Friday, June 1, 2012

the ties that bind

The ties that bind

Dear hearts, I would like to share with you a little something I cooked up for school. HD by the way...I'm just saying...

Here is a kaleidoscope of the things in life that are important to me. I attempted to narrow my focus to one issue or cause but upon reflection, I found that there are a number of fundamental principles that have meaning to me and I hope, find resonance with you too. My children. Three in three years. We have all grown up together. A little huddle moving through babyhood, toddlerhood, the middle years and now adulthood. The lines blur sometimes and we all parent each other. We cajole, admonish and support each other. We take turns to tuck each other in, both literally and metaphorically. But most of all we just love each other.

There can be no society without community. Community is based on the premise of working for the common good, respect for different beliefs and tolerance for all members. Community requires proximity. A continual, direct contact and interaction between the people, the place and the things of which that community is composed. Sustainability. A Square metre of garden can produce enough greens and vegetables to feed a family of four. Community gardens provide an opportunity for those in any community to come together, grow food and grow a sense of place alongside their neighbours. Both state and local governments assist by providing land whilst the people provide the sense of belonging.

Your body is your temple. Treat it that way. It is very simple. The better you look after yourself, the better you will feel. WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is a big job to deliver health to yourself. But you deserve it. Without health, you have nothing.

I love my brain. I wish it were bigger. I am trying to cram as many words into it as possible. My favourite book is the dictionary. I urge you to read just one page. You will be transported from the sublime to the ridiculous. And you will understand every word. Speak your truth. Words as freedom of expression give us the opportunity to be heard.

In 2008 the people of Ecuador were heard and voted to adopt a constitution that recognizes that Nature has legally enforceable rights to exist and maintain its structures, functions and processes. Ecuador has demonstrated it is possible to place wild law at the very heart of the human legal system. Earth Jurisprudence refers to legal philosophies consistent with the Great Jurisprudence of the universe.

You can see a theme emerging here of interconnectedness. It is important that we are all of us, aware, of our connections. To each other and the earth. We have a responsibility firstly to ourselves and from there our family and then the wider family of the local community. And beyond. Think global act local.

With all of these connections comes the opportunity for laughter. The average pre-schooler laughs 400 times a day. By the time we reach 35 the average drops to 15. Laughter releases endorphins, increases your oxygen intake and makes you feel young. Laughing increases one’s pain threshold, boosts immunity and of course makes you feel good.

We most often laugh with people. Sometimes we cry with people. And that’s good too. Support for our family and friends, our class mates and our work mates makes our connections meaningful and our lives rich. When my husband left me for a 19 yr old pregnant English girl my friends and I did a lot of both. That was 9 yrs ago. Now we mostly laugh.

The aforementioned gave me the opportunity to reflect. It was the best thing he ever gave me as it turned out because ultimately it has led me to where I am today. I continue to engage in reflection. Reflection helps us make sense of the world and our place in it. It is a place where we can pause and find direction.

You’ve got to have a plan. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. And I am 50 this year. I googled goal setting and it smelt like Amway, so I’m not going to talk about SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time – targeted. If I do that I should be standing on a pyramid shouting at you.

Sometimes direction comes from religion. And I’m not just talking Catho’s v Prodo’s…Religion is so much more than that. It is the most personal reflection one can undertake. Even if it is the religion of Star Wars. Or Facebook. It doesn’t matter where you find divine inspiration, what does matter is that it makes a difference to you.

Direction sets one on the path of realizing your potential. Decide what you believe in and apply that every day. I have always said to my children, find something that you are happy to do and then you will be happy to do that every day. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it is ridiculously true.

Having found that thing, most everything else will fall into place. And then you can pay it forward. You may think the concept came from the 2000 American film with Kevin Spacey and that kid who sees dead people. But no. It’s from an ancient Greek play from 317BC – “The Grouch” which interestingly, was presented as a comedy.

In sociology this concept is called generalized reciprocity. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay “Compensation” wrote – “In the order of nature we cannot render benefit to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. The benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody”.

It’s a bit like sharing the love. It’s a lot like kindness. Kindness sounds like such an old fashioned word. I think it is underused. We need to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other. It is that interconnectedness thing again. If you are kind to yourself, you are likely to be kind to others.

I believe there is a string that binds us. You can’t see it. It is metaphorical and metaphysical. It relates to and reconciles the questions that Aristotle pondered from Plato’s observations that the nature of things is eternal and unchangeable, whilst the world as we know is constantly and perpetually changing. If we become aware of this string that binds us. Humans, animals and the earth, then we are more likely to use this string to support, to guide, to protect and to release ourselves and our fellow compadres, both human and otherwise. This string is both liberating and cosseting, uplifting and humbling.

I hope that my truth as I see it in some way resonates with you.

With love
Miss Mich

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray

Dear hearts,

February in Sydney to celebrate Miss Mellie's birthday! Too too much
fun. A late night arrival made way for a supper of sensuous cheese,
thoughtful terrine and bright as button olives. Perfectly partnered
by a white of some considerable South Australian distinction.

We were amused and beguiled by the silky thighs of the fromage
Daphenois which sat so alluringly beside the more masculine Saint Agur blue. The olives were so optimistic it was a shame to take them away from the festivities and consume them!

Suffice to say it was a birthday week of the most delicious
consumption. Seans Panaroma at the beautiful North Bondi with three of the best foodies in Sydney turned lunch into pre dinner drinks, and why not.

Catching up with Miss Mich's favourite McAuley girls at The Centennial in Woollahra reminded me of how precious my friends are. After nearly 20 years, we are all still the same. Two rousing rounds of Ms Judy Michael's Hip Hip Hooray for the birthday girl had everyone in just the right frame of mind.

To punctuate the theme of indulgence, work experience with Miss Mich's legal eagle was quite the sobering affair. Bail applications, legal visits with clients at Silverwater Correction Facility with NSW
Corrective Services now having Miss Mich's retinas on file opened Miss Mich's eyes and simply made her hungry for more. Make no mistake though, Dear hearts, Criminal law work in Sydney is a man's world. Which means of course, there is plenty of room for Miss Mich.

Drinks and birthday dinner at Atavela in cosmopolitan Darlinghurst was as delicious as expected. Darling Mellie the centre of birthday

The time flew between breakfast with my Darling Boy, walks from Double Bay over the top of Darling Point to Rushcutters Bay to beers and a pub lunch at the Norfolk in Surry Hills. And these are just the
highlights. I'm becoming nostalgic and thirsty all at once. Sadly,
there were some dear friends Miss Mich did not get to see this time.

All too soon it was time to make a last minute flying visit to a
specialised atelier who caters for Miss Mich and The Libertines
private proclivities and it was off to the airport. Touching down in
the far far north and seeing that beautiful Libertine made coming home what coming home should be. Suffice to say one should only ever go away if one is to feel what coming home is all about.

All in all Miss Mellie had the birthday she deserved. With darling
Johhno spoiling her with French champagne, romantic trips away and trinkets and toys, Miss Mich was so happy to share the love.

Coming home to love was my gift.

Enjoy the day.

With love
Miss Mich

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fine, fine, fine...

Dear hearts,

With the new school year upon us, Miss Mich is preparing herself for a stimulating and challenging semester. Collecting her prescribed texts, reading related journal articles and ensuring that her university uniform of skinny jeans, cute T’s and latest adorable Boho is up to date.

At the same time there is the consideration of mental preparation. A couple of days work experience in the court room with Miss Mich’s legal eagle has gone a long way to stoke the fire in said law student’s belly. Observing startling intellect at work is a joy and reinforces the imperative that the combination of knowledge, determination and creativity are essential to success in this profession.

So it is with disappointment that Miss Mich observes the latest going’s on in the political world. This little blog does not pretend to make comment on such matters generally, but in light of the seriousness with which Miss Mich approaches her studies, the comparison may be drawn between what is expected of a student and what is expected of a representative of the people.

Standards. Absolute capital letter.

Integrity. There would never be a doubt.

Transparency. A given one would hope. (perhaps a naïve hope)

We begin with Anthony Albanese. Oh dear.

I will be honest and state up front that I am not a fan. I find him the mongrel of the Labor party. To listen to him in Parliament, one feels that one should be ducking the spit and bile. Both literally and figuratively. At least now, I can close my eyes and just imagine him as Michael Douglas. How very clever of his staff writers, to attempt to reinvent Mr Albanese as Michael Douglas. Perhaps they could do a number on Julia Gillard and repackage her as Julia Roberts. They both share an unfortunate posture and walk, so why not? She could be Pretty Woman to Wayne Swan’s Richard Gere. I really think I’m on to something here Dear hearts. Ms Gillard’s support of Mr Albanese or Michael Douglas (I’m finding it hard to tell the two apart) was given the same weight of consideration and seriousness as Mr Albanese’s response. His tweet of “D’oh! Stuff up” is perhaps a more accurate reflection of who he truly resembles. A two dimensional, uninformed, unaware middle class Joe. Do we refer to him now as Michael or Homer?

At university the plagiarism policy is strict and enforced. There are no opportunities to cry D’oh! Stuff up. The Safe Assign program scans all documents and provides a percentage match. Penalties range, and I quote, “from failing the assignment to exclusion from the university and inadmissibility to certain professions”. Just ask Ms Liveri from our own JCU. Plagiarism is academic fraud and subject to charges being laid under the Copyright Act. What a shame our PM and her faithful sidekick are not subject to the same rigorous standards.

Which brings us to Australia Day or Invasion Day, your choice. By its very definition the day is a tricky one, one that evokes emotion. As a day of recognition, more could be done to recognize the original people of this land. That is all I am going to say about this.

What I do wish to discuss is the accountability of our Government in respect to the embarrassing and appalling incident at the Lobby Restaurant in Canberra on Australia Day. It should never have occurred.

One would hope that the inner circle of trusted advisers of our PM would have the intelligence, maturity and decency to behave with integrity. Our political system of a Constitutional democracy invites and provides for debate. The system also provides the opportunity for the people of Australia to make their voice heard through the election of those we entrust with s51 of the Australian Constitution “ the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth..”

Miss Mich is concerned that Ms Gillard has rogue advisors seriously disturbing the peace, acting out of order and shaking our confidence in the integrity of delivering good government.

Miss Mich asks for transparency in the wash up of this inexcusable incident. Sacrificing Tony Hodges as the naughty boy, silencing Kim Sattler and just saying “I’m fine” I’m fine” is not enough.

Using Australia's first people politically is by far the greater and most unforgivable wrong.

Miss Mich promises to return to her usual mix of lighthearted repartee in her next tete et tete.

Poor Australia Day.

With shame
Miss Mich

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sex in the Summer

Dear hearts,

The heat has finally hit the far far north. This being Miss Mich’s sixth summer it would be assumed that Summer is as Summer does. But this summer is different. For lots of reasons.

Allow Miss Mich to elucidate.

Firstly, the Libertine and I are engaging in something new. Something new and exciting. It could be described as a little bit naughty, but for liberals such as us, we see it as a natural progression of this thing we have going on…

Some may call it a ménage a trios. Some may call it fooling around with nature. Whatever, the window to engage is brief and fleeting, the timing must be precise, the fit just so and the delivery delicate and with intent.

Get all of the components just right and the excitement at the moment of coupling is exquisite.

Flower Sex. Yes. Capital letter for a capital bit of flower hanky panky.

I prefer to set the scene with a little Marvin Gaye or Barry White. As you know I love to fool around in the morning, well anytime really. But it appears that these males and females prefer to make themselves alluringly available first thing in the am. That’s all right by me. The delicate perfume of the frangipani’s and the dew underfoot makes for sensory heaven. No wonder the female chooses the softness of sleepy 6am to spread her petals and expose her sticky stigma and all her feminine wiles. This is where the third player comes in. I slip into a little slip so that we all feel something silky against our skin and search out the upstanding male. He is more than happy to be assisted to expose his sprightly and ready stamen. (reminds me of you know who – always at the ever ready, hmmm). It is then the delicate matter of bringing anther and stigma together. We all blush but I can’t look away Dear hearts, such is our moment of conception. We all release a little sigh as pollen does what pollen does.

Our valiant males’ work is done and it is now up to our enduring female to carry on.

Who would have thought that gardening could be so much fun.

The Libertine and I watch closely the progress of our progeny and look forward to reaping the fruits of our labour and our flowers’ loins. I love a good metaphor Dear hearts and this is just too much fun.

Back to the summer. It is also the summer of Cricket. I’m giving it a capital letter, I don’t care. Whilst I endured all those Scot’s College schoolboy cricket Saturday’s, just waiting for my darling boy to finish fielding so we could all go for a well deserved surf, I didn’t realise how entertaining cricket could be. God love those little darlings, Michael Clarke and David Warner they were not. Lough Park Double Bay was charming, but no WACA, no SCG.

I am beginning to understand the nuance, the subtleties and the precision of a five day test. I admit that I was initially bowled over by the intensity of 20/20. I love wacking the ball as you know, so could appreciate the big hits of said 20/20 play. But now Dear hearts, we have David Warner bringing the two together. And as long as he doesn’t speak, he is a joy to watch. Michael Clarke of course, can do whatever he pleases. Please.

I am a hungry student as you know, so the Libertine must endure my questions. I love manners and gentlemen as you also know. The tradition of cricket provides form, style (except for those Big Bash uniforms) and etiquette. The baggy green is adorable. Mr Cricket is adorable, whereas the less said about the aberration that is Shane Warne since becoming Mrs Liz Hurley, the better.

So here you have a snapshot of summer in the far far north. Afternoons playing with the beach cricket set on the lawn of the Cottage with that beautiful mauve puppy fielding, flowers lying back languidly post coital letting the afternoon showers bathe them.

Enjoy perfection.

With love
Miss Mich

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Illusion is the first of all pleasures

Dear hearts,

Energy. Inestimable. Without it we are nothing.

Interaction. Also inestimable. Without it we are nothing.

Put the two together and Bang! …Throw language into the mix and Big Bang!

Aside from the Carbon Tax debate, which I am not prepared to have here, short of saying I believe it is ultimately the Emperors New Clothes, energy is what it is all about. I just love it. The interaction of all that beautiful energy makes Miss Mich want to know more about quantum mechanics and particle physics. I just love a good oscillating proton, electron, neutron et al. I’m jumping on the String Theory and Superstring Theory bandwagons, hitching my wagons to the possibility of both being contenders for the Theory of Everything. (Don’t you love a sweeping statement kind of title).

Richard Feynmen had me at “quantum mechanics deals with nature as she is – absurd”. Adorable nes pas?

I love the definition of a string as a one dimensional filament of energy. We may not be one dimensional Dear hearts, but essentially, are we not filaments of energy oscillating in the universe looking for a like minded filament to bump into. I like to think of fermions as the girls and bosons as the boys. We fermions spinning in front of those forceful bosuns, just trying to impress…swishing our skirts and sending those bosons crazy. Quantum field theory starts to get a bit tricky from here on in so enough of my Big Bang segue ways. I’m really more Penny than Sheldon in this regard. Having said that I completely empathise with most of Sheldon’s opinions and think he makes tremendous sense. And that Soft Kitty lullaby is a cracker.

A little energy, a little interaction and now to language. It is our evolutionary trump card. Can you imagine trying to explain quantum field theory with grunts and gestures? It is all well and good to have an opposable thumb, but without language how is one to explain the intricacies of feeling blue, the nuance of a carefully constructed sonnet or describe what jelly feels like sliding down….hmmm, I’m afraid words escape me here Dear hearts.

Jelly aside, I just love words. Without them I would not have you right here, right now, hanging on my every…

I think adjectives are my favourite words. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?..let me use these words to tell you how. Thou art more lovely and more temperate. And verbs. Love the doing words, just love doing it…

Then there is the derivation and evolution of words. In the same way as tracing back through time the mysteries and the origin of the universe, etymology takes us on a journey to discover the history, origin and changes in form and meaning of our beautiful, complex language. Tracing the transmission from one language to another, identifying it’s cognates in other languages. But you know all this Dear hearts.

Language and words are the ultimate tools to have packed in your little swag. Words can be used for great good and also at times when one must cut with the proverbial verbal knife. Having said that, in the opinion of Miss Mich and most like minded folk, there is no place for sarcasm and cheap shots. No one has respect for such common insults such as these. Keep your wits about you and use your wit. One may be caustic but never toxic. One may thrust and parry with verve, élan and erudition. As we have spoken about in a previous tete et tete, a good accent also helps. Nothing like keeping your ing in place when one needs a little “fucking” emphasis to keep the debate on point. And if possible, throw in the odd Oscar Wilde quote. I will leave you with one of my favourites.

“You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties”

If that doesn’t do the trick,

“Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much”

Enjoy erudition.

With forgiveness
Miss Mich

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Last Supper

Dear hearts,

…And the souls of human beings, which will burst out of any box they are put inside. Patrick White.

The end of another year. Time for more of the aforementioned reflection of my last, rather particular tete et tete.

That little message to someone particular aside, we look back on 2011 and look for our defining moments. For isn’t that what our lives are punctuated by?... if we are lucky that is.

As Miss Mich grows older and hopefully wiser, it is the difference we can make that drives her to create defining moments. To make every day activities count. It is the little things that add up to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.

People always talk about not taking things for granted, but we still do. By nature we are just a little lazy and find it easy to become accustomed to things and people to the point where they no longer stand out to us. Let’s make the effort in 2012 to continue to appreciate that which is before us.

The Baby and I shared a new year’s dinner and a pre dawn trip to the airport. Good Mother that I am I was more than happy to share our last meal of the year and reflect on our year that was. She of the working class woman had a stellar year and is the favoured darling of those formidable women for whom she works. The Matriarch of said engineering empire made it very clear to the proudest mother of all that there were big plans in store for Miss Mich’s youngest and treasured child. This was also the year that same youngest chicken left the comfort of the nest here in the Cottage to create her own little nest of love with that other big baby with whom we have all fallen in love. They are so adorable together I just want to squeeze them till they pop. Or perhaps just cook for them until they pop. Either way the little Italian woman inside of Miss Mich will be very happy.

As for Miss Mich she is on the path of legal enlightenment and the joys of academia. There is still the unfortunate matter of working to pay for the joy of living in the Cottage and books and seeds for the garden that the Libertine has made so productive and abundant.

And then there is the Libertine. Well, yes. Oh yes. So inventive. So creative. So naughty and soo nice. Just like Miss Mich. What a perfect fit. You know what aside, he is a very sweet and good soul. Like Forrest Gump, that is all I have to say about that. Oh, but how I could say more…

The other two Bright Young Things are forging their own paths with the Boy signed off on his trade and the Songbird back on track to smash it for next semester. More music and more love from all to all with those two darlings. And all three just love the Libertine.

Then there is that mauve puppy. What a character. A jealous Bitch (thinks she is the consort of the Libertine) and loyal to a fault. Too too funny and the favoured child of the family. There is a certain black and white general, who, had he been intact, could have been in with a chance. Oh well…such is unrequited love.

Along with Miss Mellie and dear Reesa, our most loved and favourite house guests, the year has been a happy one. Miss Mich’s legal eagle is her constant with whom she could not be without. And one must mention those silly girls that make golf the best game ever, along with Miss Mich’s darling Sydney stalwarts, Miss Christine, the McAuley girls and the Scots girls. Miss Mich has much to be grateful for.

The Baby and I placed our scrolls under the Buddha’s arm, lit a candle and gave thanks.

The year will reveal itself whether by reflection or by bursting out of its box, there is no escaping what has gone before. We will be judged by our peers, our children, ourselves and ultimately by you know who. It may take hindsight and the time that hindsight involves, whatever, let us hope that whether we reflect now or in the future, we can say we had defining moments.

And that they were good.

Enjoy reflection.

With love
Miss Mich