HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!|
December 2ndI've always wanted to say this- "owing to popular demand a second PG Guided Tour of the Mushroom 40th exhibit will indeed happen". I've had quite a few emails so what the hell. On the final afternoon (Feb 22nd ) I will be walking through a group of music lovers for the last time. The exhibit closes next morning. So if you want to be part of my guided tour , just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) include name and contact number and put Guided Tour #2 in the Subject area. It is totally free and will be around 1.00 in the afternoon. By pure chance the closing date is also the day for White Nights in the city, where Melbourne comes alive at night. Stages are erected around the city, near RMIT gallery, in front of the library etc and bands will play-the city is open all night and the Mushroom 40th exhibit will also stay open all night (on the 22nd) till 7.00 in the morning, so any night owls wanting to check it out at RMIT gallery feel free. I enjoyed the last guided tour, a really cool bunch of people, they seemed to appreciate all the little stories etc around the items. Fun to do this.
December 3rdI order some magnesium in, haven't had any for ages and it's one of the few supplements I take, gets rid of my muscle cramps. It works-we like that.
Was so saddened to hear that Australian artist Martin Sharp had died. Found of the brilliant Yellow House-arts collective at Potts Point, a true inspiration. I was fortunate enough to be taken to the Yellow House when I was very young by our arts teacher, an awakening moment and it was an amazing day. Think it was the first time I smelled pot!!! he was also the arts director for OZ magazine...and I loved his obsession over both Luna Park and Tiny Tim in his paintings. Those incredible tour posters for Dylan and Hendrix that he created and of course the Cream lp cover. One of the cool artists has left the building...thanks for allowing a wild boy from the 'Gong a chance to see your world, it most certainly changed mine.
December 4thThe Finn-Kelly dvd is doing well, still in the top 5 and will find it's way into many christmas stockings. It's about to go platinum here , and christmas sales will no doubt send it through the roof.
Our mate Scott from Umbrella spoils us by sending a pile of the Bandstand DVDS (Australian Bandstand not USA) such a cool gift, so many artists sang on that show...
December 5thWe head back to Prahran, well briefly. I have a date with dear Dr Beng,,, my yearly blood tests. Been a bit worried about a few aches I have had, hoping it's not something dull like rheumatoid arthritis , which a few family members have. Plus I want to grab some stillnox scripts , so i can sleep on the plane flights. They have a new nurse at my doctors clinic and she is GREAT taking my blood. Such a skilled vampire she is. two tubes of it and I hardly noticed. Nice lady, made me feel very relaxed. Medicare paid for about 70% of this, thank you Gough Whitlam, all these years later and the Australia public is indebted to him for allowing us all cheap medical.
We were happy to see the Indian restaurant in the Prahran arcade still exists so we picked up some entree's... the pakora's were hot though! next off to travellex on Toorak Rd to get some USA cash. I haggle a bit, they are still a bit of a rip off though, the aussie dollar is dropping again.. lucky I don't have to wait another week.
Traffic sucks driving home and we almost run out of petrol. I'd hate to do this drive every day. Really bad. We count our blessings, love that our job can be done from home-brilliant.
December 6thNice to see that young man Ed Vedder selling out his Palais Theatre shows so quickly. I think the gigs are really an excuse so he can go surfing at bell's beach! (wink). More power to the Vedder man! Nice bloke! he should of booked The Palais for a week , I'd say he'd easily sell them out.
Wow Mr Abbott's honeymoon is most certainly over,I've never seen a political party get so on the nose in such a short time. I guess that's what happens when your policy's don't work and you keep flip flopping and lying to the Australian public. Even those with rose tinted Liberal glasses on are shaking their heads. The great experiment is falling apart at the seems and Australians are feeling a tad conned! A new Liberal leader in 2014....
December 7thThe first gay weddings happen in Canberra, Abbott will do whatever it takes to stop them, but great that people have stood and up and told him just how wrong he is. History will not look back at him in a good way- shameful!
Neil Finn keeps adding more and more solo shows for 2014, another Opera House...#3. Guess Finn tickets will be in peoples christmas stockings this year! He still has the magic touch even after all these years.
December 8thJim Morrison would of turned 70 years old today if he lived. Trying to imagine what he would of been like...I'm sure TV would of loved him...but would he love TV? He'd be out doing a double act spoken word tour with Rollins I'd expect!
Congrats to Haley & Sam one of the first gay marriages to happen in Canberra. Some excellent outfits, classy bunch!
The Crowdies Very Very Best Of album re enters the charts again, so a year on the ARIA chart for that one...double platinum is on the horizon. So between that and Recurring Dream it's past one million sales here-just from those 2 Best Of's in Australia. Christmas is a good time for it, people always buying copies as stocking stuffers. The music just lives on, the true test of a great song.
December 9thSo we are off again, another flight, we seem to be jumping on a few lately. Both bags are jam packed with mail and parcels, and we are both under the 30kg weight. In fact both bags way EXACTLY the same. We have a friend minding the house and our neighbours have codes and contacts so all ok. Miss Banshee has known something is up for a few weeks and just has that sad cat look-she knows we leave soon.
I do remember to wish Nick Seymour a happy 55th birthday. I miss Nick, hopefully we will catch up in the new year.
Rosemaree gives me her jean size, so i can get a pair for christmas, if she's been a good girl she may well end up with the new Anne Rice book too in gorgeous hardcover.
The Rolling Stones pre-sale is on today and every ticket sells out in 2 minutes for Australia. That's a lot of tickets. I guess it really is the last time for Oz, and the shows will be fun. Such a strong vibe with punters for this tour, Michael Gudinski must be very happy. I noticed the tongue pit tickets were cheaper here then in the USA.
December 10thI'm up at a reasonable time and let Banshee outside...I just hope she returns on time, before we steal her away for her accommodation while we are in Hawaii. I've got 2 weeks of holidays due so thought what the hell, we will just go. Not really telling anyone, one moment we are here, next we are gone. I like that.
We manage to make it to the deli for some breakfast as well, so it really is a civilised departure.
Our flight goes via Sydney, which we deal with. Just hate that Sydney airport has the bus and train that you get stuck paying for between domestic and international. We live in the freaky flyer and Mark is letdown as that fantastic soup is replaced with corn and something far less desirable. I grab my usual "wake up" shower and steal more micro toothpaste off the trolley-they are just great for 2 day travel trips. They look like toothpaste for gerbils!
We read, eat,read eat...I go to the frequent flyer gelato bar-so yeah eat! I like that they have gelato at this frequent flyer. Anything that sidetracks me from boredom of waiting for a flight.
It does leave almost on time, this is after all Sydney International so the words "on time" are never muttered -. We are in seats 4A and 4B and our plan is for me to read a rough work draft of The Early years book-so when the book printers open after christmas holidays we can hand it to them. I read about half. I did pop my flight stillnox so remember little about the journey. I encourage Mark to "borrow" the business class pillows for the flight home as they were really comfortable.
We arrive Honolulu at 7.00 in the morning. I swear I can smell frangipani when I'm wobbling down the boarding ramp. It's balmy warm-like Hawaii always is. Immigration-well we are the first in, so the sheep corral is empty. I am the immigration persons first for the day- he chats and doesn't ask me any questions, mark looking like the suss bastard that he is gets probed, every orifice and 200 questions... ok he gets a cute customs woman who asks him 3 dull questions. No biggie and I even get my right and left hands correct on the fingerprint machine. Our 30kg luggage arrives quickly, customs are great and wave us through in a no bullshit way. So with suitcases overflowing with mail-we climb onboard our taxi. The usual airport run, however it starts to rain, just a bit-Mark goes into his "we're fucked, it will rain every moment freak out". We call into Honolulu seafood markets so i can slap him with a coral cod! he calms again, rain has gone, sun is rising.
Our usual Ramada Plaza sits like a dwarf amongst the Harlem globetrotters. Ours is 17 stories the rest about 30. The penthouse suite is not occupied but house keeping need to do their thing, check in isn't usually till 2.00...so in 6 hours time. The best part of having the PH level is -we usually get in straight away. After an Oz flight that's what you want. I remember the look on others waiting in the foyer like flight fucked zombies -how envious they look at those simple words- "your room is ready Mr Green". It's not like the best suite in the world but it's ours... many visits ago I attached a bottle opener to the back of a painting-because the room doesn't have one (yeah weird) and it's still attached. When it's YOUR room you can do such things I figure- so I make it ours! Mark has a shave because he looks like Michael Gudinski after 2 days-and that's just his legs.
I promise Marks mum I would steal some Denny's sugar sachets because she is now a Denny's addicted mother. We have no real idea why because the sampler is no longer the sampler . The girl serving us has been in some accident as her eye seems to be about 2 inches from the socket. So we don't do the over kill niceness, but add some humour. I watch tourists around her mutter, good grief the girl is dealing with enough- so she has some "fucked up eye" (as Mark so rightly calls it. is she efficient, does she think we aussies are so damn cute and sexy and humorous- good Goddess yes! Our tip is the same as what we'd give anyone else... and she even tried getting a Dennys coffee mug for the addicted i-law! Guess it will have to be Ebay!
We hear from our mate who drops in lifejackets so we can float about the ocean tomorrow with the wild dolphins up the coast. I'm more worried about Chelona mydas biting my dick off! Thats green sea turtle to you bucko! They are in abundance here.
Last episode of this seasons Sons Of Anarchy is tonight, so we eat dinner and enjoy Sons. Wow so violent, go Gemma-give her another stab with that roasting fork!
Air con is purring like the jet engines we flew over on.... sleep, well it's Hawaii...... so I'm too excited. "Hey Mark are you asleep...no, good, lets go to Walmart!". So off we go into the Honolulu night....to buy boxes of 36 batteries, and 4 packs of shaving cream, a funky outfit (made in Hawaii) for Maddison when she has her first Yoga class.....Mark pukes in disgust at Walmart's lame selection of BluRays while I fascinate over the endless rows of Christmas decorations . No one tries to have sex with Mark in the change rooms despite me putting a sticker on his back saying "Have sex with me in the change room". Well I tried.... we walk back through the empty Ala Moana car park...
December 11thI walk down to the Sheraton and grab our car. Of course AVIS mess up the order so we are waiting. Mostly for GPS parts. We are heading to more remote areas so I'd prefer to have a GPS. I grab some life jackets from a mate who works around sea animals and we have packed our video and small camera. We are off. Down down the coast. IUn search of wild dolphins and maybe sea turtles. The trick is to find the wild ones before any boats do, especially the tourist boats. The coastline is beautiful, we sit on giant rock ledges and swim in small coves with no humans in sight.
Our first dolphin pods are located and I keep it in my head that we can't really approach them they have to come to us. The water is crystal clear, and it's time for deadman float. That's where our borrowed life jackets come in handy. In the water and float float float, for what seems like ages. I work out that dolphins are fascinated by humans toes and feet-maybe because they don't have any!? So wiggle wiggle..hmm wonder if they will think they are snacks and BITE THEM OFF?!
A brave dolphin approaches , way too excited , try to stay calm and they are incredible. So shiny and I love watching their eyes. They take this human specimen in, very slow very coy, which is goo. Don't trust humans I say-especially when so many are still killing dolphins in 2013. Anyway we become friends and it's just an exciting moment.
Giant turtles head onto the beaches here to quietly lat their eggs, it's a beautiful part of Hawaii, hell it's just an amazing batch of islands anyway-we love this place.
On the way back today, we call in and see the local Wolphin. A hybrid- bottle nose dolphin and killer whale that have mated. Usually hybrids are born sterile, but this girl did indeed have a baby we are told (well three total). Taxonomically both are within the dolphin "family" (to do with them having teeth I think)...you can spot the difference, larger like a killer whale and no long snout and hell just as fast. (3/4 dolphin, one quarter killer whale) she seems happy and very playful.
An exceptional day and it's nice to be in the water. I drive and drive and finally find the Anne Rice book for Rosemaree, hoping it is a nice surprise for her.
December 12thWe post another 2 bags of mail today, I try to get in early as the post office fills up fast with people mailing their christmas parcels . Mail a small present to Belle in France, hope she gets it in time for Christmas.
We decide to get the bus to Best Buy so Mark can grab some blurays. The best bus stop is just out the front of Ala Moana shopping centre. It fills up. I watch this guy with incredible worked hair. I can't even describe it. I obsess over it, as it must take him hours every day- what a fine crop and work. I'm next to him on the bus standing up and he has a cat like smile, so maybe a bit out of it. His stop comes up and he squashes by, "excuse me buttercup" he says with smile becoming even wider. Just makes me smile. "Buttercup, ME.." love it! So Mark calls me "Buttercup" all day long.
Marky finds some Blurays so he is happy, I find season one of Wilfred USA for some bargain price so the dog is in my carry bag. We walk to a few other stores, just because we want to do so. We decide it's a chill out easy day, so just keeping today local. We head to a bus stop that we know and return back to Waikiki. Two American tourists are next to us and are a bit confused-where they are. So I help them with directions. You can tell we have been to Hawaii too many times when I give them fine detail directions and even add in some safer tourist areas for them. Still Honolulu has always felt exceptionally safe to us.
We go to our favourite local Indian restaurant, Monsoon. Usual table by the window and watch the evening crowds come out, happily strolling along under the tiki lights that have just been lit.
December 13thI have my christmas list out so determined to get some christmas shopping done. First stop is Sears where the really good Levi store area exists. Sadly we find out that Sears no longer does, just a massive (and I mean MASSIVE) crater where the store and others used to be. We are told they are building 200 condo's..so you get an idea how big the crater is-like The Borg have visited and wiped that part of Ala Moana off the map. Well no Sears so we head to the wonderful Old Navy store. I'm spoilt by the boyfriend as he knows I like the chunky cord jeans. Find this exceptional mustard pair that fit perfectly, so he snatches them and buys them, as well as this long sleeve top for Maddison with a glittery "M" on the front. I head to the ladies section to grab Rosemaree some jeans. She'll like Old navy so very comfortable. But she's given me Australian mens sizes, so we have to work it out. Thankfully the gal that is looking after me has the same body shape as Miss R and I can tell the size she worked out will be right- she keeps saying "we woman have hips" - which made me laugh.
Mark finds a really nice deep sea dark coloured shirt and I stumble upon funky runners for that niece of mine, and a top and some cottons PJ's... ok she will be spoilt but I don't care, spoil your kids why not, even your nieces!
We go to Barnes & Noble , and I check to see if they have any copies of the new Morrissey book- but none on their shelves. I do find some Big Bang Theory bobbleheads for Marky as we have both fallen for the show. He has some hard cover books- the River Phoenix one and also the Jack Nicholson release. The B&N at Ala has a Starbucks, so some frappuccino's on sucha warm day- just hits the spot.
A cute gay guy at Macy's sneaks out a coupon and gives Marky a further 10% off on a beautiful embroidered shirt that he bought. So add that to the Macy's discount already and the $70 shirt cost about $25.00. Very sweet of him. "We do so love your accents" he purred... "but we don't have any, you do" I chuckle back. He smiles...any second I expect him to call me buttercup.
Up to the Longs Pharmacy, which still exists, it borders on the fence line to the giant crater so it looks like it may stay (hurrah). I love Longs- just wander about-as much for the people shopping in the pharmacy to the (some times) bizarre stuff on their shelves. I do spot an 8 foot high Christmas stocking-it's insanely huge but yes perfect for Miss Maddie to crawl out of at christmas (and no doubt Uncles Peter & Mark to fill up). So I purchase that, a bargain at $10.00. So between dashboard Hula girls for great great uncles, and some deco postcards (love old school Hawaiian cards) and bags of other fun stuff we eventually struggle out. Horrified that Beef Jerky is now "everything skin like" jerky...urgh, Morrissey would turn in his grave if he was indeed dead!
Our little bakery-St Germaine still exists at Ala Moana, really good crusty rolls and they make up our daily lunch food. You notice the price rises everywhere in Hawaii, probably the same on the mainland.
For dinner we head to the Hilton, at the back of their complex is a nice Italian restaurant that I've been to before, but Mark hadn't, so I walk him to that. We take the HD video camera, and tripods and look like CNN is invading. I get my usual table outside as it's a lovely night, big full moon and those Hawaiian flower fragrances drifting on the breeze. The only other couple outside are two elderly, the guy can't stop coughing and she snorting, the flower fragrances are no joy for these two.
Next we head to the beach. Every Friday around 745 the Hilton puts on free fireworks. An overzealous security guy hassles us for walking up the beach, "beach closed beach closed beach closed" he chants like we are either deaf or failing to read his lip movements. I LOUDLy say to Mark -"who let the parrot onto the beach"....... "beach closed Polly wants a cracker". Over zealous obviously hates his job. We head the other direction and find a spot on the sand. It seems to take awhile but eventually the fireworks begins and the huge towers of the Hilton seem to magnify the explosions in both sound and colour. Young kids have these glow ball slingshots that fire twirling fireflies into the air and add to it, very cool.
There are some fire dancers afterwards so off goes my better half to film them... people are happy and laughing, a beautiful vibe on the stretch of sand.
December 14thUp early and venture on down to our fave beach at Fort De Russy - I'm in the water straight away, with my face mask on, spotting huge fish very close to the shoreline. I do feel safe swimming here. I'm on the sand and a handsome tattoo'd young man comes up and asks where I scored my SAMCRO Tshirt-0he loves the show-so I gave him some details for Sons of Anarchy and hopefully he can get one of the cast run shirts. I swear every time I wear this shirt in Hawaii I am stopped or people call from their cars "Cool show dude" I must like the attention as I keep packing it in our suitcase.
Ala Moana is so insanely large as a shopping complex and even now after way too many visits we have not seen it all. Today while doing the final mail post, we head to Nordstrom store- as we have never been inside that one. They have side booths with fun stuff. I spot a great Anne Taintor original tray. Two deco woman with the tag "we go together like drunk & disorderly"... so US...so I buy it for US... as it seems all the presents have been for friends. Mark spots a cool Tommy Hilfiger toiletries bag for yours truly, once more at Macys. An older gay gentlemen is checking them out and he has scored the same one. We comment on the bargain price and because it's discount day, it's 1/2 price...and the lady uses a coupon for us, so it somehow goes from $60 to $22.00! I comment that my boyfriend will pay and he says "Oh I wish I had one of those"- so I give him the good vibe" hey it's almost christmas so you never know what will be under your tree" (and I make a wish in my head for this lovely old guy to find true love and not be alone"... who knows if it has come true- I hope so, everyone deserves to grow old with someone they love. Old romantic bastard that I am.
Wow 4 episodes of Big Bang Theory on tonight so we tv hog it for a few hours...... swim in the hotel pool- no people just us so we can be silly.
December 15thI check our ARIA charts and the Finn-Kelly release jumps on the CD charts to #17 this week so back in the top 20. The DVD at #4. I bet the DVD jumps a spot or two next week as we head into christmas. You just know this one will be in a lot of christmas stockings.
We venture to Dennys and the girl serves us again and remembers us, so few people in the place so we have a bit of a laugh and I consider swiping a plate for Denny obsessed in law of mine but chicken out. Most of the day is spent swimming, hiking and just getting ourselves ready for the long haul home.
My suitcase is packed, I thought I'd have more room after all that mail has been sent off-but no we filled them again. The balcony of the penthouse is superb, you can observe so much in the other glass towers-the painter guys in the apartments, a strange woman who wears a full white bodysuit and some strange computer connected head piece, the permanent residents who are adding christmas icicles to the balcony of their places, the newly weds in the pool who think no one is watching and EVERYONE is watching, as they get way too sexy in public and her small bikini top gets sucked down the pool filter, which ends with massive applause from at least 20 high rise apartments, they all seem to have a telescope on their balcony. I watch a small storm front roll down the Ko'olau mountain range, such fine mist and the only time we need to borrow an umbrella from reception. I use it for 5 minutes-that's it!
We set the alarm and get our wake up call for 4.30 in the morning. Oh joy.
December 16thI never sleep before a flight and last night was no exception. I was awake 10 minutes before the call-I know to leave Marky alone. We have some granola and we are ready to taxi off. The staff leave some chocolates for us-how cool is that. We are the no headache guests in the Penthouse we are told. Always welcomed back... and it probably is weird knowing the staff by name. So we wave goodbye to the Ramada and arrive at Honolulu airport. Check in was a breeze , 5 minutes and a nice efficient lady at the counter so no drama's, which is good when you have no sleep. Frequent Flyer is in the same old spot- and the FF head honcho is christmas obsessed, she really does the place up and I laugh as she mentions her 5 christmas tree's at home... 'you love christmas I never would of guessed that". I now guilt that I still have to put my tree up- it has never been this late. Flight is ok thanks to my friend Mr Stillnox.
December 17thArrive Sydney later then expected and get the transfer bus across to domestic. Check in again was ok. I chat to a local who went to Hawaii to see Mick Fanning win the ASP world tour- he did well. Was very gracious to surf fans and posed for thousands of photos. Am pissed as Qantas in their cut backs have removed the frequent flyer lounge from the T2 terminal. That sucks, don't they know by doing things like this it just encourages people to fly Virgin and not Qantas-Jetstar. A lady tells me there is still one at T1 but really you'd miss your flight- stupid move...
Finally home and call into Rosemaree's place as she graciously picked up Miss Banshee. The cat is very happy to see us and "talks" all the way home. I call into the supermarket and the Deli girls say "wow you are tanned" -I honestly never noticed... it won't last, it never does on me. It's always good to be back in ones own bed. Climb in at 11.30 at night in the hope of normal sleep patterns again.
December 18thKeith Richards turns 70, Ronnie Biggs dies and Brad Pitt hits 50!
Call my doctor for my blood results. For the first time the receptionist person was a shit head, really rude-when usually they are great-must be someone new. The nurse eventually calls me back after a whole day of sweating it and thankfully all is good, in fact really good. My few aches are not rheumatoid arthritis, which a few family members have. I was hoping it was just too many emails around Neil Finn. All the other areas are clear too- my cholesterol is up just slight, what it was 2 years ago, but that could also be the blood test and me not fasting before hand. More nuts and less dairy.. I will run some more too. but for my age etc all really positive. The wait is bad, you always seem to think the worst. Like the Big C.. but seems like overall I'm a'ok so count my blessings.
We watch Emilio Sheen-Estevez- "Bobby" movie- which was pretty good. Good that his dad was in that too and a pretty solid cast. Still very impressed with Emilio's work on THE WAY too. A favourite of ours.
I finally track down a very cool Vali Myers poster for Merelyn & Maz for a christmas-birthday present, so rare but very cool-hope they like it.
December 19thI put aside a few photo images for christmas presents , I like the idea of some people getting photos from us. Even managed to locate some of relatives from decades ago, which I'd say they have never seen , so I'll frame them for christmas.
Waiting on my wage to arrive in the account, Westpac seem so incredibly slow with transfer from NZ to Australia.
December 20thI work on a christmas present for our friend Wendy. Think they are exactly what she'd like. can christmas really be so close. Finally our tree is up and a few other decorations. Hawaii seemed to throw us off course a bit, maybe in a good way, always good to shake up the predictable, too many people just do the same old same old- same job, same timetable of life. Break it in half and try something fresh I say. otherwise you might as well join the cast of the Walking Dead and be a zombie.
December 21stOur wonderful neighbours give us these exceptional Indian cook pots with the cool copper base. I've always wanted these and Jode's god bless her remembered. So cool, I am a very happy Gryphon, love our neighbours up here,well most.
The vegetable patch has gone from subtle barren to lush green, out of control. Some may say I am Lush Green and out of control at times-they may well be right!
Coffee with Miss Rosemaree and she seems so happy with her two presents. It was such an effort with the book but with mates you make such an effort at christmas.
December 22ndWe have some food and coffee at the general store, sometimes it's just cool to sit and observe. Marky loves nelly's coffee too-she does make a fine batch. Beautiful warm summer days here on the mountain, parts of Australia are a cooking though, and we are praying for a cool christmas at Wollongong not a stinking hot one.
December 23rdVery last minute but we get some final presents at Eastlands. I've never seen it this packed. The food court looks like dinner time at the water hole- people stuffing their faces, a food frenzy. JB HI FI, mark gives up on the lines go on and on and on. In the end we find quite a lot of musical items at Big W and they are up to 10% less then JB...and hardly anyone at the checkout line so it took 10 minutes. We spend 2 hours at Eastlands, that is enough we are all shopped out.
I mail Nige from the Enz some Marzipan as I know he loves it, just a small bar with chocolate coating but it might make his day. Suddenly it occurs to me that Christmas eve is tomorrow, no it can't be, I'm not ready to give up on 2013 yet, it can't be christmas.
December 24thOur Qantas flight isn't till 1.00 so we can have a quick bite to eat at The Deli. say goodbye to Miss Banshee for a few days, she gives us the "are you going away again" look which makes me sad.
Traffic was reasonably easy to the airport and we leave the car at Valet so our bag goes in from that area, no baggage drop. I walk Mark through the Business class-platinum line as the regular security lines have a lot of people in them. My chant of-"Want a million dollars, act like you have and you are treated like it". We are waved through, so more time in the freaky flyer. Once again the Qantas flight is late, 4 in a row, they really do need to improve-no wonder they are losing customers.
It's greyish in Sydney, not super hot so that is nice. I have one of AVIS last cars as long as it goes and we are on our way to the 'Gong. Am very excited to see MIM. We call into my Mums so mark can say happy christmas to my Mum (well our Mum as I'm sure she likes him more then I! *GRIN*). Drop him home to his family and I call into my cousin david's place to see if he needs a lift. I'm early so I tell him I'll return in 45 min. I go to the Dapto mall to buy Mum some flowers...and ten giant boxes of Taco's as she seems to have a Taco fixation.
To waste time I check Sanity and locate the Oz version of Wilfred while their sale is on so I grab a copy. They tell me that a lot of locals have bought the Finn-Kelly DVD as they only have 3 left. Xmas will be very good to Finn-Kelly.
I grab David and we arrive home, just as Sis and lovely Miss MIM are arriving. My niece is so lovely, 5+ months and the biggest smile the world has ever seen. She does appear to adore her uncle-hey what's not to like.
As I sit in Mums lounge room I look at the relatives and know they all turn up here for my mother. She has such a kind soul and on christmas eve they just make the effort to call in. I volunteer to be the sandwich guy, especially after my uncle almost cuts off his finger slicing the Christmas ham. Excuse the finger tip in your sandwich guys, just added protein. I am ordered about, no time to relax or even get changed. Someone has a flashback moment to christmas's a long time ago and one relative says how I loved to "do the twist" when I was five. "Love?! I was forced to like a trained monkey child"... "That reminds me" says Mum,"open this NOW" and she forced a present into my hand. My cries of protests are drowned out and they all force me to open it (imagine old people chanting "open it,open it"). It's drummer santa, that strangely enough looks like Paul Hester in a Mr Claus outfit. When clicked to on he drums in time to "Let's twist again" with strobing lights as well, it's VERY loud. "Twist Peter twist" they shout. "Sorry guys the pet monkey has left the building". Mum makes some effort and I hope a hip replacement could be on Santa's list as she may need one if she twists like that again.
It's Maddie's christmas, which is great and christmas should be for kids (and big kids). When sis finally leaves for the other in laws, I grab the HD camera and film rels wishing her a "Happy 21st birthday", just in case some of us won't be around in 2034. Keeping it from my sister etc so a surprise for them 2 decades later. Who knows what the technology will be like to play it- crystal chip in the cranium, 4D wrist projection bangle, holo-watch... BETA tape machine?
Mum eventually needs sleep so I drop my cousin home, check out his fish tank and then a drive to see the houses all lit up with decorations. Mr Stillnox is waiting-so sleep of types awaits me, but not before I sneak Maddie's insanely gigantic christmas stocking out ,stuffed full of goodies. Is this the biggest christmas stocking in the universe I wonder aloud?
December 25thHo Ho Ho, Santa suit on..and I'm awake. Mum makes some breakfast which always fees like luxury- she loves here kids, crazy Mrs Claus she is at Christmas...hell SHE IS Christmas-goddess bless her. The tree this year is beautiful and the lounge room roof never seems quite big enough for this monster. Sis arrives with my gorgeous niece and she is just so cool. She spots Santa and laughs like a cherub on helium. I scoop her up and she goes for the fake beard, one big tug and it's off. She can spot a phoney at 3 paces. I sing "Mim,Mim,Mim" which always gets a smile. Since she was born, the Mim chant has stuck in her brain- some parents have womb music...I created the "Mim" chant.
We pop her in, on and about the giant santa bag and she really is making an effort to crawl. Amazing, she wants action and growing baby arms and legs will soon be crawling,walking, running machines. I store an image in my head of my mum with her, if ever the perfect gift for my mother it has been this granddaughter. Changed her world, all our worlds but especially Mum. The power of MIM!?
We head to the crematorium, our christmas day pilgrimage, with flowers in hand. We clean the headstones and visit the growing number of deceased. I trim back the rose bushes as they look so pissy. But we cover the plots in flowers, so they do look loved. It's a statement to the living, the dead are no longer here, no presence, no link to this mortal plane. It's for us to grieve, to remember, to show that even after time we remember. I'm walking with Sis and she mentions the lone young man last year,sobbing over a grave. It obviously resonated with her too- one day we will all cry (again) as those we love leave us. I don't stand by "Into this world alone, and we leave it that way". I think we leave it surrounded by love and energy and memories from the many we have touched, adored- only alone in a physical way but our essence crowned by goodwill and love. Alone-nah!
I pick up the cousin, Sis grabs my uncle and lunch is on. Mum driving me just slightly nuts that her christmas pudding will be a flop-it never is, has never been and when she's 150 not out, she will still make a kick arse pudding. I do think she adds more and more lucky sixpences every year-so if anything, someone may choke and die on a small bank vault of coins instead. I make the fruit salad-the best so far, this year i control what goes in..more passion-fruits less apples, more pears less grapes...by midnight the massive bowl has been gobbled up. I say some sort of grace and I think it throws a few people instead of their usual "watch out stomach here it comes"line which I'm starting to hate. I give thanks for this small feast while so many are starving in other parts of the world.
While the relatives have an after lunch siesta, I go with Sis and MIM the Marvelous to the old people abode to see my great aunt and uncle. In their nineties, so dear to our hearts, now one too frail to make the journey to Mums and so close to the next stage (if there is one). We find the great uncle first and he is so alert and sharp-I am in awe, and so relieved. He loves Maddie, and why wouldn't you, they see a young soul with a journey ahead, full of life and innocence. He only gets a tad confused when he congratulates me as the father! But hey that's ok...father, uncle ,protector, friend, whatever role... sadly the great aunty is at that stage where our love just wants her life to have dignity and finality. Still a glimmer as she jokes that this year I won't have to sleep on the floor because of all of Maddison's presents and clothes on my bed. She folds my hand and I'd give her energy, years and take some pain if only I could. It hurts like a knife but I refuse to cry or be sad, "be strong" my Mums mantra on all things. We say goodbye to the great uncle who is having lunch with the other inhabitants of these crumbling minds and alcoves. One old lady catches sight of MIM and she lights up like a christmas tree- funny how a small child can bring out a smile and touch the heart no matter at what age.
Home again and I say good things, I know how close my Mum is to the relatives and death at christmas has played a part in too many of our families christmas's. We all sit, chat, watch Maddison be MIM and I'm happy that Christmas is coming to an end. It's a drain on my mother and she looks exhausted. When Sis departs we remove the christmas decorations and set up a fake 21st birthday scenario-signs, even a 21st birthday cake, hats and whistles. We set about recording our 21st Birthday Message to Maddison. It feels so oddball but mission accomplished. We sing and blow out the candles and her grandma and uncle speak from the heart, all recorded in HD for some future party in 2034!
Eventually Mum crashes, and I watch some terrible Japanese warrior game show on cable, as nothing is on... Ok the Grisswells at Christmas yet again. I obsess over the game show, cheering on the contestants, the japanese with their extreme competitive lack of style. So far the American ex GI Joe is winning ...am I really watching this...! I can't find the sleep ON button, and don't want another sleeping pill so my night is restless.
December 26thHappy Birthday Banshee! She's 9 years old today!
Mum awakes early and somehow I misread the clock and end up an hour earlier then expected. I fall asleep in a chair, as the rain falls down outside. Time to go and the Great Diving Range is covered in fog, a horrible drive to the airport maybe?
Pick Mark up and we both yawn in sequence ... his cough has kept him awake, some bug from the Hawaiian flight. Say goodbye to his lovely Mum & Allen and we are off- on our way home to Banshee...Christmas behind us. The pass isn't too fog bound, we've driven through worse- I'm ok with it being like this as it keeps me alert and an eye on the speed, double demerit points in NSW at Christmas so I am wary of this.
A total horror of a woman is at the Qantas desk, just rude, so I give her a christmas box of sarcasm-and just smile remembering she is stuck behind a counter till the day her wrinkled corpse collapses always sending others off to see the world while all she sees is excessive baggage tags and sexual frustration- again, no wonder Virgin are overtaking Qantas in Australia. I say to Mark rather loudly that I heard Qantas are sacking a lot of check in staff soon, some should of went ages ago. (Meow).
The Qantas flight is again late,Sydney airport always such a smelly arm pit to depart from. Too many flights too few departure runways. I have a really beautiful pillow Sis gave me, so I'm taking it on flights now as it's very comfy for naps. A happy sky queen takes care of us during the flight, not nasty like check in premenstrual permafrost woman... maybe Qantas needs rot replace it's bitches with happy old queens- I'll vote for that next share holder meeting!
Valet is great and car ready and even the motor is on, a nice fast 10 minute turn around.We drive past the boxing day sales, imagine the whole highway on the left full of cars desperate for some bargains, I'd guess 10,000 at the DFO chain near the airport. By now I know boxing day traffic so I'm in all the right lanes to avoid the bumper to bumper. Banshee is so happy to see us and talks the night away.
We watch "Heavenly Creatures" on BluRay, still amazed that this hasn't even recouped it's pissy $5 million budget after all these years. The expression "hanky panky" is used and we both go YEAH that's a classic. So for the next few weeks Mark has me saying " I expect no Hanky Panky to be taking place" in my best Tim Curry Frank'n'Furter voice. Even though Frank never said it, it is SOOOOO Frank...the voice just works.Go on your Rocky Horror Fans say it....
December 27thI hear from Mr Finn, "re you guys coming to The Falls Festival"? No work for me to do so if we both go it will be for fun and guests. I figure it's about 350km round trip, so what the hell, an adventure to be had for a day or two..so a big yeah and a big thank you. I'll mention it to Mark closer to the date so he isn't so freaked by a festival crowd image.
December 28thHappy Birthday Benny...just an email, and lots of our love his way. We miss the bloke and Miss Jen.
Fuck I hate the word "selfie" so lame, I don't give a shit if it's "word of the year" -pathetic,makes me want to puke and besides Hanky Panky the word(s) of the year those who have vision know this to be a fact!
December 29thPortugal powers ahead with aiming for 70% energy needs from renewable sources. Meanwhile Tony Abbott rewards polluters and just proves he's a dumb fuck! (and probably a lame one too). We sit back and joyfully watch the "Abbott experiment" cave in on itself-what a total failure he is.
Good to see Nadezhola and Maria from Pussy Riot free at last, even if their release is a PR spin for the winter olympics from Russia. But Russia does ban the Pussy Riot "movie"...which means everyone elsewhere will indeed want to see it!
It appears the powdered form of ecstasy called "Molly" is back in favour in Oz. A resurgence of MDMA has jumped going by the federal police's many many busts. No it's named after dear old Molly Meldrum but if I was him I'd say it was, he needs some notoriety in his life. Take the Molly but beware of the Crockadille kids-what a truly revolting drug the ol' Croc is-why would you-urgh! Who needs drugs get high on life.
December 30thHappy Birthday Greg Macainsh...so we shuffle everything about to pay him a visit-on the way to Lorne. Always good to see our ol' mate!
Our 4WD is packed with blankets, surf boards, Hessies boogie board, eskys and all this other stuff. I even make some fresh rolls with bits from the vegetable patch. So many beaches along the way, Mark shows the pro's how to surf at Bells. OK we both wipe out every wave but the ocean is so fine. Locals Lisa and JC keep us from frying in the sun with 10 gallons of water proof sun block-thanks gals. Neil Finn and family are onstage at 9.10 so we have a few hours up our sleeve.
The sun is slowly defending as we drive through the Otways, just beautiful forest and only some logging (urgh!), the Festival is sign posted and it ends near a dirt road so deeper into the heart of the forest we go. You hear the festival crowd long before you see the Falls site. We attach our blue glitter VIP arm tags and are directed to the VIP camp sight. Little faces stare out wondering if you are someone "famous" -we are not. Every 5 minutes a bus drives people from the vip to the main stage area-very efficient festival this one. The vans are packed and when we are standing up we take a surfboard pose so we stay upright.
The grounds are great- huge huge tents -the Grand Theater-dance music, and right down the hill is the main stage....all decked out in hippy chic...meets aztec art. About 5000 people are on the hill just chilling. "I expected more" says Mark. As the trance music stops in the tent, the sides are hoisted up and another 5000 flood out! Like lemmings they are heading straight towards us-time to use the access passes and head to the backstage food area... RUN!!!!! We have no idea how many are at the festival-A LOT we say.
Backstage food is another big tent with teepee style wood beams and funky fibre lighting, the food is very very good and free for us. I am eating healthy- almost zero meat and it's great, Mark has some of everything and gives the thumbs up. Margarita for me JD for him. Chat to Sam for a moment, Some Melbourne singers sit with us and the food area is a hive of activity...we decide to wander back out into the crowd as we really want to enjoy Neil from the punter perspective and not side stage..and it just sounds better, and I enjoy a big crowd going wild.
"History Never Repeats" starts his set...Liam is friggin' amazing on guitar, like someone is sending electric shots through his body...Elroy on drums, Sharon on bass-the Finn family stepping up....2 new songs in the set, "Pony" which i really enjoy and laugh that someone in the front row has a kids ride on pony (you know horse head and stick)...Neil mistakes it for a "mop" and eventually see's it is a pony..much to his delight. One Pajama club song, a few Enz with additional true colours graphics.... the Crowded House songs go off with huge singsongs....but I do believe "I Got You" is the song of the night. The only song I think should go..is One Step Ahead, failed to ignite anything... the rest of the set seemed to work so well. Just one hour and first putting for these guys... people dancing ,singing and I liked the vibe..we had fun.
I knew the Finn troupe were heading straight back, so we wandered with those around us up to the techno tent...and joined the beats that was one, made from 5000 young humans, all in identical rhythm going for it. Just very cool, hot and sweaty and it felt so right. Outside massive super trooper lights flood the sky, igniting the gum trees everywhere... like a batch of UFO's were landing...oh my, very cool... who knows when we went to bed..or did we???
December 31stWe did get home before the magic midnight hour and gave Miss R a quick call to wish her the best for new years eve. A bit fried from the drive back....but we grab some JD from our bar and have a few drinks. I also remember to call our friend Merelyn who starts her new year with a birthday... and no reminding I actually did remember-god bless the Gingko!
So with minutes to spare I say happy new year to my best friend. With perfect timing Miss Banshee walks into the room and goes "meow meow" and then departs just as quickly- I'm sure she said "this will be your year fellas as long as you make it so.." we would like to believe her.
So welcome to 2014... thank you Deb too for still believing in this blog and getting it up on the net- loads of happiness to you girl! [editor's note: Thanks! I've already got it! Glad you finalised agree it's a blog. :)]
Life is good, simply because you are alive! There is always someone in a worse off scenario-count your blessings.
Peter and Mark