Archive for July, 2004

twin creeks

Okay, so the first piece of good news I’m busy not getting too excited about is that my parents have rejoined the landed gentry. They sold Bluegum, the house I grew up in, four years ago. The last evening I spent at that house was a joyful family dinner in anticipation of my wedding. Even the brushtail possums dropped by:


In 1997 Mum and Dad saw a documentary called Grey Nomads, about retirees who hit the road. A couple of weeks later Dad said to Mum: “I’ve been thinking about that doco…” “Me too,” said Mum. Three months later they’d traded Mum’s superannuation for a Winnebago fitted out like a land yacht, and they’ve been on the move ever since.

It’s a good life, and they seem to have made more and more congenial friends in the last seven years than they did in the whole 29 years they lived at Bluegum. Part of the plan was that they’d keep an eye out for an optimal place to maybe settle someday. Last week they finally found a bush block they like, in Glenwood, north of Gympie:


Isn’t it gorgeous? I’m so happy for them and I can’t wait to see it for myself. I miss my family every day and dream about them all the time. I love San Francisco and the life we’ve made here, but it’s a long way from where I grew up.


I had a very long and complex weekend. Chickens were involved. Claire and I were marooned at Ikea for a while, and were forced to subsist on Scandanavian crispbread and gravlax until Carole came to our rescue.

Salome and I drove up to Davis where we saw some of the nicest horses I have ever seen: Seffer, Najih, Abu Zanzabar, Zadaran, Namib, Crystal Naiah, Auralu, Zenobiyah, Bright Flame and Anduril. At the same time, Claire got a pony! Don’t panic, it’s just a Radio Flyer Rolling Pony, but we named it after Najih.

On Sunday afternoon we all bundled off to the Connecticut Yankee to watch the game. As I could not be less interested in sport without losing consciousness, we amused ourselves discussing plans for a reality TV show involving twins.

My first idea was that Paris and Nikki Hilton should be forcibly conjoined – say, lop off a leg each and sew them together at the hip. Then they could hop around A-list parties in Manhattan. They share DNA so no risk of rejection. Then I realized we could do this to Mary-Kate and Ashley as well, and have the two twin-sets jelly-wrestle. Jack had the best idea of all: throw in the Bush twins and send them all on a road trip…

as my wimsey takes me

My dream life has been better than Netflix lately: see below. This morning I was Harriet Vane engaged in a delightful murder-mystery romp with a gloriously platinum Lord Peter. The action took place some time after Have His Carcase but before Gaudy Night, yet Peter and I were already lovers, and as soon as the miscreants were brought to justice we tumbled into a four-poster bed like a giant linen meringue, in a grand room with sunshine streaming through French doors that opened onto a formal garden and maze.

I woke to the hoots of our blicket. She had a marvellous weekend, camping with the Murgisteads on Friday night (Daisy and Belinda sleep in their own tent: this is true) and playing with Knoa and Avi on Sunday afternoon. Jonathan and I stripped off Knoa and Claire and hosed them down in his front garden. I have to tell you, spraying naked toddlers with water on a hot summer day is pretty much the most fun ever.

Last week was a week of outrageously good news which I am not yet allowed to get too excited about.

queer eye – and a white girl – for the straight guy

“I can’t believe you guys let me join the Fab Five,” I said. “It’s like a dream come true.”

Ted and I were making hors-d’oeuvres of roast beef, horseradish and Melba toast.

The make-better was an ancient homeless man with a wispy silver beard and a very obvious brownish toupee. Jai was holding his hand and talking to him in an intense undertone. Kyan was wondering how to broach the subject of the toupee. Thom was kicking his feet, having nothing to do.

“In fact,” I said, puzzled, “if it wasn’t so obviously real, I’d think I was dreaming.”

“If it turns out you are dreaming and you wake up, do you want me to come into your life and make it fabulous?” asked Carson.

“Oh yes please…”


Atkins dieters may wish to skip this entry. Yes, Mister Pesce, this means you.

Because I have to say that after a hard evening’s drinking (two pints of pear cider, two!) at my newly discovered local dive bar with its amazing and unsuspected garden, there is nothing, absolutely nothing nicer than bringing a bunch of rowdy friends back to the house and boiling up masses of wholewheat spaghetti and pan-frying broccoli and zucchini and baby spinach and cherry tomatoes and sweet corn in several glugs of olive oil and grating cheddar and pecorino romano and gruyere over the whole mess, and eating it with a fresh hot baguette and a bottle of Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz. And then polishing off two pints of ice cream for dessert. I swear, it was just like that manipulative Coke ad that always used to make me sniffly, only it was real.


Claire climbed the entire play structure at the Precita playground, alone, just so she could slide down the big slide. She is fearless. In order to conserve the equilibrium of the universe, I have been equipped with extra fears. Cian, too, is facing existential crises daily. He got very tired in the swing and started chanting:

“I want… I want… I want… I want…”

We guessed water, juice, hugs, something to eat: all wrong. Then we realized what he was trying to say:

“I want! I want! I want! I want!”

Yearning for something impossible to articulate, aged two. It’s hard to be Cian sometimes.

Later we swung by Emeryville for the weekend’s third barbecue. Salome and I raided Toys R Us and brought home a sandbox in the shape of a tree stump. This made Claire squeal for joy. Leslie and Neil turned up, and the neighbors Lyndell and Katya brought their baby Zarina over to play with Claire. Chickens clucked, corn cooked, beer was drank.

Eventually we all piled into the house for the West Coast premiere of The Curse of the *****. Despite a certain hamminess in one key performance, it’s a wicked film, spooky and pretty and funny. Reminded me a lot of the early Peter Jackson.

Claire fell asleep on the way home, so naturally she woke at midnight and wanted to play with her Daddy until 3am.

a good day

Breakfast with Peter the Rocket Scientist at Valentina; a visit to The Crucible in Oakland (with a looong detour through the blighted city when we got severely lost); molten iron!; lunch at Atlas; a cheerful afternoon in Leonard’s back yard, chatting about the Clark campaign and whether there is life on Europa or Titan.

There were two Chinese girls about Claire’s age in Atlas. The elder of the two asked “Are you Claire’s mother? Is she Chinese?” “Err… no…” “But she has such pretty eyes!”

Leonard, talking about vulcanism on Io, said: “The thing about Io is that it has this gravitational tidal effect from Jupiter… Okay, I just sounded like someone out of Star Trek.”

cian koan

“No! No! No! I don’t want the chair to move!”

“But Cian, you’re the one moving it!”

“WHY am I moving it?”

on the bus

“What’s that you’re reading? ‘My Wicked Wicked Ways, by Errol Flynn.’ Errol Flynn… hey, I think I know that name!”

“He was an actor in old films. He played Robin Hood.”

“Oh! Oh, I didn’t know that he was wicked. How was he wicked?”

“Women, drugs.”

“Oh! Well, why would he want to write a book about that? What if it fell into the wrong hands?”

memorial haiku (in the style of seth david schoen)

“Mistah Kurtz, dead he.”
Brando, that is. Timor mor-
tis conturbat me.