The Bounty.

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Yum.

That’s all. Just YUM.

The Bear, who used to be my neighbour, came over for dinner this week. This is a fairly regular occurrence, because I was a fantastic neighbour. This time, however, I charged her with a mission: make those chocolate things that she shared on Facebook.

This is the beauty of the interwebs, people. Particularly Facebook. You see, when the Bear shared the post in question, I saw it and I told asked her to make it for me. AND SHE DID!

Here is the before shot:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And here is the during shot:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And this is the after shot:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

These home made Bounty bars were pretty damn awesome. And I love that the Bear made them for me! She’s a bloody ripper of a chick and I am thankful that after 5 years of living as neighbours we’re still mates. So I bet by now you’re wanting that Bounty recipe, right? Well here it is!

The Bear tells me it was easy but messy. And the good news is that she still has the stuff to make more. I must invite her back soon.

And now it’s Saturday, and Beloved and I have made the trek to Bunnings. I am not sure what happened, but for a moment there we swapped roles. I was eyeing off different products and items, and she would calmly explain to me why we didn’t need them and therefore wouldn’t be buying them. Beloved herself only bought one thing, and it was exactly what she had gone in for! Is this the beginning of a new time? I am not sure how I feel about this. I’m really not. If only because it means that my yarn and wool purchases might start being curbed. Surely not…

How’s your weekend shaping up? Do you reckon you’re going to have a shot at those Bounty bars? Let me know what you think!

Bed Goes Up

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I caught up with the foot surgeon again today. You might remember our initial meeting – and to his credit, his good humour hasn’t wavered one little bit. Today, I was on my own as my beloved had bigger fish to fry. So it is little wonder that I got a bit bored while I waited on the surgeon’s bed.

I was sitting there, gazing around at the room:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

And as I kicked my legs back and forth, my left foot connected with something under the bed. I leaned forward to see what it was, and my eyes fell upon a pedal type thing. Well, it was two pedals. One was labelled “UP” and the other “DOWN”.

I carefully waved my toe towards the up pedal and the bed went up!

Then I tapped on the down pedal, and the bed went down!

The next few minutes were a bit like this:

Until my foot got a bit stuck, and the bed shot upwards until my foot was no longer able to reach the pedal.

The dear surgeon came into the room in time to find me suspended halfway up the wall, my feet dangling in mid air and a look of pure guilt on my face.

He smiled, worked out what had happened but let me explain. And apologise.

He kept me up there until it was time for me to leave, though.

And side note – I’m getting that Achilles release in just over a month. Which means that in two months? My life can start coming back together.

I am so freaking excited!

The Story So Far

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2015. We’re nearing the end of month number two of this year. 2014 was a year that from most accounts, really sucked. 2015 is a year that hopes are pinned on, yearnings for better days are marking days and in many ways for many people, 2015 needs to be the year that offers relief.

So, this is my 2015 so far:

1. I’ve been to visit my dear flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. I miss her. But at the same time, the beauty of our friendship is that it adapts. We’re sort of averaging on getting three days together every three months, which is both screwed and fantastic. I love her but her home is in Melbourne and my home is in Newcastle.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

2. I’ve watched my beloved grow in her passion about design. She’s extended the range of stuff that she makes, and gets so excited with every new Facebook like and Etsy favourite. I’m so proud of her. This is us on our cruise last year, before I broke my ankle:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

3. I had a sudden epiphany about what work I should be doing. It’s so bleedingly obvious. So, I started the Tafe course for the qualification of “Activities Officer”. I will be heading into residential settings and providing fun, distraction and diversional therapies. Brilliant!

Image by my beloved, on my first day of Tafe.

Image by my beloved, on my first day of Tafe.

4. I’ve watched people I love achieve stuff. Art shows. Hard decisions. New jobs. New schools. New life stages. Moving house. Choosing to be a better person.

5. I’ve rediscovered my love for the ukulele, and also found out that I quite like doing fused glass stuff. These things are linked but I can’t explain why yet. Stay tuned!

6. I’m learning not to be scared all the time. To rely on the love of the people around me. That people are generally good, and most of the time, don’t intend me harm. That there’s a reason why life was difficult for me, and I’m working with that reason to create better days and make things possible. It’s good. It’s confronting. But it’s good.

7. This year was meant to be the year that I started to run. A fun run a month was my aim. But as I learned how to walk properly after my ankle reconstruction, it turned out that seven years of a dodgey ankle made me develop some really bad habits. These habits have meant that my body tried to compensate for the ankle, resulting in a really angry achilles. And to be honest, the pain and the injustice of it – it really wore me down. I felt so sad and disappointed and just so fat. Like I’m never going to have a chance to even try to get healthy and fit and strong. So I gave up. But then today, I decided that the game isn’t over yet. It’s time to begin again. So, tomorrow I revisit the surgeon. Wednesday, I return to physio. It’s not easy and it’s not nice but it’s better than drowning.

8. I’ve also decided that this year I am going to do poetry slams. But that is a whole other story.

How is 2015 going for you?

The Red Parrot

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Ah, Melbourne. I’ve just arrived home after a visit to the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate any more. I had a great time, experiencing her city and visiting her local hangouts. It was great. Grey… but great.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Even the graffiti seemed more friendly than what is thrown around in Sydney:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

In fact, the constant overwhelming feeling I get from Melbourne is best summed up like this:

Source: buzzfeed.com

Source: buzzfeed.com

I was reminded of a few things while I was there.

I was reminded of friendship. Of the difference it makes. Of my good fortune with the people in my life, and the friendships that time and distance just don’t interfere with. That there are bonds that tie people together, creating joins that just can’t be broken. And it’s a beautiful thing, to have friends like this. It really is.

I was reminded that people matter. No, I mean really matter. There was a piece of street art, dedicated to a woman that I am guessing was a regular figure in the streets. And I missed my chance to get a photo of it, but that someone had taken the time to create it really made me smile. And there was the Bead Man, with his red beads. And the groups of people sitting together that seemed to be connected simply by time and space.

And I was reminded of the ways I tend to walk through the world with the ill-fitting shoes of Aspergers making things slightly difficult for me. We were at a cafe and a cheeky chap approached us and pointed out a red parrot. I turned to look for the bird, and was still looking as I heard the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate any more laughing with the cheeky chap in question. I couldn’t see the red parrot anywhere. But it turns out that it was a sneaky ploy to swipe some wedges. And it did not occur to me at any stage to question the existence of the red parrot decoy. And I know this is kind of minor, but there are things I just don’t get, and things I do that seem out of place and odd and peculiar.

And I was reminded of this and it made me sad, and the flight home was long because I was caught up in thoughts and grief and sadness and anger and missing my friend and wanting to be home and really being nowhere, just hovering over the world in a plane full of strangers that probably all had their own internal dialogues happening. And hovering in the plane and looking at the sky and the clouds and then the tree tops and the patchwork quilt of life and stories and people, and seeing it but not being of it, and seeing it and knowing that even when I land I’m still not of it.

And when I got home and my beloved picked me up and we had dinner and talked and laughed and shared stories, I was reminded that you don’t need to be of the world to just bloody well exist in it. And not just exist but also make a difference in it, either good or bad, and live and be and breathe and hope and aspire and daydream and achieve or not achieve and to sometimes believe that there are red parrots, because you believe in the ability of nature to impact a city and capture attention and become worth speaking about.

To sometimes believe that there are red parrots. Because you believe in the ability of nature to impact a city. To impact a city, and capture attention. To capture attention, and become worth speaking about.

Become worth speaking about.

Grey

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I’m in Melbourne visiting the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. We have a peculiar kind of relationship. We shared a home for seven years, so she knows all my quirks and has forgiven many of them, therefore I can be completely myself and know she is always ready to expect the unexpected.

I head home tomorrow and sigh, leave her here pottering about with her life and I will go home and continue pottering about with my life.

We spent yesterday out and about. We went to a suburb that smells really bad. I can’t remember the name of it but it was bizarre. One smell would leave your nasal passage in time for the next one to begin an assault. But even through the queer little smells, there was a striking sense of community and just… people in the suburb. I did lots of people watching, and not any two people looked the same or dressed the same or had the same expression on their face. And yet it all worked beautifully. These are the times when I am particularly proud to be a member of the human race.

And then, there are two other members of the human race waiting to be shot to death.

I’m finding it really hard to develop a firm opinion on the impending execution of the two representatives from the Bali Nine, who smuggled drugs into Bali and got caught. Death doesn’t seem like a suitable punishment here. These men are humans and they have family and friends and lives and heartbeats and lungs. And someone somewhere says that this must be ended because they broke the law.

Now, they chose their acts knowing the laws in Bali.

But I’ve done things wrong, too. And without a chance to learn and reform, I’d still be shitting in a nappy and finger painting the walls of the nursery.

I don’t like drugs. I don’t like the havoc and damage they create. And people can die because of them. And people do die because of them. So there has to be deterrents and penalties in place. And sure, being shot to death is a deterrent, and they still made the choice to follow through. So according to the law of the country they were in, they are to be put to death.

Then there’s humanity.

There’s respecting life and respecting breath and beats and hearts and lungs. And then I think about people who have died because of drug use, and my brain starts to think about the people of Bali who could have died as a result of using the drugs that were smuggled in. And I’m hearing calls to boycott Bali, for Australians to refuse to travel there anymore. But wouldn’t that just create innocent victims? Wouldn’t that impact the people who rely on the tourist dollar to survive?

I have a feeling that there is no clear thought to have about this one. There is no clear answer and no simple summary. Except for this: Most people fight like hell to avoid death.

That’s all I’ve got.

Now it’s off to another grey day with the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. There are laughs to be laughed and adventures to be had.

And the whole time, I’m going to remember to be thankful. Because there are people in the world not sure if this could be their last day on earth.

Cows and Purple and Nerves

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Beloved and I went to visit beloved’s daughter yesterday. She works on a horse stud a couple of hours away. It’s been a rough week for Miss T, who had to have her best horsey friend euthanised after a run in with a fence. She’s doing OK though. This is the view from her balcony:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Those two horses eyeballed my beloved for quite some time. To the point where she started asking them what their problem was, and eventually turned her chair around to break their gaze. When it came time to leave, we were met with a different challenge: cows.

Now, we’re no strangers to cows. They have a lovely time playing in our front yard occasionally. They leave steaming piles bigger than Zelda in our park across the road. But there just seems to be a theme of sorts. They… like us.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

When we finally made it through the cows and the hills and the roads, it dawned on me that I had not a lot of time to achieve many things. I had to apply for a job a friend had told me about. I had to get that ridiculous pink polish off my toenails. And I had to PACK! Yes! I’m going to Melbourne to visit the flatmate who isn’t the flatmate anymore. So very exciting! And because she has known me for so long, she has already forgiven many outlandish behaviours, but somehow I don’t think the pink polish would be accepted.

So I went with purple:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

This was quite a brutal pedi, by the way. Did you know they PUNCH your LEGS? A friend told me it was for circulation but I call it assault. Next time I feel the need to wallop someone, I’m going to tell them it is to assist their circulation. Not that I’m likely to wallop anyone. Ever.

And now, it’s Monday and I am mostly packed and still in my jarmies. Beloved is cooking brunch and I’m trying to settle the anxiety that rises up for me with this kind of thing. It shits me that the joy of seeing the flatmate and the excitement of it all has to be tarnished with anxiety, but it’s the way I roll apparently. Maybe I should wallop myself to get that anxiety circulating so it can fuck off.

And as I listen to her singing and watch her dancing with the tongs in her hand and her New York jarmies on, I know I will miss my beloved for the next few days. The dogs will be fine, but beloved might struggle. Apparently the difference in her lunches that she takes to work when I am not here is quite striking. To the point that she gets comments. I have no idea what she winds up taking when she packs it herself. A playing card with Vegemite smeared across it? Who knows. But I’ve stocked up the fridge and if all else fails there’s still half a Toblerone cheesecake in there.

Besides. It means she’ll be extra happy to see me upon my triumphant return.

So, Melbourne. Have you been? Do you live there? What can my flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore and I get up to?

A thirst for blood and guts

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Being February, I thought it might be time to take down the Christmas lights. Everything went well until I decided to use a knife to cut through some cable ties. There were four I had to slice through, five if you count my finger. I caught the length of the blade on my index finger as I cut through cable tie number three, swore then finished setting the reindeer free.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

There was blood shed, my friends. Blood and lots of swearing.

It could be that the suburb I live in has developed a taste for blood. Some kind of vampire-like thirst, to sustain the growth in the park and the trees and the huge spiders that appear in the front yard overnight and the mysterious cows that occasionally come to play in the front yard. You see, in the wee hours of Saturday (1:30am), we were awoken to the sound of gunfire. Yes, really! We totally shat ourselves and my beloved called the police, who apparently did a drive through the neighbourhood but went back to the station because they didn’t hear anything.

And this is the thing. When I told of the gunshots on Facebook, there was a real lack of surprise. Suggestions that it could be a signal regarding drugs being available, that it could have been someone burning out a car (but we very much heard definite gun reloading clicks between explosions). There was some surprise, but nowhere near what I would have expected.

And it makes me sad that this kind of thing has become accepted as normal.

Do people not realise that guns can kill?

I am one of those people who has zero respect for that perceived need for guns. I could be about to be very offensive to some, but I’ve noticed it tends to be the same “type” of people who get a thrill out of hunting or gun ownership. And to be honest, it’s not a “type” that garners much respect from me. Pretending that killing is sport is just pathetic. Because there is always going to some fool that takes it too far. And when you combine a fool with a gun, the result is never going to be any good. So if you’re a gun person, just don’t tell me. Please. Just carry on feeling like a big strong person.

I might have gotten a little off topic there. But that’s the thing about life. It doesn’t tend to stick to plan.

So instead of spending the day weeding the front garden, I’m nursing a very sore finger and using Scouty as a foot rest. She doesn’t mind.

Maybe it’s less about dodging the punches of life, and more about living in a way that dances with them.

Your thoughts?