Money matters


Discombobulated by the sudden discovery of having left my wallet at home.

I drove to Queensland Uni the other day to meet with a potential supervisor (for my PhD). I dropped my husband off at the airport as he was going away to a conference interstate and continued on my way, paying attention to the Google Maps lady to ensure that I was in the correct lane for the right exit out of the tunnel etc. It’s been a while since I lived in Brisbane and I find driving around the place very confusing. Once upon a time I used to drive everywhere without the aid of an electronic device – there were road maps which you would consult and then try to memorise. Seemed so straight forward that I’m not sure why I have a sense of panic about driving without the aid of Ms Google.

Finding a parking spot at the Uni was quite an exercise but I finally managed to and it was right opposite the pay station. Handy. And then I realised I didn’t have my wallet with me. I hadn’t bothered to put it into the bag I’d taken. There was no money in the car – not even coins – and I didn’t have a credit card. I had planned to get a cup of coffee and perhaps a bite to eat before my meeting. Now I couldn’t even get a bottle of water. Or pay for the parking. But even worse – and this is where my panic hit crisis – I couldn’t get fuel for the return journey.

I don’t know anyone in Brisbane so there wasn’t anyone I could ring to come rescue me (bring money). And I didn’t have one of those banking accounts that let’s you use ATMs without a card. I also had no identification which made it hard to try and get fuel without paying for it (I would of course have paid later, if that transpired to be at all possible). Finally I decided that all I could do was find someone to give me some money. Worse case scenario I would ask my new supervisor (embarrassing). I could transfer money into her account immediately. As for the parking ticket, I left a note saying that I didn’t have my wallet and I had gone to find some money. Nothing more I could do on that front.

Eventually I found an angel of mercy who helped me out. I think she just took pity on me when I told her my plight and although she wasn’t able to do anything in her capacity as an employee of the university, she offered to do so personally, an act of human kindness. So I transferred money into her account and we went to the ATM and she withdrew some money for me – enough so that I could get a bottle of water and put enough fuel in my car to get me home.

My meeting went well and I got good news about my PhD propsoal and supervision and was thrilled with the outcome. But I was so thrown by the experience that I’m still unable to process my thoughts and feelings about the outcome. It required quite a bit of wine that evening, but even after a long, deep sleep and a morning yoga session, I’m still feeing a sense of discombobulation. Hopefully in a week or so I will be able to laugh at my stupidity. But I will remain forever grateful for the kindness of strangers. And I will also put some money in the car for any such future emergencies.

Baby it’s cold outside

… and wet.
The Queensland version of cold has hit. It’s 18 degrees and I have the heating on. I’m still in my yoga clothes (crop leggings, top, zip-up jacket and I’m wearing my TOMs). So it’s not that it’s cold enough to be rugged up and I haven’t yet pulled out all my winter woolies or even my long-sleeved T’s, but there’s a definite chill in the air.

Usually I wouldn’t really notice. The car is in the garage and leads directly into the house and there’s an automatic door opening the garage so there’s really no need to experience the elements – just go from one car park to another. Except that I no longer have a car to drive. I’m getting around on my pushbike. My pushbike is one of those electric ones that has a motor to assist in getting up those hills that seem to be everywhere, so riding my bike isn’t really an effort. Until it’s wet and windy. That’s an altogether different kind of experience.

Yesterday the wind blew my bike helmet back off my head, almost garrotting me (I definitely need to get a new helmet that fits better) and the the rain, though light, kept hitting my face and making my glasses wet and impossible to see out of. Today I was prepared and wore my goretex coat over my hoodie to protect me from the rain and wind. But what I didn’t factor in was that despite leaving my bike under an awning it was wet when I came back to it and I ended up with a wet bum.

The other problem is that if it’s raining, my yoga mat, which I have on the back of the bike, gets wet.

And then there’s the problem of shopping. The basket on the front of my bike isn’t designed to hold much weight so I can’t put any shopping there – just my little bag with wallet and keys etc. So I have to try and secure my shopping on the rail on the back of the bike. Which means that I have to be very mindful of what I can buy. One day I got carried away and when I went to secure my shopping found it wasn’t going work – there was just too much.

I like getting around on a bike when it’s a nice day and I don’t really have much to do. It’s certainly a great way to get to the beach and Hastings St here in Noosa where it’s impossible to find a park when the tourists hit town, but as for using it as my main form of transport in this cold wet weather? It sucks.

Passwords and remembering

We live in an era where everything has to be password protected.  I remember when this phenomena first hit us – back then you just needed something simple; something you could easily remember.  But then came the hackers and the warnings:  never use the same password on your accounts.  So we modified (the same password); after all, we needed so many that it was hard to remember them all.  You needed to write them all down (sometimes in a straightforward way, but often a bit more cryptically).  Then came the apps that could keep all your passwords safe and protected in one place – you only needed to remember one and it would unlock the safe to reveal all the others – you just needed to remember to update them whenever you had to reset a password.

Next came injunctions for more complex, less memorable passwords consisting of a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  And now whenever you are asked to set a new password you’re offered a dazzling combination that is impossible to make any sense of in order to remember – you need to write it down before you do anything else (including setting your password) which inevitably leads to either not writing it down correctly or not entering it correctly (especially on iPads and phones) which then necessitates having to re-set your password and then remember to record it and so the cycle goes on.

I confess to being one of those people who make use of the same password with clever variations (actually, they’re very standard and I’m sure a hacker would easily figure each and every one of them out), but even this gets me into trouble as inevitably, I can’t ever remember what the variation was.  And because it’s often ‘three strikes and you’re out’ I’m forever having to reset my password, with, you guessed it, another variation on a theme.  How else do you remember?

Car wash – DYI

Today I washed my car. By hand. That’s a first for me. Not to say my car has not been washed but that this was the first time I washed it in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge an one of those chammi cloths that d5y up all the rain. In Sydney I used to have my car washed (and vacuumed) while I did my grocery shopping. Excellent service, bonus being you didn’t need to search for a car park – just drive straight in to the carwash, leave your car, sop and return to a nice clean vehicle.. It was good value too – $25 and they would make it all spark-a-lark-a-lark-a-ling clean: windows cleaned inside and out, all the inside surfaces cleaned, vacuumed throughout, including the boot and for a bit extra, the tires (or is that the wheels?) cleaned too.

Here in Noosa there are such car wash places, only those coin operated self-serve ones – not even those that you just drive through and freak you out when the big brushes descend over your car. Lacking any real facilities I opted for the self-serve coin-operated place. It wasn’t good. Firstly, I didn’t really know what to do and ended up soaked; secondly, it was expensive – I seemed to be forever putting in dollar coins.

First time I visited I drove in, read the instructions went to use the machine only to find I didn’t have enough gold coins. Dejected (I had psyched myself up for this), I drove off not realising that there is a machine there that converts your small silver coins to gold ones. Next time, prepared with an abundance of coins (or so I thought) I started feeding my coins into the machine, unaware that once the coins drop the water starts gushing out of the long hose/pipe that’s attached to the wall. By the time I figured out what to do my coin was used up. So, standing with the hose/pipe thing at the ready I insert my nextccoin: bam. Doing it.

I seemed to spend a long time watering as I waited for the next phase. I thought it was automatic and just seamlessly flowed from one cycle to the next. Wrong. So back I went to the instructions and realised I had to use the soapy scrub brush (though this is an option). I got the brush from the other wall, fed in my coin and began scrubbing. Then I noticed all this water gushing out on the floor. Apparently, you’re meant to scrub before you insert your coin and remove the previously usedchose/pipe from the wall attachment in order to rinse the soap away. More gold coins later my car is clean but not dry or polished or vacuumed. By then I gave up trying to figure out what to do with the various cycles on the so-called automatic wash and drove my car to the vacuum point to experience yet another round of frustration with the power running out before I could properly vacuum all the surfaces in the car. My vacuum cleaner at home has ore suction that the supposedly heavy duty one there. I drove off vowing to never set foot on the site again.

Subsequently I have found there is a serviced car wash place at the Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore. The Sunshine Plaza* is pitched as the “Sunshine Coast’s largest retail mall/centre”. I was rather excited the first time I went there, looking forward to being able to make all the usual purchases (Sydney style). Alas. What can I say? The Myer store there (the main attraction) is smaller than the one in Hobart. The Plaza’s only saving grace is that it has a skin clinic that I use, a good sized supermarket, Howard’s Storage, First Choice Liquor store and nearby, an Asian grocery store. But really, that’s it.

Last week, having an appointment at the Plaza I determined to have my car cleaned. The Plaza has an incredible paucity of parking – it’s not unusual to be driving around for at least 15 minutes searching for an elusive spot. It’s also not unusual to stalk people coming out with with their shopping and slowly following them to their car (usually only to discover some one else is already waiting with blinkers on). Grrrr. Getting my car washed seemed like an ideal solution to the parking problem as well as a much needed clean. And yet. I drove in only to be asked if I had a booking!!? They were fully booked. Deep breath. Search for car spot.

On the positive side (and one must always look for the bright side of things when you live outside a big city), I did discover the joys of manually washing my own car. And I vacuumed too. So now, adept at this new enterprise I shall endeavour to keep my car shiny clean for much longer (and make a booking for the real car wash place next time I’m in Maroochydore).

* ‘Plaza’ is a term favoured by all shopping malls, large and small, it is quintessentially, Queenlsandish.

Did you know: The start of the history of car washing dates back to 1914. People used to manually push or move the cars through stages of the process. Eventually, manual car wash operations peaked at 32 drive-through facilities in the United States. The first semi-automatic car wash was active for the first time in Detroit, Michigan using automatic pulley systems and manual brushing.

Pachydermal therapy

My brain’s tired.  More specifically, my right brain is tired. I’ve been overusing it. Too much computer work, thinking work, analysing and problem-solving. So today I’m going to give it a rest and be free of thinking.  I’m going sit in the sun and read my book, go for a walk along the beach and then I’m going to crochet an elephant. Ha? Really. I am in fact, crocheting a baby elephant.  Well, a soft, cuddly toy version of a baby elephant.

It all began when I decided to knit a beanie. I live in Noosa where the weather is never really cold enough for winter woolies but for some reason I decided I wanted to knit a beanie. I went to extraordinary lengths to purchase my pattern and wool (finding places to buy yarn here is an exerBeaniescise in logistics).  I managed to find the perfect pattern on-line but the wool that was recommended was impossibly expensive to send (it was from Germany and the shipping costs were $55).  A trip to Brisbane resolved the problem, though there too it was a bit hit and miss.  Long story short I knitted my beanie and proudly wore it on a visit to frigidly cold Melbourne.  Both my daughter and my gf loved the beanie; I left it with my gf and resolved to knit my  daughter another one.   Which I did.  By then I had become quite enamoured of knitting – especially beanies because they require knitting on 5 kneedles, which is both challenging (keeping the stitches from dropping off not just one end of the needle but two – or in this case 8!!) and fun.  It was a good thing to do in front of the telly – less drinking too (you can’t very well knit and drink).
 
However four beanies later, I’d had enough.  But I still wanted to knit something.  I came across some very cute toys and things on Pinterest and then I found a photo of a crocheted elephant.  I was sold.  I used to crochet way back when (remember back in the early 70’s crocheted ponchos?) so I knew that it was something I could do.

crocheted elephantOnce more I went in search of yarn. I couldn’t find the specified yarn but figured something approximating it would do – the most important thing being the colour. It didn’t take long for my brain and fingers to remember how to crochet and all was going well until I suddenly realised that this cute little cuddly toy was going to end up being rather big.  I had envisaged something that was maybe 15-20cm but the head of this elephant is looking more like an elephant cow than a baby one and I suspect the entire thing is going to be the size of a toy poodle – the real ones, not the stuffed toy variety.

What to do?  I wondered if it was the yarn I was using – I had purchased 8ply but perhaps it needed to be 4ply.  As I’ve said, I can’t leave problems alone – I have to fix them, so once more I went in search of yarn.  I did manage to find some 4ply but it wasn’t in the right colour (too pale) but never mind, I figured I could dye it a darker grey later.  Turns out that it doesn’t really make much difference and that the pattern is indeed for a somewhat larger toy elephant.  I’m going to persevere because once I’ve started something I’m determined to finish it.  Perhaps I can stuff it with something a bit sturdier than fluffy toy stuffing and use it as a door stop.  Not sure quite what that stuffing would be – maybe poured concrete? Or perhaps I could just donate it to a creche.

I have to admit that I really had no idea of what I was going to do with this little elephant – I don’t know anyone with babies.  It was just a cute project to keep me occupied.  And keep me occupied it has.

Now I think I’ll move on to my linguine doll.

linguini doll

Thwarted by a spider

I had intentions of setting my house to rights this morning.  Unpacking the remains of the boxes and tidying the spare rooms.  All was going well; I began on the first of the spare rooms, where I was using the built in robe as a linen press.  Sorting through the sheets and pillow cases and organising onto shelves when I came across a spider.  It looked nasty, though truth be told, all spiders look nasty to me – even the pretty ones.  This one had no redeeming features except for the fact it was dark brown and unfamiliar.  We live in a sub-tropical environment where spiders of all types are common.  They’re on trees and plants and lurk in hidden places.  Some of them bite.

My strategy to deal with this arechnid was to vacuum it up.  I fetched the vacuum cleaner and plugged it in and pointed it at the spider.  My plan seemed straight forward enough:  turn on the vacuum, suck the spider in, turn off the vacuum and continue sorting in a spider-free environment.  Thwarted.  The spider scurried.  I pursued it with suction at full blast.  Alas, the spider escaped while the vacuum consumed the tissue paper I had lined the shelves with.  Now I’m left with a pile of tumbled linen, torn tissue paper, vacuum cleaner clogged and a spider running rampant, hiding who knows where.  My solution is to shut the door on the spare room and pretend the mess doesn’t exist.  Somehow I have lost enthusiasm for tidying and sorting. Sigh.

Remember when?

I’ve been having conversations recently about favourite old time things: movies, television series, games – childhood really – and one thing leads to another.    It’s the “remember x?” conversation.  Which led me to thinking about all the things we used to do in our childhood that kids no longer do; they’re either no longer acceptable or kids aren’t interested in them in this new technology-driven digital era.

Some of the activities we indulged in:

  • – riding bicycles without helmets around the neighbourhood;
  • – in summertime, taking off in the morning and not returning till dinner time;
  • – hanging out with kids in the neighbourhood, going from house to house;
  • – going to the local swimming pool on our own;
  • – sunbaking: slathering on baby oil to tan – it wasn’t a day out in the sun unless you came back red and burnt and then experienced the joys of peeling long strips of skin off your body;
  • – staying in the water in the pool even when there were thunderstorms;
  • – travelling in cars without seatbelts;
  • – riding in the back of station wagons and utes;
  • – climbing trees and roof tops;
  • – setting off crackers. My husband tells tales of lighting crackers and throwing them through the letter slots of people’s front doors!!;
  • – creating our own “see-saw” out of planks of wood precariously perched on a tree stump;
  • – making our own billy-carts which had steering but no brakes;
  • – playing with cap guns and air rifles.
  • – playing jacks with either plastic jacks or improvising with apricot stones;
  • – playing elastics, skipping rope, hopscotch and hoola hoops;
  • – gutterball, which consisted of bouncing a tennis ball off the side of the gutter and catching it – you kept going until you missed and made up fancier and more daring throws;
  • – marbles – anywhere there was a flat surface, usually the pavement;
  • – on long car journeys, we amused ourselves with “eye spy” and “hangman” and “noughts & crosses”;

toy-guns
and then there was a game we played (solo) with a tennis ball in the end of a stocking against a brick wall (go figure!) to the rhyme of: “hello, hello, hello sir, take me to the show sir, yes sir, no sir….” and a similar game called “Oliver Twist” (see below).

As kids my sister and I spent many hours covering the outside of our brick house with chalk, gradually extending around all 3 sides (the front was off-limits!) and up as far as we could reach, either playing ‘school’ or just drawing.  Our dad painted the corridor of the back part of the house with washable paint so we could also draw on that – kept us endlessly amused and occupied during the unheated cold winter.

chalk drawing_web
In summertime we used to get up early and lie on the couch reading books and then drag blankets and cushions outside to lie in the sun reading and looking up at the sky and making pictures out of the clouds. Nothing to do.

We played underneath trees and set up shop, bringing out tins of things from the kitchen and making our own pretend money.  Mum had a set of old fashioned scales with little brass weights which we often brought out so that we could weigh things.

Growing up in Melbourne where we caught trams a lot (mum didn’t drive and so we walked everywhere or caught the tram); one of our favourite past-times was playing “trams” whereby one of us would be the conductor (my grandmother had a belt hole-puncher which was a perfect substitute for the ticket puncher  tram conductors used) and the other one would hang on to the clothes line (a ‘hills hoist’, that iconic Australian backyard staple) as though hanging on to an overhead hand strap.  We would simply walk around in circles.  Sounds pathetic, but it took very little to live in our imagination.

There was a colonnade of plane trees in the grounds of our Primary school and in the autumn as the leaves would fall we would sweep them up to configure them into ‘houses’ – floor plans  – with the aim of playing ‘families’.  But the real joy was just in the physicality of creating the shapes. We were always on the go, playing games, sport, creating things. And when we weren’t on the go we were making things: dolls’ clothes, paper doll outfits, sewing, baking (our poor mothers!) or reading – lost in the realms of fantasy and fiction.

I don’t think we were ever bored.

Oliver Twist Ball game:

Oliver Twist, (Bounce, catch) Can you do this?(Bounce, catch)
If so, (Bounce, catch) Do so.(Bounce, catch)
Number one,(Bounce, catch) Touch your tongue. (Bounce, touch tongue, catch)
Number two,(Bounce, catch) Touch your shoe. (Bounce, touch shoe, catch)
Number three,(Bounce, catch) Touch your knee. (Bounce, touch knee, catch)
Number four,(Bounce, catch) Touch the floor. (Bounce, touch ground, catch)
Number five,(Bounce, catch) Make a hive. (Bounce, crouch with hands touching overhead, catch)
Number six,(Bounce, catch) Touch the bricks. (Bounce, touch wall, catch)
Number seven,(Bounce, catch) Go to heaven. (Bounce, jump in the air with your arms raised, catch)
Number eight,(Bounce, catch)Touch your mate. (Bounce, touch your friend, catch)
Number nine,(Bounce, catch) Touch your spine. (Bounce, touch your spine, catch)
Number ten,(Bounce, catch) Start again. (Bounce, catch the ball and start again)

Danger, Will Robinson

Prompted by some memorable moments from films and TV series, I found myself thinking about our childhood cinematic experiences and how easily amused we were.

It began with some classic lines from one of my favourite films, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off  – a 1986 film which I initially thought was going to be one of those god-awful Russian communist propaganda films – how wrong I was!!! “Anyone? Bueller. Anyone? Bueller.”  –  never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

Then my brother quipped: “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!”  which lead me to thinking about this space age family Robinson, with their groovy clothes, flying about in their “state of the art” space ship.  Lost In Space  was created in 1965 and set in the future age of space travel – 1997! There was the  glamorous Judy with her long, coiffed blonde hair and the dark and surly boyfriend Major Don West; the sensible mother Maureen and the handsome father, Professor John Robinson with his tight polo tops and pants. They were the height of cool. Penny (Angela Cartwright), the younger sister was the sensible counterpart to her brother Will’s (Billy Mummy) adventurous escapades.  And of course, Dr Zachary Smith the simpering, cowardly, saboteur (“Oh, the pain, the pain.”)

But the real star was the robot, whose arms (made out of concertinaed pipes would wave about and his glass domed head spin as he would warn Will Robinson of danger. And of course: “Aliens approaching”.

robot

Lost in Space consisted of adventures/escapades in alien worlds created with some very basic set design.  It was all too obvious, but we didn’t care, we were still captivated, glued to the screen waiting to see what would happen. How easily pleased we were.  Essentially the premise was that while Major Don West and Professor John Robinson were busy trying to fix the space ship and Judy and her mother involved in household tasks (!) Will and the robot would go on adventures. Sometimes Penny would join them but more often she was left playing with her little pet.  Often the adventures involved Dr Smith attempting to orchestrate his departure by whatever dastardly means he could and then Will and the robot having to deal with the resultant dangerous situations.   We knew the plot, we knew the outcomes but still we watched.  Mesmerised.  Gullible.  I don’t think much has changed – only the sets have become more sophisticated.

Lost in Space_pics

 

It is what it is – apologies to Rumi.

it is what it is

(and it ain’t what it ain’t)

Forgive me while I rant:  “It is what it is”. I can’t bear to hear that statement. It’s loathsome, trivial, trite, vacuous and incredibly enfeebling.  There is no come-back from that remark.  I don’t even think that people have any idea of what they mean by it, they’re simply mouthing a statement that’s being bandied about by all and sundry.

I have two problems with this.  Firstly: It’s vacuous because it’s a tautology.  It’s like saying: a tree is a tree.  Duh.  It’s not deep and meaningful, it’s just facile. It’s not a new-age 21st century reworking of Zen, because it crops up in the weirdest contexts that have nothing to do with spiritualism or philosophy. The phrase not only puts my teeth on edge but I also have to refrain from emitting a low growl at the same time.  Idiots! If you asked the person who made the statement to explain what they meant, they would no doubt say:  “exactly what I said”  and repeat “it is what it is”.  Trust me, I have heard this.

The first time I heard people use this phrase I was perplexed:  what did they mean?  But when I asked they couldn’t answer or clarify.  The closest they came was  “its just the way it is”. Hm.

Secondly, and perhaps more worrisome is that “It is what it is” ”abdicates responsibility, shuts down creative problem solving, and concedes defeat. At its best it’s used as a means of inferring that it was an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome; that it was a force of nature, inevitable and unavoidable and beyond the scope and capability of the individual.  In short: defeat.  At worst, it is used to frame a response, setting up a situation where there is no point in addressing the problem because nothing can be done:  “Don’t worry about figuring out a Plan B or Plan C, because ‘it is what it is’.”  It’s not only an admission that the problem is too hard but also impedes any creative solutions.  Is this really where we’re heading?  Is this the new zeitgeist?

And then one day I came across this same phrase in a book I was reading about a group of displaced Iranian refugees who find solace in weekly poetry meetings. The words they share inspire each to turn inward and discover beauty long buried. A very different interpretation of the phrase, which I discovered, was attributed to that great Persian poet and Sufi mystic, Rumi.  The term in Farsi, “Fihi Ma Fihi”,  is literally translated to “In it what is in it” but  Rumi scholars concur that the meaning  is more aptly translated to “It is what it is”. Rumi asks, “What more is there to say”? Rumi is trying to move us beyond the need for explanations. He describes that moment when truth reveals itself directly to us like an open book. His tales and metaphors are luminous, beckoning us to new states of consciousness. “These words are for the sake of those who need words to understand. As for those who understand without words, what use do they have for speech? The heavens and earth are words to them. . . . Whoever hears a whisper, what need do they have for shouting?”[1]

A far cry from the  trite, overused and infuriatingly meaningless cliche adopted by people who think they are adding some deep, meaningful insight. Poor Rumi; for his insights to have come to this.

 

Signs & omens

Some people believe in signs, that when bad things happen they signify something: that random acts are actually meaningful – you just have to figure out what the meaning is. I’m not one of those people; I’m not superstitious (yet, oddly, I don’t like to walk underneath ladders), I don’t really believe in anything and certainly not ‘signs’.

I’ve been painting in a friend’s studio, taking the opportunity to put together a body of work for a show.  Its been an incredibly rewarding process.  Being able to work on a number of canvases at the one time, my painting has developed and whenever I’m stuck over one I can move on to another and keep working and push through to see where things go.

I’d been really pleased with a number of the paintings I’d finished and perhaps this was hubristic.  There were two in particular that I really liked.  As a painter I often get caught up in painting as a means of expressing something innate and unnameable – unknown. It’s an act of creation that I sometimes need to immerse myself in. I’m never sure how good my paintings are – or whether  they are good at all – but that’s not why I paint.  This session has been remarkable because I have actively sought to paint in order to have people see and hopefully like/buy my work. And so the two paintings that I particularly thought were good also did my ego good.

And then disaster struck.  Yesterday I went in and found myself unsure of where I was going with a number of paintings – didn’t have the right yellow for one and didn’t want to touch a couple of others for fear of ruining them.  I really should have just sat there with them, but I couldn’t resist those paints and brushes.  So I was working away on one and needed to hang it up to see it from afar.  I hung it precariously on some hanging wires (having first taken down the ‘favourite’ painting and placed it on the floor leaning against the wall).  I stood back to look – and CRASH – the hanging painting fell. Picking it up, I realised that it had fallen onto the other painting.  A hole in the canvas.  I held my breath hoping it wasn’t true.  But it was.  Suddenly, I felt bereft.  The one painting I had really liked – and was proud of – was ruined.  I knew I could never reproduce it.  It was gone, yet it is there as a reminder.  None of the other paintings I had been working on were going well.  I even ended up over-painting one of the ones that I wasn’t going to touch.  And so I wondered:  was this a sign? I thought it was. I thought it was a sign to tell me that I was just kidding myself, being a dilettante and that my paintings weren’t really very good at all. Why was I kidding myself?  I should be happy just to be involved in the creative act and not fool myself into thinking it was anything but that.

Signs & signifiers.

Yesterday in my yoga class I forgot to take away a block that was behind me and when I went to lie down on my mat my head crashed into the corner of the block (is there something here about corners perhaps?).  And then I felt joy depart. It was a gradual realisation which culminated in a feeling of deep sadness.  A feeling of being lost.  Of course, yoga can do that – back bends are heart openers and all kinds of emotional stuff comes up – but today I suddenly thought maybe that was a sign too.  Signs from above and signs from below.  What was the universe trying to tell me?

When I think about it I have to come back to the realisation that its all Greek to me:  nemesis always follows hubris, and I should just be more careful.

Hubris=a great and unreasonable pride, often bringing misfortune to the person who shows it in the form of Nemesis.  Nemesis was the goddess of indignation against, and retribution for, evil deeds and undeserved good fortune.