Thursday, July 28, 2005


Thank you Lord.

My BabySister in Tokyo-yo-yo is safe and well. We hadn't heard from her in a week ... but she has just unbelievably work-hectic and her pc is in the shop and her phone at home is not working. AND ANd And and ...

Just THANKYOU. Thankyou. thankyou.


What a week!

Yesterday I said I maxed out at work ... and I am. But what I really can't seem to believe is how BUSY just bloody LIFE is around here. It's as though every single week has some unexpected problem or disaster or complication or massive familial expectation or family function or do etc etc When I've been living away from PNG, I did not have any concerns outside of myself and my friends really. Being back has really amplified for me, what I knew was true - just how consuming my family and our lives can be!

Case-In-Point : Monday the Treasurer of the Enga provincial Government, a close friend of our family and colleague of OurHero, has died. On Wednesday one of my 'real' uncles from my dad's tribe, Minapi, fell into a coma after a brief illness (as yet undiagnosed). One of my bosses' aunt is dying in the UK so she left in flurry today and its been almost COMPLETE MADNESS for me work-wise.

And the bright red cherry atop our glaced week is that as of today my sister (who is living in Japan) has been 'MISSING' in bloody Tokyo for a week - we cannot find her and she isn't emailing us and noone at her house in downtown Chiba-Ken is answering their phone ... either its a mass exodus or something is wrong. This unnescessary stress is giving my mother a hernia and making me so mad I want to squeeze something and then punch it - preferably my sister and in person if (as I am sure it is) everything is just-fine and she hasn't been knocked off by Mrs Marple with the cande-stick in the drawing room! WHERE ARE YOU BabySister?? Aaaaaaaargh ... why are the last kids the BIGGEST pains??!!

To top it all off Saturday is MyMamas birthday ... and I am sure it's the last thing on her mind. In the last 3 days she's taken a 7 year old neighbour to the emergency for a snake-bite; run all over town trying to find me a house to live in; Drs appointments daily for a massive infected sore on her poor tummy (getting much better now!); taken it upon herself to cook for the masses even though she is meant to be on holiday; organsing visas and things for Australia; been in ICU monitoring my comatose relative; been to the cry-haus to mourn for our dead friend; ferried me to and from work at all hours; patiently organised all my dental crap; organised my little flat AND had time to read the best part of a book - a big one!

I just want this week to end.

But then .... what will next week bring?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

anthony robbins says

Dear all. First let me apologise for putting someone else's words in my blog for the 2nd day running. I am MAXED out at work and working at home and sleeping fitful hours in between ... so I am today going to pass on some very wise words from Anthony Robbins of "Awaken the Giant Within" fame ... yes he is a self-help guru and you too can have accesss to his tapes, books, cd-roms, ouijja boards etc (kidding about the last) at a discount price if you're ever up at 4am in the morning eating indomie noodles with an egg dropped in, flicking work-due-yesterday on your pretty streamline ibook with the tv turned down low enough to let the cat sleep and high enough to distract you with audible calls for 'dialing direct and ordering with your credit card and you'll get the free steak-knives folks, its a once-off offer good for only the next 45678890 days' ... 7ft tall Tony Robbins and his big head (it is massive!!) and booming bass voice is a VERY persuasive force at that hour ... he's got me half-convinced I have the ability to MAXIMISE my POTENTIAL and so on and dreary forth.

Today one of the secreataries at work passed around an email with 21 points of advice from the Tony Robbins organization. And I gotta say ... lots of these echo true for me. It seems Mr Robbins just may be onto something after all ... telling us what we already know is Right and maybe just good-for-the-soul or the chi or the vasparna or the gaia or the Christian ethic or the muslim cleric or the bhuddist mantra or the hindu om et cetera et cetera, all along.

Anthony Robbins advice list :

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don'thave much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

bukowski : the crunch

dear lovers
in just one
i've mentioned the
poet charles
bukowski on two

if you haven't
the pleasure
let me impart just
of his poems

Here is a part of "The Crunch" taken from LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL 1977

too much too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or


strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving wine
bayoneting and fucking

an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock

people so tired
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners

it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place

can you send me

One of my best friends, miss oa-didi, my bit of a beautiful rock, is sending me up a parcel from Sidoneeeee Ostroileeeeeeya. She asked me if I wanted her to slip me anything else inside the packet. Let me seeeeee.

I said:

Can you please send me an old-man's pub where I can crack a schooner at 2.30 on a windy solo arvo and not blink an eye.

Can you please send me Darlo at 11pm when the night is swelling and all eyes are looking looking.

Can you send me a big green park where there is no buai and in my bilum is Bukowski and my rollies, a box of guava juice and a cardy.

Can you send me my ravo boarders so that I can bitch and moan about our need for us to do everything together inlcuding holidays and hospitals. But really I need that too.

Can you send me woo because I miss her small chin and the way it wriggles when she wants to cry so laughs instead.

Can you send me a det-of-the-vega so we can sigh and smile and all that history can pass in one glance and not mean as much as sometimes it does.

Can you send me skye and neutral bay and my room with the white bay window overlooking the harbour as her dog zack bounds up the stairs.

Can you send me my love that I gave away and should have asked for back.

Can you send me the feeling that tomorrow was always something for later.

Can you send me this year full of memories for all the weddings and the engagement parties and the witnessing falling-in-lovings moments of the ones I won't catch.

Can you send me that boy who means what he says and says he means to make it, however, whatever, with this old gal.

Can you send me back to school so I could have spent the last 10 years more RECKLESS that i was ... so that I screamed I LOVE YOU from a rushing train ... so that I cried for me when i kept schtum ... so that I ran away when I couldn't hack it ... so that I learnt how to buckle, how to fall, instead of standing up in situ rigor mortis ... learnt I was weak- before I knew how strong I could be

Can you?

Can you make me forget all my sydney regrets.

Can you make me remember all those clean sunny sandy days where white linen on the line cut across a waving blue sky as I lay on the grass and thought how sweet it is.


I miss sydney. But i dont think thats really it. I miss ME. The me in sydney.

in png i am so .... stifled. i cant think or say what i really want/feel for fear of offence ... treading carefully etc i earn less than nothing right now and that is pretty much an economic nightmare - which means very much less independence. i am so wary of making new friends because so many people here judge first and ask never.

but but but. i am finding my way. because i can. and want to. and most of all - because i STRONGLY suspect, there is one!

at the same time i feel like there is SO much possibility coming out of this experience. its all happening. it pretty full-on. i am not loving it. but i am understanding more every day. the salient rewards are the ones that are holding my feet to the ground.

i have to stop now - its late and i want to go home.

forgive me this rant.

as ever, ricebag

Monday, July 25, 2005

hubba hubba ... shazza-zulu

... and if my kooky family really want me to settle down with mr perfect, they can bag me the beoooooooootiful Gary Dourdan. The only negative aspect that I can think of (out of a bliss-filled, physically-charged, glossy, physical, Golden-Globes award-attending, step-mummy to his two brats, extremely physical, down-home Hollywood, steamy hooooot .... marriage) is the fact that I will be connected FOREVER to someone called GAZ!

Oh well. Will just have to quash revolt when I turn over every morning to find Mr Body Beautiful Face Perfect in bed on the Right Side! (Please note I intend to pop out several puppies PRONTO as I am well it will be my public duty to preserve the best genes of our species ... )

*hubba hubba ... gaz/shaz*

PS all moles get your dirty hands off - just because you're all csi followers DONT give ya no rights - I was perving on Gazza years and years ago pre-training bras when I was still going nightie-night with hot milky milo, a prayer and a quick check for the goblin under the bed ... back in the days of the spin-off of Dr Huxtable/Bill Cosby's show, "A Different World" ... when Gary was known as ... SHAZZA ZULU (can you believe??!!) - and we thought Gaz was bad. And even then I loved him so ... goes to show - it must be true lust!

all eyes on ricebag

Now that my littlest cousin, perfect baby Dhink1 Dhink2 Dhink3 has come along and is officially the last baby from our olds (the generation of our parents, aunties & uncles) ... all eyes are on the next gen - specifically moi.

AAAAAAAARRRGH. As much as I love my Family. Much of the time I feel like running away from them.

I suspect they talk about it constantly behind my back ... IT being when & who ... WHO who will be the father of ricebag's children. Do not fear - their scheming has gone into OVERDRIVE lately as they plan all the ways to make sure I am with someone they approve of and make sure I am not with someone less than worthy.

Last Friday night I had a dinner/play date. That whole evening my various aunties were texting me constantly ... unbeknownst to me, The Warrior was attending a Toyota Enga Mioks football function in town that night and they were keeping tabs, making sure their bright star wasn't in danger of fizzling fast punch on the cheap champagne high of third love.

If they'd ever bothered to ask me (heaven, Wabag and MyMama forbid), I could have told them I've taken up with another love affair for now - my Family - them! I could save them much worry right now and say Don't Worry, I am not in love with HIM. That I've left him behind. But I think I'll let them stew some more ...

So we had ANOTHER family do/bbq on Sat'dee nite and everyone is studying my slightly more prominent love handles and the fact that I've gone UP a size in ribbon-waisted stone-washed jeans (please note - this last admission is somewhat distressing to me but doesn't exactly make me want to top myself - about the jeans size NOT the stone-washed aspect). Women all over Aunty Ds forecourt are pinching my sides and patting my tummy, checking the actual size of my jeans and rubbing my back. I feel like the fatted bloody calf.

Whenever I come home everyone feels free to comment on my size ... "too skinny" or "dont get any fatter" or "don't lose any more weight" or "nice and fit" or "nice and fat" ... fact is, we Engans like our women built for baby-making and stocky for gardening and strong for loving/fighting/making ash-cooked sweet potato etc

So whilst I am feeling dangeorusly close to ordering diet pills off e-bay, these ladies I am related to are declaring me JUST perfect and admonishing me at the same time with "don't get any fatter". Am I being prepped for the sacrifice on the mount? For thanksgiving?

I'm no DHINK.

dhink : livingroom gerehu 2005 : beautiful fish-face. i just love you baby dhink. i do. so. dundu-o.

... but I'm still a babe.

So the olds are measuring skin for love and planning the next level of the procreation game and I am roasting under the heat but not minding so much.

All I know is it is going to be a lot not a little hard for them when I do become ensconsed and find my worthy adversary ... they're going to have to let go - again. They let me leave home when I was barely into my second decade and ever since that day the finding and fumbling of love was all my own domain, in the thatre for one - me to oversee and scrutinise. Recently returned to them ... and single ... they're hell bent on making sure perfect daughter fulfills all their best wishes. I just hope they know sometimes their standards aren't mine ... that this fatted calf isn't going to deliver them with the trophy-shiny-perfect life ... that ricebag just might fuck-up-for-love in full-view of them (again) and they might just have to let her do that.

Friday, July 22, 2005

a little bit jealous

Damn. I hate it when someone is a free-travelling dissident poet who makes socio-political commentary whilst husking for monster salmon in the great blue off Alaska ... yeah, there is another blogger whose writing I can't stop perving on.

Not with a (cheeky ode to Charles Bukowski) entry like this:

I lost my friend today,
a life and
untold torment
in his father's GI bag.
left me
a bottle of cheap rum
and Bukowski.
I Would have preferred

Aaron Maier left travelling around Africa/Eruope for a return to the USofA ... and right now is on a fishing boat somewhere-Alaska.

This is how he describes a moment in his job:

The five minutes have now passed and I am wearing stiff green hip waiters in three feet of 34 degree water surrounded by ten thousand pounds of gourmet rigor mortis. The acrid locker room smell has been replaced by the foamy broth of death and fish cum in which I am now wading. I flail away blindly with a plastic shovel pushing your dinner into a pulsing vacuum tube sucking the stiff corpses by the thousands one rung up the food chain.

A mammoth chum salmons writhes spastically in the blood and froth of a spawning journey gone horribly wrong. I admire his strength. I admire the beauty of his life cycle returning to trickling stream of his birth. I stand in awe of this amazing fish and bludgeon it on the head with the handle of my shovel. There is not opportunity for contemplation while wading in a pool of death. Ask Dick Cheney. He can tell you this.

Now you know what I mean.

my colleague

My colleague in the office next to mine is a little mysterious. A Tongan of long ago he wanders in in his sulu and leather waistcoat - talk about statement! He is a smooth operator! He has these mysteriously appearing boxes of blooming mangoes and bananas and other fruit that lodge against the stack in his office. He has gilt-edged framed pictures and paintings of orchids. Yes, this slighly scary man who'd not be far off on the back of a Harley loves/lives for... orchids.

Yesh - that's my neighbour. Bit of a dude. Is he.

fashion friday : kate sylvester

Kate Sylvester : native of New Zealand takes a minimalist approach and she hasn't jumped on the usual retro bandwagon ... it's a little modern really, a lesson in elegance and understatement. And cute bits. And we love LOVE cute bits! Sylvester produces beautifully cut suits and dresses that are suggestive of the modish looks of the 1960s, while still maintaining a clean and spare æsthetic to give it a modernist edge.

Kate Sylvester : Mercedes Australian Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2005/2006

*Pictures taken from Sydney Morning Herald Website*

Yeah. Kate Sylvester is the master of the cute piece ... PIECE. And you must always be wearing ONE cute PIECE!


: always be wearing one cute piece: or one cute pin : or one bone broach : or one cute curl : or one cute wave : or one flash of sparkle : or one sweet collar : or one little flip : or one low-slung hip : or one over-flowery panel : etc etc : just one piece : geddit? :

this is why i love woo

Haven't I told you about my little, my woo?? My little woo. She is my chum, my mate, my beer-buddy, my ciggie-hag, my endless talker, my in-one-mind-mate, my fellow lover of all the little miracles that make life so watchable. She is one of the ones I click with - and they're hard to find!

Yeah. And I love woo. Because she can chuck in a fucking good email. When she wants. She can spin and weave and get right in my head and because I know her and I know our life in Sydney, I am already in the story she is retelling. And she tells it so well. Whether with words or sighs or laughs ... all the love and the pain, all the funny and the hard bits ... all of it that has come to me over years I would never replace.

Just today I recieved this from my woo. Another reminder of normal, good day. A Sydney day.

ricebag...twas catching up on your blog today and just for a little aside to your jared diamond piece...i played footy on sunday down at trumper park at paddo and everytime i play there my grandfather makes an effort to get down and see us bc he lives just around the corner...last sunday tim (ex-boyfriend and still) came down to watch us aswell...he has met poppa before so they chattered away during the game and at the end of play i say to them both 'so what have you two been nattering about?'....and so what had they?tim flannery 'the future eaters' and jared diamond 'gums, ferms and steel'.....poppa being a massive diamond fan and tim being a big flannery reader....there you go...the problems of the world being saved whilst women play aussie rules in the background on SUCH A SUNNY you r xxx

I love my little postcards all my littles scattered to the four winds send to me in hugga-bugga land ... these are the precious bits ... a moment shared, a moment understood with real clarity. Just as if I was sitting there with you, fag in hand cuppa-tea in t'other. Think I could handle that. Definitely.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

mymama : she is the bomb

Oh my God. I can't tell you how much I love MyMama ... but more than that, I Like her. This comes as a little bit of a surprise considering I spent a great deal of mental energy in my formative years promising I would never ever ever cross-my-heart turn out like her.

And guess what! I have. I have her worry furrows in between my eyes. I have both of her birthmarks in the same spots, little smudges under my boobs. I have her ugly right hand, the knobs on the second and third fingers. But more than the physical proof that I am from her ... I am like her. We are unalike in many ways. But sufficiently alike in some that make me so strong and so worthy that I know I must have come from her.

MyMama has flown down to POM this week to be with me. For me. She hugs me just right and cuddles my face and lets me bitch and moan and laughs when I tell a story and smiles when I share a secret and weeps when I speak of loving.

And the cool thing is I know she likes me. She loves me like there is never going to be tomorrow. But she likes me too. And that is so great, knowing that makes me feel great. Coz she is a brilliant judge of character. Yes, she's biased up to her hairline but she's also a very switched on little lady - so I'm gonna trust her opinion on this one.

She has her Faith and her friends and her own life and she's making it. And she's making sure we make it too. She reminds me who I am when I start to freak out and holds me close and says nothing is ever ever ever gonna get me.

MyMama is articulate and friendly and smart as all bloody hell. She has serious fire and now in her later years, has lost that anger that sat on her chest for so long where it didn't belong. In its place is this warmth and she pulls little kids to her like ants to sugar.

But never fear - I've have NEVER seen anyone put the fear-of-God into you like she can. If you are wrong. She will know it. If you are lying. She will know it. If you are indecent. She will know it. And I've seen her take the moral high ground and drag people kicking and screaming from the ditches. She used to be take-no-prisoners ... but now she won't leave anyone behind.

And she has her faults. A catelogue of them. She is a looong longa way from perfect. But I gotta tell you, she has met her demons and said she is well with them. She has come such a long way, by her account and I think its so brave not to be tied up in your history, to not let that cripple you. She uses no crutches. Takes all responsibility. Is who she is. And makes her circle of loving wider all the time. She has forgiven the unforgiveable. Loved the unlovable.

I respect this woman like you wouldn't believe! She rose up from the ashes, the phoenix who has carved out my future with her own blood, sweat and tears - literally! She made gold from dust, hope from empty, love from dry. She believed in US as a unit, a family, a little trio ... when noone else did. She wouldn't lie down. Couldn't. Her bloody-minded pride and intense self-preservation kicked in and kept us afloat when all around waited for us to drown.

She is a magician. She is a lover. She is a realist. She is a dreamer. She is in pain - physical and soul. She is alone. She is free. She is weak. She is powerful. She is every single thing that makes WOMAN what she is on this planet today ... and then some ... the very best of some.

Somehow, through all the trials, MyMama has become this cult figure to others. She is alightly unreal and a bit of a legend.

I won't go on for ever. I just wanted to say how much I LIKE my mother. How she makes me smile. How she makes me like myself when I believe noone else can. How I like to watch her. She is this recpetacle and she's been taking taking taking all this garbage and refuse, all the overflow for so long that its decomposed and composted and come up fucking roses.

I am so incredibly fortunate to have this woman in my life who is so capable of love and all the heavy and responsibility that challenge brings. I now realise how other people fail to meet that duty, to grab it and never let it go. That she has taken on her life and her journey with purpose and vigour and said I am the one who is going to keep this ship afloat. And she is the one who said I am the one whose back will break before my pride does.

Yeah. Stubborn. Strong. Well and Long. She is the bomb. Is my mom.

jcd on kokoda

Well I am proud! Proud of all my friends who complete the infamous Kokoda Track.

And a mate has finished hiking this track - JCD. Such an accomplishment! By all accounts this is a completely intense experience and I am looking very forward to half-killing myself one day soon on the same trail.

JCD is an australian volunteer in Lae who keeps up a great weblog called PNGlife where he chronicles the anomalies, frustrations and rewards of making it in PNG. Visit his site for more on his Kokoda campaign and other stories about life in this place place place.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Please take note : Ricebag is bagging a few of these a la mo mo ...


  • 2 shots of tequila
  • 1 shot Cointreau
  • 1 shot freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt and lime wedge, to serve Margaritas
    Put all the ingredients into a shaker. Shake well and serve in a martini glass with a salt rim and a split lime wedge.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

quoting angelina

Hello. Yes, I'm in the office on a Saturday. Again. Just downloading some WTDH (work-to-be-done-reluctantly-at-home) ... so perving on the Sydney Morning Herald (my favourite Saturday morning breakie in Newtown paper) and I came across an interview with Miss Angelina Jolie.

Have to say I never thought I'd get to quote her perfect-face-ness but just couldn't resist when what she said made me nod. Nodding yes. Yes. About the alone part. And the finding that someone who's up for the challenge and the growing with part.

Take it away Angie:

"I haven't learned how to work as well in partnerships as I do as an individual," she says. "I'm better alone." The key, she believes, is finding someone with goals as ambitious as hers. "Basically, I think there should be a reason for you to be a unit. Not just to be happy, but to actually accomplish and change, and take on the things you want to take on in this life."

... Having declared herself uninterested in anything as banal as a boyfriend, she's kept her liaisons outside the house for the past few years. "The man that enters my home with me and my son—I take that very, very seriously." She does have an idea about who such a man might be. "Somebody who just really works hard, and loves," she says. "That has not been an easy thing to find."

It's like my good and very beautiful friend Sam-in-Paddo said ... we were having a good old gab about MEN as in where-are-all-the-good-men??!! chowing down Bondi burgers and house-red chasers at the RSL-with-a-view, perving on delicious yum-yum Marat Safin playing Wimbledon Semis on the big-screen ... and she said she relationship-wise she wanted something like from the film "The Thomas Crowne Affair" ... UH OH I thought ... she wants plastic-perfect Pearce Brosnan? No, she said. The female lead, played by Rene Russo is this beautiful successful yadda yadda and she doesn't settle until she meets the one man (Pearce) who is her "best adversary" as Sam put it. Sam said she wants a man who is ready and already heading where she's going, who's going to challenge her and make her better, a man who doesn't need his hand held or his potty trained. Someone who isn't just coasting the wave of a lucky-life but is chasing it with both hands outstretched. Yeah - me too, I said. Me, Sam & Renee.

Friday, July 15, 2005

fashion friday : lover

Hello lovers. Apologies for not posting my weekly fashion-fridays lately ... what with exams and london july 7 and our own family loss, it's been a bit mad. So - to make up for it, I am posting one of my FAVOURITE faves!! Of Aussie hip couture. Its' the kind of clothes ricebag loves to LOVE and LIVE IN. Look on ...

Lover : Sydney pair make these incredibly wearable clothes. Nothing inventive or earth-shattering, nothing new-age or ground-breaking. Just Innocent Lolitas who gambol in dresses their mothers made. A teeny bit repetetive ... but why ruin a good thing!

Lover : Mercedes Australian Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2005/2006

*Pictures taken from Sydney Morning Herald Website*

The number one.

The Number One Point Five

Same same but different.

LOVING LOVER! Not hard to see what ricebag likes : a bone cut bone coloured dress baby ... these numbers are very ricebag. Very!


: feel comfortable first : first feel comfortable :

You know if you're running out the door and you're already feeling uncomfortable, that you're in for a long day/night! Spare yourself the agony!! Dress for yourself first. FIRST!! IF you are uncomfortable in your own clothes, you'llbe 100 times more self-conscious and uncomfortable and unable to concentrate on more important things. I am speaking from experience (a part of growing up)! Note that 'feeling comfortable' in your clothes - that does NOT mean sloppy! It means you're not having to check the creases and cracks, you're not having to pull your top up or down, tuck it in or keep it out, fold it or tug it constantly or unpick it occasionally or straighten and hold it. You're worrying that other people are aware of the safety pin holding together your cleavage etc etc. Whats the test - when youre comfortable in your clothes, you are wearing THEM and NOT the other way around.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

we come to love

Just read this anonymous quote today at the bottom of one of those small desk roller-top calendars for the day of Feb 14th ... and I think, I mean I KNOW, just how true this is. I couldn't resist but to share:

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

And I don't think this is just the honest rushing love of l'amour nor the almost duty-bound impenetrable familial bonds we are woven into ... but the love we can come to have for every person, every living thing, every sentient being. Seeing the perfect in imperfect has been one of the most amazing lessons ... a road I travelled and a destination I am heading towards through experience and really by my own design. It's such an amazing journey.

filling his sorrow with cake

prince ward & namesake : gerehu pom 2005 : two beautiful hearts. two shining promises. two old souls. my two little cousins.

Prince Ward and his little sister, my Namesake are my little cousins, still in primary school. They lost their mother 4 years ago and every so often a shudder runs through them like a little electric shock, reminding them just how deep their loss runs. Sometimes they exhale slow, sometimes they shriek. But its rare. Most of the time they just carry it around like a sad sack on their backs.

So I hold them close all the more. All. The. More.

Prince Ward has been the little fat one of the clan. Spoilt a bit by Auntie D and still young enough to eat sugar for play and old enough to know better.

His daddy, Ew, bought him a bicycle two weeks ago and ... it has changed his whole body. Changed. Overnight. No longer hunched over, slinging his shorts and chins over his hanging belly. No longer leaving the top button of his shorts undone. No longer puffing the stairs up to the verandah. No longer wheezing and no longer lacking energy.

He is playing. Again.

And what gets me is how little people can just SHED. SHED. Shed all that heavy just by PLAYING. PLAYING. It's like some kind of perfect remedy. That play should cure sadness. That play should soothe the ache. That play takes away the fat by fun.

And MyMama, who flew into town last night said it when she said Prince Ward was "filling his sorrow with cake". Now he is just starting to shake off some of the old heavy, and he'll always carry that, but it's not going to manifest itself around his waist or his heart. It's part of dealing and it's part of growing up.

what does your birthdate mean

Wanna know? Check out this site.

Ricebag came into the world on the 28th September ...

Your Birthdate: September 28

Your birth on the 28th day of the month (1 energy) adds a tone of independence and extra energy to your Life Path. The number 1 energy suggest more executive ability and leadership qualities than you path may have indicated. A birthday on the 28th of any month gives greater will power and self-confidence, and very often a rather original approach. Unlike much of the other 1 energy, this birthday is one that endow with the ability to start a job and continue on until it is finished. You may prefer to use the broad brush, but you can handle details as well. You are sensitive, but your feeling stay somewhat repressed. You have a compelling manner that can be dominating in many situations.

All the highlighted stuff ... is true for ricebag. There you go ...

Monday, July 11, 2005

the impossible love : part 2 : love another

What can I say in my defence? I fell in love. Crazy. In. It. Heart palpitations. Asthma attacks. Loss of concentration. Loss of apetite. Loss of fear. Loss of regret. Beautiful thoughts. Perfect wishes. It was an incredible time. And it became so incredibly hard. Tough to my mind and hurt to my soul. And I survived it. By leaving.

And now I am back. And I saw him. HIM. The Warrior. For the first time since the last time. Since 3 years ago when I got on a jetplane and said I'll be back again. For him. So he'd better be ready. Can you imagine?

And what did he say to me?

"Love another."

And there have been other, less intense, anothers ... but no another like the other I left behind.

And so Saturday this past weekend I was at a birthday party for the son of the Governor of my province ... and The Warrior was there. He looked better than I'd ever seen him before. Hotter. Honed down. Leaner. And somehow easier. Warmer.

And I had nothing to say. So I didn't. Say. A. Thing.

And his face said everything. Said all the things he couldn't say to me when he should have said them to me. His. REGRET. Was palpable. And it feels so good to know I am not strung up in the loose threads of his indecision. Anymore. And it feels so good to know I have put that love somewhere small and warm and somewhere mine where even he can't touch it - where he can't pull up and resuscitate it - where he can't touch it to make me wince - where my family can't touch it to kill it - and where it lives like a memory that breathes yesterday into tomorrow. Some reminder like a photograph that breaks nostalgic a moment that can never be retrieved, only looked upon, only speculated upon.

I have no shame. 3 years ago I put my heart out on the alter. An offering. And 3 years ago he couldn't deal. And now when I saw him ... (drum roll) it was the moment we'd all been waiting for boys and gals ... and I was SPARED ... spared the intensity of loving him still. I was scared that I still had it - But. I. don't.

I don't have that heavy. Or that incredible lightness. Anymore. I wish him so very well. And I know he knows he so so so missed the best thing. There will never be another for him. Like the other he sent away. He knows that. And I feel sorry for that, for him. He deserves the best.

And a small part of me suspects that he is somehow stronger now. Inside. That maybe he is wishing hard as all hell I'll ask him in again. Because this time his resolve will be mightier than that of my Family. But it's too late. Mate.

And I am so glad it's really really behind me now. Somewhere far behind. Its just a story to tell. No pain. Just a story. A little beautiful. A little sad. A little story. That really was mine.

something happened to me today

Something went click in my brain and I've moved out of PARK and into DRIVE at work! It's like I GEDDIT all of a sudden. The past 2 1/2 months working after a lifetime of fluff have been intense and pretty tough (me doing it to me) and then ... voila. I was just drafting a letter ... nothing spesh ... and it was like I REALIZED what I was DOING ... sounds a little Gary Zukav I know but don't bail out on me just yet ...

So what is ricebag doing? Ricebag is working in a professional commercial environment where she has various responsibilities. Fullstop. This work is not HER. It does not measure her value or worth. It is just work. Work that is important. But still, just work. The key is that ricebag must be RESPONSIBLE for her work and ACCOUNTABLE and just GET ON WITTHIT.

Ricebag has worked in very very professional commercial environments before ... for some of the biggest corporations in the world! But this time the difference is she is beginning the very beginning of her professional life-proper and it seems like everything matters - or at least it did - until today.

All of this may sound slightly inane to you working-bees but some of us have rusty wheels and I just found out my oil isn't some inaccessible magical potion I was born without - and THAT is very liberating as some of us were starting to feel seriously slow and incapable. Learning. Learning. Learning.

Let's see what happens ... things can only get better and harder from here.

london : july 7

I never watch TV after work. Because I don't have one. But last Thursday I traipsed up to my in-laws who live in the main house and sat down and turned onto the horror of that day. So surreal.

I am just so happy to report that all my dear friends in London are safe. There were, though, 3 near misses ...

The whole time I was in London, the possibility of a terrorist attack was always very real in people's minds. This war is very far from over.

It's a testament to the people of London that they are picking up and carrying on, ever mindful, but it's nonetheless back-to-normal. I am thinking on you my London people - thankyou all for responding to me so fast!!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

what also turns me on : loving joey

Andrew Johns : Hero of the Origin Series : Serious Babe

The father of my children (future!!) ... my hero (present!!). What can you say but such calm brilliance, athletic perfection, shining glory under intense pressure ... definitely a man to admire if not love.

Winning is such sweet sweet bliss. Loved caning those QLD cane toads!! Sorry guys but you were WHIPPED!!

Like the NSW Blues, yeah yeah. But LOVING JOEY.

*Pic from Sydney Morning Herald*

what turns me on : guns germs and steel

How homo sapiens spread across the planet : one theory : a theory I prescribe to.

If I could invite 5 people to dinner ... as that question goes ... two would undoubtedly be Dr Tim Flannery and Professor Jared Diamond. Both these men have spent time in PNG early on in their careers and both have written incredibly important, vital texts that show the entire planet how our past is screaming at us to save our future, and even better - how to do that! They are scientists first, and reluctant anthrolopogists and historians who have challenged without fear the progressionist view of the devlopment of our species - the idea that we are always progressing from the past to present to future.

I can't tell you enough - if you ONLY read ONE BOOK - read Jared Diamond's pultizer-prize-winning "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" - you'll never be the same again and your will question question what you thought was fact and your view on the planet and her resources and the devlopment of mankind will be so greatly informed - so much better than holding popular rhetoric in your waving hand down at the pub!

When I LITERALLY tripped across "Guns Germs & Steel" in Sri Lanka last year, and I tentatively opened this read, by page 3 I think my whole brain went HALLELUIAH!! All these bells went off in my head and it was like an EPIPHANY (I SO get the meaning of that word now!). My mind had been (and still is) manic with questions of why there are such disparities across cultures and across times and Diamond, for me ... was a match lit in the dark. Diamond argues that the gaps in power and technology between human societies do not reflect cultural or racial differences, but rather originate in environmental differences powerfully amplified by various other aspects, identified and described in the book


And a similar experience : when I opened Tim Flannery's "The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People", my mind expanded like water on sponge. If you are from Australia and you really care about her future and that of the people of the entire region, you MUST open this thesis and understand you can only learn and improve, strengthen and feed your opinions about central issues. If you care. (A summary of the ideas in this seminal book is here.)

These two men and these two books and some of the others they have authored that I have had the privilege to read, are absolute MUST-HAVEs if you think you are even remotely concerned with the history of man and the future of man; with why one people developed intesive technology and others are still hunter-gatherers; why it matters that we aren't improving on our past development, just changing all the time.

And ther you have it folks - ricebag is a certified geek - this IS the kind of stuff that turns me on.

And the best best best part is that Jared Diamond is coming to PNG soon and Meg Taylor is going to get me an audience with him!! WOWOWOWOWWOW!! Loving Meg!

got a secret : post it

Stumbled across this blog ... POSTSECRET - its an ongoing community art project in the USA where people mail-in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. WHat I LOVELOVE is the ART ... the pain and the freedom etched into these cards ... not necessarily the secret told but for me, the way its told, that art that truth that pain ... that's it for me. Everytime someone made one of these postcards they cut out little pieces of their history and all of them are unique.

Here are some of the postcards that get get posted every Friday :

the love of my life is ugly

the drink that is killing me is the only thing that is keeping me from killing myself

i lost my virginity last week. but i don't feel any different

he wasn't cheating on you. but since you chose to blame me anyway, he will be

i don't want to believe in God anymore. but no matter how hard i try, i just can't stop

i gave my vegetarian sister a meal with beef

i'm sick of saving people

i love my daughter ... but i don't like her

i love the drama ... that comes with ... my relatives dying

he's been in prison for two years because of what i did. 9 more to go

thinking about being with him is more exciting than actually being with him

i once planned to kill my mother

It's not just voyeuristic, it's therapeutic to read their hurt and their pain cut out and stamped and posted on the www.

Most are confessional; some are funny; others make you want to weep and the rest make you feel hope. Makes you want to send one too don't it.

The blog creator Frank had this to add: "Every week some postcards arrive damaged. Sometimes their meaning is lost. And sometimes they become more meaningful."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

totally inspiring ... mentor meg

Last night I had the honour of sitting in on a lecture from one of PNGs most respected and influential women - Meg Taylor. A Dame no less.

Meg's heritage is no less exceptional. The product of the Australian pioneer Jim Taylor and her mum from Mt Hagen, Meg and her half-siblings grew up on one of the first coffee plantations in Goroka. The paths she followed from here on in sound eerily familiar to anyone 'educated' from my parents generation ... trained by missionaries in the mountains and packed off to boarding school in Australia where she was regularly at the bottom of her class and got expelled in one instance. Meg came home, took up law at UPNG and has gone on ever since to an illustrious career ... serving under our first Prime Minister at Independence ... She was Ambassador of Papua New Guinea to the United States, Mexico and Canada in Washington DC from 1989-94. She is co-founder of Conservation Melanesia and has served on the Boards of the World Wildlife Fund-USA and the World Resources Institute. And the impressive list goes on ... you can see why I am almost insanely jealous of her career. And 6 years ago Meg was appointed the first Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). She does an incredible job and her continued success makes her one of the most respected people in the field of international development projects - can you imagine!!

So yeah ... Meg says if you want a career, you want to head somehwere, its never by perfect planning ... always by taking what opportunities come up and being able to grab them because you're hungry and you have the experience.

She answers directly to Wolfowitz, the President of the World Bank and still has time to email me with news and information ... shes such an incredible example of what possibility and hard work and ambition can do and she makes my dreams seem like they're just rungs further up the ladder.

She had so many brilliant things to say so I am going to try recall here of some:

  • EVERY PROBLEM HAS A SOLUTION. Work work work through the issues until you find it.
  • The HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX is our most important measure of success ... not our GDP (very sad considering PNG comes 133rd out of 170 nations on the HDI scale!)
  • Look to the RESOURCES available when sourcing solutions to problems ... handouts/aid/assistance can paralyse rather than promote real development.

I could go on and on. Lovely Meg and her sister Daisy are family friends and I just think its such a privilege to be able to have a coffee with a woman who counts Jared Diamond amongst her friends!! JARED DIAMOND - my hero!!! Meg who exercises such integrity and loyalty. Her drive and her work are such beacons in this age in this country when so much seems a little desperate and a lot lost. She demands we exercise our SOCIAL CONSCIENCE and start DIALOGUES ... people in PNG need to discuss and argue and think on so many different levels, but most importantly, on the street, in the village, on the buai corner, on the pmv, in the esipay queue.

She gave me a kick up the bum Meg did. And she's making me look up. "Look up kid" she said. And I am trying Meg, I'm going to try harder.

Friday, July 01, 2005

life in point form

Ever since blogging ricebag has been a little lazy and a lot short of time to email her people privately properly and lengthily ... what with those crazy exams and my incredibly fast-paced life-style hanging out with the fam ... you know how itiz.

Part of an email I sent to someone today:

My really exciting news (other than completing exams) is learning how to drive.

Other than that i'm just finding my feet in this place and the ground keeps shifting under me so am navigating all of that

... am i starting to sound a bit vague?? ... that would be me then, wouldn't it!

in short

house : living in grandads old rundown wooden 1960s hacienda on the hill overlooking the big bay in town - great location but house run-down. moving to my uncles house - house-sitting for him, starting next week. everything just done up so all good
family : love them. really having lots of fam time ... they all really enjoy each others company and visit with each other almost EVERY day so sooner or later i end up at one of their houses every night ... i really have about 4 houses that i stay at every week - someone picks me up and has me to stay over etc
the boy : what boy?? not really looking. hoping the manna will fall from the sky. and in this town there really are not a lot of options!
work : still s*it scared but getting a hang

social : met some EXCELLENT new mates and they are really speaking one mind with me so loving the potential for forging new and good friends

Voila - life in the tropics. Slow but very very full.

Gotta love n' leave.

second half

sipping the changchang eating the momo : uphill lhasa : tibet 2004 : strips and notes and slabs of parts of other places and other faces pasted on this hallway wall in this tibetan momo-for-your-love second storey cafe ... bits of other lives passing through one place and leaving memories outstretched, random like lint ... a trace, a picture, a note to meet, a coin, a promise.

Today is the first day of the second half of the year. I know you know. I just want you to know that I know too. YIKES!! What is the sum of the first half of this year ... running from India, escaping the Tsunami by days in SE Asia ... waterskiing and sunshine and horse races and pubbing and mates in Australia ... sailing a white-white yacht from Bali to Vanimo ... travelling the whole Highlands Highway across PNGs interior and getting held hostage ... starting the first real job of my life ... learning how to drive ... making friends with my family (after playing absent long-lost daughter since I was in a training bra) ... and really just feeling like it's all back at square one for ricebag. Ai yi yi yi yi yi yi.

What will the next 6 months bring?

I hope they bring a permanent home, a driving licence, a practicing licence, a boyfriend, a pay increase, white goods, wooden furniture, white linen ... UO OH!!! Ricebag is starting to sound ... like other people - normal people! What is going on!!

Never fear. Knowing ricebag as well as I do, her ability to draw hectic all over the straight lines means it's never going to be a flat or an easy ride. But it does belong to her - all the fuck-ups; all the heartbreaks; all the beauty; all the kindnesses; all the things shared; all the bits of her given away in gladness; all the things said that can't be unsaid ... all that stuff, all the stuff done and kicked into motion and ground into being and dreamt into film or into smoke ... ricebag is doing it all because she is the engineer of her year.

london : just exactly heaven

what's london like : any sunday moring 2003 : ricebag spent a year crossing the cement paving on the suburban streets of brixton and dulwich ... where poor doesn't care what colour you are and art is the scrawl you sing ... music pours from mouths and ears and there is a beat is a beat is a beat ... sitting in a boozed up smoked out basement listening to Jazz by men called M and Tomorrow ... grey council flats and limp plastic curtains ... tattered dolls in windows and pre-teen babies on the 7am bus-to-school swigging coke and chowing mars bars ... high school gals with their t--long legs on the 2pm bus with their own too-soon babies in their new new blue roller strollers ... everywhere talon salons and hair-straightening salons and black people talking black and white people talking back ... caribbean mamas with silver hair calling me love and making me sad ... my london wasn't chelsea and it wasn't kings road, sometimes it was glamorous but most of the time it was just the best people-watching place ever ... strolling down the park on chilly sundowns, frisbee with the flatties on dulwich plain, our regular sunday pub lunch at the coach n' horses, starting at noon summing up at midnight ... stumbling home at 2am with the boys and their planet kebabs filling my first floor domain with the reek of garlic sauce and chips luv ... i do miss the london pub ... where a beer and a mate is some kind of art and in that city they are all artists

Ricebag had a Pimlico boyfriend who was born with his morning toast home-made decrusted buttered and toy-soldiered, served by a liveried waiter who said "yessah" and stepped back from the silver service. The Pimlico Boy, whom we shall call Ed, as that is his name, lives in a 6 storey pre-war mansion that grandmother "left" him and while I was never good around people with Money (my assumptions, not theirs), he was excellent around me who had none. Lovely Ed who plays football and polo and hands out havannas after brunch and drives a silver BMW convertible, deserves a platinum-spoon horsey blonde with a double-barrelled title, whose riding boots have the nicks of fox-hunting burrs and whose parents had a gentle, sophisticated air somewhere on the right side of his Eton entourage. I'll still never know what those months were all about but Ed picked me. And he was right and I was wrong and that is all I have to say about that.

Why think on London?? Just started reading "Vile Bodies" by Evelyn Waugh (really love Ev - esp "Brideshead Revisitied") and this bit just tickled:

"What's London like, Fortitude? I never been there but once."
"Just exactly heaven. Shops and all."
"What are the men like, Fortitude?"
"Well they ain't much to look at, not after the shops. But they has their uses."