shapeofthings: (Default)

In the last week I have tried three new things:
  • Cross country skiing
  • Bell ringing
  • Bouldering

Skiing, it turns out, might not be for me. I grew up in the sub-tropics, by the beach, and never saw snow until I was 30. I've hiked in it a few times and earlier this year I went snow shoeing, but this was my first time on skis. It ended in a melt-down of tears. Partly, existing knee and ankle injuries make technique difficult and gave me the fear (of serious further injury). The rest? I'd been sick with some awful virus for 6 weeks, working too much, and very low on emotional resilience after a few rapid-succession hits in what's already been quite a challenging year.

On day 2 of the trip I waved my friends off and took myself for a walk in the snow. I'd like to try cross-country again one day - it opens up all the back-country for winter camping - though it will be a time when I have physical and emotional reserves in spades, and even then the dodgy joints might mean it's just not possible


Bell-ringing, however, is more my cup of tea. Wonderful new friends invited me along, and although we lowered the median age by a few decades, the people were kind and noise-making was fun. When you get a good ring going the whole tower shakes most delightfully. Thank you H & L.

Today I went bouldering, using a date as an excuse to get out and do some work on my climbing skills. I'm internet dating, here and there, as I continue rebuilding my sense of self and recovering from a relationship that went badly wrong. The climbing part of the whole affair was a lot of fun, particularly as absence from the gym due to work and sickness these last two months means my stamina for wall climbing is currently shot to pieces, and bouldering is short-burst stuff. The rest of the date? Man, some people really can just talk about themselves, can't they? Still, I got to try something new and it's good for me to get out and meet people, make some friends and have a few adventures.


Gently does it though. I've been rather run down and an angsty and subdued version of myself of late. This year hasn't been the easiest and there's much I need to sort through and settle out yet. The stupid marriage equality postal survey has me quite worked up recently: I've come out as bi at work and to the extended family in an effort to sway votes and it's left me feeling quite vulnerable. Then there's learning how many people hate you for simply existing. Coming home from a long day at work to find homophobic hate materials in your letterbox is pretty confronting. Why the hell should I have to draw attention to and defend an aspect of myself that is as much a choice or achievement as my damn hair colour?

It's one more stressor in a year of many and it's getting me down but it won't keep me there. Like skiing, the fight will keep until I have the energy for it. In the interim I've a life to get into order and more adventures to plan and enjoy. Warm, sunny weather is returning at last and I'm making sure I have time and capacity to enjoy it.


Label this

Aug. 27th, 2017 08:44 pm
shapeofthings: (Crabby)
I am so tired and angry and strung out. What the hell is going on in the world? Why are we still fighting for the same basic freedoms? People feed hate to gain power, seemingly oblivious to the inevitability of that hate consuming them too.

I hate labels. They restrict and constrain and far too many of them translate inside my own head to 'fuck-up' to 'failure'. Never ever ever ever good enough; why aren't you doing more, Toni? Why so lazy? Get out there are fight. Stand back up and fix this shit.

Labels. Queer, feminist, nerd, divorced, renter, public servant, single, white, jewish heritage, descendent of refugees, hiker, climber, middle class, educated, privileged. Let's add some new ones. Angry. Sick of your shit. Tired of playing nice.

Don't admire my passion. Don't congratulate me on the quality of my voice. Get the fuck up and stand beside me. I do this because I can't see an alternative that isn't surrender. I do fuck all beside get up and try to be a version of me I can look in the eye: nothing more special than that. Not taking the cop out of just getting by and hoping the next generation takes care of it.

Maybe I was born with a freakish sense of justice and an over-active sense of responsibility. Maybe you just learnt to turn yours off and look the other way.

I'm so angry. Not at you - reader - not specifically. I'm angry with my society, with my peers and my parents, with our craven politicians and their corporate masters. I'm so tired of fighting this shit. Don't tell me to "keep the fire burning", get your arse over here and lend a fucking hand. I shouldn't have to burn out my anger to be the change that helps you and your children while you wring your hands.


Aug. 6th, 2017 10:50 pm
shapeofthings: (YES!)

Honestly, I don't even know where to start. The first 6 months of 2017 have been... something else.

Marty and I broke up in early February. It had been a long time coming, but was also remarkably difficult and painful. He wasn't able to meet my needs, and perceived my needs as a threat, which he tried to control through a combination of dominance and avoidance. I wasn't happy, yet at the same time found the relationship compelling and kept trying to find the solutions to somehow make it all work. In the end things got weird and - after several days without sleep - I found some unstable and irrational behaviour on his part quite frightening and threatening, and got myself the hell out of the house.

I am unspeakably grateful to the friends who caught me as I fell: to Launz, who called around to find me somewhere I could land; to Laura and Houston who took in a traumatised stranger; to Kelvin and Cass who helped me pack all my shit on week days and schlep it into storage; to Tom, for being there at 2 am when everything was spinning out of control; to my team at work, for maintaining some semblance of normal.

I stayed a month with Laura and Houston and am so proud to now call them friends. I hit the rental market in peak season, giving up on trying to find a functional share to fit into and instead deciding to set one up on my own. I landed a crumbling yet charming old cottage in Kensington and set about trying to make it home. I shipped up the things I'd had in storage since I'd left Tasmania in late 2013, combined with the meagre things I had here, and spent far too much money accruing the rest. I moved fast, as soon I had a space that approximated home, with new curtains hung, a kitchen to cook properly in, hope for a garden and all the material flotsam of western adulthood. Just as I was starting to find my feet, the landlord decided she wanted to move in.


My housemate - who was already not working out so well - didn't cope with having no power over the sudden need to relocate, and things broke down pretty quickly (I've never had someone find me intimidating before and never wish to make someone feel that way again). To ease the stress on both of us I paid her back the rent she'd paid and let her leave, and set about finding myself somewhere to land in a hurry, since I couldn't afford the rent on my own. With a house full of new furnishings and a hole in my bank balance, compromises had to be made, and I found myself in a share house in Essendon with all my shiny new goods stashed in a garage, my worldly space reduced to a small bedroom overlooking a main road in Melbourne's suburbs.

Yeah, it's taken some adjustment, but it's ok. My two housemates (both women, both a decade younger than I) are decent people, and I live close to the train and the climbing gyms, and close enough to the city and to friends that I have the kind of social life I was sorely lacking with Marty out in Glen Iris. Work is going exceedingly well after a manager change back in Jan/Feb and I feel as if I'm on a viable track to get somewhere I'd like to be in the next year or so. Earning less than I used to 4 years ago, while living in a far more expensive city still sucks, mind, but it feels like forward momentum rather than just treading water.

I've spent some quality time with a very good psychologist, working through what the hell was going on and drilling right back to my childhood and the impact of shitfulness there on how I react to conflict and emotional unavailability in the here and now. It's been hard work and I've shaken up the relationship with my parents as well as my own perspectives through a few months of schema therapy. Despite all this, relations with Marty are frosty at best, with him blaming me for all that went wrong. Consequently, interactions with mutual friends remain awkward but I guess that's just the way it is: you can't win everything.

Serra Range view

I have friends of my own here, both old ones reconnected and new ones through work and climbing. I'm getting out hiking once a month or so,and though I do miss the epic adventures of the Marty days, it's nicer to trek with people who don't mind that I'm not the fastest, and who are happy to chat and interested in what I have to say. Though I feel like I haven't don't much, when I take stock that's not the case: Rob and I hiked the Bluff in March; I did Lake Tali Karng with the Gippy gang in April, as well as taking a long weekend in Tas for a wedding. May was busy with house stuff, but June brought winter camping in Grampians with Saba and Rob, then a much-needed week in Tas and some day walks in the snow; then July was an overnight snow-shoe trip to Mt. Stirling with Rob again.

I've recently dipped my toes into internet dating, and though it makes me quite uncomfortable and I doubt it'll provide any lasting outcomes, it's nice to feel like there are opportunities out there and the attention is a welcome boost to my confidence.

As always, it all comes down to love in the end. Friendship, wild places, challenges, opportunities to learn and grow and to be more than I would have, had none of this come to pass. Soft landings...

To the journey, my friends. To the trail and finding out to where it leads this time.

A Stirling weekend

shapeofthings: (Beach me)
Misty Seal

Sticky wonder

Ghostly tarn

Down with the dog (roses)

Twilight Hut

Boronia bloom

Tarn Shelf, Mt. Field National Park, Tasmania
shapeofthings: (Beach me)

Hold on to beauty, compassion and purpose;
Take good care of each other, and yourselves;
Nourish your better angels.
shapeofthings: (Beach me)

Luxury accommodation by Toni Radcliffe on
Lake Elysia, Cradle Mountain - Lake St. Clair National Park

Over a month ago already, somehow.

Tasmania, I miss you. One day I'll figure out how to come home.

Meanwhile, Melbourne. Work until July. Tentative rootlets.

Tarn view by Toni Radcliffe on

Mountain tarn, Cradle Mountain - Lake St. Clair National Park
shapeofthings: (Beach me)
So hello. I am alive. I am remarkably busy for someone (still) unemployed, but that happens when you're applying for every job you can (including Government response to selection criteria), setting yourself up as an independent consultant (getting the admin sorted, working networks, defining your 'product') and trying to maintain some semblance of a life.

I'm an independent consultant specialising in environmental governance and compliance, or at least that's what my promo blurb says. Still, there's a sniff of a contract with the EPA on the horizon that I'd rather like to come off.

I'm also still looking for full time work. The original plan was to develop the business on the side over the next year or two whilst working, but I don't handle a lack of agency well so when job hunting was getting me nowhere I fast-tracked the plans. Now I have two interviews this week for jobs I think I'm a solid shot at, after a long quiet spell and a disappointing near miss.

Oh, and I've started an online course through Monash Uni on Water for Sustainable and Liveable Cities. I'm enjoying it, but if I follow up on all the reading and links that interest me it'll be far more than the promised 4 hours a week. Hmmm.

Two days a week I haunt a co-working space in the city, joining the worker-drones on their daily commute. It's where I come to write and work on the business. It's keeping me sane. And hey look, I finally updated my serious blog! Grief and the Reef: coral bleaching, climate change and you.

I haven't had the DSLR camera out since New Zealand, back in January. I just haven't been in the photography zone. I haven't been hiking as much as I'd like, and climbing's a serious struggle now I live on the wrong side of the city, deep in the 'burbs. Melbourne is too big and difficult to get around, this vast urban sprawl that costs us all so much time, money and environmental condition. Yeah, it's still not home and I doubt it ever will be. Medium-terms plans are being formulated that plot a viable escape. I long to live somewhere beautiful again. I miss the mountains.

The guy is with me on this. We continue to go well, and I'm journeying through all sorts of self-exploration and revelation as I unpick the damage of divorce, past bad relationships and a messed-up childhood.

When I say we're going well, that includes a shared frustration with Melbourne and the whole political-economic bullshit Australia - and most of the rest of the world - is being sold. A recognition that we're in a game that's rigged and we've got no real chance of winning, so we're trying to work out how to not play without being punished for it. When everyone around you has drunk the kool-aid it's hard to not seem like the crazy ones, and for now we're playing the part well enough while we work out how best to decouple from broken systems. Harder for him with his drive for status and admiration from his peers. My lovely weirdo friends are far less judgemental. Still, I could really use some clothes that fit properly, and a decent hair cut.

I could really use the ability to plan, to believe in a future and take the steps to bring it to bare.

I've even reached out to my networks in Peru. I could handle Lima again, for a few months.

One thing that is happening is thinking. Long and hard and deep about society and culture, economics and politics, mental chains and social conditioning. Thinking about this mess our species has got ourselves in. We're quite screwed, you know. If climate change doesn't mess us up first (and I think it will) the rising inequality will spill over violently somewhere, and as the Trump phenomena shows, conditions are ripe for fascisms and hate to drive our politics. Society is generating too many losers.

One day I might get around to articulating all this properly, but for now writing needs to focus on what will resonate with my potential market and help develop my networks and reputation. It's less fun than exploring the darker stuff echoing around my head but it's still better than pushing out academic essays, even if I can't help but reference things still.

Not dead, but living just enough out-of-step with my surroundings to generate that sleep-walking feeling. Pondering the shape of things to come.

shapeofthings: (Beach me)
Yesterday: Razorback Ridge, Jawbone Circuit (slightly truncated), Cathedral Range State Park. Roughly 16 km, largely in challenging terrain. 6.5 hours.

Phone photo by Marty.
shapeofthings: (fight)

Itching to be moving again. This big city life is not for me. Time to venture forth and find a place to make a home for a few years. Time to find some soils in which I can flourish.

Uni has been... disappointing. There's a rant brewing that will be written once this last assignment is done. It hasn't taken me where I'd hoped and I need to recalibrate and get my life back on the track I want it. Right now I'm incubating the tiniest vision of what all that may mean.

I'm done in a week, then I'm on the road - off and on - until the end of January and out of Melbourne late February. To where I don't yet know.

shapeofthings: (Default)

Autumn blazed briefly,

Now it is winter

The light without warmth.

Assignments still to be written

but counting the days

until the release of

being in motion.

shapeofthings: (fight)

What I want to do today is anything but
This essay that’s due:
        Cost-benefit analysis for biodiversity conservation
30 percent of my total mark for
        Environmental economics class.
The absurdity of placing dollar values on
        Nature itself
While spending my days sitting in
        Lecture theatres, staring at screens:
An indoor life while I Master the
        Environment. Outside
The fierce wind shakes the wires that
        Bind me electronically;
Leaves spin and settle in piles of
        Restless rustling, reflecting
My internal landscape: the urge to be
        Rushing, wild,
Over mountains, down river valleys
        Studying the world
Through observation and conversation, not
        Academic papers:
No essay captures the forest spirits, the
        Sacred places that
Nourish us and define what it is to be
Trap of my own construction; bound
        To the city,
To the written word and this white page
        In some strange attempt
To redeem myself and, somehow,

Greeting the sun


Jul. 17th, 2014 02:29 pm
shapeofthings: (fight)
I miss you so much but the time's not yet right to go home.


What is home anyway? )


This journey's far from over.
shapeofthings: (fight)

A butterfly gets a salt fix from my sweaty guide Russel (pronounced roo-sell) on our walk through part of the MABOSINFRON conservation concession just out of town in Puerto Esperanza, Purús Region, Peruvian Amazon.



Jun. 27th, 2014 12:10 pm
shapeofthings: (Default)
Guard duty

shapeofthings: (fight)
Rupac ruins hike

This path, slow trod, unknown
of terminus, winds through fine
worn desert dust and far icy
crowns of Andes...

Terraced slopes for stepping
I fall, get up, keep going,
climbing, breathing...

Worn thin by many passing
feet of others going seeking,
bearing in a pilgrim heart the
brilliant ache of living...

(joy and sorrow seep from same
deep wells plumbed firmly
in the psyche) and I will
always go on walking.

P.S. Desert prettiness at TheShapeOfThingsToCome - go look!
shapeofthings: (Macchu Pichu)
This hill? Oh, it's nothing.

Just a thousands-of-years old mud-brick temple from the pre-Incan civilisation that formed in Lima and the nearby river valleys. Nothing special, there are dozens of them all over the city and out in the valleys.

Of course you can go walking on it, stupid foreigner...

Huaca San Marcos

Huaca San Marcos

From the sign...
The lower Rimac River valley contains a large quantity of prehispanic relics, one of which is the Maranga architectural complex from the Lima culture (0-600 AD), which covers an area of 1.5 km from north to south,and 1 km from east to west: a zone now contained within the avenues OR Benavides in the north, La Marnia in the south, Universitaria to the east and Faucett to the west. ...the Maranga complex consisted of 16 buildings, and of the 7 which are found within the University grounds the Huaca [pyramid temple - T] San Marcos was probably the principal building. Construction likely began in the late stage of this culture, when maximum development levels were reached.

These archaeological remains were described and studied as much by travellers as by archaeologists such as Hutchinson (1873), Meddendorf (1894), who developed a plan of the buildings, identifying them by number, Max Uhle (1905) and Jijon & Caamano (1025); the last studies were carried out under Doctor Ruth Shady (2000).

Huaca San Marcos

Huaca San Marcos

The Lima culture was characterized principally for its monumental architecture, constructed using cobbles, earth and sand, forming superimposed structures and building walls and floors using clay and mud-brick. The oldest structures were made of hand-moulded mud bricks, but by the end of the early-intermediate period they had incorporated rammed earth.

In much of the ceramics, decorations were geometric, consisting of red, black and white patterns, which can be divided into two phases: the early phase known as Playa Grande or Interlocking, where the basic design is interlaces stylized fish with triangular heads; and the second, later phase called Maranga or Cajamarquilla, where the design uses simple dashed geometric patterns made with an orange paste and fines (Nieveria style), with the latter foreign elements related to the southern coast and highlands (Lubreras 1974).

In much of the textiles, the designs are similar to those used for ceramics. Burials in the Lima culture were of bodies layed out on litters or the bare earth [in contrast to Inca culture where bodies were placed into the foetal position and wrapped in textiles prior to burial - T].

Although the archaeological complex belongs to the Lima culture, the huaca contains material elements from later times, such as the Ichma culture [Also pre-Inca, 1 110 - 1 440 AD - T]

Huaca San Marcos

Huaca San Marcos

(phone camera, as I wasn't planning on stumbling across an archaeological site when I went to work that day)

shapeofthings: (Macchu Pichu)
This started off as an LJ entry, since it's more personal and emotional than what I'd normally share on t'other blog, but then I thought that no-one much reads here any more, and that the themes of the post were relevant for my little Sustainability Blog, designed to make other people think about their lifestyles by telling stories of my own.

So anyway, I wrote a thing about my day yesterday: Economic Whiplash

September 2017

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