Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Blog for Grown Ups

Just back from a long weekend in Canberra, it's 32 degrees outside and it's nearly midnight (92 in the old language). Have just under an hour to get this done.

Questions courtesy of Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?

I kind of resent paying for my broadband - for what I pay, it's crap. Do not mention the broadband wars in Australia -pay heaps for a third rate product.

2. What do you really want to be doing right now?

Being in the cold by a fire - not in a sauna of a flat.

3. Why did you choose the shirt you have on now?

I'm not wearing a shirt. I had a dress on today - the last clean thing in my suitcase.

4. Thoughts on gas prices?

All over the place and currently too expensive.

5. First thought when the alarm goes off in the morning

I want a cuddle.

6. Last thought you have before you go to sleep?

I want a cuddle.

7. Do you miss being a child?

Yes and no. I didn't have a great childhood - but there are good things about being a kid - like no responsibility.

8. What errand/chore do you despise the most?

The floors - mopping and hoovering.

9. Up early or sleep in?

Up early.

10. Favorite lunch meat?

Ew. Please give me cold chicken. I try not to eat processed meats.

11. What do you get every time at Trader Joe’s?

What's Trader Joes? I'm Australian - not something we have here.

12. Beach or lake?


13. Ever crashed your vehicle?

Yes - thankfully it was pretty minor.

14. Strangest place you've brushed your teeth?

An airplane toilet. Certainly not hygienic.

15. Somewhere you've never been but want to go?

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Tokyo. Santiago, Spain.

16. At this point in your life would you want to start a new career?

Why not. Working on it at the moment.

17. Do you own your own house?

No. Too expensive over here and I like where I live.

18. Do you have a go-to person?

Depends on what I need to go to them for.

19. Are you where you want to be in life?

Sort of. There are things that I would like to be different, but I'm not beating myself up over these things.

20. Growing up, what were your favorite cartoons?

Wacky Races. Scooby Doo.

21. What has changed since you were a child?

A lot. I didn't have helicopter parents. Lots more freedoms when I was a child.

22. Looking back at high school, were they the best years of your life?

Absolutely not. Life began after high school.

23. Are there times you still feel like a kid?


24. Did you have a pager?

No. Who has a pager now?

25. Were you the type of kid you want your kids to hang out with?

No. I was the kid who didn't get invited to parties.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Friday Questions meme

Today's blog is being brought to you from Sydney town where I am just about to leave the airport and go home.

Great questions, Bev. As always, these have been supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Have you ever tried to learn (or re-learn) a foreign language as an adult? Which one? What worked for you?

No, but I would love to go back and refresh my French, which is passable for an adult who gave up learning it at university. I should also to some Spanish lessons before going to Spain.

2. Do you donate blood? Do you know your blood type?

I'm not allowed to give blood in Australia as I am a 'mad cow'. Nobody who lived in England between 1985 and 1996 for more than six months is allowed to give blood in Australia for fear of mad cow disease. It makes me sad. My boring O positive could do so much good. If I was allowed to give blood, I would.

3. Have you ever been in a play or musical?

As school, yes. I also did a lot of drama  classes when I was in London.

4. Do you use certain text or ring tones for specific people? Who gets their own? Or do you just use the default on your phone?

No. And my phone is normally on silent with the vibrate on. When the phone does ring, Red Hot Chilli Peppers plays "Under the Bridge".

5. When did you get your first digital camera? Do you still shoot on actual film, or all digital now?

I've had a digital camera since the early 2000s. Now I just use my iPhone.

6. What do you think someone else would say the most daring thing you’ve done is? 

Lived in another country illegally for six years. :)

7. Do you talk with your hands?


8. Do you have a lucky number? What is it, and what is the story behind it?

I like 64, and that is because of the song. I'm also partial to three and seven.

9. What kind of milk did you drink, growing up? And now?

I grew up drinking milk that we got from the vat straight from the cow from the farmer down the road. Now I drink skim milk or almond milk from the supermarket. I can't drink full fat milk. Makes my stomach hurt.

10. What is your favorite kind of pie?

I'm not American so pie is not a thing, but mum makes a good apple pie and blackberry pie.

11. Are you a note taker?

Not really. Sometimes. I am at work.

12. Do you have an eclectic mug collection, or is your stuff all matchy matchy?

My mugs are very eclectic. Think there are only two that match. All my mugs have a story.

13. Do you have a junk drawer in your house/garage/at work/wherever?

Doesn't everybody have a third drawer down in the kitchen? I give you Jimoein.

14. What is the longest amount of time you’ve worked at one job – and what was/is it?

I did five years at Lehman Brothers in London, working in the back office doing reconciliations. I've been contracting every since, so don't stay in places too long now.

15. How old were you when you took your first commercial flight? To where did you fly?

I was five years old when we went to Kangaroo Island by plane. My first international flight (and second flight) was to New Zealand when I was 17.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


I’m learning that waking up can be a not that pleasant experience. In fact, it can be quite painful.

My morning routine is one of languor. The alarm goes off at six a.m. I’m normally half-awake five minutes before this. Once I shut off the alarm, I turn on the television and listen to the news – or more to the point, the Today Show on Channel Nine, the palatable face of right-wing Australia. I like to be agitated out of bed gently.

This morning, the news came that Dolores O’Riordan had passed away, aged 46.

Dolores O’Riordan? Never heard of her?

Well, she was the voice of a generation. My generation. Generation X.

The news took me back to 1994. This was instantaneous and complete.

Here I was, 25-years-old and in a pub in London, England. I’m wearing high-waisted jeans and a shirt, which has not been tucked in, On my feet, Doc Marten eight hole boots bought down Camden Market the day a bomb went off in a bin down the Camden High Street. My hair is flowing down my back. I have a pint of “wife-beater and lime” in my hand (Stella Artois topped with lime cordial, still a drink of choice).

I have just started work at a merchant bank in the City, finally making proper money. Double breasted suits and stiletto heels surround me on a daily basis.

Nelson Mandela is about to be made President of South Africa. Lady Diana is making news for the right and wrong reasons. The Channel Tunnel has just opened. Fred and Rosemary West become a household name. Rwanda is imploding. Barings Bank is still a bank not just the carcass left by Nick Leeson.

Life feels a lot simpler back then.

But I am standing in a pub with a pint in my hand, just realising that I have fallen in love, quite badly, and there is nothing that I can do about it. Nothing at all.

I’m surrounded by my drama mates after a class. It was a great drama class.

We eat jalepeno poppers, the likes I have never had again. This the after drama pint. We'll all make the last train home. I live in West Hampstead, sharing a flat with an odd flatmate above a sharehouse of Australian and Kiwi expats, with most of whom I am still in contact.

This pub isn’t there any more.

But we are here in this pub, with my pint and some jalepeno poppers and this comes on over the pub's speakers.

And everything makes sense.

Every time I hear this song, I am taken back to this place. I'm taken back to this person. Somebody I really don't need to be thinking about.

Little did I know the feelings would linger for over twenty years.

Vale Dolores O’Riordan, the voice of Generation X. You will never linger. You'll always be the voice of my generation.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Conversation Starters Meme

Great questions this week, Bev.

Busy weekend - lots of things on. Just back from a float. Now cooking lunch for the week before doing some washing and going to bed.

Things don't change much.

Questions, as always, from Sunday Stealing.

1. What are some small things that make your day better?

Sunshine. Stopping to smell roses and patting soppy cats. When you can get a seat on the tram in the morning.

2. What shows are you into?

Currently, Gilmore Girls, The Good Wife and Good Behaviour. The Handmaid's Take was extraordinary.

3. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

I think there should be a Shakespeare Channel. All Shakespeare and Shakespearean history, all the time.

4. Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

Oprah has made the list this week. Awesome woman. There are too many unsung people out there.

5. What age do you wish you could permanently be?

36. I remember liking 36.

6. What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

Game of Thrones after season one (too violent). The Walking Dead (Pointless and too violent) Anything with a Kardashian in it.

7. What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

Movies and theatre. Love them all. Books are not a luxury.

8. What’s your claim to fame?

I can recite all of Jabberwocky when plastered. Very plastered. Twas brillig.....

9. What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Cook. . I love to cook from scratch.Everything.

10. What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

Alternative drama. For books, literary fiction.

11. How often do you people watch?

All the time. It's one of my favourite things to do.

12. What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

Floatation tanks are awesome.

13. What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

Freemasonry. I'm a lady freemason. Happy to talk about it too.

14. What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

Probably the USA. I lived in England for a long time too.

15. What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?

Probably animals being born. That is awesome.

16. What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

Why aren't you married?

17. What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

Yes. I've done it before. But I'm trained in this sort of thing. Didn't say I'd like it...

18. If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

Everybody would have to wear pink socks on Tuesday.

19. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Travel and read. Visit New York. Visit Spain. Go to the Theatre. ... I have lots of these.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Farewell Innocence

Like everybody else in Australia, I woke to the news of the alleged sexual misconduct of yet another male celebrity, and as with other such reports, I immediately felt sad. Sad for the women involved. Angry at the companies who allegedly did not take these women's claim's seriously. Feeling sorry for the actor involved as rightly or wrongly, he's being tried by the media. Rightly or wrongly, his career and reputation are now in tatters.

As the media outlets are footnoting their articles, these reports are not professing the guilt of the said actor, they are merely reporting that the allegations have been made.

Talking to my mother later in the morning, she said she had seen the actor on stage on the weekend. She'd loved the show. She then started to complain about the news.

"Stupid women, why didn't they speak up at the time?"

"They couldn't, Mum. It's not that simple.The theatre is not somewhere where women feel they can speak up."

I get my mother's frustration. I know I was feeling a bit frustrated when I turned on the telly at 6 a.m. to get the news.

Then again, I know my mother, with a 30-year career in nursing through the sixties, seventies and eighties would have seen a lot of the sort of behaviour that's currently been reported and she would have had to turn a blind eye. When a man treated you badly back then, you let others know - keep away from him - tell others to watch their step - get a transfer to another hospital or ward, because you didn't have a choice. To report these types of incidents would have cost you your job. Heavens, if you got married, you were forced to give up your role. This was being phased out around the time I was born, thank heavens.

Mum has the right to feel frustrated.

I then looked at my own working life.

After nearly thirty years in the workforce I do know that things have changed and continue to change.

I remember early on taking the bullying  behaviour of a manager to HR. The HR woman was sympathetic but told me to keep my head down and not to rankle this man's ire. I needed the job. It was the early nineties - jobs were scarce and I had rent to pay. I was heard, but I got on with it, gritting my teeth and moving to London six months after.

Over my career, I've worked all over the world. I've worked my way up. I say I've had little to complain about.

Working in large organisations, there has been the pall of the H.R. department casting its omniscient presence over the workplace. Sometimes, they're helpful, other times not.

I've worked in many male-dominated areas - merchant banks, telecommunications companies, utilities and finance. Thankfully, I've been blessed with great people, men and women, who have had my back.

Then there are the times where a creep comes across your path.

With the #metoo event, many of my friends traded their stories.

I can't speak to them, but some of my memorable gems have included:

  • Being groped by an unknown trader on a trading floor while trying to deliver some paperwork
  • Having my breast size assessed by a group of co-workers
  • Having my sex life discussed across the office
  • Being told that I should wear lower cut tops as to show of my breasts
  • Having a colleague sit on my desk, making suggestive motions towards his crotch.
These are just a few incidents, all from my younger days. Most of which, at the time, I brushed aside fearing repercussions for speaking out.  The last incident on the list was reported to management. The guy was a creep. He was sacked for treating another colleague in a far worse way soon after this happened. Seems I got off lightly.

Still, you come away from every episode feeling dirty, small, humiliated and shamed.

And of course I won't mention the public slights from over the years. The wolf whistles, unwanted comments, gropings and taunts, which I was once told was just a part of being a girl when I was younger. 

Like many, I've grown a thicker skin and a learned to walk away.

My inner reaction to these unwanted attentions, which still occasionally occur, is the desire to find a bottle, smash it and press the shards into the arsehole's neck. 

I never would do that. But I've seethed inside for what seems like an eternity after these events occurred. 

My eternal question - why can't these dickheads leave me in peace? 

I've also been subjected to some bullying by management in my time. Knowing what it is, documenting it, raising flags as soon as you realise something is not right to the appropriate people, and working as a contractor, meant I've been able to escape these places on my own terms. I know this has been one of the good things about contracting.  In both cases, the incidents were documented, recorded and dealt with by the company. Again, the perpetrators did not singled me out.

By some miracle, I managed to get out of both events with my reputation and sanity intact.

The thing that sticks out for me from both of these bullying incidents was thinking at the time that if I did speak out, my job was on the line. If I was to push this, it could be me who wore the consequences? Was I right to think that I was being bullied? How would I keep a roof over my head if I did walk out? HR department or not, there could be consequences.

So I get it. I get why women haven't spoken about this sort of thing over the years. I so get it. Reputation. Keeping your job. Ensuring you keep you 83% of the male working next to you's wage coming in. Not wanting to be perceived as a troublemaker. Even, heaven forbid, thinking that these shameful, humiliating, bothersome and downright hideous behaviours were normal.

I came away from the news this morning, and from the conversation with my mother feeling like a little bit of my innocence had been shattered.

Then I realised that it had been taken from me many years ago.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Happy New Year Meme

I sort of did these questions last week, but they have been updated. Thanks to Bev at Sunday Stealing.

End of Year Questions

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

Finished my Masters degree. Never done that before. Came out with 9 High Distinctions and 3 Distinctions. I'm very proud of myself.

2. 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 set a goal to not eat potato chips - both hot and packet chips over the year. I failed with the hot chips but I've not had a potato chip from a packet in over 372 days.

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

My downstairs neightbour gave birth to a daughter. Most of my friends have now finished their families.

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

There has been a lot of death around be, but nobody close has died.

5. What places have you visited? 

Nowhere really new, but I did go to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania - that was AWESOME. Can't wait to go back.

6. Any new pets? Lost a pet?


7. 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...)? 

I would like the courage and time to write that novel,

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

Nothing really comes to mind. 11 February was fun as we celebrated my Punjabi kid brother's birthday in Myponga.

9. What was your biggest achievement last year?

Finishing my Masters.

10. Did you get sick or injured?

Other than the odd cold and migraine, no thank goodness.

11. What was the best thing you bought? 

I bought my current ward (Maow Maow) a new litter try. The old one stank. That was his Christmas present. I've bought a lot of tickets to see Shakespeare productions at the Pop Up Globe. ( This has been awesome.

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

Clothing, books and entertainment.

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


14. What do you wish you would have done more of?

Exercised. Gone out to dinner

15. What do you wish you would have done less of?

Comfort ate.

16. 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?

Television Program:  The Crown
Movie:  Call Me By Your Name
Album:  Tash Sultana's EP

Check out all of these

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

I read 23 books last year. My favourite of the year was Hanya Yahanigara's A Little Life.  Heather Rose's Museum of Modern Love and George Saunder's Lincoln in the Bardo run not too far behind.

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

Went out to dinner with friends. It was lovely.I don't feel much different.

19. What political or social issue stirred you the most? 

The same sex marriage debate in Australia was awful. How we treat unregulated refugees is appalling and is shame of Australia.

20. Who was the most interesting new person you met?

I have a heap of lovely new workmates. They are awesome.

21. Describe how a relationship changed. 

Most are pretty much in the same state as they were.

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

Yes. I'm middle aged. I don't change that much.Maybe a little more cynical.

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

Frustrating. Hope inspiring. Tenacious.

24. How have people around you changed? 

Some are a little more conservative. This alarms me a little.

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

I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I still hate doing burpees.

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

I wrote a quarter of a novel. Never done that before. I've also taken up black and white iPhone photography.

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

My hair is a little lighter thanks to my hairdresser. There are a few more greys in the mix.

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

To get a lot fitter. The finish the first draft of my novel. To travel a hell of a lot more than I did this year. I went nowhere this year.