March 9, 2009
A little preemptive announcement as the site is still in disrepair,
but re-bookmark me please.
I am natalija.com.au
March 2, 2009
The Original and Best Portuguese Water Dog
Yes, I know, (everyone I cross paths with asks) Obama has chosen a Portuguese Water Dog for the Whitehouse.
Oscar's identity can no longer be elusive. Now every man, woman and dog will want one and his name will be as common as mud. Judging by the popularity of Obama, I don't doubt that we'll soon be seeing Water Dog emblazoned cups, ties and ranges of snacks that both you and your dog can share.
It's disappointing, not just to me, but to Oscar. You know, he felt special, like a real individual. The attention he received on simple walks to the beach truly put an extra bounce in his stride. It's what he's grown up with and now he risks being... common.
It's also like being the first 'of' something cool, then someone 'famous' goes and copies you, and no one realises that you were the original.
So I thought it would only be fair to Oscar, to share with the world that Obama actually googled "gorgeous beach loving dogs" and discovered my blog. He enjoyed reading Oscar's adventures so much that, well, the choice was easy. But he didn't even contact me to tell me of this inspiration.
What do you expect really, as if he could tell the world that he'd copied someone else. That wouldn't be very presidential...
Oscar has taken it all a bit personally, and is exercising his cool factor, a bit hard.
I'm letting him do it, I'm sure it's just a phase, a necessary process.
Although I kinda want my sunnies and hammock back.
[current mood] Ginger Cod & Top 100 80's hits
February 25, 2009
Up In Lights
Finally the most significant day of the year has been recognised.
This and the Facebook events calendar should see me through...
[current mood] Organic Red Wine & New Email Beep
February 24, 2009
I'm a little gassy
Contemplating my highly reactive state I thought that perhaps I could be likened to a highly reactive element, like Francium or Cesium. I've previously described myself as porous, like one of those house sponges that just drinks up whatever it lays in. That's fairly accurate. But now I'm liking the picture of me as a gas. Little molecules floating around in a pink haze - pretty vibey, pretty fast moving... but at high risk of contamination.
Sometimes a good result, sometimes a bad one, but always REACTIVE.
Here are some chemical equations I have worked out.
I am (in my Eckhart Tollesque way) working on not reacting. I am working my way back up the chart, and over to the right. I'd feel pretty comfortable if I settled on Carbon. Plain old simple, low reaction Carbon.
Eventually I might become a diamond.
[current mood] Beach Runs & Death Cab
February 21, 2009
A film I made for Tropfest (and didn't get in) is being filmed this Sunday night at the pre-Tropfest "Best of The West" at FTI in Fremantle.
This will be my first screening - the beginning of many more I hope!
But it is scary too.... so I think I'll hide up the back and gauge the audience reaction before doing any further promotion. Stay tuned (or turn up!)
Starring Damon Lockwood and Terry Hackett. It's a satirical film about Derwent, his mother and their sticky dreams.
[current mood] Israeli Couscous & Ladyhawke
February 18, 2009
Just a little beauty
They call it the magic hour
Just before sunset when the light turns
and the flowers vibrate
And everything is settling in for the night
[current mood] Peppermint Tea & Dusty Springfield's Spooky
February 17, 2009
Herbal product shop denies herbs doing things
I walked passed "The Well Within" in Cottesloe for the first time and saw what looked like an old Parisian Apothecary. Little jars and labels and oils.
Ooh! This might be the shop that will have something that I need...
Conversation as follows:
"Hi there, I'm just wondering if you have any of those smudge sticks - the kind you burn. Like herbs.."
"No, we don't believe in that."
"Huh. Believe in what?"
"That's spiritual stuff."
"Well, no, it's herbs that you burn."
"But for what purpose?"
"Energy... in a room...."
"No, we don't believe in that. Just pray to the holy spirit"
"Ok then, bye"
Needless to say I am a little perplexed as I would have thought that a herbal shop would believe in herbal qualities - like purification of air. It's just what 'take' you have on it I suppose. But who would deny that some sage and juniper would freshen up a room, (and yes, killing off old energy left by previous occupants). Just not sure if the holy spirit is going to help me out here...
[current mood] Bananas & Yoga Songs
February 14, 2009
Fear of Flying explored
The past 16 months has seen my little body move across the globe as outlined below:
With every flight I think that my fear can't get any worse. I often promise the god of the air that if he just lets me land safe then I'll never step on another plane. I'll boat, I'll bike, I'll bloody walk, just land me this one time.
When I'm up there above the globe, staring at the wings functioning correctly, I reflect on being a child and how much I loved to fly. No knowledge of the mechanics or crashing issues of the world, just the amazingness of being in the air and off to another land. I think it might be that my brain has grown to be filled with facts of human-error, mechanical-failure and basic bad luck.
No matter how many times I count the number of flights taking place per year thinking statistically I'll be fine or that I'm more likely to die from being hit by a coconut, it just does not take away the fact that we are simply TOO HIGH and if something goes wrong there is no out.
It's just not right. Why can't we fly 200 metres up? How can we trust this metal structure with so many miles between us and the earth. Every little bump or shake of the plane sends my gut and mind spiralling into "is that the engine failing?" or "what if something just stops". I start to do little prayers - rekindling my relationship with God. My mind starts to work overtime as I worry my bad thoughts will encourage crashing, so I start trying to generate a positive energy for the plane, thinking I have personal responsibility for the safety of the plane, as if my brain controls what happens next.
I need the movies to distract myself.
Every flight I ask that I just make it home one more time, as i'm not quite ready for dying. I just want to spend a little more time with my partner, or just see my family, or experience this upcoming project.. there is always an excuse.
I never quite reach the point where I accept that it could be the end of me.
So I clench my butt cheeks and harness my brain power to help the plane land safely.
When we get closer to the ground I start to envisage the plane crashing, just to see if I'd make it alive. Nup, too high, not possible, oh hang on, some trees, yes, they could buffer the fall, I constantly visualise the plane crashing and how I would react in group full of strangers, right up until we are metres for the ground and then I totally relax.
Each time I land, a warm glow enters my body, yes, I made it one more time.
After my last flight I declared that I wouldn't fly for a very long time. I can't bear the idea of this fear getting worse.
But then I got an invitation to one of my best friends weddings in Melbourne. And now I'm booked to go through it again.
There's no escape for a modern woman with a fear of flying.
[current mood] Star of Bethlehem Flower Essence & The Phone Ringing
December 28, 2008
So many pictures - Papua New Guinea revisited
I've awoken from another Doxycycline fuelled Armageddon dream to the sound of a frantic tapping.
I lift my mosquito net and tip toe across the buckled lino to the window.
The sound stops.
It sounded exactly like a man with a computer keyboard just banging on it at random. What the hell could it be?
Just outside my window at 3am?
I tell myself to relax and not let my all too vivid imagination come up with threatening concepts. So I fall back asleep.
I awake again at 6am to the sound of construction, metal being cut, blades spinning, pipes banging. It's boxing day in Papua New Guinea.
Significance factor, zero.
I've spent the lead up to Christmas here with virtual strangers, mostly in the back of a four wheel drive over potholed roads, going here, going there, getting into the spirit of 'waiting' more so than Christmas.
People will wait for hours and not complain. In one of many waiting episodes I asked where all the other people on the streets were walking.
"No where." a lady said.
"They don't have any jobs, so they just walk around."
And I finally GOT the notion of truly having nothing to do, and it explained the blank faces, the meandering walks, the rows of people just sitting with their bilum bags chewing betel nuts.
"There's No Place Like PNG" is the headline on the newspaper clipping on Florence's wall. Well, I think I agree. She is the head of many things, firstly the bilum fashion project, where she has initiated the transformation of the ubiquitous (and entirely gorgeous) bilum bags into fashion items.
The fully weaved dressed is Florence's initiative and has proved popular amongst PNG locals, even sported by Commonwealth game athletes. Now I'm here to mentor the weavers to create fashion products that will appeal globally. We're going to experiment for the next few weeks with hats and belts and eco-shopping bags to see what works. Then we'll develop a brand and package it up for marketing to the world.
All this will be intercepted by much much waiting.
Last night we waiting for a lift for 5 hours. It was suppose to be 2. Luckily she had the third series of Prison Break. We watched every one and laughed about how addictive it is. Her children laughed hardest at the man describing the Panama people as "banana benders".
I'm not sure on what level...
Florence, beyond her bilum fashion project is many things, and this year she organised the pre christmas celebrations. Carols by candlelight (a first in Goroka), SingSing dances, floats on trucks, santa at the hospital and so on.
I got to catch some of the festivities in the breaks I had between exhausted collapse in my little compound.
The highlight was the trip to the hospital with black santa and little santa with a white facemask on, which felt entirely creepy and emotionless. I thought it would surely make the children cry. We drove over thousands of potholes, a fire engine at the head with balloons attached in a volleyball net. With santa ringing his bell and the sound of the reversing truck beep...
And the second vehicle was a ute with a ten piece brass section playing christmas tunes. How they balanced on their plastic chairs over the bumps whilst keeping their lips on the mouthpieces I really don't know.
And then was us, in the fourwheeler, following the parade of two, to the hospital. Our car held the toilet paper and soap, a gift for all the really sick children, and the sack of second-hand stuffed toys and lollies to be dispersed as well (thank god, sweetens the toilet paper gift somewhat).
People stood by the side of the road and their faces lit up. Really. With the backdrop of fertile soil sprouting palms and fruit and dirty shacks and dirtier children, I could understand the impact of seeing this bright red fire truck with a man from the snow. I even met a mother picking up a flat red balloon from the dirt and trying to undo the knot in order to blow it up again for her baby.
I smiled from my window but didn't want to appear like I had anything to do with it.
I didn't feel I deserved to even be on board, to be seen as special in any way. I love that the whole convoy was generating by locals, for locals. No white person hand out. So I shied away from even waving, wanting to not show any responsibility for the beauty.
But then I felt rude, so I gave little smiles and waves.
It began to rain and the horns I imagined were filling up, and the drops splashed off their metallic red top hats but they played on with faces unchanged.
At the hospital the black and little santa handed out their sack of toys. I couldn't watch the kids with tubes in their noses with mothers on their bedside. I then entered another ward with men in skeletal form, doubled over their beds with a smell that I couldn't inhale, so I scuttled off into other parts of the hospital to take photos.
On the way home in the fourwheel with the santas, Florence would pull over dramatically to anyone with a baby and santa would hand them a toy. I would hear her ask "pikininni?" and only to the liklik ones would she hand over a toy and maybe a sweet. It was the oddest Christmas handout I'd ever experienced (okay, the only one) but the devilish way she drove, almost running the babies over, and pushing the toy out the window and speeding off, it was of stark contrast to the spirit of the thing. But the mothers with their pikininnis were calmly delighted.
Some other things I have experienced since I've been here:
I saw a group of people running down the street, they had all been involved in a clever shoe-stealing incident. Each passing the pair of shoes on to the next, until it reached the outside of the shop and then they split. The locals around me laughed at it, like comrades of the shoplifters. I laughed at the effort required to steal one pair of shoes. Who is going to wear this pair of shoes?
I've also had my bottom squeezed by a very old woman with no teeth because I didn't give her any of my change. Fair enough, and really not the worst response I could have imagined.
I've eaten 3 types of sausages, beef stirfry and old dry deep fried chicken, all in the one meal. And it is rude not to finish your plate isn't it.
I've bought that high quality Goroka coffee grind to make myself an almost latte. But discovered that it required a stove top or plunger of which I haven't found in any shop in Goroka yet. So instead I sifted it through a tea towel and added some (not properly sealed) vanilla soy milk. It has been the highlight of my days.
Everything here contains preservative. You can't get the basics of milk and bread because there really isn't any wheat or cows to milk. So instead you have to work with the climate, not eat like it's your own. Instead I am now eating boiled up kaokao (sweet potato), greens, like pumpkin leaves and rice. White rice.
All my purist, organic desires have been forcibly left on the shores of Australia, and in cultural sensitivity I must consume more chemicals, chipped Teflon and starchy food groups than ever before.
But the trick I've discovered is to avoid the supermarket and instead go to the markets or your new friend's gardens and find those PNG fresh things, like peanuts, pineapples, green leaves - any kind, raspberries, passionfruits, avocados. All free from the garden or ranging from 10cents to $1. Just pick and eat.
And soon I will venture into the betelnut (buoay) territory, the warming, high-giving nut that when mixed with lime powder (ducka) and a mustard stick (cumbun) turns a shocking red. The teeth of people everywhere are stained red or filled with chewed up pieces of betelnut. It's the most acceptable look here besides meri dresses (aka mumu) even though both are decidedly unattractive. And beware the flying red spit whose projectile-ability is perfected by age 6. I have seen it. They spit sideways with such precision. I'm sure they could aim for an ant 3 metres away and kill it with the impact.
These PNGers they can weave incredible patterns using a bit of broken umbrella, they can wait for hours and not utter a word, nor a word of complaint, they can not eat and not go to the toilet for hours and hours, although I assume it is the lack of eating and drinking which leads to the lack of toileting. And foremost the PNGers are sweet. They are truly sweet. They will wave and smile and shake hands with each other every day. What is it? Culture? Having nothing? Having each other?
Whatever it is, the people's sweetness courses through my veins.
ps: I am going to blog a lot more from now on.
[current mood] Passionfruit & Andrew Bird
December 11, 2008
Sharing Christmas time cherries with my brother
Cracking macadamias with a brick on the ground like with grandma
Receiving house-warming flowers that are a colour-perfect match
[current mood] Home Made Rocky Road & TV on the Radio on repeat