appreciated, understood and embraced the theme, now occupy a special place in my universe reserved for pure quality. Brains, a finely tuned sense of humour and the good breeding to turn up to a party when you say you will; these are qualities I admire. Second, the party failed because people are shit. Because on this occasion, and possibly for the first time in my life, I am not prepared to take the blame for our party fizzing. And neither should my other hosts. We put on a top notch party. The music was cool, the house looked amazing, the food was good and there was lots of it, the vibe and lighting was mellow, welcoming and pleasant, and, I thought, the guest list was made up of fun, quality individuals. Even our costumes were perfect. I'm telling you, this was a totally rad party waiting to happen, only none of my fuck-wit friends or family had the decency to show up. Actually, before I really offend every living soul I know, some people and factors need to be acknowledged. Those people that did show up (including exactly one brother) are awesome. That goes without saying. And I believe they all had quite a pleasant time. Those that didn't come but let me know why before time, either by RSVPing to that effect or with a simple, courteous phone call or text are also blameless. They did the right thing. But those who allowed me to believe they were coming through all my preparations, even talking on many occasions about costumes and saying "See you on Saturday", but then saw fit to simply give it a miss without a whisper of "Sorry babe I won't be making it after all", are people I now don't know if I really count as my friends. At least not ones I could rely upon for anything more than an air kiss on the street which, forgive me, doesn't represent a whole heap of friendship value to my mind. Evidently though too, I don't represent much value as a human being to any of them either. Not enough to put their own needs aside, even for a few hours at what would have been a fun event only a few blocks away. So yes, people I thought liked me don't give a shit. I am hurt, disappointed and saddened that what should have been the party of the year wasn't, because the people I know just weren't up to the job. On the upside, I do now know who my true friends are, and who to bother helping out in future or inviting to my next better than average party. All the other lame-os can seriously, go jump.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 157: self sabotage.

I think I've spoken about this before, perhaps many eons ago, and if I recall correctly more in the context of my old, bad, damaging drinking ways. It's a pattern I have recognised in myself, but had hoped was a feature of me+alcohol, as opposed to, well, just me I suppose. So today I say bugger, ironically because it marks a moment of enlightenment and discovery in this alcohol-free experiment. It was on Day one, the very first wonky and ill-considered step towards the sober light, that I wrote "presumably I will find out whether it is in fact the booze that's hindering my ability to get to where I want to go, or my own innate short-comings". Time to face a short-coming of the innate variety people. Actually, you don't have to, I do. It's become apparent to me that I have an inbuilt self sabotage reflex. It used to manifest in lawless drinking bouts. Now it just seems to take the form of anti-behaviour, things that are the opposite of what is good for me and the opposite of helping me make progress of the kind I might like. Things like not exercising even when I know exercise makes me feel and look good. Things like eating crap, when I actually feel much better eating healthy. Or not doing my singing practice, or stopping working hard on a project just when it might have a chance of getting somewhere. In fact it's almost like I have to do the bad stuff to an extent where it will actually take me backwards a little. So if I've been feeling energetic and healthy and thin, I have to eat chocolate and sugar and drink coffees and sloth about not exercising until I'm feeling fat and lethargic and angry. Or if the music's going well, I have to suddenly drop everything and discover a totally new hobby that will take my mind completely away from the task at hand. Why? Why can't I just help myself to be the best thing I can be? Why do I deliberately set myself up to fail? What kind of a psycho actively and routinely takes steps to make their own endeavours less likely to succeed? A me kind of psycho, even alcohol free. Well you can't blame alcohol for everything. Maybe it's more of an amplifier than the root of all evil; it just makes existing problems shout a bit louder. Yip, fine, great. But that doesn't help me with the little vandalism of my own happiness problem. At least if I can see it now a little more clearly, maybe I can do something about it? Is this one of those moments of clarity you hear people talking about? Don't know. All I can say is, not drinking just got hard on my arse.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 156: man how grumpy.

It seems regardless of drinking or not drinking, I am prone to quite violent mood swings. While changing my eating/drinking/exercising/whatevering habits will for a time give me an annoyingly unwaveringly sunny disposition, after a while my brain and body seem to adapt and eventually shift back to moody stormsville. Today is a case in point. After yesterday's excitement, and even with many fun prospects ahead (a party, international travel, life in general) today I managed to be pretty much consistently pissed off, dark and down on shit. Why? No reason. Except maybe having had a couple of days off vigorous exercise. But man, if I can't take two days off without turning psycho, well even that in itself pisses me off. And no, before anyone hazards a foolish (and today dangerous) guess, it's not PMT or any other bullshit scapegoat for people's bad moods. It's just that sometimes I get over it, "it" being absolutely everything that is familiar or hampering or saw it yesterday. Then my escape instinct kicks in, and because usually actual escape is out of the question, I get even more over everything. Boo. Not the best to be around. Just thank your luckies you're reading this from the other side of the internet. Now what to do of an angry evening? I'm heading to the magic shop in a last ditch attempt at finding some frickin white rubber mice. (A sprinkle of banish grumpy dust probably wouldn't hurt either.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 155: stuffed boar's head.

With the pitch I've been working on all packaged up and presented, today I had a window to take care of a bit of pressing business. Like cutting out a large cardboard-mounted boar's head, sourcing planet pictures, tennis trophies, rocket ships and red knitted hats, and getting the ball rolling (finally) on booking my trip to NYC etc. It was good getting the party stuff happening, seeing as it is only two days away. And there's certainly a shitload more left to do, but never mind. At least working through some of my list made me feel calmer. Doing the other thing though, the going into the travel agent and getting quotes and looking at glossies and going WOOWooooeeeeooooeeoo! had the complete opposite effect. Suddenly I was excited and freaking and checking out hotels and thinking I should have been saving much harder all this time and thinking thinking and realising again that I will not be drinking martinis in Manhattan and... (breathing gap) .... now my head, much like the boar's, is stuffed with... stuff and plans and awesomeness. Woot.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 154: remaining calm.

It is customary in these parts, on returning to work after a long weekend, to feel perhaps a little blue, upset or agitated at being confronted with one's apparent lack of freedom and the reality of having to do actual work. I didn't feel this way today. It is also usual, when working on a pitch, to feel mildly to extremely stressed about the volume of work to be produced in a quickly dwindling space of time. I didn't feel stressed today, not even a smidgen. It would also not be unreasonable to be freaking out at least a little, if one had a large and raucous party looming for which one must play host and had so far sourced next to zero house decorations or props. But no, today I was cool as a cucumber. Why? Me not know. Could be those vitamin Bs. Or the cumulative effects of 154 days of no booze to the brain. But hey, why freak out about why? Me, I'm just gonna roll with it brother.

Day 153: the deliciousness of days off.

Daylight saving ended yesterday at 3am, so this morning I had the extreme pleasure of waking at what felt like a very leisurely hour but was in fact, by the clock, still reasonably early. Sleep is something of which I have always been fond, but today's quotient was particularly delicious. It involved the getting up, the fixing of breakfast items, and then the returning to striped doona, sheet and pillow arrangement for reading, day dreaming and then actual dreaming during indulgent extra snooze time. But, as I said, having an extra hour up my sleeve meant none of this jeopardised my doing useful things with my day. And what a lovely day it was. It was made up of just the right combinations of rest, reading, music, socialising, exercise and some extremely minor taking care of business. And it finished with a delectable but still healthy roast dinner cooked by my brother-in-law, some happy niece and sister time and a pleasing craft session putting together the truly inspired party invitations for Georgia's fifth birthday (my sister's creative and motherly genius). And now I am tucked up in bed once more - early, hurrah - ready for one more chapter of book. Could today have been any more delicious? By my reckoning, I think not.

Day 152: Easter eat-a-thon.

I don't know if it's the same with all families, but with mine, when it comes to holidays and big occasions we tend to eat. We also tend to drink a lot too, although today there were at least a few of us who weren't (wonders will never cease). When I think of how much actually got (and gets) consumed on this occasion (and on the many frequent others) it shouldn't be surprising to me that I sometimes feel the insidious creep of chub on my bones. Today's fare was an impressive spread of Italian themed dishes supplied by various family members, and because we are a family of avid cooks, pretty much all of it was enticingly tasty and in need of trying. Even eating a tiny bit of each left me decidedly full, and then - of course - there was the chocolate. Thank Christ for the run my brother and I went on this morning, is all I can say, thank Christ for the post lunch stroll to the park, and thank the Lordy that I wasn't drinking on top of it all. (Thanks also for rising from the dead on this day all those centuries ago, so we could have this gluttonous, but extremely enjoyable celebration at all.)

Day 151: magic yoga.

As often happens when one gets a break from work, today I felt a bit sick. No big deals, just a persistent headache and a feeling around the throat like I might be getting a cold. Apart from dosing myself up with vitamins and spending most of the day doing various unstrenuous activities, I decided to take a gamble and go to yoga. I wasn't feeling body sick, just a bit off from the throat up, and I remembered reading in one of my numerous fad exercise books that that's the test for whether you can exercise or not (neck up - yes, neck down - no). Also, one of my yoga instructors once said that bikram yoga mimics the action of a fever in the body; it helps to purge toxins and bugs by heating up and sweating them out. I figured it would either totally banish the bug or send it to every cell in my body. It banished the bug. And so yoga works its magic again. You gotta love the hot room.

Day 150: God Fridays are good.

Especially when you are off work and free to do exactly what you please. For me today this was early morning jogging with my brothers, followed by coffee and hot cross buns with three dollops of Grand Designs on Foxtel. And then a little book and hammock time. And then a little snooze time, and then a stroll in the park, all interspersed with the odd marshmallow Easter egg (not really allowed at this too early juncture) and several cups of tea. Lovely. Then I got an impromptu invite to my little brother's house where rugby was watched, various fun board games were played (including Cluedo!) and wonder upon wonders, almost half the people in attendance weren't drinking alcohol. There were definitely more bottles of sparkling mineral water, juice and fizzy than there were wine (which is miraculous for any kind of party my crowd is used to). And we genuinely had a hilarious time, which I've found of late to be increasingly easy sans booze. Adding to the general mirth of course, was the realisation that this was not Saturday, but in fact Friday. A very good Friday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 149: happy Easter.

I know it's not Easter yet, but it almost is. So in case I don't get to a puter over the holiday (my favourite holiday) I'll say happy Easter now. Here's to another occasion celebrated alcohol free, to the scoffing of expensive handmade chocolate with high cocoa content, to Sydney's big blue Easter skies, green grass and slightly cooler sunshine, and to spending quality time with my bros, sis, in-laws, nieces, nephew, and cousins. I hope you all have a beautiful and happy break.