09 December 2009

Seaside Rest


It's only now as we're about to leave the Eastern Suburbs that we're exploring it a little. Recently we visited Waverley Cememtery, possibly one of the best photo opporunities I've ever seen. Although I didn't do the place justice, please enjoy the small fruits of my labours...


The headland above


A-ha, there it is (after our long walk!)



Rock fishers, waiting to be swept off. I have no idea how they got there.


So muh money once spent on monuments now neglected...



Not a bad view for all eternity




Suburban conformity can last forever


Or the vaults - the Eastern Suburbs' finest real estate for the deceased



An unexpected, and unexpectedly touching, memorial to the 1981 Irish Hunger Strikers

Sorry to end on that melancholy note. Wine anyone?

07 December 2009

NSW: Let's Keep Things In Perspective


Like many in NSW, I could only roll my eyes and groan last week as the Sate Labor leadership spill took place. This, I thought, is just getting ridiculous. Nathan Rees finishing out the term was the best prospect Labor had. In different circumstances, he could have been wildly popular; a garbage collector from the Western Suburbs who also has a degree in English literature. I wasn't a raving fan - the damn Metro is foolhardy and unnecessary, and this coming from someone who loves the inner west and trains - but he was trying to clean up the factional system, and for this he gets the toss. When will this bunch of clowns get their act together, I wondered.

Then I saw this cartoon in the Daily Telegraph, and I had to wonder some more:



What can anyone have suffered at the hands of the NSW government which would possibly justify that sort of reaction? I too have had to wait hours for hospital treatment, been stuck on the train, despaired that the train journey from Sydney to Newcastle now takes longer than it did in the 1930s, been inconvenienced by World Youth Day, seen DF (and all other nurses) earn the lowest penalty rates in Australia, been harrassed by the transit police over tickets, glowered over the electricity privitisation proposal, been frightened on the train at night when there were no transit police to be found, watched freeways get built, rail lines get cancelled, my old high school yet to be rebuilt nearly six years after it burnt down, and been glared at in State parliament for kissing (okay, maybe the last one was understandable).

So, okay I'm mad. But to want to boil people in oil and tie them to the rack? Can't we just send 100,000 letters to the Governor asking for an early election? Torture isn't a joke. I think people are just getting a little bit precious here. I've heard the NSW government decribed as the worst and most incompetent on Earth, which would surely come as a surprise to the people of Burma. Can we all get a little perspective here? We all still live in a warm, peaceful state with a low crime rate, plentiful attractions and a soft stand on sedition. This Government which we all hate so much will be gone in sixteen months regardless. But some of us are never happy. Richard Glover points out that there's nothing Sydneysiders love more than a whinge. People don't complain about the Gvoernment in Newcastle as much as they do in Sydney, I've noticed. Maybe when Labor is finally gone - then we'll really know what it is to be unhappy.

05 December 2009

In Praise of St Erma



Today I tracked down two Erma Bombeck books I'd not read before in a Newtown bookshop, and my squeals of delight were such that DF insisited on purchasing both for me.

I've read and enjoyed Bombeck before, but read her work with a special poignancy now I'm about to be married and start a family myself. It's a different era now. Ms Bombeck was born the year after my grandmothers, her children are the same age as my parents, so how come so much of what she writes hits home to this feminist in 2009? Bombeck has been attacked by feminists before. A supporter said "Did these women think, come the revolution, that husbands would stop watching football, or that socks would stop getting lost in the machine?"

It's Ms Bombeck's - Erma's (I want to call her that, she feels like a friend) - ability to poke fun at all this that points to why she is still relevant. It can be hard to laugh sometimes. Around our place, DF pays the bills and I run the place. "Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter-productivity." In our house it's mostly my treadmill. Not because I'm a woman and he's a man, but it's just the way things are.

Growing up, I'd hear of women despairing how little housework their husbands did and I thought "Not me, I'll marry a man who takes on things as an equal". But then...I left home very young, so I had years to get the empty-pizza-boxes and sink-full-of-cups urges out of my system before I realised I like a clean house. When DF came to join the Xander and Nico crew, he'd never really run a house before. He's a bit messy as well. Nothing too bad.

But his mind just doesn't work like that. The man is a health professional, with a degree and all, which is more than I have. He devises instant systems to solve any puzzle or game. He's a tremendous wit. But if I'm going out and he's following later, I have to remind him three or four times to lock the windows. It's dicey as to whether it gets done or not. He gets worried he won't do the laundry "right". It's not an excuse - he will do it, but asks me for a quick refresher on washing machine settings each time.

So yeah...it is easier, much of the time, to just do it myself. Should I complain? DF works full time so I can study what I love. He budgets, because I cannot face it. But sometimes it all gets a bit much, and I turn to St Erma for wisdom.

There's plenty to be found. Erma said it's okay to not be perfect. She said of motherhood: "I've always felt uncomfortable about the articles that eulogised me as a nurse, chauffer, cook, housekeeper, financier, counsellor, philosopher, mistress, teacher, and hostess. It seemed like I always read an article like this on the day when my kid was in the school play and I ironed only the leg of the pants that faced the audience, knitted all morning, napped all afternoon, bought a pizza for dinner and had a headache by 10:30." As I hang DF's shirts in the shower so the steam means I don't have to iron them, I laugh in recognition.

Yep, she was two generations removed and had some views I really don't agree with. So what? She also devoted herself to fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment. And none of it alters the warmth, love and humour of her writing. Please go enjoy some of her quotes. I'm off to cook dinner. DF can wash up - I'll talk him through it.