Friday, July 30, 2010

Post Forty: Dream a little Dream of Shit Talk.

Do you reckon when you die, life is but a dream?

It has to be, because you wouldn't write that into row row row your boat for no reason, right? I think that I'm on to something. People don't lie to kids....

Imagine if, after death, you fell into an unending nightmare. That'd be bad luck.

I had a dream the other night that I was a radio show host. My co-host was Megan Washington. (In my opinion, Megan has the most beautiful speaking voice in Australia, so this dream was pretty much a fantasy). We were on-air in the mid afternoon and our show was called 'Shit Talk' or something like that. We basically interviewed Australian bands about their private philosophies on all sorts of shit like childhood memories and food was the best dream I've had in 2010, and that's a big call. I dream like a schizophrenic (I imagine that's colourful?), and thus sleep is my best friend.
I've decided, if I meet Megan Washington one day and we get to talking about this dream, I'm going to propose to her that we start this Shit Talk thing. In my dream, we were interviewing Children Collide and they were rad (quite insightful really). I think they were probably just in my subconscious because their new album is on stupidly high rotation on jjj, so in every hour I probably hear that jellylegs song about 7 times..... I'm sure those guys are probably pretty nice guys anyway, so maybe in real life I'll call them first....
It's the weekend....I'm shit-talking now....Bye!
Peace. x

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Post Thirty-Nine: It's Big! The Oversize Explained.

I am on a war against diets. A lifelong drive, I have never said no to an offer of sweets, EVER!

People who know me will support the fact that I have a chocolate addiction. Big time, like, I probably need psychotherapy to stave off diabetes for a few years longer. I have over 5 teaspoons of milo in each serve, and I make 'wonder-milo', which is, in essence, truly wonder-ful. It's a mud of love.

Anyway, I considered hypnosis, but apparently you have to want to quit what you need to quit for it to successful. I'd miss sugar more than I miss my dead childhood pet. I'd definately swap my mum for a lifelong supply of cadbury buttons. (Sorry mamma).

I don't know how I am not morbidly obese. I eat alot for a little girl. I rarely exercise anymore, I don't have worms, I don't have manic calisthenic sex for eight hours a night, I'm not bulimic (I actually have a fear of vomiting and when I'm sick I cry like a baby...). What is spurring me on to change my sugar habits is the sad occasions of plus size deaths, and what happens to their bodies when obese people die.

I'll tell you a sensitive secret about the funeral world. When I see a larger person walking down the street, I size them up in my mind. It's quite horrible really. I've discussed this with other morticians, and we all do it by force of habit. We don't mean to, but so often we have to decide what size coffin a person will fit in, and that is hard when we are going by what they look like flopped all over the table. When selecting a coffin or casket, we obviously have different sizes available. Put simply, we have standard, oversize, oversize 2, oversize 3 and 'custom' (which means, bigger than a trailer).

Oversize is BIG, but in the last couple of months we've had a marked increase in ladies and gents tipping over 200KG. These guys either need an oversize 3 or a 'custom' if their belly is high as well as wide. I had no idea that Brisbane had such a large population...

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy a fleshy body. That sounds weird. What I mean is, men and women look better with a bit of meat on their skeleton. But, when someones tummy apron hangs to their knees...when their legs are scheduled for amputation because of infections and bad circulation. That's not good. When ones arms stick out horizontly from their body because fat is acting as a floaty...that's not good.

Lastly, I don't want to get big. Not just for my own health and wellbeing, but because I am thinking about the poor dickhead in the mortuary that will have to wash me, stitch me up and put on my clothes. I work on my own now, and you can imagine how I look trying to put on a pair of pantyhose onto a 150kg woman. Also, putting denim jeans on a man six times my weight is not a joyous activity.

Peace. x

Post Thirty-Eight: On the Trawl.

Ok, so this is my desperate hunt for free stuff. I'm selling out, because I am poor and have no dignity.

My bandmates and I really want to go to the Gympie country music festival next month, but tickets are like $100 per day...I'm putting it out to the universe that we want to go and that someone, somewhere, will find free tickets and be all like "Here you go Sar, go have some fun, drink some whiskey, get muddy and be a fool but don't get pregnant."

Magic. Happen!

Peace. x

Post Thirty-Seven: A Car Boot Collection of Minor Regret.

I had a guy on my table today who was barely over 30 years of age. A coroners case, we simply don't know why he died. He just did, one minute he was there and the next, gone. This happens more frequently than you'd think. He had really beautiful hair, and as I was styling it I told him so. I would never really have reason to tell a grown man that he had beautiful shiny hair, but, given the circumstance, I was a little lost for words and felt I wanted to say SOMETHING positive.

I wonder if this man, at the completion of his life, would look back on his days with any regret? He was just so young...

If I were to die right now I'd be pretty pissed off. You see, I am aware I need to get my life on some sort of awesome-train. I don't have any major regrets, but in my 25 years I haven't really pushed myself in any capacity...I feel like a deflated plastic toy in a lukewarm bubble-less bath. Yikes! Deep....

How do you know if you're on the right path? Career wise, things for me are engaging, thought provoking, influential and rewarding. My relationships are enriched, honest and loyal, but can you ever know if you're surrounding yourself with the right people? How do you know if it wouldn't be better to simply swap lovers with your neighbours or your best friends? Should you go back to find your first love? Should you travel the globe and learn a little about a lot, or stay put building a strong network, learning a lot about a little?

Many a question, not many an answer. I have my thinking hat on, perhaps because my birthday is coming up soon and I can hear clocks ticking faster than I'd like. My take-home lesson from today though, is that my clock is different to anyone elses and tomorrow my time might just be up.

Peace. x

Monday, July 26, 2010

Post Thirty-Six: I love you, Patsy Cline.

How have I lived this long without her?
Oh, Patsy Cline, you made my day. (It was Patsy day at work today, I bought a 'best of' cd for $6.99 on the weekend and am very content with my purchase).
The dead people loved it, I loved it, and the mortuary was buzzing.
Also, I learnt that you can take old crusty stickers off your car window with a scalpel blade. Tres effective.
Peace. x

Friday, July 23, 2010

Post Thirty-Five: The Letter.

The letter. I always read it.

I never open the envelope if it's sealed. That's crossing the boundaries, that's breaking the trusts bestowed in me. A piece of thin, fragrant paper is open game though, right?
The note, the careful fold, it entices me with it's cathartic calling. This is the naughtiest thing that I do, but to be fair I read it out loud to the dead person, so in actuality I am the messenger to the rightful recipient. It's like an addiction.

When a loved one dies, the funeral arranger often suggests that the grieving family members pen a letter to the deceased to put in their coffin. It's a way to help deal with the finality of the death, as well as express the emotions felt and memories treasured. They write these, and then they get sent to me to make sure that they are given to the right dead person before burial or cremation.
The trouble is, even though I have a pretty tough emotional attitude, on the inside I am a hopeless romantic. I can't do shitty romantic movies and predictable tele-dramas, but I go mushy when in reality someone says that they love ME with honesty, truth and conviction. I can't imagine losing someone I love. So, when I read the letters from husbands to their freshly dead wives and vice versa, my heart explodes! This shit is real, the emotions are raw and the sentences strung together with sadness and longing. Sometimes the longing is for things to have been different, sometimes the longing is for old days to be relived again....
Different players, different rules, but always the same sadness.
Don't get me started on letters from kids to their parents. Or parents to their kids. I am sure that my blood freezes around each cell when I refold the letter and put it in the deceased hand, or over their heart in a jacket pocket. All in all, in my neck of the woods no words will fall on deaf ears.
Peace. x

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Post Thirty-Four: Young, Hot and Very Dead.

Q. You know what's frustrating for me?

A. When young, honey skinned, perfectly toned, classically attractive people die. Fuck youthful naivity! We are mortal!

Fools...stop speeding in your cars, stop drinking and running onto the street in front of taxis, stop scuba diving without training....STOP!

I hate meeting you this way.

I had to put a dude to rest today who's bones in his body was like alphabets in soup. He was young and beautiful, apart from that. It was bitchin, in a bad way. I need a drink.

Peace. x

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Post Thirty-Three: My Friend, Jean-Pierre.

My work is reactive, so when people don't die I have no work to do...
This doesn't happen very often.
Actually, it never really happens. Today though, I had ONE BODY (other than my own, and I was and am still breathing.)
For the last couple of hours of my day I cleaned up shop and made my paddle pop friend named Jean-Pierre. He's french, and I think he looks like someone who'd own a Parisian corner coffee shop but spends his spare time repairing womens shoes and making silky oak frames.
I love him.
Peace. x

Monday, July 19, 2010

Post Thirty-Two: Introducing 'Sarah and her Man Band'

I'm posting this as motivation to get this band into rehearsals!

You see, I'm a fan of good times. Good times to me is essentially beer + singstar/ guitar hero.

In the mortuary I sing ALOT. In fact, I sing all day to my audience of the freshly decomposing. If only they could give me some feedback on my pitch and tempo right?

So to my band mates, I am in preperations. I am paying coino for guitar and vocal tuition, so Casino Beef Week here we come right? One time only, country gold.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Post Thirty-One: In Print for Nan's Fridge.

I got my ugly mug in the Sunday Mail yesterday. It's funny, considering how close I am to death and the lessons I've learnt on the temporary nature of attractiveness, the folly of silly physical insecurities...I still hate the picture and think I look pretty blah. I kind of look like a chucky doll or a jib jab head.

Sulking aside, the article was lovely and I was relieved that it didn't paint me as an over-opinionated satanist or anything of the sort. It was a little strange that it said I was inspired by humanity, which isn't quite accurate. Inspired by comedy, art, beer, candy, music, bbq chicken and the warm fuzzies yes, but not humanity on the whole. I'm far too cynical to be propelled by the acts of human kind. Other than that...awesome!

I'm pretty happy that my Nanna will have something to put on her fridge. Mum has sent it to her. I was picturing this today and wondering what kind of magnets she'll have securing it up.

My Nanna is adorable, but not in the traditional sense. She's an intensely loud, plump woman with a deep bellowing voice that is growing shaky with age. Nan has beautiful glowing rosy cheeks, and her strange thin lips are now curtained by a crisp white mini-mo. I was always a little confused by her presence, as she wasn't a warm woman but she wasn't bitter either. I think she frightened me a little in an exciting way. Her arms are supremely soft, like no skin I have ever felt before. I think it's because she used to be so big and her bingo arms were so full of fat that now, half deflated, they've taken on a strange frailty.

Nan has been widowed for a long time now, I think I was about 9 or 10 when my Pa died. His name was George and he was a genuine, beautifully odd man. Apparently he was an awesome war hero, but he never liked telling me the stories I begged for and I could see, even as a young child, the pain behind his eyes. I was shattered when his heart gave way one morning whilst fishing, and I remember how I felt when he passed as if it was yesterday. I have never had a closer relationship to a family member since and regret that he didn't hold out for long enough to see me grow up and absymally fail in most high school sporting and social events and the like. Maybe he'd think I was a decent adult, maybe he'd think I was 'kooky'.

Anyway, Pa called me mouse. I never actually asked why but can deduce that this is because I was stupidly tiny and shy as a child. I was pretty much a midget. I was silly and naughty when I wanted to be, but not around the whole O'Connor/Veitch congregation. A spectacle they are.

He would cut out political and sometimes rather adult cartoons for me and put them in white envelopes labelled 'for mouse, love pa.' The thing is, Pa was really quiet himself, rarely speaking that I can recall, and in an otherwise extremely loud house I think this bonded us. He was generous, always throwing coins on the floor for my sisters and cousins to pounce on and buy candy down the road. My favourite memory though, is that when he did this I'd hold off and go around the corner, and then we'd go for a walk and he'd give me all the gold coins he had, placing them in my hand as though I didn't have to fight for it because of my patience.

It's really cool revisiting memories like that, and I should pick up the phone and call my Nan. I haven't seen her in a few years, and last time I did she was screaming at Cameron Diaz on the TV screen, calling her a stupid twat for walking in the snow without a warm coat on. She's losing her marbles, but I come from her. Maybe she'll fill me in on Pa's war stories, and maybe I'll finally make sense of her.

Peace x

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Post Thirty: (Woah Thirty!) Ghost World vs Water Pressure

I did something bad. I feel awful. I am sorry.

I told a dead man today that I hated him. It was a simple quiet statement between me and him. The words, they crept out of my mouth slowly and my lips felt soon as it was said I felt instant disgust in myself. Let me explain myself, please.

No one else was around, it was just me and 'Bob'. (Obviously, his name wasn't Bob.) I hadn't had a coffee yet. His suit was just that little bit too vintage, meaning it hadn't been worn since his first daughters wedding in 1974 or there abouts... it was brown, and much too small and much too moth eaten. I was pretty much on the table with him, engaged in what I can only describe as a gentle wrestle.

Then Bob proceeded to be a difficult case, skin slippage, stubborn facial hair, stretched sutures...he even whacked me on the butt with a wayward arm. It was after an hour and a half of wrangling that I told him I hated him. I don't know where it came from. I obviously didn't hate him, I didn't know him and he didn't even really take me all that long to prepare...I am at all other times wholly respectful towards the newly departed!

Then a whole container full of eye caps fell off the bench. Eye caps are these little plastic eye covers we put over the deceased persons eyes, under their lids, to hold the whole illusion of tranquility together. When we die, most of the time our eyes remain open... just so you know. It's a little alarming to see at first. Anyway, the container fell on the floor, dropping hundreds of the little caps over the dirty mortuary floor. I was all "meh, whatever...until more spooky stuff happened.

About an hour after the whole incident, when Bob was safe and away in his coffin in the fridge, I received a visit from a friend who is also a really great funeral arranger. This arranger had just been to see a psychic medium, so she proceeded to tell me some amazingly crazy accurate information that the medium relayed to her. Apparently the medium she went to see cost $300 for 3 hours, but she won that 'the one' show on tv. Anyway, we had a mega conversation about ghosts and about how possible it is that Bobs ghosty would now be hating me back and plotting to haunt me for all eternity. I'm fucked.

I ran straight back into the fridge and apologised profusely to Bob. I held his hand and stroked his hair for my whole morning tea. (That sounds weird, I didn't eat in the fridge...there was no tea involved.)

So Bob, if you can use the internet and you read this, I don't hate you so please don't be mean to me. Look at how good you now look. I washed you and cleaned you up and you do look dapper in your brown suit. If you still decide to haunt me, lets play poker or we can read each other chapters of old cowboy novels, k?

Lastly, I stayed back at work to get some computer work done. I ended up being alone in the funeral home and I was sure that I heard someone talking and laughing. It went on for about three minutes, then all was silent. I freaked out because everything was pretty dark. After a few texts to my friends (they told me to get the hell out of dodge) I was going to leave, but I remembered that I hadn't had a shower yet. I usually shower at work in the staff room because the water pressure is (pardon the pun) TO FUCKING DIE FOR! I tossed up the pros and cons. Pro: clean, amazing freshness under a monsoon pressure of piping hot water vs con: Being attacked by zombies and pissed off ghouls.

I chose the haunted shower. It was amazing.

Peace. x

Peace. x

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Post Twenty-Nine: We Talked.

Epic-ness! Today I got to chat to JJJ's The Doctor, a.k.a. Lindsay McDougall on The Drive Show. Massive crush...I just about peed myself with excitement. A good man, a good chat, and a good afternoon all around.

I think the interview will be up on a podcast soon on his website so check it out if you're keen. I guess I'll link it blah blah blah...also, I say 'like' and 'um' way too much so apologies for that. It's pretty lousy :)

Peace. x

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Post Twenty-Eight: I Get Jokes

I'm sorry mum, but this is funny.
I need to have a sense of humour in this job.
A pearl-like necklace, I cannot deliver.
Peace. x

Monday, July 12, 2010

Post Twenty-Seven: Cupcakes, The Bearded Lady with Skin Tags and Euthanasia.

Monday greets me with open arms, open bowels and open, absent eyes...

I had a three day weekend, so forgive me if I sound less than enthusiastic about my career choice today. You see, three days out of the mortuary, sans offensive odours, and my sense of smell returns to semi-normality. Thus, when I'm drop-kicked back in there I have a really hard time. A lot of gagging was done. I need to retrain my senses to think that other peoples decomposition is not a threat to MY personal safety.

Anyway, I wanted to write about Euthanasia, a very heavy topic indeed.

The trouble is, whenever I find myself thinking for an extended period of time about something serious, by the end of the day I feel like being really silly to lighten my mood. It must be a left-over subconscious thing I did as a kid. Even though right now I just want to play scrabble and eat my fourth cupcake for the day I do think that its a valuable topic to talk about, and one that I feel I have a loose opinion on.

Euthanasia is a topic that I have thought about for a few years now, and I recall doing a really dodgy year 12 assignment on it. I have dealt with mortuary cases that I believe were assisted suicides. Similarly, there have been a number of elderly suicide cases where the individuals involved have lost their life long companions. With their own health deteriorating it seems they have decided to take things into their own arthritus-gnarled hands and ended their lives. Medications, guns, ovens and ropes, their depression drives them to take violent measures against themselves. I feel for them, as well as their families and friends. They must have struggled through those final senior years so much. I really do feel sad about that.

What I see daily that helps shape my opinion is the condition that most of the deceased people over 95 years of age come into the mortuary looking like. There are the lucky few that have remained mobile and free spirited thanks to good genes, luck and exercise, but I must admit that it seems to be the fortunate few.

For the rest, legs and arms bent permanantly, twisted and contorted torsos that have fused into the foetal position from years of immobility. Skin as thin as baking paper (the unwaxed, home brand type), colostemy bag on top of old colostemy bags, extreme infected diaper rash, misfit dentures, armies of battling skin tags and horns growing off hands.....seriously, old people grow it.....

Then there's the cosmetic issues, and my most adored being the bearded ladies. All senior ladies need a good shave, and I believe its my solemn duty to uphold this task. I will leave no whisker unplucked, unless, of course, the woman is covered in tattoos and the beard was her identifying characteristic. I think if I make it into my advanced years I will grow a beard. Not by choice, but by lack of personal grooming. I seldom wax my eyebrows now so what good am I going to be in 60 years time?

I don't want to get old and twisted. I like being active, and being trapped in a failing body terrifies me. I know that Euthanasia is a topic that calls for great debate and opens up a lot of scary implications, but all I know is that we don't put animals through distress, so please, future children of mine, don't let me suffer. Boot me up with H at 85 after a cupcake and a piano sing along unless I'm senile and blissfully in love with my teddy bear....

Peace. x

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Post Twenty-Six: Bible Gold.


I don't like the idea of religion. I'm not up for blaming anyone else for my problems or leaving things for poor Jesus to deliver. That little guy never gets a rest.

I like the bible though as a rad story and the old testament in particular is sweet! I can't say I've ever read it start to finish, but I found this little gem to be particularly enlightening. Enjoy...

"As one dies, so does the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts...all are from dust , and turn to dust again."
(Ecclesiastes 3:19-20)

Peace. x

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Post Twenty-Four: It's Tammy Wynette Day!

I have had a really tough couple of days.

Perhaps it may go down as being the most emotionally draining week that I've had in the funeral industry to date. A little girl passed away and I took her into my care, and even though she had been sick for a very long time I really struggled with her death. The whole staff has been sombre and melancholy, which would go with common preconceptions of the industry that normally aren't aligned with the truth.

There was a lot of family contact and my little heart broke for them. I too grieved, and even though I only met her post-death my time with her made me feel entirely fragile. For the first time ever I had overwhelmingly strong maternal feelings. In dealing with this, I made her a paper crane and put it in her casket, but I don't want to see another dead child in a long, long time. I cried.

Heartache is good for music though right?

My friends and I have decided to start a new band. A one gig only bonanza, an alcohol and cuss fuelled country line-up. Maybe we'll play Casino Beef Week, which I think is appropriate considering our city-dwelling and mostly punk and heavy listening musical histories. (I have no musical history but the boys are pretty accomplished, so I'll stand in the front yodelling and unrythmically strumming.) We wanted to be called Sasscrotch but apparently thats already an electro/death metal band from Colorado. Anyway, I'm pretty excited and have been searching for some classic country tunes for inspiration.

Today was Tammy Wynette day in the mortuary. All I want to say is, SUPERB! If I keep feeling sad, will my voice sound like that?

Peace. x

Monday, July 5, 2010

Post Twenty-Three: Just another Manic Monday.

Today was the day of twinsies.

I had two defribrillators to remove (which are kind of rare), two amputees in, and two cookies from the lounch room fridge that were stolen. I was not impressed about the cookie-snatching. You see, I baked them yesterday. Although they were baking failures in both flavour and texture,they were still MY cookies and I was going to enjoy them with a jar-glass full of milk for afternoon tea. I was in a bit of a mood after I realised my cookies had been taken, that is, until I defaced the soap dispenser in the bathroom. My observation follows that graffiti stems from disgruntled youth and is a great form of expression for those who've suffered injustice!

Following on with the doublo-day thing, I have posted another picture. It's of the TLC building in South Bank, Brisbane. Please, somebody, tell me what goes on in this building. I used to drive past everyday and people are often coming in and out of the doors...for some tender loving care?

Peace. x

Friday, July 2, 2010

Post Twenty-Two: Ink-rospection. A Dedication to My Pa, Pop and Uncle John.

I love being privy to dead peoples tattoos. It's the best Jerry, the best!
I often wonder why Mrs blah had an eagle on her arm, and why Mr blah had that aeroplane on his back. And why did another dead guy ink a mushroom on his penis shaft? No really, why?
Celtic arm bands, tramp stamps and butterflys galore, I see them all and wash them tenderly. It's like I get a sneak peek into their personality which would otherwise have been missed. If nothing else, I can see that they at one time or other felt strongly enough about something that they got it etched into their skin...or at least, as in my case with tattoos, I appreciate art and want to draw on my body! You could die tomorrow, or could live until 100 and use the pictures as a form of self-identification and as memory reminder when dementia sets in.
I respect the war tatts that I see. I trace my fingers over them and feel the scarring. Men in their late 80's, with wobbly fat grey scribbles dancing over their wrists and biceps. You can pick up faint outlines and shapes, sometimes a map of a country or an Australian symbol. Often they might list in unevenly spaced scrawl the locations and wars that the men faught in. I like that. They were once boys, needing to express themselves in whatever way they could. It makes me feel like I am their peer in that moment, because what they must have felt and how much I would have agreed with them, egging them on in the tattooists chair, is and was so emotionally charged. I don't support countries going to war but hey, lest we forget....
Peace. X

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Post Twenty-One: Dead Mans Best Friend

Meet Cotton.

I've had cotton on my mortuary door now for a few months but it's taken me a while to think of an appropriate name for him. I went a while calling him Nacho, which is a great name also, but it didn't sit completely honestly on him. He just sits at the door like a good doggie...

I didn't think of this name on my own. On an episode of Ace of Cakes (Food network for those with Fox) Geof is seen walking a really cute dog around Baltimore and it's name is Cotton. Just so you know, I love Geof. Insanely so. I want to have his babies. Check out the crew from charm city cakes @ and go nuts about their cool shit.

Anyway, I think the name cotton suits my mortuary pet well because cotton wool is pretty much my most extensively used mortuary product....up and in anywhere to soak up anything anytime.

I love cotton! (and Geof)