Tag Archives: Life

Make It Count

When I sat down to write this afternoon, I felt overwhelmed by all I wanted to say. So much has happened, but where to start? What did I want this to be about? What did I actually want to say? What can you say that isn’t hollow and superficial after you’ve seen something incredibly traumatic?

I wanted to say how sorry I am for those taken hostage yesterday in Martin Place, and their family and friends, who are trying to come to terms with such a violent act.
How much it hurts knowing that two people died, and that the gunman clearly targeted women.
How thankful I am for those in the emergency services who put their lives at risk to help people every single day.
For the cautious reporting of the ABC and AAP.
For the backlash against that horrendous behemoth of a publication called the Daily Telegraph, and (more importantly) the total arseholey-ness of Rupert Murdoch.
And for the solidarity of Sydneysiders who are living the virtues of tolerance and respect through the vocal #illridewithyou hashtag.

Here’s a snippet from Tessa Kum, the woman who started the hashtag after seeing an act of kindness reported on social media:

‘It just seemed that a simple way of promoting that kindness would be to say if anybody catching public transport didn’t feel comfortable just because of what they were wearing, I would sit next to them, so they weren’t alone.

If anything, for any horrible reason should happen, they’re not alone. I don’t think it’s anything that needs to be restricted to Muslims or religious garb—this could go for anybody who has a visible presence which automatically singles them out for attention.’

IMG_3002a Make it count

But the recent felling of a young cricket star — Phillip Hughes — in the middle of the SCG, and the emotional fall out from it, it’s always a timely reminder that we have no idea what is going to happen in our lives. And 2014 has been full of such events — losing two Malaysian Airlines planes, the Brown twins dying, Crimea/Ukraine/Russia, 276 girls abducted in Nigeria, the deaths of Robin Williams and Maya Angelou and Gough Whitlam — to make you sit up and declare “Enough killing time! Let me just get shit done for I may not have tomorrow”.

I scribbled that on a piece of paper this morning, and now I’m going forth and achieving the things I need and wanted to today in a city that is safe, capable and measured.

Life is short.
I’d best get cracking.

PS: He’s a beautifully writen tribute to Katrina Dawson, one of the two people slain in the siege.

Photo Friday: Inner Sunset, SF



I was wandering around the Inner Sunset last June, when I stumbled upon this, a beautiful piece of art by Alphonzo Solorzano It was prominently displayed in the window of a small business just off Judah and framed by heavy, deep blue curtains.

But this moment and the visual stayed with me: ‘hurdling’ with a sense of urgency, a flurry of tremendous activity covering vast distances like the Pacific. I’ve spent countless hours searching the waves for signs, for comfort, for change. I’ve been in, on, under and above it. But most of all, I need to be near it. My various current ‘lives’ are connected by an ocean.

Whilst I see me in the physical reflection of the photo, it’s the words that echo the way I live my life — bouncing between two worlds. Hurdling, if you will. Those words for me also encompass all that I experience: hurt, happiness, homesickness, alienation, joy. Hurdling with a fearlessness masking the anxiety of fear, but it’s a hurdle I will always take for the adventurous spirit trumps inertia.

I’m hurdling like the ocean towards my life

Life, Currently.


Just back from a walk around the neighbourhood. This is what the North Pond looked like last week. This week has been endless grey days with rain, sleet and fog.

Still smarting from our Christmas package being stolen by some arsehole in our building.

I found a Australian Rugby jersey last night in the laundry room. Still with the tags on. Trying to locate its owner (but I’m thinking it may have been in another package that was stolen and discarded?).

The American found someone’s iPhone in the snow on Clark Street. The owner is coming to pick it up. Good karma.

Listening religiously to Camera Obscura and Boy.

Happy the Aussies regained the Ashes so decisively.

Off to work at my part-time job that has suddenly become a six-day-a-week weight around my neck for the next few weeks. Looking forward to the 6am shift on Boxing Day!

Really homesick right now. A friend sent me this link and so I just listen to this and have a good cry, pull myself together and get on with life here:

Life, Currently.

Winter is in full swing here in Chicago. And now there’s no denying it.

A short burst of snow yesterday gave us between 1 and 3 inches of snow, tonight we have a cold snap blowing in straight from the Arctic, with the first big snowstorm expected on Thursday and Friday. Here’s what it life currently looks like here: -8C with a real feel of -19C.


Preparing for the First Snowfall

The descent into winter has been swift. Days alternate between brilliant blue skies and grey, moody. The only constant seems to be the steady fall of the mercury. Chicago seems to have different faces depending upon the seasons, the weather and its overall mood.


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Cockatoos and Car Accidents



In the few minutes it took me to drop my grandmother home with her shopping, a majestic Sulfur-crested cockatoo was struck and killed by a passing car. I saw the members of the flock arriving, big white birds swooping in over the road ahead, a lifeless white body lying on the asphalt. They took up residence on the telegraph lines and in the trees near where their comrade was lying. Forty cockatoos swaying in the wind, grieving the loss of their mate.

These birds are not small and make an almighty sound as they swoop in and out of trees outside my bedroom window, large flashes of bright white and neon yellow. They’re monogamous, too: a couple will mate for life. I love knowing little things like that. It makes me marvel at the bonds animals can form, just as we humans do. And, usually, you can’t get the cockies to shut up. But the only sound I heard as I passed the birds that afternoon was that of the passing traffic.



It was poignant to see the deceased parrot’s family and friends coming together to mark his/her passing. It was a moment of reverence in the animal world. The scene was a beautiful snapshot of the cycle of life, of love, and the importance of being part of a community. Sadly, a day later, this sense of loss was echoed on a highway.

The view from the backseat.

The view from the backseat.

At Stanwell Tops, on a stretch of road just outside of Sydney and renown for its poor weather conditions, we hit some incredibly dense fog. We could barely see a metre ahead of the car. The electronic signs prepared us to merge right due to an accident ahead. We turned on the fog lamps, put our breakdown blinkers on for extra visibility and slowed to a crawl. A few hundred metres after the Bulli Pass turnoff , we encountered it. Multiple police cars, highway patrol, fire engines and ambulance and RTA were on the scene. A red car was wrapped around a tree, or a rock. I can’t really remember because little was left of the car, and there was a hospital gurney covered with a waterproof tarpaulin next to it.

Rain drizzled down the windows, and we stared at the scene as it unfolded before us. This was the aftermath of the tragic end of a human being. I inhaled sharply. This person had relatives, friends, coworkers. Maybe even a dog and a family of their own. They took their last breath there. There will be no more breaths, no birthdays, no nights out with their mates for them. And tonight, a family is grieving for someone they lost so tragically, so unexpectedly.

When I see scenes like that, my thoughts turn to the surviving family: I felt so sad for them. I imagined them grieving together, and trying to process the fact that their valued son/daughter/brother/sister/husband/wife/mate would not be walking through the door again. To sit and contemplate the events surrounding their loss, and to retell the funny stories of their quirks, impatience and great sense of humour in life. I want to hug those surviving and whisper in their ears, just like Amma does to her followers. I want to be able to help them, somehow, and to show them that I care that this person is not here to continue living.

Much like the cockatoos that came together to mourn the loss of their mate, the family and friends of the driver will gather in the coming days to acknowledge the life of the man/woman we saw unceremonially covered by the tarp on a wet, foggy road.