Sunday, May 31, 2020

More Conversation Starters

Another weekend in semi-lockdown. We're starting to come out of being cooped up, slowly and carefully. Cafes are opening for limited trade tomorrow. Still not going into the office for at least another two months - then I think it will be limited time there. We're all working from home so well anyway. It saves on a lot of costs this working from home.

Regardless, I'm glad I'm here an not anywhere else in the world at the moment.

Right, on with the questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. What do you think is the greatest television show of all time?

Oh do I have to choose one? I'll give you three.
  • Six Feet Under (Sublime telly)
  • The West Wing (I learned a lot about American politics from this show)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Incredible writing - but few believe me)
2. Would you rather win a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award?

I could go an Academy Award for scriptwriting - that would be cool. Nobel Prizes are good, but I don't know if I have the brain power to think of something that would win one.

3. What one food would you banish from this earth if you could?

The thing about banishing foods is that there is somebody out there who likes it. I would get rid of those wet markets across the world which deal in live exotic animals for food. Seriously, we don't need those any more.

4. What’s the scariest story you’ve ever heard?

Trump and Boris Johnson taking power. Both are very scary stories.

5. Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

I bummed a cigarette of Jeremy Clarkson in London. That's about as famous as I go.

6. What’s something you’ve done that most people wouldn’t know or guess about you?

I lived illegally in another country for six years. A lot of people know this about me, but you wouldn't guess it.

7. You’re strapped in a rocket ship about to go to the moon. Are you thrilled? Or terrified?

A bit of both. I think I'd be thrilled to be an astronaut - I wanted to be one as a kid.

8. What is the correct way for toilet paper to sit on the holder?

With the tail at the front. Any other way is sacrilege.

Image result for only way for toilet paper

9. Talk about a mistake you made, or something you regret.

I think the last job I took before this one was a big mistake. This job is great, two jobs before that, at an insurance company, had its challenges, but had good bits too - I made great friends. The job I had before this one was stressful, strange and full of people I didn't really click with. I was exhausted after the four months I was there. It wasn't fun. In hindsight, staying on at the insurance company may have been a better move.

10. What would be the best gift I could give you?

The gift of an extra two hours of writing time in the day.

11. What makes you feel better when you’re sad or stressed?

Exercising. Excercise in any form, but walking and swimming in particular work a treat.

12. What is the most romantic movie you’ve ever seen?

This is going to be a bit contentious, but Call Me By Your Name is incredible. Not everybody's first choice, but it is incredible.

A couple of other contenders for me:

  • Bull Durham
  • Once
  • An Affair to Remember
  • Before Sunrise / Before Sunset
  • Brokeback Mountain

13. What is the worst date you’ve ever been on?

I have been on many bad dates, but the one that springs to mind is the one at the museum with the guy form Coburg. After five minutes in his presence he said to me, "So, you're one of those brainy chicks." Yeah, right, next. I lasted an hour with him looking over an Egyptian exhibition, then took my leave.

14. What is the glue that keeps couples together?

I have no idea? Love? Security? The despair that they've settled and don't want to do that again.

15.  What was your first crush.

Mark Holden. I was six. I've never had any taste in me. Next...

Image result for mark holden

16. When did your parents talk to you about the birds and the bees?

I think mum gave me a book at around eleven or twelve. I lived on a farm growing up so I was onto the mechanics of it all pretty early.

17. What is your greatest achievement?

I like to think getting my Masters was a pretty big thing. Running five half marathons is also pretty amazing for me too.

18. Were you close to your parents growing up?

Not really. It's a long tale I don't want to get into at the moment.

19. What was the most life-changing event you’ve ever experienced?

Stepping foot on English soil. I felt like I was home for the very first time. I get that feeling every time I go back.

20. Have you ever had a falling out with a friend? What happened?

I've had the odd falling out with friends. Some have gone through natural progression, but one that comes to mind is a friend I had in England. He came to live in Australia two years later. He was in Melbourne for a while, then moved to Sydney. We stayed in touch. He was at my 40th. He made friends with my friends. I was the first person he called when his father died back in England. About a year later he fell off the planet. He moved back to Europe, but he ceased all contact, not saying goodbye or anything - to me and my friends. Cut off social media, the works. I've got no idea what happened. Our mutual friends remember him every so often - but such is life.

Today's Song:

Saturday, May 30, 2020

May Check In , June Goals

I know, I'm starting early and the month is not quite up, but I'm going to do my goals and check in a day early. Mostly because I really have nothing to write about here, but also I am trying to get some novel preparation done. It's easier to get this out the way now. Besides, there is only one more day left in the month.

So here we go. May. How did we do?

1) Walk 80 kilometres over the month.

This has been completed. Jonella was doing a walkathon challenge for the MS Society. I came along for the ride. As of today, I've walked 85 kilometres. All is well. Mission accomplished.

2) Read four books. 

This will be done. I'll knock off Carrie Tiffany's Mateship with Birds tomorrow. I've nearly fished that. I also finished Charlotte Wood's Animal People, Max Porter's Lanny and Jane Harper's The Lost Man.  So this one got done too.

3) Get 15000 words of the novel written

I've written about 10000 words as of today, but in my defence, I've got a lot of preparation work done - which is just as important. In some ways, I'm writing better than ever. It's hard work this course. It's hard work writing this novel.

4) Work on my flexibility

Yeah, didn't happen. It needs to happen. Next month.

5) Biting the bullet and working on the diet. 

Made some headway here, not enough, but some. Working from home means I'm being a lot more careful about what I'm eating - and I'm not buying in crap. More needs to be done, but I am happy that I'm not overeating and being kind to myself.

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

Done - and loving it. Found a friend who know what he was doing on the Telstra home email side of things and he got it fixed in ten minutes. It's a lot faster than my old machine. I've also got most documents in the cloud so it's been pretty seemless.

And now for the June goals:

1) Get 15000 words of the novel written.

That's 500 decent words a day. That's doable. Also there's only two weeks of school left until later in July, so there is no excuse about class time making things hard.

2) Walk 90 kilometres in the month.

I enjoyed the walking. I know it's Winter now, but I want to do this. I can do it. Weather might make it a challenge.

3) Write down everything I spend.

This is a good goal. I've got a really lean month this month as I've got a few big bills coming in. It's easy if you do it ever second day.

4) Read four books.

I like this goal. It's keeps me reading.

5) Mop the floors once a week, hoover twice a week. 

A cleaning goal. Yes. boring, I know.  I berate myself for not doing the floors. Now I have a cat, they really should be done more. I'm okay at hoovering once a week, but with the kitty litter his lordship tosses out of his tray, it needs to be done more.

6) Make two new dishes for dinner. 

I'm sick of everything I'm cooking at the moment, and this month, as it's a lean month, I need to eat at home. If they're vegetarian, even better.

Wish me luck - it's all acheivable.

Today's Song:

Friday, May 29, 2020

And yet another Friday night

I used to live for Friday nights. I used to go out. See people. Do people. Have fun.

Then I got a bit older, by Friday night, you're knackered. Friday night used to be movie night. I'd take myself off to a 6 pm session on the way home from work. But we can't do that at the moment.

So it's Friday night and I'm at home with my friend Baileys and my ironing board. I'm ironing an article in the pile, writing a paragraph, taking a sip of Baileys and checking Twitter.

It's quite sad, really.

The floors are done, the ironing is nearly there, it's 11 pm and this is what my life has become.

At least the weekend is looking a little more social.

Tomorrow, meditation, a coffee catch up, a walk, then Blarney is coming over to meet Lucifer. I might make a cake for her.

Sunday is writing day - and Pump day. And I've got a card reading in the afternoon.

In the scheme of things, it's a busy weekend.

But there's still a part of me that wishes I could go out and cut loose. Or see a movie. Or go out to eat.

Ah well. It will come.

It's Friday night. One can't be glum on Friday night.

Today's song:

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Best Self Card: The Hardest Thing

Best Self Card: What's the hardest thing you're trying to accomplish right now? Describe the smallest thing you could do today to move closer to completing this?

Well, after what can be described as the day from purgatory, the thought of writing this didn't seem like a good thing. But this is a good Best Self Card to do under the circumstances.

So what are the hardest things I'm trying to accomplish at the moment?

Well, other than losing weight, the hardest thing I'm doing at the moment is writing a novel.

I'm likening writing a novel to running a marathon whiles eight months pregnant with triplets. It's that bloody painful - especially at this early stage.

I know I have a great idea. I know I can write fairly well. Well, I know can I write really well. But god it's hard. It takes commitment. It takes time. It takes a sense of humour. It takes a little skerrick of completely nonsensical delusions. It takes an organised mind. It takes a little bit of inspiration. It takes a hell of a lot of faith. It might even take a skerrick of talent. I don't think I have any of the later. I can sort of bodge my way through with faith, inspiration, organisation and delusions.

Writing a novel is HARD WORK!

But yeah, this is the all consuming thing in my life at the moment. I berate myself when I don't work on it. I get frustrated when I don't spend time on it. I find myself feeling hopeless about not being about to write as well as I want. I occasionally think I've done something okay. I get morose when I see the quality of some writer's work and feel so inept (just as I occasionally question how some writers get published), but then again, as I'm finding out, and know, writing is a process, You can't pull words out of your arse. It doesn't work like that.

But tonight was a good night. Tonight, after a good session with Cleo where I thumped the crap out of the boxing bag (helps after a bad day) I wrote along with the Gunnas ,a group I meet up with once a month - we met on Catherine Deveny's Gunnas Writing Retreat and once a month we get together to write together. Normally with a glass of wine to hand.

And despite the dreadfully long, terribly tedious, absolutely revolting day I had today, I managed to sit down and get some novel preparation done.

So what did I do to get further toward this goal? I sat and wrote for 20 minutes. I did one of the exercises I learned at school last week. I put myself in the shoes of my protagonist and I wrote down some of her memories to get to know her.

1000 words later and I felt a lot better.

How this will translate into sparkling, witty, glorious prose, I don't know, but I feel like I'm winning tonight.

And I've had this cracker of a song from the seventies in my head all day. (and I had a really good food day today - even if I did get in Vietnamese at the local restaurant because the day was THAT intense and sometimes you need prawn dumplings - prawn dumplings fix most things on a bad day).

Today's Song:

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Ironing Gene

I have the ironing gene. I got it from my mother's side, or maybe just my mother, who's a even more of an ironing freak than me.

There are things that must be ironed. These include:

  • Duvet (doona) covers
  • Pillow cases
  • Tea towels
  • Jeans (no creases are put in them)
  • t-shirts
  • Shirts
  • Office wear
  • Nightware
Okay, the only things I don't iron are underwear and the occasional dress which is made of material that doesn't crease. My mother had been known to iron socks and jocks. I think she's a bit mad on this front. 

It's something I've done all my life. While I was at uni, I made some extra money doing the ironing for my aunt and uncle. The only time I lived with somebody, I used to do his work shirts. I liked doing his work shirts, I don't know, I just felt a sense of pride when I did them. He never asked me to do them.

Now I just find it relaxing. I need the telly to be on. I like using my special ironing water (it's scented demineralised water - you get it from Coles). I have a good iron. My Mum replaces her ever two or three years - mine's about five years old. but I paid a bit for it after the other one clapped out.

The ironing board cover is replaced every few years.

And after two days of sitting in front of the laptop for work without much of a break, then having school and other meetings in the evening, all I want to do is iron. But I'm too knackered to do so and enjoy it. I'm going to go read a bood and cuddle the cat instead. I'll iron tomorrow night. 

I also know that I've probably lost any street cred I may have had before.

Ah well. I'll listen to The Wombats instead. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


I'm taking stock of today.

It wasn't a bad day really. It was a productive day. A busy day. A long day. A day where:

  • I was up at six and walking around the Botanical Gardens with my friend by 6.45. 
  • The pea souper fog made for great photos
  • I got a coffee before coming home from the walk - always good. They know my order. 
And then I sat in front of the computer for the next eight hours on calls to credit and compliance. 

Yes, another day with credit and compliance.

Kill me now. 

I logged off nearing six p.m. I would have been off earlier, but one of my systems, umm, in technical terms, shat itself, undoing a few hours of work. That will get sorted in the morning. 

I then rustled up some dinner, then got back on the laptop for school. School was great, but it was really hard with a fried and tired brain which really would rather have been watching telly on the couch.

But after being at the computer from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm, blogging anything sensible was not going to happen. 

I need a gin and tonic, my yoga mat and a sleep.

Hoping tomorrow is a better day. 

Today's song:

Monday, May 25, 2020

Directions for Heaven

Last night, I held you in my arms for the last time. I could feel your sorrow. It was palpable, but so was the fact that your life essence was nearly gone. You weren't you. You barely felt like you. The only thing you about you was that you snuggled in when I first took you into my arms. But this wasn't the same as other times. You didn't come to greet me. You didn't demand my attention. There were none of the rituals we've mastered over the years. I had to seek you out. You weren't that easy to find.

I had to come to say goodbye. It was necessary. You've been too big a part of my life to not come and see you.

I needed to tell you I love you. I've loved you more than any other for so long. I like to think you loved me back, but then again, you were never miserly with your affections. You loved most equally and with an open heart.

I wanted to tell you that it's okay to go. You needed to hear this too. It's more than okay. Your time had come. We didn't want you to linger. There are better things ahead for you. Know this. Hold this in your heart. There is no shame in dying. Yes, we're all heartbroken that you're not going to be around any more, but we know you can't stay too. It hurts us to see you like this.

It was hard to see you like this, frail and wanting. This wasn't you. This wasn't how I want to remember you, but there are things you do when you have to say goodbye. You've always been such a life force. Okay, you were occasionally obstreperous, demanding, greedy and a right royal pain in the arse. But you were also always there, so loving, so kind. You were quick with a cuddle, always there to greet us when we came home - mind you, you were also looking for food, but we saw through you. The heart matched the belly.

But now your time has come, so I feel I need to give you some directions. Directions for heaven. After all, I've been telling you for years what to do, whether it's been whispered in your ear, or shouted out loud. Sometimes you listened. Sometimes you didn't. And that was your prerogative.

You see, you're going on the biggest of adventures. Please take that huge heart and use it to love all around. Just be you. They'll love you for it.

Where ever you end up, please look out for a young girl named Lauren. She will take you under her wing and show you the ropes. She loves your sort. She has other friends out there to help make the adjustment. Just remember to share. I know you're not that good at sharing, but try. You might learn something out of it.

Your time with us has passed, but you will never be far away.

I've never loved anybody quite like I've loved you. I hope to love this way again.

But in the meantime, til we meet again, you take care. Remember that you are very, very loved, even if you had some dreadfully slovenly habits. You were magnificent. You had a wonderful life. You touched everybody who met you.

Rest peacefully, Maow Maow.

Image may contain: cat and indoor

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Image may contain: people sitting, cat and indoor

Today's Song:

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Sabotage Questions

Another weekend. Jonella just came round for lunch, which I cooked - and it was awesome. I haven't had anybody in my flat in months. It's great to just have people around again. The risotto wasn't bad and the cat behaved himself - indeed he was sociable.

On the not so great side of things, I'm heading off to Blarney's soon. Unfortunately, Maow Maow will not be with us for much longer, so I'm preparing myself to say goodbye. I love that cat, but his time is nearly up. It's very sad.

Right, so as I have to go soon, better get on wtih these questions, which have been provided, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing.

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

Umm, yes. I wish I could kiss him sooner, but he's up in Sydney, and at the moment, interstate travel is pretty much forbidden. I miss him terribly. I don't admit to this very often.

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

I have my red comb sitting in front of me. I've had this comb for over three decades. Love that comb.

3. Did you meet someone new today?

Not as yet - these are pandemic times. I did meet a very nice cocker spaniel puppy on my morning walk. Does that count?

4. What are you craving right now?

A proper cuddle. Sex. Human touch. The cinema. Live theatre.

5. What comes to mind when I say “cabbage.”


6. What does your last text say?

'Cool.' I was making arrangements with Jonella for lunch.

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

A bit of both. If it's a choc top I bite through the chocolate, then lick. If not, I tend to lick ice cream off a spoon. I have a nice tub of Jock's Nougat ice cream in the freezer - Jonella and I had some for dessert today.

8. Do you like your hair?

Yes. I like that its curly and that it sometimes does what its told. I like its length too - its rather long at the moment.

9. Do you like yourself?

Yes. This has taken a very long time, but yes. And it feels good to say that.

10. Do you like cottage cheese?

Not really. The creamed cottage cheese is okay, but I really don't like the curd stuff - looks like spew. No thanks.

11. What are you listening to right now?

I've got some telly show on in the background. I'm also listening to my fingers on the keyboard.

12. Is there anything sparkly in the room where you are?

My house keys are quite sparkly. I'm not a glittery sort of person.

13. How many countries have you visited?

Now, let me see: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, The USA, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Indonesia (Bali), Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore. India.

I make that 17 if you count Great Britain as three separate countries.

14. Are you sarcastic?

Is the Pope Jewish? Take that as a yes.

15. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Yes. During my university days. I got up to a lot of trouble back then.

Today's Song:

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Writing with Dev: Part 10

I have  to write for five minutes non-stop. I have been sitting at this computer for far too long this week, so once this blog post and Dev class is over I'm going to lie on the couch and watch a movie. Heaven knows which movie I'll be watching, but I just need to be not at this chair and at this computer typling away.

It's been too long a day. I was up early, ran down to get a coffee from Soul Origin, then school started at 9 am. I'm beginning to see just how hard writing a novel really is - it's writing and rewriting and just getting on with it and its a pain in the neck. I'm just glad I have eight other people in with me, who are all lovely, to help keep me going. We're keeping each other going. It's a great class. We're all writing such different things. I got some really good feedback on the piece I did last week - some of the best writing I've ever done - but I want to get better. I suppose this is the great thing about this. And getting feedback on your work is always good too. It just means people are considering what you're writing and this is a huge thing. And we're all improving. And that is so good to see. It's like what Dev says, writing is a muscle you need to exercise. I do this with my blog as well - it's all about being consistent.

As the 30 day song challenge finished today I'll have to go back to finding my own songs.

Now for some writing about camping or holidays. Ten Minutes. 

Okay, I don't camp. Maybe my character from my novel goes camping.

The map said to go left. He went right. Is it my fault that I'm ambidextrous and can't tell the difference as to where we were going. Left and right are half foreign concepts to me so yeah, we were seven kilometres down the road before we worked out we weren't on the main road.

He bought the Toyota Hilux, named Mavis, from some Belgian hippies who had just been around Australia. I was sceptical about this as the amount of rust was awful. He'd taken his little camera to the viewing but never got the photos developed - so I didn't get a right of reply. He just brought Mavis home.

On her maiden run, I'd prepared a picnic basket that could sit in the back seat and we could have lunch wherever the mood took up. Sandwiches, soft drink and some prawn salad were put in a small esky with a chiller brick. If I'd known we were going up to the mountains I'd probably have left the esky at home. The Hilux had no heating. Maybe it just needed a fuse replaced, but I snuggled under a blanket hoping we'd get somewhere soon.

He'd packed the tent as well. He seemed to think that I would be happy about this. No. I don't do tents. Never have done tents, never will do tents. It wasn't the kind of holiday I wanted. So when he suggested going to this campside, surrounded by trees and near a river, I started to cry. I was cold, hungry, bored and well over nature by this time. See, I have always hated camping. He'd always loved camping. I had not against him going with some friends, but he should have left me out of the equation.

I tried to tell me that campfires were romantic. He thought that waking up under the stars was a romantic thing to do. He was enamoured with the thrill of catching his own food - I didn't see the fishing lines in the back of the car, nor did I realise that when I was heading to Lake Eildon, that this is what I wantered to do.

He should have shone a lantern on his plans before we left - but no, I wanted me, bitching, moaning, city-girl me, to come and go camping and fishing again.

I looked at the map again. If I was better at lying, and doing the left and right thing, maybe, just maybe, I could have navigated us back to town.

Writing done for the day.

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

Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself

Friday, May 22, 2020

Things to do on Friday Night.

Things I want to do on Friday night:

  • Find myself a large gin and tonic
  • Watch a really good movie on one of the streaming services
  • If things were different I might be packing a bag to go to Sydney in the morning
  • Or going out with friends
  • Or seeing a movie
  • Or going to a play
Unfortunately, things aren't different.

Things I should be doing Friday night:
  • Mopping the floors
  • Hoovering the carpets
  • Scrubbing down the bathroom
  • Doing the ironing
  • Penning some of my novel
  • Tidying up
But I try not to do housework on Friday night. Jonella is popping round Sunday afternoon. I'll clean after school tomorrow. 

What am I doing Friday night:
  • I'm getting all my feedback ready for tomorrow's school
  • I'm drinking Turkish Apple Tea
  • Every hour or so, I pop in on the cat and wake him up - because I can
  • And it's all just a little bit dull.
Still, it beats doing the floors - and the dishes are done. 

Back to crits. We have make up school tomorrow - 9-12 on Zoom.

After a full day of meetings sitting at this computer, I'm a bit over it all - but at least school is fun.


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

Day 29: A song you remember from your childhood

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Bad Coles

I'm just out of book group - which was great, especially we now get to go to book group in our pyjamas, sitting on the couch with a Baileys in my hand. But it has been a very long day in front of the computer once again.

But I got a lunch break - drove into town to get my mail. There are a few more people out on the streets now, but still not many. The trams are still next to empty but the traffic is flowing well.

Noodles for lunch, back to work by 1.30, did some other stuff, went and saw my training then went to book group via zoom  - so it's been a big day.

But I have a beef with Coles. See Coles, the supermarket chain, other than having some ethical beefs with how they treat the farmers (just as Woolies and Aldi do as well) , I normally shrug this off. Maybe I shouldn't but I do. And I now buy my meat at the butcher and my veggies at the greengrocer outside of Coles because the quality is better.

But why, oh why are they selling Whittakers Jelly Tip blocks at Coles. I thought that Old Gold Cherry Ripe Block was bad - Whittakers Jelly Tip is worse.

It's like crack.

Image result for whittakers jelly tip

Normally, you can only get it in New Zealand.

Not now. Now it's infiltrated Australian supermarkets

It is evil. All the evil stuff is taking over our supermarkets. It sits on the shelves and says 'buy me, buy me, eat me, eat me.'

It's even more evil than the Old Gold Cherry Ripe block as at least with dark chocolate, you only want to eat a few squares a day. This stuff is badly morish.

Bad Coles for stocking it.

Bed time. Going for a walk early. Time to walk off the chocolate.

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

Day 28:  A song by an artist whose voice you love

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


I've been asked to get another 1000 words out tonight for my make up class on Saturday morning.

So blogging needs to be cut short.

I had a mentoring session this evening.

Tonight's notes include:

  • Show the school scene - too much explaining
  • Use the voice in the bar scene - you've nailed it.
  • Get your characters to interact with the environment and other characters
  • Your characters have to be sympathetic and believable to keep people reading
  • The plot will come - but get a loose plan in place
  • Don't explain too much of the back ground - let it come in naturally.
  • Go in with confidence - you can do this. 
Oh, and don't put in the bar scene for workshopping, there are a few clunky sentences but it is pretty much there. 

So the pressure is on. I'm writing a scene about an Uber ride to Toorak. And just like the bar scene, I need a can of WD-40 and a crow bar to prize them out. 

But it's nice to hear that I'm writing a bit better. 

So back to my character, and Uber driver named Vladislav and a trip down Punt Road.  Fun. 

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

Day 27:  A song that breaks your heart

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Isolation Tactics

We have good days. We have bad days. And we have days like today which are just meh.

I woke up feeling meh.

I don't like feeling meh.

And I know it will pass and it's a matter of riding this out accepting that  not all days are created equal.

But I' a bit meh.

I have work to do, but that's meh (It's okay but it's hard to get enthusiastic about it).

And this is okay. This working from home lark means taking every day as it comes. Some days are good. Some days are bad. It's just with this isolation, everything seems heightened. You can't use most of your normal distraction tactics

However one of them stands up well.

After admitting to my manager that I was having a meh day, meh to the point that I nearly wanted to take a mental health day, I soldiered on, wiht the proviso that I could go for a long walk at lunchtime.

Which I did. Seven kilometres around Richmond. Bought cat food then made my way through the streets to get a coffee at my shopping centre, stopping for a chat with one of the shop owners (the soap guy wasn't there) then home.

And thankfully, the mehs had gone. Replaced with the joys of being frantically busy and being on the phone until six p.m. Oh, then school started at 6.30.

At least things aren't boring.

And at least I've got an understanding manager who gets that this stuff, this being locked in your flat day in day out is not as easy or as fun as it looks.

Tomorrow is another day.


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

Day 26:   A song that makes you want to fall in love

Monday, May 18, 2020

On a Promise

My colleague is having a big birthday today, and today was the first day I've really missed being in the office, mainly because we didn't get to celebrate with him  - even if he did take the day off.

It's the little rituals that I'm missing. An occasion like this would demand cake, if not lunch and maybe a drink. Big birthdays required libations. But not today.

I sang happy birthday to him over the computer. I had a nice chat with his wife and daughter - we all do a bit of this, talking top people's kids, dogs and cats over the computer. I tried to persuade him to have a cruisy day - which we did for the most part. It certainly wasn't as intense as the other days we've had of late.

But it's not the same.

And really, this was the first time I've missed being in the office.

I'll make him a round of my yoyo biscuits when we finally get back there - which I reckon is still a few months off. I think his wife will keep me to this promise.

But for the moment, we just make do with these makeshift arrangements. It's still strange, but I'm amazed at how easily we've all adapted.

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

Day 25: A song you like by an artist no longer living.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Ty and Logan Questions

Too much to do today. I have a Pump Class over Zoom in an hour, here in my living room. I've got a cake in the oven to take over to Blarney's later. The cat is asleep on the bed, I have to get 2000 words to my tutor later today and of course, I will go and see the Maow Maow. All too busy really.

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Where did your name come from

My name is Latinate. It was also one of the most popular names in Australia the year I was born. There were six of us in a school of 100 kids when I was in primary school. I also have the same initials as my maternal grandmother.

2. Where were you born?

Adelaide, Australia

3. What was your house like, growing up?

Before we moved to the country we lived in a one story, cream brick affair in the suburbs on a quarter acre like everybody else. It was a newish house, my parents building it in their first year of marriage. When we moved to the country, we had a three bedroom fibro clad house with a big veranda on forty acres. The house was dilapidated when we moved in, but Mum did it up very nicely.

4. What was your childhood bedroom like?

I had the sleep out - and enclosed veranda. 22 foot long and six foot wide. It was the thoroughfare to the laundry and toilet. It wasn't insulated. C'est la guerre.

5. Did you travel as a child? Where?

We didn't really travel when I was a kid. There was the odd caravanning holiday. I remember going to Kangaroo Island when I was five, and we did a driving holiday to Queensland one year, but travel really wasn't something you did when I was a child. I've travelled a lot since my twenties. I didn't leave the country until I was seventeen, when we went to New Zealand on a family holiday.

6. Write about your grandparents

I knew all four of them. My Dad's Dad was a butcher. He smoked two packs a day and died of lung cancer in his late sixties. My Dad's Mum was an interesting woman. Years in a loveless marriage wore her down. She was a pillar of the community. Died at 72 from heart troubles. My Mum's Dad was a postmaster who lived around rural Australia running the post offices in regional centres. He loved woodwork and the water. Died in his early eighties. He was stern but lovely. My Mum's Mum was a character. Youngest daughter of six who until she married, was shipped around to her brothers to look after their kids. She was the grandparent I had most to do with. She died at 104. A real character.

7. Who taught you how to drive?

I learned to drive a tractor when I was about ten. Dad taught me to drive a car when I was fourteen, but I did some classes in Adelaide when I got my licence at sixteen to get a bit more finesse.

8. When did you first leave home?

At seventeen, when I went to university.

9. What did your parents do for work?

Dad ran a shop until we moved to the country, where he did odd jobs. Mum was a nurse.

10. Who inspired you as you matured?

My Uncle John was a father figure. He's in the last gasps of his life over in South Australia. I've always had a thing for Shakespeare. As for inspiry - Gough Whitlam and Nelson Mandela have always been idols of mine.

11. What was the best part of your 20s?

Living in London. I still miss the place.

12. What as the best part of your 30s?

Finding myself and fixing a lot of difficulties.

13. Where is the most fascinating place you’ve visited

I've been to plenty of fascinating places, but the one that springs to mind is the Mutter Museum in Philadephia. I went with my uncle. It's amazing.

Image result for mutter museum

14. What is your favorite family story?

There are a lot of strange family stories, but I do love the one where we got my grandmother drunk one Christmas when I was a kid. Grandma was a teetotaler.

15. What was your most memorable birthday?

Spending my 50th in Bali with friends was really awesome.

16. What was your favorite food as a child?

Ice cream. It still is my favourite food.

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

Day 24: A song by a band you wish were still together

Saturday, May 16, 2020

All About Bruce

I'm about to start procrastocleaning as I have a hard deadline of tomorrow night. The joys of this course is having to present your work to your tutor every so often - and I've got a session on Wednesday night, God help me.

So I'm getting a small blog post out of the way now.

And I'm going to write about Bruce.

Bruce is an old mate who lives across the road. We bumped into each other tomight as I walked back from the supermarket. Already feeling good from the light traffic, clear air and finding something I needed at half price at Chemist Warehouse, I made my way down the back street home.

Remember, I've lived here for a very long time. I know a few people in the street to say hello to. Bruce has been a bit of a stalwart for years, mind you, I haven't seen him for a while.

As neared home, Bruce appeared.

"Bruce! Hello, Bruce!' I called out to him.

Bruce saw me and came straight up to me.

I looked around for Bruce's Dad.

Oh, Bruce is a black cat. I should tell you that.

I bent down and gave his silky black head apat. He reminds me of Lucifer. Except Bruce has to be at least ten years old now.

"How are you going, boy?"

He looked up at me, his golden eyes glowing under the street lights. He received my pats with joy. For a black cat, he's very friendly.

"Where's your Dad?" I asked him. Of course, he didn't answer, but demanded more attention.

Bruce and his Dad live on the corner. I know his Dad to say hello to as well. The last time I saw him I asked him about Bruce's wellbeing. I used to see him all the time. Not so much any more.

Bruce's Dad was nowhere to be seen.

"You gonna go home, Bruce?" I asked him as I slathered more love on his head. I really done remind me of Lucifer. He wasn't moving.

I looked back down at the cat. What was once a lithe, Slinky Malinki of a black cat. Now, he's much more of a Lucifer from The Aristocats.

Having things to get into the fridge, I have him one last pat goodbye.

"Mate, you've really been in a good paddock, haven't you." He snuggled back into my legs as a farewell.

He's a friendly, chonky boy is our Bruce.

And I made my way home, just happy. Happy about the clear air. Happy about the lessened traffic noise. Happy that I'd walked six kilometres on a sunny day. Happy that there's a friendly black cat in the street who stops me for a pat.

It's the simple things that make life good at the moment.

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

Day 23: A song that you think everybody should listen to

Friday, May 15, 2020

It Should Be Illegal

Today is Friday.

Fridays are special. Fridays are sacrosanct even.

Friday afternoons, inparticular, are an institution.

I have been working for a very long time. In this time, I have rarely worked to capacity on Friday afternoon. You slack off. You do the random stuff you need to get you through. You tell all around you that it's POETS Day (Acronym: Piss off early, tomorrow's Saturday). You might do the Guardian crossword, go chat to a mate in another part of the office, take a meeting down the pub with another person with the same work ethic.

Having this view, I looked at my diary for today. A team meeting at 1.30 it said, Then virtual drinks at 4 pm it said.

With these facts in mind, I made the informed decision to book a massage at 2.30 - take a late lunch they said. It will be fun they said.

What didn't make the equation was the work I've been doing this last fortnight. I've spent many an hour in long phone calls sorting out documentation with the Legal and Credit teams.

In my job, dealing with Legal and Credit often means trouble. Dealing with bean counters and pedants never ends well. (I will say that the folk I've been in meetings with have been wonderful, but still, it's Legal and Credit)

My colleague and I finished most of the work on Wednesday. We asked for feedback. Nothing came.

This morning I worked on some other stuff. No sign of feedback.

1 pm, the 1.30 meeting gets moved to 3.30.... dammit.

1.05 pm Legal come back with the need to meet to make some changes to the document.

1.10. Message my team leader that I'm taking a late lunch to go to an appointment. Will be a few minutes late to the team meeting, Oops. Sorry. (I was NOT going to miss that massage).

1.15. Get on the phone with Credit and Legal to discuss the documents with the caveat that I need to leave at 2.20 as I have an appointment. (Nobody is going to stop me getting that massage!)

2.20. Legal, Credit and I make a pact to reconvene at 4.30.

2.28 Not looking at my appearance, jumped in the car to go to massage appointment, slightly disappointed that on an ordinary Friday afternoon I'd have walked the 10 minutes down the road.)

2.30. Enter my wonderful therapies place, announce that I'm going to have to cut the massage down to 45 minutes instead of the hour, apologise profusely and get a most wonderful massage. Very necessary. Human touch is a wonderful thing. My lower back and butt feel much better.

3.30. Leave massage therapies place and drive back home.

3.40. Dial into team meeting. All good with the team leader.

3.55. Go to the kitchen and make a Negroni.

4.00. Dial into virtual drinks. Needed to be done. The bloke who hired me left today and I wanted to say thank you and goodbye.

4.29. Leave virtual team drinks.

4.30. Dial into another call with Credit and Legal.

4.50. Finish the business with Credit and Legal.

4.55. Submit the documents for approval in the system.

5.00. Say goodbye to my workmate who was hanging around til I'd finished in support (also with a whisky in his hand muttering about the sanctity of Friday afternoons).

5.03. Make another Negroni.

5.05. Shut down work computer. Open home computer. Have a virtual drink with an old work husband.

And apart from the last thing on the list, this afternoon should not have happened like this. It's Friday afternoon. You don't work on Friday afternoon. It's the rules.

This is the second bad Friday afternoon I've had in two weeks.

Hoping next week, it won't be like this. Mind you, we've pretty much finished the work with Credit and Legal. But mark my words, they're thrilled with the work my colleague and I have done for them. They'll be back.

I will also say that I am very grateful for having a job, love the people I work with, prefer being busy and despite moaning about Credit and Legal, the work is reasonably stimulating.

Today, despite having my plans slighty disrupted, two other things came out.

This working from home lark has it's good parts. Rocking up to appointments in your ugg boots being one of them.

The ability to make a Negroni at 4 pm on a Friday, and drink it with your colleagues over the computer is the other.

Still. Working on a Friday afternoon should be outlawed.

Moan over.

Today's song: (Brought to you by the 30 day song challenge)

Day 22: A song that moves you forward (I love working out to this song - perfect for boxing and high intensity)

Thursday, May 14, 2020


The email came through late last night.

Just a reply to an inquiry to my allied health practice about some herbs I was after. The thing about lock down is you can't get hold of some things because the business is closed. In my case, the naturopathic supplement I take to boost my immune system between April and October is only available from my my naturopath - who's also my masseuse. I've been going to this practice for well over ten years. Every now and then I lend my hand down there as a reflexologist, doing the feet of the practitioners. They're friends as much as therapists.

The reply was simple. "Supplements in on Friday. Will give you a call when I get them. Give me a shout when you want a bit of human contact (i.e. a massage)".

Human contact has come to be something of an anomaly. You see people hugging in the street and want to yell., "Oi, social distancing!" at them. You have envy the people walking down the street holding hands - well I do. I live with a cat - you can't hold his hand walking down the street. Then there's the groups of teenagers who seem to think that a ruler distance is 1.5 centimetres. You can't stop those younger people touching.

I've been good over the last few months. I've stopped touching my friends. I'm not the world's biggest hugger, but I do tend to hug friends on meeting and parting. And since I can't get to Sydney, and I live alone, I've had virtually no human contact in this time. I think the last time I was touched was he last remedial massage I received the day before the stage three lockdown was thrust upon us.

Well, stage three lockdown is over. I still can't get to Sydney. Non-essential interstate travel is still a while away, but my allied health practitioners are back in business in a limited way.

And I have a remedial massage booked for tomorrow afternoon. Before the lockdown I was getting a massage once a month. It's good for the soul. Good for the body, especially with the exercise I do.

And I'm excited. It's human touch. It's a very rare commodity at the moment.

And I can't wait.

I might get a sneaky hug too (well, he'll be touching my near naked body for an hour - what harm will the normal hug goodbye do?)

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

Day 21:  A song with a person's name in the title

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

What I Learned at School Last Night

Tuesday night is my school night. It's the night I eat my dinner early, give the cat enough cuddles to make sure that he doesn't want any more during the class then get back in front of the computer.

So what did I learn at school last night?

We talked about pace.

Things like:

You can influence pace through:

  • Action
  • How you cut your scenes
  • Dialogue
  • The use of summary over exposition
  • Your word choice
You can speed things up by making everything now, now, now. Stick to the action, keep the details to a minimum. Slow things down by adding description - think Thomas Hardy who can go on for pages about fields (oh joy). 

Dialogue is another good way of speeding things up or slowing things down - and as we found out tonight in another seminar they held to make up some time, dialogue should expose as much story as it does about the character. 

Then there is word choice - think about using onomatopoeia (crap, I can still spell that correctly without a spell checker).
Also think about what you need the reader to take notice of.

And all of this means I need to do a big rewrite of what I've written. 

The think about school is I get so pumped up with ideas it's all overwhelming.

Then tonight we listened to a conversation with Toni Jordan about planning. More gems to put into the writers bank.

There is a lot more to this writing a novel lark that I thought.

Still, it's one of the things keeping me sane at the moment.

Onwards, she cried. 

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

Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Morning Observations

I was woken by a paw to the boob at 5.30 this morning. Lucifer is a gentle soul. but at 5.30 am, he's looking for his breakfast and he seems to think that snuggling up to my shoulder, purring, sticking a paw into my breast with one claw out for the tamping is a good thing. I don't mind - except for being speared with that one talon. It's quite sweet. He snuggles into my legs as I drift off to sleep. As familiars go, I've lucked out.

By six'o'clock, he's pacing the room, obviously hungry. It's time for me to think about getting up. I need to go for a walk. It's a big day. Work. School. A bit of admin. It all needs to be done.

I rise at 6.30. Feed the cat. Deal with the cat's wharepaku (Maori for toilet - I just like the word). Then I pull on last night's exercise gear, grab my phone and keys and set out for a walk around the suburb. It's a bit late to drive to the Tan track, so Richmond in all it's glory it is.

Walking around at this time of the morning on the last day of the big lock down is calming. There are few people out. The occasional dog walker, next to no cars. It's been great. For the last six weeks I've been able to go out of the driveway without having to wait five minutes to turn into the road. I live on a thoroughfare. There is next to no traffic and fewer people.

You notice things when the streets are this quiet. The whiff of  wood smoke from a pot belly stove. The skies are free from air traffic, and the moon is clear in the sky. The last of the stars are thinking about going to bed.

Passing Hector's Deli, it's great to see the lights on. It's somewhere I've been meaning to go as its just around the corner. There's a note on the door. If there is a staff member inside, they're preparing food for charity groups. I give the girl inside a thumbs up and walk on.

You see things you don't normally notice in the emerging daylight. A mural took my eye. Never knew it was there.

7 am now. Turning into Bridge Road, there are a few more signs of life. In normal times, by 7 am, the traffic is flowing but heavy. There are still few cars on the road. The sky is pink in the south, but it's gone from dawn to day. The walkers are out. Walkers with takeaway coffees. People with dogs. There are lots of greyhounds and Maltese arrangements about the place. Some say hello, others don't.

It's good to see some continuity along the road, minor signs of life. Dan Murphy's is being cleaned, the lights are on, the shutters up at the front door. The 24 hour florist, a Richmond stalwart, has a couple of people juggling flowers about the shops. There's a small queue at the McDonalds' drive through. The petrol station has unleaded going for 89.9 cents a litre. Oh, for this to remain.

I walk down to the river and I'm pleasantly surprised that there are few people on the tow path. Maybe I'm before there before the most of the cyclists start their way to work. Maybe the normal cycle crew are working from home as well. It's peaceful down there. The only real noise you notice is the birdsong. You can almost hear the river currents.

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Nearing the end of the walk, I get to the bridge on Victoria Street. The trams flying over the bridge sound like aircraft, their infernal rattle breaking the peace.

Cutting through the park, I say hi to Cleo and Erdin who are training clients.

A quick stop in the shopping centre to pick up a coffee and I made my way home, taking the main roads. They don't really need the clearway at the moment. There's plenty of room on the roads at 7.30. Down the side road home I check out the old Vauxhall that's been in the street for years. It's owner, Mark, takes great care of it. It's been restored in the last six months and it's looking amazing.

It's noticing the little joys that I will miss when we go back.

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Today's song: Brought to you by the 30 day song challenge.

Day 19: A song that makes you think about life

Monday, May 11, 2020

This week

How is it I'm just as busy in lock down than I am just as busy as I am when I'm not confined to my flat? Why is it so?

Maybe it's because I'm feeling it more because I'm not running about - but the drain on my time continues.

I've still been able to see my trainer, Cleo. We meet at a nearby park twice a week. It's a bit dark and cold, but we still manage to get a decent workout.

Then there are the evening zoom meetings. There is mason's stuff. Two Wednesday's a week there are are meetings. Plus some other admin stuff, which means sitting in front of the computer once again.

There's book group once a month. This isn't a chore. As we're all home we can actually hear each other talk. The last meeting was really cool.

Occasionally, I might get to have a chat with a friend. If I'm lucky.

But I'm really feeling the busy-ness of my life at the moment. Maybe it's because I'm stuck in the same chair, in front of the same computer screen all day every which makes the day seem longer. Even though I do make sure I get out, I'm feeling locked down. The litte trips outside help, but still.

Part of me craves a holiday - that will come at some stage. There's nowhere to go at the moment.

I know that lockdown is starting to wane. We can go to people's houses now without fear of being fined. No toughing or hugging, but we can go and see people on a limited basis - and people can see you.

I think I'm over being in the one place all the time.

I need a bit of variety.

Oh well, like everything, this feeling shall pass.

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

Day 18: A song from the year you were born.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Black Feathers Meme

Sunday afternoon. We're still technically in lock down, but I am heading over to my friend's place later to cook her dinner later (She's just out of hospital you see... we keep social distancing and she's got a hankering for my chicken and mushroom risotto).

I also have to get some stuff done for school. And I have an hour of work I need to do.

Anyway, here is this week's questions, supplied as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Do you prefer writing with black or blue pen?

My ultimate preference is to write with a fine point black pen. It doesn't mean you can read my handwriting, but that's what I like. You have more chance of reading my writing when I write with a finepoint black pen.

2. Do you prefer living in the country or the city?

I do both quite happily. What I can't do is live in the suburbs.

3. How do you drink your tea or coffee?

My stand coffee order is an almond decaf latte. Standard tea is taken with a drop of milk.

4. Do you prefer bath or shower?

I adore baths, but as I only have a shower at home, I have to take what I can get. I have a bath any opportunity I can. Normally with a gin and tonic and a book.

5. Do you prefer reading paper or electronic books?

Again, I do both. The kindle is great for travelling, but really, nothing beats paper.

6. Would you ever want to be famous?

Only a famous author. I'm too introverted to be famous. I'd rather be notorious.

7. Are you a restless sleeper?

I don't think so. Once I'm out I stay asleep, even though I don't sleep all that long (5-6 hours)

8. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Nothing that out of the ordinary. Kangaroo - hells yeah. I love pickled herring. Pigeon and whitebean stew in Spain. The  Durian sweets from Asia. I'm an adventurous eater, but I can't think of anything that odd.

9. Do you like cereal crunchy or soggy?

Definitely crunchy. I hate soggy cereal.

10. Do you like ice in your drinks?

In cold drinks, absolutely. Not beer or wine, but I go through a lot of ice here.

11. Do you prefer swimming in pools or the ocean?

I love playing in the sea, but prefer to swim for exercise in the pool. I'm not fond of going out of my depth in the ocean.

12. What can you hear right now?

The telly is on in the background. The cat is having a snack. My neighbours are having a clandestine Mother's Day picnic in the garden downstairs. There is a little traffic noise - and the tapping on my keyboard.

13. Where do you feel the safest?

In a house with other people in it - though I feel very safe at home. Strange fact, I tend to sleep longer and better when there are other pople in the house.

14. What would you like your legacy to be?

I have no idea, but I like the thought of leaving behind a best selling novel.

15. Do you like spicy food?

Absolutely. Does spicy food like me - not always. I have to be careful around things made with coconut cream. I like chilli and spice as a rule.

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

Day 17: A song you'd sing a duet with someone at karaoke