Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March check-in - April Goals

It's goal day again - and I'm amazed that another month has passed. We're a quarter he way through the year. Still not vaccinated, but in a lot better state than we were back at this time last year. 

And from tomorrow night I'm on ten day's break, so I might have to amp up a few of these. I'll have the time to do more things. 

It's goal day. So how did we do last month?

Finish the f*cking painting

All but the architraves are done - and a good thing as they took a walloping when they were doing the floorboards. They've been knicked and scraped to buggery.  They will be finished by the time I get back to work. I have ten days off starting tomorrow. 

Read four books

Another nearly there. 

I've read:

  • The Promised Land by Barack Obama (audiobook)
  • The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay
  • Life After Truth by Ceridwen Dovey
And I'm halfway through Ocean Vuong's On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous and should have The Duke and I (the first Bridgerton novel by Julia Quinn) by tomorrow. 

Work on the novel a couple of times a week

Some work got done - not as much as I wanted to, but some stuff got done.

Minimise discretionary spending

 I did well on this one. Knowing the big bills are coming in, I kept spending down. Really happy about this. I'll keep this going. 

The March Metamucil Challenge

Yeah, nah, happened a bit but not as much as I could have done. 

One Lindt Ball a day

This goal worked well. There are still a few Lindt balls in the bag. Just one Lindt ball a day is all I need - mind you, I've discovered I have the willpower to do this. One a day. Keep the Lindt balls in the fridge. Easy. Working above the Lindt Cafe, I could go get some balls for Easter and see how long they might last... they have all sorts of different flavours down there - like almond, and champagne, and mango... We'll have a think about it. 

And the goals for April:

The Forty Hour Novel Challenge

As I'm on this break, I want to dedicate forty hours to the novel. Four hours a day. Some of this time spent in the library. I want this to happen. I'm in a spot where I want to get on with this. I owe it to myself. 

Participate in the annual Writers Victoria annual Flash Fiction Event on Twitter. 

30 days, 30 prompts, 30 words or fewer. You've got the dayto get your entry onto Twitter. 

Follow me @TrellawneyThom and  #WVFlashFic21 on Twitter.

I love these 30 word story challenges. 

Be in the gym at least four days a week.

I've slackened off at the gym. Time to remedy that. 

Read four books:

This is a monthly goal. Audiobooks do count. I like knowing stories are getting heard. 

Finish the f*cking painting

And finish it by 12 April, when I go back to work. The other thing that needs to be done by then is the excess paint needs to be taken down to the council for recycling. 

See a film a week

The Oscars are coming. Lots of good things on the screen. As long as COVID restrictions come back in, there's enough movie fodder to keep me going. Haven't seen a film for a few weeks. I also have promised Blarney's boys that I'll take them to see Godzilla vs King King. I am a wonderful auntie. 

No brushing my hair for a month

This isn't as gross as it sounds. I'm just going to devote myself to the curly girl method of looking after my hair. In the last few years my hair, which is currently ridiculously long, has also gone very, very curly. Brushing it makes it look boofy. I want to see what happens. (My hair, however, does get combed, washed etc - just not brushed - as it's not great for curly hair). 

Looking at these, I think I'll have a good month. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The new flat

I came home to a new flat. 

On entering, I noticed a few things. 

The kitchen was full of crap. My crap. But still, full of crap. 

The floor feels a bit dusty under foot. 

The third book case was back where it normally lives. 

The first and second bookshelves are still in the kitchen. They will be dealt with over the next two weeks, slowly brought back into the lounge room. 

And the place looks airier and lighter. 

The fourth book case was behind my desk and not in the spare room (also known as "the room where shoes go to die").

It looked like a new place, with the new floor. It's only been five years in the making. In the last year, the mushroom coloured carpet was getting harder and harder to keep clean (mind you, the addition of the cat probably didn't help that. 

The neighbours have been up to have a look. They reckon it's quieter overhead with the floorboards. 

And five hours on from coming home, things are starting to fall into place. 

The bed has been made. 

Most of the crap in the kitchen is now back in the room where shoe go to die. 

I've swept a couple of times. 

The cables, which run all over the place, have been tidied and attached to the walls. 

I've been dusting - but I'll be doing that for a week I reckon. Such is the process of ripping up one set of flooring and putting down another. 

All I need to do now is collect the cat from Blarney and Barney's place tomorrow night - and watch his reaction to the new place. He's not great with change.

But I love my new flat. (The next job on the wish list is the kitchen. I've been here fifteen years. Maybe in another few years that wish will come true too.)

Today's song: 

Monday, March 29, 2021

That's better

 The floorboards are half down. 

And I'm very happy about this. 

The tradies are excellent and have done an awesome job (although I can close the kitchen door - but they're back tomorrow and I'll have a word - have even left a passive/aggressive note so I can be reminded to tell them about this before I chuff of to the office. 

But even half done, after 15 years of manky, mushroom coloured carpet, this is the bomb. 

It looks sooooooo much better. And it's nice underfoot. 

I can see myself tomorrow being cursed - as there are two bookshelves which need to be moved out of the spare room - and they're doing my bedroom - more moving large things.  But the back of this is broken.

Just another early start, another day working in the office (as I can't work around here with all that banging and sawing going on) and probably a day or so dusting, cleaning and rearranging once this is all over. It's pretty dusty around here. 

I hope the cat likes it. I'll retreive him once the tradies are gone. I think he might start sleeping on the bed I bought him. Floorboards might make that happen. 

But this is a very nice thing. It almost feels like I have a new flat.

Today's song: 

Sunday, March 28, 2021


Too tired to write at the moment after a migraine the other day - and now they ask about cooking. Will have to think about this one. I don't cook much at all - well nothing that takes more than 10 minutes anyway. It's hard when you live alone. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.  How often do you make food and eat it?

Most days. Not that it's hard stuff to make, but I do prepare my own food most days. 

2.  Do you consider toasting bread, preparing instant noodles, or boiling an egg to be cooking? Why or why not?

Yes - but I'm a better cook than that when I put my mind to it. You're preparing your own food when you boil, toast etc. It may not be hard, but there are people out there who can't do this. So the simple stuff is cooking.  Boiling an egg is a bit of an art anyway. 

3.  What’s your favorite dish to make?

I love making sweet things. I make particularly good melting moments / Yoyo biscuits. Anything to do with baking, and I'm in. (For those seeing Bev's comment, Melting Moments/Yoyos have custard powder in them - which is a British/Australian thing used to make runny custard for puddings and desserts and the like - also used in some biscuits - but it's a pantry staple in Britain and Australia)

4.  Cooking or baking: what’s more fun? What’s more difficult?

I like doing both and I don't think either are harder. I'm not great at pastry, but I'm up for anything else. 

5.  Who did most of the cooking in your house when you were growing up?

Mum did pretty much all of the cooking when I was a kid. Dad could grill chops and make baked beans and that was about it. As we got older, we did some stuff around the house and helped get dinner ready. Prepping and doing the veggies for dinner was my job. 

6.  How have you learned the cooking skills that you have?

Most of them through Mum and my grandmother - the rest through all sorts of other people who've passed things along to me. My friend Geetangeli taught me how to make her Black Chicken Curry - love it. 

7.   Have you ever taken a cooking course? If so, what did you learn? If not, would you like to do one? What would you like to learn?

Not that I can remember. I'd love to do a Thai or Balinese cooking course if we can ever get back there. 

8.   Have you tried cooking food from another culture? What did you prepare? How was it?

I'm pretty adept at doing the odd Malaysian curry, thanks to Geetangeli. With YouTube, you can learn antything, really. I've been making this curry for 30 years. 

9.   Is it cost-effective to do your own cooking? Can you save money by cooking?

Absolutely. Especially if you do some of your shopping at the local markets. 

10.  Would you rather do the cooking or do the washing up afterwards?

Ah, as I love it when people cook for me, I'm very happy to do the washing up. I like cooking for people too, but it's just great when people cook for you. Doesn't happen enough. 

11.  Do you use recipes to cook? If so, where do you get the best recipes? Do you get them from friends, family, online, or from cookbooks?

A bit of both. All of my grandmother's recipes are very approximate. I've got some great cook books, but sometimes it's great to mix it up a bit. Have also found some wonderful recipes on the internet. it's amazing what is out there. My Lemon Polenta Cake recipe came from online. That has a lot of fans. 

12.  Have you ever tried to prepare some food and just totally ruined it? What happened?

Yes. Lets just say chilli and cheese is not always a good idea. 

13. Do you prefer cooking at home or eating out at a restaurant? Why?

I will admit to preferring to eating out, but that is because I live alone and when I do cook, I like to cook for people. Eating out is more social than eating at home, with more choice. But that is the only reason why. Also, there's no washing up when you go out. 

14. Is cooking a social activity for you? Do you like to do it with other people, or do your prefer to do it alone?

I love when you make cooking a social activity, but it rarely happens for me. I do help out when I go to Jonella and Blarney's when they let me. At Christmas, at Blarney's place, I get to do lots of jobs in the kitchen - glazing the ham is my big job then. 

15. Do you have a lot of cooking equipment? How often do you use it all? Do you have any pieces of equipment that you rarely ever use?

I have a lot of baking basics, a few pots and pans, a small food processer and some implements I inherited from my grandmother - I love her egg beater - seems strange, but I love it. I'm about to have a kitchen cull and get rid of things I never use. But my cake tins, mixing bowls  and a few other bits and bobs, they stay. They get used. I like a practical kitchen.

Today's Song:

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Stendhal's Syndrome

Okay, maybe it wasn't Stendhal's Syndrome, where you become overcome with emotion when you go through and art gallery, but after two hours in the gallery, I was done Completely flattened by the assault of colour, sound and sights. Yes, I was back at the National Gallery of Victoria visiting the Trienniale. This time, instead of popping in at lunch time, Jonella and I finally got to have a mooch though together. It was our third attempt at going to see this. The first time a five day lockdown got in our way. The second time, conflicting meetings and appointments meant we didn't make it. 

But this time we did. 

Jonella and I do galleries at about the same speed, which is a good thing. There are some people who dawdle, there are some people who race though - but we meander at about the same pace, having a look around. Reading what we wanted to read, moving on after a bit. And there is a LOT to see. 

Circe - she's a bit intense

Also having been twice before, I had an idea of what was about. It's a different experience going for a quick schmooze at lunchtime to a leisurely couple of hours with a friend. 

It was awesome to wander around again. 

The Freaky Room - a complete mind f*ck

However, going on a weekend, now that the mask rules have been released, means that there are far more people in the gallery. which after a year of not being close to people, is all a bit freaky. 

My new catch cry. 

Also, having a migraine on Thursday, with fug day on Friday, followed by an evening out with your noisy, somewhat inebriated workmates at a pub in the night before, my noise and people quotas were running low. 

So on top of all this, there was the riot of sound, colour, light, ideas and experiences the Trienniale provides, after two hours, we were both ready to leave - happy, but overwhelmed. Jonella felt the same. Two hours was enough. It was time for some lunch before a mooch home. 

Good advice.

And it was just awesome, even on the third viewing. There is so much to see. 

The Trienniale is at the National Gallery Victoria until 18 April. Tickets are free and online. 

Just do it - but be prepared to be overwhelmed. 

Today's Song: 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Pillow Book Observations

Overcoming the fug of a migraine, and knowing I'm due out to dinner in a bit - not that I really want to go to dinner in Port Melbourne, but I need to show willing, as it is my team, and my manager is down from Sydney and I have to make small talk for a few hours - ho hum - I want to get the blog post out of the way.

So I'm going to do a writng exercise tonight. A quick on that takes ten minutes. A list from The Pillow Book, a small volume penned about 1000 years ago in Japan by a courtier. She listed all sorts of things. 

So I'm going to take a subject and write for ten minute: 

Here we go:

Hateful Things:

People who are cruel

People who are cruel to animals

Huntsman Spiders

People who are rude to waiting staff

Flaming dog turds left on the front step

Our tin-earred Prime Minister

Billionaires who give nothing back


Heated arguments which are never resolved

Self-loathing which is tended like a bonsai tree

Plantar warts and foot fungus

Ill-considered face tattoos

Cat puke/poo underfoot in the early hours

The loud fighting neighbours screaming at 2 a.m.

Thigh chafing early in the day, brought on by holey stockings, which you can't get rid of. 

Incessant humidity

Willful ignorance

Writer's block

Meatloaf (the singer)

There, that will do. It's an interesting concept writing lists which were being listed 1000 years ago.

Today's song: (Looking for a song with a pillow in it - could only come up with this)

Thursday, March 25, 2021


 A day in bed. 

Cat pissed off because I've taken over his bed for the day. It's his bed during the day. 

Haven't eaten. 

Went to work, when home an hour later. Too light, too noisy (Thursday is the office day for my team). There would have been bloodshed if I'd stayed. 

Feel like crap - though a bit of energy is returning. 

Thankful these don't last too long.

Going back to bed now. 

It's fine. Thankfully, these pass. Thank God for Panadeine Forte. 

Today's Song:

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Brite Side

It's one of those songs which sticks in my head.

But nobody knows about it. 

A child of the seventies, teenager of the eighties, Blondie has always had a big part in my musical upbringing. Blondie was on Countdown. They sang One Way or Another, the only version of this which should ever be played. The One Direction version is just naff.

Over the years, Blondie has made it's way onto mixed tapes and burned CDs. I love boxing with Atomic playing in the background. I sing Dennis, in the car, loudly, normally inserting the cat's name. 

I've got stoned with Rapture playing in the background. But that was in London and the person supplying the weed, an old flat mate, had as tragic music tastes as me. We were the same age. He was more The Cruel Sea and Soundgarden to my Talking Heads, B'52s and Violent Femmes. But we met in the middle with Blondie, and a bit of Malawi skag weed that blew your head off. 

I remember cycling to work in Adelaide in the late eighties with Blondie on my Walkman. 

Looking at what comes up on Google, skimming through the clips that come up, I know most of the words to most of the songs. Blondie was just too cool. 

Blondie is a big part of my personal playlist now, and has instructed me on my musical tastes into adulthood. A little bit grungy, a little bit punk, a lot of rock and roll. Somewhat high energy, but with substance. 

I wanted to be Debbie Harry growing up. I look at her now, at 75, and I hope I age as well as her. 

Then you come across this old song you haven't heard in years. It's one of her solo treasures. Made for a television show she was in at the end of the eighties, when she was acting. The show was Wiseguy, and I only remember knowing I liked it, it had a great cast (that is even greater 30 years on) and that Debbie Harry appeared in a couple of episodes and sang this song.  I believe this only ever came out as an EP, with another song she sang on the show. I know I used to own it on cassette. Ah the days...

It's just a treasure from another era. And singing it in the shower last night, I was a bit bemused that I still knew the words. Thirty years on.

Funny how the memory works. I've been transported back to my early twenties. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing. 

Today's Song:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Fish Rots from the Head Down

Surely there are better things to talk about. Like how we're actually going to the COVID vaccines into people's arms without messing over every GP's surgery in the process? Or how we're going to clean up the Eastern coast as a year's worth of rain has dumped itself on an unsuspecting coastline. Maybe we could talk about the treatment of women in parliament in a meaningful way.

But no, another week, another sex scandal at Parliament House. 

I quite liked this meme, thanks to Crikey.

As pointed out in the comments, we always knew the LNP were a mob of wankers. 

Actually, have been on point.

I'm just a bit over it all. It would be nice to see a Federal Government that leads for a change.

But then again, we've always been told fish rots from the head. 

I think we're seeing that now. 

Today's song:

Monday, March 22, 2021

It smells like Bali

 "It smells like Bali."

"No, that's the hops."

"No, it smells like Bali."

"Nah, that's just he brewery."

"But it smells like Bali."

Jay and I had just left the gym. It was 8 p.m. It's been sitting at 100% humidity and Melbourne feels like Bali at the moment. It's probably feeling more like Bali in Sydney where they've had a stupid amount of rain and it's a few degrees warmer. but still. It was dark out, and close as we went out into the night. Sitting somewhere in the early evening the night time workings of the local brewery may have been spewing out the scent of hops.

But all I could smell was Bali.

The wet of the last few days. The overcast days. The over the top humidity have left the place feeling sodden. What's worse, the gym, with its dodgy air conditioning makes it feel like you're working out in a sauna. When you walk out, you feel the difference in the atmosphere. It's a degree or so cooler, but far more close. The damp takes you over like a wave. 

And despie what Jay says, I don't think it's the hops from the local brewery. The wet asphalt. The damp air. There's no breeze. The sound of soft falling rain. The occasional cricket. And for me, through the window, the cloy of the neighbour's night blooming jasmine. 

It's not he hops. It's smells like Bali here at the moment, which is of some comfort.

Today's song: 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Blog Challenge

Today's Lucifer's 'Gotchaversary'. A year ago today I brought home this strange, quiet, skinny, silky yellow-eyed small panther type arrangement to hopefully be my mate. A year on, this Whiskas-loving, mostly quiet, laser dot chasing goober is still here. In the winter, he sleeps between my knees, using my legs as a pillow, he likes reading with me and he lets me pick him up for a minute or two once a day. I think he's great. I wish he was cuddlier, but them's the breaks. He's my cat and I love him to bits. Happy Gotchaversary, my love. 

How could he not be mine? How could I not fall for those eyes?

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

1. An unforgettable day in my life.

This may sound a little twee, but starting the Faber course last year I walked into the offices of Allen & Unwin, the publishers,  in East Melbourne. It was like walking through a portal. It felt like I was doing something really big. It was an incredible feeling and I try to remember that every time I write

2. My favorite snacks

Oh there are many, but some that come to mind:

  • Crystalised ginger
  • Burger Rings
  • Icy poles (The Brits call them ice lollies, the Americans I think call them popsicles)
  • Salt and vinegar chips
  • Fru Chocs
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Hummus and crudites

3. My biggest fashion accessory

I'm not really a fashion plate, but I love my chunky soled shoes - in particular my Harley Davidson motorcycle boots. 

4. My biggest celebrity crush

Oh, which one. I'm a sucker for an Englishman. So of course, there's Clive Owen (So filthy you just want to throw him in the bath), Tom Ellis (He's Welsh - and those eyes), Kenneth Brannagh (that voice..)...there's a long list. 

I'm currently on a bit of binge of the show, The Nanny. Charles Shaughnessy, who used to be Shane on Days of our Lives was one of my first celebrity crushes. He's still lovely.

5. One Hobby I would like to learn

I'd love to be able to play the piano. One day, maybe I'll learn. 

6. My OCD habits

I've a few of them, nothing major, but there are a few things I do. 

  • I have to check the screen door is locked of a night
  • Ironing needs to be done all at once, so I don't think I've left the iron on. 
  • I can't leave the house without having my keys in my hand - but this is a sensible thing to do. 

7. If I could eat one last meal

Oh, I think I would start with a prawn cocktail - a big one as I LOVE prawns. Then Mum's roast lamb with mint sauce and lots of roast veggies. All washed down with a creme brulee, of if it can be sourced, a halva ice cream sundae, with halva ice cream, orange blossom water syrup, Turkish Delight and Persian fairy floss - I used to have this at a restaurant in Glen Huntly, which has now closed down, but the memory of this dessert lives on. 

8. Working on my fitness

Always. I've done 15,000 steps today - started off with a walk with a friend in the rain early this morning. I love keeping fit. I'm in the gym three days a week and I try to get 10000 steps in a day. 

9. What I spend money on

It used to be travel - and I wish it was still travel. My money now goes on rent, food, books, movies and theatre. And clothes, but I've cut that down too. 

10. My favorite recipe

I have a few, but the ones that comes to mind is a chicken and roast pumpkin stir fry which always gets comments. The roasted pumpkin is wonderfully sweet and the sauce, of sweet chilli sauce, soy and lime juice goes well with the snow peas and crushed cashews. Friends often ask me to make it. 

11. The best part of each season

Summer: Balmy evenings, swims on warm evenings, beers in the beer garden

Autumn: Everything. Kicking piles of leaves. Sunsets are always better in autumn. 

Winter: Staying in bed with lots of covers on. 

Spring: Walking around without a coat after a few months. 

12. A life lesson I’ve learned

You are not entitled to know what anybody thinks of you, and it really is a waste of energy for you to care about that. 

13. My inspiration to blog

I started this blog ten years ago to document the training for running a marathon. The marathon never happened, but the blogging remains. 

14. What’s inside my closet?

Far too much crap which needs cleaning out. 

15. Let me brag a minute.

I got something published this week. Okay, it's a trade rag, but still - it's nice to see my name on paper.

Today's song:


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Theatre Review: Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes

 Play: Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes by Hanna Moscovitch

Theatre: Southbank (Melbourne Theatre Company production)

Stars: 4

Just being back in a theatre again was the best feeling ever. 

Jay and I had booked a few weeks ago for the return Melbourne Theatre Company season. Thanks to COVID, the theatres have been shut, and they're just starting to limp back into activity. The excitement was palpable - we've been trotting along to the MTC for years now. Having a subscription to the local theatre complanyhas been a badge of pride of mine for years. 

The plays showing from March through May were supposed to be on last year, keeping the cast and sets that would have been prepared for the 2020 season. I remember looking at this in the brochure in the back end of 2019 and thinking that it looked interesting.

And it was. 

According the the MTC website, the play is about the following:

 "Jon is a prize-winning novelist who wants more out of life. His third marriage is going about as well as his first two, and he’s stuck at university teaching creative writing to lazy undergraduates. He’s a good teacher, but believes there’s really only one student worth his time.

Annie is clever, imaginative, and a huge fan of Jon's work. One afternoon, Jon catches himself admiring Annie in her red coat, and very soon it feels like their affair was destined from the start. But when the embers have cooled and the affair is over, who will control their narrative?"

This is a very enjoyable, whip-smart, thought-provoking play. Jon, played by Dan Spielman, is the quintessential middle-aged man, falling for one of his students. With all that is playing out in the papers at the moment, your head goes through every combination and permutation about what is going on between him and Annie, his beguiling, seemingly innocent, very intelligent student. 

Isabella Yena is eerily controlled as Annie, the student, who although consenting, as the relationship continues, you begin to wonder just where the power is going to shift. 

As the play continues, you're forever questioning what is going to happen, is it right, and is Jon in the wrong. It then gets a bit bit meta near the end - which is the brilliance of the play. 

With a stripped back set and savvy direction, this was a wonderful return for the MTC. The Southbank theatre has been adapted and is now in four quadrants. Our seats in G row were near a new central aisle, giving us more leg room - a large criticism of the theatre's former set up. There is also the COVID procedures to go through before entering the complex, signing in on the app before entering and the bar is not in commission at the moment, although the eateries around the area were doing great business last night.

Even with my reputation of going to anything in the theatre (that's not a musical) this was great. Relevant, pertinent and thought provoking, it was a great night out. 

And even better, with the earlier start time of 7.30, this short play of 75 minutes meant we missed the footy traffic and I was home just after nine. 

Today's Song:

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Eye Dream

Dreaming isn't something I do often, but when I do, it's a bit of a doozy. And these two have left me a bit discombobulated (word of the week). I had these earlier in the week, but I'm still mulling them over in my strange brain and its outputs first thing in the morning, when I realise that the day is starting and the warmth between my thighs is the cat using my quads as a pillow.  

The first dream is quite a simple one. I'm looking in a mirror, looking into my eyes. My right eye looks a bit puffy and red at first. 

I look again and the right eye is worse. The redness has got worse and the pupil has blown - it's about double the size of the pupil in the left eye. 

Looking again, after trying to do something about this eye - which is strange because it's not really hurting and it appears I can see, I look again and the eye has all gone white, like that of some strange zombie. It's blown up, it's puffy and just awful. 

After doing some stuff, I look again. The eye appears to be healing. It's working. It's a bit crusty. The right pupil has blown again, but at least I can see out of it now. It looks like I have the last of a case of conjunctivitis. 

I look again a bit later and my eyes are pretty much back to normal. 


Funnily enough, I remember a similar dream I had years ago. It was similar, but at the time I had one green eye and one yellow one (as in the iris was cat's eye yellow) At the time I was sitting in a Kabbalah dream group and this rather simple dream was hashed over for an hour. 

Two nights later, I find myself racing around a department store. I'm trying to get from the mezzanine to the first floor where I work. I've been in this department store before in my dreams and I know my way around, and because of this, I know it's very difficult to get from the mezzanine to the first floor. You can climb up on rickety boxes, or you have to run around to strange escalators on the other side of the building to get where you need to go. There are down escalators, but not up ones. The lift to the first floor, which is in a part of department store almost at the polar opposite end of store, nowhere near where I need to be, and it takes forever to come. There was more to the dream than this, but that's the crux of it. 

As I no longer sit in that dream group, I turned to for some notes on interpretation. 

The bung eye - a fear of intimacy. Hmph. Who knew?

And the department store? 

To quote, "Department Store:  To dream that you are in a department store suggests that you are trying to fulfill your needs and desires. Consider the significance of what you are shopping for and how you may be lacking that item in your life."

Hmph is all I will say. Hmph.

I feel a bit like Larry in Closer at the moment. I adore this play. I've always got this play, from the first time I saw it on stage in London in the late nineties. 

And I so get Larry. part of me thinks I'm a female Larry. But then, I'm also a little bit Anna. And a little bit Jane. And there might even bit a little bit of Dan in me. I love this play.  I so get Larry when he yells, "What does one have to do to get some intimacy around here?" 

I get it. 

Maybe the bung eye dream is saying I'm finally coming out of this lifelong denial. And maybe I should be shopping in a better place. Maybe I should be shopping in a place that is easier and more fun, not a stale old department store which reminds me of where I worked in my early twenties. 

It's food for thought. 

Today's Song: 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Launch

It was a quiet affair. We met in the Linen Room at the Abbotsford Convent. It's a place I know well, after years of manning writer's festivals, running the sound boards, driving writers around and doing all sorts of dogsbody jobs as a volunteer, it was great to go to a function which I had a bit of input to.

The convent is a rather imposing place. The history is a bit maudlin. It used to be a home for girls and young women, many pregnant, many forced into labour at the laundries which operated out of the complex. It's now a wonderful art space. The bakery onsite is fantastic, Lentil as Anything is brilliant, as are the markets which are held regularly and the gardens are wonderful. 

Initially I was a bit reticent to go there. The last time I was there was in the chapel for the funeral of a well loved friend. I felt her there as I walked round the corner after parking the car in a side street. 

Due to COVID restrictions we weren't able to bring our friends and family along, it was just the Melbourne novel writing classes - the other class, taught by Sophie Cunningham and Emily Bitto (swoon), and our class, taught by Carrie Tiffany (bigger swoon), Kristina Olsson (still swooning) and Paddy O'Reilly (who left us mid-year, but she's the most incredible writing teacher I've ever had.)

My writing group is an amazing mob. We all are writing different things, but we all egg each other on. I've made some great friends out of all this. Just seeing everybody in the flesh was great. 

And best of all, our anthology was launched last night. It has a sample of work from all of the classes - not only the novel writing crew, but the memoir and non-fiction writers. These anthologies are sent out to publishers around the world. A number of old students have picked up contracts and agents from being in this anothology over the years. 

Being in this anthology was part of the reason I took on this course. I wasn't expecting to learn so much while I was on the course. It kept me sane last years. And I never expected to make such good friends over the year.

And the thrill of seeing your name on the cover of a book never gets old. 

Today's Song: 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

I need a donut

Content warning:  gynaecological stuff

Every two years I front up for this test. Added to the two-yearly mammogram and bowel cancer tests women over 50 are encouraged to do, I also get my ovaries scanned. There's ovarian cancer in my family. It's purely precautionary, but better safe than sorry, and to be honest, I'm glad I live in a country where these tests are readily available. Unlike the poo test and the boob squash, the pelvic ultrasound is not free, but it's not done at a prohibative cost. In the last 15 years I've had this done a number of times. So nothing is unexpected. It's invasive and it can be uncomfortable, but it's necessary. Well this is what I know in my heart and head. 

The ultrasound place is at the Epworth. Not far from home. It's a specialist woman's clinic, with women radiographers. Pelvics are their bread and butter. 

Arriving at the hospital there is an obligatory COVID quesionnaire. They mask you up in one of their masks, make you sanitise, take your name and phone number before admitting you to the building. 

My appointment was supposed to be at 9 am, but it was moved to later in the afternoon. This was not welcomed, partly as the call came as I was about to leave home, freshly washed, face painted and my resolve in tact. Waiting the extra seven hours meant trying to focus on something else for the day. I managed this for the most part. 

I sloped out of work at 3.20, Thankfully the clinic was running on time. 

I always feel a bit like a lamb to the slaughter when I go in for this test. The radiographers are alway lovely - friendly, professional, and you know they've seen everything before. You're not special. They treat you very well. They offer reassuring words as they probe your insides.

After ridding yourself of you underwear, it's up on the table, a blanket covers all relevant bits. 

There's the discussion about latex? Was I allergic. Umm, sort of.  I know of a few sensitivities. Better use the one that wasn't latex  - it's not as comfortable, she said. It's nice that they ask. Much better than developing a raging case of thrush over the next few days. 

And then it starts. You're lying there, prone, regulating your breathing to manage the discomfort of having a wooden-spoon-handle sized speculum probing your insides, bumping up against the uterus, bowel, bladder and intestines. You count the ceiling tiles, make small talk. Occassionally you'll look at the television screen, placed on the wall showing you what's going on on your insides. It's there for the pregnant people who traipse daily through the clinic. Instead of a foetus, she points out my Mirena coil, the cervix, the uterus. A bit of jiggling about, putting my balled fists under my backside, she locates both ovaries. All looks fine. 

Good. I wasn't expecting anything else.

Some last pictures and it's over. 

You're left to wipe yourself free from the lube and ultrasound gel. You get dressed. You pay the bill. And you go on your way. 

And every time after this test, even though I know how necessary it is, it takes a while to shake the feeling of being violated. Although you know you haven't. But something long and hard has been up inside you for around 20 minutes, and it's harsh and a intrusive - even though the radiographer is being as gentle as they can be. It's not fun. 

The body is a  manipulative trickster. Press points on your feet and your shoulder twitches. Scratch your nose and you can feel it in your thigh. 

Have a speculum inserted in your vagina for an extended amount of time and have all sorts of strange feelings and emotions wash over you. The head may be screwed on and you know what's happening on an intellectual level, but it doesn't stop the heart and the gut from reacting. You know why you're having these. Your heart gets all discombobulated as your centre normally reserved for pleasure is not being treated as it wants to be. And your gut cries rape.

It takes a bit to get yourself centred after these. 

Walking back to the car, I basked in the balmy, sunny afternoon, Barack Obama telling his story via audiobook in my ears. I should be happy it was over, and all looked clear. 

But my heart and my gut wanted a donut. A little bit of fat and sugar to soothe the frazzled soul. 

A donut was found on the way home. A shower washed away the rest of the experience. And a beer with my writing group at our anthology launch put the world to rights again. 

But with all the talk of sexual assault and rape over the media for the last few weeks, the abject horror of being voilated in the way these woman have been subjected, this put a visceral spin on just how horrific their traumas would be. 

It's uncomfortable and can be triggering, having this test - although you know it's being done for a good reason. 

What must those who have been sexually violated be feeling? After today, it's harder to fathom. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A little bit of normal

 A bit of sanity returned this morning. 

I toddled down to my Wednesday morning cafe on this Tuesday, a day early as tomorrow's activities won't let me do this, to get my Wednesday morning coffee and mushroom toastie.

I love mushroom toasties, but I'm only allowing myself one a week. They're a bit evil. And I went to the moderately priced mushroom toastie cafe, Holla, not the overpriced and slow, but orgasmic mushroom toastie place, Hector's Deli. Seriously, Hector's mushroom toastie, with the obligatory Hectic Sauce, is a heavenly evil, brilliant sex you brag about in a bag, even it you have to change your top because you've got goo on your top, but it was so worth it, type stuff.  but the hipsters are notoriously slow and you pay above odds for this little bit of heaven. I has a meeting at 10 so it was a matter of getting the toastie and coffee and getting home. 

The other change this morning was I took my keep cup. For most of COVID, most cafes stopped the use of keep cups. Even when they worked out that COVID was basically transferred by droplets through the air, they still didn't take keep cups. 

I've got keep cups all over the place. One in my drawer at work. One at home. I bought one for the writer's retreat, drinking my tea, and my gin and tonics out of the vessel (Gin and tonics out of a sippy cup - unique...) My keep cups are glass, with a cork band - mainly because I don't like the plastic aftertaste you get from the other ones. They're just good to use. So much better for the environment. 

Today, Holla accepted my keep cup. 

And the world felt a little more back to normal again. 

Walking home, mushroom toastie in my bag, keep cup in hand, Pokemons being hunted out, Supertramp in my head, the five minute walk home felt good. 

What the Supertramp thing is, I do not know. Why Breakfast in America is playing longform in my head, I cannot answer. Maybe there are messages in The Logical Song, or Goodbye Stranger. Maybe I should listen more closely to Take the Long Way Home. For three days these songs have been on rotation. The chorus and coda get stuck in your head. The album came out when I was ten years old. I vaguely remember seeing the band play on Countdown. It's a comforting album. 

But all is fine with the world. Keep cups are back in vogue. 

We can get on with a bit of normality. 

There are times when all the world's asleep

The questions run too deep

For such a simple man

Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned

I know it sounds absurd

Please tell me who I am...

(Supertramp - The Logical Song)

Today's Song:

Monday, March 15, 2021

I wish I could go to the march

I'm going to the march in spirit. 

It's a matter of timing you see. I've had the doctors appointment booked for nearly two months now - and I need to see her to refill some scripts. She's hard to get into at the best of times for these ongoing appointments and as I don't have a repeat script and I'll run out of my blood pressure meds on Wednesday, I have to keep the appointment. If I tried to change it I'd be without BP meds and HRT for a few weeks - not something anybody needs to see - especially me. 

If it was any other day, I'd be at the rally. If she's running on time, I might go into town and join the throng. Take the afternoon off and lend my voice to the crowd. 

Stuff work. 

I march for women's rights. Like my suffragette great-granparents, I'll take to the streets to respectfully yell for the right to be heard, understood and treated equally. I march for the rights of those silenced by the patriarchy for centuries. I march for the rights of those who cannot be heard. 

Because like what seems like half the country, at the moment, I'm angry. I'm fuming over what's going on in Canberra, where rapes and sexual assaults are covered up, not investigated and summarially dismissed. If I hear the words 'rule of law' as an excuse for the horrific treatment these women, who have had the courage to speak up, have had to put up with, then I will be standing with them. 

Having first hand knowledge of how sexual assault fucks up your life, and knowing how powerless you feel to do anything about it, of course I will be there in spirit, lending my voice against the silencing, the shaming and the lack of action women have often experienced. 

Is it getting better? Yes and no. The attitudes are still there. A lot of the attitude is found in Canberra, where they appear to be dismissing years of misbehaviour from all sides of the system just to maintain power. 

Well, I've had enough. 

And sure, I was brought up to a culture where women, like children, were supposed to be seen and not heard. I've been told not to drink beer in the front bar, because ladies don't do that. Or told that if I'd smile more I'd get a bloke, or that my salary is less than that of a man because I don't have a family to keep, or not to tease men ever, because that can lead to trouble. It's your fault, not theirs. 

And don't start me on how 90 men died as a result of a king hit over a ten year period, bringing in harsh laws for king hitters - I refuse to call them 'coward's punches' - it's a John Howard term. Mandatory sentences. Shame. 

Then you look at the statistics. Around 70 women a year are killed by their domestic partners in any given year. Do they change the laws? No? They strip funding from the women's shelters and aid programs - because of course, it's not the man's fault... Let's all have a cup of tea and wear a white ribbon. See, we've done our jobs, says Canberra. 

So don't ask me why, as a woman, that I feel the need to bleat on about equality. 

Okay, I'm in my invisible middle aged period, but I occasionally have insults thrown out of a car window at me as I walk down the road. At night, I walk with my keys laced between my fingers. I get in the back seats of cabs. When I get home after a night out, when I'm not in my car, I text my friends to let them know I got home okay.

How many men feel the need to do this? 

You do this because this has been ingrained into me from a young age. It's what you do to keep safe. Because we all know somebody who's been followed home, accosted, had a dodgy cab/uber drive make them uncomfortable....and.... and.... and...

And yes, this is life for most women. It's why we travel in packs. It's generally safer. 

So when the Federal Government all but dismiss old, but serious rape allegations against the Attorney-General, stating that the Rule of Law is the law and there is no more to be done, yeah, nah. Christian Porter asked at that train wreck of a presser to imagine for a second, that the allegations were not true. I counter, think, for a second, that he has been accused of is true. Do you want somebody capable of such acts to be in power. There's no ifs or buts about it. 

I'm sick of the white blokes privilege. I'm not going to condone it any more. I mean, have a look at the trailer for this movie which is out at the moment. This wasn't long ago. And we're still contending with it. 

We're marching, not for just one issue. We're marching because we deserve a hell of a lot better. 

We've had enough.

This isn't going to go away. 

Today's song:

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Ask anything

Another weekend, another bunch of questions. Thankfully it's a quiet weekend. Good for getting some writing done. Also it's going to be cool tomorrow. We like this. Autumn really seems to be setting in early. This suits me just fine. 

Anyway, on with the questions, ably supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.  Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I prefer them closed. It feels a bit strange with them open. 

2.  Do you have freckles?

No. I had a few as a kid, but I grew out of them when I was a teenager. 

3. Can you whistle?

Yes. My grandfather taught me to whistle when I was about five years old. I'm not sure my parents appreciated this. 

4.  Last song you listened to.

Men at Works' Overkill. It was yesterday's song of the day. It's an old favourite of mine. I sing it in the shower, a lot. I found this wonderful acoustic version of it. A couple of years ago I saw Colin Hay on Stage at the Melbourne Theatre Company as Feste the Jester in Twelfth Night. He was magic then too - wrote the music to the songs he sang. 

5. Name something that relaxes you.

Lots of things relax me:

  • Reading
  • Movies
  • Exercise
  • Cuddles
  • Talking to animals
  • Writing (sometimes)

6.  What are your favourite sounds?

It's quite stereotypical for a country girl, but I love the sound of rain on a tin roof. Love it. I also love music, cats purring, the sound or rain and the sound of the crust being broken on a creme brulee. 

7. What do you wear to bed?

Nothing. Moisturiser. If I'm at somebody else's house I'll wear shorty pyjamas, otherwise I sleep naked. I have done for over three decades - I run hot most of the time. 

8. Do you sing in the shower?

Yes. Often and badly. I'm known for it. My old London downstairs neighbours can testify to this. 

9.  What books are you reading?

Currently I'm reading Laura Jean McKay's The Animals of that Country and have the audiobook version of Barack Obama's A Promised Land on in the car and over my earphones on the way to work. I have to start Ceridwen Dovey's Life After Truth for book groups in the next day or so. 

10.  Do you believe in magic?

Yes, to a point. 

11. Can you curl your tongue?


12.  Have you ever caught a butterfly?

Not since I was a child - and I'd never do it now. In my family, when we see a butterfly we think of my niece, who died five years ago. Butterflies are meant to be free, like my niece. I love seeing them though. 

13. Name one movie that made you cry. 

Just one. 

Here are a few. 

  • The Notebook
  • Calvary (They killed Bruno!)
  • Lion
  • Call Me By Your Name (The father's final speech...)
  • The Fault in our Stars
  • Six Feet Apart
  • Marley and Me. 
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Up (about ten minutes in when the old man loses his wife)
  • And many more. I'm a sook. 

14.  Peanuts Or sunflower seeds?


15.  Are you a heavy sleeper?

Not particularly. I'm not a light sleeper, and I don't sleep that long, but once I'm out, I'm normally out for the night, thank goodness. But I do wake to some sounds. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My year without flying

It came to my attention that on this weekend last year I took my last flight. I remember being on the plane with the tail end of a chest infection. I remember the death stares I got from the people in front of me when periodically coughed. I remember that the plane was only half filled, there were a few people wearing masks. I also found a six pack of Quilton at the Coles at Wyndham Station, which I took, as at the time, loo paper was almost impossible to come across in Melbourne. I wrote about it at the time

My handwashing song at the time was 'Oliver's Army' - two rounds of the chorus. I now fluctuate between that and 'Agadoo'...

I remember the half-empty airport - soon to be completely stripped of staff and passengers. I remember that I had been really excited to see The Pixies at the Opera House forecourt - bit it was cancelled last minute. I wanted to see them in the open, and not at the Palais in Melbourne, as you can't got apeshit and mosh at the Palais. 

I remember having breakfast with Alice on the Sunday morning. Alice, her partner and I were supposed to be going to The Pixie together. Alice and I originally bonded over The Pixies 15 years ago. Alice drags me to live music every now and then. I haven't see much of Alice this year. 

I remember how ordinary it felt to just nip off up to Sydney for a weekend. I did it once a month for nine years. 

And then the pandemic came and the planes stopped. There was a while there when you saw a plane in the sky and you had to make comment, like Tattoo on Fantasy Island. 'The plane... the plane...'.

In this last year, other than two trips to Adelaide by car and a weekend down the Great Ocean Road, I've been nowhere. 

I was hoping to go to Bali last November. I'd like to return to Britain, do a bit of a tour of Cornwall and Wales, find out where I'm really from. But no. Not now. Not for a while. 

And then there is the 200,000 airmiles I have in storage. That's nearly enough points for a return Business Class trip to Europe. 

But we can't think about that. 

It's been a year since I've been on a plane. 

I know I may have a trip to make to Canberra in the not too distance future. My dear aunt is on her last legs. 

I'd also like to go down to Hobart to wander around MONA for a day before having a look around Bruny Island. Oh to see something different. Blarney will look after the cat. 

I'll start small. It's hard to plan at the moment. 

But it's been a year since I've been on a plane. After 20 years of regularly schlepping off to the airport on any given Saturday morning, popping over to Adelaide to see the folks - oh hell, just going somewhere, anywhere. 

Two years ago at this time I was in Hong Kong, before the troubles had really set in. 

I miss travel. 

And if I'm really honest, this marks a year which started my year without sex. 

This is another topic for another blog. If only I can find the courage and clarity to write it. 

Today's Song:

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Lunchbreak

There are good things about being back in the office.

One of those things is lunchtime. 

Work being a bit on the light side of things at the moment, in that we're waiting for a lot of code to drop so I can do a proper job of things, not just a half-baked job of it, I booked myself in for a quick visit of the National Gallery of Victoria, which is five minutes walk from the office. 

I left on time. 

I checked myself in to the gallery five minutes later. 

The ushers scanned the ticket on my phone. 

And I happy danced into the gallery - and happy danced for the time I was in there. I haven't been in a gallery for a year. This is seriously good for the soul. 

Having 45 minutes to mooch around (so I could get back to my desk, with some lunch, in the hour) I had no agenda. Also, as the Trienniale is currently on display and I'm going back with Jonella in a few weeks time, I didn't feel the need to rush. I just wanted to mooch.

And mooch I did. 

I gasped at the installation in the Federation Court. 

I went and stared at the stained glass ceiling, as I always do. 

I went in search of the Picasso and Bacon, which I always hunt out - but they weren't there - and will probably return when the Triennale is dismantled. 

I had a look at some of the shifting galleries, taking note of a few things I will need to give more attention to when I go back with Jonella (or on another lunchtime roaming). 

I fell in love with the Fallen Fruit exhibition, which was as delightful as it was disturbing. 

And nearing the end of my trip, I went back to the Great Hall for a ten minute lie down on the couches they've installed. The instructions on the lie-lows read "Hop on. Look up." So I did.

45 minutes after entering the gallery, I went back out onto St Kilda Road and walked back to the office, happy, soul restored and grateful. Very grateful we can do stuff like this again. 

We are very, very fortunate and this cannot be forgotten. 

Today's song:

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Much too much

There is too much in my calendar, and I don't like it. I really don't like it, but thems the breaks. 

One of the great things about the long lockdowns was knowing you didn't have anything to do after work. Commitments waned, nights were free. All you had to think about was whether you had cat food in the house to know that life was running smoothly.

Now, not so much. 

I'm starting to freak at the sight of my calendar over the next two weeks. 

Besides the gym, sessions with Cleo and Jay on Mondays and Thursdays, which is needed and essential for my health, there are now other things cluttering the diary. 

It all starts Saturday. There's a barbeque for the Units' confirmation on Saturday. Bring a salad. Quite a few are coming. 

Over the weekend I need to get those bloody doors painted. Hoping the cat will play ball and sleep during this time. 

Monday - I've got a doctors appointment at lunchtime. If I didn't, I'd be going to one of those women's marches that are happening around the country. 

Tuesday - the normal Faber meet up at 6.30, followed by the Masons Property Association AGM. One meeting I want to be at, the other not so much, but at least the latter shouldn't take too long. Both meetings are on Zoom. 

Wednesday - Oh joy, a uterine scan in the morning. Fun. Then in the evening, the Faber Anthology launch. Have to get dressed up a bit for the do at the Abbotsford Convent. Okay, looking forward to this one. It will be nice to see the crew again. 

Thursday - training. We like this. If it's anything like last night, Cleo will bring out her boxing bag and we get to kick her. 

Friday - COVID allowing, the first play we will have seen in a theatre in a year. We have tickets to the MTCs performance of Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes. I'm excited to be back in an actual theatre again. 

Saturday - Killer day. Get up, Meditation (online). the off to the temple to meet prospective candidates for the lodge, then off to the hairdresser to get the temples and roots coloured in. 

Sunday - Nothing. Well, Pump at the gym. And go visit Blarney early evening. Might even get fed. 

Things roll into the next week. 

Of course, there's the necessary gym visits on Monday and Thursday. 

Tuesday's book group. Online, but it means talking to people after hours. 

Wednesday could see me heading over to Gippsland to do a site visit for work. My manager will be down from Sydney, COVID allowing - so that will be fun - something different. Oh, and then masons in the evening. 

Thursday is packed out with meetings because the manager is down from Sydney, the day is packed out with meetings, which are being held face to face. Not thrilled about this. We're then off to a pub in Port Melbourne for dinner - so that means going home, feeding the cat and collecting the car, getting through traffic, to get out and back again - after spending the day with these people.

Friday is currently free. 

Saturday, Jonella and I are off to the NGV to see the Triennale. 

And after a year of going nowhere, not doing anything and just being happy to go to the cinema now and then, faced with a wave of commitments, it's doing my head in. 

Ah well, should be thankful we're able to do this and get on with it. 

But for this little introvert, it's all a bit much and I'm only just getting my head around it all. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Banger

I want a banger.

I want a banger real bad. 

I really, really want a banger. 

And I'm trying to talk myself out of the banger. 

Because I don't need a banger. 

A banger, like it would be a guilty pleasure. 

But I REALLY REALLY want a banger. 

I hate this. I hate talking myself out of things. 

And I'm about to get a two grand bonus...

And no, I am not talking about sausages or a heavy metal band. 

There is an art to talking yourself out of something. 

Last night I was around at a friend's place and she introduced me to her banger. And it was awesome. It left me in a big puddle, and along with the fru-chocs my mate was feeding me, not a better night could have been had. 

She half-talked me into it getting the banger there and then using airmiles. I mean, I've nearly enough points for a return business class flight to Europe - but who knows when we're going to be allowed to travel overseas again, why not use some of these points? Maybe it's just a lot of wishful thinking that we'll be travelling soon. The desire to take myself off to England for a few weeks is huge. But we live in hope. 

Which leaves me with the banger dilemma. 

See, my friend is a physiotherapist. I've got a nagging rotator cuff injury which flares up after doing anything that looks like a chest press or push up. Last night she got her banger onto my shoulder.

I call it a banger because it goes bang-bang-bang-bang-bang.....

And it was magnificent. I had to wash the drool off of my shirt later. It was that good. 

I mean, it looks like an instrument of torture or a strange kitchen utensil - maybe a high tech meat tenderiser, but it's very effective. Who knew a personal massage device could do that? And it's rechargeable. And it isn't just for shoulders. You can get to all sorts of places. It is fantastic for ITBs and quads and glutes.... And the handle comes off...

And the shoulder is feeling better than it's felt in weeks. Like my own personal myotherapist. This comes tried, tested and physio recommended. 

I think I might be losing the battle. 

What else am I going to use my airmiles on at the moment?

Today's song: 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Market

Never again. 

We'd planned this for. We were supposed to to this this time last year - get all of our unwanted stuff and sell it off at the Camberwell Market. Then COVID came and the markets were shut and our stuff sat around the house, or in Jay's case, in a storage, until and we got a chance to hold the stall again. 

On Sunday, we were up at the crack of dawn. Jay got to the market early, parking her car, arranging a trestle table and a hanging rack for clothes. I dumped the contents of my car with her and parked the car a distance away. It was time to rid myself of the stuff that's been accumulating for years. CDs, DVDs, tarot cards, books, clothes, nick-nacks - and the big seller - old tech - cords, chargers and modems. 

You get to see the best and worst of people at the markets. The people who come and pick over your stuff as you're trying to set up, complete with torches and the tenacity of pit bulls. They descend on you like a swarm of bees, shuffling through your stuff, not giving you a chance to set up. When the market opened at seven, we'd already made a few sales. 

Prices are kept easy - a dollar for CDs and single DVDs. $2 for DVD boxed sets. Clothes went cheap. Jay sold a leather coat from the 80s for $20. The woman got a steal. Jonella had gifted me a box of tech she wanted to get rid of. Cables and cords for a dollar. Chargers went for two. Half the box went by 12.30. 

People came and sifted, then sifted again. There were some very dodgy men who kept coming past. Aging men with long greasy hair, socks with sandals and coke bottle glasses. That sort. I'm thankful that there were two of us manning the stall. Jay lost a couple of pairs of earrings to wandering hands.

One of the good things about the market was the dogs. The stall next to us had a 14 week old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Rosie. I made quite a few visits to the pup, buying a cap off them when the sun came out in force - and to see the dog once again. 

And then after five hours of keeping an eye on stuff, selling things on for a bargain, swatting people away, dealing with cash (and that was a strange one, I haven't used cash since COVID started), we packed up the stall, returned the trestle and hanging rack, got the last of our stuff and went home, sunburned and exhausted and a couple of hundred dollars in my wallet. Jay did well - she raked in double what I made - but she was selling a lot more. 

I made a couple of stops on the way home. First to get some cat food. The boy needs his grub. Then a stop into Officeworks to drop off the unsold tech for recycling. The the local shopping centre to find some lunch as I was too exhausted to cook.  I also dropped off some stationery and unsold items into the charity bins. Maybe they will find a home for them. And we were done for the day, the memories of the human detritus which inhabit the markets, with their pocket torches, rude manners and greasy hair amd questionable personal hygiene. Please note there were a lot of nice people there, but the number of creepy men around the joint was disconcerting. 

But as I said. Never again. 

Been there, done that, nice way to get rid of some crap. But once is enough. 

Today's song:

Monday, March 8, 2021

Movie Review: Blackbird

 Movie: Blackbird

Stars: 4

Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Needing some respite from the flat, and the shoulder pain, which kept me awake last night, I took my ibuprufen loaded body off the the cinema to see Blackbird. It was on my list of things to see, and as Hoyts Movie of the week the ticket was cheap. Also, with my novel where it is, obtaining views and insights into death and dying is never a bad thing. 

The movie also released a bit of the disappointment gained on Saturday when I saw The Little Things. This was better. 

The premise of the film is simple. Lily (Susan Sarandon) is terminally ill. She has chosen to end her life before the disease ends her and the family have been called to spend the weekend to say goodbye to her. Of course, there are family dramas. Daughter Jennifer (Kate Winslet) is uptight and angry. The seemingly flaky daughter Anna (Mia Wasikovska) is battling her own demons, while her best friend Liz (Lindsay Duncan) and husband Paul (Sam Neill) try and keep things. Jennifer's husband (Rainn Wilson) and son and Anna's partner come along for the ride.

Assisted suicide is a sensitive topic wherever you go, and this is handled pretty well. Okay the script isn't the films strongest point, but the cast is great and they try and make the best of it. Of course drama is obtained by the typical family fights and some stereotypical storyline plotpoints, but this doesn't stop you from caring about the characters as they negotiate the last days of Lily's life. 

Some standout moments for me was when the uppity Jennifer gets stoned for the first time, and the occurences the next day with her husband in the boat shed. Anna and her partner Chris (Bex Taylor-Klaus) give another perspective to the situation. Sam Neill's Paul is a study in living grief and love as his powerhouse wife tries to make the best of her last days. 

Most of the film is set in an architectural wonder of a house near the sea, which makes the film easy to look at. 

Knowing this is a remake of the Danish film Silent Heart (2014) makes me want to see it to compare and contrast. 

But this film does its job. Knowing Lily's health is deteriorating rapidly, she wants to go on her terms, while she can have a choice. How the family deal with this is shown well.

For me, as somebody is is actively for the right to die on your own terms when terminally ill, I'm glad this film is out there. It may not be the best film, but it certainly isn't bad. Susan Sarandon carries the movie well.

The one thing that isn't explained is the film's title. The only thing I could come up with was The Beatles song of the same name. 

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly all your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise 
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see all your life
You were only waiting for this moment.

(Blackbird, John Lennon / Paul McCartney)

It's not a bad film. It tackles the subject well, despite some of the cliches. I'm glad I saw it. 

Today's Song:

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Alec Clayton

 Well, the car is packed. Jay and I are off to the Camberwell Market at the crack of dawn to see if we can sell some of our unwanted good. Other than quite a bit of Jay's stuff, which has been sitting in my spare room for nearly a year, I've got a suitcase filled with office clothes, boots, CDs, DVDs, nick nacks, stationery, computer and IT cables... you name it, it's in the boot of me car hoping to be offloaded. So it's best I get this done now so I can relax when I get home tomorrow afternoon. 

Questions, as always, from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Do you put ketchup on hot dogs?

Is there any other way to have them. Mind you, we do hotdogs a bit differently here in Australia - the bun is often put on a spike to hollow it out, toasting it on the inside. Add a bit of butter and lashings of tomato sauce (ketchup) and maybe a little American Mustard (as that is the only place you put American Mustard if you're Australian) and Bob's your uncle. 

2. How many TVs in your house?

Two. One in the lounge, one in the bedroom. 

3. Do you put salt on watermelon?

Ew, no. 

4. Can you swim?

Of course. I'm Australian. We're drown proofed at six months, in toddler swim classes regularly and most of us can swim by the time we're five. It's essential as most of our cities are by water. 

5. Are your parents still alive?

Mum is, Dad isn't. Dad died nearly 23 years ago. Mum is doing well for eighty. 

6. First car?

A 1966 mint green, automatic EJ Holden named Edna. Great car. 

7. Surgeries?

Five. Two on my legs to sort out short achilles tendons as a kid. And three fairly minor general gynaecological issues which needed sorting as an adult. I've been lucky. 

8. What do you drink in the morning?

It depends where I am. Either water, a cup of tea or a protein shake if I'm at home. If I'm at the office, it's normally a large almond decaf latte from the coffee shop downstairs. 

9. Can you do 100 push ups?

From my knees, yes. On my toes, I'd struggle, but from my knees, no issue at all. 

10. Can you change a tire?

Yes, I can change a tyre (note spelling). I haven't done it for a long, long time, and the last couple of times I've got a flat I've called in the RACV (Roadside Assist / Autoclub - because that is what they are there for) but I do know how to do this. Did it a lot as a kid. Joys of being brought up in  the country.

11. Tattoos?

One. I've got a very small Chinese symbol for love on my hip. It's been there for over 20 years. I like it. I like that it's out the way. Other people's tattoos fascinate me.

12. Do you wear sunglasses?

Hells, yeah. I'm really light sensitive. I've got prescription sunglasses all around the place - car, every handbag, back pack.... The sun is harsh around here. They get worn year round. 

13. Do you have a phobia?

Yes. Huntsman spiders. Hate the fuckers. Not overly fond of snakes either. And I give birds and bees a wide birth too, but I just don't like things flapping and buzzing around me. they're not as fear-making as big spiders. Oh, and I loathe having my photo taken to the point of a phobia, but that is a long story. 

14. Do you have a nickname? 

Yes. I'm Panda to most people. 

15. Are you a picky eater?

Not really. I'll eat most things put in front of me. I'm not fond of bananas, lasagne, green beans and chick peas. I will eat them, I'm just not that fold of them. I'm also the person who will choose anything other than chocolate for dessert. Give me lemon or vanilla any day. 

Today's Song: