Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday 27th April - Byron Bay.

I awoke this morn to the most brilliantly blue sky I have ever seen. The sun was definitely out and proud and, even at 9.15am, I could feel the potently pleasant rays beginning to gently microwave my back as I unlocked my bike from its tree.
It was a restless night for my beloved boy who could not stop his hamster wheel of a brain from churning over possible painting ideas, future bound to earn him his millions. He tossed and turned all night waking me from my ever increasingly deep slumber, now and then with a swift kick to the shin, or by getting up once again to open/close the window, fetch water from the kitchen, scrabble around trying to find more blankets, while I, having inherited my fathers sleeping patterns, simply rolled over, instantly found that sweet spot, and returned to dreaming. This one however, was not the best of dreams I admit. In it, I was teaching an incredibly amazing yoga class, swooshing around amongst my students, adjusting them subtly to the moans and groans of delight as they found new levels of flexibility and release, within their tension filled torsos. All was going well, until I launched into a demo of Padottanasana. Bending over, double and gazing thru my own legs, to notice I had no clothes on. Now, im not sure if I had always had no clothes on, or if they had inexplicably vamoosed at the sign of a highly embarrassing forward bend, but I distinctly remember desperately trying to explain my self to my perplexed, and slightly terrified beginners as I covered my modesty with a bolster.
I am not usually a great dreamer, but I think it may have had something to do with the copious amounts of bread and jam, me and my boy consumed whilst watching ‘2001: a space odyssey’ before bed. Never a good combination.
So this morning it was up at 8.30 for a quick shower, and a bite of an apple, before heading out the door to meet Adam at the bottom of the drive, ready to take me to the 5 days intensive ashtanga course he had signed me up for, on the aptly named Blackbutts road.
Do not be confused here dear reader, as just because I have recently completed my teacher training, spending each day for 7 weeks, waking up at 5am to physically abuse my body does not, in any way, prepare one for the perils of early morn ashtanga 5 days in a row. For there are no straps, blocks, bolsters or blankets to gently encourage the body to life, fooling it into a posture by making it slightly comfier. Here, it as all about getting your nose to your toes, full stop.
Sam, guides us thru the first series calmly and serenely, as he delicately flops himself into each of the posture with effortless grace and timing. Adam quickly follows suit, breathing like a true warrior as he kicks back into Kumbakasana, lowers down to Chaturanga Dandasana, flips over the toes to Urdvha Mukha Svanasana and pushes back into Adho Mukha Svanasana, still maintaining his perfectly audible Ujjayi breathing. In a bid to catch up I somehow forget all about my breathing, and suddenly, as I am about to collapse, realise I am holding my breath, a sin for any yogini. I continue to stumble thru my variation filled vinyasa, like frustrated 10 year old who is too old to play with the babies, but still too young to join the adults, trying my best to ignore my ego and stick with what I know. I return to my Ujjayi, wipe the stinging sweat out of my eye, and ‘try to be confident with the level I am at’ (a typical yoga teacher way of saying, “who you kidding mate!”) I turn as instructed, to gaze under my armpit, only to see Adam in his perfectly positioned Parvakonasana. Bugger.
After another hour of struggle, I actually start to enjoy myself and notice that I too am mimicking that intensely deep ujjayi breath, and it is working! I actually manage one or two, not quite so embarrassing, jump backs, and, with sams help, my nose ends up scarily close to the tops of my feet towards the end of the class.
At the end of 2 hours of serious stretching and a much needed savasana, we floated out of the door, a scene of serenity, collected our bikes and as we peddled up the road I smiled smugly to myself and a wave of virtuousness filled me as I giggled and peddled a little faster.
So now, here I sit, perched on the edge of my bed munching on a few too many multi grain ryvitas and a little too much fresh honey, ready to teach once again in an hour and a half. Note to self: must remember underwear.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A poem, of sorts.

This girl puts on her bright shiny new façade for all to see.
It is polished to within an inch of its life, has been lightly buffed and lacquered to a fine finish, and all who gaze upon its ultimate perfect ness coo and craw at how beautiful it is.
She looks in the mirror and takes a moment to congratulate herself heartily on how marvellously fine it all worked out. All that fuss and bother from such a long time ago really came out well in the wash and look at what I am left with.
My bright shiny new façade.
Each morning she carefully brings it out. Delicately she washes, dries, and buffs it back to its former glory to bring out the shine and that special sparkle that everyone so loves to see.
It must be handled gingerly and with the up most care, only ever entrusted to one person.
For only she knows how keep it safe, her bright shiny new façade.
At the merest hint of bad weather, mad mood, or bad timing she whisks it away from public view so as not let it crack with the humidity or tension in the air.
Must protect it.
My bright shiny new façade.
She breaths a sigh of relief and marvels at how close she came to letting it slip, probably because of the weathered elastic that freys around the edges.
She makes a note with in her head ‘must buy new elastic, strong enough to keep it secure’
“Silly old thread” she giggles to herself as she strokes it tenderly.
Her bright shiny new façade.
Random Ramblings - dont take too much notice of the second one, i was feeling particularly down and had eaten way too much muesli, can send one a little loopy.

23/4/09 – Byron Bay

Bits of string to small for anything.

I was born and then it came.
An overwhelming urge to collect as if I was half human, half magpie.
Old keys, toy soldiers mangled from too many wars, feathers, shells too stinky to ever be kept inside, beads of all shapes, sizes, colours and flavours, coins from faraway lands, old watches that had frozen at a certain time never to tick again. Freyed pieces of fabric collected merely for their soft strokeable pelt, or their rough unforgiving weave, ribbons that shone like shiny lollyies in their cellophane wrappers.
A small habit it begins my friends, but then ‘oh how it takes over.
Every second spent out of doors, eyes peeled for the telltale glint of sunlight upon the corner of something too good to leave behind.
The sun bleached, mud covered, bobble from a childs winter woolly that has been imbedded into the sandy, soily road surface, a treat to behold.
The strap from a fellow yoginis dress, that she had cast aside ready for the bin, swept up by moi and quickly turned around, into a fine foot decoration paraded around for the admiration of others.
Reincarnation of the Rank and Rebuffed.
A small but honest title that fits my flurries of fruitfulness, sprouted from the predicament of poverty, that has also lead to a whimsical and witty writing obsession that haunts my brain daily.
As I sit and contemplate the things I find and create from them, and the words I choose to explain myself in my day to day life, I wander what I shall be like in 20 years time. Will I be festooned with feathers, and wrapped in ribbons, spouting rivers of words that only just make sense, strung together like lyrical liquorice, keeping those who can stand to listen firmly on their toes, ears pricked for the next instalment. Or will I fade away into the background, another writer who could have been, another creator of pretty things who never got her moment to shine. Another drawer full of ‘bits of strings too small for anything’.

24/4/09 – Byron Bay.

Today is the day you realise the worst.
The big idea, the big plan that you tried your hardest to keep under wraps, just encase it didn’t materialise, but somehow found yourself spilling the intimate details to those who barely know you, has failed.
Not that this hasn’t happened to you before. Oh no dear reader do not feel sorry for me, for I am the ‘King of the Could Have Beens’, the ‘Queen of the Not Quite Theres’, the ‘Patriarch of It Just Didn’t Feel Right’.
Once again, I perch precariously on the edge of the weather beaten, moss covered fence of options, as I try to rack my brain and think of the next step. My endless chase of, what? I fall over my feet to be the first one to reach it, I set off a day before every one else to get, where? I cast others to the roadside for being to slow, or not commited enough to, what?
Fat, thin, blonde, brunette, single, attached, model, nanny, city, country, alcoholic, t- total. Each one of these weighty over coats has been draped around my shoulders at one time or another, to keep me warm and protect me from the consequences that fall around my ears like fat drops of rain, but still non of them seem to fit quite right. These always an annoying label inside the collar, or the sleeves are a little too long or it just smells like wet dog when ever it gets wet.
And so the search goes on, but my dear reader do not feel pitty for me, as I have learned from each one of these ‘Trenchcoats of Truth’ and so as I trudge forward on my journey, I have chosen to remove my overcoat and simply get wet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday 19th April 09 – Byron Bay.

My pile of dirty washing now equals the size of Mount Warning a reasonably large land mass close to our house. It is said to be one of the major points where all the earths’ energy channels meet, creating one giant earth chakra. Not too dissimilar to my pile of undulating undergarments as im sure there are a few energy channels running thru them by now, there’s definatly something running thru them as I have heard it scuttling about at night in the same vicinity.
Every morning for the past 4 days we have announced that today is the day we bundle up our, always surprisingly numerable amount of soiled vests, pants, socks and second hand towels that smell as if they have been kept in a damp loft for a week or two, into our one enormous bed sheet and cycle down to the YHA hostel to sneak in and use their laundry facilities, like some Bonnie and Clyde/ Dick Whittington on bicycles type affair.
We discovered this technique from Jess, a lovely if somewhat slightly odd girl form Adelaide, who was one of our fellow housemates until Mark, our equally odd landlord decided one day that he had had enough of her, and, as the cruel but kind mother bird lovingly but ruthlessly boots her young chick out of the nest, he not quite so lovingly booted her our of the house. For good. Im not too sure of the formalities but what I do know is Ollie and I helped her bundle all her belongings into her battered white transit in a flurry of tears, sweat and rain. This was during the week the sky fell in by the way. I had always thought she was fairly same until she started spilling horrific stories about our fearsome landlord and scared the leopard print yoga pants off of me. I think Ollie always had his doubts and they were firmly confirmed when he spied numerous jars of half nibbled anchovies shoved in the door of her vile van. A sure sign of insanity of ever I saw one.
So when every “when ever we can be bothered” comes around, we drag our ‘sack-o- socks’ down to said hostel, creep past the receptionist doing our best ‘ scruffy backpackers impression’ not too hard I admit, and make our way past the most depressing pool I have ever clapped eyes on. The sign on the gate optimistically states ‘No glass in the pool area at any time’ but it seems people would obviously prefer a stroll to the local bottle bank, by the looks of the greeny grey goop that seemed to be collecting and forming a thin carpet, over the once jazzy blue mermaid mosaic at the murky depths of the pool.
The laundry room is behind the glamorous Miami style pool area and to the right just next to the showers.
As soon as you walk in an overpowering cloud of dry heat hits you making you choke and break out into a sweat at the same time. Once you have acclimatised and your eyeballs have got the hang of blinking double time so as not to let your somewhat valuble eybulbs shrivel up amidst the flying towel fibres and washing powder flakes that fill the air, you must ‘sort your load’, according to the laminate plastered to the wall. So we crack open the bundle and sort.
Now heres and interesting fact that I only just found out, for an item of clothing to be considered ‘a white’ it only has to contain the slightest hint of white about its person, anywhere. Even if it’s the stitching. Every day is definatly a school day I tell you.
So, washing sorted we cram it into the impressively industrial machine that laughs at what we thought was a sizeable load. My beloved boy admitted that he has a certain fondness for any industrial machine that was obviously made to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and the 6month old un washed under crackers of an unusually sweaty backpacker, and I must admit I agree with him. Washing in, we retrieve the small wrap of blue washing powder that the receptionist handed us, falling hook line and sinker for our uncanny resemblance to the paying residents, from ollies red back pack. The powder has been measured out by some poor sod into little polythene baggies so that every one gets the same stingy amount, like in prison. The result however is a slightly odd, slightly illegal looking bag of powder that one has to carry around in ones pocket and that automatically, makes you feel guilty when it happens to plop into the ground in the middle of Woolworths.
Powder in, and slam the door closed with a satisfying clunk, insert criminally small amount of coins, turn the dial and WHOOSH! We’re away.
For the next 35 mins we retire to the internet café where once again we fool the waitress into thinking we are paying customers but pulling out an apple I had hidden about my person for the very occasion, and munching away heartily as we tippy tap on our Toppols safe in the knowledge we have once again beaten the system.
Sufficed to say when we return after having popped back after 35 mins to remove squeaky clean items and dump them in the even heartier tumble dryer, we are greeted with a pile of washing so dry and warm and ferociously loaded with static electricity, you automatically want to a) climb inside b) fold each item more precisely than ever so a snot to waste all the hard work and c) rub each piece on your head and giggle as it sends each hair into a frenzy of static excitement.
So washing folded and bundled back into our swag bag, be retrieve our rusty cycles and pedal home with haste to ensure we make it back before the sky falls in again.
Tuesday 14th April – Byron Bay.

The good doctors of Byron Bay have finally been able to figure out the mystery of my funky eye. Thats right ladies and gents you heard me, I feel like I have been given the key to Narnia where I can go and frolic with the good sited Mr Tumnus. Finally I have an answer other than “hmm….” and I am now back on the road to recovery. I wont bore you with the details, or the painfully long name, that I cannot for the life of me remember, only that it had the word ‘optics’ somewhere in there, which was how I knew she was talking to me.
Needless to say I have another combination of creams, and pills to take which I am promised will sort me out once and for all. This either means I finally have the right medication, or they have decided to put me out of my misery, unbeknownst to me and my shrivelled eyebulb. Fingers crossed for the first one.
Ill keep you posted, naturally.
1 week and 4 days since I gained my new status as yoga teach, yet still I sit here in our damp ant filled (as I have discovered most places in byron bay are) room, at our ‘not quite as wobbly as before’ desk tippy tapping away, waiting to hear back from one of the hand picked ‘places I would like to work’. I have thrust my freshly printed Curriculam vitae into the hands of many managers with my best ‘hire me, im reliable’ smile plastered across my face whilst trying not to show off my weird eye, and now comes the painfull, laborious wait.
In the Top 5 at the moment is a hairdressing salon Manik, that one of my fellow house mates works at. Sonia is a very sweet but heavily footed, German girl who shares the bedroom next door to ours. She is a fellow hairdresser and is leaving in 1 week. She encouraged me to “give it a go” tho I am a little sheepish as I haven’t worked in an official salon for quite a few years, I think it would be a fun challenge for me tho and quite like the idea of sharpening my skills again. Fingers crossed then and wish me luck.
Mine biciclet has been thoughtfully and slyly stolen from right under my nose. Bastards.
I had chained my beloved 1980’s mountain bike to our tree (a big fat tree too, not a skinny one by any means) outside our house and when I awoke, as i pottered bleary eyed, scratching my head and yawning widely, into the bathroom and peeked out of the window to see if the rain was ever going to stop, I noticed that the tree was bear. Bugger.
The suitably lovely bike man at the shop where I purchased my dream machine took pity on me. Hamish is, as my beloved boy has just reminded me “a guy I dont want to ever forget” and how could we? He is perfectly adorable and is completely ageless, as any facial tell tale signs are covered by his luscious thicket of a beard that converges somewhere around his ears with his equally healthy main of dark curly locks. He rides an old postmans bike with a matching red helmet and always sports humorously bicycley themed tshirts with verses such as “ride it like you stole it” printed across the chest. Anyway, Hamish came to my rescue and leant me a beautiful bike that he called “scraping the barrel with this one” but I as usual fell in love with the rusty, red 10 speed with its padded black leather seat that was miles to low for my 34” legs, but still I took it and now ride it with pride. I have a feeling I may have to purchase it now as I have become severely attached, and have even picked out the ultramarine blue plastic flowers I am planning on strapping to the handle bars. I think its fate.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday 8th April 09 – Byron Bay.

I sit here at a wobbly legged, one drawered desk, with a faded 1970’s map of the world lacquered onto the top, munching on an almost comically sized carrot and a fresh pot of Promite. I have just finished and enormous mug of hot chai tea with soy milk and honey, that I pilfered off of one of our new house mates, promising myself as I poured the gloopy white milk substitute from its cardboard container, that I would replace it when I next have the money to afford such luxuries.
Our new abode, for the time being, is a large crumbly, 1960’s, guesthouse. It has mahogany coloured floor boards, an enormous veranda and kitchen taps that make me want to call them “faucets”.
Mark, the owner of this ‘Sesame Street’ house, reminds me somewhat of a Vietnam war veteran. Short back and sides, slightly crinkled and frayed around the edges, permanently on edge, with a soft Californian drawl. He seems nice enough tho and likes to keep himself to himself which works for me. The ‘big room’ was the one we originally fell in love with here. It is enormous with two floor to ceiling shuttered doors that lead out into the similarly gargantuously proportioned balcony. We pictured this room as our dream studio, come bedroom, come living room, come yoga studio as it is easily big enough for all this, and a few impromptu dinner soireys to boot. However, as is typical this time of year, being Easter, and the yearly awaited Bluesfest, any landlord worth his salt hikes up his prices, and has a tendency to squish as many poor willing fools into one room as possible, and charge them thru the roof for the privilege. Mark, being the seasoned pro he is, had this firmly in mind as he point blankly informed us “ do you know how many people I can get in that room man? And at least another 2 on the balcony. You guys take the small room.”
So here we are in the ‘small room’ that is to be fair, more than adequate for 2 people if a little stark. We have fashioned a wardrobe from a piece of rope strung between two hooks in the corner, we have a rickety double bed with four double sheets but no pillows and a desk with no chair. But, I sigh, at least we have a place that is slightly more within our price range to lay low until the pot smoking, blues loving, Easter bunny has hopped off out of town and we can return to our search for the dream house. We are also waiting to hear back from a friendly English couple who are selling their bright yellow, ex florists van, which they converted into a camper. They have just lowered the asking price again form 3500 dollars, to 2500, as it seems they are desperate to get rid as they leave Byron at the end of the week. We decided to stand firm with our measly offer of 1000 dollars and see just how desperate they are by Friday. Fingers crossed.
We have already sniffed out and claimed a few friends here, that seem to have that same universal wit that Ollie and I are drawn to, and so we have spent the last few nights at our friend Adams house as I think he felt sorry for us.
Last night we clambered into his ute and he drove us to the Yurt (don’t get confused here) up on the hill. The Yurt is incredible. It is exactly what it sounds like. A 10 metre round mongolian yurt, that is filled with the most delicious old Indian rugs, cushions and Tibetan prayer flags that turn it into the cosiest, womb like structure I have ever seen. It is used for yoga classes, meditations and, I found out that you can hire it for your wedding. Cue a few inconspicuous nudge nudge, wink wink moments in my beloved boys direction.
Any way back to the story, we tiptoed up the path to the intricately carved crimson door, removed our shoes and stooped down thru the door way into the technicouloured tent. We each recieved a round cushion and took up a cross legged seat on the floor. Thus followed a 45 minute silent meditation which I am very impressed to say the boys handled like pros and I think they even enjoyed it, numb bums and all. Rebecca and I fell straight back into the old routine of our daily meditation classes from yoga camp, and I actually felt a lot calmer and a little less disjointed as I had before. When we were all fully meditationed out, we hopped back in the shiny white ute and headed back to Adams beautiful house, to feast on homemade sweet potato and cashew dip, with vegetable squewers, followed by roasted banana, soy ice cream and homemade flap jacks.
I have developed a serious case of post yoga camp munchies so this went down a little too well. Diet starts tomorrow.
Saturday 4th April 09 – Byron Bay.

Its raining. Again.
I have just finished a another gourmet meal of corn thins, Promite, avocado and a huge carrot, as normal, but, as my beloved boy has now touched down, we splashed out and added broccoli, houmous, feta cheese and some Turkish bread, his choice, to our eclectic shopping trolley.
It is beautiful to be back together, ‘team Saliver’, and he is dealing well with my sudden stressful outbursts as my institutionalised brain gets used to being back in a world of taxis, pizzas, pelican crossings, and bad movies.
I have ceremonially left the ashram and am now in the wooden egg box that is the Belongil Beach house.
We stayed here when my boy came to visit, so Michael the friendly guy at reception remembered us and greeted us warmly as old friends, asking me how the course went and congratulating me on my newly acquired teaching status. Because of our ‘contact’ we managed to swindle one of the better rooms for 1 night.
We dragged our bags, heavier than ever, up the wooden staircase and along the outdoor walkway to our room, number 23. Inset into the door was a beautiful stained glass window of a pelican, always a sign of class in my book. We opened the door, dumped out stuff and needless to say enjoyed our palatial room with gay abandon until 10am this morn when our bubble was brutally burst and we had to downgrade to the more shoebox like room in which we now reside.
Today began with a run on the beach, followed by a generous stab at some yoga by Ollie and a test of my teaching skills. Then a quick bowl of muesli, strawberry yoghurt, and a banana each and we were off on our bicycles in search of a place to call our own.
To cut a very long day short, we didn’t find our dream home. We cycled out to Suffolk park to have a look a few places on the rentals list, handed to us by Alison the blonde real estate agent, but they were either too big, too expensive, or had been photographed in a very good light, on a very good day and, I suspect, had a generous dash of Adobe Photoshop lavished upon them.
So now here I sit, perched on the edge of our creaky metallic bed, staring at the fire drill laminate on the wall and wandering if we will ever find our hinterland hideaway, and where, exactly is it hiding?