Monday, May 31, 2021

May Check in - June Goals

 Lockdown: Day 4

Mood: Level

It's that time of the month again - time to see what I've got done this month and get some goals going for the next month. 

So here's what I set for May.

Read four books:

Blitzed this one. I finished six books this month, and thankfully only one was a crappy romance. 

So I read/listened to: 

  • Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (Crappy romance)
  • On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Some of the best prose I've ever read)
  • Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes (I just want to give him a hug)
  • All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton (A very special book)
  • Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (On audiobook, with a full cast - it was superlative. Now I want to read it in print. Great book)
  • The Wife and The Widow by Christian White (Crime novel - really enjoyable - even thought it's not my preferred genre)

See a film a week:

Pending and lockdown and lockdown scuppered this one. But I saw two films. Six Minutes to Midnight, and June Again. The latter was better than the first one, but the first one was interesting from a historical standpoint. Hope this lockdown ends soon. I want to see Cruella

Walk 100 kilometres.

I've got this on default. As I haven't done a complete tally of my scheduled walks, but I have taken a tally of my fitbit and I'm at 190 kilometres as of the end of yesterday. Not a bad effort at all even if only half of it was scheduled 'walks' - but I walk a lot. With lockdown, I make sure I get in my 10000 steps and I've been doing regular five kilometre walks - some days, I've been doing more. 

Just write.

I've been doing this. And I'm getting somewhere. Yay. 

Minimise discretionary spending:

I've been pretty good with this too. There have been one or two small slips, but I've been good with not buying crap on the internet. A treat runs to a packet of white chocolate raspberry bullets. 

And my goals for June: 

Read four books. 

I really like sticking to this. My reading is under control. I know I have to re-read Honeybee for book group this month and I've just started the last of the Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light. With this lockdown probably going to be extended, it's something to aim for. 

Exercise an hour a day

A bit of a no-brainer this one, especially as it keeps me sane. 

Eliminate as much sugar from my diet

This is the big one for this month. I've slipped down the sugar path again and it's time for it to stop. Time to be hardcore. I want this. (I will have to be good for the weekend away down the Great Ocean Road, if that happens - I hope it happens). 

Have the Masons books 90% done by the end of the month.

It's a necessary evil. I get these dreadful admin jobs. The sooner I can get it out the way the better. Not having a printer at home makes it a bit harder. But the sooner they are out the way the better. 

Have two vegetarian days a week. 

This is something I want to try - and it shouldn't be too hard to do. 

Limit discretionary spending.

Alas, I'm going to be in povo mode for another month. Again, this won't be too hard if the lockdown remains. 

Today's song:

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Journal Buddies

Lockdown: Day 3

Mood: Middling - the cat is being a git. 

Today I am looking forward to the following: 

  • Using my designated 2 hour exercise period to go collect my mail in the city
  • Catherine Deveny's Write Here, Write Now session
  • Cleaning the floors
  • Doing some reading and writing
  • Talking to the cat
Hopefully this lockdown will be over on Thursday night - there are no promises as nearly 15000 people are in 14 day quarantine, this isn't a certainly. But at least this is getting the vaccination rates up. But that is another story.

Questions, as always, courtesy of Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. When do you feel the world will stop?

Will the world ever really stop? I'm not sure what they mean by this. When will the world disappear? Well, environmentally, if we don't do something soon we probably have a couple of hundred years if we beleive the scientists and if we are lucky. On a more existential level, I think the world will end for me when I die - I'll have no concept of the world after that. Oh, there's a thought. 

2. What is your personal motto?

JFDI. Just F*cking Do It. Gets you through things . 

3. What is the greatest gift you ever received?

I'm not really into material things, but I do reckon  my god given sense of humour and intelligence have been the greatest gifts ever bestowed on me. 

4. Who ist a leader who inspires you?

Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand Prime Minister) and Angela Merkel (German Prime Minister) are both women who I have a hell of a lot of time for. Ordinary women doing great things, leading countries with humility, dignity and strength. We need more of them. 

5. What irrationally annoys you more than anything else?

The words awesome and ulilise. They get used far, far too much at work (and I only use awesome ironically). 

6. What small thing can always bring you a bit of joy?

Dogs and cats. Love both of them. If they aren't around, the ice cream will do the trick. 

7. What is your favorite thing to do on a lazy day?

Read, write, watch movies - in no particular order. I'm having one of those days today. 

8. How often do you take risks?

Fairly regularly. They're calculated risks, but I don't mind making quick decisions and acting on them. 

9. Write about your happiest memory.

I remember walking through the doors of Allen and Unwin at the start of the Faber course last year - and I felt an incredible sense of deja vu.  I hope I feel that again. 

10. How long do you think it will be before we see a female president?

Well, in Australia we've already had  female Prime Minister and in my opinion she was one of the best we've ever had. As for America, the sooner you get a woman president the better I believe. Will it happen, I do not know, but some gentler, kinder energy wouldn't go astray (though it is very nice opening a newspaper and not having to wonder what Trump has done now...)

11. Do you think it’s important to be part of a community?  Why? Why not?

Absolutely. Even if it's in a limited capacity, it's good to be a part of a community. It keeps you connected with the people around you. You don't have to be in each other's pockets, but just to be able to say hello to people makes the world a better place. 

12. What piece of modern technology are you most grateful to have.

Probably my phone. Love my phone. 

13. Do you feel anonymous on line?


14. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have never gotten around to.

Oh, there are a lot of things I'd love to try. This includes:

  • Skydiving
  • Finishing Ulysses
  • Travelling through every continent
  • Learning the piano
  • Taking singing lessons
  • Getting a novel published

15. What would life be like without the internet?

Oh, I don't like to think about that. I think I'd be on the phone forever. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Binge versus Drip Feed

Lockdown: Day 2

Mood: Good. 

So lockdown means the opportunity to binge watch a couple of programs I've missed over the last while. This is both a good and bad thing. 

As a subscriber of both Stan and Netflix, this is a big weekend. Stan has brought on new episodes of The Bold Type and Younger. Both are light, fluffy, New York based, girl-centric shows that are generally enjoyable telly watching for somebody who doesn't like anything too screwed up and violent, especially late at night. Stan is using the drip feed approach, releasing an episode once a week for the duration of the season. 

And then there's Netflix, which has just released the back half of the fifth series of Lucifer. All eight episodes just landed at 6 pm on Friday night. Giving eight hours of viewing pleasure possibly all at once. 

And thinking about it all, I think I like the drip feed method more. 

I remember, as a child, loving when you had to wait to see your favourite television program - and how, if you missed it, you'd be lucky if they ran a repeat of the show. Then VCRs came into being and you had to remember to set the bloody thing so you could watch your favourite show again and again. 

The drip feed method suits me better. I like the routine of it all - waiting for your next program to drop. I like knowing that on Thursday night there is something new to watch. It's great catching up on what you're favourite characters are doing. It's like meeting up with old friends. 

The binge method just sucks your time and energy as you make a glutton of yourself watching episode after episode, often missing key bits... with the mantra 'ah, one more epidode.." has you up into the the wee small hours. 

I'm definitely a drip feed sort of person. It suits me much better. It doesn't feed my addictive as much. I like having something to look forward to.

Yet, I'm six episodes into the new intake of Lucifer....

Can't help myself. 

Walkies time now. Leave the last two episodes for when I get back. Gives me something to look forward to. 

Today's Song:

Friday, May 28, 2021

Little Rituals

Lockdown: Day 1 (hopefully of seven)

Mood: Flat but fine

I keep forgetting I like running. 

.Last night, our last night of freedom for a while, we met at the gym, but instead if going inside to train, we lugged some kettle bells and vipers (this weighted tube thing) outside and trained out there. Jay, Cleo and Hamish, who normally trains with another trainer, we were put through our paces on the paths outside the gym. A circuit of push ups, overhead presses, kettle bell swings, mountain climbers and shoulder rows were topped off with a run to the end of the path and back. Three rounds.

And I'd forgotten how much I love running. I love how I pull my shoulders back, keep my head up and just get on with it. I love the feeling of regulating my breathing and the challenge of keeping it under control. I love the feeling of moving through the air. I love regulating my stride - not that I was running fast, it was just a jog, but it felt fantastic. 

I'd also forgotten that my knees don't like me much the next day and really, I should be fifteen kilograms lighter before even thinking about running more again  - but it still felt very, very good to be running again. 

Now we're back in lockdown, I've got my rituals going again. 

A shower first thing in the morning is needed. It has to be done. A dab of perfume on the neck and wrists makes me feel alive. I don't need to smell good for the cat, but I like wearing perfume. Today, it was Jo Malone's Earl Grey cologne. Nice and subtle. 

I'm making my own coffee at the moment. A small percolator sits on the stove top. Half coffee, half macadamia milk and a half a cap of vanilla essence and I'm good to go. 

Regular visits to the cat for a cuddle (well, half cuddle - he gets a kiss on the head most of the time before being tucked back under his blanket.)

And the long walk. As it's dark  early morning and evening, the walk is taken around lunchtime. Today, I did the Richmond loop - over to Bridge Road, a quick stop at Dan Murphy's to look at the pretty gin (I'm not allowed to buy any) a walk along the river, back to Victoria Gardens to get a few supplies and a coffee, then home. I've got my 10000 steps in for the day. 

The bed get made every day. Pretty much as soon as I get up. The cat likes the bed made when he goes to sleep after his breakfast.

I sweep the kitchen floor after feeding the cat in the morning. He makes a mess, he does. 

At night, I shower, cleanse, tone and moisturise before cleaning my teeth and putting on my pyjamas - all to wash off the day. 

These are my rituals.

They keep me sane. 

(By the way, I've been trying to track down this song for ages. I remember it from London - back in the nineties when it seems good looks or teeth weren't needed to make a great song)

Today's song:

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Here we go again...


Masks on. 

Go no further than five kilometres from the front door. 

No visiting people unless you're shagging them or they're in your bubble.

You can only leave the house (wearing a mask) for the following reasons:

  • For shopping for essentials
  • For exercise (2 hours a day)
  • For care-giving or medical appointments
  • For essential work or study
  • And to get a vaccination if you haven't got one.
I'm pleased I've started on the vaccination train. Second dose is due early August. 

But for the next week it's lots of:
  • Gym on Zoom
  • Eating my own cooking
  • Going for long walks - sometimes with Jay, sometimes alone
  • Doing lots of writing and reading
  • Talking to the cat
And pondering the wonders this existential upheaval brings. 

On the good side:
  • My doctor's appointment on Monday is still on. 
  • King Lear, which we were supposed to be seeing on Thursday will hopefully get postponed.
  • The legwax which was due tomorrow night will be postponed. 
  • More people might come to our Faber workshopping on Wednesday
  • And be thankful I don't have any travel booked
  • Being thankful I don't have kids who need home schooling

Today's Song:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

What a great night for an eclipse

The sky is clear. After the sprinkling of rain that blighted my lunchtime walk, the night is clear and crisp. Crisp enough to have the cat snuggle under two layers of his blanket. Crisp enough for me to have my ugg boots and oodie on to keep me warm (saves putting on the heater). But that makes for brilliant eclipse watching weather. 

The eclipse started around 7.45 tonight.

It will be a full red moon eclipse at 9.11 pm (is that prophetic?) and starts to go out around 9.28 pm. Then in an hour or so after that, the moon is restored. 

I've been lucky. To see the eclipse all I had to do was go out the front door and look up. 

Eclipses are freaky - and fun. They're a must watch.

A couple of years ago I stood in the car park watching a lunar eclipse. My neighbour joined me was we watched the moon go from a sliver of white to a ball of pink. 

A few years before that, before book group, a group of randoms and I watched as the full eclipsing moon came up over the MCG - that was a stunning night. It was was of those balmy summer nights - and it was a great experience. 

Then I remember solar eclipses, which are just as freaky, when the shadows become cresent shaped and the sky goes dark. There was one when I was a kid. I was sitting in the dining room with my grandparents at the house at Myponga - I would have been around eight at the time. 

Then there was another. I was walking home from work in Adelaide. It was one of those hot, dry Adelaide days - and I remember the strange crescent shaped shadows that were come off the trees. 

No matter how often I get to see these phenomena, they always enthrall me. 

As a child, I wanted to be an astronomer. 

Now, as a journeyman astrologer, I see more in eclipses. 

Lunar eclipses mean big emotional shake ups, the uncovering of emotion. 

And staring down yet another lockdown, and hopefully a short one, I can see how this might manifest. That toilet paper is already walking out of the supermarkets. It's an omen I say (which reminds me, must put that on the shopping list). 

If we are stuck at home, may it be a short lockdown - a few days. 

Oh, and Mercury goes into retrograde at the end of the week.

Fun times...

Today's song:

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Masks On

Here we go again. 

Masks on. 

Okay, it's masks on, inside, not outside, and it's for ten days. But still...

I was just getting comfortable with only having to wear masks on public transport - but no, as of 6 pm, for the next week, it's masks on when you're inside in public areas. No more than five people in your place at any time - 30 people for gatherings in public. 

Tomorrow's flu shot has been postponed. I was going to go into the office tomorrow. That's not happening. Not because I don't want to be in the office, but because the thought of wearing a mask all day does not float my boat at all. 

The mason's meeting we were supposed to have tomorrow night has also been postponed for a fortnight. Probably be a good thing. We were supposed to be initiating somebody, but that is hard to do when you're blindfolded, masked and trying to ride a goat in an anti-clockwise direction around a flaming crucifix. 

Bets are being made as to whether we're going back into lockdown. 

I hope not. 

My only wish is that this scare, and may it just be a scare, gets people off their arses to get get vaccinated. 

I've never been happier to be at least down the track in the vaccination pool. One jab down, one to go. And some immunity is better than no immunity at all. 

In the meantime, for the next ten days, I'll be sitting in my living room, working from home. 

Oh what fun. 

Today's Song: 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Midvale School for the Gifted

What ever happened to Gary Larsen?

Yes, he was at his most prolific in the eighties, that legendary cartoonist who became a part of the zeitgeist.

Growing up, everybody had a favourite Larsen. Whether it be the one with the deer with the unfortunate birthmark, or the Crisis Centre and the waterfall... there are are many of these cartoons circulating. The quirky humour brightened up the dullest of days. These cartoons were in books, on cards, even on coffee mugs. 

For me, my favourite was always Midvale School for the Gifted. 

I think I had this on a coffee mug at one time. 

And any time I find myself pushing a door which is marked as pull, or do something that is bleedingly obviously daft, I mutter the words "Midvale School for the Gifted."

I'm not the only one.There are other people of my age who do exactly the same thing - like muttering Young Ones and Monty Python quotes under my breath (NO WE DON'T HAVE A VIDEO!).

Mentioning this to one of my workmates the other day, she had no idea what I was talking about. I mean, she's my age, we were both raised in Australia around the same time. 

How could she have missed Gary Larson and The Far Side?

Or maybe we just don't have the same quirky sense of humour. 

I can't be the only one....

Today's Song:

Sunday, May 23, 2021


 A alwyas, I have a heap of stuff to do this weekend. The most daunting job to hand is that of trimming the cat's claws - seriously, it's a horrible job and it needs to be done as the lad is putting holes in my clothing. I love the dear moggie dearly, but still, personal hygiene is personal hygiene.

On to today's questions, brought to you by Bev at Sunday Stealing

A - Annoyance:

Rude people - particularly people who are rude to waiting staff. It's not necessary and it's not on. 

B - Bestest Friend[s]:

I have a few of these - Jonella, Blarney, Geetangeli and Mariah. I've known these women for many years (Geetangeli and Mariah I've known for over thirty years) and I'm glad they're in my life. 

C - Car:

A red Mazda CX-3 named Clive. I love my car. 

D - Day or night: 

Night. You tend not to have to work at night. You have more fun at night. You sleep at night - and I like sleeping. 

E- Easiest person to talk to?:

I talk to people easily, most of the time, but I love talking with my current colleague. We can go on for ages about anything and everything - we've got silimar interests. Mind you, he never shuts up, but he's really good to talk to (except we don't ealk politics as we come from vastly different camps - but that's fine). 

F - Favorite Month:

April. It's getting cooler, but there are still some lovely days. Also, there are normally a few decent public holidays (Easter / ANZAC Day), which are never a bad thing. 

G - Gummy Bears or Worms:

Okay, I'm an Australian and Gummy Bears and Works are considered American lollies, and we are fully aware that Americans don't do great lollies (or candy as they call it). So I'll use the Australian equivalents - Jelly Babies or Sour Worms - I'll take the Sour Worms every time. I only like Jelly Babies if they're fresh out of the packet. They go stale quickly. 

H - Hair Color:

I don't really remember. It was a chestnut brown, and it's still a chestnut brown, but my hairdresser ensures that happens. 

I - Ice Cream:

Yes, please. Even better if it's Rum and Raisin, White Chocolate and Raspberry or Ben and Jerry's pretty much anything. Love ice cream. 

J - Jewelry:

I don't wear much of it. Two silver rings, one on each hand. I do wear small earings and I've often got a leather bracelet of some description on my right wrist - that is about it. 

K - Kindergarten:

I went to kindergarten many, many years ago. I think I liked it. 

L - Longest Car Ride:

We went on holiday from Adelaide to Queensland when I was a kid. In the car, it took ages. We then went up the coast a bit to Buderim. In all it was about a 5000 kilometre journey (3600 miles) I just remember it went on forever. 

M - Most missed person:

I have a few of these. I really miss Reindert - we do talk fairly regularly but he was great to have around. Occasionally I find myself missing the guy in Sydney, but I know I'm better off without him. Best not think about that. I'm going to miss my workmate who left us on Friday for another job, but that will be because of all the work we have to do without her. 

N - Number of Siblings:

Two. One sister, one step-sister. 

O - One regret:

I regret not getting counselling/therapy sooner than I did. Okay, I got it when I was ready and I was ready to handle it, but I would love to know what I might have done if I started on that journey earlier. 

P- Part of your appearance you like least?:

My stomach. It's big. I wish it was smaller. 

Q- Quote:

“Butterfly short life, Yukio says. But butterfly live forever.... - he raises a single forefinger - in one day.”

― Trent Dalton, All Our Shimmering Skies

I finished this book on Friday - very wonderful book. Butterflies mean a lot to me. 

R - Reality TV Show:

I don't watch much reality telly, but I do like Married at First Sight, mainly because it's such a clusterfuck. I'm also fond of Travel Guides and LegoMasters. But Married at First Sight is the only reality telly I watch religiously. 

S - Shoe:

I'm back into my Doc Martens again. I've got both Doc Marten shoes and boots and they are getting worn a lot at the moment. 

T - Time you woke up:

This morning, I woke at about 7.30. Didn't get out of bed until 9.30, but I woke at 7.30 and fed the cat. 

U - Unpredictable?:

Me? Not really. Sometimes, but generally I'm a creature of habit. 

V - Vegetable you hate:

I don't hate any vegetable, but I do have some preferences. I don't like: 

  • Boiled cauliflower - okay raw and covered in cheese sauce, but no just plain boiled
  • Broad beans
  • Raw or grilled tomatoes - they're okay sundried and in sauces or as part of something, but just raw tomato on the plate - no thank you

W- Worst Habits:

I have a lot of these. I'm late a lot, especially on weekend. I spend too much time on the phone... I talk too much... I watch telly shows over and over again. I put tomato sauce on most food, particularly eggs... I could go on. 

X - X-Rays:

I've had a couple - a few on my teeth. The last one I can remember having was when I was in Dublin, coming home from a big trip. They thought I had pneumonia and they gave me a chest x-ray. Wasn't fun holding my breath when all I wanted to do was cough. That was in 1993. I've had lots of ultrasounds over the years. 

Y - Year you were born:

I was born around the time Prague was invaded in the late sixties. (1968)

Z - Zoom:

I tolerate it because it is an effective way to communicate with people. Bt that is it. 

Today's Song: 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Movie Review: June Again

Movie: June Again

Cinema: The Rivoli Camberwell

Stars: 4

Jay and I took in a movie tonight as we were both at a loose end. And seeing the pickings are slim at the moment, we decided on some Australian fare, that being a little known film called June Again, starring Noni Hazelhurst, Claudia Karvan and Stephen Curry. 

The plot is pretty standard. June (Hazelhurst) has been in a nursing home for five years. She's barely verbal and not living a great life being cared for by the well-meaning staff of a well-appointed nursing home. A turn in the night has her returning to her former self, with her former spark. 

In the five years she's been locked away, a lot has changed. Her daughter GInny(Karvan) has been trying to run the family business. Her son, Devon (Curry) is a bit of a wastrel basket case. During a fleeting bout of lucidity from her dementia, June has precious little time to bring together her estranged children, save the family business, and rekindle an old flame.

Other than lucidity like this when you are at this stage of dementia (according to Jay) being very far fetched, this is a gem of a film. Noni Hazelhurst is priceless as the plucky, strong-willed, rather crafty June, 

Being surrounded by friends with aging parents, it was rather precient in showing the toll that dementia can have on the family. 

There are some wonderfully funny bits to the film - in particular when she meets David (Darren Gilshenan) the odious factory manager who is in charge of her old business. 

But it is also a touching testament to love, and family and the loss which this awful condition can have on a family. By the end of the film I was in tears as the inevitable conclusion came.

I won't say much more than that, but as Australian fare, it was great to see and for anybody with aging, ailing parents, I'd recommend it - you'll see some of your own family in this quiet gem of a film.

Just take tissues. 

I really liked this. 

Today's Song: 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Book Review: All Our Shimmering Skies

The Book: All Our Shimmering Skies

The Author: Trent Dalton

Rating: 4/5

I'm conflicted by this book.

Trent Dalton is a polarising figure - either you love him or hate him. My mother does not like him at all. I rather like this very Australian, slightly bogan, quite literary author. He gets to the guts of the matter. He can be very funny and sweet. He can also see the dark side of Australian life. One of my book group refuses to read him, saying that he got his book contract because he was an ex-Australian journo - I thing this is a bit silly. Trent Dalton is a very good writer. 

Our book group book has his latest work, All Our Shimmering Skies, - and to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm going to say about this tonight at book group. I have a feeling, people are going to either love it or hate it, just like his first book, Boy Swallows Universe. (Which, by the way, I loved - and Jonella thought it was the bests book she'd ever read). 

All Our Shimmering Skies is not Boy Swallows Universe. 

It's something more. 

The Guardian gives a good overview. "Molly Hook, the gravedigger’s daughter, has a heart on the verge of turning to stone. When her mother dies she is left to fend for herself against her apathetic father and his abusive, grave-robbing brother, Aubrey. Driven by hope, and a belief in the magical gifts of the night sky, Molly sets out on a quest for answers, gold and a cure to the curse that has plagued her family for decades."

Set in Darwin in February, 1942, Molly Hook lives a desperate life. Living with her morose father and abusive Uncle, she tries to get on as well as she can. Her mother has passed, she has few friends and comforts. The family appears to be cursed by an aboriginal man named Longcoat Bob, who scourged the family after her grandfather stole from the tribe. During the Battle of Darwin, Molly escapes to try to find Longcoat Bob, using directions on her grandfather's gold pan. 

Sounds a bit farfetched? It is. This is where the magic realism comes in to help the novel on the way. 

Molly is assisted by two unikely friends. Greta Maze, an actress, and long suffering girlfriend of Molly's uncle. And Yukio Miki, a Japanese pilot who's parachuted from the sky. The unlikely trio make their way through the bush on this strange Odyssey, meeting even stranger characters and getting themselves into more and more strife as they go along. Some of the most lovely parts of the books have Molly interacting with Yukio in broken English and Japanese. 

What takes time to come to terms with is the books dream time/otherworldly view of the world. Once you get a handle on the fact the book is magic realism at it's best, the book becomes easier to read, just as some of the happenings in the novel become easier  - such as the discovery of the leper run tin mine. 

But what Dalton does really well is describe the Top End in all it's glory. His settings and scenery are some of the best I've read. 

Also, his characters are brilliantly drawn, filled with humour, pathos and humanity, both good and bad. It's Dalton's ability to see people as they are and write about them with such vigour which I loved about the book. Occasionally, he's very funny, other times, the horror of Molly's situation is elucidated just enough for the reader to know what is actually happening without being too prescriptive. 

Like Steve Toltz's, A Fraction of the Whole, which this book reminds me of, there is a lot to unpack on this novel. It has a huge heart. The setting is incredible, from the Colonial, almost Wild West feel of 1940s Darwin, to the land around the top end which feels a lot like Kakadu and Litchfield. 

There are also some fabulous lessons in the book - "Own all you carry, carry all you own" comes up regularly. 

The book has been meticulously researched as well - you get a feel for this through the life-like and dream-like quality of the setting. 

Is this book for everybody? Absolutely not. But in writing this, I think there's a lot more to unpack that I first thought.  It's not a perfect book, but I really want to see where Trent Dalton takes us next. 

Today's Song:

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Pink Socks on Tuesday

One of my tasks at work is training. I get to do a lot of the soft skills training - not the hard core business rules and compliance training, but the how do you use this system training. 

Which is all about concepts. 

So, today I was trying to explain the principles of Must Have, Should Have, Like to Have, Want to Have and Yeah/Nah, I get down to the Pick Socks on Tuesday Rules. 

Pink socks on Tuesday Rules? Yep. How to tell somebody what they want is stupid. Tell them about this. 

So you're creating a new world. What things must you have in your new world?

Things that come to mind include: 

  • Air
  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Sunshine
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Books
  • Animals (but not snakes)
And you see, this list is already contentious, as some things may not be seen as a 'must have' but a want to have or a like to have. But these are big things and this is okay. 

Then you have the Should Haves in the world:

I like to think my world should have:

  • Laughter
  • Fun
  • Alcohol
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Books
  • Cinema
  • Friends
  • Beaches
  • No organised religion
Again, a contentious list - because the should haves that I see as should haves might be nice to haves for others. 

Then there are the Like to Haves:

So, building a world it would nice if it had:
  • Calorie free ice-cream
  • No money
  • Hugs from nice smelling non-skeezy people
  • Float tanks
  • Sensory rooms
  • Friendly, cuddly cats (It would be too much to have these  in the should have baskets)
Of course there is the want to haves. Things like: 
  • Consequence-free brilliant sex with strangers
  • Friendly golden retrievers who don't poo everywhere
  • Every car is a Mercedes convertible
  • Veal does not come from baby cows
  • You can fly to London in two hours
The want to haves are out there as just that - things you'd love to have as something in your life, but in reality, will never happen. 

And then there's the Pink Socks on Tuesday Rules. 

I use this analogy a lot. 

Think about the rules you are putting on people - and as with any society or world, you are bound by these rules. Rules should be prescriptive without being too prohibitive. They need a reason to exist. You have to have a reason for the rule. 

And rules should not be stupid.

Which is where I get the Yeah... Nah.. principle. 

So in my world, somebody wants to make it a rule that you have to wear Pink Socks on Tuesday. 

Is there are reason for it?  No. 
Would you want to live by the rule? No. 
Can you see the point of the rule? No.

But why is it people get caught up in this stuff?

Sermon over. 

Today's Song: 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

What can you do in three months?

 Well? What can you do in three months?

It's just occured to me that it's my birthday in three months - and I want a few things to change.

After spending last night with the Faber guys I made them a promise. 10000 words a month of the novel - that should be able to be done if I knuckle down. I want this for myself. I want to write this book - it's a matter of making time and words. 350 words a day. It's just a matter of commitment. 

I committed to this blog last year - I can do this. 

Maybe it's time to get the star calendar  - log how I'm doing. 

I'd like to save $ this time too. Time to get good with the finances - I'm pretty good normally, I just want to ramp it up. 

And I've got a weight goal in mind. Five kilograms in three months is doable - especially when I'm trying to save money. 

I just know I want some things to change. 


Today's Song:

Tuesday, May 18, 2021


There are things you really didn't need to know about. 

Wedgenachos are one of those things.

My writing group ended up at The Clyde in Carlton tonight. A bowl of Wedgenachos was plonked in front of us. 

Yes, wedgenacho. 

Really good, really fluffy-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside wedges, covered with cheese, guacamole, sour cream and salsa, with some jalepenos on top. 

Maybe it was the company (my writring group are awesome), maybe the chilly winer evening or just the fact that anything with fried potatoes done well is just wonderful. 

These things are just evil. Good evil. 

The food at The Clyde, on Cardigan Street in Carlton is great.

And though I've taken some buscopan to ward off a gall bladder attack (as these were packed down with some very good chicken quesadilla) they were utterly worth it. 

The company made these even better. 

But these are the things that dreams are made of. 

I just wish I didn't know about them. 

Today's song:

Monday, May 17, 2021

On making biscuits

There is something meditative about baking, something calming. As a friend said, on delivering her a batch of biscuits, one should never underestimate a delivery of carbohydrates, butter and sugar. 

Personally, I think there is very little which butter, real butter, can't fix. 

Yet there is a soothing element to baking. The butter is macerated with the sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Flour is gently sifted and added to the mix, slowly changing the mix, changing the texture and feel of the dough. Then there's the rolling, the primping, the trying to get everything just right before it goes into the over. Then there's the tending of the biscuits as they cook, making sure the right colour, the correct consistency comes through.

Another weekend of baking. This time, a batch of jammy dodgers for a grieving friend. 

For what else are you supposed to do for a friend who's in pain, for which you really, you can't do anything more than sit there, drink tea and listen. 

The biscuits turned out fine - probably could have had another minute or so in the oven. They weren't pretty, but they tasted good. 

I took the biscuits round to my friend early that evening, after spending the day contemplating. I barely knew the woman who died, but I was well aware of her friendship with my Ginny - a good friend of mine. She was also friendly with Alice, who I called to relate the news later in the morning. 

"You know, there is nothing I can do to make this better. It's shit. But the biscuits will go down with the copious amounts of tea you'll be drinking over the next few days. Carbohydrates and butter can brighten a day."

"Yep, it's shit."

"And unfair and tragic and horrible and just an awful, awful event from which there is no sense can be found."

"She was forty-five."

"And she was your friend. None of this is fair."

"How can this happen?"

"Because life happens. And it's shit."

We talked a lot about her friend and her passing - like all people who die to young, there was a story. it's not my story to relate here. But the speed at which she went from healthy to critical, the issues, were completely unexpected. One in a million event. Like many who die young. 

"And you bring biscuits."

"I do."


My answer is layered. I remember when my father died. I was in London. I was 27. I couldn't get back to Australia. I remember spending the next week practically alone. I painted out the living room. I spoke to a few people on the phone - when you're 27 you don't have much sense or knowlegde of the world. I remember the downstairs neighbours being good to me. 

But all I wanted at the time was to having somebody around to talk to. Somebody to listen. I just wanted somebody to be there.  I didn't have that. 

I'm just doing what I wished was available to me at the time.

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Days of Gratitude

 Another quiet weekend - and I'm having a lot of quiet weekends of late, but this is okay - we're going into winter and quiet weekends when you relax and read and write are always good. It's a bit too cold and dreary to go for a walk. It's okay. 

Anyway, on with the questions, supplied, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Name something in the room you are grateful for.

Lucifer, my cat. Despite the fact he's a big annoyance, he is a delightful boy and he's kept me sane of this last very strange year. He also keeps me warm at night. 

2. Recall a favorite memory you are grateful for

Any memory which involves travelling I am truly grateful for. I miss travelling overseas. I love seeing new things. I think spending time at the shrine of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey, long after it was closed to the public, is one of my favorite memories. It's such a special place. 

3. Who helped you today?

I had breakfast with some friends from meditation. They made me laugh. This helped me a lot. 

4. What possession makes your life easier?

Some possessions which come to mind include:

  • My laptop
  • My large array of comfortable shoes and boots
  • My array of wide-legged trousers - so much more comfortable than anything tight fitting
  • My glasses - so I can see properly
  • My backpack, which I use instead of a handbag (purse). Much more practical and it stops backache.

5. What’s the best thing that happened today?

Today, for the first time in over a year, we had meditation in person and Vivvie's place. It was great to be back with the group. It's a lot better having meditation with the group instead of doing it online. 

6. Name something in nature that you are grateful for.

Oh, that would be my resilience and inate intelligence. Sometimes this comes out as cunning, other times as street smarts, but these two things have got me through life fairly well. 

7. What painful experience helped you grow?

There have been a few too many to really name - I've learned from a lot of not great experieneces over the years. Having my legs stuck in plaster as a child (at a new school) gave a litany of horrid experiences by itself, but if you can survive stuff like that, you can survive anything. It's been the crux of things which taught be that crappy stuff is there to make you stronger. A hard lesson to learn when you're eight. 

8. What is your best skill?

I'm a pretty good writer when I'm not blogging. I also make fantastic melting moment/yoyo biscuits (cookies). 

9. What person in your past are you most grateful for?

My friend Reindert convinced me I could run at the age of forty. Running taught me a lot - and I am very, very grateful for Reindert's continued presence in my life, even if he is living in Colorado and we only get to chat once ever two months. Great guy.

10. What risk are you most grateful for taking?

Oh, I have a few of these. 

  • I'm grateful I quit a job I had and moved to Greece for a few months in the noughties - it taught me that you can give yourself soft landings, even if things don't work out. 
  • Moving to London when I was 23 was a huge risk
  • And continuing to write is always a risk, but that too is a good thing. I spend a bit on writing courses - hoping one day I'll recoup the funds. I see these as good risks. 
  • Each time I take on a new job, it brings new risks - and new friends. 

11. Name something/someone that makes you feel safe.

I rarely feel totally safe - though this is an irrational fear. Mind you, I always sleep better when there is somebody else sleeping in the house. 

12. Name a challenge you have overcome.

The thought of eating pickled herring was something I never thought I'd overcome. It took my Swedish housemates tying me down to try it. Love the stuff now. 

13. What small things are you grateful for today?

  • I got some writing done
  • I managed to get all of my chores done
  • I found something which I thought would take a lot longer - in the second shop I tried
  • We went back to in person mediation
  • I got a purr of the cat (this is a big thing)

14. What smell are you most grateful for?

Sounds silly, but I love the smell of dog and cat paws. I find it really comforting. 

15. What is your proudest accomplishment

Completing my Masters degree with a high distinction average. 

Today's Song:

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The BOM App

 How did we ever function without the BOM app? 

You wake in the morning. Do you dare set a toe out of bed without turning to your phone to check the weather? Do you really need to know that it's 8.2 degrees, but feels like 3.7? Will this impact your day? Is it good to find out the exact minute the sun peeks over the horizon? Or do you really need to check the radar to see if showers are coming your way? 

Maybe there are better indicators of the weather. Like how close the cat snuggles into you - or how fast he takes himself back to bed after breakfast. Maybe it's the number of expletives you utter as your bare foot reaches for the cold floorboards, or the minutes it takes to get under the shower, for the simple desire to get warm again once risign. 

In our need to control our surrounds, it seems the BOM app is the weather nerd's best friend and arch enemy. 

Looking now at the BOM (sorry, for those who aren't in the know, this is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website) I watch as shower come up from the South, dumping the odd shower over the bay. There's been 0.2 mls of rain since 9 am. It's 13 degrees, but if feels like nine. If I want to go for a walk, I'll need to go to to gym, rather than chance a lap of the river - anyway, it's nice here with my ugg boots on and the heater running gently on the wall. 

I like knowing this information. 

Having a chat about this at meditation, we all have our little BOM app habits. One, on any given day, checks the 64 kilometre radius radar to see if she needs to take a brolly with her. Another likes to look at the apparent temperature, her judge as to whether she needs a jacket or not. The other in our group told of how she loves watching the eye of a cyclone as it hits land. I have to admit, I rather enjoy that too, always thankful I'm never near the eyes of those storms. 

But how did we ever cope without the BOM app? Life was very different without it - mind you, we've had it for over twenty years now. If you delve into the website, you can find all sorts of fun things. Not only is there information on previous cyclones, but it provides the names of the next cyclones which are coming through. It is good that they name cyclones after men and women now - they never used to. And they retire cyclone names once a big one hits - they will never have another Cyclone Tracy, Yasi or Larry again. Funny that. 

What did we do before we had the BOM app? 

Easy - we got cold, we got wet, we got hot, we got windblown - and there was nothing, but a vague weather report on the news, to forwarn us with any great accuracy. 

How lucky we are now. 

"You're just a big weather nerd, aren't you?" asked one of my breakfast companions this morning. 


"And how would youcope without the BOM app?"

"I have no idea."

Today's Song:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Pay Day

 It's pay day - and I wish I could be excited. 

It's big bill month - a huge bill. A bill which I could do without, but it is necessary, in many ways, it's a form of self-imposed saving, but it's still a bill that needs to be paid. 

Then there's the doctors bill - there's the checkup with the gynocologist at the end of the month which is bloody expensice, plus the added expense of having some lumps removed on Monday. Then all the normal monthly bills. 

Which means I'm coming up short and needed to rein things in. 

I know there are a few things on this month:

  • A pub night with the Faber crew
  • Book group in an actual cafe and not over zoom
  • A play - which means going out to dinner beforehand. 
  • Breakfast with a uni mate
  • A combined leaving and birthday lunch
  • Breakfast after meditation tomorrow
Things which need to be bought and paid for have been budgeted. 

But for the rest of the month, it's living frugally. Really frugally. It's run down the cupboards, do lots of cooking, do lots of walking and writing for the month. Maybe go vegetarian. Take my lunch into work (not that this is a hardship - Salmonella Central, the nearest food court is truly dire).

I know I'm in an okay position and this is a temporary thing. There's also the small fact that I've had a number of phone calls offering me work at other companies which are paying a lot more money for the job I'm doing at the moment. But saying that, I'm happy where I work and I really can't complain about the money I'm on. There is a hell of a lot to say for sick and holiday pay and liking the people you work with. 

I'm looking at this as a self-imposed sabbatical - a bit of a chance to get some great habits in place, do a lot of writing and feel good about being on control of things. 

It's pay day. I should be happy. 

This is a surmountable challenge.

Today's Song: 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Cold Chisel Connection

Confession time. 

I like Cold Chisel.

Maybe it's because I'm listening to the audiobook of Jimmy Barnes' Working Class Boy, but I've got the Cold Chisel back catalogue running through my head at the moment. It's strangely comforting  - something I never thought I'd say about Cold Chisel. 

In times past, I used to say that I hated this group. It wasn't for me. Too bogan. Too common. Being a child of the seventies, teenager of the eighties, my musical tastes ran more to Talking Heads, The B'52s, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins (don't judge). I had tastes that ran more to the electronic, the strange and the edgy.

But then again, I was raised on Countdown, and once it's in your soul, Australian Rock Music is a part of your DNA. So yes, Skyhooks, Dragon, Sherbet, Mondo Rock, Mental as Anything - you name it, I can sing along with it. 

But Cold Chisel used to leave me cold. Them and INXS, but I had a grudge against the latter after a 1984 snow camp saw them play The Swing, on repeat, 24 hours a day for seven days straight. I still can't listen to The Swing without wanting to run in the other direction. Meatloaf's Bat Out of Hell album does the same thing to me. 

And Cold Chisel was for bogans. It was too rough, to harsh. It was music for the AC/DC crowd - who I also, now, begrudgingly like. 

And then came college, and somehow the words to Khe Sahn got tattooed into my brain. On my 50th birthday I showed my bogan roots by singing this secondary Australian anthem, word for word. Yeah. 

There are some lovely ballads, like, When the War is Over and Flame Trees. There are the songs that make you want to dance, there are songs that make you want to drink - and there are songs which make you feel distinctly Australia. Songs like Cheap Wine and Bow River. 

Strangely, maybe gathered by osmosis, I know the names of Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Don Walker, Steve Prestwich, Charlie Drayton and Phil Small. I have no idea how this information settled in my head. 

Then you look into the songs, and there is some cellular recognition. 

I have a line from Cheap Wine that runs regularly through my head. 

    'Anytime you want to find me, I don't have a telephone, I'm another world away.... but I'll always be at home'.

Have you any idea how good that line is to sing? The chord runs, the trills, the silences... not that I'm a singer, but I love the feel of that line as you belt it out in the shower. 

Maybe I'm just a little more forgiving of my middle class Australian roots. Maybe I've succumbed to the zeigeist. Maybe, as I age, I get the honesty of the lyrics in songs like Khe Sahn, Forever Now and Cheap Wine. 

Maybe I now recognise that Cold Chisel are part of an Australia that I used to deny. 

Listening to Barnsie's book, all I want to do is take in the nine-year-old Jim, tell his tortured soul that things will turn out alright. It's a very sad, very horrible upbringing he relates. But it's helped me tap into the angst.

It's made me a lot more compassionate of myself and my own roots. 

Cold Chisel is a part of me that cannot be denied any more. And I say this loud and proud. 

Today's Song: 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Trip to Canberra

Last night's dream has left me frazzled. I've been dreaming a lot of late, but this one cut me to the core. It wasn't so much a bad dream, but a frustrating one. 

First of all, I was working at the bank (so that would place me around 2014-2017). I know this from the atmosphere of the place. I had to go to Canberra. I was due at the airport at 11'o'clock. It was nearly ten 'o' clock in the dream. I had to get to the airport to go to Canberra. I didn't have my bag with me and my flight was in an hour, but I wasn't sure about the time of the flight. No matter how many times I checked the app on my phone, I couldn't get it through my thick skull that I really needed to get to the airport. I was also wondering how I could go home and get my stuff. 

A workmate then loaned me a car to get to the airport. It was an old banger - a station wagon. I knew that I had to make this flight to Canberra and I was running late.

Arriving at the airport, I had to park the car. The airport was empty - nobody there. By this time, the plane was about to take off, but I had to park this old banger. The car park had one of those circular ramps and I had to go up and down these ramps a few times. It was like parking the old Valiant I learned to drive in back in the day. 

I woke as I realised I wasn't going to make the plane and I felt very defeated. 

The thing is, I will need to go to Canberra soon. 

My most darling aunt, who's 94, is on her last legs. I'm having semi-regular chats with my cousins, who've told me to prepare myself. She's having more bad days than good at the moment - very frail, not really eating - generally, she's just given up - which at 94, when you're not in great health, is allowed.

 One cousin said that if I wanted to see her, I should make my way up there to say goodbye. I noticed another cousin went up there this weekend. (I have five cousins from my aunt - two in Adelaide, one in Tassie, another here in Melbourne, and one with her in Canberra). Oh, adding to the mix, my Mum (her sister) is up the river on a houseboat for ten days. 

Co-ordinating a funeral will be fun. 

I know my aunt's being looked after where she is. In our conversations she used to tell me that she was being well fed and the staff were lovely. Over COVID, she managed to stay sane and well. But reports have been coming out over the last few months saying she's been a bit confused. When I spoke to her a few weeks ago she wasn't quite on top of things - normally she's been as sharp as a tack. 

This getting old crap is not for sissies. 

And I'm really hoping, really hoping, that this dream isn't a forewarning of her demise. 

I know I will have to go to Canberra. I just don't really want to go under these circumstances. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


Today's different moment. 

I bought some potatoes. Normal, ordinary potatoes. Not the orange sweet potatoes which I buy a lot of. But spuds. The spuds we used to eat as kids. The spuds I've peeled and cooked as a child.

There were different types of spuds at the supermarket. As a child, we bought spuds by the 25 kilogram bag. They lived under the sink in the laundry. By the time were reached the bottom of the bag, the spuds often had tails growing out of their eyes. I was raised on potatoes - mashed, boiled, baked, roasted... they were a part of daily life. 

Now, I literally never have potatoes unless somebody else is cooking them or I'm out. 

I can't remember the last time I bought potatoes. I don't cook them for myself as a rule, preferring the lower GI, higher fibre sweet potatoes, when I have them. I've been shamed out of cooking potatoes over the years by various diet gurus. 

It's not that I don't like potatoes. I LOVE POTATOES. Mashed potatoes. Boiled baby potatoes with lashings of butter. Blarney's roast potatoes. My mother's roast potatoes (especially when they are done with roast lamb, in the pan juices). Thom's garlic potatoes with enough butter to stop your arteries five times over - they are very good. Oh, and chips... yeah, potatoes are good. 

But in my head I've been trained over the years  that potatoes are evil. The devil's food they are. High GI little balls of lust and desire.                                     

So, sitting in my fridge is  half a tub of coleslaw and a bit of cheese and some butter. And it's a cold day. So why not bake some potatoes. I mean a baked potato with cheese and coleslaw - what could be better. And it's vegetarian. And filling. And easy - part cook in the microwave, then 30-40 minutes in the oven And just wonderful.  

I have to say, potatoes are bloody marvellous. 

And tomorrow, I will go back to being an avoider of these, wonderful, sinful, versatile little balls of joy.

Today's song: 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Israeli Cous Cous

 Ingredient of the week - Israeli cous cous. 

I made soup on the weekend. The recipe is called the best chicken soup you'll ever taste. My workmate set me onto the recipe It's easy soup to make. Fry off a large onion, a couple of carrots and sticks of celery and half a head of garlic. Add a tablespoon of fresh grated turmeric and ginger. Add chicken stock, which covers two chicken breasts (or thighs if you feel that way). Add a teaspoon of rosemary and thyme. Add a cup of dry Israeli cous cous.

 Bring to the boil, reduce the head and simmer for half an hour. Then take out the chicken breast, shred it, and mix it in with the soup.

It is bloody good soup. 

As I'm unable to make soup for less than six peopl, I have about a week's worth of the stuff. A batch went to the Soap Guy for his dinner. He said it was mighty tasty. 

And I've had soup for dinner the last three nights. Which is good as it is easy, and not being pumpkin soup, I don't have to eat it loaded with sour cream or cheese, with a buttered roll. 

But the Israeli cous cous makes this dish. It not only thickens the soup, but the texture of the cous cous is wonderful. Soft, but slighty chewy. Unlike regular cous cous, which I also adore, it doesn't feel gritty - andit has a bit more flavour to it. Probably because it;s been steeped in garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary and thyme. 

Regardless, I'm now on the lookout for more Israeli cous cous recipes. I can see it going well with roasted veggies and a thickened balsamic dresssing. Or maybe take a Middle Eastern slant and dress it up with pine nuts, pomegranates, lemon and a hummus like dressing. 

It's just  a fancy ingredient I want to expore more. 

I just wish I had somebody to cook for. 

Today's song:

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Musical Maniac

Another weekend, another set of Sunday questions, breaking up what is a very quiet weekend.

 Questions, and this weeks are good ones, provided, as always, but Bev at Sunday Stealing.

1. Five problems with social media

  1. Generally, there is no filter
  2. The adds - I'm over them
  3. People have lost the ability for polite, constructive debate, unfortunately
  4. There are far too many nutters
  5. They change the settings all the time - you're regularly having to search out buttons and settings that have moved.
  6. Privacy can be really dodgy to non-existent
  7. People you don't want catching up with you can find you (see privacy)
  8. Sometimes you see what you don't want to see
  9. It can be a huge waste of time
  10. It's addictive. 
Ooops that's ten things. There are more problems with social media - why stop at five, I say. 

2. A place you would like to live, but have never visited

I think the South of France looks pretty amazing. It just looks so pretty - and then there's all the wine and cheese. My French would improve too. Never a bad thing. 

San Francisco and Seattle also appeal to me. Never been but they look great. 

3. Someone who fascinates you and why

I'm fascinated by Henry V and the whole Tudor court at the time - including Thomas Cromwell. I always have been. I find it amazing that one man shifted so much of how the world thought - possibly for the better. Then again, maybe not. I've been stuck in the Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy for an age. It's fascinating how things were done back then. Fascinating and very scary.     

4. Do you have tattoos?  What are they and why?

I have a very small Chinese character on my hip, the character for love - had it there for 25 years. I got it soon after my father died - partly as a bit of rebellion, but mostly because I like small, delicate tattoos. It can only be see if I show it to you - and I like that too. I've often thought of gettting another one, but can't think of the design. 

5. A book you love, and one you didn’t.

A book I love - oh, Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres. I read it every couple of years. It's lyrical, sweet and tragic. I have a lot of books I could mention here. 

A book I don't like: The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. We read this for book group earlier this year. It was touted as another Man Called Ove or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but it wasn't. It lacked heart an wasn't that funny. Oh well. 

6. A fruit you dislike, and why

Bananas. I really don't like bananas. They are too inconstant. You don't know what you're getting - and they are worse when they're old. I don't like their texture either. 

7. Two words/phrases that make you laugh

I love malaprops -  my favourites is "For all intensive purposed" (instead of "for all intents and purposes")  and pretty much anything my friend Blarney says, complete with an Irish accent. "Thank your mother for the rabbits" is my favourite one of all. 

8. A quote you try to live by

"Be the change you want to see." Ghandi. He's right about this one. I also live by "Nevertheless, she persisted" and "Few interesting women have tidy houses." I get this one too. 

9. Something you miss

This is a strange one, but I miss being able to get Coles Lily and Orchid ironing water at the supermarket. They've changed their scent of their ironing water and it is horrible. The Lily and Orchid one was lovely and subtle. 

10. Three weird traits you have

  • I love to iron
  • I have a little bit of OCD - I tend to check I've locked the front door two or three times before going to bed at night
  • I love the smell of dogs' paws

11. What you wore today

I'm currently wearing a blue top and a pair of baggy, wide legged khaki trouses - with Birkenstocks. I was in gym wear before until an hour ago. 

12. Word/phrase you use constantly

Cool and Mate. Standard response for anything in the affirmative is 'Cool', or 'Coolio" or 'Cool McGool'. And Mate is my standard greeting to everybody - it's very good in an office environment where you don't know people - and it works for men and women. 

13. One thing you’re excited for

Travelling again once this COVID debarcle is over. I've had my first vaccination, have to wait another three months for the second - and then I'll be off to New Zealand. (Though we we travel to New Zealand at the moment - it's the only place in the world we can go at the moment without a heap of bureaucratic nonsense.  

14. Your feelings on ageism

I'm used to it but it doesn't mean I like it. I do think it is ridiculous that people with experience are often overlooked for youth. 

15. Three interesting facts about yourself

I'm not interesting at all, but here are a few oddities about me. 

  • I read tarot to a professional level and I'm a little bit psychic - but I can't turn it on and off - that comes when it comes. 
  • I really want to go an see Angkor Wat one day
  • I can drive anything, and will drive anything quite happily - I'm often the designated driver. I love to drive. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Novel Prep

 So far today I've:

  • Done two loads of washing
  • Hung out two loads of washing
  • Taken the reycling down to the bins
  • Collected the post from the post office
  • Bought a coffee and mushroom toastie
  • Remade the bed
And it's only one 'o' clock. 

So now it's time to do some novelling. Just because. 

I'll incorporate this month's Furious Fiction into the mix. This month's criterion are:

  • The story must be set during a storm.
  • The must include the words MOTHER, APPLE, YESTERDAY
  • The story must include the phrase: SIT/SITTING ON THE FENCE
And for once in my life, I am not going to be writing the story at 9 pm on a Sunday evening. 

I've been using the Furious Fiction as a chance to get a bit more of the novel out. I've been wondering where I can place this - and I think it might be after a wedding scene I wrote for last month's Furious Fiction, where I'd set a wedding in a country town on a hot day. Maybe the storm will be when the heat breaks. The fence sitting - oh my, we can do something with this.

Sometime later: 

Well, it's nearing bed time. I've acheived a bit more now including nearly finishing a book and making what is allegedly the best chicken soup around, complete with lots of veggies, garlic, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric and  Israeli cous cous. A workmate passed on the recipe. It looks pretty awesome, but I think I'll have to freeze some of it. There is so much of it.

I've also done my 10,000 steps for the day and talked to a friend on the phone. 

Maybe it's not been as bad a day as I thought it would be. 

Today's Song: 

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Dull Weekend

Maybe I shouldn't be celebrating this, but I have absolutely nothing on this weekend.




Other than the regular visit to the gym, food shopping, washing and ironing, I have nothing on.

Of course, I might go and finish the paining. There are architraves which need painting. 

And then there's writing to be done. We know this. 

But are no catch up with friends. No dinners, or plays. I might go see a movie, but I'll do that on my own. 

I walked home again tonight, enjoying the marvellous weather and the exercise. 

I was supposed to have a quick chat with somebody about the Masons tonight. It was supposed to be a quick chat. We talked for three hours. That put pay to any writing tonight. 

But now that is done, there is nothing left to do. 

I should look at this dull weekend as an opportunity to see what can really be done. 

And this fact, by itself, is exciting. 

Today's Song: 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Walk Home

I've missed walking home from work. It was something I used to do all the time - living close to the city, it's always an option. Working near Spring Street it was a solid half an hour home on a good day. I've spent a lot of time working near Spring Street. 

Then I started working down the other end of town, down in the Docklands. It's not overly inspiring, but one of the good things is the train drops you at the door. The walk home, if you don't take a tram down to the other end of down, runs to an hour and a quarter at 

Now, I'm working down at Southbank, the walk feels long, even if it isn't. It's just a lot of traffic lights and waiting about. 

But I walked home for the first time in well over two years last night. 

Leaving work at 5 pm, I'd devised the route home. Winding my way through the Paris end of town, around the back of Parliament House, through the Fitzroy Gardens, saying hello to the fountain on Albert Street, then straight home.

It took an hour pretty much on the nose. 

And I'd forgotten how much I love this walk. How much I love walking. Just how good it is to be outside, in nature (even if it is in the city). I've missed passing little landmarks along the way. The Vietnamese Temple. The decorated equipment boxes. The early dog walkers. The pretty trees whose leaves are turning. The boot campers being made to run backwards through the park. They're all still there.  And as the shortest day of the year approaches, I got home just as the darkness really set in, arriving just as the cat's stomach was going into coniptions, as it does at six p.m. if he's not fed. 

As tomorrow looks like a good day for it, I might take my runners and do it all again. 

Today's Song: 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Air Fryers and Caramilk

First there was Tupperware. And everybody swears by it. Of course, I have some Tupperware. I love my Tupperware pressure cooker. An the omelette maker. Oh and the garlic chopper. I love that when I remember to use it. 

Then along came the Thermomix. Everybody appeared to need one or want one. My sister swears by hers. I could never see the attraction of paying $2000 for something that would clutter up my kitchen bench. So I've never gone there. There is no point of me having one. 

And now the craze appears to be the air fryer. 

They started appearing in the zeitgeist about six months ago. Dev started extolling their virtues ages ago. Loves the air fryer.  

Then Jay, whose pretty good at following fads I have to day, got a little one at K-Mart and thinks it's one of the best inventions since the wheel. 

I just haven't been interested. I'm a bit of a purist in the kitchen. I like my oven. I like my utilitarian pots and pans. But Jay goes on and on about her air fryer. Actually, everybody who has one appears to go on and on about their air fryer. 

Well, I've nearly been persuaded to get one. Not that I will, but it all comes down to another Caramilk addict, Christian Hull?

Never heard of him? He's an Australian comedian. He can be crass. But he's very funny.

He's also, like me, a bit of a Caramilk addict. 

I'm actively avoiding buying Caramilk. Like all things I love (Gin, Mushroom Toasties, White Chocolate...) in excess they are really bad for you. I'm trying to limit myself to one block of Lindt White Chocolate and Roasted Almonds a month. 

But Christian Hull goes further.

 Not only does he champion that most magic block of blocks, he knows how to make it!

I really didn't need to know that. 

Nor do I need to know how to make a Caramilk Danish using an air fryer

Nor do I need to ever go down that rabbit hole that is Tic Toc again, but I really, really, really don't need an air fryer. 


I don't. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021


I opened Scrivener for  the first time in months last night. 

Scrivener, you ask? 

It's novel writing software, used for plotting, developing etc longer works. There's a one time, rather cheap license fee and Bob's your uncle. It's easy to use. 

It's a great tool. 

It's also scary. 


But then I sit back and breathe. 

And remember my process.

And know that it will take at least a million written words to write a 100,000 word novel. 

And I remember that my ideas are sound. 

And I tell myself that I can do this. 

And Scrivener is just a representation of my disorganised mind with some of the bits solidified. I'm not cringing at what's on my Scrivener board - I just wish there was more. 

But as I'm going into a productive patch, where stuff gets done. Exercise, weight loss, reading, writing all go into hyperdrive, I may as well ride this wave. 

All I have to do is to remember to breathe. 

And have a bit of faith in myself. 

And in the words of the legendary Catherine Deveny, "Pull your finger out, get over yourself and get on with it. "

And May the Fourth be with you. 

Today's Song:

Monday, May 3, 2021

Film Review: Six Minutes to Midnight

Film: Six Minutes to Midnight

The Cinema: Kino, Collins Street

Stars: 3.5

Movies are always better when the tickets are free. Having won two tickets to this in a competition, who was I to say no to this. I mean, you ask me what's my favourite Judi Dench film role, I'm going to wax lyrical (By the way, my favourite of her roles were in the title role as Philomena and when she played Eleanor Lavish in A Room With A View.)

Anyway, Jay and I went to see this on Friday night. It's not the world's best film, it's certainly not the world's worst. As a fan of English films with an historical bent, it does well. My mother saw it last week too and loved it. 

This is a thriller, this works well.

The blurb reads "UK, Aug. 15, 1939: 17 days before WWII, an English teacher and his camera disappear on a coastal boarding school with 20 German teen girls. Miller gets the job 6 days later, secretly trying to find out what happened."

Eddie Izzard plays Thomas Miller, the substitute teacher at this rather strange school for German girls, situated on the English South Coast, the Augusta-Victoria College. It comes out that this was a real place, which is sort of cool and sort of disturbing in equal parts.  Coming in to replace a teacher who met with a sticky end, Thomas quickly works out that all is not as it seems at this strange place. Judi Dench plays Miss Rocholl, the school principal, who looks after her girls like a mother duck looks after her hens. 

The girls other teacher, Miss Keller (Carla Juri) gives off a strange vibe too. The girls, all in their late teens, the daughters of the Third Reich, give off a bit of a Stepford Daughters vibe. 

As the movie progresses, more is learned about what happened to the former teacher and why Thomas Miller is really there. 

Okay, this is not the greatest of World War II thrillers, but it is a good diversion. 

What worked for me was the setting and costumes. They make the most of the Southern English coastline and its surrounds. The costumes are on point for the times, and a joy to watch.

But the movie lags a bit. It's somewhat predictable, as we find out quickly that Thomas Miller is more than a substitute teacher, spying on the school and what is going down there. And of course, there is more to the lovely Miss Keller than just being the gym teacher. Eddie Izzard gives a good performance and the much harangued Miller. Judi Dench is, of course, Judi Dench. 

What I also really liked it that the girls at the school were all played by native German speakers, giving them a realistic feel. 

But there is a lot to say for passion projects never really living up to their hype - and this is Eddie Izzard's baby. He not only stars in this, but helped write the script and produced the movie and came up with the concept. Maybe a bit of distance might have brought was is a reasonably good movie into the realms of great. 

The fact that the school actually existed gives the movie more of an edge. 

I'm glad I saw it. It was a good enough diversion. 

Today's Song: 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Navy Wife

On the good side of things, I got my first COVID vaccination today. Now currently madly doing housework just in case tomorrow I feel like I've been hit by a truck. Ten hours in and other than a slightly sore arm, I seem to be tolerating this well. I'm just glad I had the jab, that the jab is available. It's a big thing here in Australia where the vaccination rollout has been botched by the Federal Goverment (who are a mob of incompetent, corrupt cretins). Anyway, that was today's big thing.

Now, on with the questions. Iron something, do a question. Get this out the way. 

Questions, as always, brought to us by the wonderful Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What was your proudest moment?

I know this might be a bit wanky, but completing my Masters degree was a really big thing. So was walking through the doors at Allen & Unwin for the first time when I started that course last year. It was a big moment for me. 

2. What is your favorite childhood memory?

I didn't have the greatest of childhoods, but I do remember spending time with animals as a kid. Being brought up on a farm, there were lots of animals around. I still love spending time with critters. Critters are good. 

3. Describe your dream vacation.

I have so many dream holidays and COVID has put pay to most of them. But I wanted to do the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. Walking the 800 kilometres from the bottom of France across the top of Spain really appeals to me. 

But I think either a week in a cottage in Robe or a week mooching around Tasmania is all I'll be able to do for a while.

I also dream of a month in Ubud in Bali, just doing yoga and being a hippy. 

As I said, I have lots of dream holidays. 

4. Do you see yourself as an optimist, pessimist, or realist?  Why?

I'm a solid mix of optimist and realist. I like looking on the bright side, but I'm old enough and ugly enough to see reality most of the time. As a dreamer and an idealist, I lend myself to the optimistic view. But I like reality too. Which surprised a lot of people. 

5. What is something you wanted to do as a child, but never got to do.

Piano lessons. I know it's something you can pick up as an adult, but I really wish I'd learned the piano as a child. It would have made doing Music in my final year at school soooooo much easier. 

6. What board game do you hate the most?

I'm not really a board game person. I wish I was better at chess. I cheat at Monopoly (always). But Operation frustrates the crap out of me and sets my nerves on edge. That buzzing sound is so annoying.

7. Describe the worst haircut you ever got.

Oh, that goes down to when my mother had my hair cut short when I was eight, when we moved to the country. I had a fringe (bangs). It was your basic bowl cut so de rigeur in the 70s. I have never forgiven my mother for it. I've also never had a haircut shorter than a long bob or had a fringe ever again. Fringes annoy the hell out of me. And my hair now goes down to my bra strap, although I had two inches / five centimetres cut off today because it needed it. 

8. What’s the worst job you ever had?

I have had so many bad jobs, including the two contracts which I got bullied out of. I've had crap management, some dodgy workmates and dodgier roles. I've seen it all. But my most notable worst job was the one that saw me through the last years of uni, after a bout of glandular fever, during a recession when there were no jobs to be found. I worked in the sub-basement of a department store in the checking and marking department, checking stock and putting stickers on it. This was in the time before barcodes. It was dreadful, but it put me through uni and got me overseas to London. Still, it was dire, I was miserable, but it was a good proving ground. 

9. What is one thing you want to be remembered for?

If anything, my kindness. If not, the my best selling novel. 

10. On a scale of 1-10, what is the highest level of pain you’ve ever experienced?

I would give the dry socket (exposed bone) a nine out of ten. It was when I had a wisdom tooth out when I was nineteen  and the pain was absolutely intolerable. Even my mother gave me sympathy. Once it was packed by the dentist I was fine, but nothing would touch the pain. I just remember whimpering for a couple of days until my parents took me back to the dentist. Never again. 

11. What fashion trend do you wish would go away?

Anything which shows the midriff should be sent packing. Oh, and skinny jeans on men over 30.

12. What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?

I have had so many strange dreams. Sitting in a dream group, I used to write them down. But the most vivid and disturbing dream I had was one I had in London. I used to sleep in the hallway, which lead to the bathroom at the end of a set of stairs. (It was only for six months). The house also had a ghost. But one night I was asleep, the landing light was on. Then this guy with a cowboy hat came down the stairs, hopped into bed with me and started making love to me. It was extremely explicit. I woke in a cold sweat sitting bolt upright midway through the dream. It's always stayed with me. I don't even like cowboy hats. 

13. What are 2 weaknesses you have.

  • Ice cream
  • Books

14. How would you spend your 100th birthday?

A lot of me doesn't want to be around for my 100th birthday, but if I am I want to have all my faculties, to not be too frail and I think I'd like to go tandem skydiving or something adventurous like that. 

15. What food/drinks would you pack in a picnic basket?

I'd love to put in the following for a decadent picnic basket:

  • Gin
  • Tonic
  • Some favourite dips - corn relish and hummus are favourites
  • Cheese
  • Biscuits (crackers)
  • Some berries or easy to eat fruit like strawberries, raspberries and grapes
  • Maybe some decent chicken sandwiches on Turkish bread
  • And some little pastries
  • And a Boston bun and butter for afters.
Of course, we can forget plates, cutlery, a chopping board, cups, napkins and all of that stuff which ruins a picnic if you forget them.

Today's Song: