Sunday, April 30, 2006

parenting magoes

My lovely friends Karlos and Mich in dublin have created the most adorable baby boy, Mango 1 who at 18 months is still a stripey little bundle of perfection. And the best news I had last week is that Mango 2 is on the way ... and she'll (my guess) be here in 4 months.

And I just LOVE that Karlos is making this family and its all his and its growing and its a unit of love and support and its just, to me, such a lovely thing .... the creation of a FAMILY!!

So Karlos wrote and asked if parents ever stop parenting??

My reply is:

PS Parents do NOT ever stop parenting - I have been sitting through different versions of the spiel for a few years now ... They usually start off "when I was your age ..." and continue with some varion of " I had my own, job, house, wife/husband/children, car ... LIFE" ... With the direct inference " so - what is WRONG WITH YOU??"

But its more than that ... I think what they find hardest to deal with is the EMOTIONAL dependence we still have on our parents - beyond the early 20's and into the late 20's and after that even - still looking to them for their confirmation, affirmation etc etc ... My mum is defintiely still mummying us!! And I keep assuring her that I don’t intend for that to change - EVER. I cannot imagine a time when I wont need the support/rerobation/help/deep invasive interest that their love brings to my life ... I may criticise it - but those are the markers I use to measure my place on the map of moving forward I guess. And it’s a relationship that changes but the basic tenets are there - and ive accepted, they probably always will be.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

power and love are not polar opposites

Talking about ANZAC Day and war and the power of women in the emotional and physical trenches that are our markers of these power struggles ... and the love women bring to fill in the holes and sustain life ... makes me think of this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (15 January 19294 April 1968) recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize:

Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change. ... There is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly. You see, what happened is that some of our philosophers got off base. And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been constrasted as opposites — polar opposites — so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love. It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, who was a philosopher of the will to power, to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject the Nietzschean philosophy of the will to power in the name of the Christian idea of love. Now, we've got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on.


People much more eloquent, more worthy, more memorable than I, have spoken on war, on young men and the keen loss of so much promise and beauty.

And I think its women who haven't been heard so well but who truly understood what has been lost, who felt that loss in a way incomperable because its women who give life, who carry it and bear it. And its perhaps women who understood that mostly it was about Waste. Of good Men. Good good men. By mad Men.

And it is women who have given dignity to an awful, often brutal reality through their stoicism, their strength but most of all their love ... the love for a son, a father, a brother, a lover.

That the honour of the ANZAC will outlive us all is a saving grace.


Had he never been born he was mine:
Since he was born he was never mine:
Only the dream is our own.

Where the world called him there he went;
When the war called him, there he bent.
Now he is dead.

He was I; bone of my bone,
Flesh of my flesh, in truth;
For his plenty I gave my own,
His drouth was my drouth.

When he laughed I was glad,
In his strength forgot I was weak,
In his joy forgot I was sad
Now there is nothing to ask or to seek;
He is dead.

I am the ball the marksman sent,
Missing the end and falling spent;
I am the arrow, sighted fair
That failed, and finds not anywhere.
He who was I is dead.

Dame Mary Gilmore

Today, National Rembrance Day (ANZAC Day in Australia & NZ), was gazetted to be a National Public Holiday in PNG ... however in a mad rush last week the government at the last minute decided to cancel this public holiday (which has been celebrated on April 25 in PNG for the past 30 years) and reset it for July 23 - because Prime Minister Somare has said:

"April 25 is when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed on the shores of Gallipoli in 1915.

For us, the right date to remember and pay tribute to our fallen heroes and heroines in WWII is July 23."

And that is because one of the bloodiest campaigns of World War II, which has forever sealed the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea was the battle of the Kokoda Track on July 23, 1942.

The Kokoda Campaign from July 1942 to December 1943 was critical in repelling the Japanese Force intending to invade Australia from PNG through the Kokoda track. It was then that Japanese troops landed on the northern coast of then New Guinea and unexpectedly began to march over the Owen Stanley Ranges with the intent of capturing Port Moresby.

Its a story of individual heroism, the courage and the refusal to give up as the men battled the elements of incredibly unfriendly terrain, dense jungle, outnumbered by a kamikaze enemy and fought bravely for victory. It is the Kokoda Force, a defending army amalgamated between a Militia Unit of Australia 39th Infantry Battalion, Papuan Infantry Battalion and of course the enthusiastic, hard working and sweating Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.

The Kokoda Force was the last band of untrained and ill-equipped men under the command of Major Morris. The war that started in Europe and ended in Kokoda was bloody, infested, under extremes of cold, hunger and over burdened, in thick jungles, steep gullies, high ridges, fierce raging rivers and high muddy and highly treacherous conditions. Australians and PNGns never gave up that struggle to protect their homelands.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Well its official. The last of Ricebags-Things-In-Sydney have arrived via frieght to PNG. Phew .... guess I left half my stuff down there, half my life, half my hopes, half my possible future down there, thinking, sydney-is-home sydney-is-home but kept saying it so often that bitty phrase has kind of lost its meaning. And I had to go back to Sydney 3 weeks ago to realise it.

So its ok. This means apart from one mammoth mirror, an easel and various bits & pieces (detritus of a life long and well lived in the city we love) floating around Sydney ... all ricebags material belongings (not that much actually) are now in the one country - even this is slightly unbelievable to me!

And I am happy all my things are here and not somewhere else or many somewhere elses ... I felt too scattered for a long time and have secretly been yearning for one place, one site where I could unpack EVERYTHING and sort it ... digest it, give some away and then box the remains (again) ... at least have some sort of catelogue or measurment of all the flick and flack thats brushed past and by and with me over these random years.

Anyhew ... all I wanted to say on this completely rainy dim blue day was that I think I am coming full circle?? And its kind of strange to understand that term from the inside out.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

happy easter!!

well ... fells a bit naughty ... after 2 weeks off down south ... the next 3 weeks are all 4 day weeks - starting this weekend with 4-day EASTER LON WEEKEND!!

for ricebag there will be a fair amount of church involed ... but also a little partying - starting in about 10 minutes!! cocktail bar here we come ...

this is a bit cheeky but I couldn't resist

bear-la prinny

my dearest sweetest bear has gone and gotten married - it was on april first on the banks of the Hawkesbury in the Kuringai National Park ... and everything about that day said Bear ... so understated and beautiful and elegant and exactly as she is ... all her loved ones there to celebrate this truly gorgeous pairing.

a wedding on a yacht; reception at the yachtie; stunning native flowers; zack as woofbearer; bubbling and yummy prosecco; good friends and family who have also taken care of ricebag over the years of this very long friendship between an islandbaby and an islandbear

unsentimental old me was the only fool on april fools - who knew I was going to cry?? Poor bear-daddy didn't know what to do. but it just came bubbling out ... really do love you bear - so much!!

ps pls keep the spare room for me!!

gutter princess

gutter princess walks down the aisle ... with her very brand new forever n'eva man
mudgee nsw march 2006

my truly loving and truly unique friend.

my gov, my gutter ... she got married and I was so happy and proud to be there for the loveliest wedding a la vineyard just 3 weeks ago ... all my lovely ya-ya boarders were there ... and it was just as I knew it would be - full and round with reunion and cheer and real affection and joy.

don't think an islandbaby could have asked for more. or a gutter princess.


ladies and gentlemen ... ricebag has her first official office cards - you know the type - to be handed out to clients; at meetings; work-related functions; to the bit-of-alright in the building next door as a casual hint-hint; after a liberal bottle of wine to the less than bit-of-alright down the short bar ... and they're nice and clear and hard and white and my name is embossed on them and i feel a bit like the establishment and dont like that but hey - sometimes you gotta eat shit for roses to make it

it's all pretty scary stuff ... ricebag actually driving on the roads (I know, I know) ... ricebag contemplating moving out (I actually went flat-hunting yesterday - pretty dire!!) ... ricebag basically getting over it,

didn't know all this growing-up was going to take so long to get here ... guess I tried to skip these classes and go straight to graduation ooooh ... about 10 years ago ... but its good to be going through the process ... this time it feels sort of fair.

Monday, April 10, 2006

2 weddings

Sydney was Sydney. Which means it smelt and felt like the home I carry with me anyway. It was awful and ecstatic, and very very sunny blue.

And the best part about Sydney was arriving and the worst part might have been arriving too.

So I left on a jetplane and I thought I'd feel mad or sad but it was neither and just really wanted to get home, back png-way and keep on keep on toughing it out in this frustrating place where people never say what they mean and what they mean remains a mystery until some event makes all the past ones clear. SO we are back, to complicated and wantok taim and it's already ticking a little ... only first day back in the office and now we are offically official and fully qualified, I am itching to get ricebag on track re work.

And the weddings were beautiful and elegant and totally appropriate ... and just celebrations really for my two girlfriends who have each married someone called Brad. What gorgeous weekends and time well spent with friends and families of friends and road trips and roadies and scones and motels and national parks and yachts and just lots of champagne really (GO the prosecco!!).

So landing back in POM-land feels ok and ricebag feels ok too.

So it's been a lot of love and vows of love .. and for me, just remembering Rumi too - the message is participate in love, seek it, shop it, share it ... be foolish and risky and generous with it:

These spiritual windowshoppers,
who idly ask, 'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.

What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.

Where did you go? "Nowhere."
What did you have to eat? "Nothing much."

Even if you don't know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.

Rumi, "We Are Three", Mathnawi VI, 831-845