Tuesday, January 12, 2010

John Butler

See, it doesn't matter how old you are, some parts of your innate personality grow up and older with you. What's that got to do with John Butler? I love his music, I love his choice of living, I love his honesty and integrity and the sense of freedom I feel when I listen to his music.
So.......when I found out he was playing live, I knew I wanted to see him regardless of any obstacles. Found that his concert was sold out in Melbourne and that's where the gypsy in me surfaced and said, "Let's go to him then".....and that's how and why we ended up going to Adelaide.
John Butler encompasses a lot of what I'd like to be like, not so much the activist kinda of thing but more that he KNOWS what he's about and what he stands for. As for me, I'm a lemming in a can.....a salmon that swims with all the other salmons ......and I hate that about me. I don't have that motivation and drive to be something bigger and stronger because, quite frankly, I don't feel strongly enough about any particular issue......and I wish I did.
We're running out of water? *shrug* Okay, I won't shower so much anymore. No big deal. So we're making our ozone layer thinner? *shrugs*... Tell me what I have to do, to do my part.....whatever. Sounds apathetic, doesn't it? I'm just not moved at my inner core about this stuff.......and I wish I was.
Yet when I'm faced with someone passionate, like John Butler, my eyes sparkle and my ears twitch and my breathing changes because I get excited about their passion and enthusiasm. I latch onto their enthusiasm purely for the way it makes me feel, not for the cause.
What DOES make me feel alive is hitting the road. I've always loved being out there on a highway, driving to parts known or unknown and feeling that unique sense of freedom of leaving all responsibilities behind. I love the clean, sometimes dusty, fresh, sometimes hot air and that, for that space and time, I'm there. That feeling of discovery, new roads, new paths, new scenery, new people to meet, new and different experiences.
So heading off to Adelaide satisfied the gypsy that stirs beneath and needs to be let out. I loved having the freedom to get up and go......which is what I did. I got up and went! And I drove and drove, me, my son and my music.....my choices and my dodgy sense of direction.
They say it isn't the destination but the journey that counts. If John Butler was anything to go by then I'd have to agree. The cabbie took us to the wrong arena - THAT was still being built, the wally.....so my outwardly vocal agitation helped him with his new sense of direction taken from the ticket butt.
There was something very magical about being there, front row, looking up at JB. It wasn't just about the music or the atmosphere. It was about me feeling very smug about making real what was really a verbally flippant desire to Alison and Katherine at work. I remember saying it would be wonderful to just take off to Adelaide to see John Butler .......... and there we were, we'd made the reverie tangible and that satisfied, smug "I did it!" feeling was .....well....satisfying.
I can do anything I want to. All I have to do is put my first foot forward towards it and then keep doing that......and suddenly I'm there.
I love spontaneity and impromptu and unpredictable and implusive and impetuous......all those feelings that make you feel like you've stepped out of the box and really licked life up the side of its face.
That's what John Butler has come to mean to me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Revelations, New Beginnings

I guess there comes a time, in every parent's life, when you realise that the umbilical cord you've been protecting and nurturing since its beginnings, in full knowledge that at some stage in the future will have to be severed, has come.

My roadtrip to Adelaide was thus. Initially, it was just a roadtrip to see John Butler - just me and Adam. Adam and I bond over music, that's one of our connections and we both love John Butler. Still pandering to the youthfulness still alive and well within my slowly maturing body, I gave into the little voice - we've discussed Other Shaz prior - and said what the heck, let's go!

Now, in my reckoning and from past experience when speed limits were purely a gauge to try and follow and not really a legal requirement, Adelaide was only about 8 hours away. We'd done it in 8 hours before so....... Well........ it took us 10.5 hours to get there and that was doing 110 kms per hour and stopping 3 times, each for 20 minutes. LOOOOONG and uneventful drive it was. Loooooong and dry and dusty with nary a view to keep you awake and alert. Like a Hanna Barbera cartoon background that just keeps repeating itself, so was the scenery from Melbourne to Adelaide via the inland highway.....

Skimming over the absolute wonderment and awe-inspiring performance of John Butler, which I will regale you with in another post, the trip opened my eyes to so many things serendipitously.
One, my son hates long trips and becomes quite restless and grumpy. Restless I can deal with but grumpy jarred me. Given we were both unwitting hostages in the little red metal container hurtling down the freeways and highways of a dry and barren country, it was difficult to adjust to this grizzly person next to me.

Second, I think I've stretched the umbilical cord to capacity and now it's time to let my children free by bungy jumping them out of the post-uteral safety of childhood using said cord to help break the fall.

Alex and my relationship had already come to the destination a few months ago when we both realised that, as much as we really love each other and care for each other, we cannot express this love and caring under the same roof. However, I thought Adam still had a ways to go......but this roadtrip put a different canvas in front of me and the painting that was created was not the one I thought I was looking at.

It's time for both my children to embrace the adult world for all it's benefits and consequences. I had hoped for a more gentle metamorphosis but like all butterflies experience, morphing involves a little bit of discomfort and pain prior to the emerging beauty of another being.

This heralds a new beginning in my life. I am still their mother - I always will be. However, my role is now changing and I can now feel that shift - sometimes it comes like a sledgehammer, sometimes it flutters near my cheek like a soft butterfly kiss.

It's a double-edged sword really. With this new change comes a welcome sense of newfound freedom. This marks a new phase where I get to have some, if not all, of me back. I get to have the freedom to go and do whatever I want, whenever I want.

They say be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.
That is the other side of the sword because along with this sense of freedom accompanies a void inside where a vivacious, bubbly little girl with black luscious curls and a quiet, reserved little boy used to be. They needed and wanted Mummy and this room was born, deep within my heart, to house all the lovely little things that we experienced. That room's still there, only now it feels a little empty. The curtains fly with the soft warm breezes that memories create and the furniture still has the dents of where they used to sit. The door's ajar......I'm not sure if they're coming back or not. Something tells me they may return just for a visit. Something also tells me it's time to renovate this room for them when they do.

I look at new parents who long for rest and a little bit of their old freedom. I say hold onto these days. As tiring and frustrating as it appears to be, there will be a day when your child won't come and snuggle on your lap for comfort. There'll come a day when they won't turn to you to rescue them (nor should they). There will come a day when you will see them as entirely separate beings to you, not a part of you and their father........

It's like watching a ship that you have been building for years and years and years, lovingly and carefully, using the best materials you could afford and using the best skills you have learnt, peacefully sail away. You've done your best and you hope the ship sails well but a part of you feels like it was safer on dry dock. But that's not where life is and that's not what the ship was built for.

I'm standing on a cliff, watching my ships negotiate their way through rocks and storms and every fibre in my being wants to jump on board and steer for them. However, I can only watch, arms folded across my chest, and hope and pray.........

In the quietude that remains, I remember with a moaning little pain in my heart, all those lovely little times when bubbles were splashed up the wall in the bathroom accompanied with squeals and peals of laughter........of Grandad chasing you around our house and you running right up onto my lap and over on top of my shoulders for protection......of the times I bit you because I loved you, loved you, loved you so so much (still do).

All those and many million more memories flutter around that empty little room, deep inside me and I'm filled with gratitude for ever having experienced them in the first place......and the longing that goes with wanting to have that day back again, to feel your soft, warm little bodies back in my arms again.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New year, New Something

Well, last year? Tick.....done. Achieved most of my goals so I'm quite happy really.

This year/ kinda run out of goals........or imagination, one of the two. I want so desperately to improve my photography and do new things. I want to get out and about. I want to renovate my house as it really needs it now. I want, I want, I want.....

Lots to be grateful for, lots of stuff still in the 'yearning and longing' box.

This week, I'm going to Adelaide with my son. The drive there is long and there will be plenty of time to draw a skeleton of what I want this year to look like. I don't to repear last year only older, you with me?

I need new ledges to climb, new branches to crawl out to.....keeps me alert and alive.

get back you once I have these down pat and we'll take it from there, okay?

Love Shaz

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I know for sure

While doing some reading of the Oprah kind (oh, bite me...), I realised that some of the things she knows for sure are things I, too, know and then there are things that I've discovered on the special path of Shaz. Here goes:


  1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what. (I really, really beleive this one!)

  2. Hot drinks should not be filled to the brim in a thermos (or else they explode and make a BIG mess).

  3. Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.

  4. Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn't lie.

  5. Being a mother is the hardest job on earth.

  6. Being creative is one thing but dates and bean shoots are revolting in an omelette.

  7. Doubt means don't. Don't move. Don't answer. Don't rush forward.

  8. Trouble don't last always.

  9. This, too, shall pass.

  10. Don't be scared to try the road less travelled. It is better in a 4WD drive, however.

  11. Bacon IS food of the gods.

  12. The moment between the time that you press your lips to a much-anticipated cup of coffee and the realisation that someone replaced the sugar with salt........is heaven and hell all rolled into one.

  13. That the geeky, nerdy IT role-playing Star-Wars-loving guy will actually become your husband and, ultimately, the deepest love of your life.

  14. Answering the work phone with "1-800-SPANK-ME" will not guarantee you job security.

  15. When the going gets tough, the rocks come to the surface while the wood sinks to the bottom. (I KNOW this one really well, too!)

  16. The only true biological relationship that exists in family begins with the heart.

  17. If you KNOW coconut doesn't agree with you, constantly challenging it doesn't change the outcome.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Samoa

I've talked about this a fair bit on Facebook and, I guess, it's my way of purging the storm that's going on inside me. Some of you may pass this off as melodramatic and over the top but this is what's inside me.

The tsunami and earthquake that hit Samoa last week has affected me more than any other natural disaster. It has taken my natural joy and hidden it behind a big cloud of pain for the time being. I've travelled around a fair bit of the world and I've not been touched by any of the countries as much as I've been touched by Samoa and it's people.
How do I draw a picture of the most gracious and gentle people to you? How can I open my heart and show you each fingerprint of the many hearts that gave and gave to me and my family and friends without expecting one thing back in return?
If honesty was a place and truth and integrity had a map, then it would be Samoa. The breezes are gentle, the waves that lap their shores are soothing and nurturing, the constant sunshine heals and no matter where you are, there is a silent yet subtle gentle breathing in and breathing out, like the rhythm of a gentle tide.

So to have nature wreak this violence on this beautiful Pacific island and it's gorgeous people is inexplicable. It leaves you with the feeling that you want to say so much but no words are sufficient enough.....I am bewildered. I am shocked. I am hurting for those people who have lost so much. I am hurting for the memory of a very special time in my life.
I'm hurting for the damage, physical and psychological that these people are enduring and I'm frustrated because I just want to pack up and fly to them - to help feed, to help soothe, to just help......and all my earthly responsibilities say that I have to look after my own family before I look after someone else's. Yet my heart knows that my own family will sleep in a warm bed with their bellies full. That I know they are safe and warm...and free from harm and danger. yet so many mother's are too shocked to mour the loss of their children - that they expect them to return any minute now with the kidnapping tide. That parents missing will turn the next corner, batter and bruised, but alive...... that homes will suddenly be back to where they once were and life can move on as it did last week and the week before.
Samoans have a very special respect and connection with the sea. The sea is their mother and provider and nurterer. It has a life of its own and has always provided.....and now the very spirit of nature has suddenly turned on them and destroyed all that they value. Samoans are not (yet) commercial or fixated on money, things, cars, jewellery and the like. Samoans love and treasure family and God. It is their way - it is fa'a. The Samoan way.
Homes can be rebuilt and furniture rebought. Faith can be restored but family stolen by an angry tide will never come home........and invisible places at the family table will never be filled.

I sit in my comfortable home, miles and miles away from this tragedy but my heart is there, dredging through rubble for lost souls, for skerricks of memories that will help put their lives back together again. My tears are with those mothers who had their young babies ripped from their arms by the strength of Mother Nature.

I think about Samoa every single moment of the day and I am grateful for what I have. But.....it means nothing really. I have my family and I've told each of them how much I love and value them since this has happened.

Grant and I chose Samoa to get married because we loved the 'vibe' that we got when we did our research. It's not Bali and it's not Fiji and we thanked God for that. It's fruits and gifts were natural, from the heart, from blood, sweat and toil....where the intabgible things were valued more than what you could get for it. We'd never been to Samoa.....we didn't know anyone who had been. It was untouched by commercialism and the dodgy hand of tourism. It attracted a different clientele......although elements of this were starting to show and, I guess, in time Samoa would become Fiji and Bali.

But not while we were there.....not what we experienced. Samoa seemed to 'be' what lay in my heart. It had wide open honesty and truthfulness. It was simple and happy.....grateful for simple things like food, water and family.

We sat and watched a man describe the beauty of the coconut. Ordinarily we would laugh at this in our "developed country" way but the way he described it, made me feel awe that he could live out of the fruits of one coconut palm tree. He described how the trunk and fronds made his home and roof, the coconut provided food and drink and afterwards, it was a bowl for his meal and when that was finished, it became fuel for the next day's cooking needs. He was still grateful that he was so lucky to have the humble coconut be the provider of ever single item of life that he needed. The hollowed trunk would become his boat when he needed to fish......the coconut oil for his cooking......the flesh for food. The husky coir of the coconut was made into clothing and ticking for mattresses.

How foolish did I feel after he had demonstrated all the many things he could fashion out of one simple tree that was so plentiful on his beautiful island? Why, then, would he want Adidas or Nike or anything else superficial? He has the perfect world. He lives next to a waterfall and is 100% self-sufficient but most of all, he is contentedly happy and what I would do to be able to have his simplicity.

I could write the many, many things about Samoa and I could paint a serene canvas of swaying palm trees and the distant sounds of waves crashing on a white sandy beach with the imaginary and sometimes not-so-imaginary sounds of Samoan men playing their guitars and ukeleles, singing in perfect harmony....... and that would be the first page of my album but there is so much more ........and these things are the smells and sounds and feelings that only people who have gone there will know.
It is these things that have been taken away right now.......the soothing sounds of waves crashing on a distant shore now elicits fear and that was one thing we didn't have in Samoa. Fear. We were the most relaxed while we were there.

I guess like a lot of people, especially those who have had destination weddings, Samoa is so beautiful to me for the sights, sounds, smells of my beautiful wedding to the most wonderful man in my world. The before and during and after of our special day lingers every day of my life. Not one day goes by without me going back to a moment or a song or an experience....

I guess the thing that feels like a sharp arrow entering my ribs is that all the Samoans I met and dealt with were happy in the purest sense......just always, always happy and at peace and it was so contagious. And now they're not so happy nor are they peaceful....and this is one of the main things that distinguish them from any race I have encountered.
Every single one of us has made a special contact with a soul, a spirit, a person, a place that we have felt a deep connection with - regardless of the time spent there. For me it is Grant.....and together, we have this with Samoa.
If every beautiful thought I have now sends a butterfly affect around the world back to them, then I will continue to send beautiful thoughts and prayers of love and strength directly to Samoa.

Samoa, oute alofa ia oe......

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Like a beacon, dragging me to safety

In pitch dark I go walking in your landscape
Broken branches trip me as I speak.
Just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean its there.

There's always a siren
Singing you to shipwreck (Don't reach out, don't reach out Don't reach out, don't reach out)

Steer away from these rocks
We'd be a walking disaster (Don't reach out, don't reach out Don't reach out, don't reach out)
Just 'cause you feel it doesn't mean its there. (Theres someone on your shoulder)

There there!Why so green and lonely? Heaven sent you to me to me to me

We are accidents waiting ..................waiting to happen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Poem to Shaz from G on our 1st Wedding Anniversary

A gentle word like a spark of light,
Illuminates my soul
And as each sound goes deeper,
It's YOU that makes me whole

There is no corner, no dark place,
YOUR LOVE cannot fill
And if the world starts causing waves,
It's your devotion that makes them still

And yes you always speak to me,
In sweet honesty and truth
Your caring heart keeps out the rain,
YOUR LOVE, the ultimate roof

So thank you my Love for being there,
For supporting me, my life
I'll do the same for you, you know,
My Beautiful, Darling Wife.