Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Misc Questions Meme

It's my last day of holiday and I wish I was doing something more exciting than the housework, preparing lunch for the week and putting the last touches on the birthday party Alice and I are holding next weekend.

Questions are from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. How has your life most benefited from the Internet? Whether it’s meeting people, cutting business overhead, finding rare collectibles, or simply sharing funny cat pictures, share how the web has made life easier.

I can stay in touch with friends who live overseas far more easily. I love that I can call up friends and talk to them face to face. Case in point, this morning, while at the gym, I was chatting away to Reindert in Colorado. I love this - we didn't have this a few years ago. I also like that I have an encyclopaedia at my fingertips too.

2. The getaway car is waiting outside – where is it taking you?

Back to Ubud, please. I could live there. Love Ubud, Indonesia. I feel very much at home over there.

3. Do you reply to comments on your blog? All of them? Or just the really interesting ones?  Do you go back to check if the authors or the blogs you comment on reply to your comments?

Only sometimes. I don't get that many comments. I do check the blogs of those who comment on my blog - it's just manners.

4. On average, how long does it take you to make an important decision?

Not very long. I'm pretty decisive - it's the Leo in me. And I don't worry of I've made the wrong decision either. I tend to get on with things.

5. Do you gather a lot of information prior to making the decision, or do you go with your gut in the heat of the moment? 

I tend to go with my gut, but I do research as well. The gut tends to rule though.

6. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned recently?

50 is just a number. Oh, and I can travel with people. I never knew that about myself.

7. What’s your hidden talent? Are you double-jointed? Can you sneeze the alphabet? Share your unique skill.

As I found out on holiday, I can still sing Khe Sahn, verbatim, 30 years after learning it at Uni. This is a very bogan thing to do - and is as Australian as thongs, a barbeque, a tinnie and an Australian Flag tattoo. My other party trick is reciting Jabberwocky - again, off the cuff, again, normally when I have a few drinks under my belt.

8. Rate the level of intensity you have about wanting to know God – no desire, low priority, curious, great desire, high priority, desperate to learn more. Explain your answer.

Curious - but as I am not religious (and definitely not a Christian) I am always learning more about God through my spirituality - and I love this. I let it come as it comes.

9. What’s one of your nicknames?  How did you get that nickname?

Panda. This was first coined in London in a share house by a Kiwi Housemate. I lived with a group of Kiwis - and one other girl named Pandora. She was sweetly pretty, close to her father, private school educated and everything that makes a good Pandora. So I was Panda - and it stuck. Many of my friends call me Panda some 25 year later. I introduce myself as Panda after people get to know me. I'm never a Pandy or a Dora.

10. What do you have to have with you when you travel? Why?

There are a few things. Tarot cards being one of them - good for reflection (and they can double as a deck of card if need be). When travelling to Europe, I always take a universal sink plug - as hotel rooms never seem to have them.

11. What do you think about reading books on an electronic reading device? Do you have an electronic reading device? Do you love it? Why? If you don’t love it, why not?

I love my kindle, but I prefer the feel of paper. I am running out of space for books in my flat - the bookshelves are doubled up.

12. Do you prefer writing on paper or a keyboard? Why?

I prefer to type - I have the handwriting of a mass murdering doctor.

13. If the shoes make the man (or woman), what do your shoes say about you right now? (Assuming you’re wearing shoes. Although if you’re not, that certainly says something, too.)

I'm broke (as I am currently barefoot). That or I'm a hippy. Oh yes, I am a hippy. I like being barefoot around the house.

14. Describe your favorite pair of shoes.

I really love my Harley Davidson biker boots - $25 on Ebay - best buy ever. I'm also fond of my runners - which are transport. I go through 3-4 pairs of runners a year - and I always have the same ASICS Kayanos. They suit me well.

15. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability or quality, what would it be?

I wish I had the fortitude to sit down and write a novel that would sell across the world.

BONUS:  When they "cool sculpt" your body, where does the fat go? 

Who knows - it probably shrinks only to come back with the next cup of coffee.

Today's Song:

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The End of the Break

Why are holidays always far busier than actual working days ? Why, oh why? How is it you have to sit on a plane for a few hours and stay somewhere that has dodgy telecommunications to really shut off? Why can't you just relax around your city without finding you have 365 things to do?

So I'm back from Bali - though most of me wishes I stayed longer. It was an amazing break. As it was the first time I'd every been on an extended holiday with friends, it was great to find out that I can do the friend's holiday - and I think some new friendships were forged over the week away, which is great to see.

Okay, so I got back and the fun started.

Firstly, there was a cat to spring from solitary confinement. Poor Maow Maow (my arse) was at home alone and being fed by friends. I went round to Blarney's to find him sitting mournfully in the window, waiting for somebody to turn up. Needless to say, on entering the house, I received a cat bath for about ten minutes. Once my skin was satisfactorily exfoliated, he happily went into the cat carrier and came home with me. He's been a big ball of sook every since, but much happier being around people.

Then there was yesterday - where the day went from having  a vivid dream (more on that later) to racing around like a headless chook. A lot was achieved:

  • A session in the gym with Jay and Cleo
  • The monthly engineering lunch at Nandos
  • Picked up the mail
  • Went and talked to the bank about RAS tokens
  • Bought a party dress for next week
  • Changed a theatre ticket
  • Got some mason's paperwork done
  •  Activated some nuts
  • Cooked dinner
Today hasn't been much better.

So far I've been to meditation, had my hair cut and coloured, gone food shopping and done more mason's stuff. I spent my time in the hairdressers chair multi-tasking, checking on the birthday cake, arranging transport for a friend to'm the party, doing my footy tips (a day late, oh well) doing some cleaning, made hummus... the list goes on. 

And tomorrow will be similar - when all I would like to do is sit in front of the telly and watch Orange is the New Black - and maybe do a bit more cleaning.

I also have to start job hunting - gee won't that be fun. 

On the good side of things, there was the dream. I told Vee,  my old dream group leader about this and she rubbed her hands with glee. See, I woke to the most vivid dream the other morning. One of those dreams where you don't know if you're awake or asleep.

I woke to the cat snuggling up next to me (as Maow Maow is with me at the moment, this is what probably confused me) I got up, went out into the flat to find it being reonovated. The carpet was pulled, up, the place was in a mess. It felt like there were workman around the place. I looked around. The kitchen was fairly intact, but there was a new room in the place. There was also a large ginger cat walking around the place. I was a bit worried about this as Maow Maow is a bit of a lone wolf and doesn't like to share his human. 

It took me a good few minute to work out that this was all a dream. I haven't had a vivid dream like that for years.

According to Vee, this is a mot wonderful sign that things are changing for the better. Me - I just want to find the ginger cat. It's a pity I'm too busy to go find him.

Today's song:

Monday, August 20, 2018

A Day of Wonder

So, yesterday was the big day - and it was truly a wonderful day.

There were some things that I couldn't have seen coming.

Having lunch with Trish and Jay, we were seated outside our local cafe - which is just out the front door of the villa, the lovely Habitat Cafe. As I took my time coming to lunch, I found them sitting on the bar seats out the front, and made mention that I hoped the monkeys would leave us be. I was having a perfectly pleasant lunch, when all of a sudden, there is one of the cretinous villains sitting on my dinner plate pilfering my corn. The arsehole! Jay, being big and brave and a little less shocked than me, punched the bugger, but not before her got away with a corn on the cob and half of my ribs. The prick! If he wanted the corn, he only had to ask.

Thankfully, we were moved inside after that - and the girl with the shanghai (sling shot) was on point for the rest of the afternoon - it seems that they use projectiles to keep the buggers away.

(A day later, while sitting by the pool, Jonella passed me half a muesli bar - this also got robbed by a monkey - and I ended up in the pool to get away from the pilfering creature - was not happy about this, but the rest of the group thought it was hysterical)

Needless to say, I am not fond of monkeys.

The other thing I didn't see coming was the earthquake we got late in the evening last night. Yep, I got an earthquake for my birthday. We were sitting round drinking and playing Cards Against Humanity, when the bottles and glasses started the rattle - then the roof started to shake - a loud clattering, like a heap of wood being unloaded from a truck  in one foul swoop . The staff gathered us from our spot in the lobby and out in the garden we stood until the shaking and clattering subsided. The evening was plagued with more tremors - mostly small ones, a few larger ones, and we all went to bed just after midight with some trepidation.

I was woken at  5.30 this morning to the bed and windows rattling - it was a solid aftershock. I was debating whether to get out of bed and it subsided - there are a few more after that - and Blarney said that her door was rattling all night.

Riding the tectonic plates is fun.

So monkeys and earthquakes were the "fun" bits of the day.

The lovely bits came in the form of a trip to Tirta Empul to go and be purified. This was a special time, going up into the hills, to place ourselves in the sacred waters. It felt great.

The other highlight of the day was fronting up to Yin Yoga at the Yoga Barn. I made a pact with myself that I'd do Yin Yoga every evening at five when I was on holiday. On the weekends, a favourite teacher if mine from my trip two and a half years ago was teaching. Estee is a legend. Sweet, funny, wicked, Rilke quoting and ever so supportive, she's the yoga teacher I wish I could find in Melbourne. We struck up a friendship when I was here two and a half years ago.

She recognised me as I came in the class, which was so lovely to be greeted was I went in the class with a "Oh, you came back! How long has it been - a few months. Nope - two and a half years.

Going back to the Yoga Barn has been like a return to the mothership. It's a place I would love to work at - but how? Throw tarot? Become a Tama Do Shaman? Take up Yin Yoga training? I don't know - but it's one of the few places in the world I feel completely at peace.

Walking into class yesterday, Estee greeted me with a hug.

She's a special person. And I will be back in Ubud to the Yoga Barn in the not too distant future. There is a part of me who wishes I could find a remote working job where I could work here for a month.

Other things we got up to, other than the earthquakes and thieving monkeys and we had a lovely dinner at the Dirty Duck restaurant, I started the day with prayers to Ganesha and a swim  - which is how I've gone into every day here. And we played a lot of Cards Against Humanity - which my friends say I should be writing questions for.... hmm... I don't know about that.

In all, it's been a birthday to remember.

I am very blessed.

Today's song: Sort of apt.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Oh Shit: The ID Questions Meme

Well, it's my birthday, but I am still going to do my Sunday blog. It's my 50th birthday and I will blog if I want to.

So I'm sitting here in my bathers (swimming costume) on the balcony of the villa, with a beer in my hand after a visit to an amazing water temple - and it is all awesome. It's even a warm, sunny day - I'm not used to having hot birthdays - it's normally cold and teeming with rain. Making life even more interesting, we have to shoo away the monkeys, who get a bit too close every now and then.

For today, I've put my favourite ever song on the planet. It always has been my favourite song - it always will be.

Anyway, here is my birthday blog post - and I have come to the end of my three months of blogging. It will be interesting to see if I continue.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1: 3 Fears

Not being able to find a job when I want one, going down stairs and escalators, open water.

2: 3 things I love

My friends and family, Maow Maow, swimming. The last one changes - but I love swimming. Swimming every morning before breakfast at the moment - and I love it.

3: 4 turns on

A sharp mind. A wicked sense of humour. A perfectly hair chest - not too much, not too little, but just right (and I am fortunate that I get to see one fairly regularly... oops, too much information. ) A mellifluous voice - think Kenneth Brannagh, Tom Hiddleston or even, I hate to say it, Harvey Spector - needs a bit of gravel in it).

4: 4 turns off

Rudeness, blond hair, those who don't look after themselves, men who aren't clean. Personal hygiene is everything.

5: My best friend

I don't have a best friend, I have best friends. I am with many of them here in Bali. Then there is Geetangeli and Mariah, who I rarely see, but they are up there. And my kid brother - but he is my kid brother, even if he is not a blood relation.  I am blessed in this way.

6: My favorite book

Do I really have to name one?  It's one of the following:

  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  • The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
There are others that should be on this list.

7: My best first date

Oh, I had this one date with this ex-advertising exec who was just lovely. There was a lovely, soft kiss at the end of the night. Bolloxed that one up good and proper, but I remember it as a great evening.

8: How tall am I

About 167 cms in the new currency - or 5'5" and a half.

9: What do I miss

Reindert who now lives in Colorado. Sometimes I miss bread and ice cream and coffee, but I'm managing well.

10: What time were I born

2.35 pm in the afternoon.

11: Favorite color

It's a toss up between pillar box red, cobalt blue and teal.

12: Do I have a crush

Oh, other than Clive Owen and Harvey Spector - not really.

13: Favorite quote

“What else is there to say? You carry grudges and regrets for decades, tend them like gravesite vigils, then even after you lay them down they linger on the periphery, waiting to ambush you all over again.”

Dominic Smith, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos.

14: Favorite place

At the moment, Ubud. It is soooooo great being back here. It really is my mother ship.

15: Favorite food

At the moment, cashew nuts. It used to be ice cream, but alas, that's off the menu for the forseeable future.

16: Do I use sarcasm

Does a bear shit in the woods? Like der...

17: What am I listening to right now

The hum of the air conditioner, the crickets, the water fountain bubbling away and my tapping away at the keyboard.

18: First thing I notice in new person

If they have a smile behind their eyes. If that isn't there, I'm not interested.

19: Eye color

A dark green, with hints of grey and blue.

20: Hair color

Thanks to a lovely hairdresser, it's a deep brown. There are a few greys at my temples. 

Now, do I keep up this blogging daily? That is the question?

Today's song: (the best song in the world)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

1 Day: The Last Day

I am aware that today is the last day of my forties, a fact which I am approaching with a sense of horror and pride in equal measure. It feels like it was only a blink of an eye away that I was turning 40, then 30. Much before that, I don't remember, or choose not to remember.

This reflecting has made me a bit quiet, and that's okay. I really do feel like I've not really achieved much in this 50 years, but there is also a quiet pride that I've done quite a bit. I do not have a family of my own, but I have a family that's been adopted and mean the world to me. I have no real assets, but I have absolutely no debt. Swings and roundabouts is this fact, but the no debt is great. I'm an adult, but I pride myself on being a big kid - and that will not change. The fact that as a middle aged woman, I am still the first one into the pool and the last one out and I don't give a shit that my hair gets wet irks some - well stuff  'em I say.

I've been reflecting on what I've learned over the last ten years. Life has dealt some interesting lessons.

1) Your forties give you many freedoms which you don't expect to find. Not giving a crap about the small stuff being the biggest lesson. You get to be yourself without apologising - something I never saw coming.

2) You start to care passionately about your health - and do things to make sure that you stay healthy. After watching friends suffer from everything from breast cancer, to heart conditions, to blood conditions that will kill them, to auto-immune disorders, knowing that eating property, exercising and taking a blood pressure pill a day is a minimal sacrifice to feel good - and that I am very fortunate that this is all I need to do to keep myself in order. Long may it remain.

3) I am not as fat, ugly or stupid as I thought I was in the forty years before. I'm just me. It's okay. I'm dealing with it.

4) You know which battles to fight more easily now. Maybe it's practice, maybe it's you don't care - but some of the acrimony of the past is no longer found.

5) You treasure some of the little things in life. A good sleep, a friendly cat, a good dump,
an unexpected kindness, an old song. They are little things, but they make life a lot better.

6) Sex gets better in your forties - who knew? Again, maybe it's because you don't give a crap, or maybe it's because your chances of getting pregnant are significantly diminished, but there is something about all of this which makes the experience a hell of a lot better. Nobody tells you this.

7) Menopause is God's way of saying that there are better things ahead of you - if you can get through the crap - or in my case, find a very good doctor who's favourite saying is, "You don't have to put up with that." I don't care if they say that it's not very feminist, or a bad thing. I've not had breast cancer (touch wood that will never happen).  HRT is a saviour. I thank which ever deity or scientist that it is there. It is good to feel normal. Coming from a family where the women have long, complicated and downright horrendous effects, this is a good thing. HRT returns sanity - don't knock it. Women should talk more of these experiences. It's as individual as it is universal, which is the paradox.

8) You can get through anything if you have friends.

9) There are some life skills that you never lose. As I have discovered, I can still do the following:

  • Cat's cradle
  • Swear when appropriate
  • Swim
  • Sing Khe Sahn, verbatim (Cough, bogan)
  • Recite Shakespeare
  • Pilfer cigarettes without blushing or remorse (only when drunk)
  • Shamelessly flirt
  • Run (though my knees complain)
  • Read tarot - no matter how long it is between readings, it's still there - same goes reading a natal chart.
  • Give back as much shit as you are dealt.
10) Smiling at random babies on public transport will never get old. 

11) The lines on your face are a map - and they are okay to have - but sunscreen is an awesome thing.

12) Optimism is one of the most potent states on the planet - and it can get your out of many a bind. 

13) Travel well, travel often. Oh for f*ck's sake, just travel. It's good for you.

14) The only think scarier that the Federal Liberal National Party is the closed minded bigots who think they are rational. Yes, it takes all kinds, but do they need to be so vocal in their ineptitude and fear-mongering?

I'm not sure if these are good or bad lessons, but this is what has come to me today.

So now, I'm going to have a massage and go get my toenails painted before trotting off to the 5 pm Yin Yoga class at the Yoga Barn.

I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring - but I will see out my forties, with some grace, I hope.

If not, there is always gin and The Pixies. 

Today's song: It's apt

2 Days: Bring on the Bogan

I enjoy the incongruities of my life - of which there are many.

My head is currently encased in a wrap on which there is the design of a Confederate flag. Jonella keeps rolling her eyes at me when I wear it. I like to think I'm being ironic. It's practical and comfortable. That the Confederate flag is a bogan/redneck icon is one thing. I just like the colours, and bunched up as a headband you can't tell what it is. (I've also got a camouflage one, an Union Jack one and a blue one with waves on it - they will all get worn. It's good to have the hair off the back of my neck.

Part of me likes order - the other part of me likes chaos - and Indonesia is providing plenty of that.

There is a calm at our villa. It is a wonderful haven in the centre of Ubud. You can barely hear the traffic which is only a hundred metres away. The Monkey Forest Road is one of the main thoroughfares through the town. It's busy. It's also filled with rather large, very cheeky, rabies  ridden monkeys. Walking home from lunch today, I watched as Trish was accosted by a couple of the buggers. She had a plastic bag in her had. The little bastards know what they are looking for.

It is now somewhat later.

A lot later from when I started this.

Again, I have lots to say, but I am a bit too squiffy to say it - as I'm a couple of cocktails down and about to head into the land of gin and tonic.

Tonight, before dinner and after Yin Yoga, I once again earned my bogan stripes. Real bogan stripes.

To the horror of most, I pulled out from the annals of my back brain, a sparkling rendition of Khe Sahn, 30 years after university, I still know the words. I learned it during first year uni for a dare... don't tell anybody, but I'm not that much of a Cold Chisel fan.

I'm not sure who was more horrified - my group, or the guys singing karaoke next door, who really deserved my rendition of Khe Sahn.

Ah well, it's better than my version of The Dead Kennedy's Too Drunk to Fuck....

Yep. I'm squiffy.

Today's Song:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

3 Days: Days of Wonder

I sit here in this little patch of paradise. My beer, a Bintang, sits next to my laptop and the channa, which is on the desk here where I sit. It is 8.30 in the evening here in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. There is a fountain bubbling behind me, aerating the water for the large koi who live in the pond next to the swimming pool.

My friends are sitting having drinks nearby. I have joined them for a bit, and I will go back to them soon, but I've committed to writing this blog every day until my birthday, and Lord be damned if I don't finish this challenge.

But I am tired. Too tired. A swim after dinner has helped my second wind, but after rising at 4.30 this morning to pick up Blarney at 6 am, arrive at the airport at 7 am, a 9 am flight to Denpasar, an hour an a half drive to Ubud - I'm knackered. My introvert's catatonia has set in, but it will pass. Thankfully I am among friends, who get that I need space and time out.

I'm not used to having so many people around me - but I will survive. I'll adapt - and I'll be fine when I'm not so tired. But after living alone for the last twenty years, being around people full time gets a bit of getting used to.

I've been in Bali for about six hours now - and it's not changed.

Some things I've witnessed so far:
  1. There doesn't appear to be road rage around here. The drivers are all loopy, but there isn't road rage. The horn is applied liberally and people just get on with it. It's very cool - in a rather scary way. 
  2. The Balinese are awesome people.
  3. Monkeys are scary.
On arriving at our villa, which is located a stone's throw away from the monkey forest, we alighted the cars to see a girl with a shanghai. Looking up there were monkeys on the telegraph wires.  

To get to our villa, you go back behind a restaurant, up a small flight of stairs and through a blissful garden. Look up at any given time and you will see monkeys. There are signs up around the place warning us not to leave our small possessions around the place as the monkeys will pinch them. 

Oh what fun. Possums don't give these sorts of troubles. 

But we are here, in Bali.

And I feel very blessed.

Even if I am having trouble putting a coherent sentence together.

I have a lot to say - I'm just a bit too tired to say it.

Today's Song:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

4 Days: The Arrest

Georgie and I took the train home after book group last night. Nothing unusual in that - although I often get a lift with Teddy after book group, but alas, she was not there last night.

The 8.30 South Morang train was equipped with the usual suspects - cleaners about to start a shift, students with their nose in a book, the last of the office workers from the late shift and those who've been out for a Tuesday night beverage for what ever reason. The carriage had many young people. Georgie and I, both in our forties, blended in well. As we have done after many a Tuesday night book group, we started to put the world to rights. The normal topics of conversation - Georgie's young children, what I am writing, how Thom, Georgie's husband, is going at work, what is going on with Lachlan. Georgie and I have been friends for over ten years. It's like that.

We pulled into Southern Cross Station. Two ticket inspectors boarded the train.

The militarisation of our public officials is worrying - the men, both in their thirties, had wide open faces. Well fed country boys, They would have been star ruckmen of their respective footy teams. Their demeanors were professional, friendly and pleasant, despite the prototype storm trooper uniforms they were wearing.

Georgie and I handed over our Myki cards without them asking. There was some light banter between us - a friendly conversation. As I said, these men, despite their semi-odious task and worse reputation, were pleasant, friendly and professional.

Our tickets were scanned and we were left alone.

Behind us sat two youths of African descent. A young man and woman, both in their late teens and early twentie. The woman appeared to be in the thrall of the young man, who slouched under his hoodie and wore a scowl.

When it came time to have their tickets scanned, neither had the appropriate tickets.

It was interesting to watch what went down with the two, both in action and deed from both sides.

The woman happily complied with the instructions from the inspectors. Yes, she had the wrong ticket. She provided the documents which were asked of her. She was pleasant, compliant - almost apologetic.

The inspectors treated her with courtesy and respect. They weren't overly officious or condescending. They were just doing their job.

The young man, however, was not compliant. He remained sullen, barely acknowledging the ticket inspectors, who despite repeated requests from both the inspectors and his girlfriend, refused all requests for identification and information.

By the time we reached Jolimont, the inspectors, who had now doubled in number, had called for police to intervene a few stops down the line.

I got the feeling that the young man was making his plans to run or pounce. Fight, flight or freeze. Could this be his reactions.

There were many things running through my head as I witnessed this scene.

Firstly, watching the inspectors, I was impressed by their professionalism. I've ridden the Melbourne  public transport system for years. I've seen the good , the bad and the downright scary. These guys were very fair. They remained even tempered. There were no threats, harassment or domineering behaviour. The rest of the team had  a similar approach. Textbook in approach, nothing to get in contact with the media about.

As for the young man, I had so many questions. Why wouldn't he comply? What would have happened if he had the same approach as his girlfriend? Did he feel picked on or isolated? Why did he feel he had to behave in such a manner? Was this an isolated occurrence or something that had happened before? (Saying that, if he had a valid ticket, they would have walked on).

I alighted at North Richmond station and didn't get to see how this situation played out.

What really stuck, however, was what would it be like to be this young man of African descent. With all the crap that is going on about African gangs, the pure bile thrown their way and the bad rap the African community is getting would there be any reason to act any other way.

After witnessing Fraser Anning's monstrous maiden speech in the senate yesterday and witnessing the thrashing the African community have been getting for the last few years, I wondered, if I was in his shoes, if I would be acting differently to him. I can't know how he felt. And okay, he was in the wrong, but if I was to be made to feel an outsider by much of the community, maybe I would be acting the same.

Today's song:

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

5 Days: Between a Wolf and a Dog

We read Georgia Blain's Between a Wolf and a Dog for book group. I've just finished it and I've been blown away by this penultimate novel of a recently deceased novelist.

The title has been haunting me since I saw the book in a bookshop for a start.

A bit of internet digging tells me that it comes from the French, “L’heure entre chien et loup”.

According to the blogger, At Twilight, "It’s a reference to those ambiguous hours we English call dawn, dusk or twilight."

He then goes onto explain, "The French linguist would explain that the term refers to a specific time of day, when the light is such that one can’t distinguish between a dog or wolf.  A Scot may refer to this as the “darking” hour or “the gloaming.”  It doesn’t surprise me at all that folks who tend to flocks in fog-shrouded valleys and moors would have a certain reverence for the ambiguous light that complicates the matter of distinguishing friend from foe - the dog from the wolf."

As I finished the book, I can see where the title comes into play. How do we see the truth from the mire. How do we know our enemies from our friends, and how strange is it that this can turn with an action, a word or a matter of timing.

That the book was written while Georgia Blain was being treated for brain cancer, a disease to which she succumbed at the end of 2016 makes it all the more poignant. The death of one of the major characters who is also dying of brain cancer who makes some very brave decisions must have been front of mind for her.

Interestingly enough, I was questioned as to how my novel was going. Out with a friend and her very well behaved son for lunch (you gotta love four-year-old boys - they almost makes up for the rest of the male race for when the hormones kick in). Katya is an editor - who has been at me to continue.

"Well, I have been busy."
"I know this," said Kayta - knowing she is just as busy as I am.
"And I committed to write every day for 100 days - I've nearly done this."
"I know."
"But do I keep blogging daily, or do I get to work on that novel?"
"Why not both..."

I was also thinking about all of this as I made my way to the tram this morning. Is now the time to get back into fiction? Is this the time to face the demons that have got me started on the themes of aging, death and society? Is this something I might be able to kick start while I'm in Bali?

I do no know as yet.

All I do know is that Georgia Blain's effortless prose as affected me. She was honest. She was brutal in places. She turned a forgiving eye on that which may not be forgiven easily.

She is a great loss to the world of Australian Literature.

Oh, to have her courage.

Today's Song:

Monday, August 13, 2018

6 Days: The Gentle Art of Over-Packing

One day I will learn to travel light.

I've started to pack for Bali.

What I tend to do is really overpack, then, the night before, I'll throw out a number of things and get the weight down a bit. What is good to know is that for the week I'm away I will not be taking the 20 kgs of luggage I am entitled to shove in the hold - it will be more like 12-13 kilos.

Also, the things that are taking up room in the bag include:

  • Some extra clothes for Trish (who is meeting us there - she's been on the road for six weeks already)
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • A couple of books 
  • Laptop charger
  • Spare mouse
  • Swimming goggles
  • Yoga gear.
  • Far too many charging cords
Yes, I'm taking my laptop - so I can write - and keep in touch with a few people while away. 

I do remember when you could go away and you didn't have to take all this crap with you - when being overpacked meant that you took a pack of cards with you. (Hmmmm... might have to dig those out).

The Trivial Pursuit is an 80s version of the game. The Cards Against Humanity is the basic run of the game.

To be honest, I can't wait to get there.

I just have to cull the contents of my bag first. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, August 12, 2018

7 Days: The Blazing Stars Meme

I think this is called happiness. I've just come back from a walk along the beach. Although it's the middle of winter, I'm wearing a light dress and a big cardigan. My feet got wet in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The sun is shining. Life does not get any better than this.

And thanks for the wonderful questions, Bev, who, as always, is keeping Sunday Stealing up and running.

1 - You’re in a tattoo parlor about to get inked. What are you getting done?

I have been thinking about this lately, and it may happen again. I have thought about getting the WWF panda emblazoned on my body somewhere - probably near my other small tattoo - the Chinese symbol for love, which is on my hip. The other thought is a small, white shooting start on my left wrist. I'm not one for big tattoos on myself.

Image result for wwf

2 - If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be?

Oh this is a hard one! There are a couple I can think of. Sugar from Michel Faber's "The Crimson Petal and the White." but without the skin condition.  I wouldn't mind being either Hermione Granger or Minerva McGonagall from the Harry Potter series.

I also have a soft soft spot for Roald Dahl's Matilda and Tilly Dunnage from The Dressmaker.

3 - You’re given $10,000…under one condition: you cannot keep the money for yourself. Who would you give it to?

One of the following charities: The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Hamlin Fistula Foundation or the Leukaemia Foundation. They all do fantastic work.

4 - If you had to go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

I used to say it was one moment in time 20 years ago, where I made one decision, which turned history on its head for me. Now I'm not so sure. I twould be wonderful if my niece had fully recovered from leukaemia, but that was not meant to be. It would be great if she never got the horrible disease in the first place.

5 - If you had to delete one year of your life completely, which would it be?

From what I remember 1997 was a defining, but bloody horrible year. 2016 had its moments too - but no matter how bad the events, I grew from them exponentially.

6 - You’re an Action Movie Hero. What’s your weapon of choice and the line you scream when defeating your arch enemy?

I think I would love to be Inigo Montoya with his sword. Because is there anything cooler than his catch cry? "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Part of me would like to be Deadpool too - just for the snappy comebacks.

7 - What is the first curse word that comes to mind?

I use the F word liberally and often. My favourite new swear word is 'twunt' - its a mix of a twat and a c*nt.

8 - Would you rather be stranded on a desert island with someone you love for ten years or someone you hate for a month? Explain why.

Probably somebody I love. It would give you the chance to deepen the relationship. Although being on an island with somebody you dislike for a month might give you some different perspectives - or you might kill them. That's a hard one.

9 - 5 things within touching distance:

Wallet, coat, coffee (well my form of coffee - an almond decaf latte), toothbrush, phone. The ocean is a minute's walk to my left.

10 - What are you supposed to be doing right now?

Showering and getting things ready to get on the ferry so I can get on a plane back to Melbourne.

Other things on the list - finish my book for book group on Tuesday night, get the mason's paperwork done and yeah, there is a heap of stuff I could be doing.

11 - Currently wanting to see anyone?

Yes, but we don't like to talk about that. It may happen, it may not. Depends on babysitter availability and a few other factors. Ah well.

I would like to go see Reindert in Colorado too.

12 - Would you go against your moral code for money?

No. I work in corporates - the edges of my moral code get skirted every now and then as it is.

13 - What’s more important to you: strength of the body or strength of the mind?

Strength of mind. You body is going to give out eventually - if you don't have your mind, you don't have anything. The health of both of these aspects of yourself is the most important thing of all.

14 - How important you think education is?

It is everything. The one thing you can be given and not have it taken away. There should be more of it. For everybody.

15 - If you were the president, what would you do?

Pretty much the opposite of everything the current Prime Minister is doing. Definitely less for big companies and more for people and the environment. That's a start.

Today's Song:

Saturday, August 11, 2018

8 Days: Sailing Away

I left Melbourne at eight'o'clock this morning. The ride to the airport at half six was painless. It was raining, but not heavily. The Tulla was running well - light traffic. It was cool, but not cold.

The woman at the desk of the car parking place greeted me with, "Hello, Pand, red CX3? Give me your keys. You know what to do."

I've reached regular status at the airport parking place.

She will see me again very early on Thursday morning.

The flight was non-descript, just the way I like them. I bought a nut bar on the way to the gate, knowing my chances of a gluten and dairy free breakfast were slim - I never think to order it beforehand, and for the hour's flight, there really is no point. The nut bar did the job.

The connections were seemless - just a minute or two before the airport train came, then only a five minute wait at Circular Quay for the ferry to leave. Connections rarely get as good at this.

I made my way outside onto the lower deck, up near the bow, to the side overlooking the bridge. The sun was shining. It was warm enough to sit there in my thin dress and cardigan. Going from the gloom of the Melbourne winter to what felt like a Spring day in Sydney was something my soul needed.

I love boats. I love being on boats - it has to be my favourite way to travel.

And the Manly Ferry has to be my favourite boat ride in Australia. To the untrained eye, it's a clunky old rust bucket, but this sea going ferry has a sense of security and reliability - even when it gets a bit  bumpy going through the heads. For the princely sum of seven dollars you are taken from the CBD, past the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and through to this beachside suburb which doesn't feel like Sydney at all.

For me, just sitting in the sunshine, unencumbered by a coat, leggings, boots and all the other accouterments of the Melbourne winter was pure joy. I sat, grinning like the idiot that I am.

A warm sunny day and a boat ride are as about as near to happiness as I can find.

Tomorrow morning I will walk along the beach, barefoot, toes dipping in the shallows, letting the sand and water smoothe my feet while I ponder the vastness of the Pacific. It always blows me away as I watch it from the plane window as the plane banks over Botany Bay.

And then I will be back in Melbourne.

But I will remember this little patch of pure happiness, for as they say, it is the little things.

Today's Song:

Friday, August 10, 2018

9 Days: Play Review: An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. At the Playhouse. Melbourne Theatre Company until 25 August

As a Melbourne Theatre Company Subscriber for many years, I have the knowledge of what  a normal season will hold. Of the eleven plays to which I subscribe there will be:

  • Two which are brilliant
  • A couple which are really enjoyable
  • One or two on which Jay (theatre buddy) and I will disagree on
  • A couple which you will wonder why they were chosen for the season but you'll find some redeeming features.
And one which you will walk out on at the interval.

Unfortunately, for this revival of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, we decided to walk out at interval.

We spent most of the first act poking each other awake, both of us missing major plot points because we slept through them.

I will admit, I woke at 4 am - no idea why and I was a bit on the tired side. Jay wasn't.

Walking into the Playhouse auditorium, it was stiflingly hot - I'm not sure this helped things either.

The sets are gorgeous. Fine. The cast who included William McInnes, Gina Riley and the phenomenal Christy Whelan Brown looked great on paper, but on the whole, it felt dated and a bit jaded. 

It would help if I wasn't asleep through the important bits.

At the end of the act Jay and I turned to each other.

"I really wanted to love this."
"Me too."
"The Chinese girl is annoying."
"She's supposed to be."
"They're being a bit PC."
"I'm okay with that. You get that. Her inclusion is fine."
"I have to be at the airport at 7 am tomorrow."
"I have a busy weekend."

It could be that it was too hot in the theatre. It could be that I'm overtired. This production - well what I saw of it, was a bit stilted and jaded - which is a pity, because there is a lot of relevant themes in this play - but they all fell flat.

On the good side of things, I'll be getting an extra hour of sleep.

Today's Song:

Thursday, August 9, 2018

10 Days: Bali Bound

This time, next week, I will be in Bali.

Here is what's front of mind for me at the moment:

  • I have too much to do before I go.
  • I'm off to Sydney on an early flight on Saturday for the night.
  • The Property Association meeting tonight should be a doozy.
  • I have put my details on Smart Traveller.
  • I have a digital copy of my passport on my phone.
  • And my itinerary.
  • And the AirBnB details. 
  • And the travel insurance details. 
  • I don't know how I will go travelling with people
  • I'm hoping my friends will get on okay.
  • I'm not sure what gin I will be taking into Bali duty free (Hendricks over Bombay Sapphire... hmmmm.
  • I'm not sure my friends will like me after living with me for five days.
  • Will the Yoga Barn still be my mothership?
  • Will there still be aftershocks happening from the earthquake while we are there? (Thankfully, we're not going to Lombok or the Gili Islands - far enough away hopefully)
  • Will I meet some nice new people while I'm away?
  • Will I be any good at Cards Against Humanity? 
  • When am I going to get the Mason's paperwork done?
  • How will I go on the food wanker plan while in Bali (thought I will be drinking - beer for breakfast, gin from 2 pm - keeps the mozzies away)
  • Which gin should I have waiting for me at the airport when I get back? Hendricks and something different? Jinzu? Four Pillars? Archie Rose? Dunno....
  • Will I get a walk along the beach this weekend?
  • Will I be warm enough in Bali at night?
  • Will my contract come through for work?
  • Should I listen to Prince more?
  • Am I really having a birthday next Sunday? (Denial is a bitch)
  • What am I going to have for dinner? Can I take it along to the Property Association meeting? 
  • What is going to happen to Liza and Charles on Younger?
  • Why isn't my right hand screen working at work?
  • Will the birthday party go off without a hitch?
  • When will my right knee feel better?
  • Is 42 still the meaning of life?
That will do.

As I said - too much to do.

Today's Song:

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

11 Days: Naked

No, no, it's nothing bad.

For the first time in many years I wore contact lenses to work for the day.

See I'm trying these out for a change. Just to see what it's like. To see if I might do this more often.

I've worn glasses for about 30 years. It's not that I'm that blind - I can function without them about the house, read without them, but for anything in the distance I need them. I wouldn't drive without them - especially at night. That would be dangerous. Going to the movies, I'd miss out on a heap of fine detail. So I've resigned myself to wearing glasses. I'm used to them.

Also, I used to wear contact lenses now and then, but that stopped a few years ago when age caught up with me and I found I couldn't read when they were in. As my life is all about the written word, this was not an option. With my current specs, if I need to read, I either look over the top of them or take them off. I have a blanket refusal to get multifocals. The first time the optometrist suggested these I nearly hit her. Besides, taking of my current specs gets the same result.

Contact lenses have come along way in the last few years. It's amazing. The three'o'clock dries didn't happen. I read everything in front of me (though I still have to use trombone arm on the phone at times), it was great.

The only strange thing about this all - I feel naked without my glasses. Really exposed. I'm so used to hiding behind them, it doesn't feel right when they aren't on my face. This is the opposite to what I feel when I wear makeup - which makes me feel like I'm wearing a mask.

A couple of people commented on my eyes too - more the colour. Though the lenses are clear, they give my eyes a blue/grey tinge - a bit different to their normal dark green.

Will I wear them again? Sure. But I'll have to get over the fact that wearing them makes me feel very exposed.

Today's Song:

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

12 Days: The Third and The Ting Tings

 I've just come back from a mason's meeting. It's just gone eleven p.m.

It's great when you come out of the meeting energised and full of hope - this was one of those nights. A special night where we somehow raided the energies of the Gods and pulled off a miracle.

What do they say about bad rehearsals make good performances.

This was a very special night. It's the first time we've performed this ceremony in five years, and it felt great to do it again. It felt special.

Now, the only problem, is how to come down from this energetic high.

It might take a bit.

But I can't write it out - that is all I know.

Have lots to say, but not tonight.

So I will leave you with The Ting Tings.

Maybe thinking and singing something banal will help with this energy glut.

Today's Song:

Monday, August 6, 2018

13 Days: 88 Kilos of Trainer

Too whacked to write tonight. I spent most of the morning doing the thing I dislike most about my current job - getting out the post-release comms.

Seriously, I'd rather have a pap smear than do comms. But I smiled nicely, didn't call anybody an idiot, only growled at my computer a couple of times and didn't moan too loudly when I had to translate some comments from which ever version of English to plain English  - and in my office this can be Indian English, Chinese English, Russian English or which ever flavour of English as a second language you might like to dictate.

(On the other side of the coin, my glorious Indian colleagues think it's hysterical that I can come back with the one phrase of Hindi that I have mastered - which is a Sergeant Schultz like ,"I don't know.")

So I'm mentally exhausted.

But I still went to the gym - where Jay and I met up with Peeeeeeeettttttteeeeeee for one last time. Cleo is back from South America and the normal schedule will be back soon.

Peeeeeeeeettttteeeeee had some fun with me tonight. After a chat about Bali and the fact that things might be a bit bumpy over there when we get there (Earthquakes will do that) we got on with the workout.

For the last round of exercises, he made me push the sled.

If you haven't encountered the sled in the gym, it's a rugby and athletics training tool. You get to shove a flat based sled contraption 20 metres along a rough carpet. Normally, the sled, unladen, weighs about 60 kgs. It's not the easiest thing to do.

When we do this exercise with Cleo, she will often shove another 20 kg on top of the sled. That's fine. We do this all the time.

Tonight, I rose to the challenge. Peeeeeeeeettttttteeeeeeeee in his infinite wisdom stood on the sled and made me push the sled, with him on top, three rounds up and back.

Peeeeeeettttteeeeeee is a strapping lad. 88 kilos of prime Tasmanian muscle. On top of a 60 kilogram sled.

He also recorded this and put it on Instagram.

Never thought I would say this, but who knew that my bum was a part of my best side.

I was told that he only had two male clients who could do this.

I didn't bother to tell him that the sled is one of my favourite exercises.

I came out of the gym physically exhausted - and happy that I rose to a rather large, 88 kilogram Tasmanian challenge.

Now, I wish I could chill, but I've got some Mason's stuff to get out of the way for tomorrow night.


Today's Song:

Sunday, August 5, 2018

14 Days: The Never Been Asked Before Meme

Back from the gym and a good cardio session. Now to get my ironing done before going for a float.

In two weeks time, I will be in Bali. Yay. In two weeks time, it will be my birthday. Not so big a yay.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

 1. First thing you wash in the shower?

Always, my face, with Clinique soap. I've been doing this for over 30 years - one of the best habits I ever took on.

2. What colour is your favourite hoodie?

I have a navy hoodie I wear to the gym over my gym gear. My Harry Potter dressing gown, in Gryffindor colours, has a hood too.

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

Yes. I fully intend to kiss him in the very near future. Maow Maow received a few kisses last night, but he's not a person, even if he likes to think he is.

4. Do you plan outfits?

The night before work I lay out my clothes for the next day. It saves a lot of angst in the morning.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

Pretty mellow. Sunday afternoon, that's a good feeling to have.

6. What’s the closest thing to you that's red?

I'm wearing a red top at the moment. Close enough?

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?

Oh dear. It was the middle of the night. I was receiving phone calls, but there was nobody on the other end of the phone.

That was about two weeks ago. I think Lachlan is dead because of this dream- I have been know to have the odd prophetic dream - this felt like one. We will see, but I have my suspicions.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?

Not yet. I've only been to the gym and had breakfast so far. There is the rest of the day for meeting people.

9. What are you craving right now?

A cuddle. And roasted cashews.

10. Do you floss?

Yes, a few times a week.

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

Old people. Russian food. Coleslaw.

12. Are you emotional?

Yes and no. I'm a huge sook and have been known to cry at the drop of the hat, but my emotions on the whole are pretty even. I'm very slow to anger and contain my emotions fairly well. But I'm human and I have my moments.

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?

When I was a kid. Working in banking, I've had to tick back a few things with this sort of number grouping.

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?

I lick ice cream in a cone. I'll suck it of the end of a spoon if it's in a bowl.

15. Do you like your hair?

Yes. It's long and wavy and holds colour really well. It could be a bit thicker even if there is already a lot of it - my actual hair is quite fine.

16. Do you like yourself?

Yep. It took forty years and a bit of therapy, but yes.

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?

Ummm... considering Trump is making Dubya look sane and rational and a nice person, I'd go, maybe. You never know, he might do a good Texan barbeque. We have VERY different political views. But still.... he'd have to pay.

18.What are you listening to right now?

The wind outside. The tapping of the keyboard.

Music wise - and eclectic mix of seventies, eighties, nineties, naughties, soul and jazz.

19. Were your parents strict?

Yes and no. My parents had a strange parenting style. It was the seventies and eighties. I was a kid. I don't remember having much of a say in the matter.

20. Would you go sky diving?

Yes - but tandem. Would love to give that a go.

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

Depends on what type - and this is a bit of a moot point as I'm off dairy at the moment. I hate the chunky stuff - but the smooth cottage cheese is okay in small doses.

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Does running into Geoffrey Rush at the opera count? Or standing behind Emma Thompson in a supermarket queue? Or Eddie izzard at a friend's hospital bed. That is about the extent of it.

23. Do you rent movies often?

No, that is why I have Netflix.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?

I have this awesome pen I bought at a funky stationery store which is very sparky - as is my glasses case.

25. How many countries have you visited? 

A few: New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany (on a technicality) - I make that 14. I  hope to add Japan and Cambodia to this list soon.

26. Have you made a prank phone call?

Not since I was a young teenager.

27. Ever been on a train?

Of course - I get to work that way quite often. I love travelling by train in England and Europe. It's awesome.

28. Brown or white eggs?

I don't care as long as the eggs come from happy chooks (chickens). I buy free range eggs - but the best ones come from Mum's chooks who are very happy and live on her front lawn and get fed table scraps.

29.Do you have a cell-phone? 

Of course. I've recently upgraded to an iPhone X. I have a land line account, but the phone doesn't work.

30. Do you use chap stick? 

Yes, but I use lipstick more.

Today's Song:

Saturday, August 4, 2018

15 Days: Breakfast in Little Saigon

I love living in Little Saigon (or Little Ho Chi Min City if you want to be up to date). Other than it is the cheaper side of a rather exclusive inner city suburb, the food is excellent.

Little Vietnam sports an incredible number of Vietnamese restaurants. Off the top of my head there is the:
  • Loi Loi (crawling distance from the front door)
  • Mihn Tan (where you go when you have big groups who aren'foodies)
  • Vihn Vihn (wrong side of the road)
  • Vung Tau
  • Tran Tran
  • Tho Tho
  • Thy Thy
  • Thy Thy 2
  • Vinh Ky (They have this incredible Dry Chilli Beef - a go-to dish I've introduced many to over the years)
  • Pacific BBQ House
  • I (heart) Pho
  • Bun Ho Hue (Another noodle soup place)
  • Pho Pho Pho
  • Lee Lee (Bakery)
  • Nhu Lan (Another bakery)
There is also a number of vegan restaurants to cater for the hipsters, quite a few Thai and Korean places, a superlative pizza joint that does excellent wood fired pizzas and a number of bakeries of various quality and a couple of hipster bars. Oh, and two hipster pubs - and one other one that you only go near if you want to risk getting stabbed down near where the junkies hang out.

Victoria Street is also well known for Bahn Mi - or what a friend of mine calls Salmonella Rolls. I tend to call then Vietnamese Rolls - and they are awesome.

If you haven't had Bahn Mi, try one - and disregard my comments about the salmonella thing - my friend just had an unfortunate experience.

Bahn Mi are awesome. Take a freshly baked white crusty roll, split it open, spread generously with butter and pate, then add some barbequed pork or chicken (for me, I really don't do pork - only having it if chicken is not available). Then add some lightly pickled carrots, onions and cucumber, a few sprigs of coriander and Vietnamese basil, some crispy fried shallots, a bit of fresh chili to taste, and top it off with a bit of hoisin sauce. All for around $5.

Not any more for me. Gluten. Bah. But I miss them.

Down my end of Victoria Street there is a cafe which I've passed every day since it opened about two years ago. It used to be the Brotherhood of St Lawrence's op shop - and it was a great op shop. Now, it's a hipster cafe. From the outside, it looks like a bit of a barn. It always has. After it was an op shop, it became a furniture shop for a while.

This morning, after a sleep in, I made a trip to the post office to collect a parcel. Rather than go home and cook my own breakfast, I made my way down to this, the Holla Cafe. I mentioned to Em last weekend that I've always wanted to try the place.

I'm glad I went in.

Okay, it is VERY hipster, but you don't live in Richmond without growing a tolerance for this bearded, tattooed, man-bunned,  dread-locked brigade of Millennials.

This place is also on the wrong side of Church Street. Tt's away from the junkies that hang out near Lennox Street, but since the bank closed on the corner, few people stray past the Church Street crossing, unless they want to go to the guitar shop, the drum shop, the post office, the halal butcher, the tyre shop, the Indian grocer or the brothel. East of Church Street, Victoria Street is a hotchpotch of strange, eclectic and often empty stores that change ownership regularly (except the post office and the chippy).

My server was lovely - pleasant and nicely chatty. She found me a seat up the back for me and my parcel. It is a bit noisy, but not unpleasantly so. I remember when the oversized barn like building was filled with people's unwanted clothes and shoes. This is better.

I was overjoyed and dismayed to find they stock my favourite cranberry and pistachio gluten free bar which I have as a monthly treat from my work cafe. I really didn't need to know they are only a five minute walk away.

I still feel a bit strange ordering a decaf almond latte, but my server didn't bat an eyelid. I was told, with some earnestness that they make their own almond milk on the premises. For me, this could go two ways - it will either be awesome, or the mylk will split and taste like something out of a toilet bowl. My regular Sunday breakfast joint makes a wonderful decaf almond latte - this one wasn't quite up to Adrian at Krifi's efforts, but it wasn't bad either.

Then, for breakfast. There was a reasonable selection which could be adapted to the food wanker plan.

I chose the Saigon Scrambled Eggs - substituting sourdough for gluten free toast. Basically Bahn Mi with eggs. It had to be done.

I was happy. Scrambled eggs, on buttered toast with pate, a bit of chilli, some spiced pork, fried shallots, spring onions and fresh herbs. It was pretty bloody good. The gluten free bread was lovely - and thankfully not the cardboard substitute it can be.
Will I go back there? Yes - but I would love to take some friends for breakfast. It's menu is interesting - the guy sitting next to me had to smash his own avocado in a makeshift mortar and pestle. Waffle made of croissants, lots of ingredients like edamame, kasundi, beetroot walnut creme (vegan), quinoa and candied bacon.

Some would call this playing with your food. Some would say this is what happens when you give Millennials some of grandma's money to go be pretentious. I just think it's showing the best of what it is to be a hipster and what it is to live in a vibrant, interesting and somewhat colourful part of Melbourne.

Today's Song:

Friday, August 3, 2018

16 Days: Chosing the Viewpoint

I walked out of the office at 6.20 this evening.

That I was the last one there and that I could still be there now is by the by. That tonight is Friday and leaving after 5 pm is as close to sacrilege as it gets is neither here nor there.  I am now home with a large gin and tonic in my hand. I'm trying to work out what gin I'm drinking as I somehow found my old traveler bottle in a cupboard and I can't remember what I decanted into it around a year ago. Possibly Tanqueray, possibly on of the smaller distilleries.

The tonic is flat.

I don't care.

Maybe, I should have gone for the Glenmorangie which is what I was eyeing off before I found my traveler bottle. Maybe I'll sit and sip a single malt after the G&T has been drained.

It's not that it was a bad day. More that the effect of the Mercury Retrograde hit like a bastard this afternoon, scattering every modicum of order in its wake. Adding to all of this, two of the team are away on holiday, the two other members of the team are new and there is slack that needs to be picked up. Oh what fun.

But I am going to change the viewpoint and look at the good of the day.

I had lunch with my old work husband, Glen Waverley. I love my old work husbands - of which I have a small collection, but Glen Waverley is my longest serving. It was just lovely to catch up.

Then on the way home, as I walked to the tram stop in the rain, somehow, I ended up having a lovely chat with a random. Being a girl from Adelaide, it is in me to talk to people on trams - well, I will talk to people on trams if spoken to. This fellow, late twenties, personable, sober (always a good thing on the 109) commented that he didn't know people still played Pokemon Go. Okay, so I've been outed as a Pokemon player. So shoot me. We ended up having a lovely chat about all sorts of things, horticulture, moving to Melbourne, living in Sydney, the food wanker plan, giving up smoking... He got off a few stops before me. He was a nice random. It's good when you meet nice randoms. They do exist.

Arriving home, I jumped in the car and drove to the local shopping complex to find some dinner, being far too tired to cook. Just sitting down with a meal somebody else has cooked is a reason to be happy.

And now I'm home thinking about what needs to be done:

  • Setting the agenda for Thursday night's property association
  • An ironing pile the size of Mount Everest
  • A contact lens fitting
  • The gym
  • Learning my part for Tuesday night
  • The flat needs to be cleaned
  • Go pay for the food for the birthday party
  • Go see Blarney and Maow Maow.
What I'm not going to think about is what might happen at work on Monday morning, when we're two team members down and Mercury is in retrograde.

The G&T has been drained. I think I need that single malt now.

Yes, it was a hard day. I just prefer to concentrate on the good. 

Today's Song:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

17 Days: Rodriguez

Today's ear worm can be found below.

As ear worms go I'm quite happy with this as I think Rodriguez is phenomenal.

Never heard of him? Neither had I until I discovered a the documentary"Searching for Sugarman".
Highly recommended viewing if you like a doco about the little guy coming good. It won an Academy Award - the documentary is that good. (It's available on Stan)

Some things about Rodriguez:
  1. He's coming to Melbourne in February.
  2. He has been huge in South Africa for over forty years.
  3. Outside of South Africa, nobody has heard of him.
  4. I have been very hard on my South African friends - of which there are plenty - for not introducing me to him sooner.
So, I had one of his songs going around and around in my head for most of the day. Finally, an ear worm I can cope with.

I passed a colleague in the office - a former South African.

"Hey Michael, I have Rodriguez playing in my head."
"Who?" he asked.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

"Rodriguez - you know - Sixto Rodriguez."
"Nup, never heard of him."
"Seriously?! You're from bloody Durban - how can this be?"
"Nup. Never."

My eyes started to roll. Michael is about my age. Not knowing Rodriguez when you are South African and in your mid-forties is like being an Australian of a similar age who has no idea what Cold Chisel is about. If South Africa had a citizenship test, there would be a question about Rodriguez. (I'm sure there is a question on our citizenship test about the words to Khe Sahn.)

I walked off disgusted. How could this be?

Michael fessed up later that he was pulling my leg. He was surprised that there was an Australian who knew who he was. He admitted that not knowing a few songs from the Rodriguez back catalogue will get your South African passport revoked.

We're both considering tickets to his concert in February.

I'm still amazed it too so long to find this gem.

Today's Song:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

18 Days: Another Early Start

Peeeeetttteeeeeee, Peeeeeeettttteeeeeee, Peeeeettttteeeeeee.

Today was my last session with Peeeeeeettttteeeeeee. Cleo will be back next week and we might get a bit of order back into life. And hopefully fewer early mornings.

Due to Peeeeeeetttttteeeeeee taking on most of Cleo's clients, getting a spot with him has proved hard. I've had the Wednesday 6.15 am slot for the last five weeks.

Call me a masochist, call me just too accommodating. This morning training session is not as bad as it sounds. I'm normally awake at 6 am - it also means I get my exercise out of the way for the day and gives me my nights free.

Something else about today - I've felt a bit under the weather for the last few days. I've been fighting off something resembling a cold, like the rest of the office. I'm thankful for a couple of early nights, oregano oil and the horse pills supplied by the naturopath, which have kept the cold at bay.  From feeling quite crappy on Monday night, I'm pretty much back to normal.

So I woke at 5.45 am, dressed, tied my hair up, shoved on my gym glasses and made my way to the gym.

Ten hours on, I'm trying to work out what he did to me to make me feel like I've run a marathon.

For one, my bum hurts. I can't remember doing anything too bad. 40 kgs dead lifts shouldn't do that. High/Low wood chops don't hurt. 10 kg chest presses. Tricep dips - I forgot I could do those. Ball slams - with the bouncy 7 kg ball - not the normal 4 kg ball. TRX rows. Shoulder presses.

There is no reason why my bum should be hurting. Or the rest of me. It's nothing too bad. But it all hurts. Maybe it's the last of the cold type thing. I don't know.

Another thing about Peeeeeeettttteeeeeee's sessions  - especially when Jay isn't there - we talk. We talk a lot. And we talk about stuff that I normally talk about with my friend Mack - who's just as strange as I am. Oh, and sometimes Barney and I go on a rant - which is quite fun.

Topics covered this morning:
  • The Illuminati and the Reptilian Agenda
  • How Stanley Kubrick was a satanist
  • How to wield energy like a boss
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the joys of planking into your eighties
  • What happens in an energy clearing session
  • How he's killed most of his goldfish except the one he's called Barry. 
Seriously, who calls a goldfish Barry? Of all the topics of conversation.

"Pete, do you talk to all of your clients about stuff like this?"
"No, just you."
"Why me?"
"You don't think I'm nuts - and you get it."

All of this occurred before 7 am.

I think Peeeeeeeetttttteeeeeeee needs to find his tribe. He's young. He will find his tribe eventually. 

And I wonder why I'm sore and tired. Working out with Peeeeeeeettttteeeeeeeee when Jay isn't around takes more mental agility than physical strength.

When Jay is around, we talk about football.

As I said, we'll be back to normal on Monday. We will go back to waving at Peeeeeeeettttteeeeeee in the distance.

I have a feeling Cleo will be upping the weights when she gets back next week.

And part of me will miss these very strange chats I have with this rather darling bloke at 6.15 in the morning. It's been some of the best entertainment you can have on a cold August morning

Today's Song: