Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Progress - July Goals

Ah, it's the end of the month. And looking at this, I haven't done that well. But this is okay - I'm letting myself off the hook. A bad case of gastro and a death in the family don't make it condusive for obtaining goals. I think July will be good for a reset.

Anyway, here's this months check in and the goals for next month.

Oh, and as of today, I've managed to blog every day for six whole months. For me, this is a result. It's pretty incredible for me, actually. Although I write crap most of the time, I do feel like I've achieved something.

Okay. How did we do in June.

1) Get 15000 words of the novel written.

Yeah, nah. More like 7500 words were written - but gastro didn't help. I have done some rewriting and planning, so not all is lost.

2) Walk 90 kilometres in the month.

Didn't happen. Gastro, then my uncle's passing - this went out the window. But, I have still exercised at least four times a week, so again, we have to take the good with this.

3) Write down everything I spend.

Yeah, didn't happen. I have been saving, so all is not lost.

4) Read four books.

Nearly. I finished Carrie Tiffany's Mateship with Birds, Sally Rooney's Normal People, a friend's book of short stories (S.C. Farrow's Open Wounds) and I am halfway through Pip Williams' The Dictionary of Lost Words.

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

Okay, not perfect but better. Floors were hoovered once a week and I mopped twice over the month. This is much better than the month before. I just have to keep this up. I hate doing floors.

6) Make two new dishes for dinner.

I made one new thing. Lemon Delicious pudding is my new thing. Friends have asked I bring it again.

And for July, some bigger goals - especially as I'll be home for most of it. At the moment I'm not locked down, but give it time - let's just hope this doesn't happen.

1) Work on the novel every day.

I think rather than giving myself a word count, this is a more realistic goal, especially as I've got some things like research and rewriting to do. I'd still like to get 10,000 words written, but I think this is a good SMART goal. Mind you, Mercury is still in retrograde until 12 July. We must be kind to ourselves.

2) Read four books

This might be a bit harder - we have Christos Tsiolkas's Damascus on the list for book group. It's supposed to be tough. But it is a good goal to have too. The cat likes reading with me.

3) Eliminate gluten, dairy and sugar from my diet

This is my version of Dry July.

I think I've told people about what it was like to quit gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol out of my life cold turkey. It's time to do it again. I haven't taken caffeine in two years and I drink very little. So when I am feeding myself, these are the rules. The fridge is free of this stuff now, so I'm good to start. Exceptions will be allowed for eating out and on the very odd occasion I'm out with friends. I only do the latter once a  week - and when eating out I can make good choices. Alos if we do manage to get to go on the Gunnas Writer's retreat, bets will be off, particularly if Hugo makes his cheesecake again. And Ash's scones. Oh, and the poke bowls, but they're pretty much on the plan.

4) Get at least 45 minutes of exercise five times a week.

Again, should be doable, illness or more stringent lockdown aside. We're allowed out for exercise. I just like being back in the gym.

5) Every day, deal with 20 things.

20 things is a concept my friend Jonella put me onto. Basically you put away / throw away / sort 20 things onve a day. It's amazing how much better dealing with 20 things at a time can be. I need to attack the spare room. This is a good way of doing it.

6) Get the Mason's books done by the end of the month.

A yearly chore. I will just have to sit myself down and do it - and find a printer as I can't print this off at work at the moment. (or maybe I could go in for a day... hmmmm)

There are some big things here, and some not so big things.

Wish me luck.

Today's Song:

Monday, June 29, 2020

Unpopular Opinions

I will say in advance, most of these are not my real opinions. But they are things I do think about and then let it all go into the big shade of grey that is my brain.

One of the great things about being a writer is sometimes you get to think about things from other people's points of view and perspectives. In writing a dystopian novel, you get to delve into the psyches of all sorts of weird and wonderful people and then you get to think like them. It can be a bit off-putting. They can also speak a bit of truth - albeit their own strange truth.

And then there is the internet - there is all sorts of crazy on there.

So I've been thinking, what sort of strange and odd things have come out recently.

Well here are a few of these things.

  1. The Coronavirus is nature's way of telling the human race to sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up and start re-evaluating our life choices. It's like humanity is a recalcitrant five year old being put in the naughty corner, and we're beginning to see all of the things we have to be responsible for. It's not just like we've forgotten to feed the goldfish or tidy our rooms - we've pretty much fucked up a planet. Maybe this is nature's way of giving humanity a very large time out. 
  2. The Dutch were onto something when they lynched, and ate, their Prime Minister in 1672
  3. Huntsman spiders are proof that God has no sense of humour. God is evil, vindictive and he talks and laughs like Janice from Friends
  4. Donald Trump has some pretty amazing Kool-Aid. This period of time is here to expose just who has drunk this stuff and has had 70 IQ points taken off them. 
  5. Okay, so we're a nanny state, but wouldn't it be great if they turned off the nanny state for a few months and the dickheads were allowed to take themselves out in grand Darwin Award style fashions. The place might not need a nanny state after that. 
  6. Churches should be taxed - to get any sort of tax exemption they need to open their books and show where the funds have come from and where they have gone. No open books, no tax breaks. 
  7. Australia is now an authoritarian police state. I blame John Howard for getting into bed with Pauline Hanson for this. 
  8. Anybody with direct religious affiliations to fundamentalist groups should be banned from parliament.Any parliament. 
  9. So should lawyers. 
  10. People over 80 should be refused heroic, curative medical treatment (Pallative is fine)
  11. They should relax some of the abortion regulations as well - anybody from the Pro-Life camp should automatically be charged with feeding, clothing, educating, loving and raising the children they insist are brought into the world. 
  12. Cats are better than dogs. 
  13. Men found guilty of mansplaining should be subjected to marathons of the the "Ladies, we need to talk" podcast. 
  14. Karl Stefanovic has something very large and juicy on a couple of the big wigs at Channel Nine - why else would they put him on the telly. 
  15. The current government are defunding the ABC because they are scared that they will show just how incompetent they are. 
  16. Rupert Murdoch is really a member of The Illuminati He's starting to look that way. 
  17. They should bring back reading, writing and maths as the prime focus of primary school. 
  18. In high school, every child should learn a language and a musical instrument and play in a bad for at least two years. 
  19. There should be a 'woke' meter. Those going into the red zone on the 'woke meter' should be made to live on the streets for a week. 
  20. Clementine Ford for PM. 

Okay, that was really quite fun. I should do more of this. 

Remember, I only subscribe to a few of these opinions. I'm just not saying which ones.

(PS The song is on point today) 

Today's Song:

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Thursday Thunks Meme

After a bit of a week of it - most of it spent sitting at the computer working, I now am behind in my writing. So it's going to be short answers the to the questions today. At least I've been for a walk, got a coffee, made my bed and done a load of washing. See, productive. All I have to do now is make the pumpkin soup. The pumpkin got roasted last night - now I just have to make the soup. Easy.

Strange questions today, but thanks must go to Bev at Sunday Stealing who does a great job sourcing these each week.

1. If you could be a Muppet, which would you be?

Jay and I are often referred to as Statler and Waldorf in pump class - as we shout stuff at the instructor from the back row. But I am rather fond of Rolf. I've always wanted to play the piano.

Image result for satler and waldorf
Image result for rolf muppet

2. Why is a chicken crossing the road in the first place??

I have no idea. It's going home? It's hungry? It's escaping the rooster's attentions?  No idea.

3. What's your favorite muscle?

I love the sternocleidomastoid.  The name rolls off your tongue nicely. It helps keep your head on straight, among other things.

Image result for sternocliodomastoid

4. Cheerios or Rice Krispies?

We don't have either cereal here - we have rice bubbles, which are Rice Crispies, which I don't like that much, and coco pops, which are just chocolate covered rice bubbles. We have a variation of cheerios, which are called Froot Loops, but they are revoltingly sweet. I'm more a Honey Nut Cornflakes sort of girl.

5. Is summer ever going to get here?

It's the middle of winter here - it is nearly July. Summer is a good four months away.

6. Have you ever had a utility turned off by mistake or some other reason besides weather or nonpayment?

A few years ago the whole state went through a meter upgrade, where they replaced every household electricity meter with a new smart meter across the whole network. I got home to no power when this was done - had to call a number and an engineer came to test the new meter and to reinstall the fuses. We had notice of this, but I didn't have power for a few hours as I waited for the guy to come.

7. What was your "last day" of something?

I gave up caffeine two years ago at Easter. Do I miss caffeine now? No, not at all. I now drink almond decaf lattes.

8. If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which one would you choose?

Suits, please, just so I can perve on Harvey.

9. Did you have any type of class trip, band trip, etc in high school? Where did you go, what did you do?

I went on snow camp in Year 11. Went for a week to Mount Hotham, stayed on the mountain and learned to ski. My lasting memory of the trip is how the INX album, The Swing played on repeat 18 hours a day. I've hated INXS ever since. I've never skied again either, more through lack of opportunity.

10. Do your feet smell?

Don't everybody's feet smell?  I shower twice a day and change my shoes and socks regularly, so they're normally not too bad.

11. Do you know how to french braid?

Yes. I can braid my own hair as well as other people's. It's a handy thing as friend's children love having their hair braided. People used to come to me at college to braid their hair.

12. Two guys are walking down the street. One drops his hat and reaches down to pick it up, the other kicks him in the ass. Do you laugh?

Probaby. Depends on the tone of the kick.

13. You wake up one morning and dogs are meowing and cats are barking - what are fish, elephants and crocodiles doing?

Fish are bubbling, elephants are honking and crocodiles are doing the roll.

14. You are going to your high school reunion. What award are you going to win?

I went to my 30th high school reunion. We didn't have prizes. It was held at the Willunga Football Club. If there was an award, it might be the 'still awkward award' (If any of my old school compatriots are reading this, maybe leave a comment.)

15. You find yourself stranded on a deserted island. Soon you find a laptop with a lifelong battery and internet connection, then you find a cave with an endless supply of food and a spring of fresh water. A cruise ship comes along to save you - do you get on it?

After the events if this year, there is NO WAY I am getting on a cruise ship. They used to be a great way to get gastro. (Stomach flu as the Americans call it). Now its a great way to get Coronavirus.  I'll stay on the island.

16. How many shortcuts do you have on your desktop?

I think I only use the standard keyboard shortcuts regularly:
  • Control-A
  • Control-X
  • Control-Z
  • Control-C
  • Control-V
  • Windows-L (To put the computer to sleep)
  • Shift-F7 (Thesaurus)
  • Control-Alt-Delete (the Karen buttons - so you get the manager)
  • Control-F
  • Control-G
  • Control-S
Oh, I use a few of these - needed for my job. 

17. I offer you a pie... the most delicious pie you have ever seen. You either have to eat the entire thing in one sitting or allow me to slam it into your face, which do you choose?

I think I'll eat the pie.

18. Are you a pen stealer?

Only from the stationery cupboard at work and from hotels. I have been known to walk away with a pen in my hand, but I do try return them.

19. A dude from China comes up and offers you German chocolate cake, French fries and a Boston cream pie... what color is your car?

My car is red.

20. Sometimes you just have to tap your foot to your favorite song - which tv series season finale are you watching?

Today's song:

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The No Computer Day

I'm having a next to no computer day. I'm sick of sitting in the same place for 8-12 hours a day, so today, I have taken a day away from the laptop. Okay, I had meditation and a coffee catch up with friends this morning, but after that I've:

  • Done my ironing
  • Went to the gym
  • Read a book
  • Gone for a walk
  • Done some food shopping
  • Done some tidying
  • Done a load of washing
  • Talked to the cat
  • Watched some telly
  • Roasted pumpkin to make some pumpkin soup tomorrow. 
And it's been nice.

But I don't feel like writing today, and I'm not going to berate myself for this. 

I think I might have an early night and read my book. It's cold out.

Tomorrow's Sunday. I'll have my writing questions so the blog is planned for.

I might get out my notebook and do some novel planning.

But I need to be away from the front of the computer for a while. As it looks like we'll be going back into lock down soon (mark my words) I'm going to enjoy this.

Today's song: 

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Mask and the Tram

I live in Melbourne, therefore I have been generally self-isolated 99% of the time for the last four months. I've been working from home since the middle of March. I can count the number of people who have been in my flat in this time on one hand. I can count the number of people who've stayed more than 20 minutes on one finger. I have a log of people I've seen over the last three months. I've followed the rules. I've installed the app on my phone. I maintain social distance. I'm not flauting the rules. I am not in in one of the hotspot areas. I know many people who have been tested for COVID-19, but thankfully none have had it. I've been badly inconvenienced by the lack of travel options and the closure of state borders. I've been fined by arsehole parking inspectors. And like most of the rest of Melbourne. I'm craving a bit of normality. Oh, and I want to see my bloke. It's painful.

But I'm playing by the rules, no feeding into the conspiracy theorists and getting on with things.

But I've broken protocol in one aspect of life.

Once a week I take the tram and go into town in the middle of the day to collect my mail. After the $165 parking fine, and my complete resistance to paying anywhere up to $10 for short term parking, I'm biting the bullet and getting on public transport.

I look at it this way. It's 20 minutes in and 20 minutes back. In the middle of the day there are few people on the tram - social distancing is easy. I have hand sanitiser on me. And I wear a mask when I'm on the tram. I get my business done - today that was the mail and having my eyebrows weeded, then getting out. No lollygagging.

See. Quick. Easy. Precautioned.

I found out the following things about masks today:
  • They're not overly comfortable.
  • Nobody looks at you funny when you wear them anymore.
  • Your glasses steam up if they sneak over the top of the mask.
  • They are great for making you disappear. 
I felt invisible. 

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My quick stop into the city took a bit longer than I wanted. The joys of the 109 tram. A couple of homeless people caused some hassles, making complete nuisuances of themselves. We ended up spending 15 minutes on Victoria Parade waiting for the cops to come, only to have them bolt as they arrived. 

But I got to hide behind my mask and read my book. 

Masks might be scratchy and uncomfortable, but they have their uses. 

So I eventually got back, scrubbing my hands clean with hand wash for longer than the prescribed 20 second when I walked in the door. And I went back to work, pleased that I got to hide in plain sight on the tram.

Today's Song:

Thursday, June 25, 2020

I should be in Adelaide

Just when you think you're coping with the Corona crap, it gets a bit personal.

I should be in Adelaide at the moment. More to the point, I should be down at Victor Harbor. I should be with my parents, sitting in a drafty hall, socially distanced from all around, saying goodbye to my uncle.

I should be with my family tribe. I should be able to offer comfort and condolences to my Uncle's kids, who are a year older and younger than me respectively. We've known each other for 50 years. We grew up together.

My uncle's son is a taciturn fellow. Bloke of few words, he is. I haven't seen him since his sister's wedding about eight years ago. We ended up taking him, his partner and my Uncle's old next door neighbour down to a winery between the ceremony and the reception. The drink prices were too steep at Weribee Mansion for the lot of them. It was a good afternoon. I was the designated driver for the afternoon (for the record, my Uncle, as I call him, is a long term family friend, but he's been my other dad since I was born.)

His daughter is a practical woman. Practical and strong. She lives in regional Victoria. We've made loose plans to catch up in the near future.

I should be keeping hold of my uncle's grand-daughter, as I did at my Aunt's funeral. Mind you, she was a distraught teenager back then. She's now a young mother. Time, and kids, change things.

I should be there to keep a check on my Mum, who despite her outward stoicism, will miss her old friend. She's known him since 1962.

I should be able to mill about with friends and family and provide funny stories and share reminiscences, as you normally do when you have a funeral. You have a cup of tea and a Cookie Man cookie or two (those Harlequins are awesome - and also remind me of my grandfather - he loved them). But that can't be done. Just as there will be 50 people at the funeral, the wake will be a stark affair.

I should spend the night at either my sister's place or at my Mum's place.

One small blessing out of this is that my Mum and Step-Dad don't have to worry about him any more. And they have been worried for years.

If my uncle knew just how much they worried about him, he'd be mortified.

But I can't be in Adelaide. I can't be in Victor Harbor. And I can't be at his funeral, where the numbers are capped at 50 and everybody needs to remain socially distanced.

I can't be there because I live in a state whose residents are denied entry to South Australia unless you quarantine for 14 days after. If you're found breaching quarantine, they fine you heavily. Besides, there are no planes going there at the moment. The limited flights are exorbitant in price.

This is a pandemic - it's not worth bucking the system. You put up and play by the rules.

They'll hold a memorial service for my uncle later - whenever later will be - where people can give him a proper send off - complete with a lot of decent wine and other alcoholic beverages. It will be a party. He'd like that.

But today, I am really feeling not being able to be at home with my family.

Because grief is a family affair.

Vale Uncle John - and thank you for always being there.

Today's Song:

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Best Self Card: The Bucket List

Strangely, as I'm writing at novel with death as a theme, I haven't made my main character  do a bucket list, and I probably should.

I don't have a bucket list - but this is a good opportunity to have a think about what I would like to do before I die.

Not surprisingly, most of my bucket list items have something do to with travel.

And as I'm tired and sick of sitting at this computer, I'm going to list this and move on.

So, the Best Self Card reads : Write down ten things for your bucket list.

Here we go - in no apparent order:

  1. To fit into a size 14 again. 
  2. To walk the whole of the Camino de Compostella de Santiago in Spain.
  3. To live in New York, preferably in Manhattan for three months. 
  4. To have dinner at Attica and Vue de Monde with some great people.
  5. To have a couple of books published and well received.
  6. To spend a month in Ubud doing Sound Healing training. 
  7. To learn French and Spanish to a decent level of fluency.
  8. To own a house with a back yard big enough to have a golden retriever and another cat or two. 
  9. To spend a good few months in Italy, Spain and the South of France just mooching around. 
  10. To return to Paris with a lover. 

Okay, there you go. No explanations, nothing really big in there. Just somethings I want to do.

Now I need to go to bed. It's been a big day and I'm knackered. But I'm back in the gym and that is good too.

(And interestingly, I did this card about six months ago- there are a few new things on here, a few that have dropped off - thought it felt familiar)

Today's song:

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Team Meeting

I like days like today.

The morning had me doing arbitrary work tasks. Nothing too arduous, a bit of writing, a bit of reading.  I made myself some lunch. Just a regular day.

Just after three, I went out, in preparation for my team meeting with my one up. This made a change from the normal team meetings which are held over our video conferencing app. My one up had to pay a visit to a local hospital for some tests. We decided to have our weekly meeting at a pub near the hospital. And why not. He was in the area. Kill two birds with one stone. We got our team meeting. He had his medical tests. We both got out of our home offices for a bit.

I'm also partial to holding meetings in coffee shops and pubs - they're normally very productive.

According to the website, the pub was open. It's a 20 minute walk to this pub.

This is the first visit I've had to a sit in place since restrictions eased. Being the middle of the afternoon, there was no trouble getting a place to sit.

We signed into the pub - over an app so people can't see your details, but making your details available for contact tracing if required.

We conducted our team meeting in the front bar. My colleague had a glass of the house red. I had a gin and tonic - the house gin - Prince Albert gin. An easy drinker. Nothing to do with genital

The fire was going on the other side of the room. There was a footy match on the telly. It was 3.30 on an Tuesday afternoon so there were only a handful of punters.

And for an hour and a half, things felt a little normal. Just being in a pub, with a drink in hand, on a midweek afternoon, talking to your colleague at a socially appropriate distance was the respite I needed. In our defence, we did talk about work for some of that time.

But it was just nice to feel a bit free for a little while.

Just like this scene from The Shawshank Redemption:

Today's song:

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Return

I went back to the gym today.

It's a bit different now to when we left it:

  • It's not a 24 hour gym at the moment. 
  • It's not open on Sundays at the moment.
  • You have to book ahead.
  • Yoy're not allowed in if you're sick. 
  • You have 50 minutes to go to do your workout.
  • They kick you out after 50 minutes - and they are strict about this
  • You have to the designated area you booked
  • You have to bring your own mat if you want to work out on the floor
  • You have to bring two towels - one for the equipment, one for your face
  • You must wipe down the equipment with wipes once your finished. 
  • There are no showers available for use
  • Nor water fountains - bring your own water
  • But you can use the loos
  • There is hand sanitiser stations all over the place
  • And it's cleaner than I've ever seen it
  • Classes are set at 45 minutes - and they are rare. 
  • Towels should be laundered immediately when you get home. 
And despite all of this,  I've never been more grateful to be inside the gym. 

We were in the pin-loaded area tonight as the grunty boy section was booked out. 

I greeted the leg press, leg extension machine, the cables, the cable row machine, the lat pull-down machine and the sled track like old friends. I've even missed the sled track.

And then, after 50 minutes, we said farewell to Cleo - and went on our way.

Jay and I still have our leased Body Pump equipment. As Pump classes are few and far between, we'll hang onto those for a few more weeks. It's been great having this fitness option.

But I've never been happier to be back somewhere - though working out with Cleo in the park has been wonderful - it's getting a bit cold at times.

So now, it's back to the gym. Let's hope everybody plays by the rules and we get this Corona genie back in its bottle. I don't want the gym taken away from me again. 

Today's Song: 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

15 Questions you thought you'd never ask

It's a busy Sunday. I have a tea party to go with and I want to go see my friend's kittens - because kittens make everything better. So, as with many other Sundays, it's a matter of do a question and do a job. Feels much better when jobs get done and I can go out and know that I can relax when I get back.

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

1. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?

I wouldn't do this. Everybody has a hard enough time as it is, I don't need to take that on.

(Toilet cleaned)

2. Which celebrity gets on your nerves the most, and why?

Anything Kardashian - I just don't see the point. Oh, and I don't like Mel and Kochie on the Channel Seven breakfast show - they're parochial and just plain awful. Why I only just tolerate the Today show in the morning. They a smidge less annoying and the entertainment section is good.

(Dishes washed)

3. If you were going to bury a time capsule, what would you put in it?

A couple of things - a Pandora bead, a Masonoc rubric, a myki card, a couple of restaurant receipts (maybe in some foreign languages) airline tickets / inventories and a bottle of gin. It's all a bit random, but may as well keep en guessing.

(Picked up a few things in the lounge room)

4. What is your saddest memory?

In recent memory, my Uncle and my favourite cat died. Both were incredibly sad. Both were also ready to go.

(The Cleaners have been paid for masons)

5. Would you rather be in your pajamas or a suit all day?

Definitely pyjamas. I hate wearing suits - I don't own one any more.

(Put on clothes for tea party)

6. What’s the strangest place you’ve ever gone potty?

Being brought up in the country, I've had to do my business in many a paddock. While in the city, I remember going to these unisex bathrooms at the top of the second tallest building in Melbourne - that was strange as you could see out the windows. Same goes for these bathrooms in a restaurant in Darwin - you could see out of the cubicles, but people couldn't see in. That was a bit of a head spin.

(Hallway hoovered)

7. How old were you went you had your first kiss?


(Kitchen hoovered)

8. Do you have any strange or unique phobias?

Nothing too out of the ordinary. Huntsman spiders and commitment are the two big ticket items.

(Lounge room hoovered)

9. If you could bring back one toy from your childhood, what would it be?

Lego. I still love every chance I get to play with Lego - love the stuff. And I'd rather go free range than follow any instructions.

(Rest of the house hoovered)

10. If you could be any Disney villain, which would you be?

I have a soft spot for Cruella De Ville - she's awesome. That and the Doberman from Up.

(Clean dished are put away)

11. If your life was a novel, what would the title be.

"Nevertheless, She Persisted" - that or "Potentially Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know".
(Organised the stuff on the couch)

12. What do you need more of in your life?

Cuddles. Time with people. Time in general. Ideas for this bloody novel.

(Put on makeup, ready for going out).

13. What are your top 3 quotes?

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

"If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all." (Shakespeare)

"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." (Ogden Nash)

(Hair brushed)

14. What do you want people to remember about you?

That I was kind and funny - in either order.

(Put out food for the cat as I'm not sure when I will be back)

15. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?

Not getting piano lessons. I still could do this. Also no doing drama at uni. Or making better use of my time at uni.

Today's song:

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Writing with Dev: Session Eleven

I'm not feeling the love today - and I have novel brain and I've been watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy all afternoon. So for my blog today I'm going to do a Dev session for a bit more balance.

I'm hoping we get to go to Dev's retreat in July. More on that later.

One minute

What is a song that I can't get out of my head?

I have a constant ear worm and the song varies, but if there is anything that gets stuck in my head more than anything, well that would be the Rolling Stones Emotional Rescue. I like to think about it with Ralph Fiennes Dad-dancing along to it. I get a lot of Rolling Stones' songs stuck in my head.

What am I wearing right now?

Blue underpants, black bra an comfy black jersey top and grey trackie dacks. No shoes, no makeup, no glasses.

What is a restaurant or shop I've been meaning to visit?

A lot of me wants to go to Attica. I'm really curious to see what the food is like. I'd also love to find some friends and go back to Cumulus Inc if it is still open once this lockdown is over. Or I'd love to find a really good Spanish restaurant that isn's Bomba.

Write down a mistake I am glad to have made in the last 12 months.

Not pressing the issue and going to see my uncle when I was in Adelaide in February. He died on Thursday.

When was the last time I was so excited I couldn't sleep.

I can normally sleep. The last time I was riled up and couldn't sleep was when I got my handbag stolen in February.

Five minutes - on teeth. (And this will be about one of my novel's characters)

Harry was very proud of his teeth. It was something that never sat well with me and my country sensibilities as we were lucky to see a dentist once a year. Being brought up in the country, we didn't have flouridated water, so lots of kids had chalky teeth. Thankfully, never having problems, my teeth were jsut my teeth. Vaguely straight, sort of white. I didn's smile with my teeth as I hated my gummy smile, but Harry... Harry has a movie star's smile. Harry, with his Scotch College sensibilities and flamboyant ways loved everything about his smile. On a good day, he had Roger Moore's smile - which would probably look a bit long in the tooth as time went on, but he was Harry, and Harry had a 2000 kilowatt smile that would blind everybody - men and women were not immune to his grin, in which you could see each of his 30 teeth. He had two wisdom teeth removed to make way for the three years of braces he endured as a teenager.

Write about my first experience of Art: 

My grandmother took me to see Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado when I was about five years old. It was staged at the Festival Theatre in Adelaide and we went to a matinee. It was a hot day and I was dressed up in my best frock for a five-year-old, complete with the long white socks and black patent shoes. My sister was only a baby, so she couldn't go. I remember going into the auditoroum and sitting in our seat, which were up in the dress circle. My grandmother loved theatre, particularly musical theatre and opera. If her circumstances were different she would have studied at the conservatorium, but her father died when she was twelve and the family didn't have the money to send her there.

I don't remember anything of the performance other than feeling overwhelmed by the whole experience. The music, the costumes, the fact that a story was being played out in front of me, just for me. The songs were fantastic. There were all sorts of strange characters - Nanky Poo, The Lord High Executioner. I loved the three little maids from school, Peep-Bo, Yum-Yum and  Pitti-Sing. The orchestra and the sound was electric. Amazing things for a young kid from the suburbs to witness. And then it was over and I went back to my suburban  house in what is now the middle Adelaide Southern suburbs.

All I know is that this experience went on to shape my love of theatre. I've had an affinity with the theatre from that day on. Any chance I get to go to live performance, I'm there. There was something inherenty in the risk people take when they get on stage which thrills me. I can only admire performers. The pure adrenaline they must feel as the walk on stage.

All I know is that this was one of the most formative days of my life.

My grandmother helped raise an aesthete.

And I'm still not going to apologise for this.

And now this writing with Dev is over, I'm going to go onto my novel.

Today's Song:

Friday, June 19, 2020

A Trip on a Tram

Today I pulled on my big girl pants and hopped on a tram to go into town. I didn't feel like taking the car in and running the gauntlet of finding a street park paying stupid money to park the car for 20 minutes. And looking at it, being on the tram, in the middle of the day, social distancing is easy, the air is flowing and you can keep touch points to a minimum.

Unfortunately, the world goes on, cheques need to be banked, mail needs to be collected and other assorted and you can't do those things from the computer in your front room.

It was also an incredibly lovely winter's day. 17 degrees, sunshine and a light breeze. It's all going to shite tomorrow, so it was too good an opportunity to waste.

Knowing the trams are pretty empty during the day, I waited until my lunchtime meeting was over then gathered my bits and pieces. Hand sanitiser, check. Cheque to bank, check. Handbag, check.

I applied eyeliner and mascara - I think I've done this twice in the time I've been off. It feels strange. I used to not leave the house without it for thirty years. Now it feels foreign.

The myki was dug out from the bottom of my handbag - other things which have barely been touched in the last three months. I threw a book into the handbag, grabbed my phone and keys and left.

It was strange being back on a tram.

It was stranger being back in town, walking around. There are more people around now. There are more shops open. The first stop was the Bendigo Bank on Collins Street to bank the cheque. They were nice to deal with (and the branch is very cool, stuck in a wing of one of the arcades. That was over in two minutes.

A walk through the streets, through the Block and Royal Arcades, over to Myer to pick up something I can only get there. Myer has changed. There are few people there. There are in lanes and out lanes. My eyebrow girl is back from where ever she went when the store was closed - I'll make an appointment to see her soon - I'm starting to look like John Howard again.

Then to the post box on Bourke Street, shouting a hello to Tom, who's been behind the counter since God was a boy. Got the mail.

Bought some face masks at the chemist on the way back to the tram. I think they might get some use in the future,

Ordered some lunch from the local Vietnamese on Uber Eats to collect on the way home (It was a prawn dumpling kind of day)

Collected said prawn dumplings once I hopped off the tram.

And I went home.

And it was all enough of a novelty to write about. It was nice to feel nearly normal once again.

Today's song:

Thursday, June 18, 2020

And welcome to Mercury Retrograde...

Mercury went retrograde last night.

Yep. Breathe in, breathe out, run for cover.

Mercury Retrograde Has Begun! | HuffPost

Mercury Retrograde you ask?

You obviously haven't known me for very long. Mercury Retrograde is a big thing. And it may be seen as hippy dippy crap, but I have a grudging respect for when the planet Mercury starts to  look like is moving backwards across the sky. It happens three times a year for about three weeks. During this time communication goes belly up. So you can expect things like:
  • Communication going out the window
  • Technology problems
  • Delays in transport
  • It takes more time to negotiate and finalise matters
  • Misunderstandings
  • The inability to get agreement on what should be easy.
As a writer, I dislike Mercury Retrograde as thought get blurred more than usual. As a technical writer, I really dislike Mercury Retrograde as it is next to impossible to get agreement and sign off on anything. 

As a human being - Mercury Retrograde is just rubbish, although it is a reason to delay, ponder, postpone and generally get out of things for a few weeks. People think I'm a nutter anyway, but I've been known to say, "Sorry, can't come, Mercury Retrograde - won't make it anyway..." is if it's a good excuse.

Then again,  I know I feel things more deeply during these three week periods when things tend to go to crap. You're allowed to feel a bit more during this time. I now in my astrological natal chart, I have a five planet stellium in Virgo (Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto) they affect each other -so things really go a bit mad around these times.

As an introvert, I can cope with it, as it allows me to sit in my own shit and ponder things. It's a time for digging deep, keeping your nose clean and trying to stay out of trouble - which, when you're me - is no mean feat. 

The Good News: Mercury Retrograde is officially over. The Bad News: Everything is now your own fault again. Spiritual Coach, Spiritual Awakening, Spiritual Life, Mercury Direct, Bad News, Funny Memes, Spirituality, Feelings, Think

This Mercury Retrograde has come with a sting. I got news at lunchtime that my uncle had passed away this morning. Of course there is a part of me that wants to do a border run to get over for the funeral next week. But I won't and I can't. I wanted to do a border run to go see him. But I didn't - it's not worth the hassle and the eight hour drive both ways an the fines are gianormous and I'd never forgive myself if I had somehow spread this shitty disease.

But I have a right to sit on the couch tonight and eat ice cream tonight. It's not just Mercury Retrograde. I'm sad.

But the planets are giving this sadness an edge.

Today's Song:

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

In the Doghouse

I'm in the doghouse with the cat at the moment.


It's all because of a pill.

Giving a cat a pill is an art from. There are a lot of poeple who can't give a cat a pill. I'm not one of these people.

But rather than taking the cat into the Vulcan death grip and throw it down his throat (which is a trick I learned in ambulance cadets some 35 years ago - and it's a very handy skill to have) , I thought I'd go the suckers route and crush up the pill, putting it in his wet food.

Needless to say, he knew something up. I was looked at like I was the worst person in the world. He ate half his wet food (this never happens - he normally wolfs it down) - something he lives for, before retreating to the bedroom, curling up under his blanket and biting me when I went in for a pat a bit later. He doesn't bite hard - just a nip to tell me I'm the worst person in the world.

I went to bed around midnight. The cat left the bed for the living room. This is normal. He snuggled back in behind me knees around 1 am. This is normal too.

At 4.30 am, he snuggled up in my shoulder, purring. He normally does this at a more sociable hour. I think this was punishment.

And when I got up this morning, his food bowl was clean and he was hungry and it appeared I'd been forgiven for my error in judgement.

And he doesn't need to have a worm tablet until September, thank goodness.

Stroppy bugger.

But despite his foibles, I wouldn't give him up for the world.

And now I'm off to bed after an early start and a broken night's sleep.

Today's song:

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What I Got From Writing Group Tonight

It's either write about writing group or write about my watch strap breaking this morning.

Writing group lucked out.

We're on school holidays at the moment. The Faber Academy have given us until 21 July off from class. We all need a break. It's been intense - really intense over the last three months. It's also been awesome. The group of people are fantastic. We're all writing different things. A couple of cyberpunk writers, a couple of historical novelists, a few fantasy writers - and me - and I come under the guise of literary dystopia - fun fun fun. Oh yes, and the woman writing Nana Porn - which I love she's funny.

So we made a  pact, over the holidays, that we would meet on Tuesday, check in, do a bit of workshopping and catch up.

Tonight was the first session of our independent workshopping. No tutors, just us.

And it was really useful.

There were only four of us there. Our post-modernist, one of the historical writers, a fictionalised biography writer and me.

I've been working on a scene which I put in this morning - its a bit heavy. It involves a baby's funeral (I said it was a bit black). I needed to write this out. I've had this story in me for over 25-years. For the novel, it's describing what my protagonist does not want.

On the good side of things, the gang normally like my stuff - and most of what I've shown so far has been blackly comical - this piece not so much.

I got my feedback. And it's good to get pointed feedback.

So, to fix my piece, some of the things I need to do include:
  • Change the scene from high winter to high summer.
  • Try and get my savage voice back - which is a bit hard when you're writing about a baby's funeral.
  • Look at the structure of the piece. 
  • It was questioned as to why I needed  the scene - I got to defend this.
  • Maybe amp up the friends - I have my main character.
  • Maybe go on a recon mission to either Preston, Melbourne or St Kilda cemetery to get a better view of things. Recon can be good. 
  • Otherwise keep going. 
So more work to do.

But it is wonderful to have people to write with who want to see the best for you and your writing - just as I wish the same for them.

I'm so lucky to be on this course. One of the best things I've ever done to date.

Today's Song:

Monday, June 15, 2020


Blarney and Barney have two new kittehs.

She got them from the second-hand kitteh shop, but hers are littler than mine.

They came home to their place on Saturday. It's taken two small kittehs to take Maow Maow's place.

Their names are Kylo and Rey. The Units named them after Star Wars characters.

They are from the same litter.

They are tabbies. Kylo has spots. Rey has stripes. Kylo is slow to warm. Rey is bolshie. Both sat on my chest and purred when I picked them up.

And as much as I love my darling Lucifer, there is something about kittehs which are just the best. And they will come and stay with me one day in the near future, and heaven help the planet then...

So these are my new friends Kylo and Rey. I think they are pretty awesome. And they will grow into their collars one day.

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Rey asleep on my shoulder. 

Today's song:

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Household Meme

Get this done now. Get some real writing done, then go out to Blarney's - I'm making dinner while I also get to acquaint myself with their new kittens. So I best get on with this. The cat is on the windowsill trying to help.

Questsion, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing.

 1. How many gravy boats do you have in your kitchen?

I don't own a gravy boat. I can't remember the last time I made gravy. When I was a kid I think.

2. Do the clothes in your laundry basket need ironing?

No. I finished the ironing last night - all done.

3. What is the last thing you wallpapered?

Other than the wallpaper on my computer screen, I've never wallpapered anything. I'm not a bad interior painter though.

4.  Wooden floors or carpet?

I'd love to have wooden floorboards in the flat - but I'm fine with the carpet.

5.  Why do we put out guest towels if no one is supposed to use them?

I only leave out guest towels when I have guests.

6.  If your spatula could talk, what would it say about your duvet?

That is a really stupid question. Next.

7.  Have you replaced the batteries in your smoke alarms this year?

Yes. It's law that the landlord come and do it annually. The smoke alarm guy came in February.

8. If you could put thyme in a bottle, what is the first thing that you'd like to do?

I have thyme in a small container ready to go out to Blarney's with me tonight - I put thyme in my chicken and mushroom risotto.                                     

9. Do eggs really crack or do they merely have a nervous breakdown?

Daft question. Next.

10. Why are you whipping the butter? What did it ever do to you?

Whipped butter spreads more easily than the normal stuff that comes out straight from the fridge. This is good enough reason.

11. Do your spoons spoon in the drawer? Have you ever noticed? And more importantly, if wooden spoons spoon do they get splinters?

I look at people with tidy cultery drawers and ponder how they have so much time to do such strange things in their lives.

I have three wooden spoons. One for sweet stuff, one for savoury stuff and one for Asian cooking. Saves getting strange flavours in the sweet stuff.

12. You hear: "Dumpling, my Dumpling, come hither." The candles are lit, the fondue is dipping, the Godiva is pouring, the scallions are steaming and the music is playing.....but wait, the windows are open.  Why did you close them?

No idea what they are talking about. Next.

13.  Do you need a recipe to cook or are you a bohemian chef?

I'm a bit of both. Normally I'll cook with a recipe if I'm making something new - then I'll wing it after that.

14. Is your pot black?

I have a black cat shaped flowerpot on the kitchen windowsill.

15. What is the sexiest spice or condiment in your cabinet?  What makes it so?

Cardamom. It's just decadent and unexpected.

Today's song:

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Movie Review: Artemis Fowl

Movie: Artemis Fowl
Platform: Disney Plus
Stars: 2.5

I haven't done a movie review in months, and it's a bit dissapointing that it's a bit of a mess of a film I'm reviewing.

Artemis Fowl was released on the Disney Plus streaming service yesterday. It's probably good that it went straight to streaming.

As a fan of the books, which are brilliant, I have to say this really doesn't do anybody a favour. Directed by Kenneth Branagh (be still my barely beating ovaries), and under the Disney badge, it follows the story of Artemis Fowl, a 12-year-old evil child genius who has absent parents, a mischevious nature and a bit of an axe to grind.

But really, any relation to Eoin Colfer's wonderful books pretty much stops there.

The thing I love about these books is they are wonderfully nuanced. Artemis is a bit of a 'poor little rich boy', living in a mansion with a Butler called Butler. Below the earth, the underworld is in a bit of a mess. Sargeant Holly Short from the LEP Recon Unit is in trouble with work. She's told to rejuvenate, as all good fairies must do, at a sacred tree, where she is captured by Artemis. And then all hell breaks loose.

In the novels, there are some wonderful characters who inherit the underworld. Mulch Diggums, the dwarf, Commander Root, the head of the LEP Recon Unit, Foley, a centaur who runs the IT department and a lot of other characters who are just wonderful.

For purists, this movie doesn't cut the mustard, at all. They play with too much of the storyline, it's all over the place. Butler, who's described as Eurasian, is played by a black dude (and there is nothing wrong with this, but it was jarring as a lover of the books - saying that Nonzo Anozie was perfectly decent as Butler). Judy Dench sounded like she's been sucking on a pack of Marlboros a day for the last 20 years - and she was fine too. Ferdia Shaw and Lara McDonnell were fine in the roles of Artemis and Holly Short, as was Colin Farrell playing Artemis Senior. Oh, and Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums was good. They managed his special trait well - you have to know the books to know what this is - and in the books, this is hilarious.

Acting aside, which was adequate, what irritated my friends and I was how much they diverted from the storylines in the book. Gone was so much of what made the books great. The nuanced story lines, the humour, the fun was all gone and given over to some pretty impressive computer generated effects. It's obvious the movie was made for 3D cinema release, and this is where the money was spent.

But for a movie which has been in development for 20 years, it's disappointing. Eoin Colfer thought he would be dead before the movie ever came out. I think he'd be a bit embarrassed by this.

Kenneth Branagh's direction is adequate, in spite of the materials. I feel sorry for him, Judi Dench and Colin Farrell for having their names to this.

But I really do recommend reading the books. They are wonderful.

If you want to see this on Disney Plus, do so, but if you've read to books, you're going to be disappointed.

Today's song:

Friday, June 12, 2020

Lemon Delicious Pudding

It appears I have a new go to dish.

I'm the friend who brings dessert when I go round to friends' places for dinner.

I'm known for it.

My cassata, an ice cream confection with brandied cherries in cream, chocolate muddled ice cream, vanilla ice cream and almond toffee is pretty incredible.

I make a mean chocolate cake according to Blarney's boys.

Alice loves my lemon polenta cake - that always goes down a treat too.

But I've now started making that old standard from my childhood - Lemon Delicious Pudding. (Recipe in the link),

I used to love this as a kid. I love anything lemon. Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Slice, Lemon Gelato... but Lemon Delicious Pudding is awesome. It's not too heavy. You can have it with lashings of ice cream or cream with it. It is very morish. It's just great.

And it's easy to make.

Today, I went old school. As I was working from home, the pudding needed to be made between edits and meetings, so I was doing everything by hand in front of my computer. Creaming the butter and sugar, grating the lemon peel, adding the egg yolks, folding in the flour, the milk, the lemon juice. Then pulling out my grandmother's egg beater, whipping the egg yolks into submission and folding them into the batter.

My grandmother would be very proud of me. No electrical equipment required.

But then again, I'm a baker at heart, it comes to me easily.

I'm just glad I get to bake for my friends.

Today's Song:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dear Cat

Dear Cat,

I am trying to do some work. I know I sit at this computer a lot of the day, but really, seriously mate, I can't spend most of my morning playing stick and ribbons with you. I know you like to jump about. I love that you love to jump like a basketball player, leaping after the ribbons. I love that you cart your stick and ribbons around the flat. but presenting it at my feet for me to pick up and play, sorry mate - later.

Just as sitting next to me clawing my thigh is not going to let me do your bidding. The answer to your  pleadings and ministrations are as follows:

  • You have been fed this morning.
  • I've sorted out your whakaparu (Blarney calls it a shitter. I also call it a poo box)
  • I can only scratch you behind the ears for a few seconds.
  • Spearing my thigh with your claws will get you nowhere
  • Walking on my keyboards will not mean you get to talk to my workmates
  • Sitting on the windowsill next to me is preferable to spearing me with your claws
  • And if you've eaten all of your pussy flowers (kibble) you can wait a bit. I don't want you getting too chonky
I will say that I'm rather enamourned with how you snuggle under the blanket on he bed. I love how you leave a warm spot for me at night. I like how you sleep behind me knees - that you snuggle in during the night using my calves for a pillow. 

And I especially love how every now and then, you jump up into my lap, then crawl up on my shoulder, snuggle in and start to purr. You don't stay long, but I love these little cuddles. 

Okay, I love you dearly, my lovely second-hand small panther.

Even if my thighs are ripped to shreds and you're a bloody pain when I'm on the phones. 

Lots of love,

P (Your adopted Mum)

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Today's song: