Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Book of Questions Meme

Ah, another weekend, another airport. though this weekend was a bit different as it was a day trip away. I can't say much, but I have a lot of writing fodder from the day. What I can say is:

  • Two flights in a day is very tiring
  • Mumm champagne is still glorious
  • Nothing beats an airport Whopper with cheese and extra pickles when you've been running around all  day
  • It still takes a few hours to calm down after such a trip.
But it was a good day. 

Questions, as always, come form Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?

I would hope it will be a better place, but I'm not so sure it will be.

2.  Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again.

No. $100,000,000 maybe, but not a million. You can't even buy a house in Melbourne for a million dollars.

3. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

Oh, could I please have my 30 year old body back. This one two decades on takes too long to heal. I'm fortunate that in my family, we tend to keep our marbles up until the end - I hope it is the same for me.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?

Some great Shakespeare, a lovely meal, good company and a long bath - maybe throw in a gin and tonic for good measure too.

5. Whom do you admire most?  In what way does that person inspire you?

My friend Reindert is amazing. A great person. Very driven, but still has a life. He generally lives a good life as a great person.

How my sister remains upright after losing a child three years ago, I will never know. That is inspiring.

6. Do you prefer being around men or women?  Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?

I have more women friends than men friends, and my closest friends are women - but I have some close men friends too. They have different roles in my life.

7. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?

I don't like the thought of hurting people, but if I did, Donald Trump, Scott Morrison (Australia Prime Minister) and Peter Dutton (a god-awful Australian politician) would be up there.

8. What is your most treasured memory?

I have a few, but I think one certain night at the Shangri-La hotel in Sydney a few years ago comes to mind. It was just perfect.

9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?  Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?  (Let’s exclude raising children, if you have them)

Probably obtaining my Master's degree. That was pretty good. I'm still tossing up doing a doctorate.

10. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it, even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?

More than likely I'd try it - I'm an adventurous eater.

11. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?

Most of my friends are 1-3 years younger than me - though I have friends of all ages.

12. How do you feel when people sing Happy Birthday to you in a restaurant?

Very embarrassed. It hasn't happened for a while.

13. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it?  If so, why?

I try to stick to the facts, but as a writer, I'm prone to embellishing things a bit.

14. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it?  Can you be allowed to be on time?

I'm the friend who's normally a few minutes late, but not dreadfully late - though I do try to be on time. And yes, you're allowed to be on time. It's good manners.

15. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, or personal secretary, which would you choose?

Oh please can I have a housekeeper. Please.....

Today's song:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Sad Sleepy Rambles Questions

Ah, another late blog after a very lazy day and a lovely weekend filled with a movie (Booksmart - my first five star movie for the year) and a musical (Come From Away - who knew a musical about 9/11 could be so wonderful - seriously awesome)

Questions, as per normal, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

Have you ever been teased because of the things you like?

Yep, regularly. You try be a Shakespeare nerd in a world full of magazine readers.

Do you hold grudges?

No. Pointless waste of energy.

Were there any classes you enjoyed because of the teacher?

I've had classes I've hated because of the teacher. I remember having a really good maths teacher in Year 12 (I think it might be called Senior Year). He brought the subject to life.

Was there a dress code at your school?

Sort of. Unlike now, where most schools have school uniform, we just had school colours - blue, yellow and white - and you could turn up in anything. Jeans and a sweatshirt were the way to go back then.

Have you ever been a bad friend?

Yes, but I hope it's been forgivable when I have been a bad friend. It normally entails not contacting people soon enough when I'm busy or going to ground when I'm stressed.

Has a friend ever replaced you with somebody else?

Back in childhood. It often happens when your friends find a new partner. Oh well.

Have you ever disliked something just because it was popular?

More back when I was a kid, and sometimes because I'm known to be a bit of a snob. Things like The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo books and the Fifty Shades of Grey books - tried and failed to read them - they were rubbish - and popular.

Have you ever watched a movie just because it starred an actor you liked?

Yes. I tried to watch Sin City because Clive Owen was in it - awful film. But Clive Owen was in it. I persevered for about 45 minutes before walking out.

Are there actors/musicians you have met?

I volunteered as a driver at the Melbourne Writer's Festival many years ago - I met all sorts of local celebrities then. I also pinched a cigarette of Jeremy Clarkson at a restaurant in London. That's about it.

Do you ever judge people based on the music they listen to?

Not really. I'm more likely to judge them for what they aren't reading. I have such eclectic music tastes I can't judge - tough I did used to rib my niece for being into K-Pop.

What about your top five music albums?

Ten favourites in no real order as I can't do just five:

  • The Pixies - Doolittle / Surfer Rosa
  • Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
  • Portishead - Dummy
  • Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
  • Fun Lovin' Criminals - Come Find Yourself
  • Hoodoo Gurus - Stoneage Romeos
  • Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
  • Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
  • Searching for Sugarman - Rodriguez
  • The Pogues - Rum Sodomy and The Lash
  • Peter Gabriel - So

Do you remember the first album you ever owned?

I think that as Abba Arrival. I was about six.

Do you still use an mp3 player, or just your phone?

Just the phone.

Do you like Elton John?

Yes. I've remembered how much I like him after seeing Rocketman a few weeks ago - but I've got some of his early stuff on high rotation.

Have any celebrity deaths hit you hard? Which one(s)?

Two celebrity deaths which really got to me were Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alan Rickman.

I've always loved Alan Rickman - I've loved him since Truly Madly Deeply, I cried when he passed. The loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman was just a tragic waste.

Today's Song:


Sunday, July 7, 2019

The I Love Questions Questions

Having a quiet weekend at home - and it is awesome. Lots of cleaning. Lots of writing. And a couple of movies for good measure.

Getting the blog out early.

Some good questions here, Bev. who, as always, is doing a stirling job over there at Sunday Stealing.

1. Are you satisfied with the way your life is right now?

Pretty much. I wish I had the opportunity to travel more and not have to worry about work or money.

2. Do you drink enough water?

Nearly, but not quite. I drink about two litres a day - I should try and incorporate another litre of fluid into the day.

3. When was the last time you ate at Burger King?

A couple of months ago I had a Whopper on the way home from the airport. It was late, I was hungry. It was on the way. And nothing beats a Whopper with Cheese with extra pickles.

4. Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

I like both of them, but I think the beach wins out here. I feel very peaceful when I'm at the beach.

5. How do you usually feel when you wake up on a morning?

I feel like I could use another hour in bed. I like my bed.

6. Would you rather take someone on a date, or be taken on a date?

As an Australian, we don't really do dating. I can't remember the last time I was taken on a real 'proper' American style date. I know it was a couple of years ago and we went Dutch.  It would be nice to know what it feels like to be taken out again.

7. When was the last time you wore high heeled shoes?

Thursday. To work. I wear low heeled pumps to work Monday through Thursday. Friday has a more casual dress code.

8. Vodka or wine?

Vodka. Has fewer consequences. I can't drink red wine anyway so vodka it is.

9. How often do you cry?

Not very often - maybe once a fortnight, normally at something on the telly. I've grown a lot less emotional in my old age.

10. Ever had a crush on a teacher?

Yes. I was a teenage girl once. Doesn't everybody.

11. Can you wire a plug?

If I have to. I used to wire plugs when I lived in England, but in Australia, plugs come with appliances. My stepdad is an electrician. If I have work like that I tend to take it over to him now - which is rare.

12. Do you wear socks to bed?

Never, I run hot as it is.

13. What is currently bugging you?

Our f*cking useless, cold-hearted, cretinous Federal Government. It's nothing a revolution of the sensible wouldn't fix with a bit of arsenic and flame thrower.

15. Can you change a car tire?

Yes. Again, something I haven't had to do for a very long time. Last time I needed a tyre fixed I called the RACV (Auto Club) who did an internal patch and fixed the tyre that way. (Note, it's spelled tyre over here. )

16. Have you met more than ten celebrities?

Umm, in passing, yes. I was a driver at the Melbourne Writer's Festival. I met a lot of local celebrities. I think my best celebrity meets were scumming a cigarette off of Jeremy Clarkson and standing behind Emma Thompson in the supermarket queue.

17. Do you sleep naked?

Yes. Always, all year round. Saves on washing. I only wear pyjamas when I'm staying at somebody else's place.

18. What was the best music gig you’ve ever attended?

Okay, I have to name a few

  • David Byrne at the Brixton Academy London in 1993 - that was amazing.
  • The Pixies at the V-Festival, The Gold Coast, 2006
  • David Byrne's American Utopia Tour, Melbourne, 2018 (If you in or around New York in the coming months, all I can say is beg, borrow, steal or buy a ticket - it's phenomenal.
  • Hunters and Collectors at the Tivoli, Adelaide, 1990

19. Have you ever had sexual feelings for anyone you follow on line?

Does Clive Owen count?  :)

20. Who is someone who has changed your life positively.

My friend Reindert. He's a most wonderful man, who I was hoping to go over and see in Colorado later in the year (but I'm going to a wedding in India instead - next year I say). He got me running. He taught me a lot about myself. He's a great friend.

21. Favourite city?

Oh don't do this to me. Can I do this by continent?

  • Europe - London (though I have soft spots for Toledo, Athens and Utrecht.
  • Asia - Hong Kong (with a soft spot for Bangkok)
  • America  - Boston. I could live in Boston. 
  • Australia - Melbourne. it's cool, it's hip, it's not too humid and the coffee is good. 

22. Can you drive?

Of course. I'm an Australian raised in the country. I've been driving since I was 14 - had a licence since I was 16.

22. Cigarettes or alcohol?

Alcohol in moderation. Gave up smoking over ten years ago.

23. Favourite and least favourite accents?

Favourite accent - I love a good French Accent
Least favourite accent - I'm not fond of bogan Australia a la Pauline Hanson. I'll attach a clip for reference.

24. Did you play Red Rover when you were a child?

Yes. I was never any good at it.

25. Do you like 1980s fashion? 

Not really. I'm still to work out the reason leg warmers came into being.

Today's song:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Unusual Music Questions

Once again, for the fifth night, I'm in a hotel room in Sydney. I'm a bit over Sydney, but thems the breaks.

All else is well.

I love these questions. Thanks, Bev. Thanks for all you do for Sunday Stealing.

1. A song that gives you goosebumps

No matter what version, My Funny Valentine will drive me to tears.


2. A song you hated once but now love

There are not many of these, but I've had a pathological hatred of INXS since a Year 11 skiing trip, where The Swing was played ad nauseum for a week. I quite like the songs Mystify and By My Side but I still can't listen to The Swing without bringing back that trip where I ended up with a touch of concussion.

3. Do you remember your first CD?

Nope, but it was probably something like Billy Joel, Phil Collins or some dodgy compilation from the late 80s..

4. Has your music taste changed much since childhood?

Yes. It's a lot more alternative and varied.

5. Favorite genre?

Adult alternative or soul.

6. What’s a genre or style of music that you just don’t understand?

Death metal (not music) and Country and Western (tone deaf yowling). Neither float my boat.

7. Do you have a process for listening to music, such as listening to the instruments more than words?

Nope. Depends on the piece. I just like music. Often its the instruments.

8. What’s your favorite thing about your favorite song?

The bass line, the fact that it's been in my life for over 30 years. The odd lyrics. It's the best of Australian Gothic.

9. Do you have a favorite decade for music?

I love the 80s. Not better music to be found.

10. Can you play any instruments?

I play the flute, badly.

11. Do you remember your first favorite song?

Yes,  because it's still my favourite song.

12. What was the first concert you ever attended?

Elton John and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at Football Park, Adelaide in about 1984... oh why couldn't this be the far less daggy Hunters and Collectors at the Tivoli in Adelaide a few years later....

Today's song:

Monday, June 24, 2019

Ten Minutes a Day

Something to come out of this weekend's writer's retreat is my love of writing has been rekindled.
Dev, love her, provided the much needed shot of what is know as Vitamin Dev, and has got me back on track with this writing lark - which I know I love so much, but have been denying myself for a while. A lot of this I blame on work, but the message was loud and clear.

'Writer's write in the cracks.'

'You don't have to prioritise it, you just have to keep chipping away at it. There are novels which have been written in ten minute blocks.'

'Get the hell out of your own way.'

This weekend, I found the poet again. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but the poet came out again. If I'm honest, the poet came shivering and moaning, buck naked out of the shallows of the Southern Ocean on Sunday morning.

As I waited for the shower to become free, sitting in the chapel, the words came.

I've missed the feeling.

Another thing that happened this weekend was some pretty frank discussions about many subjects. One of the more frank and open discussions had was on the subject of abortion.

The book, Choice Words, was available to buy. The book is filled with articles about women's experience of abortion in Australia. I bought a copy.

I'll be open. Friday was the anniversary of me terminating a pregnancy. This happened over twenty years ago. It's not something I regret or I'm ashamed about. It's not something that eats me up, but the shortest day of the year comes and I will reflect on the experience. And I come away grateful that I was able to receive  non-judgmental, safe and legal services at the time.

I've read a few chapters of this book. Dev and I had a chat about this too. It reminded me that the first thing I had published was on this very topic. It won a short story competition in a literary journal. It was published.

So, after the gym tonight, I hunted around for this story. It took a bit of rifling round, going through old stick drives and external hard drives.

But I found it - on the first thumb drive I ever bought. It has a capacity of 256MB. It cost me over $50 at the time - online. My first Ebay purchase.

The file is dated 19 June 2000.

I've been on this professional writing journey for 20 years.

I shouldn't moan - the written word is my life. I write for a living, albeit corporate crap.

But that first time I got freaking published was nineteen year ago.


I've read the piece. It still stands up. It's a bit clunky in places, bit it has my hand on it.

Would I write it differently now? Probably. Would I write it now? Hell, yeah.

Time to pull my finger out.

Time to write in the cracks.

Time to get over myself and embrace this bit of me that won't be cut out.

Today's song:

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Happy Questions

So, where am I at the moment? I am down the Great Ocean Road with a heap of barking mad women (and a handful off blokes) on a writer's retreat with the inimitable Catherine Deveny. This has been one of the most incredible weekends of my life.

Let me see,

  • I've met a bunch of wonderful  people
  • I've remembered my love of writing
  • I've started back writing my novel
  • I went swimming naked in the Southern Ocean at day break on the second shortest day of the year
  • I've eaten a lot of lovely, nourishing, wholesome food
  • I've also drunk quite a bit of sloe gin - which in itself is a great thing
  • I've connected back into the world
  • I've watched cows
  • I've driven down one of the most picturesque roads on the planet
  • And now I am about to go home as I am starting a new job tomorrow
Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, beach, nature, outdoor and water

So the happy questions, which Bev at Sunday Stealing has provided, is quite apt. I'm sitting in a writer's group at the moment - may as well use this five minutes to get this blog done.

Oh, and my team won the 80's Music Quiz last night - that was a BLAST. Between two others, we rocked!

1. Are you a happy person?

Generally, yes, Like all people, I have my moments, but I'm fairly content.

2. What is happiness for you?

Peace of mind, when it all boils down to it.

3. What do you think is the color of happiness?

Bright sky blue.

4. Can money buy happiness?

No, but it can smooth the way. Having enough is the key to happiness.

5. Is happiness a state of mind?

No - I think happiness is a way of being. Your mind can only get you so far. The rest has to be a mix of health, wealth and a lot of societal things.

6. What are three things that make you happy?

  • Walks along the beach
  • Cuddles
  • Exercise (strange, but this true)

7. Does having a pet make you happy?

Yes. I am infinitely more happy when I have an animal in my life. I know when Maow Maow comes to stay, I am a lot happier. Animals give you unconditional love. It is wonderful.

8. When was the happiest time of your childhood?

I didn't really have a great childhood.

9. Can you be happy if you are rich?

I'm not sold on this idea. When you have money, it appears you're more worried about your money, rather than getting on with things.

10. Do you think happiness lies within you or does it depend on other people and external things?

Happiness always comes from within.

11. Are single people happy?

Yes. I'm single. I'm happy.

12, What is the effect that animals/pets have on people to make them feel happy?

I think it's the unconditional love they provide. I find animals strangely comforting. Love them. They make life much much better. They give you somebody to love - they love you back in return. Simples.

13.  Can you be happy if you are poor?

Yes. It might be a bit harder to find, but yes.

14.  What is there to be happy about in today’s world?

Friends, family, nature, food, water, swimming, moving, walking, reading, theatre, music, words, animals, sunsets, Suits, love, baths.

15.  How happy are you compared with your friends.

I think I'm somewhere in the middle. Okay, if I'm honest, I think I'm happier than many of my friends. But it is not a competition. Happiness is a one horse race.

Today's Song:

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The more from Facebook questions

I have to make it a quick one this week - travelling once again, back to Sydney for work. Joy. Three days in a hotel, back, leave current job, go away for the weekend, start a new job on Monday.

Life is fun.

Good quick questions from Bev at Sunday Stealing.


    Last beverage:

Currently drinking soda water infused with line juice cordial.

    Last phone call:

I took a call from my friend Alice yesterday afternoon - she came round for a cup of tea as I was housebound waiting for tradies. (Both turned up - yay - on time, double yay - tradies rarely turn up when they are supposed to - I hit the jackpot yesterday - and I now have a new gas meter and my internet is working better than it has worked in the time I've had ADSL. )

    Last text message:

This morning, Trish and I arranged to meet at the gym then on for breakfast.

    Last song you listened to:

This was on in the car this morning as I went to the gym.

    Last time you cried:

I went to see Tolkien last night - I cried at the end of the movie - just a little.


    Been cheated on:

Yes. No need for details, but yes.

    Kissed someone & regretted it:

Yes. I was a teenager once.

    Lost someone special:

Yes. There are a few people in this bucket. Some are still alive. Some are not.

    Been depressed:

Yes. I manage depression, most of the time, I do this successfully. Sometimes, I spiral. As soon as I admit I'm depressed and get on to hardline management (good food, no alcohol, lots of free time and exercise) I tend to be able to turn it around.

    Drunk hard liquor:

I'm a gin aficionado. So yes, I have drunk hard liquor. I just tend not to drink it to excess.
    Lost glasses/contacts

Yes and no. I left a pair of prescription sunglasses at Blarney's a few years ago. They turned up three months later, a week after I had them replaced. They were in the odds and sods drawer.


    Last time you saw your mother

The second weekend in February. Mum lives interstate - about 500 miles away. I did, however, speak to her yesterday.

    Have you ever talked to a person named Tom

Yes. I know a number of Toms. That is a very random question.

    Most visited Webpages (Newspaper) (weather bureau) (bank) (Flights / travel stuff)

    Will you be celebrating Fathers day?

No. Well first up, Father's Day isn't until September and secondly, my father died 22 years ago. I do love my stepdad, but he's not into that stuff - he might get a phone call.

    When did you first realize you were an adult?

When I moved to England when I was 23 - I worked out very quickly that I had to do all this for myself.

Today's Song: