Category Archives: Love & Stuff

The lovey dovey stuff.

Love dot com – Part three

Ahhh, love.  Of course none of it was as easy as that, and Belfast did freak me out.   But every moment of hardship, stress, adversity has been more than offset by the wonder of love and life with my gorgeous fella.  In spite of all the crap we’ve gone through, and my health problems, I’ve never been so blissfully happy and content.  Yeah, gag, right, I don’t blame you.  But it’s true.

I reckon the worst, the very, very worst thing we had to contend with was all the Visa Applications and Immigration Departments.  Continue reading

Love dot com – Part two

Back in Australia I chatted online a lot more to Tux, first venting about The Boy and as that wound scabbed over, about much more interesting things.  Online communication of personal history/feelings can be easier in a way – it is less threatening, less forced, gives you time to think about wording, and inspires confidences better than stilted conversations in pubs and clubs especially if you’re the shy reserved type.  At least that’s how it worked for us.

In a way it was a very old-fashioned kind of courtship.  Continue reading

Love dot com – Part one

[Update:  have broken this into three parts.]

[I’m writing this in bed, propped up against my back rest with my laptop propped on my knees.   It is not comfy and I’d really like one of those breakfast tray/tables with foldout legs but buggered if I can find one anywhere in Perth … ]

Wishing everybody a delightful, romantic, not commercial-or-materialistic-or-designed-to make-singles-feel-like-killing-themselves Valentines Day.  I have written [ranted] before, and at length, about the vileness that is VD; or as it is known around these parts, “Get Fucked Day” [say it with flowers].  So rather than getting my knickers in a twist, I shall merely calmly say that we [that would be Tuxedo and me, not the royal we] do not celebrate.

I thought I’d bare my soul a bit and tell all about our love dot com, our geeky love across the internet and various telecommunications systems, that resulted in our getting hitched six years, six days and six feet piles of paperwork ago. Continue reading

Tux and Otterkat No. 6

Saturday 02 February was our SIXTH Wedding Anniversary.  Who’d have thought, huh?  I rubbed my mum’s nose in it a bit, as she had been convinced I’d come running home crying from Belfast after about three weeks.  Mind you, it did all come as a shock to her.  She had NO IDEA that Tux and I were so deeply involved, or making plans [engagement, me making an international move, marriage, etc] until we announced the engagement back in May 2001.  She just about went into cardiac arrest … perhaps I should have give some warning, instead of interrupting a heated discussion on what colour to paint my brother’s kitchen.  But then again, when I had tried to tell her about Tux a month earlier, before his visit, she interrupted ME, saying, “oh don’t get your hopes up, he’ll just dump you like all the rest”.  [Which was unfair, and also inaccurate.  Okay, the last one had dumped me but the *coughmumblemumble* before that she didn’t even know about.]  It’s nice to have such a positive, confidence-boosting parent, isn’t it?

So here we are, six years after our wedding and just as in lurve and dopey about each other as ever.  It’s good stuff, we are content and easy with each other, we communicate well and appreciate each other immensely.  I don’t believe we’ve ever had a real fight – oh sure, we’ve had snits and sulks and crying jags [the crying jags would be me … mostly, hee] – but no screaming/yelling/throwing plates.  That’s just not our style.  And we have had a lot of stress and trouble to deal with in that time, that could have destroyed many a couple.  Culture shock; international moves; homesickness; health problems; financial woes; visa applications and fuck-ups galore.  Phew, it’s been pretty tough at times, really.

We celebrated quietly this year; no presents because of the newly bought house and need to save for sofas and dining suites and HD TVs.  We did have a lovely dinner out at one of our favourite restaurants, the CBD Restaurant on Hay Street, attached to Rydges Hotel – our preferred destination for dirty weekends and celebrations.

He’s a good man.  I am very, very lucky I made that impromptu trip to Belfast while holidaying in Dublin in 2000, and called him up [via a friend of a friend] for a drink.  Sometimes you have to believe in Fate.

Here’s to the next six years, or sixteen, or forty six.

Name change

I always, always, ALWAYS swore that if I ever got married – an extremely remote possibility given my history of disastrous relationships with total arseholes – I would never change my name.  Feminist principles, outmoded concepts of ownership, wives as goods and chattels blah blah blah. 

So when Tuxedo and I married I stayed, resolutely, Juliana Father’sLastName.  Tuxedo was fine with this, he respected my wishes and my reasoning and didn’t pressure me into taking his lastname – even though I knew, really, that he would have liked me to do so.

Somehow though, my thinking has changed.  Whether it’s because we’ve been married nearly five years now, and together for over six, and I’m slightly more secure given the evidence of our mutual divine happiness (and that he will not bolt on me, necessitating a messy divorce and messy re-name-changing) but I have come to the following conclusions vis a vis the legal changing of my lastname.

First:  I am, and wish to continue to be part of Tuxedo’s life.  He and I have an amazing relationship – best friends, companions, partners, lovers, the lot; we are a partnership; we’re a family (I cannot see that having/not having kids makes you more or less a family; anyway we have cats).  Also – and this sounds disgustingly corny and politically incorrect and I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK, we are part of each other, belong together, and belong to each other.  Therefore a shared lastname makes sense.

Second:  (and most logical)  Why keep a lastname that was given to you by your parent(s)/guardian/authority figure at birth, that you had no choice over, vs taking the lastname of the life partner you DID choose?  The way I see it, the parental lastname marks you as a good and chattel in just the same manner as becoming a Mrs Harvey Stokes (or whatever) does; maybe even more so given the whole patriarchal/patrilineal set-up of Western society.

Obviously if someone has a very strong association and identity with their given lastname then of course he/she should keep that regardless of partnership status.  If she/he has no particularly strong feelings toward that given lastname then s/he may as well abandon it. 

In my case I do want to keep my father’s lastname; I also want to take Tuxedo’s.  What to do?  I hatehatehate squinched together double-barrel names, I just happen to find them pretentious and naff and more importantly, totally meaningless unless both parties change their lastname to Fowington-Stokes (or whatever).  I know for sure that Tux wouldn’t (see: pretentious and naff).

So the conclusion I have finally come to is as follows;

To change my name so that my father’s lastname becomes a second middle name; and take Tuxedo’s lastname as my actual lastname.  Think Laura Ingalls WILDER or Frances Hodgson BURNETT.

Meet Juliana Fluffy PENGUIN.

Geeking out

Shopping for Tux’s Birthday

If there’s one thing I love more than shopping for gadgets and generally geeking out, it’s shopping and geeking out for someone else.

It is Tuxedo’s birthday in over three weeks time but I’m already totally organised – a trifle OCD perhaps but a couple of gifts just may have required ordering/internet shopping and it’s always best to overcompensate.  Three fantabulous presents, each of which *I* would like to have (in my mind, that’s the best present, to give something that YOU want) (well obviously, only if you have the same tastes) (I remember only too well my brothers giving me Bruce Springsteen albums when I wanted ***blush well I was only thirteen!*** Duran Duran).

Two out of three presents are sheer divine geekery and I’m DYING to give them to him!  I don’t know how I can possibly wait until his actual birthday to hand ‘em over.  In the meantime I’ll tease him a little; just as he teased me about MY birthday present.   One of them he kinda knows about, as he’d particularly requested it and I pay attention to people’s wish lists (hint, hint); the other two he has no idea about and the second gadget of goodness will be a total surprise, I know. 

When I went shopping for it, and really ever since, I’ve been bouncing up and down going “Ooh! Ooh!”.  The sales-guy at the shop was most amused – also kinda impressed because I knew my stuff (research is a wonderful thing – from Amazon to Tom’s Hardware to … well that’d be giving it away).  Mind you it IS pretty speccy and the sales-guy said he wished HIS girlfriend would buy him a *coughcoughsplutter* instead of shirts and sweaters and shit.  Am I more excited than he?  At this moment, yes, I am.  Such a kid.

I geeked out even further that day when I slipped into the SONY shop for a dekko;  the new Bravia X Series HD Televisions are pure mind-bogglingly gorgeous – and the prices have dropped considerably.  Best of all this series can be run through one’s computer so you can play DVDs et al from there – extra-nice if one happens to have a massive wireless surround sound system – which previous HD iterations did not support.  Woohoo!  Guess we better start saving for that now, too …

…..

Okay so I folded.  Couldn’t hold out any longer.  Had to give him one of the preciousesss early.  The one he sorta knew about … Because he really was aching for it what with missing his beloved iPod (which died some months back, was resurrected briefly when he deliberately dropped it on the floor from a measured height, then expired entirely).

One Apple 80 GB iPod, in satin-y black, with a special laser-engraved message on the mirror shiny back.  Sweeeeeet.  And shiny !!!  The new iPods are so much neater and prettier than the earlier ones; not to mention the prices have come waaay waaaay down (at the online store anyway).   Somehow the sound is even better too; I don’t know how that can be, but it is.  The colour/video is very very pretty and the screen to iPod ratio is much larger.   Go Apple !!!  Strangely enough I’ve switched a new iPod further up my wish list.  His n Hers, how vewwy cute.

And Tux?  Is one very very happy boy.  And may well be getting more excited in contemplation of what else is in store for him on 19 November 2006.

…..

Ooh!  Ooh!  Ooh!

Birthday

Birthdays and the commemoration of same have always been an oozing necrotic sore spot of my year. Birthdays have been things to dread and treat with fear and wariness; times when existential angst is at a high and depression descends in snarling rabid Rottweiler proportions. Even more so than Christmas, that particular day of note when the pressures of feeling I’ve not made the grade or where society decrees I’m “supposed” to be in life became too much and was generally passed in a haze of deep depression, denial and/or drugs and alcohol.

The past years (read: years avec Tuxedo) have featured fantastic birthdays; not merely his gifts, which have always been amazing and special, AND a complete surprise (a white gold/yellow gold articulated torc necklet one year; a mint green silk/gold lace Collette Dinnigan shift dress another). The presence (ugh, what a horrid pun) of Tuxedo, my constant best friend, companion, demon lover, faithful husband all in one has changed so many facets of my life.

Life is now so special; wondrous, fun, deeply interesting, colourful, full of sometimes overwhelmingly daily joys … Kaleidoscopic, in fact. (and yes, even with the ongoing health shite, constant physical agony and stresses; I wouldn’t swap my life as is, with Tuxedo, for a cure and no Tuxedo for anything).

2006 was always going to be a bastard; not ending in either a 5 or a 0, but the famous (infamous?) Lucy Jordan Year … In the words of Marianne Faithfull;

At the age of thirty-seven/she realised

she’d never drive/through Paris in a sports car

with the warm wind in her hair

… and dear old Lucy ends up swan diving off the top of a tall building. Thirty-seven being, by deduction, the year when those personal and societal pressures I spoke of above become all too much and one takes the fast route out. Very uplifting, no? Not for me; not ever and certainly not on my thirty-seventh birthday. THIS one, my friends, had to be the best ever.

To summarise the celebration of Jules’ thirty-seventh birthday (08 August 2006), therefore:

Item:

Hotel stay

Tuxedo booked a weekend in a posh hotel, from Friday lunch-time to Sunday lunch-time. Rydges Hotel on Hay Street, Perth is “our” hotel; we got engaged there and have celebrated a couple of other birthdays there besides.

We had the most luxurious, romantic and exceptional time.

Item:

Divine dinners; beautiful breakfasts; movies and other entertainment (*cough cough*); French champagne; and shopping all featured on the weekend’s agenda.

On Friday night we had dinner at Rydges’ in-house restaurant and bar, CBD – a terrific place for drinks and food as evidenced by the huge crowds any time of the week. The food was gorgeous; Tuxedo started with a Thai Pumpkin Soup and I had a Classic Caesar Salad – both were delish and while not complex menu items were perfectly cooked, balanced and presented – the so-called “easy” stuff is where many restaurants fail. With starters we had a glass each of Rosemount Sparkling – yum. At this point Tuxedo gave me my pressie – more on that later. For mains Tux had braised venison which was tender and not at all fibrous or gamey, and I had an excellent Bouillabaise – again deceptively simple, not dressed up, exactly as it should be and with very intense flavours. We drank a bottle of Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir and were far too stuffed for dessert.

Saturday morning we had breakfast with my family and it was one of the nicest family gatherings I’ve been to in ages – I don’t talk much about my family here and there are many reasons for that, but interactions tend to be rife with tension and negativity. So it was lovely to have such a pleasant, relaxed and fun time with my husband, my parents, eldest bro and his wife, their toddler and bump (SIL is pregnant with their second bub – Auntie Jules has another juvie to corrupt, whee).

Saturday afternoon was spent much as Friday afternoon; alternately wandering around town shopping, and engaged in most pure and virtuous pursuits back in our hotel room. Saturday evening we took in Pirates of the Caribbean and had room service, with a bottle of Moet Champagne, mmm mmm. Again, fantastic fun and very very special.

Sunday we checked out, after breakfasting at a lovely café on Kings Street (not the eponymous Kings Street Café, which I loathe, sorry) and a little more browsing and window-shopping.

Tuesday was my birth day proper, and we had dinner at our favourite – and very best in town – Italian restaurant, Osteria Dei Sapori in Nedlands. Tuxedo had: Vitello Tonnato; Char-Grilled Sirloin; and Chocolate Marscapone cake. I had: Prosciutto and Bocconcini Salad; Char Grilled Snapper; and Crème Brulee. All absolutely sublime and worthy of the oohs and aahs and orgasmic groans we made. Then just before dessert, the waiters brought out my crème brulee to the accompaniment of “Happy Birthday” on the sound system, with all the staff singing and clapping, and then the waiters gave me flowers! Now I must tell you, the song is standard for such occasions but NOT the presence of all the staff, and certainly not floral tributes and smooches from the waiters! So I was excessively spoiled.

And speaking of being excessively spoiled …

Item:

THE PRESENT (caps required)

Tuxedo had been teasing me for months about my present and considering he’d been planning and organising it since April I can quite understand! I really had no idea apart from the fact that it was in a jewellery-sized box. Hence it was all his own work and thoughtfulness when he surprised me with –

– a seriously spectacular yellow- and white-gold bezel set three-diamond ring!

BLOODY HELL.

I’ve drooled over this style of ring for about twenty-five years; the design and size and use of different golds is precisely what I would have bought for myself. Which as any female knows, is the ultimate definition of a successful gift. I was – and will continue to be – totally overcome, speechless in fact – and am constantly sneaking peaks at my right hand ring finger to admire the sparklies. DIVINE. And do I not have the best, most incredibly beautiful and thoughtful and generous husband in the known universe? And he’s magnificent in bed too (well, we make a pretty spectacular team, to be truthful). He’s all mine … and I have such a crush on him.

Best. Birthday. Ever. Thank you, my darling boy, for making the day/weekend so much blissful fun, and for sharing the rest of our days and your life with me. I love you.

(and a very very Happy Birthday to my dear matey Dave (over at LeSinge.org) – and congrats on the successful marriage, move back to Eire, new job and new house, all in a matter of weeks! Did you learn from my mistakes, or are you just a bloody lucky gey [sic] bastard? Mwahs.)

Bedroom talk for atheists

I have many favourite reads, brilliant writers and guilty pleasures here on the Internets, but an essential and always fascinating visit is to Pharyngula (link in side bar).  I have learnt so much from PZ Myers; I adore evolutionary biology and his insights into unusual aspects of development biology are addictive, explained so beautifully, carefully and succinctly that I can understand what he’s on about, even though I’m not a scientist (although I have and continue to read a lot on the subject). His Friday pin-ups – of gorgeous and sexy cephalopods – are a draw, as are his battles with moronic creationists and proponents of “Intelligent Design” (more on that can of worms another day).  Makes me proud to be an atheist.

PZ is also very very funny, and gives the best links; this had me rolling about laughing, raising the question of what an atheist should say at those moments of ecstasy in the privacy of one’s own home … (note; not work safe; adult content)

 

R & R

Tuxedo has had the past week off from work, and has next week off too. The poor guy really needs and deserves the break; his company (he’s an IT Engineer/Project Manager) works him incredibly hard, long hours, plus he’s often on call 24/7. That’s the life of an IT guy (whether male or female), but it still sucks.

We’ve been having lots and lots of fun. Apart from me having a couple of bad nights and days to slow us down a bit, we’ve been very busy being lazy and relaxing, generally engaging in quality R&R.

  1. Sleeping in until 10 am, but not necessarily getting out of bed until, say, 3 pm, and being very energetic about it.
  2. Shopping – real, proper shopping, with real money, for real things! Note the previously mentioned new BBQ, Santoku and other sexy chef-y items; several new books and girly cosmetic items for me; new clothes for Tuxedo including a couple pairs of jeans to replace the pairs with large revealing holes; other items yet to be bought include a new desk for Tux, and a bed-tray/table thingie for me on which to place the laptop* so I can have it in bed with me, a new mattress, and some jeans et al for me too. (*I nicknamed the laptop “The Phat-top” when we bought it – it’s a super-size Dell Latitude 600, with all bells and whistles, very powerful and very pretty. The nickname’s really caught on, spawning descriptions for other machines such as craptop and slacktop.)
  3. An extra special present for Tuxedo who is not only an IT-geek but a cycling-geek too; a brand new incredibly gorgeous tri-bike – a Trek Equinox 11 to be exact, carbon fibre, black and very slender and sleek – the frame is kind of blade-like in profile as opposed to the usual tubular format. He’s in love, no question, and pretty much goes from bed to bike (nicknamed Blade) and back again. He was fit and in grrrrreat shape before, but the tri-bike uses different muscle groups and is a much better ride than his ex-bike. I could be jealous, but the amount of love and affection, and physical expression of same that I’m getting gives me no reason for complaint.
  4. Eating out a bit – old faves and a couple new finds, going to the pub, to the movies. We saw A History of Violence the other night which was amazing; I’ll try to post a review but not sure I can do it justice. Really, really amazing movie (and of course, Viggo Mortensen’s presence does no harm). Plans for next week so far involve the additional shopping, catching a showing of V For Vendetta, taking a picnic or two down the river and/or King’s Park, going to the zoo. Couple-y, tourist-y things. We did consider going down south but figured we had enough to occupy ourselves here.
  5. Some boring shite eg, major housework (autumn-cleaning?), and some furniture-moving. We currently have our bed in the larger of the two bedrooms, the miniscule bedroom #2 being my study and general junk-room. The living area not only has the dining table and chairs, sofa, walls of bookshelves and other expected items, but Tuxedo’s control centre (his computers, LCD screens, servers, routers, speaker systems etc), plus my rowing machine and weights, and Tuxedo’s Trek. So we plan to move the bed into bedroom #2 (if it fits) and have that room just for sleeping, and move my desk, the rowing machine and bike stuff into bedroom #1. With luck this will result in more space, or at least the appearance of same, the living room not being so cluttered. We also need to do a bit of work in the genre of “storage solutions” (fucking hate that term but it must suffice) eg, storage bins, vacuum packing spare duvets, clearing wardrobe space, tidying and storing cables and other IT-related ephemera. Gack.
  6. Just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. Well, we always enjoy each other’s company but having it 24/7 is extra-nice. The way we’re acting, you wouldn’t think we were married (see Item #1 above). Good times.

 

Now is the month of May-ing

May is a significant month for Tuxedo and me. Apart from our wedding anniversary (02-02-02, cool eh), pretty much all other relationship anniversaries fall in May.

We met on 26 May 2000, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, while I was on holiday.

On 06 May 2001, after innumerable IM conversations, emails, letters, care packages, presents, and thousands of dollars and/or pounds of phone bills, Tuxedo came out to Perth to visit me, and meet my family.

On 06 May 2001 we had our first kiss, as well as …. well the other stuff.

On 11 May 2001, we got engaged (complete with specially designed and absolutely spectacular ring) (and absolute shock and surprise from my parents and siblings who had absolutely no idea any of this was going to happen – I prefer the fait accompli). We then started filling out the first of many, many, many enormous vile bureaucratic documents.

(Our moving-in-together anniversary is 01 August 2001, which breaks the mould; never mind.)

Yes we did have an unconventional kind of courtship, why do you ask? Certainly very old fashioned and textual rather than sexual, almost Austen-esque but with advanced telecommunications (also more laughs and ruder jokes). I must be the only irreligious, feminist, modern, experienced (read: not exactly a shrinking violet) woman in the 21st Century to agree to marry a fella not only before we’d slept together but before we’d even kissed!

For heaven’s sake! How did this happen?

Pre-Tuxedo I thought all that stuff about soul-mates and the-one-and-only was total delusional hippie hey-nonny-tra-la-la-sing-cuckoo shite (and I used to sing madrigals and John Dowland stuff so I know what I’m talking about). I was totally convinced when I turned 30 that I would never, ever, ever meet a man who not only liked me a hell of a lot, but would get my sense of humour and slightly twisted life philosophy, someone who I could let past my concrete-and-lead defences, be totally truthful with vis a vis my health conditions and restrictions and have him accept me and love me anyway.

Unknown to me I was looking for someone like Tuxedo – well, not just someone like Tuxedo, but Tuxedo himself; someone who would put the time into getting to know me, pulling down defences, offering love and a safe haven. Never mind being 15,000 kms apart (time differences can be a bloody nuisance, though). Months of open, honest communication with no bullshit or games, no taboo topics, developing friendship and trust and love, coupled with an intensely practical yet romantic outlook; well it did the trick. Unconventional, indeed, but it worked exceedingly well for us.

Turns out all that soul-mate stuff was pretty much spot on, but I/we had to be in the right place at the right time and beat the relatively steep odds – different hemispheres, the fluke of meeting in the first place, connecting as we did, working through the practical difficulties and stresses of a LDR (Long Distance Relationship) …

Six Mays on from our first meeting, our relationship has grown and developed into something I never could have imagined. Intimacy, most-desired company, best friends, laughs, support, trust, unconditional love, all of which gets better and better (let’s not forget the most incredible mind-blowing sex).

Sometimes the hippie hey-nonny-nonny shit is right on.