Sunday, 31 December 2006

Christmas Wrap

Yep. It’s official. I’ve irrevocably crossed the line between Christmas excitement and Christmas apathy. How did I get here? Was it a sudden journey one takes when one has two small children and four days of Christmas cooking? Or was enjoyment of the festive season leached out of me over the years by such memorable yuletides as the Midnight Mass burglary of ’88, whereupon we returned home to find our house ransacked, and thought for a few horrible minutes that our dog had been murdered (turns out he’d just gone a-wandering after scoffing several lollies with which the burglars had bribed him), or the Mr. Lonie family feud of ’03, complete with drink-fuelled irrational yelling and storming out? Either way, not even a glimmer of this mythical ‘Christmas Magic’ that seems to exist only in the minds of Hollywood producers and supermarket executives was evident. I put it to you that the magic of Christmas is, in fact, a baseless fabrication, and present for your examination the following evidence:

If Christmas were a magical time of giving and sharing, the grocer would not have raised the price of raspberries by $3 a punnet.

If Christmas were a magical time of feasting, the white chocolate tiramisu I made featuring the above profiteered raspberries would have looked something like this:

Instead of something like this:

If Christmas were a magical time of gift-giving, my family would have requested this:

Not this:

If Christmas were a magical time of peace, goodwill and holiness, my book from Mr. Lonie would have been about something nicer than a father out to avenge his daughter’s rape. And Mr. Lonie’s book from me would not have been The God Delusion.

If Christmas were a magical time for children, I might have put some effort into the pretence that a rotund, hirsute and jovial man would deliver presents to our house over Christmas Eve.

If Christmas were a magical time of rest, I would have been asleep on Christmas Eve, instead of up with Master Lonie (perhaps that’s why Santa didn’t visit?)

But the most damning evidence against the existence of Christmas magic? If Christmas were a magical time of enjoyment, I wouldn’t be two kilos heavier now.

Hope you all had a magical Christmas.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Happy Birthday Jesus

’Twas the night before Christmas, ’twas Christmas almost,
Lonie sat at the keyboard to work on a post.
She sighed with relief, her cooking all finished,
But sadly her vigour was sorely diminished.
She rubbed her tired eyes, she was having no luck
thinking of rhymes, her brain seemed quite stuck,
Then suddenly, wond’ring “What rhymes with ‘buck this?’”
Epiphany struck, and she shouted,

Stuff that for a joke! It’s Christmas Eve! Who has time to craft personalised re-workings of well-known yuletide poems?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 23 December 2006

A Sleepy Snippet

I’m going to Christmas Eve mass tomorrow night. I suppose it’s hypocritical of me as I don’t attend the rest of the year except Easter, but somehow it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without squeezing like sardines into a pew with my family, breathing as shallowly as possible to minimise my inhalation of pungent body odour molecules emanating from someone behind me, and singing Christmas carols in a voice a banshee would envy.

Friday, 22 December 2006

You know you're old and jaded when...

Mr. Lonie: Five more sleeps until Christmas!

Me: (groans) Oh God, really?

Thursday, 21 December 2006

This Present Is Not A-peeling

Call me Ebenezer, but with less than a week to go, I’m just not feeling any Christmas spirit. The only magic of the holiday season I’ve experienced so far is the sleight-of-hand by which my money disappears whenever I venture out of the house, and I’m pretty sure the only person who’s yet wished me a merry Christmas meant it ironically. As in: So you don’t want one of my newspapers? Merry effing Christmas!

I know this is a time of year when we’re supposed to be thinking about peace and love and goodwill to all mankind, but I must confess I’ve been thinking more about presents: Will Mr. Lonie’s stupid sister carelessly lose the present we send her son, just like she lost his birthday gift voucher? Can I bear to take my eldest nephew and niece shopping ever again after the last painful excursion of dithering and ingratitude? And will anyone in bloggerland give or receive a worse present than the vegetable peeler we unwrapped after our wedding four years ago?

Yes. A vegetable peeler. Most of us are taught that when it comes to presents, it’s the thought that counts, and that’s true. So when the thought involved in choosing a present is, “What’s the cheapest, nastiest piece of rubbish I can pick up down at the $2 shop and still pass off as a wedding present?”, I think I’m entitled to be ungrateful.

“Steady on!” You say with a frown. “You’re a bit greedy and grasping, aren’t you? What did you expect? A Lladro figurine? A bottle of vintage Grange Hermitage? A Fabergé egg?”

No, I didn’t expect anything at all, especially from people I’d never heard of, have still never met, and who didn’t even attend the wedding. We only invited them because Mr. Lonie’s pathologically-interfering mother insisted we invite everyone with the least connection to her, right down to a boss’s son’s teacher’s cousin’s hairdresser sort of level. A nice card with warm wishes would have been sufficient, but instead there I was, a consternated expression marring my blushing-bride’s features, holding the aforementioned vegetable peeler incredulously in my hand. It wasn’t a fancy ergonomic peeler with laser-edged titanium blade. It wasn’t even a good old serviceable supermarket-bought peeler like the one in my utensil drawer. This monstrosity was an ill-begotten hybrid of vegetable peeler and clunky, mark I electric toothbrush; for some unfathomable reason known only to its creator (I’m guessing Dodgy Brothers Homewares) its blades were bent almost at a right angle (handy for all those square potatoes) – and it was battery operated.

For the benefit of Mr. Lonie’s mother, who had invited herself and several others around to our house to supervise the unwrapping of presents, I said, “Hmm,” the most polite remark I could manage at the time. For the benefit of myself, I chucked the absurd contraption straight in the bin once I had proven my initial surmisal that it was completely useless, even without the electrified shaking which I could just imagine causing a fingertip-ectomy.

Oh! I tell a lie – it wasn’t completely useless. I kept the batteries.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Lost For Words

Why is it that when I need it the most, my brain deserts me like…um…something deserting something else? Having just declared my intention to ease up on the blogging in favour of more income-oriented writing, I find that I have nothing to write that isn’t even marginally better than the last few pages of stodgy rubbish I’ve already wasted valuable kilowatts of power typing. Moreover, I now have an ad hoc project of arguably greater import which is receiving still less cerebral support – a eulogy.

Anyone who wasn’t discouraged from reading Friday’s entire post as its façade of selfless concern fell away to reveal the nauseating bombast beneath, will know my grandmother was gravely ill. She died on Saturday. I am comforted by my belief Nanna has gone to that euphemistic ‘better place’, where her mind is sound again and she is free of the encumbrance of a failing body. I am also acutely aware that only a shitty granddaughter would be at a loss to come up with just a few sentences of fond remembrance for a woman who loved her.

Ugh! I’m going to bed before I descend once more into pseudo-pious self-flagellation. I’m sure after a good night’s sleep I’ll be refreshed and better able to do what a writer of my calibre does best: plagiarise from my sisters.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Out of the Escritoire

I’ve been keeping something from you. Something that will shock some, disappoint others and leave the rest of you shaking your heads sadly as you imagine the extra difficulties in life poor Lonie will have to face once this long-kept secret is revealed. Yes, I’m one of those. Although some of you may not care to admit it, or even realise it, we all know at least one person like me.

“My name is Lonie Polony and I’m an…an…” I take a deep breath to steady my nerves, and then decide just to blurt it out before my courage fails me completely.


The silence, after the initial stunned gasps, is crushing. I panic and my eyes dart around frantically searching for an exit through which to make a quick getaway, but Blogger Beta is, as all us poor beguiled fools have discovered, the fortress of no escape. So I slump defeatedly to the floor and continue my sorry admission.

“I’ve harboured this ambition for some years now, since I decided ‘writer of fiction’ was the ideal career for someone as lazy as me. What occupation could be better suited to someone whose favourite things include sleeping in, all-day pyjamas and as little ‘real’ work as possible? Sadly, it’s only recently I realised the flaw in my plan, the flaw which I’m sure you spotted immediately. To be a successful writer you need dedication, not procrastination. You need clever, original ideas, not tired old tirades. You need a vocabulary devoid of adverbs not listed in the Macquarie Dictionary. You probably need motives less base than ‘make a fortune and quit my job’. And then there’s the matter of possessing at least a modicum of talent.”

“And what, pray tell,” you interrupt with a sneer of faint repulsion, “is the purpose of this confession? We thought you were a harmless, loveable dag, but now you tell us you’re one of those deluded losers who think they can achieve financial and critical success in an already overcrowded market?”


“Has anyone ever led you to believe your writing is worth reading?”

“I won the Writers’ Workshop Prize in Grade 12…”

You collapse into derisive laughter for several minutes. “Anyone (snigger) else?”

“Well…you read my blog don’t you?” I venture timidly.

More peals of increasingly cruel laughter ring out. “Ah, Lonie, Lonie. Most of us in this room are only figments of your imagination! The only real people here are those three who visit out of pity. See them squirming in their seats feeling embarrassed for you? See how they avert their eyes, hoping you won’t try and foist a copy of your dull and derivative manuscript on them?”

“Hmm,” I consider. “In that case, you won’t mind what I’ve got to say, rather you’ll probably welcome it. You see, the purpose of this confession is to tell you that, in the three months before I go back to (paid) work, and while Mr. Lonie is home on leave to help with the fruits of our loins and the housework, I’ve promised both him and myself that I’ll work on the novel languishing in my hard drive, the novel which someone has implied is great, and will earn us a fortune. Consequently, as difficult as it is for a lazy, procrastinating hack, I’m going to have to stop loitering in bloggerland, or googling erstwhile acquaintances who have turned out to be pole-dancers, people who post photos of their own pooh, or high-level international policy advisors. I really mean it. No more daily visits to my favourite blogs. Fewer posts, more far-between. I’m really committed…ah, let’s face it. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Friday, 15 December 2006

Here Be Dragons

Gah! I'm caving in to the pressure. Too stingy and html-illiterate to set up my own web page or move to another blog service, I'm changing over, with due trepidation, to Blogger Beta. If I don't make it to that promised land of milk and honey, find my code-choked corpse and send my middle finger to the technocrats at Blogger.

If this post were a person, it’d be whiny and despicable.

(But hey, this is supposed to be where I can verbal vomit, right? Better out than in.)

The whole scenario was like something out of a B-grade horror movie. A horde of zombies groaning insistently for “Brains! Brains!” through putrefying lips shambled towards the teenage lovers cowering helplessly in their car, powerless to prevent their imminent demise. Except that even as this comparison flitted guiltily through my head, it was not an appreciation for its black comedy that I felt, but rather a sadness for the frailties of age in once-vigorous people.

Visiting my grandmother in her nursing home last week, my young, delightful children were the antitheses of the aged, shuffling men and women denied by nature the dignity of self-reliance in their latter years; consequently, they were as an oasis to a parched desert wanderer, or, well, a skull-full of grey matter to the insatiable undead. All eyes swivelled in their direction, while those who were able made their way towards us to pinch cheeks and croak out questions Miss Lonie was too shy to answer. I felt pained for those confined to their chairs staring wistfully at Miss and Master Lonie, vainly trying to attract their attention and entice them closer, while Miss Lonie, as frank and tactless as any child her age, hid her face from their strange, wizened visages.

A week’s worth of daily visits with my cherubic baby and button-cute girl made my nanna the envy of the home, I’m sure, but I must confess that even as we granted her that small pleasure I was selfishly thinking how sad it made me feel to be there and see the ravages time can wreak on the body and mind. I was reminded of the incident when, about six or seven years old, I was waiting in the car while my mum popped into a nursing home on some errand. A resident had wandered out alone and, spotting me in the car, was inexorably drawn to my window and peered smilingly in, enjoying whatever reminiscences the sight of a child dredges up in dementia-addled minds. Callow and incapable of reasoning through the situation, I concluded this poor woman was intent on, as I had been led to believe of strangers, abducting me, and I began to cry. Of course the fear and later chagrin at the teasing for my mistake, have now been replaced by pity. A pity which manifested itself in disgustingly self-indulgent maudlin tear-prickings during the afternoon’s nostalgic sing-along, when I realised that although many residents can’t walk or remember where they are, lyrics from their heyday are etched in their memories.

Now my nanna lies, as I learnt mere hours ago, stroke-afflicted and vulnerable to imminent death, and this revolting, snivelling, rambling confessional-type post does no one any good. Perhaps it would be better to acknowledge the dark humour of such situations rather than whinge about poor me and my sensitive nature, which excuses me from phoning my grandmother because her lapses in lucidity make me sad. In that case, here is some advice:

Eat dairy for your bones. Do cryptic crosswords for your mind. And (as my recently deceased grandfather can attest) beware a visit from me and mine, for we are the harbingers of doom.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Google is a Fascist Bully!

I’m being punished for holding out against the (inevitable, so I’m assured) move to Blogger Beta. I can’t comment on anyone’s blog anymore because I don’t have the requisite Google Account. I tried to sign up for a Google Account, but it won’t let me use my blogging name, accepting only my real, proper-email-for-proper-uses name. I tried to create a Gmail account, but guess what? I need a Google Account for that. So it seems I have to create another identity-thief’s-treasure-trove, spam-magnet email account. I know Blogger is free and therefore one could argue I shouldn’t complain and whinge, but what is all this grief in aid of? Change for the sake of it, or real, necessary improvements? If the latter, why, when I recently created my blog, did Blogger not just automatically create a Beta account for me? I hate Google!

Oh, hello there O’Brien. What’s this? You say all the answers are in the place where there is no darkness…?

No! Not the rats! I’ll do anything…!

Please ignore my earlier rant. I realise now I love Big Google.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

I Just Spent A Week As Single Parent. Interstate. With My Parents.


I needed to get that off my chest.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Au Revoir, Blog Amies!

“No, Lonie! Don’t leave us bereft of your humorous, polony-based rants for a whole week!” I hear my thousands of fanatical readers cry out in despair as they tear out handfuls of their hair. “How will we cope with our dreary, polony-free days? We’ve tried other blogs but Lonie™ Polony is the only polony guaranteed to be 100% rectum free! WE DON’T LIKE RECTA!”

And then I snap out of my oh-so-delightful dream.

Unlike many self-aggrandising fantasies, this one does contain a few grains of truth: No-one likes recta, except as necessary parts of the body’s waste-removal system (and possibly those people who consider it a delicacy. I don’t know who such people might be, and don’t care to accept any dinner invitations from them); Lonie™ Polony is the only polony guaranteed to be 100% rectum free; and I am leaving bloggerland for a week.

The suitcase and carry-on bag are finally packed, and yet again I’m amazed the clothes and miscellany for Miss Lonie, Master Lonie and I have all fitted. I try not to think about the return journey, when the suitcase will be bulging and straining at the zips because I can’t be arsed packing with anything approaching the same amount of care.

Mr. Lonie is snoring on the couch – in my obtuseness I thought this was the opposite of what he intended to do when he declared he would stay awake tonight – until it’s time to set out at the unusually ‘eff off! I’m sleeping!’ time of 3 a.m. on the way to his junket in New Zealand.

The fruits of my womb and I are to make the less physically arduous but perhaps more psychologically straining journey to the town of Wynyard with my progressively batty parents, to visit my grandmother. A week with my parents?! Wish me luck.

Friday, 1 December 2006

Fond Memories of KFC (Knackered Fat Chicken)

Over the years my siblings and I must collectively have kept at least two dozen pets. We’ve had the usual dogs, cats, budgies, canaries and fish, as well as terrapins, ducks, an imaginary horse called Rowan (oh, how I wanted a horse!), and the chickens. A chicken was an odd sort of pet for me, considering I was rather afraid of them – as a tiny wee mite visiting my grandparents’ farm, the chickens were at least half my height and, sensing their advantage, used to run at me rather than away from me. Still, my grandparents were indulgent and like most things we begged of them, gave us the chicks without question. They would even have gifted us with the piglets we were so keen for, if Mum hadn’t finally put her foot down.

I proudly named my chicken Sandy, after Sandy the fish monster from Monkey Magic, and I still think of Sandy as a ‘him’ today, even though he was of the egg-laying persuasion. Unfortunately, Sandy suffered from delusions of anthropomorphism, and consequently decided that he would eat himself into obesity just like the hundreds of millions of other people in the world.

Poor Sandy – I can still see him in my mind’s eye, tottering around on little chicken legs far too inadequate for his great bulk, sometimes collapsing and struggling pitifully to rise. Inevitably and perhaps mercifully, there came the day when I was solemnly informed that Sandy had passed on to heaven.

I never enquired what happened to Sandy’s earthly body, nourished too much for its own good, preferring to maintain the belief he was buried in some quiet part of the garden. If I start to think that maybe he became a tasty dinner for the dogs and cats, or, quelle horreur, ended up in one of the chicken curries that so frequently graced our table, I enter a metaphorical state of stuffing my fingers in my ears and shouting lalalalala! Until those nasty thoughts go away.

Sandy has never been forgotten. I am no longer afraid of chickens, although I maintain a healthy respect for other poultry which seem to have the same uncanny knack for sensing my fear and pursuing me mercilessly. And my siblings, usually so tender-hearted when it comes to our pets, still derive much gleeful amusement from teasing me about Sandy’s unfortunate demise.

Sandy, wherever you are, may you soar like an eagle, lay eggs without effort and never lack for corn and worms.