Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Lollipops Meme

Last Sunday of the Year. So far today I've had a facial, gone to the first pump class in two months (Thanks leg injury for that) and listened to a couple of episodes of the "My Father Wrote a Porno" podcast series (which is hilarious on about fifteen different levels, most of them very wrong levels.)

So, here we are, the last Sunday Stealing of the year. Thanks again, Bev, for all the work you put into this.

 1. Are flowers a nice gift to give someone?

Yes and no. I love giving flowers, but you sort of know that they are going to end up dead in a bin in the next few weeks. Australian natives are great to give - they last longer.

2. Do you wear any jewelry?

I have two silver rings, one on each hand. I also normally wear earrings - studs. And that is about it. I don't like things around my neck so I rarely will have on a necklace.

3. Have you ever laid in a field of flowers?

No. I have visited the sunflower fields in Tuscany though - that was awesome. I've also lay out in the paddocks in the long grass as a child. That was great - but not in Summer - too many snakes about the place.

4. Do you like tea?

Yes. But as I no longer drink caffiene I've been limited to rooibos tea and fruit tissanes.

5. What would you do with a million dollars?

Go travelling - and probably go back to Uni for a year or two - maybe get that doctorate.

6. What word do you have trouble saying?

Photosynthesis. I have a slight lisp - this plays to every one of my linguistic weaknesses as there are too many 'th's and 's's in close proximity. Thistle is another word I can't say. So don't try get me saying this following tongue twister:

Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter,
In sifting a sieve full of un-sifted thistles,
Thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb.
If Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter,
Can thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb,
See that thou, in sifting a sieve full of un-sifted thistles,
Thrust not three thousand thistles through the thick of thy thumb

7. Favorite fairytale?

Oh, traditionally I love Cinderalla. It's always been a favourite. However, I am rather fond of the Handless Maiden tale. It's an allegory, and pretty grim, but it's got a great message about female empowerment.

8. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?

No. At present, there is a live cat sleeping with me. He's very cuddly. I love the fat boy. Pity he's going home on Thursday.

9. Do you prefer the city or the country?

I'm a fan of both. I'm also happy to live in both - just don't put me in the suburbs. City trumps country as there are fewer creepy crawlies.

10. Are you a big fan of makeup?

I'm not a big fan - I do wear it - I don't go to work without applying eyeliner and mascara. I'll wear a bit more when I go out - and that is about it. Also a big fan of red lipstick.

11. Favorite drink?

Gin and Tonic.

12. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve stayed awake?

I did about 36 hours once or twice in the 90s when I went clubbing and some interesting chemicals involved. Not doing that again.

13. Have you ever traveled outside of your country?

Hell yeah. I try and get out of Australia to somewhere - anywhere, once a year. Looking forward to a trip to Hong Kong in March.

14. Do you like spring?

It's not my favourite season. I sneeze a bit - and it can get a bit hot.

15. Lipstick or lipgloss?

Lipstick. Preferably red.

16. Favorite color?

Pillarbox Red.

17. Do you like to decorate?

Yes and no. As I rent, I don't can't do too much to my place. It is nice to get some new stuff on though.

18. Do you ever go barefoot when you’re outside?

Yes, when I can. Especially down the beach. As it is summer, I'm living in thongs (jandles / flipflops, what ever you want to call them) and Birkenstocks.

19. Are aliens real?

I think it's very selfish to think that in the whole universe, we are the only planet with living organisms on it, so I say yes.

20. Does you zodiac sign fit your personality?

Yes and no. I'm a Leo/Virgo - I'm a bit quiet and shy to be a real Leo and a bit too out there to be a true Virgo. But I have the Leo confidence and the Virgo need for lists.

21.Favorite sea animal?

Seals. I can sit and watch the seals for hours - we went fishing in the Bay on year, we had a seal follow us. They are hysterical. Love them.

22. Are you a nice person?

I try to be.

23. Favorite word?


24. Night or day?

I like both. My favourite part of the day is sunrise and sunset - I love that mid-light time.

25. What would make you happy right now?

I'm fairly content. I would be a lot happier if the two cats who are staying with me got on with eachother. I have to keep them in separate parts of the house. They are trying to get together, but they fight. It's not pretty.

Today's Song:

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The End of Year Questions

Ah, it is getting to that time of the year. The joys of having to look at the year and see what you have done. Ah well. Probably not the best thing to do when you're in the grips of a depressive funk (It's manageable, but not too bad. At least I have some time to get through this.)

Regardless of being stuck at home with two cats and feeling a little low, I will give this a go.

Questions, as always, supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

What did you do last year that you had not done before? 

I gave up caffeine. Completely. I've never done that before - and it is still one of the best things I've ever done. I've also got to the 60000 words stage of a novel. This too is a good thing.

Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?

I sort of make new years resolutions. One of mine from this year was to get my health back. This I have done, thanks to a big change in diet and exercise. I also make a resolution to remain gainfully employed. I will keep that one. My resolutions for next year are to travel more and to keep my healthy regime going. I certainly like the travel one.

Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant?  Or adopt?


Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?

I loved a well-loved friend to breast cancer in November. I think she is a big part of the funk I'm in at the moment. Breast cancer is brutal.

What places have you visited? 

Other than the odd trip to Adelaide and regular trips to Sydney, I spent my birthday in Bali, which was most wonderful.

Any new pets? Lost a pet?

Nope, I'm still sitting people's cats when they go away. I have two of them with me at the moment. They hate each other. It's interesting.

My sister has a new kitten. This, by extension, is a new member of the family. She looks cute.

What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing i.e. love, job security, peace of mind...)? 

More travel. More kissing. More fun. There have been some elements of this year which have made it hard - especially the last few months.

What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why? 

August 19. I had a really good day on my birthday. I turned 50.

What was your biggest achievement last year?

Getting my health back. I took on a naturopath to help, gave up gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol for three months. Lost 10 kilograms (22 lbs) and feel a lot better for it.

Did you get sick or injured?

Other than the odd minor snuffles, I really badly jacked my quad at the end of October. I tripped on a step. The muscles are better now, but the knee is still giving me jip. It's only taken two months. It's been a long process and a lot of visits to the myotherapist to get it moving again.

What was the best thing you bought? 

An airline ticket to Hong Kong - that's my trip in March. Looking forward to it - I've never been to Hong Kong before. It looks interesting. Oh, and the ticket to the David Byrne American Utopia tour. That was an incredible experience.

Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)? 

Travel and the Arts.

What song will always remind you of last year?  Doesn't have to be a song released last year.

Probably this:

What do you wish you would have done more of?

Write. Kiss. Travel. Go out with friends.

What do you wish you would have done less of?

Crappy paper work for an organisation I am affiliated with. I am trying to remedy this.

What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to? Any recommendations?

Okay, I will admit to being a bit of a Suits tragic. It's good fun. I've also just discovered "The Good Place" on Netflix. I also love The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, but I only get to watch an episode on the way up to Sydney on the plane. It's fabulous.

Favourite films of this year:

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • The Square
  • Ready Player One
  • A Star is Born
  • Deadpool 2
  • The Wife
Music - I haven't got into music this year really. I listen to a lot of varied playlists on Apple Music.

What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?

I've read about 25 books this year. The stand outs were The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith and The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose. Both were excellent - and by Australian writers. I've read about 25 books this year.

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently? 

I was 50 in August. I was in Bali with a group of friends. I got up, wandered about, went to the most mystical place in Bali (Tirta Empul) and was purified in the waters of the temple, went to yoga, then went out to dinner. It was a good day. Do I feel differently now I'm a year older - not really. Maybe a little more invisible, but I think that is the funk speaking.

What political or social issue stirred you the most? 

The ineptitude of the Australian Federal Government has been a thorn in my side for most of the year. They are terrible - so much so they are giving Trump a run for his money.

Image result for scott morrison bus

Who was the most interesting new person you met?

I did a writer's workshop with Catherine Deveny. She's a breath of fresh air. It's a bit like having a malevolent fairy sitting on your shoulder egging you on to write.

What changed at your job?

I moved companies in October. Now at an insurance company on a project. It pays the bills.

What changed in your home? 

Nothing - all the same here in Richmond.

Describe how a relationship changed. 

I think most of my relationships are pretty much in the same place.

Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year?  How so?

I think I'm a bit more driven that I was earlier in the year. I think I'm a bit more serious. I'm also not in for being a masochist as much as I used to be. Then again, this could be the funk talking. I am doing something about the funk.

Summarize the year in three words or less. Bonus points for doing it in one word. Explain. 

Challenging. Transformative. Accepting.

How have people around you changed? 

I think they are a lot less willing to put up with crap too.

What have you learned throughout the year? (Other than crafts) 

I can do something if really put my mind to it. Losing weight and novel writing are two of those things.

What was your favorite outfit for warm weather? Cooler weather? 

A pair of bathers for warmer weather. I have a really nice black dress with  floral overlay for winter. Oh and my green jeans and a top - I love that combo.

Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made? 

Nope. Too busy writing.

What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc) 

I'm a bit thinner. This is a good thing. The rest is pretty much me.

What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?  (Some suggestions-family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)

I have a few things I want to achieve next year:

  • Go on the next segment of this weight loss and health journey
  • Finish both novels that I have on the go.
  • Travel a lot more to some new places (first stop, Hong Kong)
  • Get really fit again.
  • Laugh more, love more.
Happy Season to you all.

Today's Song: (It's a Nine Inch Nails kind of time)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Fashion Asks Meme

Hard and heavy day today. She's been gone three years. That time has gone far too fast.

Looking for distractions. Today's song is in her honour. Pity leukaemia isn't part of the dumb ways to die - it is a shocker of a way to go (This is also one of the best public service announcements ever made)

Questions, as aways, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

   What season has your favorite looks?

Probably Autumn. Half light, half heavy and I love the colours.

    Formal or casual?

I'm a casual dresser, but I love the look of formal attire.

    Thrift store, boutique, or online?

I have my shops I go to - but I buy a lot online. The op shops around our way have normally been picked over too well for my size - and I am picky.

    What’s your favorite decade for fashion?

I love the look of the late fifties and early sixties - I've been watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel - the fashions there are incredible.

    Do you like to accessorize?

Not really - I'm a very plain dresser.

    What does your basic outfit look like?

Black pants or skirt, black or plain top and a cardigan. I like block colours - lot of blue and red, a bit of green. Sometimes stripes.

    What piece of clothing do you spend your money on the most?

I have a dress that I wore at my 40th which was over $200. I normally buy clothes on sale.

    Do you wear hats?

Sometimes. I look good in hats, but I lose them too often.

    What is your opinion on wearing socks and sandals together?

Yuck. I am not a middle aged man. No. Just no.

    What colors do you like to wear?

Black and red. I do live in Melbourne after all. (We wear a lot of black)

    What are some of the strangest outfits you have seen?

Look at what anybody is wearing down China Town these days - it's great fun, but I don't know if you would catch me dead in any of the fashions.

    What fashions do you hate?

Anything from the seventies was pretty dodgy.

    What are you favorite styles?

Casual, and the odd bit of Gap/Abercrombie and Fitch college wear. I really don't know.

    What do you think of body piercing?

I don't mind it on other people. Their bodies their holes.

    Do you like dyed hair?

I have dyed by hair for nearly forty years. So yes.

Today's Other Song:

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Dreamy Meme

Writing this from yet another airport. It's been a wonderfully relaxing trip. Now back to Melbourne for hell week (Too busy) with some fun thrown in for good measure.

Questions from Bev, at Sunday Stealing, as always.

favorite novel and author?

There are many, but Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but Louis de Bernieres normally takes this crown. Favourite author? It's a toss up between Margaret Atwood and Richard Flanagan.

favorite perfume/scent?

I'm currently wearing Narcisso, but Narcisso Rodrigues. My favourite scent is dogs paws first thing in the morning. Strange, I know.

coffee or tea?

I drink both, and I no longer drink caffeine, but I'm still a coffee girl.

are you a cat or dog person?

I adore both, but I am known as a cat person through and through. Cats aren't as needy as dogs, but if I had a farm, I'd have a lot of both of them. I love them both and both of them love me back.

which mythical creature would you transform into if you could?

A phoenix. It's a good representation of my life at the moment.

favorite time period?

I read a lot about the forties and WWII. Tudor England fascinates me too.

name 3 films that have changed your life and have shaped you into the person you are today.

Kenneth Branagh's Henry V - it helped forge my love of Shakespeare.

Three Colours Blue - because it is sublime.

The Shawshank Redemption - just because.

diamonds or pearls?

Diamonds. Not that I have any.

what’s your biggest dream?

To be a successful writer of novels.

dream destination?

Spain, to do the Camino de Compostella de Santiago.

favorite fictional character?

I have a huge soft spot for Severus Snape from the Harry Potter Series.

share a quote or passage that means something to you.

"The lunatic, the lover and the poet, are of imagination all compact."

what’s your favorite plant/flower?


do you prefer the forest or the ocean? why?

The ocean. Fewer bugs. It always gives me a sense of freedom being by the sea.

what do you value most in people?

Humour, intelligence and a sense of loyalty.

Today's song:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Art Historic Meme.

I'm exhausted. But I am standing. Just.

On the good side of things:

  • I got my 50000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • In three weeks time I have two weeks off
  • I've got a quiet weekend at home
  • I'm getting through the ironing
  • My leg is getting better thanks to Spencer, myotherapist extraordinaire and his dry needles
  • I'm off to breakfast at the gym in a bit.

Quick Questions are good questions, so thanks to Bev at Sunday Stealing for these. The deal is iron something, do a question.

Classical: If you were an Olympian god, what would you be known for?

My amazing ability to bounce back. I'm like a rubber band at times.

Byzantine: Do you prefer gold or silver accessories?

Silver. I've always worn silver. Would love to wear its grown up cousin platinum one day.

Medieval: Are you religious?

No, I'm not religious at all - but I am very spiritual. I have an all rather than one mentality.

Gothic: What is your favourite historic building?

Well, in Australia, the oldest buildings are like two hundred and thirty years old. However, I am a great lover of Westminster Abbey in London. Fascinating place. Ely Cathedral is another favourite too. The light in the Lady Chapel is incredible.

Image result for ely cathedral

Renaissance: Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt enlightened or changed?

I think I'm going through that at the moment. Catharsis requires a maelstrom to do it properly.

Baroque: Do you enjoy the finer things in life?

Absolutely. Probably to my detriment.

Rococo: Is your bedroom full or trinkets and pictures? If so, which pictures adorn your walls?

No. I've kept my bedroom pretty free from that sort of stuff. I have a toy panda which I bought in Bath 25 years ago, that is about this. I have two small pen and ink drawings on he walls. That's it/

Neoclassicism: If something came back into fashion, what do you hope it would be?

Capes. I would love a red cape. Pencil skirts are good too.

Romanticism: Do you often see things in a positive light?

I try to do this all the time. It is my modus operandi. Why would you do anything else?

Pre-Raphaelite: Which book would you like to see turned into a film?

Oh, there are a couple. One day they might do Donna Tartt's The Secret History and do it properly. I've been casting this for years.

A Little Life - now that is more a mini-series than a movie. Great book.

Oh, and one day they will do a proper movie of Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Nicholas Cage - what the hell were they thinking?

I love casting movies in my head.

Impressionism: Do you look for details or take everything in at once?

A bit of both. I like to survey the scene first, then get on with the finer points.

Art Nouveau: When were you last at the theatre?

Friday Night. I subscribe to the Melbourne Theatre Company. The play, Astroman was very enjoyable.

Surrealism: Why does the porcupine think it's a duck?

Because it ate some funny mushrooms and that's what happens when you don't check your mushies property. Puked up quite soon after it had this thought.

Pop Art: Do you enjoy pop culture?

Strangely, yes. Even as I age, I like to know what is going on. Good to have your finger near the pulse of the zeitgeist.

Contemporary: What did you do today?

So far I've got up, done some ironing, had a cup of tea, made the bed and written this. I'm off to the gym now to meet Jay after a light upper body work out and breakfast. Going for a float later. Might go see Maow Maow after that.

Today's Song:

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Annual Dilemma

Currently, I have a mental load which is doing my head in.

Mental load? Yeah, the crap you think about to keep life running and things in order. That's a mental load. I learned the term from a podcast on "Ladies We Need to Talk." Though not a real fan of Yumi Stynes, the podcast puts an interesting slant on things, and the webisode about mental load really resonated with me.

My Mental Load has done my head in so much that I have finally fallen in a heap and I've called time on a barbeque I was looking forward to, gone home, decided to clean the flat, do some writing and hide away from the world. Yep, it is that good.

But I am scheduled for a float tomorrow at 3 pm and I might catch a movie after. But yeah, my head is a bit full.

Of the things I have to think about, in no apparent order, although this is not the full list:

  • When is my leg going to be able to let me do leg work at the gym? (It is nearly better, but still giving me grief)
  • How can I afford a new computer and a new washing machine? (Not necessary yet, but soon)
  • I must get out the mason's paperwork this weekend, (Yes, I do)
  • Write a definitive list of things to do for the Property Association for the Masons.(Somebody has to do it)
  • Find a hotel in Hong Kong for my holiday in March (recommendations gratefully received)
  • Research things to do on Hong Kong.(I have three months - shelve this for the minute)
  • Do I go to England soon? (I want to, writing about England has made me homesick)
  • Will I be able to do the Camino in the next two years? (Hope so, just have to work out how to finance it)
  • When is the Australian Federal Government finally going to implode? (this in on the cards)
  • Will I be able to finish the first draft of my first novel by 31 December? (Have to keep focussed and committed)
  • If I don't finish my first draft of my first novel by 31 December, what will Catherine Deveny do to me (she is like a malevolent good/bad fairy who I promised the draft to - I don't like letting down mentors)
  • Should we renegotiate the lease on the office space at the temple? (We had better)
  • What do we do about the real estate agents seeing the temple didn't sell on Thursday? (Breathe in and leave it on the market)
  • What do I wear to my friend's funeral on Monday, not that she will have an opinion on this? (Bright red, maybe - we've been told to wear colour - but what colour?)
  • Will the two cats who are coming over for Xmas get on okay? (They're cats - they will hate each other - Maow Maow is a bastard)
  • When am I going to get the time to bag up the lollies for book group? (When I get back from Sydney next Sunday - I have the rubber gloves)
  • When will Harvey and Donna get together? (Yeah, something stupid to think about)
  • Do I really want to read A Man Called Ove again? (Book group book, read it last year)
  • How am I supposed to write a love story which never actually happened? (Use my imagination and get plotting)
  • When will they get rid of above the line voting in the legislative council in Victoria? (Soon, I hope, saves getting the numpties the preference whisper gets put in there)
  • Will Peter Dutton end up in prison? (Hope so)
  • Will I get to see my lovely friend who lives in Florence in person, in Florence? (Really hope so)
  • How will I work with the new guy who joins our team on Monday? (Hopefully well. Work is in an interesting spot at the moment. Exhaustion not helping matters.)
  • Will I be able to take the Grand Poobah of the lodge to the airport and make the gym on Monday? (Should be able to - just use my logistics brain and all will be well - and take the Tulla)
  • Was the David Byrne concert we say last Saturday better than the one I saw at Brixton Academy 25 years ago. (Unsure, both were brilliant, but in different ways)
  • When am I going to be able to get back to my dystopian novel? (Soon, I hope, finish this one first)
  • How long can I leave this hair pack in my hair? (30 minutes - hair feels great now)
  • Can I hire somebody to mop my floors and do the hoovering? (Don't be a yuppie, Pandora and do your housework.)
  • Will our inept Federal Government call an early election? (Please, please, please...)
  • Why isn't the Bureau of Meteorology website publishing temperatures for Melbourne. (I'm a weather nerd, this is making me anxious)
  • Will Blarney remember to take the cheesecake out of the fridge for serving at her BBQ? (Maybe I should text her)
  • Where has my Village Cinemas gift card gone that I got for my birthday? (It's probably under the ironing pile - like everything else on the couch)
  • Should I buy a new shredder? (Probably)
  • What do I get for my colleague for their Kris Kringle present? $15 Maximum. Older male. (Seriously stuck on this one)
  • Is the fact that I have a funny gut at the moment because of a 24 hour bug or is it just stress? (One of the other, this list making is making me feel better)
Well, that's the start of the stuff going on in my head.

Can you get why I'm exhausted?

But now, for important things. I am going to concentrate on something big and serious which blights thought processes each year at this time.

What the hell am I going to put up for book group books at our December meeting?

This is a huge thing for me. I need to find two fiction books of literary or very good popular fiction standard, under 500 pages, easily available to recommend for reading on our next year's book group book list.

I will admit that I have a bit of a bonus in that I organise our book group and I get to see what everybody else is putting up early. I have to tell everybody to put in an extra book in case there are double ups. Four of the eight have put theirs in already - and two people have chosen the same book.

So, for me, what am I going to put up? I have a long list. Here is is - with some reasonings as to why I think we should read them.

1) Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger

Why - I've never read it, but heard heaps about it. It's an American classic and it is not too long. It's good to have a classic on the list too. Slaughterhouse Five did not disappoint.

Why Not:  Can't find a reason why not.

2) Milkman by Anna Burns

Why: This won the Booker Prize this year and I have read one of her other books, No Bones, which was remarkable. Right length, easy to get.

Why Not: This group are funny. They might see this as a bit high brow. We've had some interesting reactions to prize winners.

3) Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Why:Won the Booker last year. Extraordinary book. Incredible even.

Why Not: Probably going to be inaccessible to many of the book group - just a bit high brow for them.

4) The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru

Why:  I love Ishiguru.

Why Not: A bit obscure and a bit highbrow.

5) The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Why: I adored this book - loved it. I love Elizabeth Gilbert too. I was listening to a TED Interview of hers the other day - she is phenomenal. Somebody who inspires me. Great woman.

Why Not:  It's a smidge over 500 pages. Not sure how some of the girls will put up with Alma (and I've thrown this to a few friends already)

6)  Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Why:  Kate Atkinson is great - it's also set in WWII - a pet area of mine to read.

Why Not:  Hmm, dunno.

7) Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

Why:  The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favourite books. She is awesome (and a colleague has recommended The Lacuna by her as well).

Why Not:  Mention The Poisonwood Bible to some in my book group and they throw stones at you.

8) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Why: Classic, never read it and it's short.

Why Not:  Might be a touch depressing. 

9) The Rebel Angels or What is Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies

Why: Both are extraordinary books by this amazing, but dead, Canadian author. Fun and fascinating.

Why Not: May not be that easy to find. Book group can be fickle about books in trilogies. 

10) The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Why: It is an extraordinary book - one of the best things I have read this year. Stella Prize Winner. It's about Art and the artist. Phenomenal book.

Why not: A bit too high brow for some - but God it's a good book. 

11)  The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Why: He wrote one of my favourite ever books - The Crimson Petal and the White.

Why Not: It's pushing the 500 page rule. 

12)  Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Why: I love Artemis Fowl - he's awesome. Like a Harry Potter but of the underworld.

Why not:  It's a kid's book - but I don't care.

So there. 

I've decided to have an iron one thing, shred/put away a few things night. A night at home is just what I need I think. 

And having a write has made me feel a lot better.

Thanks for listening. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Hooked on Memes Meme

Firstly, Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.  We don't have Thanksgiving over here (American thing) but I am going to my first ever Thanksgiving dinner this evening. A friend is married to a woman from Maine. We get roped into things like this. I'm making an Eton Mess Cheesecake as I do this. Fun, eh!

Also went to one of the best concerts I have been to last night. David Byrne from Taking Heads. It was SUBLIME!.

Thanks for the great questions, Bev. You're keeping Sunday Stealing  going brilliantly.

1. How many states have you been in?
Let me see, I've been to South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. And I've flow through Western Australia on a stopover. So that makes all of them. (I've even been to New Zealand - which is like the ninth state, but we're not allowed to say that.)

Oh, you mean American states. Well, I've been to California, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania an I've passed through New Jersey and Connecticut.  Not bad for somebody who doesn't live there.

2. If a sexist Man is called a pig, what is a sexist Woman called?


3. You see the one person who you absolutely despise. If you were guarentee'd that he/she couldn't say or do anything back to you.... What would you do??

Laugh. And Laugh in their faces. Oh, I'm watching this on television at the moment and doing just that. We had an election here yesterday - a state election. The conservatives got wiped out. Landslide victory to the sensible progressives. Just watching the Liberal Party (read Republicans, Americans) is one of the best things I have seen in ages. They have had one of the most proper comeuppances I've seen in a long time. There is a thing called karma. If you want a really good laugh, read Lyle Shelton's twitter feed. (Lyle Shelton is a member of the Australian Christian League and a thoroughly obnoxious person)

4. How many states are to the right of you? And don’t give us a map to look at.

None. Just the Pacific Ocean.

5. You can go anywhere in the world for free. Where are you?

Toledo Spain. Just Spain really. It's a fabulous country.


Dunno. One?

7. Are you a boxing fan? 

No. I like boxing for the fitness it provides when you are training.

8. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

Durians are pretty rank, but they grow on you. You're not allowed to eat them on public transport in Asia they smell so bad.

9. Is it cloudy right now?

Yes. A lovely cool November day.

10. Someone gives you a $500 gift card to WalMart or Target. What are you going to buy?

We don't have Walmart here, and Target makes good basic worth clothes, so I think my t-shirts, undies and make up would get an overhaul.

11. When you were little, what did you want to be "when you grow up"? And, how much different is your occupation now from where you thought it would be when you were younger?

I wanted to be a writer or a doctor. I am a writer. I still wonder what would have happened if I did better a school and went on to do Medicine instead of Arts at uni.

12. what was your favorite toy as a child?

Lego. Still love Lego.

13. What is the last place you had a good cry and why?

A beloved friend died from breast cancer on Thursday morning. I've shed a few tears over this. Why does it always get the good ones early?

14. Which Sesame Street Character do you relate with the most and why?

I have a few. I will always relate to Kermit the Frog. I love Snuffalaffugus too - he's awesome. And the Swedish Chef. And Animal. I can't choose just one.

15. Did you ever make what you believed at the time to be a horrible mistake - that in hindsight turned out to lead you on the best path in your life?

Going to live in Greece was a horrible mistake at the time. In reality, it was the best thing I ever did. Set life on a completely different course.

16. What’s your favorite show to watch on television nowadays?

Umm, that would be Suits. Please don't tell anybody, but I am a bit in awe of Harvey Specter. It's that smile...

harvey specter suits GIF

17. Do you believe there is life after death?

Yes. But not in a Christian way, more like the Buddhist/ Hindu/ Jewish way.

Today's song:  (In honour of last night's awesome concert - this was one of the highlights)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Back to Normal Questions

Ah, so we'r back to normal. It was so much fun looking at how people answered the questions last week. Kudos to those who gave it a bash.

Right, now back to normal questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1.What is your favorite animal?

I love most animals, so to single out a favourite is hard. I love big dogs and I cannot lie. I love cats too - especially moggies rather than orientals, They're easier to deal with. Elephants are awesome. The big cats are great. I could watch seals all day, they are fabulous. So don't ask me what is my favourite animal.

My current all time favourite animal on the planet is Maow Maow. He's my familiar.

2.Your dream vacation?

Paris, going five star all the way. Wish it would happen. I will have to deal with doing Bali in a four star rating - which is great too.

3.Last person's house you were in?

Blarney's place this afternoon. I dropped in on the way home from the airport.

4.Worst injury you've ever had?

I think that would be Bruce the Bum Bruise. I fell over, my left butt cheek landed on a garden bed spike. Had a lump the size of an orange in my bum - my left cheek was bruised black. That thing needed its own postcode. 18 months of niggling aches from it through referred pain. Yeah, that wasn't fun at all.

5.Last play you saw?

I saw Macbeth at the Pop Up Globe in Sydney last night. It was a great performance. The witches and the porter were up there with the best I've seen.

6.Ever go to camp?

Alas, camp is an American thing. We has school camps for a few days - they aren't the same thing as your parents sending you away for a few weeks over summer holiday.

7.Were you an honor roll student in school?

Honor roll - another American thing - but I did get the odd academic award at high school. I was always in the top 5% of students.

8.What do you want to know about the future?

I read tarot cards to a professional standard - but I still have no idea about the future. I like it that way. You can't change it.

9.Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?

Yes, I normally wear perfume. Today it's Narciso Rodriguez's Narciso. It's lighter that the first signature fragrance.

10.Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?

Yes. I have to see the gynaecologist in a few weeks for an annual check. I also have to book in a mammogram sometime in the not to distant future. Both are check ups.

11.Where is your best friend?

I don't have a best friends, but I have a few who I love and I'm close to. They're in Christchurch, New Zealand, Brisbane Australia, as well as Blarney and Jonella who are in Melbourne.

12.Do you have a tan?

Not yet. We're only just going into Summer. By the end of February my arms will be tanned and my feet will have Birkenstock tans. That's all I tan. I try and do the sunscreen thing.

13.What are you listening to right now? 

The hum of the air conditioner and an episode of Suits in on the telly. There are some kids playing out in the car park next door.

14.Do you collect anything?

I collect two things. Empty gin bottles and elephant figurines. I love my elephants (which also has the odd Ganesha in there for good measure).

15.Who is the biggest gossiper you know?

My lovely friend Eduardo gets that crown. He's great for gossip at my old place of work.

16.Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?

Other than going through random breath testing (which is compulsory if they wave at you to pull into the breath testing station over here), I've never been pulled over or stopped by a cop. Random breath testing is just that, random. As I don't drink and drive, I have nothing to worry about.

17.What does your last text message say?

It was from my kid brother saying he was on his way to the cinema and that he' meet me at around 3.15. We went to see The Crimes of Grindelwald.

18.Do you like hot sauce?

Ah, now I think they might be different over here, but I will say yes. Love tabasco, love going to Mexican restaurants and having their hot sauces. I also like sriracha sauch (also known as rooster sauce here)  I think that's a yes.

19.Do you need to do laundry?

No, I did the last of my laundry before I went to the movies. I have a heap of ironing to do, but I also need to get 2000 words written of this novel - so far I have just over 30000 words written.

20.What is your heritage?

Okay, although I'm Australian, my people came out from mostly Cornwall and Wales in the 1850s. There is a bit of lowland Scot in me too, as well as some landed gentry from around Cambridgeshire. Yes, I've researched the family tree. You don't get much more white than me.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Australian Questions - The Answers

I would like to rename this blog post "Pandora's Revenge".

As a long running member of the Sunday Stealing community, I thought it would be nice to see how others approach a set of questions they don't have much idea about. As an Australian, these questions were tested among friends to see what they thought. Please know, as I'm Australian, I'm also pretty well-traveled and I do like answering questions about things I don't know as it gives me a chance to learn about other cultures, but it is nice to answer some questions about my own society.

Remember, most Australians do like to laugh at themselves. We're a weird mob.

Most Australians will have an opinion about the things on this list. I'm getting in early so that people can see there are real answers to these strange questions. Now you know what I go through when asked about Halloween, Thanksgiving or Superbowl. (By the way, I am going to a Thanksgiving Dinner this year - and I might take fairy bread - and pumpkin is a savoury dish, best roasted or in soup and we don't get tinned pumpkin over here - like gross! You buy pumpkin fresh from the supermarket.)

Have fun with these questions.

And thanks, Bev, for putting these questions up and taking a chance on them. I'm looking forward to reading the responses.



1.      Where to you land on the subject of vegemite? What is the optimum butter/vegemite ratio? Do you also eat Promite or Marmite or do you see these yeast spreads as something akin to treason?

I like vegemite, but don’t eat much of it. Has to be on buttered toast at about a 10:1 ratio (10 parts butter, one part vegemite) I have had the same jar of vegemite in my cupboard for about eight years. It's  about 6 years out of its best by date but it is fine. Vegemite is like cockroaches. – it will survive a nuclear blast - it doesn't go off despite what the label says - something about the salt content. I rather like promite and marmite, as I lived in England for a long time and you couldn't get vegemite in England so I had to make do, but don't tell anybody.

Image result for vegemite

2. Who was your favourite Prime Minister of the last ten years? (There have been five – choose wisely)

Julia Gillard, hands down. She had class and grace and got stuff done. Followed by Kevin Rudd, just for his initial optimism. Turnbull would have been okay if his own parliament didn’t keep on knifing him. Morriscum is dreadful. I wouldn’t piss on Tony Abbott if he was on fire. Worst Prime Minister in the history of Australian Prime Ministers.

3.  Are you a Monarchist or a Republican? Why?

I would like to see Australia as a Republic, although I don’t trust the current state of politics to not make a hash of it. When we had the referendum nearly 20 years ago I voted against it, due to the model put forward. If they had just asked “Do you want Australia to be a republic?” I would have said yes. Another one of John Howard’s cock ups.

4.  What do you think of our current head of state?

I think the Queen of England is awesome – not totally relevant, but awesome. A life of service. I couldn’t do it. And yes, technically, the Queen of England is our head of state - it's just she has very little to do with the place.

5.  What are your feelings on compulsory voting.

It is the one thing that stops us being America and for this I am eternally thankful.

If you don’t turn up to the polls here you get fined. You have to turn up to the polling station and get your papers.  It is not illegal to  put in a donkey vote. We also don't have voting machines - everything is done by pen and paper. They have tossed up having electronic voting, but after the palaver of the last census, I would not trust the Government to run a chook (chicken) raffle down the pub.

Everybody has their say. And you can get a sausage on polling day at the polling booth barbeque - often named democracy sausages (though I tend to vote early and get it out of the way, so alas, no sausage). As much as I rubbish compulsory voting, you get a better, fairer  representation. If you don't vote, you lose your right to complain, in my opinion.

We also have a proportional/representational system, not first past the post. It works for us for the most part. Then again, we still end up with Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson in parliament. Please explain! (Look them up and you will understand)

6.  What is your favourite footy food?

Hot chips with lots of tomato sauce washed down with mid strength beer. Mid strength beer is gross and a waste of time, but that is all they sell at Australian Rules games now. You may as well drink dishwater, even if it is beer.

7.   Your Nana is having her 80th catered for by the CWA. What CWA standards are you looking forward to at the spread? The Victoria Sponge? Yoyos? Asparagus Rolls? Brandy Snaps?

Oh, you had me at asparagus rolls. Fresh white bread with the crusts cut off, a slick of mayo, tinned asparagus, salt and pepper, rolled up and stuck with a toothpick. Bills. Brandy snaps are awesome too – my mum makes the best ones. For the Americans, look these up on the interwebs. They are wonderful. The CWA is the Country Women's Association - some of the best bakers in the world. There are quite a few Australian standards. We have a blooming, if not a little odd, baking culture. Don't get me started on Kitchener buns and Bienenshtich.

8.  What do you do on ANZAC Day?

Normally sleep in and feel guilty about not going to Dawn Service. ANZAC Day (25 April) is the only day of the year I feel remotely patriotic. It's a good day to stay in bed - there's half a chance it will be raining, being late Autumn (Fall).

ANZAC Day commemorates the first day that Australia (and New Zealand) served as a nation in a World War - which was  at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25 April, 1915.

I had three great uncles who served in WW1 at Gallipoli and the Western Front. But normally, I sleep in on ANZAC Day. I’ve made Dawn Service once. I cried. Very moving stuff.

9.  Discuss the merits of budgie smugglers.

There are no merits to budgie smugglers (men’s speedo swimwear - also known as banana hammocks). Speedos are only for boys under ten and those who actually swim proper laps in the pool. They are not for recreational use. That is it. They are awful things. Some things in this world should be left to the imagination. Here, for your viewing pleasure, Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers. Life does not get better than this...
Image result for tony abbott speedo

10. What is outside your back door? Gumboots or thongs?

Both. Well I used to have a pair of thongs (flip flops / jandles / shower shoes) outside for summer wear then gumboots /rubber boots for winter. This was at home in the country. I could live in thongs (jandles / flip flops / shower shoes) all year round. In fact, I do. Footwear of choice.

11. As a kid you were given 20 cents for pick and mix. What will be in your bag? Teeth? Spearmint leaves? Gobstoppers? Freckles?

White milk drops and freckles. Freckles can still be bought at Haighs, but they are a classier type of freckle. We don't get pick and mix lollies any more, but they were great growing up in the seventies.

Image result for haighs freckles

12.  Redbacks or Huntsmen?

Redbacks. Although their bite can kill you they are smaller and generally keep out of the way. If I could banish one thing from the face of the earth it would be huntsmen spiders. They are pig ugly and scare the bejeesus out of you. However, if they bite you, they will do no permanent damage - they will only give you a nasty nip.. Huntsmen spiders grow to the size of the palm of your hand... This is why I hate them.

Image result for huntsman spider

13.   The Mullet. Discuss.

The worst haircut ever. Business at the front, party at the back. I can’t believe some men still wear a mullet. They are mainly in country South Australia, but still. I believe a lot of rednecks in America still have mullets. Billy Ray Cyrus used to have one.

Image result for the mullet

14.   Kath or Kim?

Kath, of course. Kim is awful. I know some Kaths and I know some Kims. Kath reminds me of my step-sister’s mum. She was wonderful in a Kath sort of way, right down to the hair and the dancing.  (Look up some Kath and Kim videos on YouTube for further reference...Look at me, Kimmy, look at me.... I have one thing to say to you, Kim...)

15.   Cricket – which code do your follow? Why? Do you think that 20/20 games are sacrilege?

Test match and one day only – only because I grew up with them. 20/20 games are a waste of space. I will often have the cricket on in the background in summer. I like to check the scores, particularly when we're playing for The Ashes. Australian cricket has gone downhill in the last ten years.

16.   Football. Which code do you follow? Do you have an opinion about Collingwood or Essendon?

I watch Australian Rules Football and barrack for the Adelaide Crows. I barrack for the Crows and whoever is playing Essendon. Essendon supporters are awful. Dreadful even. Despite the fact that most Collingwood supporters don’t have their own teeth, they can laugh at themselves – but they are terrible losers, as this year’s Grand Final showed. But it was a great match. (That might have been the beer talking. )

17.   Do you agree that the lyrics to Khe Sahn should be on the citizenship test? Do you know the words to Khe Sahn?

Yes, I can sing Khe Sahn without a song sheet. I am a bogan at heart. However, I think it is going a bit far to have it as a part of the citizenship test. (Yes, we have a citizenship test - another brain fart from John Howard). That is almost like saying you should get  Southern Cross tattoo to get in the country. For my American friends, think of the Southern Cross, at times, to be as iconic as the Confederate Flag – and the people who wear it with pride.

Oh, for those who haven't been to the Southern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross to us is like your Big Dipper. It's the most prominent constellation in the sky. Bet you didn't know that.

Image result for southern cross tattoos

18. What is your favourite public holiday? If you're in Victoria, which do you prefer? The day off before the AFL Grand Final or Melbourne Cup Day?

I like ANZAC day for the sleep in. And the AFL Grand Final day is good because it is a Friday off. A day off for a footy match. How good is that! In Melbourne, we also have the first Tuesday in November off for a horse race. Yep, we get the day off for a horse race. This is the way we roll in Melbourne.

19.   What do you do at Christmas? Ham sandwich on the beach? Seafood and salad next to the pool? Endure a full English roast with all the trimmings when the thermometer is pushing 35 degrees centigrade outside?

Depends where I am. If I’m with my family, its seafood and salad. If I’m down in Tasmania with friends, then it is the full English roast with the trimmings. It’s my job to glaze the ham and make the cassata in memory of my dear aunt. We have different traditions as Christmas is a Summertime activity.

20.   Ford or Holden?

Holden. My first car was a 1966 EJ Holden. I loved that car.

Image result for EJ Holden

21.   What is the best Australian invention ever? (And yes, the Hills Hoist can be mentioned)

As much as I want to say the Hill Hoist – a rotary clothes line made out of a car axle, I will go with the cochlear implant. Helping the deaf to hear for 20 years. Find a picture of the Hills Hoist below. You are not an Australian child if you have not been told off for swinging from the clothes line.

Swinging Hills Hoist

22.   Describe the following:

Fairy bread  - fresh, white buttered bread with 100s & 1000s (cake sprinkles) on top. A children’s party standard.
Image result for fairy bread
Lamingtons – vanilla sponge cake, raspberry jam in the middle, dipped in chocolate and coconut.
Image result for lamingtons
Chiko rolls – oh hell, it’s like a big spring roll (egg roll) just in a soft pastry and with more cabbage. Found in traditional fish and chip shops. They are really distinctive. Haven’t had one in years.
Image result for Chico rolls
Snot blocks – A vanilla slice. See below.
Image result for Vanilla slice

23.   What are the following traditional items found in all Australian homes?

Dead horse – Tomato Sauce (think ketchup, Americans)
Hills Hoist – a rotary clothes line. (See above)
A slab – a box of 24 cans of beer – which looks like a slab. Known unit of currency over here.
Image result for a slab of beer
A ute – a car at the front, a truck at the back. I think American’s call them pick-up trucks. Just with a traditional sedan front. There are all sorts of utes. Bogans often drive utes.
Image result for ute

24.   Who is your all time Australian hero?

I have a few.. Weary Dunlop was an amazing man. A doctor who saved many lives on the Thai-Burma railway. Julia Gillard is awesome too – first woman Prime Minister of Australia. I also have a soft spot for Gough Whitlam – one of the most forward thinking politicians this country has ever seen. They don't make them like that any more.

Image result for Gough Whitlam

25.   Translate the following: “Strewth! Nev was going flat out like a lizard drinking. But he had a nana nap and he's raring. Told him to get here pronto by not to miss the gate cos it’s impossible to chuck a u-ey for miles. Told him to bring a slab. We’ll have a barby. The kiddies can have snags. Joe the Pom will moan about everything. Jeez, he’s a bastard. Yeah…nah… no flies on him.”

“Oh my!. Neville was burning the candle at both ends, but he’s had a small afternoon sleep and he’s now ready to go. He’s driving out now. I told him not to go too fast because he might miss the gate and it is impossible to make a u-turn for a couple of miles down the road. We are going to have a barbeque. The children can have some sausages. Joe, our English friend will be there. He likes to complain and it is a bit irritating, but really, he’s an okay sort of fellow.”

26.   What is your favourite Australian holiday spot?

There are many. I would love to go back to the Limestone Coast in South Australia. It is gorgeous down there – even though there are a few sharks. The Northern Territory is phenomenal. Even a trip down the Great Ocean Road for a long weekend is a great thing.

Image result for Great ocean road

27.   Do you eat the coat of arms?

Of course. I really like kangaroo, but it has to be done properly – like rare to medium rare at the most. Emu tastes like gamey chicken.

Image result for australian coat of arms

28.   You are stuck in a lift with the following: Karl Stefanovic, Peter Dutton and Alan Jones. Who do you kill last?

Dutton (Potato imitator - just the potato is has more of a social conscience) and Jones go immediately, bang, bang.. Stefanovic, well, if he keeps his mouth shut he can stick around.

Image result for peter dutton potato

29.   What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network – which is a project which has been going on for 10 years. It’s yet to arrive in my suburb… we live in hope. Australia as truly awful internet speeds. The NBN was supposed to fix this.

30.   “Where the bloody hell are you?” Discuss.

Scott Morrison (Current Prime Minister) used to be in charge of Tourism Australia’s marketing group. This ad, which all Australians can cite, was not great, but it did promote Lara Bingle to super-stardom. It also got banned in England, the place the ad was made for. Go figure...

31. Complete the following sayings.

Am I ever going to see your face again? No way, get f*cked, f*ck off.

This comes from The Angels song. It's a bit of an anthem. The Angels are an Adelaide band. Best sung late into the evening with your bogan friends at the top of your lungs. We all do it.

You're terrible, Muriel.  Refer to the film Muriel's Wedding. Iconic Australian film.

Coupla days, Beeeeuuuutiful.  1980s television comedy - still in the lexicon of the land. We all know a Con.

32. Potato scallops or potato cakes?

Potato cakes, thank you. There are a slice of potato, coated in batter an deep fried. They are awesome. Great drunk/study food. They are known as potato scallops in New South Wales and Queensland. Go figure.

Image result for potato scallops

33. Provide three uses for cane toads.

Umm, cricket balls, Speed humps and they are good for target practice too – dead or alive. They are the worst biohazard Australia has ever seen. And they don’t really eat the cane beetles they were introduced to kill. They are also poisonous - but they are not native. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Half the wildlife around here wants to kill you. If it can't kill you, it will at least try and take out an eye or put you in hospital for a few days.

Image result for cane toads

34. If you give a politician a koala to cuddle, what is the likely outcome?

The politician will end up with his top covered in koala urine. It always happens. I think Barack Obama got off lightly. I'm hoping the koala did its business on Tony Abbott. I really hope so.

Image result for politician koala

35. Bagpipes are perfectly at home in rock songs. Discuss.

How can AC/DC be wrong?

36. What is a Tim Tam Slam?

The Tim Tam is an iconic Australian biscuit (cookie). It is a crunchy chocolate wafer, with a chocolate cream centre and covered in chocolate. (Note the spelling of centre... it's like theatre, and metre - UK spelling over here.)

To do a Tim Tam Slam, you bite the end off alternate corners and drink your tea through the Tim Tam, using it light a straw. Yes, this is a thing.

There are a few more flavours of Tim Tams now - but the original ones are the best (though I like the white ones too.)

Image result for Tim Tam slam

37. If I ask for a FruChoc, where am I from? What are FruChocs?

FruChocs are South Australian fare. In the rest of the country, they are very hard to get.

A puree of apricot and peach, covered in chocolate. Bliss. But only in Adelaide (City that never sleeps).

Image result for FruChocs