of lawn mowers and sunshowers

so the other day, my work day consisted entirely of mowing the lawn belonging to this large house:


Q: How many staff does it take to mow a lawn?
A: Seven (and two whipper snippers, one lawn mower, three rakes, a hedge-trimmer, 2 extension cords and five hours)

now, let me just point out that this photo was not taken the day we were there.  we know this because the day I was there those little baby hedges you see lining the path?  yeah, they were taller than me and joined in the middle.  and those quaint little yellow daisies you see growing on the grass?  yeah, they were smothered by the knee length flaxlike jungle lawn that encompassed the entire area. 

wait.  why are you mowing this lawn?

so, we have an annual volunteering day at my work. this means that every year, every employee spends one day volunteering their time to another one of the organisation’s programs or facilities.  I love this about my job.  I love that volunteering time is considered a non-negotiable in this world.  I love that in meetings we talk about how we can better serve the poor instead of talking about how we can better serve the company’s bottom line.  it makes me so happy.  but anyway, the other day, I was assigned to come to this big old mansion, a boarding house for boys from country or rural areas that allow them the opportunity to come to the city to study or work. there is only one caretaker for the property and it sits on over an acre of land.  It has been raining here for what seems like EVER and as such……

it’s a jungle out there.

we sorta thought we might spend the day sitting in the garden, doing some light weeding and chatting, maybe with a spot of tea and wearing one of those big floppy straw hats that women always have on in the garden in paintings.

what actually happened was we ran over two electrical cords with the hedgetrimmer, nearly set the hedge on fire, and had to spend the first three hours wielding giant whipper snippers in an attempt to get the jungle flax lawn down to a point where we might be able to think about getting a mower in there. it hurt. a lot. spot of tea my arse.

but we got there in the end and we were mighty proud i have to say. i definitely need to find a chiropractor, but hey, what a great looking lawn.


rain, rain and daylight savings

*sigh*.  it is undeniably autumn over here.  i can tell because the clocks have already gone back  signifying that the already shorter days are now shorter than they ever needed to be (who’s idea was daylight savings??? we are not farmers getting up at dawn, we are people who finish work at 5pm and need a little light for our sanity).  darkness is going to reign supreme for the next four to six months. winter is coming…….

……okay so maybe i don’t live in lapland and maybe this isn’t ‘game of thrones’ and maybe i’m exaggerating, but who’s blog is this anyway?

the point is, SUMMER IS OVER.


every. single. year. we have to go through this whole process of me watching the light change and the leaves fall and mourning the bright and cheerful days where i picture my life looking like something out of the ‘boys of summer’ film clip complete with wayfarers and shining brown skin (i really do work hard on that, and yes i know, it’s not healthy).

i loathe the cold.  i loathe the dark.  i loathe sydney houses without heating or insulation and rising damp.  i  lived in the northern hemisphere for many years and i stand by my resolve that sydney is worse in the winter because it is ill-prepared for it.  at least in canada you have heating everywhere.  everything is geared towards keeping you warm in the dark days of winter.  here, not so much.  here the city says, ‘we are built for summer only, that’s our thing, when it is not summer and you’re cold because we’re drafty and rainy, it’s your own fault for staying here’.

or something to that effect.

it leads to a state of hibernation.  around mid may i tend to disappear into my house with series upon series of ‘northern exposure’, piles of blankets and my phone on silent, only moving to go to work or occasionally eat.  the name of the game is ‘don’t move, it’s warm here’.  i am literally conserving energy, heat energy, and shut my body (and my social life) down to a bare minimum, just like those polar bears in the arctic where they slow their heartbeat until it’s almost undetectable.

i’m exaggerating again.  well, i’m just trying to prove how much i don’t want to do this winter gig.  and how annoyed i get that everytime i get through one and rejoice, it comes back.

i’ll leave it there.  hibernation insanity appears to have already kicked in….

20th post!

welcome to my 20th post on stripeyhorse!  according to wordpress, this is an achievement worth celebrating, and hey, if somebody thinks i’ve achieved something, anything then i am on board with that.  so yay me, 20 posts!  woo!

anyway, reflecting upon this new gig of recording things on a blog, i have to say i have already found it to involve  the following conflicting emotions:

a) satisfaction – when i have something i’d like to write about and it comes out easily and makes some sort of sense, it is indeed a satisfying feeling.  good for the creative juices, and good to cultivate something that belongs entirely to me.

b) frustration – when i do not have something i’d like to write about and an open, blank post sheet is just staring me in the face with a ‘wha? you don’t have nothin’ to say? vibe about it, it is indeed – frustrating.

c) mortification (not a word) – it is still absolutely mortifying to me that anybody would read what i write.  i am aware that this blog is soooomewhat pointless and self indulgent and not really adding anything to the greater good.  so sometimes i feel guilty for writing it and hence mortified that anybody might read it.

d) fun (not an emotion) – oh but lets admit it.  how FUN is it when people do end up reading it and then they actually comment.  we like that.

i vow to continue to write regardless of whether it is frustrating, satisfying, mortifying or fun.  why?  because ultimately, i like it, don’t i.  isn’t that reason enough?


bringing up kids in malls


shopping malls depress me.  really.  i hate shopping to begin with, but indoor strip malls – they suck my soul.   i hate the lighting, i hate the advertising, i hate the food courts, i hate the crowds and i especially hate the idea of a place we’ve created that is devoted, entirely, to consumerism.  to me, the mall represents, in one indoor space, all that is wrong with society.


 but i mean, shit – i live in a city, sometimes i go to the mall.   Both offices I work in have malls within walking distance of them, for example.  So I occassionally (very occassionally), stroll on up and get myself some lunch.  whenever i’m out at the mall getting my lunch i always notice how  full it is of mothers and their young kids.   has anyone else ever noticed this?  malls have become a kingdom where strollers reign supreme.   

this, to my country-childhood mind, is far from a good thing.

firstly, mum always looks frazzled and secondly, the kids are always screaming.  or running away and mum is screaming.  and it being in a mall, the acoustics make the screams sound more hollow, high pitched and desperate than normal.

it’s horrible.

horrible for mum because why does she have to sit in a fake parisian, indoor cafe with fluoro lighting that backs onto Woolworths?   

horrible for kids because why are the kids indoors under fluoro lighting, surrounded by shit to buy?

these scenes always see some anxiety kick in, because i don’t yet have children and am still deciding if i’d like them and scenes like this make me wanna stab myself in the eye rather than have kids. 

i don’t wanna raise my kids in a shopping mall.

kids need to be outdoors, away from the fakery of the mall, they need to be infusing their vocabulary with words like ‘springtime’, ‘bike riding’, ‘sun’, ‘grass’, and ‘trees’, not  ‘50% per cent off’, ‘buy one, get one free’ and ‘dunkin donuts’.

you know what i mean?  i know that in theory, this is possible because i myself never stepped foot into a mall until i was in double digits.  thankfully, my mother hates malls as much as i do.  but has society changed so much now, that bringing up kids in shopping malls is simply a legitimate thing to do?  parents? help me out.

now, let me be clear.  this observation about kids in malls is not me making a judgement on the individual mothers i see there.  this observation   is more of a sadness for society as a whole.  kids in malls doesn’t seem right to me.  being surrounded by consumerism so young, doesn’t seem right to me.  choosing the indoor cafe to have lunch instead of stepping outside to eat in a park, doesn’t seem right to me.  this is australia for christ sake, go outside! 

it’s upsetting. 

i just want parents to know that they don’t have to succumb to being in the mall at all, that all the things they need can be found outside, that you don’t have to buy things everyday, that grass will not make you sick.

or maybe i just want the future parent in me to know that.

*sigh* on the other hand,  i got a really cute scarf there today….

night walk

tonight was beautiful,  warm, the air smelt sweet.  i don’t know whether it was eucalypt or honeysuckle or a bit of both, but the night was dense with it.  i walked the back streets, alone with the clap of my sandals on the dark pavement.  the haunting sound of a child’s wind-up music box drifted in on the sweet air, lacing the walk with nostalgia and imagination.  i heard two people approach from behind. it was late and i became wary; walking alone in the dark the folly of people who should know better.  but then i noticed their shadows holding hands.  this couple were not a threat.  i zig zagged the road, unconscious of why i was choosing to cross when i did, just knowing that i didn’t want to miss either side.  the heat from the day still radiated from the sidewalk and milled up around my bare legs.  a train rumbled by in the distance and i found myself under the bridge it had just gone over.  water dripped from the steel tracks above and the world became a little more echoey and still.  stars were clear in the purply grey sky and decrepit houses with their latticed facades, faded and reminiscent of faraway places, transported me to them, if only for the duration of the walk.

i love my neighbourhood.

attentional blink

blergghh.  it’s mid term time at university which means it’s time to start rocking the writing of the papers.

it totally sux.

i HATE writing papers for school.  i find it the most time consuming, stressful, soul destroying venture.  it’s not so much the writing part of it that gets me, it’s the amount of brain space it takes up weeks prior to the writing where i’m just thinking about writing the paper and getting stressed out about it.  yes, that’s right, thinking about writing the paper is more stressful than actually writing it.  i try to remind myself of this every semester so i can maybe skip the stressful thinking and get straight to the writing, but no. apparently i like having anxiety. so it still happens.  every time.

anyway, this semester i have to write a paper for neuropsych on the phenomenon of the attentional blink and how we can use this phenonmonon to study conscious perception.

riveted yet?

oh look, it’s interesting, don’t get me wrong – but it’s also really flippin complicated and scary and hard and boring.  i’ve spent the last three days just trying to read and digest the article that eventually i’m supposed to be critiquing.

i don’t understand any of it.

getting my head around scientific articles is a bit like looking at one of those 3d magic eye pictures.  you stare and stare and stare at the thing and nothing.  you get nothing at all from it.   and then all of a sudden, all at once it’s like, BAM – it’s a fucking dolphin.

i’m still at the staring stage.  which means frankly, my attention is on the blink.

but fear not, after five hours of it i took my dear friend, h and we played hookie at the beach!  yes, we did – because you know what? that hit prediction i had a while ago about the indian summer, is totally coming true.   check it…..

i wish i was a kennedy

…. i don’t really, but isn’t that the lyrics to a song?  or maybe it’s ‘i’m glad i’m not a kennedy’…..

i don’t know.  irrelevant.  what i’m really writing about is the awesome doco i saw the other night about bobby kennedy called RFK  from the This American Life series.

bobby kennedy is my new hero.

bobby was initially, in all probability, a snot nosed little rich kid.  he lived in a world high above that of the rest of the american population in the land of  ‘superior white men’ and his world views and politics were inevitably influenced by his extremely privileged viewpoint.  ie:  the kennedy’s are the sort of people i hate.  how can people like that, have any idea what life is like for people like me?

but after the death of JFK, bobby started to change.  i would estimate that the pain he felt, the loss and grief he struggled with gave him something that enabled him to finally relate to the struggle of everyone else.  the pain from the loss of his dearest brother allowed him to feel the pain of poverty, the pain of  families destroyed by war,  the pain of african americans being denied their basic human rights.   he came down from his pedastool and began to reformulate his views and decided that these issues were moral ones, and it was time to fight for them.  he was a revolutionary politician because he wasn’t a politician.  when you hear him speak he didn’t sound anything like a politician – he spoke with not so much as passion as empathy.  his words came from a moral compass within him.   he was a humanitarian in politicians clothing.

and then he was assassinated. and it was right after martin luther king was assassinated, and when you think about it, it is pretty easy to see how this happened, them both posing similar threats to the powers that be in terms of civil rights and the end of the vietnam war.  and with the end game being, they killed him i have to admit that my first thought when i saw the doco about his life and how he evolved from being that snot nosed, rich kid, into a being a true humanitarian was not ‘wow, how inspiring’, but ‘wow, how depressing’.  because they killed him in the end, and that’s depressing.  if bobby had not died he would probably have been elected president and if so, the vietnam war, in all probablity would have ended a lot sooner, and the civil rights movement would have been fast tracked.  so, the moral of the story could easily be seen as ‘it doesn’t matter what you do, or how hard you fight, they’ll take you down in the end’  or, in the context of present day ‘we, the 99% will never win’.

but then i had more of a think about it.  and i realised that the endgame (of being shot) does not mean they won.  because the movement that bobby figureheaded (not a word) came from the ground up, it was inspired by the masses.  getting rid of bobby was designed to quell this movement, to deflate the mojo of the masses so much that the movement would in essence be forgotten.   short term, this worked – the vietnam war raged for another 7 years, but long term…… we did win.  the vietnam war did end.  and the role of public pressure in the ending of the war should not be diminished.  and we do have equal civil rights now and the role of public pressure should not be diminshed.  killing them bought time, but in the end,

we won.

we need more bobby kennedys.  not just one, but lots.  i believe we could all be a little more like him and the more the better.  because you can get rid of a figurehead but you can’t get rid of a movement.  we need to all be so vocal about what it is we care about that getting rid of a figurehead would do nothing to diminish what we stand for.

in this way, bobby is inspiring.  he showed us how to act, how to fight, how to be strong, how to use our pain for the better good of all.

we are the 99%.  we will  prevail.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1 other follower