Saturday, October 31, 2020

October Check in - November Goals

Happy Beltane! (It's Samhain in the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane here). 

And I've managed to write every day for ten months. Who knew this could be done?

It's been a funny weekend so far. It's goal day - not that I feel like setting goals, but in line with this year it needs to be done.

Today's been a down day. I got some unseen, unexpected news last night. An old friend had passed. By no means a close friend, but somebody I knew in London, a lovely person, somebody who was always there in the background. I hadn't heard from her in ages. As with most things now days, you can stalk people on Facebook. I went to her page, only to find she died in March. It's just sad. Cancer takes another lovely soul. I left a message on her page, under a post her ex's post. He came back to me, and mentioned this song that we all liked (Wall of Voodoo's Mexican Radio - I've made it today's song.) But I found that a bit freaky finding out like this. May she rest in peace. 

Anyway, It's goal day. I have to break October up into two sections. Before the 20th and after the 20th. 

Before the 20th, I was on track. After the 20th, with a looming deadline and a few stresses and some dodgy weather, things fell by the wayside.

So October's goals were as follows: 

Continue reading 50 pages a day.

Before 20 October, I managed this. After, not so much. However I did read four books:

  • Louis de Berniere's A Partisan's Daughter
  • Carrie Tiffany's Exploded View
  • Tony Birch's The White Girl
  • Kate Mildenhall's The Mother Fault
All the books were great.

Exercise for an hour a day.

Before October 20 - yes. After October 20, things fell apart. 

Get the mason's books done. 

This long weekend, I promise. I can at least drop them off to where they need to go now as the five kilometre radius restriction is over. 

Write 500 words of the novel each day.

Didn't happen, but I kicked a few other goals with my writing - including submitting my anthology piece. I've got this long weekend to work on the submission to a publisher. Oh what fun. 

Keep discretionary spending down to an absolute minimum.

This I did. I've been good at this. 

Get a hug from somebody who isn't a cat.

Managed this too, albeit, a touch non-compliant with he current COVID restrictions. I had dinner at Jonella and Stav's place when I had my haircut. This was a bit of a breach. I got a couple of hugs that night. I like hugs. I miss hugs. I haven't made many breaches over the last few months. We've all be in lockdown. We've been near nobody diagnosed with COVID. So ner. 

And November goals:

10000 steps five times a week (at least)

Time to get back on the wagon with exercise. It makes my back feel better. This is on top of any training / pump / classes. It will be tracked. Needs to be done. 

Have the mason's books done by 4 November.

Hard deadline on this. I just have to bite the bloody bullet and do it. Thankfully there is a long weekend for this. I hate paperwork. I should also get the Peppercorn lease for the Church done too while I'm here. 

Work on the novel every day for at least 20 minutes. 

This should be achieveable. First thing off the list, tidy up 10000 words for that publisher - then go from there. I want this. I need this in my life. The Faber crew are meeting up once a fortnight from hereon in. 

Read four books:

I like having the reading challenge. Keeps me interested. 

Read ten pages of Ulysses a day.

Another bite the bullet job. I've had a copy of Ulysses by my bed for years. I'd like to move it on. Besides, I love Modernist literature.

And it's back on the no gluten, sugar or dairy regime.

Also needs to be done. I just feel better when I do this. I no longer drink caffeine, and my alcohol intake is minimal, so they don't register in the equation. 

So there we go. Wish me luck. 

Today's Song: 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Oh, yes...

 I had a massage tonight - first one in five months.

My back has been misbehaving for the last week - my neck stiff, shoulders up near my ears and a lingering ache around the T11-L4 area. This is the longest I've gone without a massage since I started massaging back in the mid-nineties. 

Basically I've been wound up like a two bob watch.

And tonight, after work, I got a massage.

A few things have changed at my Allied Health Practice. You have to keep your mask on. You need to fill out a form. You get your temperature taken. But that's about as invasive as it gets. 

But to get a little bit of human contact after five months has done my head in. All I'm good for is lying on the couch, hydrating and getting an early night.

It's just really nice to have things getting back to normal once again.

Even the earworms are back.

The little bit of human contact meams more than anything to me.

And now I'm off to bed. The other good thing about having a regular massage therapist - they ban you from sitting at a computer every now and then. 

I was givend 20 minutes screen time to write this, then told to go relax.

So I will. 

Today's Song: 

Thursday, October 29, 2020


 Well, the button has been pressed. 

The head shot has been put on the email too. 

Ive spent ten days pouring over parsing, looking at comma placement, taking out stuff, putting it back in, fixing typos, looking at logic and generally turning myself inside out.

But my anthology piece is submitted and there is nothing I can do about it now.

I've done my best. 

I got to use the words bureaucratic misanthrope. 

It is set at 1992 words - not bad for a 2000 word hard limit (They said they would let us go 20 words over, and just to finish a sentence).

And I'm worried and horrified about putting this in, but sometimes you just have to say enough.

It's as good as I'm going to get it.

And this all starts over again on Saturday when I have to polish 10000 words over the weekend for this publisher.

Kill your darlings. Polish the turds.

This being a writer thing is not for sissies.

Today's Song:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Oh, that's right...

 It's been six months - and I'd forgotten about all of this.

Up early, I had to take my car out to the dealership for a service. My car gets serviced in Mulgrave - about 20 kilometres away.

With everything opening up, the traffic has increased. 

Ah, yes, now I remember. 

Thankfully, it didn't take five minutes to get out the front gate. In peak traffic times, it's not uncommon to have to wait to pull into the street.

I got to Burnley Street. Ah yes, that's right. At any given time you have to wait at least two light cycles before you get across Swan Street. Today was no different. But for the last two months, this hasn't been the case. Same goes with the MacRobertson Roundabout. It wasn't banked up, but it wasn't a matter of going screaming around the corner either.

Then there was the Monash - which has been sleepier than a country lane for the last few months. It was back to being a dodgem cars rink at quarter to eight this morning. I've never been one for driving on the freeway during peak times, and though it wasn't back to full peak traffic, it was busier than I've seen it in months. 

After leaving the car at the dealership for a service, I took the loan car, an up-spec Mazda CX-30 home, finding the traffic was okay. For a school day, going down Barkers Road, it was moving - maybe the schools have COVID restrictions on the drop offs. Maybe the times are different. The roads, while busy, were clearer.

But besides the flowing, yet busy traffic, the best part of day was having lunch, with a colleage, in a cafe. Somebody else cooked our lunch, and we sat at a table and ate it. And it was spectacular. 

And I did what we used to to. I took a photo of lunch and stuck it on Instagram. 

And I life feels a bit more normal once again.

Today's song: 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The last day of the countdown

Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty-Six

Mood: Good

So we're coming out of this lockdown. 

It feels foreign. But it also feels good.

I can take out my daily monitor at the top of the blog.

Okay, we're not out of the woods just yet, but things are going to go back to something that looks a bit more like normal.

So from tomorrow:

  • Retail will be open again
  • It will take five minutes to get out of the front gate because of the traffic
  • I can get a massage (booked for Friday night 6 pm)
  • I can have my eyebrows dealt with (booked from Monday 2 pm)
  • I can get my legs waxed. (Still to be booked in)
  • Pubs and restaurants are open under conditions
  • We can visit people in our 25 kilometre radius - one visit per day, once a day
And all this is good.

Cinemas still aren't back - with no comment as to when they are opening again.

But we're getting there.

And despite the fact there are still some restrictions, it does feel great. 

So, goodbye lockdown tick off - I'm glad you've been up there. There have been ups and downs and I'm glad you've been there as a reminder of how far we have come over the last eighty six days.

I feel just a little proud of my adopted city.

Today's Song:

Monday, October 26, 2020

That feels better

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty-Five

Mood:  Good.  It's the first day since 9 June where we've had no new COVID Cases. 

Maybe it's because we had no new COVID cases overnight and nobody died.

Maybe it's because I had my hair cut and coloured on the weekend and I don't feel so drab any more. 

Maybe it's because I sat in my bubble house last night with a sleeping cat on my lap while watching Melbourne Storm beat the Penrith Panthers, and felt remotely normal last night. 

Maybe it's because I woke this morning to the cat fast asleep between my knees, all snuggled up - rather than being woken by the critter jumping all over me. 

Maybe it's because I got to see a friend who I haven't seen since July on Saturday. 

Maybe it's because I'm learning to turn off the whingers, who drive me spare.

Maybe it's because my anthology piece is under 2000 words and I'm fairly happy with it.

Maybe it's because the sun is shining. 

Maybe it's because the washing is done.

Maybe it's because the cat didn't throw up, despite best efforts.

Maybe it's because next week is a three day week.

But life seems okay today. 

Today's Song: 

Sunday, October 25, 2020


Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty-Four

Mood:  Good - mind you, I don't think we'll be getting as many restrictions lifted as we thought today. 

I have to confess, I find doing the weekly Sunday Stealing questions a bit strange at this time of year because, being Australian, we don't have the same 'holidays' and we really don't have the Halloween thing going. It's become popular with young kids over the last twenty years, but Halloween falls into the category of 'Things Americans do' along with things like Thanksgiving, the NRA and strange elections where they try to stop people voting. We regularly look over to America and scratch our heads.

We have to wait a few more days to hear if this lockdown is getting relaxed further. Been slightly delayed due to an outbreak in the Northern suburbs. Seven new cases a day. I'm hoping they're on top of this. I want the shops to come back. 

Anyway, enough of that. These questions were provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What is your favorite spooky song

Oh, I don't really have one, but I love this version of the Ramones classic with Lurch and Wednesday from The Addams Family.

2. What do you want etched on your tombstone?

'Nevertheless, she persisted.'

3. Who is your favorite horror movie villain

I don't really watch horror films, but I do like the rabbit in Donnie Darko. That's about as horror as I go. Oh and the father in Parasite was pretty creepy.

4. Have you ever seen a ghost?

Seen, no, felt yes. We had a ghost in our house in London. She was a regular occurence. Others saw her, I just felt her presence. 

5. Do you prefer gore, thrillers or supernatural movies?

Of all these three genres, I'm can do thrillers. Some some supernatural stuff is fine, like say Arrival - which I love. The supernatural movies have to be really well made for me to like them (case in point, I do Marvel)

6. What is your favorite scary book?

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is terrifying in places. I also love the Lemony Snicket series of Unfortunate Events. They're great fun. 

7. Have you ever had a tarot card reading?  Was it accurate?

I read tarot to a professional level - and I've had readings that were accurate to a point then those which are very accurate. You should never go into a tarot reading and be surprised. They don't really tell the future. 

8. Are you superstitious?

A little, but it is not debilitating. 

9. Have you ever used a voodoo doll?

No. That amounts to bad karma. 

10. Have you ever participated in a seance?

Hell no. Also something I'm not interested in looking into.

11. Have you ever heard voices when no one was around except you?

Once or twice. Normally after somebody has died, I've been 'visited' for a few minutes. It doesn't freak me out - it just is. My Dad visited when he passed. 

12. What is your favorite Halloween candy?

This is Australia. We don't have Halloween candy - or we have it, but I've never paid any attention to it. 

13. What was your most memorable Halloween costume?

None. Never been to a Halloween party as we don't have them. My best fancy dress costume was when I took a bit of lemon tree to a come as your favourite Shakespearean character, and I called myself Burnham Wood. 

14. Do you like going through haunted houses (not real ones)?

Not for me. Too jumpy to be pawed by strangers dressed up as skeletons. 

15. If someone dared you to spend the night in a haunted house (a real one) would you do it?

Maybe, maybe not. Depends how comfortable the amenities and how creepy it felt. 

Today's song:

Saturday, October 24, 2020

It's Haircut Day

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty-Three (With a few restrictions lightened and lifted)

Mood:  Flat

After 14 weeks, a good eight weeks after my roots touch ups should have been done, I'm having my hair cut and colours. 

I can't really complain - where many of my friends are sporting skunk stripes, I've just got to deal with a few stray greys near my temples. My hair is currently0000000000o99000000000000000000000000000

Today's song:

Friday, October 23, 2020

Desert Island Discs

Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty-Two (With a few restrictions lightened and lifted)

Mood:  Flat

It's a public holiday - and a pointless one at that. It's humid, but thankfully not hot. I'm working on a couple of CVs - not what I really want to be doing, but I need a day or so away from the novel.

And I don't have much to write about, unless you count the cat bashing up his stuffed Nemo. He appears to like bashing up Nemo. 

Anyway, I have nothing much to say, so I thought I'd have a think about the five albums I'd take if I stuck on a desert island - with something to play them on. It's better than whinging about a public holiday which doesn't feel like a public holiday. 

So, what would I take if I was stuck on an island? 

There are some hard choices to be made. But here we go. 

1)    The Hoodoo Gurus - Stoneage Romeos

I've loved this band forever - in particular, this album. You can dance to it, and sing along. It's got great songs, like Leilani, Tojo, I Want You Back and I was a Kamikaze Pilot on it. It's fun. It cheers me up. Why wouldn't I take it? Seriously great Australian Music. 

2) The Pixies - Surfer Rosa / Come On Pilgrim

It was a tossup between this and Doolittle. You wouldn't expect me to go to a desert island without at least one Pixies album. Little known fact - Doolittle is the perfect gym workout album - just as good as The Best of Blondie. Really gets your heart rate up. But this has to be the seminal Pixies album. Fun, gritty, danceable and jsut awesome. Besides, how can you survive on an island without Where is my mind? being played on repeat?

3) Searching for Sugarman - Rodriguez

I was late to the Rodriguez bandwagon - probably because I wasn't raised in South Africa - but this is phenomenal stuff. It hails from the late 720s. Rodriguez is a poet and a musician - and he's sublime. This comes along as something more mellow to while away the nights. 

4) Rum, Sodomy and the Lash - The Pogues

This is my angry music - what I play when I need to let off steam. Give me a tin whistle, a fiddle, a bodhran and the musical stylings of Shan McGowan and I will calm down in a bit. There is something about Irish music which cleanses the soul. I'm sad to say, I must be on my way, so buy me beer and whisky cos I'm going far away.... I normally play this LOUD going down the Monash Freeway late at night. It's great. 

5) Ten Summoner's Tales - Sting

This is my album. It's got a special place in my heart - early nineties wonder stuff. It has to be there.

It's funny how we don't listen to albums any more end to end. I'll admit, I'm a big one for best of compilations, but there are some albums which are just too sublime and need to be played regulary and often,

On my also ran list includes: 

  • Transformer - Lou Reed
  • Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morrisette
  • Nevermind - Nirvana
  • I do not want what I have not got - Sinead O'Connor
  • Some Otis Redding
  • Parklife - Blur
  • Some Dire Straits
  • Lots of Paul Simon / Simon and Garfunkel
  • When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - Billie Eilish
  • Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads
  • Some Radiohead
  • Some Coldplay
  • So - Peter Gabriel
  • Californication - Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  • The Blind Leading the Naked - The Violent Femmes
  • Dummy - Portishead
  • Synchronicity - The Police
  • An Awesome Wave - Alt-J
Oh who am I kidding. I couldn't survive on five albums. 

Never to mind - and thank goodness for streaming services. I hope the island has good wifi.

Today's Song: 

Thursday, October 22, 2020


Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty-One (With a few restrictions lightened and lifted)

Mood: Level

I love the melting pot which is found in corporate Australia. 

The meeting started at 9.30.

The names on the board are a complete hotch-potch - different ethnicities, different accents. All Australians. 

The meeting convener hails from Singapore or Malaysia. The sing-song tones are barely a lilt, her voice moderated from a few years a large consultancy firm somewhere. There's an MBA in there too from the jargon she's speaking. She's accomplished. 

The second speaker is an estuary boy - full Essex or Kent. All f's where there should be a th. A final G is turned into a K. Final T's are dropped. Nuffink' like i'! No wo' I meeen? I wonder how often he polishes his sovereign ring. The fellow's oriental cat presents his arsehole to the meeting. Choice. 

The next speaker hails from India. She intonates differently to the others. Her voice is melodic, softly spoken, her use of adverbs and personal pronouns are different to the others. Slightly more convoluted - less abrupt - almost subservient at times, yet not. For language is a conglomeration of cultures and experiences and everything else under the sun. 

Then on to the training guru. He's a friend of mine so I know his inflections - inner Eastern Melbourne tinged with his mother's Scottish inflections. He comes across as flamboyant. I know he loves performing for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. His A's are longer than most Melbournians. His consonants are clipped, not like other Australian men - his modulations smoother. He doesn't use many contractions. He often gets confused for a well bred Pom - and a flamboyant one at that. His emoticon shows him with his two lovely daughters. (Mine is the World Wildlife Foundation panda - I cherish my anonymity).  

Next off the blocks is a woman from the Northern Suburbs. Older. Of continental heritage. She sounds a bit like Effie - a broader, courser Australian - harsh on the ear. Upward inflections at the end of sentences. I wonder if she catches herself asking questions when she is only making statements. It's a Northern Suburbs inflection - less prominent in the East. She's a senior staffer, but she sounds as if she's asking for validation. 

And now into my team meeting. Fewer accents to deal with - just the bosses Edinburgh brogue - she's been here over twenty years, but her lowland Scottish burr remains. There's also Fag-Ash Lil - I've known her for a while too - voice pure Gippsland, modulated by years working on pubs in her younger days. Our bi-lingual Greek team member has a nasal twang. Lots of 'yeahs' and 'rights'  at the end of her sentences. Maybe it's a training thing - trainers ask lots of questions. 

Working virtually, we have to take joy where we can. For me, it's listening to people's voices and wondering what their story is all about. 

Today's Song:

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The End of an Era

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Eighty (With a few restrictions lightened and lifted)

Mood:  Meh - just meh

It's the end of an era. I collected the parcel from the delivery driver this morning. He passed it to me through the gates. I got the negative result for the COVID test about half an hour earlier - 24 hours from test to result is good. I was expecting the parcels. Contactless delivery is great.

Returning to the flat, I opened the box and there were my supplies. Some Clinique cleanser and a vial of perfume was found within.

The Clinique cleanser was a bit of a big deal. See, I've been using Clinique soap on my face since I was sixteen. They've stopped making the extra mild version of the soap - which I love. It doesn't leave your skin dry. I don't know what the extra mild cleanser will be like, but it's the end of an era - not having Clinique soap feels strange. (I could get a bar sent over from America, but that's going to cost five times what I pay for it here - it's just not worth it.)

Tonight, I used the new cleanser. It's not the same as the soap. Sure, it works - Clinique has worked for me for over 35 years - but it doesn't feel the same. It feels strange. My face doesn't feel the same sort of clean. I like the feeling of soap on my face first thing in the morning and last thing at night. And not any soap. It's Clinique Extra Mild Facial soap. 

This new stuff doesn't foam up. 

It's strange. It's the end of an era. When the shops open, I might have to do some trawling and see if I can find a few last bars of this stuff.

It's horrible when your favourite cosmetics are discontinued (Vale Stella by Stella McCartney perfume -worn by half the women in my family - and MAC Viva Glam lippy). 

Oh, the perfume vial in the box. Juliette Has A Gun's Not a perfume. It's sublime stuff. A small vial will keep me happy for a long time. 

Ah well. The things we do in a pandemic. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Nine (With a few restrictions lightened and lifted)

Mood: Flustered

I've just come out from a meeting with the Faber crew.

It was productive.

But I've come out of this with a whole heap of work.

The piece I was going to present, isn't what I'm handing over. 

So I have ten days to polish a turd in other words. 

Along with finding 10,000 polished words for that publisher - which I've said I'd get her by Cup Day.

And I have a CV to prune.

And I'm in isolation until I get my COVID results back (hopefully they will be in soon - they said within 36 hours - but this is causing other problems - but they are minor). 

Regardless, there is a bit on my plate at the moment.

And I must get back to that CV.

It's all a matter of pivoting. Moving from one thing to another and making the most of it. 

Today's Song:

Monday, October 19, 2020

How did they get hot?

Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Eight (With a few restrictions lightened and lifted)

Mood: Yeah - the day long headache hasn't helped.

Not in the mood for writing today, so something light for tonight.

And I'm writing this with the knowledge that I have particularly awful taste in men. It's terrible. But there is a method to my madness.

But what I want to know is when did these men suddenly get hot?

Case in point - Rhys Ifans.

This is the guy who was Spike in Notting Hill. 

Pray tell - how did he get hot?

Rik Mayall was another one. 

We got him as Rik from The Young Ones:

And then later, he got hot. Unfortunately, a heart attack took him a few years ago. Complete bastard that. 

Even a young Tom Ellis wasn't that special:

 And now: Yeah well, he is Lucifer and he's just lovely. 

Okay, maybe I'm trying to tell myself that men of my age can actually be sorta decent. Maybe these guys just grew up, discovered showering, the value of a good barber and grew up a bit. And okay, this seems to be a thing with Englishmen - Welshmen inparticular. 

Maybe I should be concentrating on my writing and not thinking about the lack of decent men around here. 

Ho hum. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, October 18, 2020


Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Seven (Two more weeks of this - but things are freeing up a lot)

Mood: Joyous - we are slowly coming out of lockdown.

After nearly eightly days, we are finally getting a bit more freedom. Our state has taken a strict and conservative way out of this COVID-19 situation. In July, were were getting around 700 cases a day - yesterday we had one new case. today, there are two new cases. And we're all pretty happy about this. Another two weeks of keeping home for the most part,but you're allowed out to exercise for as long as you want, instead of only being allowed to go 5 kilometre from your home, you can go 25 kilometres. Hairdressers and massage therapists are opening tomorrow. 

For me, this means I can get my hair cut, my car serviced and a massage in the next week. YES! Retail is not due back for another week or so - but we're heading out of this. I'm very happy. 

Onto the questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing. 

1. What kinds of things do you like to write?

All sorts of things. I'm writing a novel at the moment. I write technical stuff for various compaies for work. I write bad poetry. I write this blog daily - it's been a good exercise during lockdown. 

2. What is your favorite genre of movie

I like a good drama or comedy. I've also got a penchant for arthouse films - love seeing things that are a bit different. 

3. Your favorite song?

This. It always has been. 

4. During what situation do your eyes shine the brightest?

Normally when I'm happy. This could mean I'm doing anything from eating a favourite food, catching up with friends, talking to the cat or going to the the theatre. I'm a fairly happy sod most of the time. 

5. Summer or Winter?

Winter. I lick snuggling up to things. Besides, summer around here is far too hot on a good day. 

6. What do you do when you are angry?

Try and walk it off. I sometimes yell, very occasionally, I'll throw things. But you know when I'm pissed. When I'm really angry, look out. It's really scary. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often.

7, Sleep with lights on or off ?

Definitely off. I can't sleep with the lights on.  Sorry, I can't go to bed at night with the lights on. 

8. Are you ok with eating alone in a restaurant?

Absolutely. Prefer not to, but after travelling the world by myself, you get used to eating alone in restaurants. I'm good with that. 

9. Texting or calling?

Definitely texting. I call when I have to, but much prefer to text. 

10. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

I have nice eyes, nice ankles and a keen mind. There's a lot about me to like. 

11. How do you act when you’re scared?

Of the flight, fight or freeze reactions, I'm a freezer. Will stand my ground until I work out what to do with the fear. So I tend to go silent, try and make myself invisible. 

12. When you look at the sky do you first look at the moon, or the stars?

If I can see them, the stars - but I love the night sky. We don't see enough of it in the city. 

13. Do you approach strangers when you are lost?

Yes. I'm one of those friendly people who give decent directions to tourists, so I hope this gets reciprocated. I also talk to people on trams - mind you, they are normally people from the country. It's good to be nice to people. It comes back to you - and yes, I feel able to ask for directions. Makes it easier and quicker to get where you're going. 

14. Tea or Coffee?

I drink both, but I'll err on the side of coffee.

15. With sugar? Milk? Lemon? Anything else?

My standard coffee order is a large almond milk, decaf latte. Black tea I drink wth a spot of mill. No sugar in either. 

Occasionally I'll order an almond decaf latee with some vanilla syrup - but that is for special occasions only. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

One New Case

Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Six

Mood:   Level

Maybe tomorrow I can take off the day count from my blog. After seventy-six days it looks like we may be getting a bit of freedom back. What that looks like will be known before 1 pm tomorrow. Dan has said he's have this over and done with before the netball grand-final is held and shown on Channel Nine. 

What is being leaked at the moment is:

  • Probably movement restrictions will be out to 20 kilometres
  • No restrictions on when you leave home
  • Hairdressers, some retail and beauticians to open with strict COVID plans
  • Maybe some more retail to be opened
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants remain closed to all but takeaway and delivery
  • Kid's sport starts up again
  • Up to ten people can meet outside in a socially distanced fashion
And that will probably be it for a week or two, when a few more .

It was wonderful to wake up to the news that they only detected one new case yesterday and no deaths. It's rather amazing really.

The following numbers prove we are doing something right. 

It's been unpopular. It's been a sacrifice. The media have been FUCKING APPAULING. 

But we've all done somethting. 

Yes, there is more to be done. The DHHS needs to be opened up to sunshine, disinfected of the dross and new, reliable, consistent processes and procedures put in place.

We also need to see what sort of shenanigans the Federal Government have been up to over the last six months, cretinous, rorting arsewipes that they are. 

But that's enough about politics. Here's hoping the numbers remain like this and we can get back to something that looks like normal. 

I still don't think I'll be back in the office any time soon.

Mind you, all I want at the moment is to be able to go somewhere to write - somewhere which isn't my desk by the window in the lounge room. 

Ah well.

Today was a good day. Let's hope tomorrow will be better. 

Today's Song:

Friday, October 16, 2020

The to-do list

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Five

Mood:   Good because it's the weekend

I've got other things to write this weekend apart from the blog. 

The weekend will be busy. On the list of things to do:

  • Meditation class 9.30 tomorrow morning
  • Coffee with friends after meditation
  • Pump class at 2 pm over zoom
  • Try and get at least half an hour of walking in both days. 
  • Go round and see Blarney Sunday afternoon.
  • A Catherine Deveny Write Here, Write Now session on Sunday afternoon. 
  • Get my anthology piece up for the Faber crew (2000 words)
  • And start prepping 10000 words for the publisher's perusal.
Of all the things on the list, the last one is the one which is freaking me out the most. 

It's a shot. It's a humbling and daunting shot. And as with everything I write, I am HATING EVERY LAST WORD I've written over the last six months. But, this is too good an opportunity to let go, and if anything, it's a kick up the arse to get moving on this. 

By the anthology has a deadline (Friday week) and probably has to take precedence. And we have a long weekend next weekend.

I just wish I could camp out at the library, where there is no cat and no television. The television I can turn off. The cat, I cannot - although he comes in and out at regulary intervals, spearing me in the side, demanding treats and wanting to play laser pointer. Love him. He keeps me sane.

But I have work to do this weekend.

Thank goodness for the short week next week. And we might get a few more freedoms on Sunday - hopefully. 

Oh, and why am I slightly disappointed that Port Adelaide lost tonight. It's strange feeling. I hate Port Adelaide with a passion. Is this just state pride? Hmm. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Things to ask my cat

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Four

Mood:  bored bored bored bored

I'm starting to wonder if Mercury is going into retrograde again. It sort of feels like it. I don't feel like communicating much at the moment and I'm wanting for inspiration. 

Instead, things feel like this:

Anyway, I have no idea what to write, but I have a few questions for my cat.

As you are aware, I love my cat. We've only been together seven months, but it's working out okay.

But I have some questions for him. 

Firstly, why does he shed so much fur all over the place - and why does he get stroppy when I try to brush him, to help said fur leave him quicker? He gets patted when I brush him - why does he always get my hand, and the brush and stomp on my hand. 

Secondly, why, no matter the weather, does he climb under the blanket at the end of the bed, but only after he's had his dinner? It's his bed during the day - my bed at night.

And how come his favourite thing to do is skiddies - chasing after the laser pointer and skidding around the room on his Harvey Normal bag? He loves doing this. Never gets old. You think it would. 

Why is it he always asks for his dinner at 4 pm? Dinner is at 6 pm. I keep telling him this - but he doesn't listen? No. 

And how is it, when he walks on my keyboard, he gets the machine to do all sorts of strange and wonderful things - not just write things like fgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgvvhgf - but he can so everything from turning on my camera while I'm in a meeting, to bringing up scripts to sending the computer mute? He really is a clever boy.

Oh, and dinner time, how is it my food is always better than his food - even though I often leave a taste of whatever I'm having in his bowl. If I am having dinner, libations must be provided from my plate. Hamburgers, chicken, rice and custard are favourite. He also like to pong out the house by doing a dump when I'm eating dinner in the next room. Charming lad. 

Cats are strange creatures. 

In the case of mine, it's just lucky he's cute. 

Today's Song:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Recommend One Book

Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Three

Mood:   Middling - better for a workout in the park.

I'm a member of an online book club. Run by a mate, it is a place to discuss books and the like with over 600 people. My mate and her friend do a great job of running this book group. Okay, I'll admit that many of the books discussed in the group aren't my cup of tea - as there's a lot of popular fiction and crime novels which get a guernsey, where as my reading tastes are a bit more high brow, but that is okay - I have plenty of other places I can get into discussions about higher brow books.

Every Wednesday, without fail, she asks a quarantine question.

This week's question is: If you could recommend just one book, which one would it be?

My first response to this was, "What do you mean just one book?" Then I had a sit down and a think.

In my mind, I went through the permutations and combinations of books I've read and those I would read again, and those I've loved and yeah... it sent me into a bit of a mini meltdown. How can you ask a bibliophile that question. 

In the end, I put down Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex as the book I would recommend to people. No, not Captain Corelli's Mandolin - which is my favourite book, but there are elements which make it hard for people - like not meeting Corelli until around page 140 - among other things. 

But the also rans list is long. There are so many things you have to think about when you recommend a book. So many things come into consideration.

So, if I was to recommend just one book, here are a few of the factors which come into play.

Recommend a book for an educated, erudite man:

Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North. It's a book about the Thai-Burma Railway and the death marches. It's a Booker winner. It's as lyrical as it is brutal. And when blokes like war, this is the book for them to read. And it isn't a blokey book. I just remember doing this in book group and two of our eight couldn't take the horror on some of the pages. It's in my top five reads ever. Always will be. 

Recommend a book for a boy who's getting into reading:

The Artemis Fowl series.  For kids around ten, these are fabulous. Not as well known as Harry Potter, but just as fun. Under no circumstances see the film. These books are fun. Artemis Fowl is a 13-year-old child genius. He steals a fairy's book that gets him in trouble with the underworld. The characters are fantastic. They're just really good fun, with lots of action. But do not see the film under any circumstances. 

Recommend a thick book for a week spent in Winter away from everything:

Oh, Hanya Yahahigara's A Little Life. It's just over 800 pages long. It's the story of four friends from college whose lives are interwoven over a couple of decades. It's a New York story. The characters are as tragic as they are memorable. It is brutal in places. It's very LGBTIQ friendly. It's great. But don't go into it when you're depressed.

Other also rans in this section are  Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch (but once again, DO NOT SEE THE MOVIE). 

Recommend a classic read:

Oh, this goes to Kurt Vonnygut's Slaughterhouse-5. It's short. It's mental. You'll be regularly asking yourself  'What would Billy Pilgrim do? And so it goes. 

Recommend a book by an Australian woman author:

Oh, this is a hard one - as I have many favourites:

  • Charlotte Wood's The Natural Way of Things
  • Heather Rose's The Museum of Modern Love
  • Sofie Laguna's The Eye of the Sheep
  • Anna Funder's All That I Am
  • Hannah Kent's Burial Rites
  • Geraldine Brooks' The Year of Wonders
  • Lily Brett's Too Many Men
I hope to join this list one day. 

Recommend a Young Adult read:

Don't tell anybody, but I like me a bit of young adult literature. I could never write it, but I like reading it. My top three for this category are:
  • Angie Thomas's The Hate You Give
  • Markus Zuzak's The Book Thief
  • Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (The first book anyway, it's amazing)
Recommend a non-fiction book:

Again there are quite a few to choose from but here are a few favourites:
  • Christopher McDougall's Born to Run - it's about ultra-marathon running and it is awesome
  • Truman Capote's In Cold Blood does not age. 
  • Helen McDonald's Human Remains - a fun, and grizzly took at the ethics of disposing of the dead - it's awesome. 

That will do. But I now feel better about recommending a book. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Headshot

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-Two

Mood:  Bored, bored, bored, bored....

I've just met up with the Faber crew. All good. We've got about three weeks until our anthology pieces are due for submission.

One of the great things about the Faber course is at the end of it, they take about 2000 words of your work, get a short bio and a synopsis. 

The 2000 words is easy. I'm tinkering with those. 

I've got the bio. Find below:

Pandora Behr is a Melbourne-based South Australian who works as a technical and corporate writer by day. Outside of work, she is a gin aficionado, Shakespeare boffin, gym junkie and desires to lose the mad cat lady title, even though her cat thinks differently.

She has been published in Backstory Journal, Tirra Lirra, Verandah, Pandora, The Melbourne Poet’s Union Anthology and some other small poetry journals. 

The synopis is done:

It’s Time is a novel about Faith, a broke, divorced, iconoclastic teacher who has a year to arrange her own death. When her friends question her compliance with the government’s directives she decides to stubbornly arrange to go out as disgracefully as she can make it, doula in tow. 
But when pressed, Faith knows she wants to live and now must find a way to buck the system in spite of the fact that life in this near future Australia comes with a pre-determined expiration date.

What is getting me is the bloody head shot. 

They want a head shot. 


I'm allergic to having my photo taken. Hate it, hate it, hate it. They've asked for said headshot in a 300 dpi format, whatever that means. 

But I don't want my photo taken. I hate having my photo taken. I look like something out of crime scene shots in photos. I have about 15 chins. I don't want to celebrate this. Like everybody else in Melbourne, I have isohair - so I'm basically I look like Stevie Nicks on a bad day, with greying temples. I won't be able to see my hairdresser until the day after all this is due in - that's if Dan will let us. 

I'm more mortified about the head shot than anything else about this process. It was almost enough to get me to walk out of the course at the start of the year. I'm very glad I didn't but still, it's playing into every one of my fears about having my photo taken.

I have three weeks to come up with something. Why I can use the image below, which is what I use as my avatar at work, I do not know.

Today's Song:

Monday, October 12, 2020

Found Items

Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy-One

Mood:  Good

There's something going on in Richmond. Books keep turning up in strange places around the place.

Last week, a boxed set of Harry Potters, in pristine condition, ended up on top of the letter boxes. I've taken them in, let a note for the other neighbours, but have heard nothing back. The books will be rehomed with a friend once the lockdown is over. Chatting to my downstairs neighbour, she reckons the junkies have been at it again, raiding the Salvos donations, thinking the books were a good idea, and them dumping them. Regardless, there is a nine-year-old girl in Footscray who will love them. 

Then yesterday, I popped downstairs to take out the rubbish. I was about to put the bag in the wheelie bin, looked inside to find the bin full of books.

People throwing out books always makes me feel sad. As I'm writing a book, it feels like a slap in your face to see books in the bin. Okay, if they're damaged, there's a good reason to turf them, but not good books. Give them away. Put them in street libraries. Donate them to the Salvos or St Vinnies. Give them to friends. But don't turf them.

Anyway, the book on top of the bin, the one I was about to throw my rubbish into, was Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion. In mint condition. 2014 printing.  All 1182 pages. Which retails at $90 in the shops. 

I'm not too proud to say that I liberated this from the bin. Many of my friends swear by this. I've often thought about obtaining a copy - well, this one fell in my lap - unmarked from it's adventure in our bins - I'd say it was probably only placed there in the hours before I found it as it was literally on top. 

I see this as a result. 

I can't let good books be treated like that. 

And because of this seeming windfall, passing by Dymocks on the way to the chemist this morning, I had to liberate a few more books. Trent Dalton's All The Shimmering Skies, the new Craig Silvey (of Jasper Jones fame) Honeybee, and Kate Mildenhall's The Mother Fault somehow made their way into my shopping bag. I haven't been into a bookshop in three months.

Things are starting to shatter.

We're hoping some of these restrictions are going to be gotten rid of next week.

We're all going a bit nuts. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Interesting Confusions

'Level Four Lockdown: Day Seventy

Mood: Have a post-curry hangover

Day Seventy of Stage four lockdown? How did it come to this? And why does it now feel so normal? it was so strange going through our football precinct to find it deserted on a finals night. It was incredibly strange. No dodging drunk football fans down Swan Street. Everything shut at 10.30 pm. We're hoping a few more shops will open soon. It's getting us all down. Besides, I just want to go into a book shop. It's just they way it is. Oh, by the way, I'm writing this in one of Catherine Deveny's Write Here, Write Now sessions. She's good for this. Get's the blog out of the way. 

Anyway, enough moaning about the lockdown, here are this Sunday's questions, provided, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Can you cry under water?

Dunno. I would say yes, but the tears would get washed away.

2. What is the fattest thing you’ve ever done?

Ergh, I would say last night's dinner going by how I felt last night. For a change, I went around to Blarney's last night and we hand curry for dinner. It hasn't sat well at all. Felt bloated all day. And saying that, I didn't overeat. I think it was just that most things were fried or full of ghee. 

3. If you’re going to be arrested what do you want your crime to be?

Go on, me get arrested. I'd probably get done for knocking off a politician. I do this in my mind every now and then - there's a few I'd like to take behind the bike sheds and flogged. Here's hoping somebody might do this. I life in hope. Justifiable I reckon. 

4. When they say dog food is “new and improved” who tastes it?

Knowing what goes into dog food, and knowing the demographics of dog food sales, I would say, unfortunately, it's probably senior citizens. I hope that is not the case. I'm sure they test dog food flavours on discriminating poodles. 

5. What’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen?

Low and behold, I think that might just be Donald Trump or Boris Johnson. Both are very unpleasant people both inside and out. 

6. Why doesn’t glue stick to its bottle?

Maybe because the plastic of the glue bottle and the viscosity of the glue are a different molecular make up - making it impossible for the glue to stick to it. No idea really, but I think it might be something like that. 

7. What historical event do you wish you’d witnessed?

I would have liked to be on the steps of Parliament House when Gough Whitlam was sacked - just to see Normal Gunston interview him. 

8. Who has had the best influence on your life?

Oh, I don't know. Probably my friend Reindert, who got me running. I got so much out of running, when I was running. I learned fortitude, perseverence and the knowledge I can do anything.

9. Would you rather go into space or to Antarctica?

Quietly, I would love to do both, but the Antarctica is closer to me than space - an it is normally a lot cheaper option. 

10. Would you rather sleep with no pillow or no blankets?

Rather sleep with no blankets - I do this most of summer. I do need a pillow. Preferably two - one for my head, one for cuddling. 

11. What's your favorite rain memory?

Summertime rain is always a favourite of me. I remember a few years ago I was going out to dinner with some friends at a swanky restaurant. I got all tissied up. Then, on the way there, the skies opened up. Unfortunately a summer storm hit. I got to the restaurant soaked to the skin. Very, very embarrassing, but the rain was wonderful. 

12. If you were elected president, what is the first thing you would do?

Very decidedly I'd stop all lobbyists and all corporations from having anything do do with parliament.  I would be putting all of these people in the crosshairs for the crimes against humanity they have contributed to over the last fifty years. Religious would also be banned from politics too. 

13. If you had $3 to spend in the dollar store, what would you buy?

Probably cat toys. I seem to be spending more and more on cat tops - the dollar store has good cat toys. the cat won't play with them anyway.

14. What’s the most annoying sound in the world?

At the moment, the most annoying sound is the chimes that come at the start of our public service announcements. They are discordant, loud and grate on your nerves. They play all over the place, but they are particularly annoying in the supermarket.

The next most annoying sound is the guy with the leaf blower who is always outside my window when I have my team meeting 9 am Monday morning. Hate him with a passion as well. 

15. What natural disaster scares you the most?

Bushfires and tsuamis. I've been in minor earthquakes - I can deal with them. Floods, you just go to higher ground, but bushfires, particularly after the fire season we had last year where half the country was on fire, was terrible. There is nothing you an do when you're near a fire front. They're very unpredictable. The loss of life is awful. Same with tsunamis. All a bit too close to home for me. 

Today's Song: 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Night Out

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Nine

Mood: Good

I've just got back from a 'night out'  - well as much of a night out you can have here at the moment. A trip out to Blarney's  - as Blarney is my bubble. A curry and a movie on the telly. A bowl of ice cream. Then home. 

And it was awesome. 

I also sat through the first quarter of the Geelong - Collingwood game and played with Blarney's kittens - who are quickly turning into cats.

It was lovely. Just a little bit of normality. 

Then on the way home, I drove through the empty streets - there is nowhere to go at the moment. Nobody is going anywhere, even though the curfew has been lifted. The Westgate Bridge was all but empty. There's no playing chicken to get into the required lane at the moment. What used to take me anything up to 45 minutes to get home is taking me just on 20 minutes now. 

Driving down Swan Street at the start of the night, it was good to see restaurants open and serving takeaway. On Burnley Street a bar has a streetside barbeque on the weekend. These are small signs of life. It feels strange to see people congregating, though most have masks on - or hanging from an ear as they drink a footpath beer. 

But this is a footy finals weekend in Melbourne - and it's not the same. Swan Street, at 10.30, after a night final, should be overun with football supporters. The street should be chockers with half-drunk youth celebrating and commiserating in equal measure. The Corner Hotel should be heaving with whichever band is playing. Young women should be milling about in their skimpy dresses, crawling from bar to bar. On a normal finals night, it will take you ten minutes to get from Hoddle Street to Church Street. 

Tonight it took me two. 

There's an eerie silence along the Swan Street precinct. Even Coles closes at 10 pm, as does all the stalwarts, like Messina Gelati, Meatballs and Grill'd. All closed for the evening.

It's like Melbourne now has a bedtime. Like good little children, we stay in our rooms. 

In normal times driving these streets would entail playing dodgems with Collingwood supporters - well they have to be good for something. 

It's still surreal. Even seventy days into lockdown. 

The kids go back to school on Monday. And there is much rejoicing from frazzled parents. 

Hopefully hairdressers come back on the 19th - and there are many of us wanting that - just as I want a massage and my legs waxed. May of us are sick of looking like skunks. 

But it's the second semi-final, two Melbourne teams played, and the town is silent.

It's still weird. 

Today's Song

Friday, October 9, 2020


Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Eight

Mood: Flummoxed

I'm not in a place to write tonight. 


I'm all in a tizzy, 

See, late, late last night I got an email from one of my Faber tutors.

A publisher wants to have a chat with me about my novel. Was it okay that she passed on my detail to said publisher. 

And I've been all over the place ever since.

Late this afternoon, said publisher did send me an email.

Okay most of me is dancing round the flat scaring the cat. 

But it raises questions for me, like:

  • Can I actually finish this?
  • Can I actually do this?
  • But I can't write - why me? (imposter syndrome - most writers have it)
  • But who else is getting a mail like this? 
  • How the hell does this happen?
  • What the hell would I send her?
  • Am I really what this particular publishing house goes after (probably not, but you have to open the conversation)
  • Should I pursue a 4.5 day week at work where I can take a day off a fortnight to write (I've gently broached this with my boss)
  • Should I hire a jail cell over the summer break where I can write (You can do this - just not in Covid - Melbourne jail has great cells in which you can write
So, tomorrow, when I get my head out of the clouds, I'll respond to the publisher.

But for the moment, I'll just bask in the thought  that maybe somebody thinks my work might have some value. 

Today's Song:

Thursday, October 8, 2020

An Elegant Solution

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Seven

Mood: Once again, tired

Part of my day job is dealing with people from all over the place. And I pride myself on being good at this - just as I pride myself at being good at my job. I've been doing what I do for over ten years ago. I have a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing, a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in Writing. Plus over ten years on the job training in the fields of corporate writing, training, e-learning development, process mapping and software documenting. 

I know what I am doing.

This week, I was called out in the company for an inhouse award for doing my job. I get to sit in meetings where I utter the words, "Think of the poor person in India / The Philippines / some call centre out Woop Woop has to use these instructions with some irate customer on the other end of the phone. The person who called me out for the award loves me for this. 

I work in a team who say exactly the same thing. 

I also have a nemesis. This person is from the Compliance Department. 

Anybody who has worked a corporate job in the last ten years will know the pain of the Compliance Department. Telecommunications, Banking and Finance and Energy are all highly regulated areas. These sectors are where I tend to work, and being a document jockey, I find myself having to consult with this rather tedious department, who take red pens to my documents. And I have to go in to bat for the little guy on the end of the phone in the call centre.

So today, one of my documents came back. It's been a rush job, incorporating feedback from all over the company on a compliance ridden issue. I've done my job, working with a Business Analyst, who's just as frazzled with this compliance person. (As are many I work with, but ah well.) The person in question had taken issue with some of my editorial decisions, made for the good of the person having to use them. I'd used their words, I'd kept the flow, I'd tidied up the grammar. All good. Regardless, they were complaining about the way I'd done things. I'd already gone through this with the processes owner, the BA, the head of the department and a few others, explaining my rationale. 

But this person complained. The've been complaining for the last six months. They have a reputation for not being he easiest people on the planet to work with.

After three days of putting up with this, something snapped. 

The email was sent back:

To: Said Person in Compliance

CC: The Others working on this piece of work (Four similarly exasperated souls)

From: The Technical Writer

Dear Person Who Shall Not Be Named.

I think you should find what I have done fits the task.

It does what it needs to do. 

I have just taken your words and put an elegant solution to the words. 

Come back after you've thought about how you would approach your changes if you were sitting in a call centre in Mumbai with English as your second language having to use these documents. 


The Tech Writer

Needless to say, I received a number of direct messages in the following half hour thanking me for putting this person in their place. 

I don't do this very often. I'm a Tech Writer. We're the bottom of the food chain. But it is nice to bite back for a change. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

I Love Pixar

Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Six

Mood: Tired

I haven't left the house today. Haven't even stepped out the front door of the flat. The day has looked like this:

  • Get up 7 am
  • Shower, make a coffee
  • 7.30 had a coffee meeting with my mate Davo over zoom. 
  • 8.30 Started work
  • 8.30 - 5.30 - Spent the day working on urgent documents. No real break for lunch.Lots of meetings too. 
  • 5.45 - Zoom session with Cleo and Jay - lots of squats - surprise, surprise. 
  • 7.00 - Read my book for half an hour.
So it's been a really full on day, made worse by having a lot of deadlines. Oh well. That's what they pay me for.

Anyway. In a microbreak, I was looking at some click bait, something about sad movie bits. And it reminded me of Bing Bong. From the movie Inside Out. 

I have had Bing Bong in my head for most of the afternoon.

As I don't feel like writing - as I've been writing all day I'm going to share some of my favourite Pixar moments. Why? Because I love Pixar films and everybody needs a bit of Pixar in their life.

So unranked. Here are a few of those moments.

Merida's Brothers in Brave

I love the humour you find in the little moments of Pixar - these movies always have a huge heart.

Mike and Sully in Monsters Inc.

One of the best duos ever. I also have a soft spot for Randall - brilliant super villain. 

The Incredibles - Jack Jack Attack

This is an afterthought  - but wonderful. you get to see what the babysitter really had to put up with. One of the best bits about buying the DVD. If you haven't seen this, do yourself a favour. 

For the Birds

I remember seeing this before Monsters Inc - it's the short. I would have paid my money to see this alone. It's what Pixar does best. Not one word is uttered.

The Sharks in Nemo

Barry Humphries at his best. I went to see Nemo with my cousin in Hobart. Great memories. The seagulls are great too. Mine, mine, mine...

And Bing Bong

For anybody who had an imaginary friend growing up. I did. His name was Sparky.

Bing Bong is awesome.

There are so many more moments. I think I feel a Pixar marathon coming on the weekend.

Today's song:

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Why can't I wash my car?

Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Five

Mood: Vaguely annoyed


I'm good with most of these restrictions, for the most part. Like all Melbournians, I'm over spending 90% of my time in the flat, embrace the hour or two I get outside and cherish time with my buddy, Blarney, over the Westgate Bridge.

But something that makes absolutely no sense to me is why I can't wash my car. 

I love my car. It's a deep red Mazda CX-3. It's been living under the carport for the last six months. And since Stage 4 lockdown, I've not been able to wash it - you know, take it to the carwash place, where you insert $5 in coins in the slot and you spend ten minutes washing your own car. I don't go to the valet places to pay four times the amount. I'm cheap like that. In these places, you're nowhere near anybody. You'll wear your compulsory mask. You're not breathing on anybody. I'm not asking to use the industrial hoovers which you can use to dust out the interior. I just want to get the road film of my car. 

Unfortunately, I don't live in a place where I can get out a hose and bucket to do the job - I don't have a driveway or a nature strip on which such activities can take place. It's not worth me dragging buckets of warm soapy water down two flights of stairs to wash it in the carport. That's just lunacy.

But the car washes are closed - and tit just makes no bloody sense to me at all. 

I get why I can't get my legs waxed or my hair cut - well I'm playing along with this quite willingly with these , but I'm sick of my lovely car looking grotty. There isn't enough rain about to wash off the dust. It needs a wash. 

And it's been like this for a few weeks. 

And I'm over it. It's a stupid restriction.


Today's Song:

Monday, October 5, 2020

Found Items

Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Four

Mood:A touch down, but getting better. Prawn dumplings fix most things.

I love my neighbours. I'm really lucky. We all get on. We've also got each other's numbers in our phones, so if things need doing, like cat feeding, parcel pick ups, the odd grocery run when somebody is sick, it gets done. I'm known to ask one of the guys downstairs to kill the odd spider for me. Cake is distributed on birthdays. We're kind to eachother. And we're not in eachother's pockets, which is really good too.

Anyway, today the text comes through. 

"Hey P, are you expecting a Harry Potter box set?"

"No, but I have them if you want to borrow."

"There's one sitting on top of the letterboxes."

"Hmm, I'll go have a look."

I have no idea who left a seven book Harry Potter gift set was sitting out on our letterboxes. But it's been raining a lot of late, and I cannot, in good conscience, leave good books out in the rain, so I've taken them in. They're sitting in the dry, out of the rain, in our stairwell. We'll leave a not on the other stairwell doors, see if anybody's expecting them. But it feels a bit strange to think somebody has dumped them. 

So if anybody's after a box set of Harry Potter books in good conditions, there might be one going - it;s sitting in our stairwell - out of the rain.

The other found item that made me smile today was in a book. Over the Faber course we all got to know each other's projects. Our token bloke was writing a speculative fiction piece with a character called Mrs Bergonzi. A strange name for a strange character, named after an Italian tenor who died a few years back. Our token bloke also sings opera on occasion.

Anyway, I was reading my book at lunchtime, and what should I find? 

A chapter headed "Bergonzi's Pussycat Hostess Paradise."

The book was Louis de Bernieres' A Partisan's Daughter. I found it odd that two writers, two very different writers, ended up referencing are fairly obscure Italian tenor - though Bergonzi in the book ran a 'hostess club' in the late 70's in Soho. Our token bloke's book has a Mrs Bergonzi, who makes a wicked lemon slice.

Two very simple occurences that made my day. 

Strange the things that amuse you in a pandemic. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Funny Questions

 Level Four Lockdown: Day Sixty-Three

Mood:A touch grumpy

Trust the warm weather to make me grumpy. Probably more grumpy because the current restritions mean I can go and see a friend down the near the beach - all I have is the riverbank to walk along with the rest of Richmond residents. Ah well. At least there is a bit of green nearby. 

Today's Sunday questions, provided, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. If you could use a time machine to go back and fix one thing, or go fo the future to see what it is like, which would you do?

Part of me wished I could go back in time and give Donald Trump's father a vasectomy year before The Donald's birth. Migh mean things could be a bit different now. 

2. If all of a sudden there was a depression, or there were no stores to buy food, clothing etc, how would you manage?

Probably move to the country, grow my own food and rely on my wits. I'd be okay with that. I'd manage. I've managed before. I'm pretty resourceful. 

3. Are you concerned with what other people think about you?

Not really. I think that is a by-product of getting older. Besides, I'm a middle aged woman - I'm basically invisible anyway. 

4. How do you handle people you don't like?

I tend to give them a wide berth and I'm civil when faced by them I'm appropriately civil, but that is about it. No point stressing over it. 

5. What do you think of garden gnomes?

I like them to give as presents - have done that many times before. But I'm grateful I don't own one - besides, I don't have a garden. 

6. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

I'd take the elephant to Thailand to one of the elephant reserves and go live with it there. It could have a happy life and I'd be quite happy living in Thailand. 

7. How would you design a spice rack for the blind?

That's easy - place a flip top lid on it with the spice inscribed in braille on the top, but the flip top lid would allow the person to smell the spice before using it. 

8. How lucky are you and why?

I think you make your own luck - and I'm very lucky in some ways - I'm fit, healthy and I live in a country with good socialised medical care. I'm lukcy I have an ongoing job. I'm lucky I have friends. But you make your own luck - cultivate it. What goes around, comes around. 

9. What’s your biggest kitchen fail?

That I don't spend more time in the kitchen cooking. I would love to be a gourmet cook - and I can be when I set my mind to it. 

10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in school?

Too many things to list. I think just existing at school, for me, was embarrassing. I've grown into my oddness. 

11. If you could kill off any character from a current television show, who would it be?

I've been watching a bit of Grey's Anatomy lately and there are various characters I'd happily kill off - Amelia Shepherd and Arizona Robbins being two of them. Mind you, the show is coming to the end of its use by date. Maya from The Good Fight and Dan on Lucifer also get up my nose. Mind you, most of these characters are put there for that reason. 

12 . If you could make a rule for a day and everyone had to follow it, what would it be?

Be kind, always. It's as simple as that. The world would be a better place. 

13. Would you rather be a hobbit or an elf for 24 hours?

An elf. Elves are cute. Hobbits have big feet. I'd trip over. 

14. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I lived illegally in another country for six years. Crazy enough for you?

15. Would your rather shoot spaghetti out of your fingers or sneeze meatballs?

That is a stupid question, so I'm not answering it. 

Today's Song: