Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So Near and Yet So Far

In case anyone was wondering, yes, we did have sex last night. So I should be happier, right? And I sort of am. But I'm sort of sadder, too.

Last night, we went to bed as promised. As you may have noticed, our sex life is mainly (in fact, lately almost entirely) oral sex. Oral sex is easier for the Big Dude because it requires less energy that he hasn't got, doesn't put strain on his bad back, etc etc and I enjoy it, too. One of the great charms for me of our recent sex life is that, after years of giving and receiving oral sex at a ratio of about 10:1, suddenly the ratio is very much "in my favour".

But the fact is that our new sex life, for me, is largely missing two main ingredients: penetration, which I love, and mutuality, which I also love. Of course, it is also missing other things like passion and lust and spontaneity, but perhaps the less I think about that, the better. Because, while I think I can reasonably ask the Big Dude to behave a little differently in order to get at least some of my needs met, it seems to be impossible to get him to feel differently. I have tried for years, but, while there have been occasional momentary successes, there has never been any long term change in that respect. There is a limit to how long even I will keep flogging a dead horse.

Anyway, last night we were doing particularly well, despite the fact that the Little Dude decided to wake up and start crying just as we were getting started. We got the Little Dude back to sleep and got back to where we were. And it was good. There was a lot of kissing. And I noticed that the Big Dude was actually responding a bit more than usual and seemed to be enjoying it more than usual. As you can imagine, I was pretty happy about that. And he did have an erection, which I was also happy about. I didn't, at that stage, have any plan for that erection. It was just nice to know it was there, if you know what I mean.

But the Big Dude still saw what was happening as business as usual. He was still assuming a servicing/non mutual/oral sex arrangement. But when we started, it was clear to me that it wasn't going to work all that well. The fact was that, while I was enjoying what he was doing, it wasn't what I wanted, either physically or emotionally. What I wanted was penetration - both the stimulation of it and the intimacy of it. So I asked for that, telling him it was okay if he didn't want to, and he said "I can try" and that's what I got.

And for a while there, it was so good. So pleasurable that it brought little tears of joy to my eyes. I came very, very hard. But I was so aroused by this point that I wanted more. And I usually do get more than one orgasm. I mean, generally we both regard the first one as practically a warm up rather than the end point.

But the Big Dude was really struggling physically. He was wearing out, his back hurt and he really couldn't keep going. Which, you know, I totally understand. A person can only do what they're physically capable of.

But what I would have liked was for him either to keep going in some other, easier way so that I could be fully satisfied or at least to stay and snuggle up for a while as I came down from that peak of arousal. I mean, I was feeling quite worked up at this point, both physically and emotionally. What I got was an announcement that he needed to lie down. I asked him to lie down with me in my bed, and he did. But it was obvious that he couldn't wait to leave. He was just humouring me. And a short time afterwards, he did leave.

And tears came to my eyes again. But they were not tears of joy and pleasure. They were tears of sadness. I felt confused and sad and alone. Alone in my sexual joy, which he apparently couldn't share, and alone in my physical and emotional frustration afterwards. I felt lonely.

And now I feel confused and discombobulated. I mean, he gave more than he usually does, he really tried, so shouldn't I be all happy and appreciative? And at some level, I am.

But if you get so close to what you want, but then you don't get what you want, are you more or less frustrated? Are you better off or worse off?

I don't even know, myself.

So near and yet so far.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I am enjoying my newly assertive life but sometimes, well, I'm not as sure of myself as I might seem. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing or even what the right thing to do next actually is.

For instance, tonight I came home to find the Big Dude on the sofa looking totally shattered. He looked pale. He clearly felt very down. He had had one of those days.

You know those days where you do everything possible for a little 14 month old toddler - you play with them, you feed them, you change their nappies, you prevent them from killing themselves by hurling themselves off every available surface, you do really well - and yet, when they have finally gone to sleep, you just don't know where the day has gone? You feel exhausted. And yet, the house looks like a bomb has hit it and if anyone asked you what you had achieved all day, you wouldn't have an answer.

Most days with our Little Dude are pretty good. But there are just some days when a toddler is like a force of nature - you can barely contain them and just surviving the experience is an achievement in itself.

The Big Dude really seemed to think he was doing badly. He obviously felt defeated. So I told him he shouldn't get discouraged - he was doing a great job and he was just dealing with a toddler and toddlers are kind of impossible, anyway (which is true). I told him to take a break. Have a bath. Shut out the world. Chill out and do nothing for a while. He said, "I can't. I have to finish the bottles. I have to clean up. And I have to..."

You know what's coming, don't you? That moment when the Big Dude adds our sex life to his list of chores.

And it hurt. Yes, it did. As in, fuck, that hurts, feel free to just kick me in the guts next time because that would hurt me a whole lot less.

So I reeled a bit. Then I looked at his pale face and felt sorry for him. I told him to take that bath, anyway, I'd finish the last of the bottles for him, and we'd talk about that later. But I knew that the tofu burger was ruined, at least for tonight. I just couldn't eat it on those terms.

When he came back in, the conversation went something like this:

Emily: (lame attempt at humour) "I just want you to know that I'm not having sex with you tonight, no matter how much you beg me."
Big Dude: (wounded expression) "Okay, if that's how you feel."
Emily: (dominatrix tone) "I will, however, consider having sex with you tomorrow night. But you will have to beg me."
Big Dude: (starts laughing) "I can definitely assure you that I will be getting down on my knees."

God, we're funny. Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey had nothing on us for witty dialogue. And yes, later, I did explain to him (again) what was wrong with what he'd said and how it made me feel. How doing that would doom the entire tofu burger enterprise when it was the only thing that had semi-worked in over a decade. Hmph. I bet Hepburn and Tracey never had to have that conversation.

But my point of uncertainty is this - did letting him off the hook, about both the last of the chores and Naked Time, constitute caving? Should I have held a hard line, left him to finish up the last of the chores and then let him try to go through with Naked Time? Or was my instinct that tonight was just a bad night for that approach correct?

I know what I would think if it was another couple and the roles were reversed. I would think that a man who left a woman to deal with those last chores after a day like she'd had and then tried to have sex with her was a huge dork. What I don't know is if it is different if you are dealing with a man, and how this sits with trying to find some new dynamic.

But the fact is that Naked Time wasn't going to work after what he'd said. I learned that last time. I can't switch off how it makes me feel and the evening just doesn't come back from there. A person can eat tofu burger with a good grace and some satisfaction when it is served up with some tact and a willing attitude. But if it isn't, then I for one would rather go hungry. I just seem to have a tiny, stubborn little skerrick of pride left that makes that kind of experience indigestible.

I don't know how I feel about this evening. Actually, I do: this evening sucked. What I don't know is whether I did the right thing.

Do you think it's possible that there is no right thing? That sometimes an illness is just a force of nature and it's an achievement to survive the experience with some dignity, some humour and some capacity for kindness intact?

Or is that just a cave-in?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Martyr Lady

I just left the poutiest sounding comment on FTN's blog. Do you think its because I was feeling slightly martyr-ish to see FTN talk about how marriage can turn to crap when someone has a cold and Desmond being able to be clueless around the house when Molly is sick? Not to mention shucking off the resulting extra work onto the nearest female kid? Honestly, it must be nice to be a man. I've often thought so.

And now, of course, I am ashamed of myself for having such mean thoughts and for being such a martyr lady.

Question: How many martyrs does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: Oh, don't worry about me, I'll just sit here in the dark....

So, feeling a little martyr-ish? Yes, oh, yes. I'm so sick and tired of my Big Dude being sick and tired. As FTN says, this sickness thing gets really old. But my personal theory is that my poutiness is caused mainly by lack of sex. Yes, its been over three weeks... not that anyone around here is counting or anything!

Actually, one of the fruits of my go-slow has been a slightly revived sexuality. The last few weeks, I have been feeling so tired and semi-resentful that I have been feeling quite sexless. My fondest desire was not for sex so much as for some sleep and someone else to do some housework. I felt quite dried up. No juice.

But yesterday, I noticed that more sharing of the load has definitely had a restorative effect, both physical and emotional. And given that there were no other prospects in sight, I gave myself a lovely, long orgasm that I could feel down to the tip of my toes. I know, TMI. But hey, it was so nice that I want to remember that one. Truly, I don't know what I'd do without my detachable shower head.

And last night, the Big Dude promised some Naked Time. Do you reckon it will happen this time? Anticip...ation!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

100 Posts

Blogger tells me that this is my 100th post. Time to celebrate. And to be surprised. Because, to be honest, I started this blog one morning completely on impulse, with no particular commitment to even a second post. So 100 posts seems like a lot, and certainly more than I would have expected.

I have been wondering lately if I should wind up this blog because it does take some time away from my family and from other priorities. And there are practical issues. Ever since the Little Dude dropped his morning sleep a few weeks ago, it is very difficult to get the kind of uninterrupted time that posting requires. And I have a slight RSI problem from being on the computer so much at work, which blogging doesn't much help.

But I find that I am curiously reluctant to quit. Because the fact is that blogging is bringing me a lot of benefits that I am reluctant to give up.

Firstly, the venting. Venting is good. I have bitten my tongue and held back on more than one occasion, in the knowledge that I can safely vent my feelings here. I can let off steam here when things are going badly, and there are essentially no real consequences - no fed up partner, no disgruntled workmates, no reputation as a depressing whinger in the "real world" (a reputation as a depressing whinger on the net doesn't have the same sting!). Just largely sympathetic friends. Anyone who gets fed up with listening to my whining can just click on to someone more interesting.

Secondly, and increasingly importantly, I get a sense of community here. Some of the people I now feel close to - well, I don't actually know their names. I don't know what they look like. I'm hazy on exactly what they do professionally. In that sense, I don't know them at all. And yet, I know a surprising amount about their marriages, their children, their feelings, and how they feel about their lives. I feel like I know them, even though I don't actually know much about them. And they are people who are well worth getting to know.

But I think, most of all, blogging is leading me to pay attention to my own life in a way that I haven't before. Because I need to find something to blog about, I notice my life more. I record important moments, moments that I want to remember later, and I ask myself what they mean. I think the issues through more systematically. Until I started blogging, to be honest, I found my own life kind of boring. I thought I needed a hobby or something external to make it more interesting. It would never have occurred to me that paying more attention to my life would make it more interesting to me. And it would certainly never have occured to me that other people might find my life interesting enough to have opinions on it.

Because of blogging, I really notice my own emotions a lot more and feel them more strongly. Readers of this blog might be surprised to learn that in "real life" I can be a little repressed emotionally - very work oriented and stiff upper lip. People have told me sometimes that they find me a very loyal friend, very cool under pressure and reliable in a crisis, but a little unemotional, analytical to the point of seeming a little callous. I think growing up in a disturbing family can have that effect. People with backgrounds like me - we value stability, order, control. The alternative feels too much like a return to a childhood we were anxious to escape.

And paying attention to my emotions makes me view them a little differently - less as a threat, and more as a kind of signal that I need to listen to. I start to feel pretty silly, blogging repeatedly about the same old issues, if I'm not doing anything about those issues. Blogging is making me ask myself if this is how I want to be.

I have made some changes to my life that I do not think would have happened if I wasn't blogging. I think, without this blog, I wouldn't have implemented my resolutions - and then I wouldn't be enjoying the benefits of my improved diet and fitness or managed to save some money while still paying down old debt. I wouldn't have experienced a somewhat improved sex life. And I do not think I would be enjoying my go slow, either.

So, I have decided to keep blogging - at least for now.

100 posts. I wonder how many more there will be?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Slow Groove on My Mind

My go slow continues to be a run-away success. Last night, the Big Dude put away most of the shopping I'd had delivered (he usually leaves that to me to do and, last week, he even left some of the frozen stuff out to melt) and cleaned up the kitchen before he went to bed!

This morning, instead of tidying up the loungeroom myself, I suggested we do it together. When I looked up, he'd practically finished it alone.

I have deliberately not been very fulsome in my thanks in the last few days. I have been thanking him, but I haven't been making a big deal of it, because I think that would reinforce the idea that these things are actually my job and what he is doing is unusual and temporary. But when I said last night that I had noticed and appreciated what he'd done, he said something that I quietly found pretty funny:

"It needed to be done."

Ah, yes, my view exactly!

What is this strange magic?

The wierd part is that we haven't discussed any of it. And although there was a little chill in the air for a few hours after the yelling incident, I haven't been at all angry with him. In fact, we have really been getting on particularly well for the last few days.

He seems to be feeling a little better, probably because he is getting more sleep from the early nights and going out in the mornings. He is doing more around the house. And he seems more pleased to see me when I come home from work. We just seem to be interracting in a different way, without my needing to say anything at all.

And it is having a subtle effect on me, too. With a little less rushing, I seem to be calming down. I seem to be feeling more confident, more centred and taking more pleasure in my day.

Yesterday, instead of leaving at the last possible moment, throwing my clothes on and racing for the bus (sometimes I'm still buttoning my clothes as I run), I stood in front of my wardrobe and took some real pleasure in picking something pretty to wear and making myself look nice. I strolled to the bus stop at an easy pace, enjoying the morning.

And it was like that all day. Instead of running around like a hen without a head, I was holding myself differently - straighter, more relaxed. I felt like I was breathing more deeply. I felt good.

And when I wanted a few minutes in the middle of my working day to gather my thoughts, I took that time. I made myself a coffee, sat staring into space for a bit, and had a more than usually productive afternoon as a result.

Time. It has been ruling my life - the ticking of the clock. Trying to cram in as many things as a person can conceivably do in any given minute. It's not right.

I don't just want to be on a go slow in my relationship - I want to seriously slow down my life and even to slow down my mind. I am very interested in this Slow Movement site.

And I have been humming an old Pointer Sisters song under my breath:

I'm tired of fast moves
I've got a slow groove
On my mind...

You Go, Grrrls

In my newly empowered frame of mind, I was very happy the other day to see some news stories about a new Muslim women's organisation, the Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equity. They just had a conference which brought together Muslim women from the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia in pursuit of women's rights.

It must have been pretty high-powered. It included Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman to enter the British House of Lords, Special adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Dr Nafis Sadik, Saudi municipal candidate Fatin Bundagji, Malaysian Islamic feminist Zainah Anwar, Afghani presidential candidate Dr Massouda Jalal, the Nigerian advocate in the Amina Lawal stoning case Nogi Imoukhuede, and a number of distinguished women writers.

I went to a local Muslim women's forum a while ago that included women of other faiths. And what struck me was really the similarities between their experiences and mine, rather than the differences. There was that same mix of more othodox and traditionalist women who find that that kind of faith enriches their lives and seem comfortable with the patriarchal aspects of it, the more radical feminists and proto-feminists of liberal theological views, and the many, many women in between the two, grappling with questions of faith, their personal lives and their politics.

I have never felt the same about all the public debates about Muslims in Australia since going to that forum. Yes, like many people I often feel confronted when I see Muslim women wearing a veil - much more so when it goes beyond a simple headscarf and modest dress. And I am not alone. Frankly, in many Australian shopping centres, there are reactions when a Muslim woman walks in wearing a veil - a stony silence, a hostile comment or even just those carefully neutral expressions that say, "This is an issue". Recently, an Australian journalist tried walking in those women's shoes (actually, one of those women's veils) for a day, and she certainly didn't enjoy it.

And what she didn't enjoy was the reactions around her as much as the veil itself. At the forum I went to, I heard Muslim women talk about how they have been harassed - both into wearing veils they didn't want to wear and into discarding veils they wanted to keep. I heard about how sometimes people who damn Islam for its apparent attitude to women can feed into a hostility to Muslims that is itself more of a problem to those women that the patriarchal attitudes within their own communities.

What I feel, ultimately, is that this patriarchy/veil issue is one for Muslim women themselves to address. I am uncomfortable when public figures who are not Muslim women start railing at women for wearing the veil or for not wearing it, because I don't think anyone should be telling women what they can and can't wear. They have to work through this issue themselves. Theirs is not the only patriarchal religion in the world, and they have to find their own way, their own mixture of simultaneous devotion and critique, just as women of other faiths do.

But I saw a quote from Daisy Khan, an organiser of this latest conference, that "What you're seeing here is the emergence of an Islamic feminist movement."

And if that's the case, then all I can say is, "You go, grrrls..."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bad Habits

I came home this evening from a draining and yet gratifying day of addressing staffing issues at work to find that the Big Dude was doing laundry (!) and had prepared his own dinner and left some for me (double !!).

And tonight, he has gone to bed early, as he has done for the last three nights in a row (triple !!!).

This last item is the crucial one. I should explain that I have been trying to get him to go to bed ealier for years, and here is why.

The fact is that the man is ill. None of his illnesses are fatal, but all of them are chronic, not easily cured and have to be managed. Lack of sleep doesn't help, including from being afraid to fall asleep because he might have those horrible dreams about being back in Vietnam. But lack of sleep from staying up late and watching TV or being on the computer until all hours also doesn't help.

As in so many cases, this combination of genuine illness plus avoidance plus garden-variety bad habits has a lot of implications in our household. Part of the reason I end up doing so much of the work around the house is that he doesn't get enough sleep at night, both from the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-related poor quality sleep and from the late nights.

The problem is worse since we had a baby. Because of the inadequate sleep at night, he ends up having to sleep in for most of the morning, while I am looking after the Little Dude, just so that he can function. Then it's hard for him, even if he has the energy, to do housework in the afternoon when he is minding an active little toddler. Spending those morning hours sleeping also means that he can't take advantage of at least some of those hours to take some time for himself or to do something fun or interesting. Which increases his boredom and mild depression. Which makes him even less likely to help around the house or, for instance, to pay attention to his partner.

The Big Dude has a fatigue problem which is both medical and war service-related. But the bad habit of late nights makes it worse. In the past few years, I've suggested he go to bed earlier, I've reminded him to go to bed earlier, I've practically begged him to go to bed earlier. He just wouldn't do it. But for the last few days, he has been trying.

He told me this evening that he was planning to go to bed early again. Then, a few minutes later, he slapped himself on the head and said he'd forgotten he had to go downstairs and get the clothes out of the dryer and then do the Little Dude's bottles. Then he talked about how much he wanted to see a particular TV show that was about to start. Then he talked about how tired he was feeling. And he waited.

He waited for me to offer to do those things for him.

Because the Big Dude, while being genuinely ill, frankly has another bad habit: he takes a passive aggressive approach to what should be straightforward problems. Sometimes he genuinely can't do certain things. But quite often, he semi-intentionally fails to get his act together to avoid having to address the issue. And he doesn't ask directly for help. He doesn't want to openly admit that he has responsibilities that he is about to flake on. He just procrastinates and makes excuses and then waits for me to step up and offer to solve his problem for him.

I was about to offer, as I always do. I wanted to. It was on the tip of my tongue. But some instinct stopped me.

I thought about my go-slow, and it just gave me pause. And that pause was long enough for me to have this thought:

"If I do that, everything will be the same. I will be doing everything in this house, and he will be staying up watching TV instead of going to bed as he should. Nothing will change."

I was really surprised by how much I had to wrestle with myself to not offer. I felt like I was being mean. Really mean. What's a TV show after all? What are a few bottles or a load of laundry? And the man really is sick, after all. But I just didn't take the bait. I made myself turn the conversation to polite chit-chat, walked away from him and sat down to do something else. And I deliberately hardened my heart.

Does it sound strange to say that it actually took an act of discipline to be just a bit less helpful?

And when I looked up 30 minutes later, he had taken the clothes out of the dryer and done the bottles. And he had done more: he had also washed up the dishes that were in the sink and emptied the nappy bin. I thanked him and kissed him and told him how much I appreciated everything he had done today. And then he went off to bed very cheerfully, at the still early hour of 9:30pm.

And I am sitting here, totally delighted.

I am trying not to read too much into what happened this evening. But, pondering this turn of events, and noticing how hard I found it to not offer to help him, I am wondering:

Can caring too much, helping too much, solving other people's problems for them, also be a bad habit?

Even when that person really is sick?

This go-slow thing may be taking a direction that I would never have predicted.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Feeling Groovy

You know, I'm really starting to enjoy myself.

Last night, instead of getting stuck into the Big Dude's laundry, I rang one of my best friends and had a lovely, long girly chat. I love this friend of mine, she was one of my greatest supports during my fertility treatment, and yet I've hardly spoken to her in months because I just haven't had time. Then I wrote a couple of decent emails to friends who poured out their hearts to me recently and to whom I had delayed my reply - because, once again, I didn't have time to do them justice. But now I'm taking that time back!

This morning, the Big Dude wanted to stay out until the very last moment I leave for work so that he could have some time to himself. I said, "I'm just wondering where in that plan I get any time to myself?" Pretty good question, huh?

We agreed that he would go out for two hours and come home 30 minutes earlier than he had planned. He was quite peeved. But, hey, he is getting two hours to himself and I'm getting 30 minutes. I think I'm being more than fair. I'm just not putting in so much extra. I'm not quite so eager to please.

And it occurs to me that I've been a little too eager to please at work, too. I've worked long hours that I'm not paid any extra for, because there is a general expectation that people at my level will kick in a little extra. Well, I think that is a reasonable expectation, but how much extra?

Because, in my experience, a workplace will take whatever they can get. They can't be bothered to deal with under-performance or slackness by some people, and so they load up the good performers with more and more work. They don't like to go to the trouble of hiring more people, so they just guilt everybody they already have into doing more. And you know what happens? Some people get fed up and take jobs elsewhere, still no recruitment, still the same faithful retainers working harder and harder, until people start getting sick, they don't see their kids, their marriages start to falter, so they ask for time off. And then those people are told that management is disappointed that they seem to be developing an "attitude problem."

One of the reasons I've been working such long hours is that one of my colleagues wasn't replaced six months ago. They seem to have figured that I can do two full-time jobs, even though I'm supposed to be part-time. In fact, two people haven't been replaced on my team since last year, which means that my other staff have also been putting in far too many hours.

They have been telling us that they simply haven't been able to recruit a suitable person with the right kind of experience, which is probably true because there is a genuine shortage of these people. But yesterday, I was told that they actually had a likely candidate but they were reluctant to hire because we seemed to be managing the workload.

And yes, we have been managing the workload - because my colleagues and I are kicking in many, many extra hours for free. I signed one of their flex sheets the other day, and the poor woman had worked 80 extra hours in the last three weeks. I looked at mine (I keep an informal record of my hours), and noticed that my own also has a huge credit. Meanwhile, our home lives are turning to shit.

This just isn't sustainable. I'm tired of being squeezed at both ends - guilted into doing more and more at home and more and more at work. And I'm tired of loking at my colleagues' pale, exhausted faces as well.

I'm not having any more of that, either.

Refreshed from a little break at home, I have some spare energy to demand more staff at work. This is good. This is very good.

I'm loving my go slow.

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kickin' down the cobble stones
Lookin' for fun and feelin' groo-vy!

Ba da, ba da, ba da, ba da...
Feelin' groovy!

Go Slow

Yes, I'm on a go-slow at home. I'm working to rule. Conditions have been deteriorating, talks have failed and I'm taking direct action!

What I'm saying is that I've been working my arse off around here, and my efforts are largely unrecognised and unrewarded. Like many a worker before me, I have found that we have a crisis, I put in many extra hours and achieve unheard-of feats of productivity, and instead of gratitude I am given the impression that my new levels of performance have now become the minimum and more is required.

It's the way of the world, they say. Well, I'm not having it!

Working to rule is when employees do no more than the minimum required. Every workplace relies on its employees to do more than the minimum. Every workplace relies on good will. And so, when that workplace fails to motivate its employees, when it has eroded good will by taking that good will for granted and abusing it, it needs to learn something about how to keep employees happy and willingly contributing that bit of extra.

Working to rule appeals to me because it is an agent for change, it is an assertive protest, but it is proportionate to the original offence. It is not a strike or a lockout. No one really gets hurt. It is a warning.

After all, if I do everything that is humanly posible and still get yelled at, why should I work so hard? If I am going to be yelled at, anyway, I might as well enjoy a little rest, put my feet up and watch TV. He does.

I don't want him to really suffer. So it's just the extras that are missing.

So, there is food in the freezer because that was already made. But the Big Dude finds he has to defrost it, heat it up himself and make his own spaghetti to go with it. That nice woman who normally asks him what he would like, prepares it all and brings it to him in front of the TV has already eaten and is otherwise occupied. She's not killing herself on washing up his dishes afterwards, either. It just ain't the same.

And yes, there are clean clothes - for now. But strangely, the washing machine is silent and not in motion, and the Big Dude's supply of clean clothes won't last long. Her clothes are clean. The Little Dude's clothes are clean. But the Big Dude's dirty clothes are starting to pile up. That woman couldn't be planning to implement that agreement of some weeks ago that he would actually do some laundry, could she?

And that sweet-natured mummy who usually stresses herself out by staying to the last possible moment in the mornings so that daddy can have some time to himself before the full onslaught of the Little Dude? She seems to have left earlier for work this morning. At a time that suited her and gave her a little time to herself. Was she... can it be true... sitting in a cafe reading the newspaper?

Heh heh heh heh (she seems to have borrowed one of Rob's evil grins).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fed Up

You know, I have been killing myself at work. I'm so tired. And I finally managed to negotiate a few days off work in return for all the extra hours I've worked in the last few weeks. I was really looking forward to having a bit of a rest and some time to myself, while also intending to get some things done around the house.

And I've done really well. I've cooked and filled the freezer, I've cleaned, I've scrubbed, I've done laundry, I've paid bills and organised repairs. I've done every bloody task on my endless things to do list and more. I've even managed to keep the Little Dude almost entirely with me while I did it all, in recognition of the amount of time the Big Dude has had to put in with him lately while I've been at work.

Needless to say, the whole plan for some rest and some time to myself quickly unravelled. But I've been nothing but affectionate and kind to the Big Dude.

But do I get an ounce of gratitude? No, I get sulking, rolled eyes, complaints and finally yelled at. Obviously I haven't done enough.

Sometimes it seems like the more I do for that man, the less appreciation I get. And I'm absolutely fucking sick of it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lock Up Your Fathers

I have a weakness for older men. Not, you know, old enough to be my grandfather old, but certainly up to and including old enough to be my father old. When I ws single, one of my friends used to say, "Lock up your fathers, Emily's coming through!"

And of course I know that, in some respects, this weakness should have a huge signpost on it:


At the same time, there are just certain qualities that I find attractive in a man that are mainly, although not exclusively, found in older men:

Self-knowledge: I like intimacy. I like to know what is going on with my man - his feelings, his thoughts, his view of the world.

A younger man tends to be much more outward-focused. He is oriented towards thrusting himself out into the world, into his career, into his interests. But as a man gets older, he usually has more capacity for self-reflection. He is more likely to have learned a few things, including about himself.

I found dating younger men a bit puzzling. Sometimes they seemed to have very little inner life or understanding of themselves. It is hard for a man to share himself with you, and especially to resolve any conflicts, if he doesn't really know himself and what he wants, yet.

Experience: An older man usually has a wider view of the world. He is more patient, with himself and with others. He accepts that life is messier and more contradictory than we want it to be. And this is mainly because of his greater experience of life.

An older man's opinions are usually grounded at least in part in his own experiences, and so they are more authentically his own. A younger man may well have opinions, but they are mostly from books or the internet. He hasn't made them his own, yet.

And yes, experience includes experience of women. I think it takes most of us some time to understand the opposite sex better. To appreciate the differences in perspective and learn to work with them, or around them, rather than just being annoyed by them. An older man, I find, appreciates a woman more.

And this applies to sex as well. I do not underrate qualities such as the usually greater physical beauty, energy and enthusiasm of the younger man. But a younger man, in that context, is generally thinking mostly about himself. He is usually thoughtful enough to at least try to get you off, but is often hampered by some quite unrealistic ideas about female sexuality. An older man has more experience with just how individual women are sexually, and has the patience to figure out your particular likes and dislikes. In addition, he tends to be a stayer rather than a sprinter, which is definitely an advantage in satisfying a woman.

Confidence: An older man, I find, is usually more confident. He has fought a few batttles and won, and so is less easily intimidated than a younger man. He knows his strengths as well as his limitations.

I do not mind some shyness or insecurity in a man. It is more that a less confident man tends to be intimidated by a woman like me. He is more comfortable with a woman who looks up to him because she is just a little bit dumber, a little bit less educated, a little bit less confident than himself. Or, worse - much worse - he is attracted to me because he is a weaker personality who enjoys being bossed around by a woman. I am never attracted to these men. To me, equality is a turn-on.

An older man is more likely to enjoy the challenge of a woman like me. He appreciates a conversation with a women who has her own thoughts and opinions. He has usually laboured wearily to figure out what a less direct woman wants from him, and finds clear communication from a confident woman who knows what she wants kind of a relief.

Wisdom: An older man has just had more time to learn some wisdom. This is partly because he has usually known at least some suffering and failure. He has had some experiences that have refined his character. He is more likely to have learned how to make a woman happy, precisely because he has usually made at least one other woman unhappy.

An older man knows that he is looking for something more than a woman who is just sexy and fun, although he is usually looking for that, too. He has learned that life can be very tough, and wants a woman who has his back and can fight his corner.

An older man knows that life is finite. He knows that we should love each other now, as well as we can, because time is fleeting.

So, these are some of the reason why I am attracted to older men. I am rarely attracted to anyone under the age of about 35 and am quite open to being attracted to men much older, well into their sixties.

Fortunately, this leaves me with a pretty wide scope. Because the sad fact is that I am hardly ever seriously attracted to anyone. I would be lucky to meet someone that I could truly love and desire once every few years.

Because I'm fussy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Alternative Universes

I'm pretty sure that, in an alternative universe, the Big Dude and I have a scorching hot sex life.

Actually, I am surprised by how little I mind about our scheduled Naked Date and its likely deferral for some time. The Big Dude's efforts of late have been consistent enough to build some trust that I am on his "to do" list, as soon as he can do much at all.

In the meantime, and speaking of alternative universes, I am Queen for a Day (author for the day) over at FTN's Real Blogger World.

Power at last! Obviously, I will use my power for good and not for evil...

(evil cackling)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Real World

The Big Dude is still too sick to do anything about our Naked Date.

Oh, well.

I guess my plan to sneak out of a window of the Real Blogger World house for our date just wasn't to be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Naked Time

Last Night, the Big Dude said, "By the way, I haven't forgotten Naked Time. I'm too sick tonight so - tomorrow night!".

There are three good things about that statement:

  • He brought it up, not me
  • He is keeping track of this issue by himself, with no prompting from me

If he follows through, we will actually have had some kind of sexual interaction five times in one month. In the past, whole years have gone by with less than that.

In the future, if anyone asks me what to do about a bad sex life, I'm going to say, "Have a baby! Its working for us!"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mummy's Here

When my Little Dude seems particularly tired or fed up or frightened, I pick him up and give him a kiss and say, "Its alright now, darling, mummy's here".

Well, now my own mum is here.

I love my mum. I also like her a lot. And now she has MOVED HERE so that she can enjoy her first (and probably only) grandchild!!!

And oh, yes, I am very happy about this.

We have a grand scheme to move in together, our little family in the main house and mum in a granny flat. I know, its fraught with peril. Interfering mother alert. We should leave our parents and cleave to our partner. In a way, I agree. And I was always proud of the fact that I left home at 18 years old and have lived independently since then.

But it would solve so many problems for us. It would enable us to live in a permanent home with a back yard for the Little Dude. There would be some adult company for me when the Big Dude is too sick to be good company. There would be someone the Little Dude loves and trusts to mind him so that the Big Dude and I can have date nights again and actually have some romantic time together.

But the greatest thing it would give us is another able-bodied adult in this family. The lovely Rob put his finger on a big issue for us when he asked if we didn't have any relatives or friends who could help out from time to time. The fact is that we haven't had that and its been a problem. I have never minded hard work. I don't even really mind being the main breadwinner and the nurse and the mummy and running the household. Its a lot of work but, luckily, I have always had a lot of energy.

But sometimes doing it all seems like a high-wire act and I'm juggling all the way. The problem is the lack of a safety net. Sometimes I stumble a little and get a sobering insight into what might happen to my little family if I ever fell.

I have been quietly worrying about our grand scheme for weeks, now, asking myself constantly if I am doing the right thing as my mum sold her house and moved here. But now she is here, things are already getting easier.

I have been so tired, lately. And last night, my mum held me and stroked my hair. When I was a little girl, my mum had a great way of stroking my hair that I found uniquely comforting. I've tried to teach the Big Dude how to do it, but he doesn't quite get it and its not the same - he has other talents! But last night, my mum was stroking my hair and I just felt my whole body and soul breathe out and relax.

Its all alright, now. Mummy's here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Of Weeping and War

In Australia, 11 November is Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the end of World War I. I listened to the bugle playing the Last Post and found myself thinking about military parades and ceremonies, and especially Anzac Day. There are the veterans marching past, the flags waving, the bands playing, people clapping and calling "Good on you!". And an apparently crazy woman near the front of the crowd, weeping helplessly. That crazy woman would be me.

I am embarrassed. I hate weeping in public. I feel so stupid. But sometimes there is a veteran who looks directly at me, and I see in his eyes that he understands.

I find military parades and ceremonies so unbearably sad. Over the years, I have seen the old World War I veterans struggling along, their dwindling numbers as they got fewer and fewer by the year catching at my throat. Australia's last World War I veteran died this year. Even the Korean War veterans are now looking very much older, seemingly only a few steps away from old age. Then the younger Vietnam veterans. When I was a teenager, they were still relatively young men, distinguishing themselves by a group of bikers roaring along at the end, their very presence an act of defiance to a largely ungrateful nation. But now, they are growing older and slower and newly respectable, looking more and more like their predecessors.

But what I really hate is seeing the young cadets - so gangly and skinny and pimply, so young that they look barely old enough to leave their mothers. They look so vulnerable in their faith in their country. They look like old pictures of the Big Dude when he went to Vietnam. To me, they look like cannon fodder and I have to shut my eyes.

I think its seeing them all march by, one after another, that hurts the most. The endless parade of men, generation after generation somehow caught up in war. The way that humans lament the cost every time, and yet somehow there is always another war to fight in. The monstrous waste.

I think my hatred of war gets stronger every year and it is sharpened by having a son and knowing that it is possible he might have to fight in one. I look at his beautiful, strong limbs, his clear and innocent eyes, and the thought that his body might be shattered and his faith broken by war brings tears to my eyes.

My mind knows that wars are inevitable. But my heart just can't accept it.

Now, Mu Ling has Wilfred Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth, about World War I, on her blog today. I'm glad someone else is feeling a bit like me, so I know I'm not just crazy and gloomy and sad, while everyone else is bursting with patriotic fervour.

So, I will put one of my own "favourite" war poems here - by an Australian poet named Bruce Dawe. It was written about Vietnam, but it also makes me think of Iraq and those very young men.


All day, day after day, they’re bringing them home,
they’re picking them up, those they can find, and bringing them home,
they’re bringing them in, piled on the hulls of Grants, in trucks, in convoys,
they’re zipping them in green plastic bags,
they’re tagging them now in Saigon, in the mortuary coolness
they’re giving them names, they’re rolling them out of
the deep-freeze lockers – on the tarmac at Tan Son Nhut
the noble jets are whining like hounds.
they are bringing them home
– curly-heads, kinky-hairs, crew-cuts, balding non-coms
– they’re high, now, high and higher, over the land, the steaming chow mein,
their shadows are tracing the blue curve of the Pacific
with sorrowful quick fingers, heading south, heading east,
home, home, home - and the coasts swing upward, the old ridiculous curvatures
of earth, the knuckled hills, the mangrove swamps, the desert emptiness. . .
in their sterile housing they tilt towards these like skiers
– taxiing in, on the long runways, the howl of their homecoming rises
surrounding them like their last moments (the mash, the splendour)
then fading at length as they move
on to small towns where dogs in the frozen sunset
raise muzzles in mute salute,
and on to cities in whose wide web of suburbs
telegrams tremble like leaves from a wintering tree
and the spider grief swings in his bitter geometry
– they’re bringing them home, now, too late, too early.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Question of Character: Part II

This issue of character is still bubbling away for me, and especially the issue of what positive qualities might constitute character. One of these qualities, I believe, is integrity. I like this link on integrity because it connects the idea to being a whole and complete person, as well as to honesty and to adherence to a particular moral code.

Now, as you know, I find honesty a somewhat mixed blessing around here. In my view, honesty should be tempered with tact and kindness. I also don't find trying to fit myself into abstract moral rules all that helpful.

So I like this idea about integrity being a whole and complete person, and I think it is about following our own moral code, rather than somebody else's. Because I think that, in some ways, integrity is not so much about honesty in the sense of telling the absolute and brutal truth on every occasion, as it is about authenticity. It involves telling the truth, living the truth, about the most important things. To me, an Emily who is a person of integrity might tell the occasional fib, especially to avoid causing needless pain, but she would not live a lie.

And teasing out exactly what character and integrity are in my current situation is becoming important to me. Some people, for instance, would consider that being a person of character in a relationship with illnesses and sex problems would be about turning myself into a kind of saint, a martyr, and especially one who wordlessly pretends that she has no sexual needs. Being Nice about it. Being heroic. "A better person", they would say, "would just accept that the sex is over and get on with the nursing".

Oh, but I have been down that path before, and I know where it leads. Now that I look back on it, that whole path, however well meaning I was when I trod it, lacked integrity. And it took me to places that were even worse.

Smiled sweetly and pretended everything was fine with our sex life, because I was a Nice Girl who found the whole subject embarrassing? Check.

Made half-hearted attempts to fix things while wallowing in resentment? Check.

Lived an increasingly surface life with the Big Dude, privately retreating into a kind of wounded sulk until we lost that emotional connection that brought us together in the first place? Check.

Retreated into fantasies about having chosen a totally different kind of man and actively planned my escape from my responsibilities? Check.

Had casual sex with someone else and lied about it, feeling justified by the deprivation at home and the Big Dude's lack of effort and refusal to go into sex therapy or counselling? Check.

Run off into a much more promiscuous lifestyle that, however fun it was at times, tended to bring out the worst in both me and my temporary sexual partners? Check.

And where did these things take me? They took me nowhere, that’s where. Ultimately, they led me to... nothingness.

And on reflection, I think that this was because all these responses came from failing to realize that I had to be a whole and complete person - a person who both enjoys and needs sex, and who also wants love and commitment with one particular man who simply can't meet those sexual needs most of the time. The only way to be true to myself was to learn to live with that conundrum, instead of trying to cut through it by denying one side or the other.

In fact integrity, for me, is more about living with contradictions, with how messy life really is, than about trying to make my life conform to some particular moral code or pursuing extremes of sainthood or promiscuity. It is about trying to find a golden middle way. Its just a pity that I am so crap at moderation. So this kind of integrity, for me, takes a kind of self-discipline that I have to work at. I am naturally much better at extremes, but I have to learn to pick out that middle path and stick with it.

And it also requires courage. It requires admitting that our sexual problems are not a temporary crisis that may dramatically improve at any moment. They are almost certainly permanent, in some form. I am going to be living with them for a long time.

And it does require authenticity - maintaining a steadfast honesty in expressing my needs, refusing to be ashamed of them, while trying not to guilt trip a person who feels very differently.

It takes saying to myself:

This is my life. I will face it with my eyes open. I will not lie to myself or to the Big Dude about how I feel in this situation. I will not pretend to be Nicer than I am. But I will temper my honesty with kindness and respect. I will not "supplement" with some other person who I can't tell the Big Dude about. I will not run away. And I will keep trying.

Integrity sux.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Melbourne Cup is huge in Australia. It is known as "the race that stops a nation". The state of Victoria, where it is held, is the only state in the world that has a public holiday for a horse race. There are estimates that around 80 per cent of Australian adults place a bet on the Cup.

Personally, I couldn't care less about horse racing. But I felt very happy that Delta Blues beat Pop Rock: a victory for great music!

Plus, the Big Dude is brilliant at picking the winners. This year, he bet $5 dollars each way on three horses for a total cost of $30. They finished first, third and fourth, and he won $135. I reckon my chances of being taken out to dinner are excellent!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Never Discuss Religion or Politics

Or sex, for that matter. So I am doing well on this blog!

And yes, I am going to talk politics. Partly because I feel so strongly about certain issues that I am going to lie awake at night if I don't vent a little here. And partly because I am truly interested in what my commenters think and they are not going to tell me unless they have something to react to. I just hope that anyone who hates political talk or is offended by my opinions will simply tune me out momentarily and come back when I return to my usual programming.

Surely the Bush administration is going to cop a thrashing in these mid-term elections. Surely.

Firstly, and most importantly, for Iraq. Now, I never supported the Iraq war. I even joined the marches against it, despite the fact that as a veteran's "wife", I am not always so keen on anti-war protesters. I hate war. I know that is a stupid thing to say, because being against war is like being for motherhood - everyone feels that way. But I truly do hate war with my whole being. I hate it like a woman comes to hate a bad husband. Not just in principle, but down to every maddeningly annoying detail, so that the way he clears his throat makes her just as furious as the way he never pays the bills on time and fucks everything with a pulse. I know the impact of war intimately. I have been living with it for years now, and it never looks any better.

And yet, I am not necessarily a pacifist, despite my extreme hatred of all things war-like. It is a sad reality that, much as with individuals, a country has to be strong in order to be safe. Occasionally, very occasionally, under certain circumstances, a pre-emptive move may be warranted.

Part of the reason that the Iraq war looks so bad to me is that it has been such a muddle, right from the beginning. Despite my huge personal objection to wars, the historian in me makes me also somewhat pragmatic about them. If you are going to do it, you have to know why you are doing it, have clear objectives and an exit strategy (unless you plan to be there forever). Your own population needs to be behind you and have obvious reasons to stick with you when things get tough. And I have never seen much sign that the Bush administration was entirely clear on why they were going into Iraq, what exactly they planned to do when they got there, and especially how they planned to get out. There has been something about their vagueness on all these issues that has troubled me almost as much as the fact that they were doing it at all and that Australia was joining in.

And predictably, this war is becoming a debacle. A lot of people are dead, and yet so little is being accomplished. The wastefulness, the confusion and the apparent lack of a coherent plan offends me almost as much as the violence itself. War is a very serious thing and these people are just not up to the job.

And secondly, for Katrina. There is something just so horrifying to me about the way the administration just sat on its hands during that crisis. How is it possible that the people of a great city of world importance, in the richest and most powerful nation on earth, could languish for days with so little action from the central government? What were they all doing - fixing their hair?

If I was an American citizen, I would be so horrified about those two things that I just couldn't bring myself to vote Republican. Even if I believed in everything else that adminstration wanted to do, even if I hated the Democrats, Iraq and Katrina would be enough to make me just stay home out of sheer disgust. The fact that a guy like Ted Haggard, who has lectured other people for years on homosexuality while apparently having monthly appointments with a male sex worker, is part of the Bush scene is just an irritant in comparison. Its not like we haven't seen that kind of garden-variety hypocrisy before. I even feel kind of sorry for him.

And you know what? I don't hate George Bush. But I do think that he is dangerous. I think he is dangerous because he is incompetent.

With a career in government, I have learned that the most dangerous type of person is a person who is fundamentally incompetent. I would even rather work with someone whose ideas I hate, but whose competence I have to respect. Much of the time, in my job, I am working with or for people whose ideas I don't much like. But at least they have the capacity to form an intelligent view of events, formulate a plan and make it happen. In my experience, the people who have created the most chaos, unleashed the worst elements, have not been the "bad" people, but the weak and incompetent people.

This is a President who was such a weak candidate that, even in the beginning, he had to have Dick Cheney standing beside him and holding his hand in order to look passable. Even the Republicans seem to have relied on the fact that he would be taking good advice. Otherwise, he was just a former rich playboy and drug addict whose only apparent assets were his powerful family and an apparently genuine religious faith. Probably a nice guy. But, you know, I would have thought a country like America would require a little more from their President than just being a nice guy.

There seems to be some kind of vacuum in that administration where leadership and a coherent plan should be. I am not a conservative, but I have to agree with Kenneth Adelman, when he says that:

They (have) turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional.

I also have to agree with David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter who said that the failure lies at the centre: with the President.

I found this article infuriating reading, and I'm not even an American.

Surely at least some heads are going to roll in this election. Otherwise, how will anything change?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Oh, yes!

Yesterday, the Big Dude and I had The Discussion about his "marital duties" comment and its unfortunate effect. I was nervous about broaching the subject beforehand. I have tried quite hard not to be overly interventionist about our new approach, because I think it is important that he takes some responsibility in this area. But I decided that providing some feedback is okay.

And I was quite proud of us. We were both honest in a tactful way and no one sulked or made any stupid accusations. It was very mature of us.

And to celebrate our incredible maturity, we had a little "adult time." He initiated without any asking or hinting around from me for the fourth time in a row. And it was good. Oh yes, it was very good.

You know one thing I love about sex? The way that past memories can invade my mind at key moments, enriching a moment which is all about present pleasures with a sense of continuity and of past joys.

Last night, I was just about to come, and I had this sudden memory of the way the Big Dude and I used to make out by the river when we were first getting together. It was so hot. And I remembered the first time he took off my bra. He looked at my breasts as if he couldn't believe his luck, and breathed out, "Thank you, God." He told me later that I had the most perfect pink nipples he had ever seen. Yeah, my breasts are pretty good. Even I think so. A small compensation for a roundish bum, which you may have noticed I can be quite sensitive about.

You know another thing I love about sex? The moment after I have just had my first orgasm. Everything is so swollen, so soft, so quiveringly sensitive. And then he starts again and the pleasure ramps up almost unbearably. Everything seems right with the world.

And you know a third thing I love? I loved the fact that, snuggling together afterwards, I could smell my own juices on his face. Sometimes that can be a little... confronting. Its such a distinctive smell. Not at all bad, but not like anything else. Tangy? Salty? No, I can't seem to find the right words for that distinctive smell.

But last night, that smell seemed so... erotic. So loving. So powerful.

That smell said, "You know those parts of you that are secret, that are dark, that you find too powerful, that you fear are dirty, that you are a little afraid of? They are okay. In fact, they are delicious."

Oh, I am happy. Very happy. And so relaxed!

Friday, November 03, 2006


Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Okay, can I have a whinge now? Like I ever stopped! That is the function of this blog, after all. Venting. Pissing and moaning. Giving me an outlet so that I can go on doing what I do without complaining so much in "real life".

Now, Cat's blog sometimes hints at a yearning for honesty. This seems to be a very common theme in blogs. But honesty is kind of a sore point around here.

Sometimes I wonder if the modern Western world has shot itself in the foot, with its modern companionate marriage where everyone shares their feelings. It seems like, once upon a time, being a good partner was mostly about fulfilling responsibilities, focusing on children and sexual fidelity. As long as you were sexually faithful, as long as you held up your end of the work, you were a good husband or wife (I'm not sure that people could be a good de facto). People may not have liked it, but they knew what they were supposed to do.

Now its about emotional intimacy, which requires honesty. A good partner pretty much does all the former things, but they also share their feelings. A good partner is honest. They don't keep their thoughts to themselves. I agree with this change, in many ways. But sometimes the honesty part is just plain overrated.

I get all the honesty I want around here, and usually way more than I want.

The tactlessness of the Big Dude about "marital duties" the other night was not a one-off. The fact is that the man is incorrigibly honest. This is mostly a good thing. I like the fact that I always know where he stands. I like that there are no lies or evasions or other mind-games. But he routinely takes it way too far.

For instance, if you ask virtually any other man that immortal question, "Does my bum look big in this?", regardless of the actual size of the bottom, he will give the correct reply:

No, your bum does not look big in that. It never looks big in anything. I am stunned by the smallness of your bottom. It is so small that I often wonder how you manage to sit on it without falling over.

Because these other men are smart and they are willing to fudge the truth. They know the consequences of the wrong answer. They know that, if you want days of womanly wrath and the opportunity to hear some home truths about yourself, just go right ahead and tell your partner her bum looks big.

If you ask the Big Dude that question, he will give you a big grin and say, "I love every acre."

Yes, I know. Its funny. Unless he is talking about your bottom. The bottom that is a part of your body, which is routinely rejected in the most confidence-crushing and soul-destroying way. I laughed for about five seconds - until the pain hit, and I had to cry.

I get a lot of these barbed remarks that are supposed to be funny, and sometimes are, but which also sound like criticisms. A lot of the time, I do laugh. But sometimes it gets me down. Just at the moment, I am working really long hours and trying to prepare to move house, too. I am tired, I am overstretched, I really need encouragement and I am getting jokes at my expense.

Maybe I would have more of a sense of humour if I wasn't so sexually frustrated and downright pissed off.

We have plenty of honesty around here. We're all stocked up on honesty of the most brutal kind. What we could do with is a little more sensitivity and smarts. A little more kindness and tact on certain subjects. A little more of the brain and the mouth being engaged at the same time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In Appreciation

I have been reading some new blogs lately, and I admired Lickety Split’s post on five things his wife has done in the last week that impressed him or made their relationship feel positive.

It is true that I sometimes over-focus on the negative in my relationship. As FTN and Taja have noted, sometimes a quest to improve things can be mistaken for eternal dissatisfaction by our partners, and sometimes it is even mistaken that way by me. Since I have a lot to be grumpy about at the moment (work is just insane), I will draw inspiration from Lickety and take this moment to appreciate some of the things the Big Dude has done this week. So here are mine:

  • The man is still doing the night shift every night. Sometimes the Little Dude has woken up very early and the Big Dude has stayed up until the more civilised hour of 5am or so before handing him over to me for the morning shift. Ya gotta love a man who lets you sleep.
  • I really enjoyed our cuddle session of the other night. And he gave me a decent tender, moist kiss, too. No dry pecks for me!
  • Although I have been working long hours and so more of the childcare has been falling on him, he has not complained about it, even when he has clearly been feeling very ill.
  • We are very short of spending money at the moment as we are saving in order to move house. The Big Dude can be prone to implying that I am a control freak about money and effectively demanding more spending money than we can really afford. But it has been weeks now, and not a word so far. He has really been cooperating on our financial plan, which does not come naturally to him.
  • While admittedly tofu night was not a complete success this week, at least he initiated it. That was the third time he has initiated something without me having to ask, and it has been a long time since that happened. I feel like he is really trying.

So, there we are. Anyone else feel able to try this exercise? I won’t tag anyone, but maybe we could spread a little appreciation of what we do get around Blogland.

I feel a little song coming on:

Count your blessings/Name them one by one...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The Big Dude and I had a lovely night last night. We cuddled up on the couch, he rested his big, heavy head on my chest, and we talked about all our future plans. We felt so close. It was one of those moments where I could really feel him - his skin, the smell of his hair, his voice. I could feel how much we love each other and how much we belong together.

And tonight, when I came home very late from work, the Little Dude woke up. While he was having his bottle on my lap, he kept reaching up to stroke my arm as if he was pleased to have me home. I admired the perfection of his tiny hands and stroked his little fingers, tracing the early lines on his palms. We sat like that for a long time.

My little family.

Have I ever mentioned that there are many things I love about my life?