Thursday, April 30, 2020

April Catchup / May Goals

It's been a month since I've looked at my goals. It's been a strange time. But we're doing some stuff in this lockdown state.

As I have done every month this year so far, it's time to look at my goals from last month and set up some new ones.

So April, how did we do?

1) Get 10000 words of the new novel done.

Not quite. I've written about 5000 words - but I've got some tactics to get writing properly again. Then again, what I'm writing is winning fans in my class. Just keep swimming, I say.

2) Participate in Writers Victoria Flash Fiction every day.

Done. I put my last flash fiction in about half an hour ago. I love creating these 30 word stories.

3) Get in a 30 minute walk in every day.

Not quite, but I am active. I've worked out I'm exercising six days out of seven. My gym has hired out pump equipment, so I'm doing two pump classes with Jay a week over zoom. I'm walking with Kaz and still seeing Cleo twice a week. I'm being active. It's good. It's keeping me sane.

4) Read four books this month.

I managed to read three. They were:

  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings
  • Bruny by Heather Rose
  • Animal People by Charlotte Wood. 

5) Work on my flexibility. 

I haven't done enough of this - so this one is rolling over into May. I need to do it.

6) Write down everything I spend

Done. I'll roll this one over too - it's good for accountability.

And May's Goals: 

1) Walk 80 kilometres over the month. 

In any given month out of quarantine this would be a no brainer, but this will take some coordination. Jonella is doing a walkathon, so I'm joining her in spirit. The way I look at it, 25 days of the month, walk four kilometres. That's a lap of the Botanical Gardens. I can do this one. I'll start a spreadsheet.

2) Read four books. 

It's winter. I have a cat that likes reading. Time to get off my bum and do this.

3) Get 15000 words of the novel written

I have to use this isolation better. again - it's 500 words a day. Time to stop lollygagging - and I'm writing well.

4) Work on my flexibility

Try to get this one again. Time to hunt out some Yin Yoga sessions on YouTube.

5) Biting the bullet and working on the diet. 

On the good side of things, the only sweet stuff in my flat is the stuff which I make for Blarney and Barney. I'm buying healthy food. Now to work on portion control.

6) Get that 'new' computer running and transition off this laptop.

I bought a new computer last year in June. I'm still using my old computer, mostly because I just hate the thought of spending 2 hours on the phone to Telstra to get my home mail set up. It's a bloody pain. Joys of a legacy account. But this is a big goal.

Wish me luck - it's all acheivable.

Today's Song: Brought to you by the 30 Day Song Challenge

Day 7: A song to drive to.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Worst Earworm

This song needs to leave my head. It just does. I'm over it. It's been in there for over two days and it's driving the cat mad.

Thing is, it's also making me smile.

Like most things that hail from New Zealand, there is something charming and great about it all.

Think of the great things New Zealand has brought us lately over the last few years:
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Taika Waititi
  • Whittaker's Chocolate
  • Pavlova (still a moot point on that one) 
  • The Flight of the Conchords
  • Outrageous Fortune 
  • The Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • The Piano
  • Inclusive, empathetic politics
  • The All Blacks
I know I resonate with the Kiwi sense of humour. It's bone dry and self-deprecating. It's just there and I love it - which I why I love Kiwi comedies so much. A lot of it isn't very PC either and I like this a lot too.

Most Kiwis have this just get on with it mentality too - possibly why they've managed this pandemic better than almost every other country in the world.

And of course, I have many wonderful Kiwi mates who I adore. 

So this little song comes from a Kiwi comedian. It's so wrong, it's right. And this woman is a complete crack up. 

It also introduced me to a new word, which I want to integrate into my daily life. 

Wharepaku - pronouncd fareh-pa-ku. It's Maori for toilet.

Calling the cat's scratching box the pussy wharepaku sounds so much better that the cat shitter, the poo-box or the turd collector.

Regardless, this song is stuck in my head. It makes me smile.

But I need it gone.

Today's Song:

Brought to you by the 30 Day Song Challenge:

Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Best Part of the Day

Twice a week, I find myself in the early morning, walking around the Botanical Gardens with my friend Kaz.

We've got this down to a fine at. The text messages go out the night before to check on the meeting time. The place is well defined. Near Anderson Street. That's easy. In these times, finding a park is never a problem.

It's good to chat to somebody in the flesh, just to have a conversation with somebody who isn't my cat - though the cat has his uses. I'm sure Kaz has the same feeling - she's locked down at home with her husband and two primary school aged boys. It's good to talk to an adult.

For me, this being out as the sun is coming up is the best part of the day. The early morning light is so beautiful.

Just watching the world wake up is enough and to see Melbourne in this glorious autumn light is enough to keep me doing this a couple of times a week.

What is it they say about the little things?

Today's Song:

Brought to you by the 30 Day Song Challenge.

Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Writing with Dev: Part 8

This should be interesting. Writing with a hungry pussycat in the room and I'm due at the park to meet my trainer in 45 minutes.

The Emotional Barometer Cards: 

Write for five minutes on a topic: Sensual

I love that in the morning, I am woken with a cuddle. I love being woken with a cuddle. It normally starts with a gentle prodding around my shoulder, followed by a gentle stroke. The pads are warm, yet cool as they find their mark, giving a gentle, 'wake up, come on, you know you want to,' type feeling as it continues. Then the cuddle comes. It's not a soft cuddle, more a cuddle with a lot of intent. It says, 'I want something more.' It's insistent as it is demanding. The nudging gets more defined as time goes on, though really, in the scheme of things, it's not long. It would get more demanding if I didn't reciprocate in some way.

Then again, this is what happens when you wake to a hungry pussycat demanding his breakfast at 6.30 in the morning. He's a gentle beast for the most part. Just don't get in between him and his breakfast.

On the Front Page of the Guardian Tomorrow

Approaching the Opening of Borders

The COVID-19 Pandemic has placed our borders in a very interesting place. Other than Peter Dutton now has to find something to do with his Border Farce Force, we currently have next to no people exiting or entering the county. We have become a true island nation. Those entering the country, indeed, those moving interstate, are subjected to strict quarantine laws and conditions.

Now that the pandemic's reach appears to be abating, decisions need to be made as to how we start to open the borders. Other than Peter Dutton will have something to do other than to criticise the WHO, we will have to ascertain how we will ensure the bio-security of the nation while allowing some freedom of movement.

As a first step, opening the borders between states will need to happen. This will most likely be done in stages as the virus' threat, along with better tracing and detecting methods come into place. Travelling between states will start to occur - but will there be health requirements for travelers before embarking on any journey.

The insidious nature of the virus means that where you may be clear one day, you may not be the next. Will mandatory testing be required on the day, or a period of self-quarantine in the days leading up to travel.

Opening the border between Australia and New Zealand could be an option if this was to be contained to the two countries (and the Pacific Islands) Both countries have put in place a rigorous testing regime and have open information swapping policies.

What will be interesting is when we open the borders to countries how have not had similar strategies, in particular America, who's strategies to contain the virus have been very different to our own.

There are many questions which will need to be answered in the coming months, possibly years, to come.

One Minute on Desire

Oh don't ask me to write about that, Dev. Nobody needs to know about those groin throbbing feelings which overcome the whole body at semi-regular intervals. Not from me anyway. I just know they are there and occasionally I listen to them, and though I never say this, it's good to act on these feelings every now and then.

Today's Song: (Brought to you by the 30 Day Song Challenge.)

Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Fill-In Meme

I had my hair cut! I had my hair cut! I'm still gloating about this. Having one's hair cut in a pandemic is an interesting affair. There are many rules and regulations that need to be observed. Sanitising, hand washing, limited numbers in the salon. It was just Elle, my trusty hairdresser of nearly 20 years and me in a small salon in Glen Iris. What was best of all, other than I'm not sporting a Stevie Nicks hairdo now, I got a bit of human contract. After a good month, somebody else touched me (well she washed my hair - which is the best bit of going to the hairdresser any time) and life feels a lot better now.

Today's quick questions were sourced, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing. Fill in the blanks she says.

1. Right now I'm sitting in my exercise clothes, about to set up for a session of Body Pump with Jay, being held over zoom. I've hired a set of pump equipment from the gym, so now it's two sessions of Pump in the lounge a week. It's a bit different, but okay.

2. Thumbsucking is my well known quirk. It just is. I only do it at home. It's cheaper than prozac.

3. Are you locked inside your house too? I'm just glad for the little trips out which I'm making daily - normally that's just for exercise, but being out of the house is most wonderful.

4. Speak first, then blame everybody!  Well that appears to be Donald Trump's rule. I mean for pity's sake - mainlining disinfectant. Sheesh...

5. That's why I only read the newspapers for a few minutes a day. I can't endure Trump's stupidity - and seriously, too much news is bad for your mental health. Half an hour of The Age, The New York Times and The Guardian will do me just fine.

6. Six Feet Under is one of my favorite tv shows ever! Too many to choose from, but Six Feet Under is incredible.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe doing some real writing, tomorrow my plans include working from home and seeing my trainer and Sunday, I want to do a pump class and ice the cake in the kitchen! Pandemics make for very dull weekends.

8. If I could go anywhere on a road trip, I'd go to Tasmania - I want to go back to MONA (One of the best art museums in the world), see my cousins and maybe visit Bruny Island.

9. America's take on socialised medicine is something I don't understand. I'm very thankful for the free, universal healthcare we have here. Long may it remain.

10. Thanksgiving makes me think of all the things Americans do which we don't. Australia doesn't have Thanksgiving - as it is purely an American thing that stems back to the Mayflower. Unless you have American friends who have you along for a big lunch at the back end of November it's not something you think about outside of America.

11. Reading is the best way to relax!

12. It looks like Autumn outside my window. The leaves are finally changing, it's damp and overcast and I love it. Autumn is my favourite season.

13.Roasted chickpeas are one of my favorite healthy snacks.

14. The smell of juicy fruit chewing gum and Old Spice cologne makes me think of my father.

15. When I am feeling lazy I lie on the couch and watch television.

16. When I look to the left, I see the flats next door, the curtain, the windowsill, and at the moment, the cat, who is helping me write this.

17. The kitchen is the room that has the best view in my home. I live in a rather nondescript seventies block of flats. My kitchen window sees into the city. It's not that inspiring, but it has a clear run into town.

18. Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap!

19.Looking after one another is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

20. If you have any decent, interesting gin, feel free to share it with me.

Today's Song : (Brought to you from the 30 Day Song Challenge.

Day 3: A song that reminds you of Summertime

Saturday, April 25, 2020

It's Just A Matter of Touch

I've had two trips outside today. First up, a walk around the Yarra with Jay. Always good going for a walk in the sunshine and having somebody to talk to.

The second was a far more special trip outside. I think it's been the best day of the month so far.

See, I had my hair cut and coloured today.

It was just me and my wonderful hairdresser, Elle in the salon. Seeing the hairdresser is allowed according to the government. It was in a different place to where I normally see her - out Malvern way.

Elle has been cutting and colouring my hair for nearly fifteen years.

I'm not feeling bad about having this done. It's not illegal. We're both well. The place has been sanitised within an inch of its life. There was no through traffic. Hands were washed and sanitised regularly.

And not only do I no longer look like Stevie Nicks with grey temples - I had something which money can't buy. I had somebody other than my cat touch me.

Having the hairdresser wash your hair (okay, having anybody wash your hair) is one of those little things that make life worth living.

Today's cut and colour was even more special - as it's the first time in over a month that somebody else has touched me.

It means a lot.

Normally I'd give Elle a hug on entry and a on leaving.  That didn't happen today. But she painted the dye on, washed it off and cut my hair - and it was just bliss.

But for an hour and a half there, the world was nearly normal once again.

It will come back. But I'm treasuring moments like these.

Today's Song: (Brought to you by the 30 Day Song challenge)

Day 2: A Song with a number in the title.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Oh Goody, It's the Weekend...

Whch means it's like every other day but I don't have to get out my work computer and do work.

So, what are my big plans, seeing I can't go away, go out, see a movie, go to the theatre or meet up with friends.

Here is my iso-list of things to do this weekend:

  1. Write, write, write. Time to really get onto this novel.
  2. The floors need doing again. I'm trying to stay on top of these. 
  3. Make a cake for Blarney and take it over. Essential care giving duty (Her boys really like my chocolate cake)
  4. Pump in the living room on Sunday.
  5. Go for a walk with Jay on Sunday. 
  6. Haircut and colour on Saturday (this is not illegal - hairdressers are able to work under strict guidelines)
  7. Maybe start watching Unorthodox - or The Godfather. I haven't seen either. Did five minutes of Tiger King the other day - unsure what the fuss is about. 
  8. Maybe start plotting out the novel rather than being the pantser I'm known to be. 
  9. Find the rest of the lounge that us under crap (I'm maiking inroads) 
  10. Call my 92-year-old aunt in Canberra. 

Okay, that's more of a plan than sleeping in and talking to the cat.

Today's Song, brought to you by the 30 Day Music Challenge.

Day One: A song with a colour in the title:

Thursday, April 23, 2020

I don't like Thursdays

Thursday appears to be my down day. And this is okay, but I'm going to have to learn to weather them. I'm not sure why Thursdays are so bad, maybe because it's near the weekend, maybe it's becuase you've done three hard days, maybe it's because my hair really needs a wash and it's driving me up the wall. Maybe it's because it's Thursday.

This is the second Thursday on a row where I've had a bit of a cactus day. Then again, today wasn't as bad as last week, when I was in a full blown funk. Today's just been scatty. I haven't been able to settle. It happens. It's okay.

Today has been bitty. Let's break it down:

  • Woken by the cat at 6.30. Not overly early
  • Finished off a few things which needed to be done - but they were small things. 
  • Had lunch over zoom with my engineer friend. We've been meeting for lunch once a month for nearly ten years - some little pandemic isn't going to stop us. That was good.
  • At 6.30, Jay and I did a pump class in our lounge rooms. It was great to be working with weights again.
  • Pump class got stopped in the shoulder track when calls starting coming in from book group about the zoom link I'd sent out.
  • Sorted zoom link for book group.
  • Ordered Uber Eats in as hadn't had time to have dinner.
  • Book group finally got sorted and it was really good. Lovely seeing everybody again. 
  • Had to collect Uber Eats from the front gate - as he couldn't drop it at the door. 
  • Had a good book group. 
  • Turned off the camera to eat dinner (Burrito from Fonda - very happy about this)
  • Finished book group just after ten. 
  • Talked to the cat for a bit
  • And now I'm writing this blog.
Looking at the list, no wonder I'm tired. 

And I need to be up early as I'm of with a fried for a lap round the Tan at 6.10. 

And so it goes...

Today's Song:

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

This week's 30 word stories

I think, at times, I'm busier now that we're in lockdown. Today has been hugely busy. Work was busy.

On top of this:

  • I did a lap of the Botanic Gardens with a friend at 7 am.
  • Went and collected some gym equipment in St Kilda - this means I can do Pump classes from tomorrow. 
  • Saw Cleo, my trainer at 5 pm
  • Had a masons meeting via Zoom. 
With everything else in the day, I'm knackered.

So today, I'm sharing my 30 word story tweets.

And now, I'm off to bed. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Writing with Dev Part VII

I've just come out of class and my head is full and I have to be up at the crack of dawn to meet a friend at the Botanical Gardens for our twice weekly walks.

So here are some notes from the Dev class.

And ideas use a notebook - this blog is my notebook.Writing every day is good practice.

Topic one - for one minute: Love (What does my character love)

Faith loves life. Just life, warts and all, without any pretention that she is doing it well and how badly she fucks up at it. She loves dogs and cats. More than anything else in the world.

Topic Two - two minutes: What does my character hate:

Faith hates that she has to take responsibility for ending her life, from everything from arranging the funeral, to the way she goes, to her goodbye party, to sorting out her life. Isn't all that shite over when you die. She utterly resents that she has to do all of this planning. If she had more guts, she's let the establishment take her and do what they will, but she doesn't like not having control. Oh, Faith doesn't like not having control.

Topic Three - What has my character never understood:

Faith has never really understood what a loving relationship feels like - if she is brutally honest with herself. From growing up in a dysfuctional family, to her marriage, to her current situation, she cannot firstly understand why these people stand by her, but also what draws these people to her. She seems quite fluid about a lot of things, but love completely perplexes her. How it strikes immediately in some cases, but grows slowly in others. Maybe Faith is a little on the spectrum (aren't we all)  or maybe she just doesn't trust herself enough to love fully. This is the rub. She cannot differentiate between great love and friend love. In her younger days she couldn't see the difference between sex and love.

Topic Four - What does Faith wish she knew this time last year:

Faith wishes she had more of a handle on her current situation. Under the new regime, you are responsible for everything in your life, and everything comes at a price. An accident saw her life change in a completely different direction a year ago which is how she's ended up in the position she finds herself in now. If she could see the accident and the strain it would put on her life, she would have maybe done a lot of things a lot differently. Maybe she would have tried to keep her marriage going - not travelled, not spent money on extraneous things - generally set her life up better. She may have also got some counselling over her pending situation, getting in the right head space to deal with having to shut down her life, as she is not coping that well. It's making her decisions at this point in time very erratic.

Topic Five: What does my character have?

Firstly, she has a sense of humour and a sense of the crazy - which is sort of helping her to laugh her way through the situation she's in. She has a couple of friend - Rachel, her old school friend being one. There is also Bede and Paraskevi. Bede is her mentor in this process, helping her through what she needs to do. Paraskevi is a man she meets soon after she starts the process of shutting down her life. He fascinates her and charms her in turn, giving her a glimpse of somethign she knows she can't have. These people help her navigate the complex emotions she's feeling about what she's about to do.

Faith also has a wit and intellect, a great cupboard full of Doc Marten boots, a cat called Edgar, a flat on the eighth floor overlooking a railway line, a job as a teacher. She has a sense of adventure and danger which she likes to exercise every so often.

Faith does not have faith - she's agnostic, not religious, seeing religion has been pretty much banned in this society.

Topic Six: What does my character want or need.

Faith wants to keep her life - but she's not sure how to to this.
She wants to feel attractive, not that she has ever really felt this.
She wants to stop the whole process of stopping her life.
She needs to find some equilibrium in her life
She wants to smoke marijuana and drink a hell of a lot, but she stops herself from doing this most of the time - she's had addiction problems in the past.
Faith wants her cat to go to a good home if something bad happens to her.
She needs to find a bit of control once she starts the process in motion.
She wants to get to know Paraskevi more, but he is being ellusive.
She wants to find out what her best friend's husband is up to - and she knows he's up to something.
She want's a flatter stomach and perkier boobs.
She wants the energy she had when she was in her twenties
She needs to reconcile herself with her current situation and how it is affecting her mental health.
She needs a hug.
She needs to talk to other people going through the same thing (Support group - hey yeah)

Topic Seven: What do I need.

I'm going to write this about me and writing - not my character.

I need bum glue - basically I need to discipline myself to sit down and write this bloody novel - and this is the crux of the matter. I have written a blog post every day this year, I can pomodoro myself 25 minutes a day to write some of this novel daily.

I need to have more confidence in myself - as I am great at talking myself out of things. I have to stop this.

I need faith that this whole coronavirus thing will come out and the world will be a better place.

I also need faith that somebody is going to like my writing enough to want to give me a contract at the end of it and I publish a successful book.

I need a cuddle from something more than a pussycat, even though the pussycat does give great cuddles on his own terms.

I need a trip away - again, will have to wait until this Coronavirus debarcle is over,

I need to continue to exercise daily - it does my head the world of good.

I currently needs some cheese on toast - I've been on a computer for most of the day.

I need to meditate more - even if it is meditation while I'm walking - I need to shut my brain down more.

I need to hoover more - I might sneeze less.

I need to go to bed soon.

Today's song:

Monday, April 20, 2020

Best Self Card: Make the year meaningful

Best Self Card: What do you need to do by the end of the year to make this year meaningful?

A quick best self card blog tonight.

What do I need to do to make this year meaningful?

I reckon this might be the year that we all have meaningful years. Seeing most people are either working from home or unemployed at this time. I know I'm appreciating life as I normally know it a lot more now I'm in lock down. I'm loving the time I get out of the flat, the time I get to spend with other people. Hell, I'm having my haircut on the weekend - I'm just looking forward to another person touching me - even if it is just to wash out my hair. (This is being while taking precautions - and I need this for my sanity. My hair is driving me nuts at the moment.)

But what will make this year meaningful?

Here we go, by the end of December I would like the following things to have happened, all of which will hold great meaning to me if they happen.

  • I'd like to attend my mother's 80th birthday party. Some things are meant to be celebrated. 
  • I'd like to be travelling again, as travelling feeds my soul - I miss travelling. 
  • Maybe this is the year I find that elusive relationship. That would be nice - but I'm not banking on it. 
  • I'd also like to have the first draft of my first novel finished. Even better if there is some interest from a publisher. 

For the moment, I reckon this year is already meaningful. We've all learned to adapt, live with less, live with contraints, and appreciate all the little things and watch as the world appears to be going barking mad. It's not what we do, but how we moderate our actions in times like these.

Surely there are lessons enough in this to make 2020 meaningful.

Today's song:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Quirky Questions

Another day in Stage Three Lockdown. Thankfully today has the big trip over the Westgate to see Blarney and deliver baked goods as she is recently out of hospital and needs a hand. I hope to sit on her verandah and have a glass of wine with Barney and Blarney and have a cuddle of the Maow Maow before I go home. This constitutes a big day out.

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

 1.   Did you become what you wanted to be when you grew up? Are you happy with your choice?

Part of me wanted to be a doctor when I was a kid. At this present time I'm really glad I didn't become a doctor. Writer was on the list too  - I never saw life ending up like this, but its not too bad. I like being a writer.

2.    Did man really go to the moon or was it a publicity stunt?

I like to believe man has been on the moon. I'm sure there are telescopes which can see the flags and debris that were left there.

3.    Given the opportunity to change one major aspect of your life (i.e. career, relationship, family) with no guarantee of the outcome, would you take the chance? Why?

Love life. I'd like one - or one that doesn't involive interstate travel for it to occur. Then again, I like my Sydney visits. It's a bit of a catch-22.

4.    Does money buy happiness?

No, but it certainly makes life easier.

5.    What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Normally three things. Go to the loo. Feed the cat. Deal with the cat turds. Normally in that order. Feeding the cat is a big thing that needs to be done or all hell breaks loose.

6.    What are we going to do when we run out of room to bury the dead?

Well, I don't know about you, but cremation has been an option for years. What's wrong with that. I know I want to be cremated when I go. Who has a tombstone now anyway? A plaque in the columbarium is a bit morose. Spread my ashes on Silver Sands Beach I say.

7.    What is your greatest fear? Why? Is it rational or unreasonable?

Huntsman spiders. They are ugly fuckers and I hate them. They can't hurt you. I don't care. Horrid creatures. I'm also afraid of commitment. Adopting a cat has been a big thing for me.

8.    How do you feel about the exploitation of your private data in the digital age? Does it ever cross your mind or are you hyper-aware of the risks?

I'm somewhere in the middle. I try to be aware of what information I'm putting on the interwebs and I always use masking sites such as PayPal for paying things online. I also write under another name and I'm careful about identity things. I could be more vigilant - but hey, they know what they know.

9.    You can be forgiven one debt. What is it? If you don’t have debt, then how did you do it?

I'm really lucky - I have next to no debt - there's around one thousand dollars left to pay on some hire purchases made late last year (and to replace the phone which was stolen in February) - That will be paid off in a month or so. I'd love it if somebody paid off my school fees....

10.    Hot or cold?

Cole. Love being cold - well warming up from being cold.

11.    What is your favorite thing in the world (aside from family, friends, pets)?

Clean, crisp, 100% cotton sheets - and getting into bed on a cold night. Nothing is better than the feeling of clean sheets.

12.    You have to give up one of your five senses. Which one would you go without?

I'd go with taste, but very reluctantly. I can't do without sight, hearing or touch  - but smell can sort of compensate for taste. As long as my sense of smell wasn't diminished by the loss, as they are very complementary senses.

13.    Do you believe everyone has a doppelgänger?

Yes. I've seen too many not to beleive this. I pity my doppelganger.

14.    Likewise, does everyone have a soulmate or is it just a matter of proximity and circumstance?

Jury is out on this one. I know I have met my soul mate, but as he is on the other side of the world, proximity and circumstance has kept us apart, and that's probably the way it's always going to be. Oh well. But then what do you do?

15.    Imagine you have a theme song that plays every time you enter a room. What would your song be?

Ah, possibly this:

 or this:

Today's song:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Did that just happen?

I was going to do a Dev session today, but something happened, and I have to write about it, mainly because I am so perplexed by what occured around 3.30 this afternoon.

You see, I got chatted up.

In the middle of a pandemic.

While waiting for the traffic lights.

By a sober, not skanky, age appropriate man.

Like what the hell is going on in the world?

I think the last time I got chatted up today's song was in the charts. (That would be about 1996 - yep that sounds about right.)

Okay, some things about me.
  • I'm a middle-aged woman, ergo, I am next to invisible most of the time. 
  • I'm currently rocking a Stevie Nicks hairstyle.
  • On any given day, I will happily talk to anybody. I've always been like this.
  • I've lived where I've lived for over ten years. 
  • I've got a rotten track record with the male of the species - great as mates, but yeah, let's leave it at that.
  • Walking to the supermarket in a fetching green tunic, leggings and running shoes is nothing new. It's a pandemic, as long as you're clean and out of your pyjamas, you're presentable. 
  • I'm basically the mad cat woman of the district. I own this title. 
So, today, I incorporated a walk with a trip to the supermarket. A walk around the streets, down by the brewery, along the river and round about the houses to get the steps up. All good. Grabbing my keys, phone, shopping bag and wallet, I took off down the road. 

The tyre shop was open - well half-open. There are an eclectic lot of shops near the tram shop. There's the muso hub where you can buy drums, guitars and amps. There's the brothel, complete with  a neon sign with lips and a lollypop. You see men going in and out of the Candy Club at all hours. Not so strangely, you never see women going in. 

And there's the motorbike and tyre shop. I cross their forecourt most days to get to the tram stop. There are all sorts of beasties in the motorbike area - Harleys, Ducatis, BMWs - big bikes - they hire them out.  They're good to look at. I've spent many a rainy morning under their awning waiting for the 109. 

The shutters were up on the tyre shop workshop. One of the guys wanders out and says hello. As a description. Tallish. Pretty fit. White grey hair on the long side. Blue eyes. Goatee. Harley Davidson t-shirt. 

He strikes up a conversation.

In a pandemic, I've found you will talk to anybody who's two metres away. It's nice to talk to people in person. Just talking to somebody in the flesh is a novelty. 

I asked his name.


He'd come to the shop to work on his own car to get out of the house. Good reason to get out. 

It was a pleasant chat. How's the shop going? Am I still working? How are you fairing in these strange times? Can you believe the government wants to track our mobile phones - they can't even run a bloody census. Normal stuff which you talk about with strangers at the tyre shop outside the tram stop. 

Looking over at the workshop shutters, there was a Ford Ute up on the blocks and a very, very old Toyota ute over the pit. He asked if I wanted to have a look.

Why not? I thought. 

Another weirdo fact about me. I spent a little time in the car trade. Not much, but enough to know I like cars and big motorbikes - but don't ask me anything about them. Pretty to look at and admire but that is as far as it goes. 

The old Toyota was in bad shape. It had been stuck on a farm under a tree for the last 30 years. They'd got it working. 

'Paddock basher?'  I asked. 
'Yep. You're a country girl?' 
'Yep. Grew up on a tractor. Used to have an old EJ Holden.'
'Definite country girl.'
'Yeah. Don't tell anybody.'

As I said, just a normal, nice chat about cars. 

He said he'd offer me a cup of tea, but he had no milk.

And I was off to the supermarket to get supplies, and really, I should be off. 

We had a look at the bikes in the showroom. The big Harleys, the roadsters, the ones that would buck like an untethered washing machine on it's spin cycle. I know enough to keep thoughts like that to myself, but yeah, there is something very primal about having a Harley between your legs. 

But enough of that. 

I said I'd kept him long enough. I said I'd shake his hand if it wasn't illegal and thanked him for the lovely chat. 

He said he'd love to give me a hug.

He told me he'd has his eye on my for years. Seen me most mornings at the tram stop. 

And we said our goodbyes and I skipped off down the road, tail all fluffed up, shaking my head, completely and utterly flummoxed. 

Like shit likes this doesn't happen to me.

It's a pandemic. People are going a bit mad. 

Men don't chat me up.

We really are in a twilight zone at the moment. 

Today's song:

Friday, April 17, 2020

What I Don't Like About Owning A Cat

I look ownership of the small panther a month ago, and being perfectly frank, I really can't remember life without him. But there are some downsides to owning a small house demon - and I call him a house demon, because that's what he is. I mean, who has eyes like this and isn't a demon?

No photo description available.

So here are the things I don't like about having a cat.

1) They're like unreliable alarm clocks. I got woken up at 5.30 this morning. I had to be up at six to meet a friend for a walk, but no, not early enough for his lordship, who decided that snuggling into my shoulder and purring loudly was a great way to get fed. Thankfully he doesn't have bad breath and when he kneads my boob, he generally leave his claws in. The morning before he woke me at seven. No consistency.

2) He shed's hair everywhere. And he's a black cat, which means black hair is turning up all over the place. My bed linen is white. It gets a brush down with the sticky roller when I make the bed. At the end of the day, the hair is back. It's not even moulting time. He comes and sits next to me in the windowsill when I work. Black cat hair can be found on my keyboard. I cleaned the stove top tonight. Cat hair.  Oh well. May need to get a Dyson.

3) He loves to walk on my keyboard when I'm trying to write. It's just annoying. and a lot of people are getting emails with yhuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuujhjyjhjy and the like in them. I wish he'd learn to type. Mind you, cats having been walking over written work for centuries.

4) He's taken over the bed. His spot is directly in the middle of my double bed. When I try to go to bed a night I get a lot of stink eye. He normally get the huff and storms off. I feel a bit guilty about this. But then again, he won't use the bed I bought him.

5) He won't use the bed I bought him. I bought him a lovely cat igloo. He won't go near it.

6) He sprays kitty litter all over the house. His litter tray is in a remote part of the kitchen, under the table for privacy. It's not enough that that I have to toss his turds, I have to sweep up after him twice a day. At least he's using it, but that stuff feels like thumb tacks under your feet.

7) EVERYTHING is on his terms. This might just be a cat thing. He has to come to me. He wants a cuddle, he gets a cuddle. But it's not that common - once or twice a day. If I try and pick him up it's like having your father's cousin Leonard trying to kiss you on the mouth. He makes his displeasure felt.

8) Secretly, he'a a labrador. Seriously, to get him to come to you, all you need to do is rattle a packet and he's by my side demanding some. Doesn't matter if he likes it or not, he has to try whatever I'm eating. He's partial to protein. Doesn't like spice. He makes a rather daft face when being offered a libation. See below. This is Tuna Face. It's similar to steak face and chicken face. But seriously, I think he was a labrador in a former life. He is highly offended if I don't at least show him what I'm having for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even if he doesn't like it - he still hangs around.

Image may contain: cat

9) He likes to play when I'm on conference calls. This I don't mind that much, but sometimes I do need to concentrate.

10) I get terrible guilts when I go out of the house. Sometimes I leave the telly on for him. I don't know if he appreciates it or now.

But generally, I think I'm the luckiest woman in the world. I have a fairly affectionate, pretty friendly, fairly easy-going, a little standoffish mate to share the house with. And I love him to bits.

Even if he is a selfish, occasionally needy, ever hungry house demon who sheds hair and kitty litter all over the place and wakes me up at odd hours. Spose I'm going to have to live with it. We're stuck with each other for the next 15 odd years...

Today's Song:

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Stop Making Sense - a Pandemic Response

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Week's 30 Word Stories

Knowing I have a meeting in half an hour which will probably go on into the evening, and I've been up since the early hours because one small panther decided that he wanted his breakfast at 4.30 in the morning (but he was nice about asking, curling up on my shoulder, purring and patting my face with his paw). And I have done both a lap of the Botanic Gardens and a personal training sesssion. And I tried to register the cat with the council, but the council was closed, so I have to register him online. And I had do some work.

So it's an easy blog tonight.

I'm making sure I get my 30 word stories in to the Writer's Victoria April Flash Fiction Competition. One word a day, 30 word stories. Must be in by 9 PM to be judged.

Here's this week's tweety stories:

Hope to write something a bit more substantial tomorrow night. In the mean time, I'll get a gin and tonic and get on my call.

Today's Song:

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Dinner Time

It's nearly ten'o'clock.

So far tonight:

  • I've had school
  • I finished the last of my kombucha - more is being made on Friday.
  • I got off of school and my parent's neighbour called for a chat
  • I've talked to the cat, seeing he was ignored while I was at school.
  • My chapter got workshopped at school (Which is held online, after a day of sitting and the computer - but it is still awesome) 
  • I've sent on my review comments to my fellow classmate who also got reviewed.
  • I realise the furthest I've been out of the flat today is to the letterbox out the front.
And I find myself hungry.

So here is the conundrum: It's after 8.30. I'm wiped. I need to be up at 6.30 a.m as I'm meeting a mate at the Botanical Gardens running/walking track at 7 am so we can both get some exercise in. 

And being 8.30 pm the choices are getting limited in this locked down world.

So, what is a girl to do?

The way I see it, I have the following options: 
  • Maccas run (Don't really want to do this)
  • Beans on toast (Ho hum)
  • Salad and tuna (Probably the healthiest option, but nah - I had salad for lunch)
  • Go hungry
  • Eggs and something. 
I'm not killer hungry, but a bit gnarly. I want to have a Negroni as school should be celebrated with a Negroni.

So what does one do?

Well, after much hemming and hawing, I didn't do the cop out Maccas run. Instead, I raided the fridge and did the proper English thing and made myself a bacon and egg sandwich. Streaky bacon, thin omellete, gluten free bread and lashings of tomato sauce.

Strangly, after nearly 12 hours at a computer, it was just what was required.

I'm also fuelled up for tomorrow's lap of the Tan. 

As you can see, my brain is pickled. Time for bed. 

Today's song:

Monday, April 13, 2020

Coles Radio

I'm spending an hour a day out of the flat. Mostly, this is for me walking to exercise, taking exercise, or going to get supplies at the local supermarket. Other than a trip across the Westgate to drop off supplies to Blarney, the furthest I've been fom he flat is the back of the Botanic Gardens and the Abbotsford Convent - both being on my well worn excercise walking paths.

Trips to the supermarket have become a bit fraught. Too many people, stock availability, just the general feeling that doing your weekly shop could be really dangerous. I mean, they have a teenager wiping down the baskets and trolleys. When do we start trusting teenagers to do a good job (actually I am very thankful for this, but still, the though crosses my mind. When do you expect a teenager to do well at such an important task)

One of the best bits of going to my local Coles has to be Coles Radio. As somebody who sings for most of the day whether I want to or no, having a radio station which plays songs which you not only know, but love, is fantastic.

I don't know who does the programming for Coles Radio, but its great. A mix of 80s and 90s classics with a few newer tunes thrown in. I regularly get suckered in and find myself singing as I go pick up the milk, veggies and what ever else I need for the following days. More often than not, I'll see somebody else born around the same era singing along quietly too.

As much as I dislike the whole Supermarket monopolies, I really do like their radio station. If anything, because they play music which sometimes gets lost on GOLD FM.

And you can stream it to your phone - even better.

Today's song was playing as I was walking down the cat food aisle. I've not hear it in years but I recognised it from the first chords. Coles plays lots of songs like this.

It's the little things which make me smile.

Today's Song:

Sunday, April 12, 2020

More COVID-19 Questions

Easter Sunday Evening.

I was hoping for something a little lighter from the Sunday Stealing questions - but it seems it wasn't to be. So I'm sitting here with a nice Negroni - 78 Degrees gin, Vermouth and Campari - with a splash of soda to open it up. I'm happy. My Easter tipple seeing I can't go out and see friends.

Anyway, here's this week's questions supplied by the amazing Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1 – What is something you are doing due to the pandemic that you normally don’t do? After the pandemic will you continue to so this?

I've always been a handwasher, but not to the level I wash my hands to now. I think I'll be keeping the 20 second handwash on a regular basis, particularly as I come in from being out. Mind you, I think we're going to have to keep rather sedate for a couple of months, so I may as well get used to it.

I'm also talking to people on video links a lot more. I'm quite liking this.

2 - What made you happy, sad, or frustrated today? List, all big and/or small, as there may be some of one or all of these feelings!

Today, for my exercise, I did two laps of the Botanical Gardens - about an 8 kilometre walk (A bit over four miles for those using the old measure).  This made me very happy. The first lap I did with Jay, keeping our distance, the second lap I did on my own. Just being outside was fabulous. It was a mild afternoon, overcast. Not too many people on the Tan Track. Loved every minute of it. Said hello to a lot of dogs - but I do this anyway no matter where I am.

3- What is one of the first things you will do when the pandemic is over?

Start hugging my friends again. Got I miss touch.

4 – Are you an essential employee or do you know someone who is? Is this affecting you in some way?

I'm not an essential employee, but I am working from home - most of the company is. I've been working from home for a couple of weeks now. My work computer comes out at 8.30 am - it's put away at the end of the day. As I'm working out of my lounge room, I have to keep these boundaries.

I've a number of friends who are medicos, in telecommunications and in retail who are all a lot more frontline than me. I feel very lucky to be cocooned in my flat.

5 – What are you doing to destress during this stressful time?

I make sure I get out of the flat for an hour every day for exercise, whether that is seeing my trainer (twice a week, in the park) or going for a walk.

I've also adopted a cat - his name is Lucifer and he is black and he is gorgeous. He's helping to keep me sane.

Ensuring I get to talk to friends during lunch breaks is also helping me keep on the straight and narrow - just keeping in communication with others all over the world is great. Spoke to Reindert in Colorado, Nathan in Essex and my Mum this weekend.

6 – Have you tried any new recipes during this time? Please share your recipe if you want to.

Nope, no new recipes to date. I made a cake for Blarney and Barney on Friday and took it round to them. ( We are allowed to make runs out to see people on compassionate grounds. Blarney is just out of hospital after an emergency operation. She's fine, but I'm helping with food, particularly sweets for the boys)

7 – Have you always lived where you do now? If not, how did you wind up in the place you currently live?

I've lived here for well over ten years. I've been in Melbourne for just over 20 years. I was in London before that, Adelaide before that.  When I was leaving London, I had to think about where I wanted to go. I made a list:

  • I didn't want to go back to Adelaide - family live in Adelaide - best not go back. Little work in what I do there too,
  • Perth was too far away from Adelaide
  • Darwin was far too hot and it has crocodiles and too far from Adelaide
  • Brisbane was far too humid and it's full of Queenslanders and too far from Adelaide
  • Sydney is full of arrogant wankers - its also too humid and expensive, though it is a banking and finance centre (Which is what I was doing in London)
  • Hobart is a bit too cold and there isn't much there. (Saying that, I'd love to live in Tasmania now - fabulous place)
  • Canberra is full of politicians and public servants
  • Melbourne is eight hours drive away from Adelaide, has a bit of culture and there was work for me.
Melbourne won.

8- Where is the last place you visited on-line?

I was reading the New York Times - I do that daily. I'm just glad I'm not in America at the moment, and I'm very thankful that Australia appears to be managing the COVID-19 situation admirably. To date, 60 deaths and about 6000 cases in a country of 25 million with the trends becoming lower daily. I know how very fortunate I am to be here. I feel very blessed to be here.

9- What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?

Somebody once said that I was a steam train. Solid, yet strangely beautiful, in a way that is constant.

At the time, I thought it was more because I was large and full of hot air.

10 – Tell me about the last photo on your camera (phone or real camera or both!)

This was taken on my walk around the Botanical Gardens this afternoon. We're finding a lot of toy koalas strapped to telegraph poles at the moment. I'm not sure why, but I thought this was cute.

Image may contain: outdoor

Today's Song:

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Writing with Dev - Part Six

I'm having a novel day today. Sitting here writing a chapter of my novel, knowing that I have to send it off to the class for feedback and critiquing by midnight tonight.

But now is the time to get the blog out of the way so I can then not worry about the post and get on with the joys of finessing a chapter, knowing somebody who has won the Stella Prize is looking at it (and this is VERY daunting)

So, it's on with a writing with Dev session today.

Here we go, session six. And the first thing she talks about is being anti-feedback (and yes, I know I'm probably further along the writer chain than most people)

The link to today's class can be found here:

This is brilliant, you are awesome, keep on going.

And I'm used to feedback on what I'm writing - but again, I've been doing this for over 20 years - and I know how to garner feedback. This is why I go to class.

And still, it doesn't matter what people think.  (and I need to change the battery on the mouse).

Choose a prompt:

  • Money: Foreign Coins and assorted dosh.
  • Paint swatches: Stonnington Beige, Lucky Charm, Rum Orange, Grey Bonnet, Red Liquorice, Retro Gold
  • Old Ipod, peg, a mintie, pencil sharpener, glass heart, brooch
  • Randon little toys, smurf, frog, alien, lego crocodile
My choices: Vietnamese Dong, Red Liquorice, mintie, toy frog

She hated the feeling of coming back from holidays and the chores that presented themselves to her as jetlagged, she stumbled out of the cab, and into her neglected flat. Had she really been away for three weeks? Did she really have to pick up her cat from her friends? 

She pondered what she would do with the wallet full of Vietmanese Dong which somehow she's accumulted on the last day of the holiday. She hated coming back with currency, it seemed such a waste of money. But she had to split a large bill on that penultimate day. She didn't want to, but she was hungry, walking through the streets of Hoi An, drinking in the smells, the grandeur of the streets. She's needed a bowl of pho. She only had large notes. It was go hungry or come back with ten dollars in her wallet. She shouldn't feel cheated.

Looking in her cupboard, she tried to find sustenance. A bag of red liqourice sat on the shelves, open and half eaten. She was lucky the ants didn't get the stuff. Surely he would noticed that. Ants traipsing in and out of a cupboard. Maybe the ants didn't like red liquorice. She preferred it in liquorice bullets, covered in white chocolate - the type which Darrell Lea did so well. Ah Darrell Lea, such a presence in Adelaide when she was a kid. 

It was travelling which made her realise how much she was invested in Australia. How much she loved the food culture. How she adored the parochialisms which made her proud. She often took a packet of minties with her on these extended trips. When she felt a little homesick, she's pop a mintie and she instantly felt like she was at home. This holiday, she didn't crack the bag open. She was enamoured with the place. Never been anywhere like it. Although she was well travelled, Vietnam had taken her breath away.

She started to unpack her day pack, looking the the trinkets she's purchased over her time there. She like to buy little things, with no agenda to give them to anybody as souvenirs. A little toy frog she found at the market stall, a grass hat she bought at the airport. She liked to come back with silver if she could. She worse silver. Jewellery was always light and cheap. The enjoyed the different pieces she got over the years on holidays. She didn't intend to change this practice. 


Ah, yes, editors. Not ready for editors.

You can't yell at a flower. 

Oblique Strategies Cards: I bought the App. I have a few of these apps. The online version is great too. 

Write for five mintues on: Cluster Analysis

Okay, so what is my problem with writing this bloody novel. If anything, I have too many ideas, plus I've got what I'm learning in class keeping me on my toes. The ideas are find - and I'm discovering a lot in what I'm writing, which is often the best way - but then you want to do well at it. And I hate rework. I'm currently rewriting something I'd written for my Masters. It's really shite, but the ideas are still solid. Now, with the help of my class and tutors, I'm looking at how you construct a novel in a completely different way. We also have one of the tutors saying it's all in the sentence. I had David Malouf tell me the same thing some 20 years ago.,

I've got my Scrivener board out ready for ideas to take shape. Last week's class gave me a lot to think about character - and my main character is really just me, but with a bit more sass and chutzpah. I like the badinage of words that writing does for you.

But for tonight, I need to get 2000 polished words ready for class consumption.

Before that I may just mop the floors and feed the cat. 

Ah well.

Post done. 

Today's song: