Sometimes it’s hard to accept an Award, but it never fails to be flattering.

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Who doesn’t love awards? We all do because it means that in some way we have made an impression, someone has enjoyed reading what we write, or even just appreciated the comments we have written in admiration of their story, poems, photos or heart ache. Sometimes it’s empathy (I have a lot of that to give), sometimes it’s a connection that could be a suburb or half a world away. I love this blogging world, I have some friends here that I have been more candid with than perhaps my best friend face to face.

BUT, I am a bit lazy sometimes, or busy, or tired. I have been lazy with my blog lately (although I think I did just get back on track in some way). I was honored with an award several weeks ago by Daan Van den Berhg from fkknrokk.com; I have barely spoken to him since. That is so wrong! I love his blog, I am passionate about his words, his poetry and his humility (Ha!).

I have stopped looking at Daan’s blog. Do you know why? Because when he nominated me, I had just accepted the same award a few days before. Being awarded for the same thing twice is wonderful but I felt embarrassed to post two awards in a row when I hadn’t posted anything from myself in ages.

Now I feel bad because I have lost his connection, although he has been kind enough to come back and read my posts…I have been distant and out of touch.

Does this happen to other bloggers when they get an award sometimes? It’s such a lovely thing for anyone to get, but it’s a bit of work to properly accept ….but it is also so wonderful to be appreciated. I would never discount that.

So here I am, at 1.15am in Australia, without even starting to accept these lovely accolades. In the morning I have 4 little men to get out of bed, make lunches for, and take to school. BUT FUCK! It’s about time Daan isn’t it?

Daan is wonderful, sensitive, tortured in many ways (my interpretation and sorry if that is wrong), kind, perceptive and a great friend to have. Thank you Daan, for nominating me for the ‘Versatile Blogger’ Award.  In reading your blog, I know you to be supportive, kind, hilarious, poetic and sensitive to all of those you love to read. To be awarded this by you, is a lovely, lovely thing and I apologize for taking so long to officially accept.

Muchos Besos vfrom Jiltaroo  (if there was a thingy that showed blowing kisses off a hand, it would be at the end of this sentence!)

Just in case you didn’t already realize, you must go and visit http://www.ifkknrokk.com/about/ and meet the lovely, and versatile Daan.

The Lonely Road Again

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Not long after losing what I had thought to be the love of my life, I remember sitting on our veranda with Dad. We were discussing my future. He wanted me to find a career that was important to me, worthwhile. My solution, my answer, was probably not what he expected or really wanted for me.

I found an “Ad” in the “Weekly Times”, an Australian country paper. Why I bought that paper, I don’t even know. I can’t really remember exactly what the advertisement said, but it was something like, “Wanted, Jillaroo, able to ride horses, motorbikes, cook, and have an understanding of sheep and cattle”. Well, I could ride, and even though I may not have had much of an understanding of cattle and sheep, I did have an appreciation for them.

I called, and was accepted on trial for the job. Melbourne, Suburban girl, on you go, gallop up that lonely road away from all you know. Run away from your problems, run away from pain; isn’t that the solution you learnt as a little girl? Yes.

On the first day, I had to learn to ride a motor bike. The stock were actually sheep, 5000 of them. My house was to be a caravan on the side of the road and my only friends besides the old drover were 3 noisy and very alert Australian Kelpie Dogs.

The stove was splattered in layer upon layer of ancient grease. The floor was no better. On my second day, with no time for training, I was left to clean. I wondered if this was to be the breadth my role. I wondered at the reasoning behind my hasty move to the bush.

By the time Peter returned, the Caravan was spotless and gleaming. The day confined in this small, barely ventilated hot box had sapped me of energy and I tried to disguise the dullness in my eyes as I cooked a simple dinner.

Soon after, I crawled into my single bunk. Thoughts of Vorn and my family paraded across my conscious mind in prelude to the dreamscape awaiting me. Uncertainty plagued me and quietly I allowed the salty tears, inspired by my broken heart to seep into my desolate pillow.

The next day heralded greater promise. The sheep that had been mustered the day prior were to be taken off the property and onto the “long paddock” or stock route. These sheep were to be grazed along the side of the road between Deniliquin and Hay in the Riverina, NSW, before stopping traffic and parading down the main road on their way to the Hay Stock market.

By law, the travelling stock must travel “six miles a day” (approximately 10 kilometres per day). This is to avoid all the roadside grass from being cleared in a particular area by an individual mob. Bores, equipped with windmills and troughs, may also be located at regular intervals to provide water in regions where there are no other reliable water sources. A Travelling Stock Reserve is a fenced paddock set aside at strategic distances to allow overnight watering and camping of stock. Reserves may also be located on many roadways that are not the typical wide TSRs.

The travelling stock is driven by a drover and stockmen using Australian Stock Horses or vehicles. Other working animals include working dogs such as Kelpies, or their crosses which have been bred for working sheep and cattle. The stockman may also be accompanied by a packhorse, carrying supplies and equipment, or a wagon with supplies might follow the stock. More recently travelling stock has been accompanied by four-wheel drive vehicles and mobile homes.

The purpose of “droving” livestock on such a journey might be to move the stock to different pastures. It was also the only way that most livestock producers had of getting their product to the markets of the towns and cities. The beef cattle were transported to a rail siding or abattoirs “on the hoof”. The rigors of the journey, the availability of feed and water and the reliability of those “droving” the stock were all factors in the condition of the livestock when it was slaughtered.

We chugged along on our Honda 250’s at a gentle pace. The distance between camps was determined by a conservative estimation of the speed a healthy mob of sheep would travel. The award for the amazing and tireless workers of our team had to be given to the three Kelpie dogs that were skilfully directed by the old drover with a language consisting of strange whistles and an array of hand signals. The instincts of these intelligent dogs were a sight to seen as they adeptly redirected a stray sheep or a bulging face in the mob.

The most intense part of a day would be where traffic had to be stopped in order to cross the sheep over a bridge, drawing them together after a water hole and of course, directing the seemingly never ending line of Merinos through the single gate to the yards at the end of the day.

Generally, at the start of the day and once the sheep were feeding and walking at the expected pace, I would be left with my bike and the dogs, to keep the mob relatively tight, whilst the Drover would relocate the camp ready for the next evening.

The days were exhausting but satisfying, and sleep that comes from the daily counting of thousands of sheep came all too easily.

Shattered

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When I think about this next chapter, I find it difficult to find the words to describe what actually happened and it has taken me a long while to write about this. Saying so, it doesn’t make this chapter any better written than any of my last posts either, it has just been difficult.

To take myself back to that point, it is painful; but much of my history is like that; I have to return to that moment in time and put myself in the instant in order to be able to write about it. This is laborious to write about, words just don’t spill out onto my page.

At first I wanted to describe this, as I have before, as a story and then I thought it may be more powerful to write a poem. Neither flowed, and it still doesn’t. Pain has a habit of shutting your memories down in order to protect you…I know I have done that well before this time but I have to delve deep here and it still refuses to flow.

Vorn got up before me. He slipped out of bed quietly, thinking that I was sleeping. I rolled over into his warmth, savouring the essence of him and awaited his return. The night before, we had discussed religion, a topic we hadn’t touched on before. Vorn had been brought up as a Catholic and his thoughts on this subject were far more developed than mine. He also brought up the concept of having a threesome. When asked, I found it difficult to encapsulate my beliefs. I sensed a slight disquiet on his part but I had never felt that different beliefs would be the saw to fell this tree; not for one moment; so I was honest as much as I was vague. We made love. It was beautiful and connected…or so I felt.

He didn’t return to bed as I had anticipated. In my comfortable half dream state, he told me he was leaving. He told me he was leaving ME. Before I had the chance to wake up from my nightmare, he was gone.

I was shattered.

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I am reblogging this as I think it is a “must read”. So well written and a very personal insight on rape that is well worth thinking about (both men and women)

misslisted

Recently I participated in a brief exchange on Facebook on the topic of sexual assault.  The person who initiated the discussion was upset by the comments following an article at Jezebel.com written by a woman who had been sexually assaulted on the street.  Apparently the nature of the offending comments were of the “I would’ve broken his hand!” variety.  My friend’s premise in her Facebook update was that this kind of attitude is harmful to the victims of rape and sexual assault, and only serves to perpetuate the problem.  She stated “Okay, actually, I get it: they are trying to comfort themselves with the idea that they are invulnerable. The problem with this is that they are implicitly blaming the person telling the story for, basically, being incompetent to defend themselves.  This reinforces rape culture, because it reinforces the conception that the onus is on people (mostly women) to NOT GET RAPED.”

I couldn’t agree more, and, like…

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I avidly follow Fine Fairies Art and we are becoming good friends. The other day, after reading one of my posts, she told me that she was going to post a painting of some Gum Trees that she had done a while ago. She has captured them and the colors of the Australian landscape beautifully. All of her art is for sale and I am sure you will agree with me when I say that she is an incredibly talented artist.

Faires Fine Art

Good evening to all.  Welcome to November!  What a crazy few days it has been here in San Francisco, my life, the Middle East, and here at home in the United States.

My first order of business is to send my thoughts, prayers, and love to those affected by Hurricane Sandy on the east coast…3,000 miles away from me.  For those of you who don’t know, there was a massive super storm (a hurricane and a cold front collided over the Atlantic Ocean to create a ‘perfect storm’) on the east coast of the U.S. two days ago.  There was massive and extensive flooding, fires and  hurricane force winds.  This is the most populated area in the U.S. so literally millions and millions of people are currently without power (and it is very cold) and many peoples homes are either  submerged underwater or covered completely by sand.  New York City…

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