Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dress, Memory - or, not a book review.

My primary school years were unbelievably formative.  I went to the same school from pre-school right through to Year 7, and my memories of that time are so vivid, so so vivid. Is that weird? Part of me wants to say that the people I went to primary school with made me who I am today.  But I think that might be hyperbole.  What with parents and relatives and high school and uni and motherhood and work and whatnot doing their level best to mould me like unwilling plasticine since 1992.

Still, it isn't over the top to say that, at least for me, the people I was devoted to in primary school had a lasting influence on me.  I think of them often.  I see them sometimes.  I still remember their birthdays.

When we were in primary school, my friends and I were all interested in reading and writing.  We used to read and act out sections of Roald Dahl novels for our reluctant classmates.  Or at least that's how I remember it.

Whenever I see them, particularly my old best friend A, I can see how we influenced each other, even today. I think grown ups, and parents, underestimate the power those first friendships have on you.  Sometimes when I think of P starting school, and forming those early, firm, fast attachments, I feel kind of a pang.  

One of those little girls from my past has grown up to become a writer. A very good one.  A clever, talented, lovely one.  Her name is Lorelei and she has written a book called Dress, Memory, which is a memoir of her 20s, using one dress from her amazing and enormous vintage dress collection, per decade.

I pre-ordered the book, and got it delivered, signed, with a loving message inside. I devoured it in one day.  The book is based on a blog by the same name but is quite different. It is funny, and lovely, and captures all the ANGST and broken hearts and weird shit that goes down in your 20s when you can't work out who the HECK you are and what on earth you are supposed to be doing with yourself.  I for one had a relatively TUMULTUOUS time in my 20s, love affair wise and friend wise and life choices wise and by GOD I am glad not to be there any more.

It was a bit strange to be reading this book because it felt weirdly like it was part of my story too.  Since going to different high schools, Lorelei and I have dipped in and out of each other's lives, mostly staying in contact due to her diligence and commitment to our old friendship, and more recently her unwavering support of my  embryonic writing "career" haha. Pretty much all those girls I was friends with went to the local Lutheran private school, but I went to the state high school.  I missed them, and was jealous of what I perceived to be their continued closeness. It was strange to read their story from another perspective, because I remember bits and pieces, and stories she told, but never the back story, never the full picture. I've always been slightly in awe of her artistic lifestyle and interesting social network, and embarrassed of my suburban existence, but reading it made me realise WE ARE ALL WEIRDOS WHO KNOW NOTHING.  So many of the anecdotes and emotions were familiar to me. VERY FAMILIAR! Oh god THE YOUNG, HEY, THEY KNOW NOTHING, NOTHING I TELL YOU!

I went to the book launch at Avid Reader. We all wore our own "Dress, Memories". I donned my darling dead Nana's tartan skirt in honour of the occasion.

It was a great and emotional night. I went with my cousin B and my almost-cousin K.  We got pretty emo.  There were tears and we remembered the olden days when we used to share a house and each others clothes. WHERE  HAS THE TIME GONE PEOPLE WHERE HAS IT GONE?

I have a lot of feelings about this book that it's hard to express, but mainly, I am just so thrilled and proud of my old dear friend for writing it. It's beautiful, clever, charming, and eloquent.  Just like her.

Everyone should immediately click on this link and purchase it POST HASTE.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


One afternoon last week , after a long day inside with the kids, I put them in the double pram and walked down to Woolies to get a few things. I used to hate pushing the pram round the streets in the early baby days with P. We live in a new estate and back then it was all dust, sun, no trees, no paths, tradies everywhere, no paths and did I mention no paths? P also used to scream like a banshee in the pram so there was that too. These days though the streets are more pleasant, it's cool weather at the moment, and the kids like a jaunt round the burbs as much as the next preschooler. It's more enjoyable all round.
So anyway we went and bought our stuff at Woolies and B fell asleep in the pram so I took the opportunity to pop into the new Dan Murphy's that has opened. How excitement, I mean it's walking distance! I selected an affordable bottle of French bubbles as my inaugural local Dan's purchase and lined up to pay. As I rummaged around in the pram to find my purse,  I said to the high vis-wearing guy behind me to go ahead if he wanted to.
"You sure?" he said, as I ferreted around fruitlessly.
"Yes, Yes sure, I'm trying not to wake the baby, go ahead!" I repeated.
There was a bit more of that sort of exchange but he did go ahead, I found my purse, paid and went on my way.
As I walked down the main road outside the shopping centre, I suddenly heard someone beeping as they approached. I turned to look, and could see someone in a 4wd beeping and waving at me as they drove past. I didn't wave back, they went by too quickly, but thought to myself " Oh, who was that? Someone I know?". The car turned off to the right and  drove into the distance. I wondered who it had been, maybe the husband of one of my friends?  I could see he was wearing a high vis top. 
I kept walking closer to home, and crossed into the street leading into our little estate. Suddenly, there he was again, turning into the street in front of me, beeping and waving. I felt embarrassed, like I should recognize him. He pulled up as I walked past.
"WHO IS THAT MUMMY! " P was yelling.
"Someone who thinks they know me darling, they've made a mistake I think! " I told her.
I kept walking, thinking, maybe he was visiting a display home? Was he a neighbour I didn't recognize?
And then he appeared  again. He'd turned around, and he'd  followed me. He beeped and waved and stopped in the middle of the street.
"Need a lift?" He called. I was still too far away to see his face properly but I remember thinking it looked red, flushed. I half stopped and turned his way. Did he have a hat on? I can't even remember now.
"No thank you!" I smiled and waved politely, still worried he was someone I should recognize.
Then, he smiled, leaned further out of his window and called out ,  "You single?"
Almost before the words were out of his mouth I'd turned on my heel, practically  running, pushing the kids through a cut away in the fence,  an easement that leads through to the cul de sac next to my street.
My heart was beating like a thousand drums. Did that just happen?
"Nobody,  darling.  He was just saying hello."
I didn't look back. I kept going until I was at the top, almost on my street. My heart was freaking pounding like it was going to jump out of my chest. As I came to the corner I suddenly thought,  what if he was there? Could he still see me?
I raced inside and locked the door.
I replayed it over and over. I rang M and told him. I thought of the guy in Dan Murphy's, with the high vis shirt on. Was it him?
I'm still thinking about it, sort of second guessing myself. Going over and over the details in my head.
Maybe he was just being friendly?
But he followed me. In his car. And yelled out his window at me, asked if I was single, in front of my little kids. Who SAYS that to a strange woman pushing her kids in a double pram?
But maybe I misheard him?
But he still followed me. In his car. He doubled back to find me.
Was he someone I knew?? Maybe someone from the gym?  I'd had another weird interaction with a gym dude a while ago...was it him?
No. I saw him three times. I'd  have recognized him.
It's weird how at the time my body knew what to do before my mind did. My dumb apologetic second guessing brain wants to think the best of everyone.
M and I laughed about it that night, because, well, you know. I said, maybe he saw me buying the booze with the kids in the pram and thought, now that looks like a single Mum who needs some company!
Which is funny, but also deeply unfunny. Because far out,  dude. Didn't your mother tell you not to follow women in your car?
The next morning I wanted to walk the kids to kindy.  So I did, even though that guy scared the living shit out of me.  As I walked the streets, I scanned every car for his sand coloured 4wd.
Wasn't there of course.
It feels like a sort of weird dream now, a funny anecdote that I could laugh off. But it's this kind of casually sinister stuff that women put up with all the time and goes on over and over again . Why?
Like that time, years ago, when a well dressed middle aged man in a bright red Commodore screamed at me in rage, as I pushed my newborn baby across the road outside the Mater hospital, that I didn't "own the fucking road!!!!!!!". That time, I cried, already fragile. People stood around. Nobody said anything to reassure me. W

Monday, August 25, 2014

Confessions of a non flosser: a cautionary tale



So this is awkward. You look good. Keeping well. Lost weight?
No, me either. More's the pity.

Well, I've been really busy and popular and attractive since I last saw you, in case you were wondering.
Life's never been better.

Apart from my ghastly wisdom tooth gum infection dramas that are slowly being rectified with two different types of antibiotics of course. Hashtag agony hashtag so sick hashtag frightenedofdentaljudgement.

I've been Googling gum disease like a crazy person. Apparently there's a strong connection between gum disease and heart disease which has cheered me up no end and has contributed in no way at all to my fevered gargling of apple cider vinegar and desperate flossing and sudden and hasty purchase of coQ10 enzyme something something. I'm eating that shit like it's candy. Except I don't eat candy any more because you know tooth abscess gum ulcer infection thing who knows haven't actually gone to the dentist yet but it's sure to be dire.

I'm wondering if this has been lurking in my mouth for ages now, contributing to the general malaise and unwellness that has been thoroughly documented in this here blog aka whinging diatribe.

Now that the antibiotics have kicked in I actually feel remarkably energetic and better than I have for ages so maybe I'm right. Anyway I'm stealing myself for the lecture I'm bound to get from the dentist because I haven't been for about 2 years I think and am a sporadic flosser.  Dentists hate non flossers. Which I think is counter intuitive because I'm putting their kids through school so they should be thanking me really.

I've learned my lesson though.

In other news, I'm going to the ProBlogger cocktail party this Friday as Amanda Cooker and a Looker's date which is rather exciting. Will be less exciting if I've just had a wisdom tooth extracted but we shall cross that dental bridge when we come to it. The theme for this party is Ahoy.  So, nautical. I'm pretty excited by this concept and have been internally workshopping a potential outfit that I'm hoping will make me look like this...

...but will probably make me look more like this...

So, do you floss? Enjoy smoking a pipe and eating spinach? Flounce about in Culottes?
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