Things I am average at no. 290: Providing

My housemate and I purchased steak the other day. I’ve been feeling a little under-meated of late and the sheer size of the mammoth porterhouses selected had me significantly giddy. I chose a day when I knew several people might be home so that we could all enjoy the meat planks and the marvellous assortment of freshly sauteed and gorgeously presented seasonal vegetables that I would have lovingly prepared.

This is what happened after work today.

Got steaks out of freezer, placed on bench. Left the room.

Came back ten minutes later, looked at steaks, contemplated pizza.

Looked more at steaks, still irritatingly frozen and completely uncooked

Sat on bed, whinged aloud about steaks.

Finally opened pack, put steaks on plate and put in microwave. I am Martha.. someone.

Despondently sipped a cider by the sink wishing a housemate would come home and tell me how best to construct a meal/construct a meal for me

Success! Josh home and roped into cooking steaks on BBQ! Things looking up.

Huge steaks still defrosting

Josh is cleaning the BBQ and I am now sitting on the floor of kitchen imagining a teeny race of people who might worship at the foot of our White Pages stack

This is why I shouldn’t have children.


Note: while writing, Josh made the salad and politely didn’t tell me to get off the floor.

What not to say

In recent years I’ve sported a short, asymmetrical ‘do that has kicked ass, jabbed my eyes frequently and led to many un-PC speculations about my sexuality.

It is quite short at the back. Think a brunette Ellen DeGeneres or a female boy. My hairline unfortunately extends a decent few inches below where the hair cut stops in two ragged and hairy tooth shapes, which when left unchecked leave me looking somewhat fur collared. One of the myriad benefits of said haircut is the opportunity to regularly shave my neck. Not only is this good exercise but it also provides a nice tempering to any unlikely aspirations I might have to ever be a real lady.

I didn’t ever stop to think about becoming a woman that shaves her neck when I was younger and much more starry eyed. But there’s a lot that changes when you grow up, and neck trimming it seems is par for the course in response to the life choices I’ve made.

I was at a party on NYE and chatting to a quasi-bearded friend (male). Because I was a few G&T’s in and because my frequent razoring has left me much more attune to the plight of those amply follicled, I mentioned, in what I’m sure was an appropriate moment to do so that I shave my neck. My conversational partner was a little shocked but only, I think, because it was not something he had considered before. He also pressed upon me the importance of blogging about this, as he too was several G&T’s in, and so here we are.

What I find interesting about any of this, because of course it’s patently clear that nothing else is, is that I am often embarrassed to admit to the neck shaving. It’s not really talked about over pizza or the water cooler or the whatever else, because it seems a little embarrassing to admit. And that shits me. I haven’t done anything wrong. I don’t want a hairy neck, because my do requires a certain shape to look like it is supposed to. That I find a hairy neck inherently unfeminine is a problem for another blog- today my beef is with all the crap we are not supposed to discuss.

I have a lovely friend, who after the turn of the year, asked me if I thought it was lame (paraphrasing a bit) that one of their resolutions was to make this year the one where they wound up in some sort of meaningful relationship.

I of course hushed them right up quick smart because to talk openly about one’s desire to find companionship can only mean that one is desperate and one can of course only find said coveted companionship when one is certainly not looking for it and doesn’t want it at all.

Actually I told my friend that they are excellent and brave.

We are often of the understanding that to talk out loud about being lonely, or looking for love is a little bit uncomfortable. Where did this idea come from? I know people who’ve been advised for years that they will find “the one” (please) when we’re “not looking” (honestly).

In a lovely paradox, we are supposed to soldier on happily in our singledom, knowing we’ll scare secret spouses-to-be away if we admit we’ve spotted them skulking in the underbrush, but we can’t ever talk about how happy we find our soldiering.

We are not allowed to say

“I am lonely and I find it entirely shit” but in equal and confusing measure

“perhaps I am super happy alone and get a lot more done”

is also off limits.

Similarly a parent is not supposed to say that sometimes they wish they hadn’t had children so they could play x-box all day.

Maybe it’s just the truth that is uncomfortable.

I am aware that there is often a time and a place for certain conversational topics- I will never, fucking EVER condone the Facebook over-share and I will probably not ever start a conversation with the words “I bleed monthly from my vagina and what do you think about that”- but, I don’t like the mystery and the hoo ha and the connotations that to admit certain things, to utter them out loud is to conjure the lord Voldemort of awkward societal topics. What’s the worst that can happen? Your friends might find out that you get gassy from eating apples? That you took secret pleasure from the getting the black shit out of your nose post-camping? That as much as I pretend to be still fairly keen and am afraid it will make me look like an unfeeling, unwomanly monster, and as much as I adore my nieces and nephews that I remain completely unconvinced that children are a thing I would ever want to grow in my body?

This is how the church ended up being a place where people are uncomfortable and ladies body parts got all the worst curse words.

I demand truth, for goodness sake, and the truth is this.

I am sad sometimes because I am alone. I am happy sometimes because I am alone. I don’t think I want children. I love, LOVE, sitting around and not doing anything. I hate it when you get lyrics to songs wrong. I like unhealthy foods. They taste good. I have kissed a grand total of one boy in my life, but have really wanted to kiss around six or seven. I am sometimes afraid of dying but most often I’m afraid I’ll not live well. Beans have been known to give me gas. I shave my neck sometimes, and bleed monthly from my vagina.

Try it.

You might like it.

Things I do less well than other people no 2

Not get thoroughly and unhealthily attached to people I find on talk shows and somehow fall in love with and who are, for all intents and purposes, famous.

I wanted to watch videos of Catherine Tate and Dave Tennant this one time, because of course I did, so I googled and was rewarded with a clip of the both of them on the Graham Norton show. I’ve watched him before and find him quite the hilarion (I’m trying it out. Shut up). Also on the show was Josh Groban, fine, and this dude with dimples and a fantastically dry wit called Jon Richardson. I instantly was a wee bit smitten and so as we do when we like a boy, bought his book from the Internet without haste or really knowing a lot about it or whether it was actually any good. Two weeks later it arrived and three days after that I was in love with the man.

He’s fucking brilliant, right, but also, quite human, quite insane and sort of manages to deal with his problems with the state of the world by hating on it a little.

Such was the state of my obsession with Jon Richardson that I began the thought processes necessary to a. meet him or b. become a weird, sad stalker lady with spaghetti stains on my moo-moo. I was legitimately believing that something would be made better by our getting to meet.

The most worrying part -my firm and unwavering knowledge that we would be like, sooo perfect together aside-  was when I tweeted him.

Oddly, he did not tweet back. There’s probably a back-log of single women who’ve found him on the YouTubes and who have come the realisation that they are what he needs to fix him make him happy that he has to work through, so I’ll give it some more time.

Side note: I managed to work this into a half-true performance in the style of a blog entry by a sad lonely woman about her meeting comedian Jon Richardson (except she didn’t she made it up because she’s crazy) for a subject at uni. Here’s to life imitating art.

Things I do less well than other people no 1

Actually when I have a blog, keep said blog in any sort of state even passing vaguely by what could be called “regular” or “interesting”. 

I haven’t posted in roughly twelve years, it seems. A lot has happened (a lot for me, so like, I’ve gone interstate and seen a concert) and a lot has been thought, arranged into sentences and then not posted at all. Mainly cos I’m lame, but also because I’ve been a touch busy and also watching a lot of Gilmore Girls, which I suppose could come under the first excuse.

I started writing this hilarious list of things I’m crap at (because innovation is for chumps and Steve Jobs) and that was several months ago and so now the majority of my witful anecdotes are horribly outdated. But, I am low on ideas and big on promoting my own inadequacy, so here they come anyway, enjoy.

Sorry once again for my tardiness.

This is not a diet blog part two: How I cried in the kitchen and lived to tell the tale

I have an awful habit of comparing myself to other people.  I do it with near obsessive constancy. I compare my writing ability to anyone who as much as composes a sentence on Facebook about their baby’s hair, I compare how I look in a t-shirt, I compare funniness, ease of conversation, walking ability, nonchalance, taste in literature, I’m not really picky. You do something that I also might want to maybe do, and chances are I’ve wondered if you do it better.  I have another awful habit, that of being so obscured in my vision by others achievements (or indeed, basic daily functions) that I become convinced incrementally, every time someone does something* that I am the most stupidly average person in the world. That by comparison everything I do must be fairly shit. I have a third awful habit. This one I think I’m only just learning I do (my friends will be face-palming in their lack of surprise but I’m pretty slow, alright) as I watch myself tell me I’m probably naff anyway, all the time. Here’s how it goes:

  1. I do something/think about doing something.
  2. I assume it is/will be shit.
  3. I make verbal pronouncements to that affect.
  4. I hereby save anyone who would have been disappointed/angry/embarrassed at my efforts  the bother of saying so, having cleverly circumvented their criticisms with my own.

Hahahaha. I am the most nefarious mastermind of all time.

It’s not like I spend my time crying about my lack of philosophy skills or not-quite-right skinny legs or am completely unaware of any mote of skill I might possess (my playlists, I kid you not, are award-winning**), I just am super good at pre-empting the sad faces I feel I’m sure to receive by trying my bestest at some stuff and very aware of people that are good at stuff that I dig. Which is normal. Maybe.

To whit:

I read Marieke Hardy’s book You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead (several months ago now, I’ve been brewing this for a little while) and I dug the shit out of it.

I had assumed the book would be funny and shoot-from-the-hip-honest, but to find it soft and elegant in parts and so bleedingly straightforward you wanted to call her up and say “thanks for being so sweet I’m also a right spaz” was a little unexpected. I found it totally mesmerizing and obviously hilarious.

After I read it I was a little desolate. She is just… so… good. AND she’s only a few years older than me AND she’s been writing columns for everyone for ever AND she’s written a TV show AND started the successful and entirely whimsical and lovely “Women of Letters” thing AND NOW A BOOK.

I began to resent my life. How have I ended up this bland and irritatingly unprovocative woman, at only five years Ms Hardy’s junior? How am I not writing columns for some such over a glass of wine or laughing loudly in public places with my roughly-the-same-amount- of-famous artist/writer/musician chums? I blame my friends. Why, as a middle class Australian attending a private Christian school I could not have had the decency to fall in with a crowd of no good, up all night, lets do whatever the hell we want, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt types is beyond me. How’s a girl supposed to accumulate ex’s like empties and anecdotes that would make your nostrils sting when the gang she hangs out with is PG at the most?

I at several points during and after reading thought “OK. We’ll just have to drink a shit load more. It’s not too late for that at least”.

I was also at several points during and after reading, when my disgust at my stubborn refusal to be anything but a regular, non-alcoholic person had stepped out to have a smoke, convinced that Marieke and I would be magical and life-long friends, should we ever meet (you see, in a secret cavern in my mind lurks the stupidly confident Carlynne, the one who still believes she will one day appear as a telepath with mad fighting skills in an indie superhero flick and who fortunately (or not, depending on viewpoint) takes over when I’m on the dance floor. Now, having read Marieke Hardy’s wonderful book, the weeny, inner, vim filled Carlynne cheerily tells me that one day, Marieke will stumble across this blog, be both stunned and chuffed by my skillful wordplay and humble affectations of hero worship and ring her publisher to tell them they’ve got another hit on their hands. She (inner sociopath Carlynne), was responsible for my 11 year old “Mark Gosseler’s limo breaking down out the front of my house and he has to wait for a tow but I’m not phased by his celebrity or blindingly white smile and he’s really impressed by that so we fall in love” fantasy and I suspect this one will be as unrealized) but mostly it was “aaaiii- my blinding lack of publishable material! Woe” and the gnashing of metaphorical teeth etc.

Now you see I write a little bit, but my only semi regular outlet (what you’re viewing. Gorgeous isn’t it) is a blog dedicated to how undeniably pedestrian my efforts are. Also note that I was here comparing myself to a woman who has actually attempted to do things that I’ve never tried. So of course I haven’t had the same level of success, publishers outside of my brain don’t ring unknown bloggers and ask permission to publish them. But by reading and bemoaning how much better she is, I got to remind myself that I’d probably never have her level of success anyway just to keep drilling the point home. You dig?

This is obviously all very amusing and Carlynne-like, but actually the last couple of months of the year, despite my powerhouse 30-is-still-alright-with-me performance got a little shit. I was both busy and exhausted, I was in the throes of a bout of loneliness to rival any I’d had for a few years that was kicked off, unfortunately, by a really lovely wedding and only exacerbated by the hideous timing of my first viewing of Jane Eyre, I had thrown a sort of unsuccessful weekend party a couple of weeks ago, I had put on weight and felt fat and inelegant most of the time, I doubted myself in social situations; I was for once, almost convinced that what I say about myself a lot is true.

It all culminated one night when faced with icing a mountain of gingerbread that I’d rather ambitiously constructed the night before and that refused to be iced either well or expediently in my bursting into tears over biscuits cut into the shapes of trees, bells and ninjas. Not a high point.

I went home to Adelaide shortly after and got a lot of rest, which was what was dearly needed, and also a lot of thinking time. I began to breathe again and found myself at the beginning of a new year, rather hopefully musing on the changes I wished I could make.

Wrapped in the protective cocoon of my mum’s house, far away from most responsibilities and the pressures I’d placed on myself, I decided that as no one else could claim to be in charge of making my life more palletable to me other than… me, that I would seize the dubious power of the Yule-Tide and make the new year an opportunity to be better. And not in a “you’re shit- be less shit” way.

Firstly I realised that being so thoroughly convinced of my shittitude was very, very unhealthy. I would need to work on that. Secondly, if I want to be healthier, in a physical sense, then I can choose to do that! I am a capable, mobile woman! If I want to eat better and exercise more, than by jove what’s stopping me? Huzzah! And finally, if I want to be a writer, then I probably need to fucking write! There’s no conceivable point lying around moaning about how successful someone else is when you don’t even update your blog regularly. Being good at something has to be worked on. Surely. So I resolved to be better, and while I was at it, better at being me.

And so, 2012 began, and with it a slightly more updated version of Carlynne.

More on that later…

Ps. I was planning on writing this closer to the start of the new year, but luckily enough, I’m hideously disorganized and have therefore had time to heal even more thoroughly than I did in my post-horrid-times time.

Pps. I honestly don’t write this stuff in the hope that people will read and feel sorry for “poor badly self-esteemed me”. I really do find this the best way of processing my thoughts, need the drive of a published medium to push me to write and also figure if someone else who thinks they’re naff reads it then maybe they’ll find something better to do with their time than think they’re naff.

*It has to be something I enjoy/feel is important. I am in no way envious of any athletes, sports players or producers of dub-step, reggae or trance music.

**Of course I’m kidding. There are no awards for playlists. Or are there?! Oh my gosh. If there are, that’s weird but please nominate me. I’ll enjoy another chance to be self depreciating.

This is not a diet blog part 1: How to win friends and throw shit parties.

Around two months ago we threw a party.  Or rather, we attempted to throw a party. Or rather, we attempted to throw a weekend long festival of whimsy and delight at our home. It was going to be completely, mind-blowingly awesome and totally relaxed all at the same time. A kitchen so full of smiling faces making brownies it’d make you sick, friends coming and going at all hours, pissing off the neighbors with their banjo led gipsy strummings at 3 in the morning, drinking long into the balmy evening and celebrating the delightful stroke of fate that brought us together to be young and on holidays.

The reality was much different. We started strongish with a lovely evening spent consuming shit loads of salad and performing various spoken word pieces (including a dramatic reading from the Kardashian novel) and musical numbers.

Saturday was altogether a more lonely affair. The very lovely Sarah did come over to make the aforementioned brownies and later on there was a solid craft and Community session but by late afternoon the friends had petered out and after several hours wandering from room to room I found myself playing mini-golf in the hallway with my housemate, his sister and our one unfortunate guest.

A few more people came later on and I had some laughs and smoked a cigar and pretended I was enjoying myself but all night I was inwardly saying “fuck them. Stupid jerky jerks, fuck them all” as I glared at empty rooms and huffing as another totally excellent song came on the playlist I actually put thought into that was now wasted just like the playdough I bought special and my joy and my soul and any expectation I ever have for anything ever.

I gave so much of a crap about how few people came to the weekend. We usually throw good parties. Like, reasonably excellent ones where people fill our house (inexplicably they’re mostly drawn to our stupidly long laundry) and laugh and drink and smoke moodily outside.

What’s worse than how shitty I felt about the lack of interest shown is that in justifying the vastly empty result of the much overplanned weekend (I had made a festival line-up and all), despite the fact that I knew there were a lot of people away and another party on the same night I at one point thought

“It’s because I’m lame and old now.”

Look- on the whole, 30 has been radding all over the place.

(I got a wee bit ramped about the whole 30 deal. Which is good, I think, on account of it means I’m not UN-ramped about it. And it is good, it feels good, it’s going well, I’m talking mortgages and investments (lies- but I have taken steps towards being a lipstick wearer(!!)) or more accurately I’m embracing me at an age that I can do nothing about and am deciding to celebrate the possibilities of me at this age instead of panicking about it).

BUT, when faced with the reality of dead air on my first not in my twenties party, I was, for a time, convinced it was because I was now an elderly person, senile enough to still believe her younger friends want to hang out with her.

It was my first real “holy shit what have I done” moment.

I felt naff and decrepit for days. Even though I knew that there were other parties on. Even though I knew a hell of a lot of people were out of town. I would focus on those who I knew weren’t, and glare at them inwardly, muttering about how relieved they must be to not have to hang out with me.

Poor, sad Carlynne.

Now just so you know how pitiful and stupid I actually am, a small highlight reel of some things that happened after I turned 30, before the weekend that made me Miss Havisham:

  • I had not one but TWO nights out with friends for my birthday, one here and one in Adelaide, both of which were stupidly excellent and populated with people who have proven consistently that they don’t find my company naturally repellent.
  • Danced like a mo’ fo’ four times, once at a 21st that I put together the music for (resulting, gratifyingly, in a floor full of mad shapes, stank face and hip hop throw downs the likes of which Carlton has never seen)
  • Road tripped with dear ones
  • Partied with dear ones until 6 am
  • Totally stuck it to the man with a permanent marker and a drawing of a rainbow (on a  wall)

I tell you this not to impress you (Because you know, several parties in one month- , someone alert Perez Hilton cos I’m the new Peaches Geldof) but to lay out the very normal and undramatic and multiple reasons I have to accept that I’m not entirely naff and do in fact take part in non-aged facility related activites so you can appreciate just how much I can ignore in order to feel sorry for myself. 

Geez grrl. Get it together.

Part 2 coming. Wha’ whaaa?

Sure, birthdays are stupid, but I like them anyway

I am 30 now. It’s like, official, and stuff. I got a letter from the Queen, man.

That’s not true. But you’re allowed to lie when you’re 30.

So, a couple of horrifically self indulgent posts coming your* way. Post birthday’s fault. Blame the birthday.

* I love referring to the internet like it’s actually a person reading this, and it’s obsessively watching my every move, nodding and saying “uh-huh, yep, yep” when I tell it my ridiculous tripe quota for the month has just doubled. And it maybe has a picture tacked up on its wall of me, and sometimes when its house mate isn’t around it kisses the picture. Yes, the internet is in love with me. What?

Things I’m average at no. 24: Talking to strangers.

I’m on the nine pm tiger flight to Adelaide. My tray table is upright, my knees unbearably close to the seat in front, my lower back humming with the beginnings of the almighty ache I will have when I disembark in an hour and a half. I have the aisle seat, we’ve just begun to taxi.

Seated to my left is young man, probably 24 or so wearing thick framed glasses, a white tee and dark skinny legs. He is fiddling with his phone. I have buried myself in my Stephen Fry bio immediately after boarding but as I read a part of me remembers something.

No. 35: Talk to Strangers.

Dang it.

I’ve noticed he has begun to use his phone as a mini skateboard and is doing little flips and stuff off his lap. I should talk to him. I will talk to him. I will put down my book under the pretence of having a drink from my water bottle, and then I will say “So what brings you to Adelaide?”. Aw yeah.

The plane has come to a bit of a stand still when I finish my chapter and serenely close the book, wondering if there’s any way the hipster next door could anticipate the verbal fireworks that are about to explode right in his face. I reach down, clasp my water bottle, unscrew the lid and take a drink. I put it back in my bag. I gently nudge the bag a little bit more under the seat. Now nothing stands in the way. I look at the pouch in the seat in front of me. Now it’s just me and you, little man.

We idle lazily on the runway.

I stare at the back of the seat.

I look slightly to my left, then to my right. I look down at the book closed on my lap.

talk talk talk talk talk you can do it what brings you to Adelaide what brings you to Adelaide whatbringzzyuutoadelaaaide

I study my fingernails for a bit.

The guy’s phone does another trick, a spectacular mini spin in the air over his right thigh.

I clear my throat slightly, then move my head to my right.

We move forward slightly, then come to another halt.

I pretend to be interested in the cement I can see out of the window, as though I need to visually verify that no, we haven’t taken off yet.

He looks downward, at his flipping mobile, adjusts his position slightly.

talk talk talk what brings you to adelaide what brings you to adelaide say it say it what are you waiting for? what is he going to do? rip your face off? plunge his phone into your eye socket?

I summon my courage and open my mouth. I close it again and look out the window opposite.

We are still on the ground.

The guy is reading the inflight menu. For the second time.

I feel physically ill.

I have now thought the words “what brings you to Adelaide” so many times they have lost all meaning.

Stephen Fry is smirking consolingly at me from his book jacket. Yes you can smirk consolingly. You have to know him.

The guy is looking out the window as well. Probably confirming we’re still on the ground.

I look back at Stephen. My heart pounds in my ears.


Dude pulls out the in-flight emergency instructions.

He begins to read them.

He needs me.

The plane is still not moving but is now making a loud buzzing noise from the rear.

A sweat breaks out on my forhead and I turn jerkily to my left. In a voice that is aimed at casual but probably hitting strangled and teary I say


He looks at me and shoots back in a low and slightly awkward voice “Yeah, pretty sure it is”. He is attempting to be reassuring.

“right right,” I say “it’s pretty weird though..”

He again assures me in his short, deep voice that all is well, clearly thinking that I’m on the verge of hysteria.

Loud buzz continues, sounding like an elephantine mosquito has landed on rear of plane.

Anxious, now that we’re off to this magical start, to make sure he knows my intent was relaxed convo not mindless panic I spout brightly that I’ve never heard that particular noise before at which point he looks at me sharply and asks if I fly a lot.

“Oh yeah, loads!”

Dude now looks as concerned as he thought I was.

Smiling manically, as though alarming young men on stalled flights is something I’m quite cheerful about I happily trill “Oh but, like, I’m sure it’s not a problem. hahaha!”

We are still on the ground.

I shouldn’t talk to strangers.