Thursday, December 31, 2015

Processing Time

I've just noticed that this is my 700th's post.

Hopefully, but the time 2016 the count will be over 1000. I've made a new year's resolution to write daily.

Anyway, I'm home after a week in Adelaide. It had to be done. Rather than spending Christmas with friends in Melbourne I drove the 800 kilometres back to Adelaide to be with my family over the Christmas week. It had to be done. I think it's the first time I'm been home for Christmas in well over five years.

See, my niece, my sister's daughter passed away on the 16th. She would have had her sixteenth birthday on the 20th. Her funeral was held on the 29th. I drove back to Melbourne on the 30th.

It's the longest time I've spent back in South Australia since 1991.

Despite the circumstances, Christmas was a lot better than expected. After we all had a cry over a song, we got on with having Christmas as a friend of my sister's hosted our family. It was a good day.

The week at my parents' place was nice. I got a lot of reading, crochet, went and saw a few friends, took my little niece to see Star Wars on Boxing Day, acted as my parents' designated driver for the week - I'd have one, they could have a bit more to drink and I would have a gin and tonic when I got home. Worked for all concerned.It also ensured my mouth stayed in control. Alcohol and my mouth can be a dangerous combination.

The funeral was a lovely celebration of a very young life cut short. My mum, my sister and a school friend spoke. The celebrant, dressed in a colourful, floral dress had known my niece since she and her son were in kindergarten, which made the ceremony all the more special.

I'm still processing a lot of this at the moment. A hell of a lot. I think I have my first novel out of this last two weeks  - that that it was overly fraught, but it there was a lot to come out of all of this.

So now I'm back, and have been back for 24 hours, after the long drive back, with a good stop at my cousin's place at Ballan to drop off some Fru Chocs and to have a cuppa for an hour or so.

And now, it's me time and processing time. Time to get my head around a lot of things. Time to start thinking about the new job. Time to get the flat organised thanks to Marie Kondo. Time to lose some weight and get running fit.

Time to write.

Time to do all the stuff I haven't been able to do in the last year because I've been working.

I'll talk about Marie Kondo next year.

Which is an hour away.

Time to get myself off to bed.

Here's hoping 2015, as good as it was in some respects, is nowhere near as fraught.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Goodbye 2015 Meme

This feels a bit early, and I reckon there is another version of this that I might do in a few days time. It has a few more pertinent questions.

I'm writing this on my mother's computer down here at Myponga - having an easy day today before what will be a hard one on Tuesday, then the drive back to Melbourne on Wednesday.

Anyway, here we go.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 

Said goodbye to a niece. My sister's eldest daughter passed away after battling leukaemia  ten days ago. It's been an awful process to watch. I never want to do that again.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

 I didn't make any new years resolutions - just wanted to keep healthy, happy and solvent, and I did that. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

No, but a friend is expecting in March - making the blanket now. 

4. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015?

Life is very short and fragile. (I'm sorry I'm a bit morose, but I'm attending my 15 year old niece's funeral on Tuesday - a bit hard not to feel a bit down)

5. What was your favorite new TV program?

I didn't watch much telly this year, but I was fond of Transparent on Stan.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? 

Somebody who has been wanting to be here should be here by this time next year - things just have to run its course. 

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

16 December. It was the day my niece passed away.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

 Remaining solvent, happy and fit.

9. What was your biggest failure? 

 Not keeping the flat tidy.

10. What was the best thing you bought? 

I bought a new 50 inch Smart Ultra high definition television. I love it. 

11. Whose behavior merited celebration? 

Gillian Triggs is amazing. Calmness in the face of adversity. Clementine Ford had her moments too.

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? 

Peter Dutton for a start. Tony Abbott has always been a poor excuse of a human being. I have no idea why Donald Trump continues to breathe either.

13. What song will always remind you of 2015? 

I don't like the song though.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of? 


15. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Eat ice cream - and procrastinate about exercising.

16. What was the best book you read? 

I have to give three. Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five was amazing. Loved Anthony Doerr's "All the Light we Cannot See" and ML Steadman's "The Light Between Oceans: too.

17. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?  

Having somebody's divorce finalise sooner. Oh well, not long now.

18.  Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Time, time, time See what's become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Questions

I've been avoiding social media today. You see, today would have been my niece's sixteenth birthday. Unfortunately, she passed away on Wednesday due to complications from the treatment of her leukaemia.

So rather than watch my facebook feed today, I've been keeping off line. I've been to the gym. Done my Christmas shopping. Had my legs waxed. Went and saw a film. And felt sad for most of the day.

Keeping off social media worked for me, but it meant that the blog is a bit late.

Anyway, here are Sunday Stealing's Christmas Questions for this week.

1. Have you been naughty or nice this year? 

I think I've been nice. Can't remember being that naughty.

2. What do you want most for Christmas? 

A retrospective, failsafe cure for leukaemia that doesn't kill the patient. Backdated ten years.

3. What is your favorite Christmas movie? 

Die Hard. Quite fond of It's a Wonderful Life too.

4. How many Christmas cards do you normally send out? 

I'm a heathen. I don't.

5. Do you still get a stocking? 

I'm not a Christian, so I don't decorate the house. I don't think I've had a stocking since I was a kid.

6. What is your favorite Christmas song?

7. What is your favorite Christmas tv special? 

I tend to avoid Christmas specials on the telly. Mind you, the Call the Midwife one I was watching today was nice.

8. What is your favorite way to wrap gifts? 

Brown paper and ribbon - if wrapped at all.

9. What do you look forward to most at Christmas? 

Normally I spend Christmas with Blarney and Barney, their kids and an assortment of other friends. This year, I'll be with my family. I generally prefer the former. This year, I have to go home. I can't not.

10. What did you do for Christmas this year? 

Nothing. I didn't go to any parties. The one I had to go to I bailed on as my niece had just passed away. I have minimum participation Christmas rule anyway. For Christmas I'll be driving to Adelaide. 9 hour drive. Then spending Christmas with my grief stricken family.Can't say I'm looking forward to it, but I know that I have to be there.

11. Who do you want to kiss under the mistletoe? 

As an Australian, we don't have mistletoe. I wouldn't know what it looked like if I tripped over it.

12. What kind of Christmas tree do you have? 

As quiet and as peaceful as possible.

13. Did you take part in a Secret Santa? 

I will at work - but the project I was on didn't have one, so I missed out.

14. Did you go to any Christmas parties? 

See question 10. I did well this year.

15. How early do you wake up on Christmas morning?

As long as I'm allowed to sleep in for.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Why Do You Want To Know That Meme Part II

It seems that there are two parts to this meme.

Hmm. Thanks Sunday Stealing.

It's been a lovely quiet weekend. It's my friend Geetangeli's fiftieth birthday today. We've had a chat on skype, which was lovely. It's my last week in paid employment for a while - which is nice. Have to find a new job come February - something is on the way to being lined up, which is good. Lots to look forward to in the coming weeks. At least six weeks off work being the most important thing of all.

Anyway, time to get these done, with job in between for good measure.

25. List 3 activities that you can only enjoy by yourself. 

Watching Dr Blake.
Eating ice cream from the tub.

26. If you could live in any biome* (and survive) which biome would you live in? (*a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, e.g., forest or tundra.)

Why don't they just say habitat? I'd say forest. Like forests. As long as there was hot running water.

27. How do you like being roused in the morning? 

By the sun. A cat's paw to the nose comes second.

28. How was your day? What did you do? 

Nice day. Gym. Breakfast. Christmas shopping. Watched a few movies. Done some housework and cooking and the food shopping. A normal Sunday really.

29. What did your last text message say? 

Cool bananas.

30. Do you respond to texts quickly? 

Normally. Depends who it is.

31. Who was the last person you called? 

Mum, about an hour ago.

32. List 5 things that are on your wish list. 

That my niece gets better(and soon.
World peace.
Rational, compassionate, sensible politicians.
A stable job come February.
That I get a date when a friend is coming out from England.

33. If you were famous, what do you think you would be famous for? 

Writing a book up there with Harry Potter.

34. Winter or summer? 

Definitely Winter.

35. What is a quality that all people should have? 

Kindness. Kindness is very underrated.

36. If you could have a large collection of one item, what would that item be? 

Book. Oh, wait, I have a large collection of books.

37. What have you been thinking about lately? 

What I'm going to do when my friend comes out from England. Busy plotting fun things to do.

38. What is the secret to a happy life? 

Stay in the moment. Don't worry about the stuff you can't control. The serenity prayer says it all.

39. What are some phrases you say often? 

Cool Bananas. Yeah... Nah....

40. Favorite food? 

Ice cream. Any ice cream.

41. What is your wish for the world?

That people would learn to just get on with things and stop trying to enforce their views on others - think terrorism, gun laws, abortion, religion. Seriously, beliefs are like a penis. It's perfectly fine to have one and be proud of it, but when you start taking it out and wagging it in my face, we have a problem.

42. What are some of your greatest fears? 

Spiders and stairs. In that order.

43. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? 

A copy of a book for book group. Bought from Amazon, thank you.

44. Most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen (in real life)? 

The forest just outside of Boston in Autumn. I've seen lots of beautiful things.

45. Spicy food: Like or dislike? 

Love it.

46. Scary movies: Like or dislike? 

Hate them.

47. Do you like to travel? 

I would do that every day if I could. Love travelling.

48. Any regrets? 

No. Regrets are stupid.

49. Do you like rain?

I am from country South Australia. Rain makes me very happy indeed.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Why Do You Want to Know That Meme

My place is a mess. I'm strictly on a "Do a question, clean something" rota today. The state of the place is getting me down. Other than this, all is well.

Questions, as per normal, are from Sunday Stealing.

1. List 5 things you want to do before the year ends. 

Make Cassata (will do this for Christmas Day)
Hold a picnic for friends (doing this on the 27th)
Go on holiday (Extended Holiday starts 18 December - will find a new job in February)
Read three books - This should get done.
Get my flat ship-shape and Bristol-fashioned. We will try.
Get Bigpond mail running on my new computer (Bigpond and Windows 10 are not friends)

2. What color are your pants? 

Grey. Not over washed white-grey, Real grey.

3. Favorite motivational quote. 

[Insert your deity here], grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference . (Just finished Slaugherhouse Five - it was great to see that in there...)

4. When was the last time you drank coffee? 

I'm drinking one now.

5. What was the last thing you ate?

Poached eggs on toast - about an hour ago.

6. Favorite animal. 


7. Favorite song. 

At this very point in time -

8. Last movie you watched? 

On telly  - I watched Avatar last night.
At the movies, I saw the phenomenal National Theatre's taped production of Hamlet, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role. Most excellent.

9. Any turn ons? 

Pleasantly hairy chests. Nicely defined backs on men.

10. Any turn offs? 

Dirty and smelly men. Ew. Personal hygiene is very important.

11. List 4 big words off of the top of your head. 

Melifluous. Serendipity. Juxtaposition. Autoethnography.

12. What are some meaningful movies?

Decent documentaries.

Try these:

13. 2 most important people in your life right now? 

My partner.
My team leader at work (who might be recommending me for work in the company next year)

14. What are 3 things you want for Christmas? 

World peace.
Joy to all people on earth
Health to my niece who really needs to be cut a break.

15. When was the last time you read a good book? 

Yesterday - finished Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Sublime! One of the best books I've read all year.

16. What was the last thing you studied? 

I've just completed Master's units in Real Life Writing and Journalism.

17. Do you have any nicknames? 

Panda. Panders.

18. Favorite kind of perfume? (fruity, alluring, etc.) 

Rosy orientals - like Narcisso Rodriquez, Stella McCartney (not that they make it any more) and Agent Provocateur.

19. Do you have any international friends / friends who live out of state? 

Plenty. I lived in England for eight years and have friends all over the world because of this.

20. What is something unique that you do every single day? 

Light a green candle to keep the money coming in.

21. If there was a movie based on your life, what would it be called? 

"Don't Try This At Home."

22. When was the last time you bought a gift for someone? 

I've started my Christmas Shopping for my friend's kids - does this count?

23. Are you a shopaholic? 

Not really. I'm okay shopping but I don't love it.

24. What are some songs that always make you feel better?

Here are three:

And the best Christmas Song Ever: