Sunday, October 31, 2021

October Check In - November Goals

 And it is that time of the month again. 

Goal setting for the month. Which makes a change from doing the Sunday Stealing questions which I did last night. 

So, how did we go last month?

Read four books.

Nearly acheived this. 

I finished the following:

  • Emma Viskic's Resurrection Bay
  • Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Jessie Tu's A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing
I'm about halfway through listening to My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell and Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway.  So this was nearly there. I also reached my year's reading goal of reading 40 books in the calendar year. 

Try and close the rings on my Apple Watch at least 25 times in the month.

Also a nearly - Managed 24 circle completions out of 25. Not a bad effort. I've been making a concerted effort to get exercise in. It's working. 

Attend that editing course. 

Tomorrow night is week four. Loving it. I do have to get 3000 words ready to hand over tomorrow night, but that's the fun of it all.

Go and have a picnic with somebody who isn't Jay or Cleo.

Actually did one better than this. I had a meal in a restaurant (okay, burger bar, but I didn't have to cook it or wash up after myself). Jonella, Thom and Norty and I met up for an early dinner before I went to the hairdresser. It was wonderful.  

Hoover and mop once a week.

Have got better at this. I have hoovered one a week. I've mopped twice this month. So this is a vast improvement. This is why we set goals? Yes?

Eliminate ice cream and chocolate

Yeah, this didn't happen either, but I've seriously cut down my sweets consumption - and I'm feeling better for it. 

And my goals for November:

Read four books.

I love this goal. It's keeping my reading up - and besides, I bought a couple more books this weekend - they need to be read - and my Hemingway Chair is coming on Tuesday. 

Use the gym three times a week

The gym is open again. I need to justify my membership, considering I see Cleo the trainer at another studio and I'm paying for some online classes with the wonderful Annie. So, this month I want to see if this can be justified. I went back to the gym this morning. It was great. 

Hoover and mop once a week.

I'm getting better at this - need to get even betterer. And once I conquer this, then I might make my goal around dusting, which I hate even more than mopping. 

Participate in NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month. Write 50000 words of your novel over November - or give it a bloody good crack. I don't think I can get to 50000 words, but I will give it a crack. I need to start from scratch again. I have a lot that I can incorporate into the novel, but I want a fresh start - so that is what I am giving myself. The prompt board is set up. I have a long weekend coming up. I am giving myself permission to write badly but write loads. Get the ideas out there. 

See two movies

Again, needs to be done. It's been too long since I've been in a movie theatre and I want to keep supporting the arts while we transition to this COVID Normal arrangement, whatever that may be . 

Today's Song: 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Halloween

I love this time of year  - all the American holidays come through and being Australian, I have little or no idea about them, other than what I've seen on film and television. 

So here we go with this week's questions, being done a day early for a change. 

Questions provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. Have you ever played with a Ouija Board?

No. I've seen too many people screwed up by that sort of thing. Like psychics, I prefer to leave them be. 

2. Favorite horror monster or villain?

I'm not a big fan of horror, but I am rather fond of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Because of this, I've always had a bit of a thing for Spike from Buffy. 

3. If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it?

Probably not. I've got better things to do. When I lived in London, we had a ghost in the house. They were fairly friendly, so ghosts don't scare me. It's more that haunted houses tend to have spiders in them. I'm not a fan of spiders. 

4. Are you superstitious?

A little, but I'm selectively superstitious. I'm superstitious about giving handbags without money in them, or giving knives and not having the recipient pay for them (if you aren't given something for a knife, it indicates you want to sever the friendship). They're the big ones. But I own a black cat, so I'm superstitious about them. Funny what you believe. 

5. Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Occassionally. I see faces in my vision when I meditate. I just take those as they come. 

6. Ever made a potion of any sort?

Yes, but as a qualified aromatherapist, it's your job. I'm also a practicing white witch, so simple potions, normally used for healing have been made. It's just another talent of mine. I don't talk about that much any more. 

7. Do you get scared easily?

The state of politics in general across the globe scares me more than anything else. And snakes and spiders scare me. But that's about it. 

8. Have you ever played Bloody Mary?

I have no idea what the game Bloody Mary is like - so I've never played it. I have, however, drunk quite a few Bloody Marys in my time. They are my drink of choice on long haul flights. The tomato juice provides electrolytes. 

9. Would you ever go to a graveyard at night?

Not by choice. 

10. Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick or treating?

Neither. Again, Halloween is an American thing. I've never been to a Halloween Party or gone trick or treating. Celebrating The Day of the Dead, however, that is more my style. 

11. Whilst watching scary movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, the person with their eyes covered the whole time, or the person who falls asleep

I don't really watch scary movies, but I'm either the person who covers their eyes (While watching Se7en, I think I spent the movie with my head in my date's shoulder) or I fall asleep. 

12. Favorite scary book?

I really like The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters. That was well creepy. 

13. How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?

I remember seeing The Exorcist when I was around nineteen or twenty. Once was enough. 

14. What was your first Halloween costume?

It's a moot point as I've never been to a  Halloween party. The last costume party I went to that I remember was when I was at university

15. If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf), what would you pick?

I already own a black cat named Lucifer. That will do. 

Today's song: 

Friday, October 29, 2021

New freedoms

I hate that they're calling today "Freedom Day". Other than there are still people getting sick and dying, there are still some restrictions. 

And of course, we get a whiff of something fun and the weather turns feral and half the state appears to be without power after strong winds have knocked down trees and power poles. 

Yet as of 6 pm tonight, we could take our masks off while walking down the street. 

It must be said, it is a wonderful feeling to be able to walk down the street without the need to have a piece of cloth over your face. 

It's a little freedom, but it does feel good. 

It was also nice to see the shops open, not just the supermarket and the chemist. I went for a little walk after work, mask in hand for when I got to the supermarket. I went to Kmart, partly to tell my colleague I'd been there (I also wanted to see what sort of tumblers they had going). 

I went to the bookshop, where the lady behind the desk greeted me like an old friend. I walked out with three books in tow. Had to be done. 

Then there was the obligatory trip to the supermarket for a punnet of strawberries. 

And a stop in at the chemist to pick up a prescription. 

Walking home, things felt just a bit more normal. 

And it felt good. 

Today's song:

Thursday, October 28, 2021

I am not a people manager

 Actually, I am not a manager. Never have been. Don't want to be one. Never aspired to be one. 

But at the moment, I'm acting as manager. 


See, I've been elevated to the state of acting team leader. 

I don't think I was ever meant to be a manager. But it seems I am one, and allegedly, I'm okay at it, even if I don't think so. 

In the last few weeks I've been finding myself doing the following: 

  • Reviewing CVs
  • Dealing with HR
  • Interviewing people
  • Distributing work
  • Forming relationships with other work streams
  • Discussion staffing issues
  • Finding out all this stuff I really don't want to know
  • Training people
  • Organising people
  • Ensuring reporting gets done
  • Making sure stuff gets done
and not getting any work done myself.

One of the big things about this temporary promotion is that it's not official, although it feels like it.

And I don't think I'm good at it, although I'm quite good at training people up on the tool we use. 

It just doesn't sit well. 

I'm not good at being bossy. 

I'm not great with people most of the time. 

That's why I live with a cat. 

Or in the words of Ted Lasso, heavy is the head that wears the visor...

Today's song: 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Oblique Strategies

 I have nothing to write tonight. 

I was sitting in a mason's meeting on zoom knowing it will soon be over, listening to people philosophise. We've talked about other things, like COVID vaccinations, what it will be like going back to the lodge, and organising things for the next month, trying had to think about what to write. 

On my phone, I have a card deck called Oblique Strategies. It's great. You shake the phone and it gives you a way to look at your writing problem. The deck was created by Brian Eno, the musician, composer and producer who has worked with people like David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and David Byrne along with many others. 

While I was in the meeting, I shook my watch and it spat out "You are an engineer". What does that mean? Do I have to look and my shoes and grunt when writing? (sorry to the extrovert engineers who look at others shoes when talking to other people). 

I'll have another shake. 

"You can only make one dot at a time."

Hmmm. So I have to be precise. Too tired to be precise, but it's a good way going forward. But that reminds me of work too much at the moment. 

Shake again. 

"Build Bridges." What, Jeff Bridges?  This is some of the best television ever produced. It's worth a watch

Shake again. 

"Don't be frightened of cliches".

Okey dokey. Without a shadow of a doubt, for all intensive purposes, or all intents and purposes, I can't think of a single cliche, but then again, I've told myself this a million times that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. 

Shake again. 

"Twist the spine"

Finally, some good advice. 

I'm going to sign off now and do some stretching exercises. 

I'll take that as an invitation to stop now. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

To gym

 Or not to gym?

That is the question...

The gym is opening up at the end of the week to vaccinated people and I'm in a couple of minds whether I go back. For the last four months I've been working out on zoom doing online classes, seeing Cleo in the park, walking with friends and just getting on with things. 

Now the gym is coming back, I'm a bit flummoxed. 

Some of this is because Cleo no longer works at the gym. She now trains out of a small, well-equiped studio in Hawthorn. That used to be two reasons why I would go to the gym each week. And you're paying money each fortnight to go to the gym. To get value for money, I'd need to go at least three times. 

Suppose I should do a pro and con list for this. 


  • There are different classes there
  • You get to see other people
  • The gym affords you free parking at the shopping centre for two hours - this is very useful
  • There is lots of different equipment
  • You can train out of hours
  • And do cardio when it's raining/dark
  • Cleaning standards
  • Density limits - how are they going to be policed
  • You're still going to have to wear a mask indoors for a bit
  • They say they're only open to the vaccinated, but how is it going to be policed?
  • I really like the online classes I've been doing (however they might come to an end when the instructor goes back to her studio in Doncaster)
  • I can't justify keeping both the online classes and the gym
  • Jay is also making this list for the same reason, and it's not the same without a training buddy
  • Most of the cool trainers have left for other studios or jobs
  • Fern, our favourite pump instructor won't be taking the Sunday morning class (she's been doing it for eight years and she's as gutted as we are)
  • Will I use the membership enough? This is a big question.
Okay, there are more cons on the lsit than pros - but I'll have to mull this over for a while longer.

Too tired to make any decisions at the moment. 

Today's song: 

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Busy Corkboard

I sat down at the computer at 8 am. I left the computer at 8.30 pm. The last two hours were editing class, but I'm still a bit too tired to write, so this will be quick. 

The novel prepping cork board is underway. 

Structure and planning are never a problem with short fiction. 

It's a minefield when you're writing a novel.

So the way I've done this is separated each month of the year of my novel and used Caroline Myss's Archetype Cards to set the tone of each month. There are some doozies, but they work for what I'm thinking. 

Then I've assigned one of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' elements of grief to each month as an overview for the month. So as my character cycles through anger, bargaining, denial, depression and acceptance. 

And then on a Post-It, I'm writing a few salient plot points. 

And most importantly, there is this Post-It. 

Blame Ted Lasso for the last Post-It. But I have to believe I can actually write this book. 

So there it will stay. 

Now if somebody could remove the noisy junkies in the car park next door, all would be well in the world. 

That is all I'm up for tonight. It's been a long day. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Mosher's Blog

Now that the hair has been cut and coloured and I had a massage yesterday all appears right with the world. Even better, they've announced the lifting of restrictions even earlier than we thought, so there is some reason to be very cheerful indeed. 

Questions, as always, have been provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. First thing you wash in the shower?

My face. I have a block of Clinique Ultra Mild soap on the basin, and I use that first, mostly so I don't get soap in my eyes. After that, I start on my arms using normal soap. I'm a creature of habit. 

2. What colour is your favourite hoodie?

Black. And it reads "Sorry I'm late, I didn't want to come." What can I say? I'm an introvert. It spoke to me. 

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

Oh, that's a loaded question? Is that a peck on the cheek, because that's a yes - because that what Jonella's partner Thom and I gave him a kiss on the cheek and a hug when I saw them yesterday. As for the last person I properly kissed - I don't expect to see him again, so that will be a no. Probably for the best that. 

4. Do you plan outfits?

I lay my clothes out when I'm in the office the night before, mainly so I can't be accused of getting dressed in the dark. But other than that, no, I don't plan what I'm wearing, outside of 

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

Quite good. I'm about to go into a writer's session before heading out to Blarney's place sometime after five. I'm not really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. 

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

Sitting in front of me is a box of Caroline Myss's Archetype cards, which come in a red box. I'm using them to help plot my novel. 

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?

Oh that was a good one. It was in the middle of the week and I was on a travelator and I got a hug off of Tom Ellis of Lucifer fame. I don't know why he was giving me a hug, but he did and it was lovely. I woke to find my cat, Lucifer, demanding a cuddle. Mind you, it was 4.30 in the morning, but still, I'll take any cuddles I can get. 

Cuddle? Yes, please. 

8. Did you meet anybody new today?

Unless you count the girl at the supermarket check out, then no. But she is a person, so that is a yes. We had a little chat as she rang my groceries through.  

9. What are you craving right now?

Cuddles, sex, intimacy, a less mental job, a bowl of decent vegetarian laksa, any one of those would be good. 

10. Do you floss?

Not often enough. Round about once a fortnight. I do clean my teeth twice a day, but flossing is beyond me. I just forget to do it. Thankfully, my teeth a strong and good. 

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

Old people's homes. 

12. Are you emotional?

Not as much as I used to be. I'd say I'm just emotional enough. 

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?

As a child, yes. 

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

A bit of both. I'm more alicker when I come to think about it unless the ice cream is on a stick. 

15. Do you like your hair?.

Yes, particularly as it was cut and coloured last night and I still have 'hairdresser' hair. It looks and feels SOOOOOO much better. 

Today's song:

Saturday, October 23, 2021


 I'm known for being unfailingly polite and friendly. Call it a quirk or a character flaw, but I go out of my way to be amenable. It smoothes the waters and allows thing to happen easily and naturally. It's just my way of doing things. 

I also like to be curious. In the words of Walt Whitman, as retold by Ted Lasso, "Be curious, not judgemental." I like to try and live that one too. 

Anyway, now things are opening up, people are scrambling to obtain appointments with their hairdressers, barbers, nail techician, beauticians and on and on it goes. 

Well, earlier in the week I sent an email to my massage therapist. It just read, "I NEED A MASSAGE!" that's all. Please remember that I've been a client of this practice for near on fifteen years and I know most of the therapist - they've become friends. 

Ten minutes later I got a phone call back.  My massage therapist is also the manager of the practice and we often have a chat about the world at large. He was telling me that the published rules around massage therapists was particularly grey, and he could see, more than likely, the practice would be reopening around Cup Day. 

Half an hour after that, I received an email. "How does 10.30 on Saturday sound?" 


There are a few calls like this going on at the moment. I had a similar reaction when my hairdresser rang ten minutes after Dan Andrews said they would be reopening. She was also ringing clients in the order she had them booked. I was due for a hairline patch up a few days after lockdown started, hence I was one of her first calls. 

Now it's late in the day - I've had a massage and my hair cut - and I feel most wonderful. The greys are now gone and my body is relaxed - and follow up sessions for a massage and a tint of the hairline are booked in. Yay. 

I'm watching some of my friends struggle to get appointments with their required operators- it's been that long since we've all had these necessary services, the beauty and allied health industries are overrun with people needing appointments.

I'm just grateful to have these firm relationships with my hairdresser and massage therapist. I like to think being polite and friendly and a bit curious has helped form these relationships. Well, that's what I tell myself. 

It's nice to feel like things are slowly getting back to normal, though what the new normal will look like is hard to say. 

Today's song: 

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Empty Board

 It's a start. 

The cork board is ready to start planning out this novel again. 

12 months. 12 sections on the board, sitting above a flyer for a Mapplethorpe exhibition from a few years ago. It's still there because it's a memory of a wonderful day with a wonderful friend, and I love Robert Mapplethorpe's work - as provocative as it is. The other flyer is for the Pop Up Globe, which I'm still miss to this day, because, you know, cheap, accessible Shakespeare, outside. Who knew it could be so good? It's like I remember going to art Galleries and theatre. I've obtained a ticket to the Patricia Piccinini exhibtion in a few weeks time being held at Flinders Street Station. I can't wait. 

Anyway, I have a clean cork board. I have nine days to start plotting this novel, as was one of my goals for this month. 

But what gets me is the absolute power of the naked page. An empty page, or in this case, a cork board, which sits on my hallway wall with a direct view of the loo, has so much power. All at once it's a source of potential and an object of fear. 

What will I put on my cork board? What will come from my plotting and planning. 

And how am I going to get 3000 words to an senior editor for review by 15 November? 3000 words which I am proud of? 3000 polished words. 

It's a good thing I can write to deadline. It's a good thing I have a few aces up my sleeve.

May the population of the squares begin.

Today's song:

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Five go-to films

 Even though tomorrow is "Freedom Day" (or as I like to think of it, "Gentle Re-Opening Day", we still can't get to the movies. Thankfully, hairdressers, massage therapists and beauticians are back to work tomorrow, so I have a massage and a haircut booked for Saturday and I can't wait. 

But other than the curfew is being stopped and for the collective of Melbourne going out to get overdue haircuts, nail treatments, eyebrow prunings and leg waxes, and being able to go to somebody's place who isn't your lover or your bubble buddy without fear of fine - or, or go to somewhere to eat with twenty others indoors, fifty outdoors - not that much is changing. My colleague wailed in our team meeting today, "I just wanna go to KMart." Got a bit of a giggle out of that. 

But rather than extol the virtues of our first steps out of lockdown, I'm going to talk movies. Because I've missed them. And I love them. And I saw a Buzzfeed article about comfort movies.

So here are five of my favourite go to movies, which make me happy and keep me thinking and I'll watch them over and over again because they give me comfort. 

Almost Famous (2000)

How can a movie which contains Phillip Seymour Hoffman (vale), Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson and Billy Crudup fail. Cameron Crowe's coming of age story about a boy who ends up following the next best thing around the country for Rolling Stone Magazine. Kate Hudson is aethereal as Penny Lane. Patrick Fugit is perfect as the naive, yet brilliant William. Frances McDormand is is overbearing mother. 

My soft spot for this film comes from when I friend once said that I was like Penny Lane. I have no idea what he meant by that. I hope it was a good thing as I'm not about to OD and pass out in a hotel bathtub.

The music is fantastic. 

And it will have you shouting, "I AM A GOLDEN GOD" from the rooftops. Go on, dare you. 

Logan Lucky (2017)

Daniel Craig in a prison onesie with a suntan and a Southern Accent. A Stephen Soderbergh caper film with a HUGE heart. It's fun. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as brothers. Some quirky characters. It makes me happy. 

Gosford Park (2001)

An ensemble piece and a whodunnit, set in an English country house with a stellar English case including Clive Owen (be still my near dead ovaries). There is a big murder. Everybody is a suspect - well not the servant, but you know, who cares about them? There are some killer lines. A very sleazy Ryan Phillipe, Alan Bates and Derek Jacobi as warring butlers, and a bedazzling Kristin Scott Thomas. Everybody's awful. It's wonderful. 

Their Finest  (2016)

This is a film about writers. And the Second World War. And London. Some of my favourite things. Kathrin (Gemma Arterton) is pressganged into working with the Ministry for Information helping the script department develop war propoganda. There is love, there is bombing and there is film making. It's a gentle English film, directed by Lone Scherfig, a Dane. It has a section filmed in Cornwall, which makes me very nostalgic, as my family hails from down that way. It's a simple film about a time when people cared about their country, documenting a surprising incident from the war. Oh, and it has Bill Nighy, playing Bill Nighy, of course. Oh and Sam Claflin plays a wannabee wanker. Who knoew?

The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Great things about this. John McTeirnan of Die Hard fame directed it. It's peppered with Nina Simone's music with a bit of Simon and Garfunkel thrown in for good measure (a nod to the original Steve McQueen/Fay Dunaway outing). And there's a young Pierce Brosnan in the titular role, just finishing his run as Bond and at is best with a slightly dodgy Scottish accent who's an art thief to boot. And a wonderfully strong, flawed, Renee Russo. Okay, so I watch it for the gratuitous bum shot. It's fun, stylish and about art and money and New York. Nobody dies.  What more do you want with a feel good film? 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


You know one of the things I miss the most from this lockdown?

Watching the balloons. 

There's something romantic, soulful, gentle about these mammoths of the sky that used to gracefully float over city. 

There's a joy in hearing the burners as they allow these gentle giants to cruise around. 

I love the unknown nature of a balloon journey as once they go up, you never quite know where they are going to land - or how they are going to land, or if, by some unfortunate chance in the bay. 

And you look up and ponder just who is in those baskets, while they make their way over you.

I also ponder the silence. Having taken a balloon ride for my birthday many years ago, I remember the silence and the unimaginable feeling of flying which you get while you're up there. Not when the burners are going full pelt, but in the rests, where you just float a kilometre or two over the city. 

I ponder what it takes to get your balloon pilot licence, because it appears to be a very specialised thing to do. 

Balloons made me happy. 

And we haven't seen them for nearly two years. 

I hope they come back soon. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I hate the Monash


The car went in for a service today. It gets serviced out at Mulgrave some 25 odd kilometre from home (and yes, servicing your car is something essential). They wanted the car at 7.30 in the morning, which was a bit rude, but there you go. 

So I was on the Monash Freeway at 7.30 this morning, heading out of town. 

Here are a few of my questions from the trip out, and back, and out and back again. 

  • Why are there so many cars on the Monash?
  • Where are they all going?
  • Don't they know it's a lockdown? 
  • How do people do this in peak hour?
  • Why would you want to do this? 
I've only don't the Monash at full peak hour once - and I thought I was going to die. This was busy enough, but not overly scary. Still, we're supposed to be in lockdown

The toll account also got checked, as I wanted to add the loaner car onto my account, just in case. I don't use the Monash very often - normally I'm going out to Jonella's or my hairdresser. Did you know that it costs $2.77 for the joy of going through one gantry onto an overcrowded road - that's just through one toll point? There are people who do this twice a day, every day of the week? 

I know why I live centrally. It feels like a rip off spending the amount you'd spend on a small cup of coffee to use a 20-year-old toll road.  

On the good side of things, the dealership gave me a lovely Mazda CX-30 hybrid as a loan car for the day. It had all the bells and whistles on it. A lovely drive, but a bit boxy for my liking. My car is now six years old. It's time to start thinking about replacing it in the next two years. It's just what I do. 

Anyway, the car has had his annual service and I don't have to brave that crazy toll road on a weekday for quite a while. 


Today's song: 

Monday, October 18, 2021

From today

Mondays are going to be long for the next few weeks. School after work is a great thing, but it's exhausting. Tomorrow, I need to be up early as I'm taking the car out for a service, only to bring a loaner car home, then returning in the afternoon to pick it up again.

It will give me time to listen to my book as I drive back and forth from Mulgrave. 

Anyway, as my brain is too fried to write much, here are three highlights from today. 

In editing class we had a visiting writer talk to us about the editing process. Tania Chandler was great. Gave us some great insights into being a part time author. She's written three books, all of which took her a few years to write. This give me a little hope. It was a great session. I'm so glad I've done this course. 

There were some wise words that came out about sensitivity readers. One of the girls on the course is from New Zealand, and identifies as Maori - it was great to hear her perspective on things - especially around sensitivity readers - which I probably won't be needing as most people think I'm quite insensitive. I'm also very aware that I probably don't have the skill to write about people from minority groups, or at least, I'm very creful when I do. 

A phone call was received just after lunch. A message was sent to my massage therapist saying "I WANT A MASSAGE". Rather than get an email back, he called me (Noting that I've been seeing my massage therapist for over ten years and we both like a chat.) It seems that massage therapists are coming back on the 5th of November, not in this first wave of openings with the hairdressers. I just want a massage. My knee and shoulder need seeing to. I'm also craving human touch. Regardless, it won't be long. I just want and need a massage. 

Looking forward to book group tomorrow night. I've finished the book, Jessie Tu's A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing. I loved it, but I'm not sure what the rest of the group thought of it. I loved it's rawness and its unexpected nature. And the music. The lead character was a violinist who's favourite movie was Frances Ha. I liked the book enough to investigate the film. Okay, I've been wanting to see it for an age, and I'm very glad I did. Will give me a bit more fodder to talk about tomorrow night. 

Oh, and it's Jonella's 50th birthday today. For once in my life I had the forethought to get her a present, wrap it, and give it to her so she would unwrap it on the day. She loved what I got her, which is good. I sang her Happy Birthday at ten to nine, in my best out of tune singing, the way Happy Birthday has to be sung - unless you're Ricky Baker. 

And it's just occured to me that this is Hell Week. I've got smething on most nights this week. Tomorrow night, meet Cleo on the park, then book group. Wednesday, online stretch and High Intensity. Thursday in the Park with Cleo and Jay. 

Friday night, it will have to be done: 

It will be "Freedom Day" after all.

Today's song: 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Stealing: This side of the pond

Another weekend in Melbourne in lockdown. Hopefully, with the vaccination rates rising, this will seen be over. 

And we are having some restrictions lifted at the end of the week. I'm already booked in for a cut an colour and I couldn't be more excited. 

Questions, as always, provided by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What's something you've recently accomplished solo?

Life. I've been alone all my life so you could say I'm accomplishing life solo. It's just what I do. I have done a lot of knitting my myself over the last few months. My friends all have new hats. 

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails?

Oh, here are a few things that I use by brand name - and I won't take anything else:

  • Mazda cars
  • Heinz baked beans
  • The recycled loo paper with frogs on it
  • Bickfords lime cordial
  • Hendricks gin. 

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it?

Yes. And where ever I am. It's taken a long time, but I'm comfortable in my own skin. I know this is a simple answer, but it's the truth. 

4.  Worst movie you ever saw?

I've seen a lot of bad movies, but Sex in the City II was particularly heinous. Truly awful. I walked out of Sin City, more for the gratuitous violence than anything else. And I really didn't like King Arthur, even though Clive Owen is in it. 

5. What's the last fun thing you did?

We've been in lockdown for most of the last 18 months, so fun is thin on the ground. But I have been for some lovely walks with people. That's fun. I got carded by the cops yesterday on my way to collect the mail - that was fun (I was waved through - they were looking for protesters - I'm a middle aged woman in a mask - seemingly little threat). I started an editing course last wee. That's fun too. Not big fun, but fun. 

6. What's your favorite Italian dish?

Chicken Marsala or Chicken Diavolo. Failing that, a good mushroom pizza. 

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see?

The answer is yes and no. I've been to Paris, twice. But this is not the real France. It's like saying Sydney is Australia or New York is America or London is Britain. I'd love to see more of France, particularly around Brittany, Normandy and down the South. It's a big country. 

8. Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip?

Nope, never been to Disneyland - nor do I want to. I had a chance to go while I was in Hong Kong - not the same thing. Nor is EuroDisney the same, nor Disneyworld. I'm not big into theme parks. I did Universal Studios when I was in L.A. once twenty years ago. I enjoyed that. If I was given a ticket, I'd go, but it's not really my cup of tea. 

9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse?

Strangely, I've been known to go sit in churches when I need some quiet time. There used to be a contemplation space in the church next door to where I was working. Mingary is a special place. I'll also find some space in nature if I need quiet time. Thankfully the river is nearly and you can get a bit of quiet around there. 

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread?

I don't bake my own bread. I don't each much bread. Last week I had a bahn mi from down the road, knowing the rolls are baked fresh that morning - bahn mi, for those not in the know, are Vietnamese sandwiches - fresh, fresh white crusty rolls, smeared with butter and pate, filled with barbeque pork or chicken, pickled carrots, cucumbers and spiced with hoisin sauce, chilli, coriander sprigs and crispy fried scallions. They are the absolute bomb. 

My favourite kind of bread is rustic sourdough fruit toast. Fruit toast is too morrish - but the more interesting it is made the better. I had a great loaf filled with dried figs last week. 

11. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread'?

My timpanic body massager - also known as the bang bang machine, is awesome - especially as I can't get to the massage therapist the moment as they are still not operating. Soon, soon. 

12.  Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T.

  • Tarts - Portugeuse Tarts - Jay is going to this special bakery in Thornbury that does them like you find in Lisbon or Porto
  • Time to read
  • Tactile crafts - I'm thankful for my knitting
  • Ted Lasso - quality television
  • Therapeutic hair appointments, booked for next Saturday. My hair hasn't been cut or coloured since May. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to this. 

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.

I was in Adelaide. I had caught glandular fever (I think it's known as mononeucleosis if you're an American). I was pretty miserable. 

14. What's on the menu at your house this week?

No idea - I haven't been to do the weekly food shop yet. Chicken and salad most nights I reckon. 

15. Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons? 

Oh, I bought an oodie nightshirt. I had a coupon through the web giving me $25 off so it seemed like a good deal. But coupons aren't a big thing here and other than the odd web bargain, I don't really use them. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, October 16, 2021


 Albert Street. 11 a.m.

Driving into the city to collect my mail from the post office seems like an innocuous enough thing to do. Australia Post have finally got with the program and have opened the desk in the box room on Saturday mornings so people can come and collect their parcels - something that's never been a problem until lockdown. I've always worked in the city, so getting to my Bourke Street post office box was never an issue until then.(And I have the box because living where I do, junkies knick your mail, and the box your parcels keeps safe). 

So this morning, as I'm driving along Albert Street, minding my own business, as I get to the Fitzroy Gardens, I see flashing lights, and the cars ahead of me coming to a stop. 

The cops are asking what business you have in town. 


I can see some method in this limited madness. The were probably there to deter protesters who want to make some mischief. I don't quite know why they were checking people - though saying that, I did spot a few police in what is a very empty city. There's nobody in the city at the moment. 

So, I did the right thing. I grabbed my mask and pulled out my drivers licence from my purse, just in case they wanted proof I was within 15 kilometres of the front door. 

I had a legitimate reason for being there. I waited my turn. 

Turns out, being a middle-aged woman in a mask, showing her driver's licence , alone in a car, is a good thing. He waved me through without a second thought. No questions. No nothing. Didn't even check my address. 

It might have been different if there were five of us in the car wearing high vis, sporting Southern Cross tatts and bushranger beards and an attitude. But as with airport officials, if you treat the police nicely, in my case, just sporting a mask and flashing my licence, you get no trouble.

Five minutes later I was at the post office, collecting my parcels, thanking the Parking Fairy for finding me a park outside. 

As much as I loathe lockdown, I'm going to miss the quiet roads and easy parking when we go back to "normal". 

And as much as I find it a bit of a novelty to be carded at my advanced age, there is a small part of me which isn't completely comfortable with being checked by the cops. 

I can't wait for all this to be over. 

Ah, well. 

Today's song: 

Friday, October 15, 2021

COVID Negative. Can I feel better now, please?

The result came through in under 12 hours. There's no COVID in me according to this morning's test

I'm actually not that sick. It's just a bit of a sore throat and feeling a bit achy and head achy and not having any energy. It's enough to make me grumpy and to have had a nap at lunchtime - something I never do. I was in bed by 10 pm last night. I'll have an early night tonight. I'll keep drinking the fluids and taking the panadol. 

Thankfully, it's raining, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. And it's not like I'm really sick - just a bit poorly.

But I've forgotten what it's like to feel sick. It used to be a part of life the regular chest/ear/throat infection. Working from home for the last eighteen months means we aren't mingling, which means that the bugs, lurgies and general malaise we used to get, we just aren't getting. 

So I have no idea where I've picked this up from. 

And I've remember why I hate feeling sick. It's crap. And it's worse when you're not used to it. In days gone by I used to feel like this every three months. Looking at my phone today, looking at the COVID test receipts, it appears I'm still getting a bit run down every two or three months, but it passes quickly. Here's hoping this time is the same (although the aching ear is not portenting well). 

COVID has made me soft.

I'm just glad I'm fully vaccinated. 

I'm also glad that I don't have it. 

Tonight is a good night to watch Hamilton while drinking tea, I think. 

And listen to this gem of a song. Did you know that Terrence Trent D'Arby has changed his name to Sananda Maitreya? There's something for trivia night. 

Today's song:

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Poor Bunny

Poor bunny, wet bunny, sodden lump of fur.

Lost bunny. Manky bunny.  Wah, wah, wah. 

Bunny has been sitting on the green services box now for over 24 hours. 

He was there when I went to train with Cleo yesterday morning. He was there when I got to the park to train tonight. 

I feel a bit sorry for bunny. Or maybe I feel very sorry for the child or dog who has lost their beloved toy even more.

It brings back memories of my sister, who had a plush toy dog called Woe-Woe. Woe-Woe was well loved. When Woe-Woe was periodically put through the washing machine, my sister underneath the Hills Hoist, sobbing, and begging Mum to bring him him down. 

Woe-Woe eventually was thrown from her pram and ended up down a storm drain. She cried for days. 

I'm sure, somewhere out there, there is a child baying for Bunny. 

But after a night's solid rain, I'm not sure he will be rehomed. Maybe some benevolent person will throw him in a nearby bin and put him to rest. 

Maybe a local dog will find him and disembowel him, sending him off honorably, as only a dog can do. 

It's a little bit sad, seeing bunny here, lying like a fetid corpse at a crime scene. 

Somebody must be out there who loves him. 

I'm sure he was once somebody's most cherished possession. 

And I'm sure a lot of people can relate to this scene with a fond , yet resonating shudder. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Eleven years ago

Eleven years ago I was boarding a plane in Singapore, my ultimate destination being New York. 

I'd won two tickets to anywhere in the world. As I had nobody to go anywhere with, I had this changed to a round the world ticket. 

So on this day eleven years ago, I woke up in a lovely hotel on the Orchard Road. An old Uni friend and I had reconnected. She and her family live in Jahor Bahru in Malaysia. Just over the causeway. We'd had a great night the day before - we'd gone for egg and oysters and sugar cane juice in one of the markets in downtown JB. I love experience like this. From the qibla in the hotel room, pointing towards Mecca, to the man in the minaret waking you up at some ungodly hour, I love all the situations that get thrown your way. I wish I could have spent more time in Malaysia. I prefer it to Singapore - a city state which to me is just sterile. I need to be there with a local to see the best of it.

Anyway, eleven years ago today, day started off well enough. I woke in a very nice hotel down Singapore's Orchard Road. My friend and I came over to Singapore to have a good look around. I remember we had Nasi Lemak at Raffles and and had good wander around the city, visiting an amazing Hindu temple in one of the Indian areas of the city. I remember the escalators down to the subway ran faster than anything I had ever seen. 

We had a good look around the Orchard Road - had some lunch. That's where things get a bit shonky. Whatever I had for lunch did not agree with me. 

My flight to Frankfurt, then onto New York was at around midnight. I had twelve hours to deal with this funny tummy. 

It was supposed to be a full day in Singapore. I ended up going to the airport early, checking my bags, taking a room at the airport hotel and puking my guts out for the next six hours. The bathroom was destroyed, and I felt wretched. 

Boarding the plane later that night, I warned the crew of my predicament. Thankfully I was vomited out by then. Also, thankfully, the seat next to me was free, so I could stretch out a bit and rest. 

Over the flight, I drank the plane dry of their supply of dry ginger ale  - a must if you're trying to settle your stomach. I also remember one of the crew gently waking me up by stroking my head, making sure I was fine. 

It wasn't the greatest of flights - there's nothing worse than flying when you have gastro / food poisoning / a stomach ailment. But it was good to get the crappy stuff out of the way, as it turned out t be the holiday of a lifetime. It was the last time I was in Europe. It was the last time I was in America. If I'm honest, it was the last time I really went exploring. 

I want to do that again - and soon. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Editing Class

 I'm a glutton for punishment. 

Work is ramping up and I've taken on a night course - a six week course on editing for creative writers. 

It's something I want to do. It's something that will be good for my writing. It's something that might get me back on track with the novel. 

On the great side of things, at the end of the course, 3000 words gets sent over to a senior editor at Allen and Unwin for a review and notes. 

The class appear to be lovely. Lots of people who've done the Novel course I did last year. Some people are where I'm at, some are nearing the end of their first draft. Some are a few drafts in. 

All of us struggle with editing in some ways. Which as writers, we all do. Editing sucks. 

But our teacher, Angela Meyer, has been an editor for years, handing out good, practical advice while discussing what is a lengthy and arduous process, particularly if you're writing in a more literary way. 

The 3000 words due in six weeks has me daunted. What do I send? Do I write something new. Is the the opportunity to work on the new start of the novel. 

It's only for six weeks, but I see this tax deductible gem as something that will be of value. 

These courses are always good for the soul. 

But the long days at work, followed by another two hours on zoom on a Monday night will take their toll. I came out of the first class exhausted. 

Ah well. You're only young once. 

Today's song: 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Why am I watching Love Island?

 Seriously, why am I watching Love Island

I know the day has been long. Mind you, I got a lot done at work today - have seven work instructions out for review (yay), organised for tomorrow's interview with the HR girl, only had two meetings and even managed to get out for a coffee at lunchtime. I've done no exercise, but there is always tomorrow.

After work, I had my editing class, which started this week. And that was awesome. But again, after a day of documents and people wrangling - a day where I left work at ten to six, only to go onto another zoom call at 6.30 - I'm just a little bit fried. 

It still doesn't answer why I've watched half an episode of Love Island.

There are a lot of questions?

  • Was I that vapid in my early twenties? (Probably)
  • Are they really trying to get a more multi-cultural flavour? (Probably)
  • Why do none of the men have any body hair? 
  • Why are these women wearning bikinis which are too small?
  • How much bo-bo (botox) have these women had? 
  • Do any of the contestants have any personality?
  • Why are they all trying so hard?
I managed about 45 minutes of this rubbish before turning it off and going to have a shower. 

Why was I really watching this utter drivel?

It was on after The Block (which I watch with half an eye on the screen). I'd collapsed on the couch. The remote was on my table six feet away. I didn't feel like getting up.

I now know better. 

Stupid rubbish.

I'll talk about the editing course tomorrow when I'm less brain dead and my head is not full of cotton wool. 

Today's song:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Journal Buddiles

Another Sunday, another set of questions. And now the floors are mopped and theatre subscription has been sorted and I've been for a walk, and dinner is in the oven, it's time to do the Sunday questions, brought to you, as always, by Bev at Sunday Stealing

Bev, you've set some hard ones this week. 

1. Who is your favorite singer?  What do you like about him or her? 

I'm a lover of music, so I have so many favourite singers and performers. David Byrne, David Bowie, Black Francis, Tim Freedman (The Whitlams) Jason Mraz, Damien Rice, Amy Winehouse, Jewel... the list is long. 

But a singer I keep going back to is Paul Simon. I love his range. I love his songs. I love his New York sensibilities. I love that he's timeless. 

2. Write about your first memory of going to the doctor.

It's not so much the doctor, but the physiotherapist. As a kid I had my legs corrected as I used to walk on my tiptoes and I had knocked knees. I had to go see the physiotherapist regularly. Her name was Miss Creswell and she was very, very scary. I remember going to the Children's Hospital in Adelaide in my calipers, waiting for the lights, when somebody pointed me out, saying, "Look at that little crippled kid." It was sort of a defining moment. I just remember I didn't like Miss Creswell very much. I think most parents were scared of her too. 

3. Write a poem about writing poems.

If writing a poem was easy,

And didn't turn your words to shit,

People would do it more often

And not make a laugh out of it. 

4. Write a poem about vacations.    

I remember holidays.

A faraway destination

To a week of difference and wonder. 

Of monkeys stealing your dinner

And yoga mats, drowned

In the sweat of a thousand hippies. 

Of being hassled for a taxi every ten steps

Of drinking bottled water

And going vegetarian, just because. 

Ah, Bali, I miss you.

I hope to see you soon. 

5. What is something interesting that no one knows about you?    

I'm a boring open book and I can't think of anything really interesting about me. 

Here's three things you may not know about me:

  • I generally don't eat lasagne, bananas or cauliflower. I'll eat them if put in front of me, but I don't like them
  • When I was a kid I grew up wanting to be an astronaut
  • I don't really like oriental cats. I much prefer moggies to Siamese / Burmese concoctions. 

6. Why is it so important to help other people in need?   

Isn't it one of the social contracts of being human to help those in need. It makes you feel good and it hopefully makes who you're helping feel good. It just needs to be done. 

7. Would you rather finish a project early or do it at the last minute?  Why?    

I'd rather finish a bit early than leave things to the last minute. I've got a bit of OCD, so planning things out and getting them done is a very good thing. It means less stress. 

8. If you had three months left to live, what would you do?     

Travel the world. See friends. Eat and drink everything I want to. Love on ice cream. Maybe go skydiving. I'd try and make the most of it. 

9. If you could be a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would you be?  Why?    

Rum and raisin. It's a little bit exotic, a little bit naughty and there are wonderful bits in there that you really don't expect. 

10. What is the hardest thing about being a kid?

Not knowing things. I still hate not knowing things, knowing how to do things - but it seems it does all kick in after a while. 

11. Would you rather be tall or short?  Why?    

Tall. I'd love to be an inch or two taller. My weight would fit my height better. And you can reach more things. Not that I'm complaining. I'm around 5'5" so I'm not short-short. I certainly wouldn't want to be any shorter than I am now. 

12. What is the greatest challenge facing people in our world today?    

Either climate change or extremism. Both things have huge repercussions for generations going forward. 

13. What is the scariest experience you’ve ever had?    

I've been lucky and haven't been in many scary situations. But I do remember getting followed home in England one time - that was terrifying. I also remember being really scared in Naples. it was just the vibe, but I was really pleased to leave.

Also anything to do with huntsman spiders scares the crap out of me, but I'm getting better with handling those. 

14. Write a poem about music.    

I have forgotten how the base line

Reverberates in your chest, 

As you stand in the mosh pit, 

Screaming with all your might. 

I have forgotten how the bump and grind

Of the synchopated crowd,

Lets you disappear. 

How you mimic the singer, 

Knowing the words like a mantra,

Howling with the crowd. 

I have forgotten

What it is to be part of a gig.

I wish it wasn't forgotten. 

15. Write about a favorite memory of something you did with your best friend.

I have a number of best mates:

So some favourite time with these friends include :
  • When a group of us went to Bali for my birthday
  • The day Jonella and I spent at the Peninsula Hot Springs on a hooky day. 
  • And getting to hang out with Mariah and Geetangeli in Sydney, when we were all in the one city at the one time
  • And the road trip with Reindert, driving a friend's van back from Newcastle to Melbourne 
  • And the many degustation meals I've had with friends
  • Or going for a swim with Sarey and her husband when I'm in Adelaide
  • Or just hanging out with Blarney and Barney and the boys
  • Or Christmas with Lachlan all those years ago.
I'm very lucky to have such friends. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

The most exciting thing of the day

 I booked an appointment with my leg waxer. Yes, it's three weeks off. Yes. it may not happen, and after six lockdowns and numerous changes to the rules, and knowing they may change again, I ahve an appointment to get my legs waxed, so I won't feel like a tarantula any more. 

They were last done in mid June. This is the longest I've gone without a legwax for 25 years. 

And this is three weeks away. 

I can't wait. 

Next happy moment will be when Lee, my hairdresser gets her appointment book open. 

And the girls at the brow bar in Myer - I can't wait for that either. 

And tomorrow, Jay and will look at ordering our tickets for next year's season of the Melbourne Theatre Company. 

I know I'm probably getting ahead of myself, but it feels good that a little bit of 'normality' may be soon in reach. 

Today's song: 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Novel Prep

 I'm thinking another round of novel writing is coming my way. Sure NaNoWriMo is a few weeks away. National Novel Writing Month gives you the 50000 words in a month challenge) but I reckon now is the time to get some prep done, ready for working on what I'm writing. 

And yes, work is stupid and I'll have to work around this, but I'm all fired up after a meeting with the Faber crew the other night. One of our ranks has finished her first draft. The rest of us are struggling a bit. 

She said something interesting the other night. In finishing her first draft, something she's been working on for many years, she said that this first draft was the shape she thought it would be when she first envisaged the novel. 

And I think I've found one of my problems. I don't have the shape of my novel yet. 

I know what I want to write about. 

I've got my characters - and last year's Faber course put me onto these wonderful characters, who I love. And I want to write about Faith, Laz, Mo and Harry. I want to investigate their back story - and Faith's way forward. 

But I need to get the shape of the novel out there. 

What is it's flow? What is it's narrative drive? How do my characters get from Point A to Point B? And where does it need to go. I have to work out what happens and where, and when, and to whom. 

So this is my job for the next three weeks. Working all this out, so when the first of November comes around, I know what I'm writing - writing to shape, rather than for investigation. 

So this is where I've landed. Get out Scrivenor, and start working on the form, the shape of the novel.

And may this, along with Mercury coming out of retrogradeon the 18th of October, just in time for Jonella's birthday. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

I love Roy Kent

There. I've said it. 

I love Roy Kent. 


Have you not watched Ted Lasso yet? 

Roy Kent, played wonderfully by Brett Goldstein, is AFC Richmond's aging captain in series on of this fantastic series. 

At first, you don't know what to make of this gruff South Londoner. He doesn't say much. Actually, he tends to scowl and growl. And swear. A lot. 

But the longer you know Roy Kent you find out he's a complete and utter softie underneath. He's a good bloke. He loves his niece, Phoebe. And he loves his team deep down. 

And he's was a great footballer. He's nearing the end of his career, he finds something else to do. I like a man who can pivot.

And he has a song written about him. What football player has that? 

He's also got the best chest hair, EVER. 

What more do you want?

Yes, please. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Scanning CVs

I'm writing about work at the moment because it's become all-consuming. I'm using lots of generalities, because, as you may have noticed, when I write about work, I say no more than I work for a utilities company in the city and I'm a technical writer. And I don't mention colleagues by name or description. I don't go into details. It's just not done in blogland. 

Regular readers will also be aware that my one up was sacked a few weeks ago and my life has been turned upside down because I now find myself leading a team. 

It's a steep learning curve. 

Other than leading a team, which is something I've never done officially, I also have to help my manager recruit people. And this is an interesting thing to do. 

I've scanned CVs once before. This time around , I watched myself and the thought processes around this. 

The document from HR is opened. 

I'm looking for skills, not so much job titles. 

There's the things they have done before - they may not be technical writers, but they might have a lot of documentation experience. 

You look at where they've been before? Is there anybody you know who you can ask about them?

Then there's the education factor. What have they studied? What are their interests? Do they look like an interesting person along with being good at what they do? 

Employment wise. Have they moved about? Do they only have a couple of jobs on their CV?

Then there are the intangibles. Like do they have PMS? (Pale Male Syndrome - it's a tone thing - but you can easily get the impression if somebody is a wanker) What impressions do they give? Are they welll rounded? Do they have any career breaks? Do they come across as somebody who will fit in the team? 

And you have about five minutes to sum them all up and give an answer to the person in HR who can then go and vet them. 

Of course, I used my own form of scanning. I searched for a few key words and systems and took note of where they worked. Did they have key system experience? What sort of projects have they worked on? Are they more technical or business focussed? For the person whose CV was a near mirror image of mine, touched base with some old colleagues and got the heads up. 

A decision is then made. 

Then the email goes back to HR asking if they can phone screen a couple of the candidates. 

And I don't envy anybody doing this regularly. It's not that you can give everybody a job, but the weight of getting the right person in for the job weighs heavily on my head. Unfortunately, we can't get a clone of myself or my current colleague. One of our newbies is excellent and we'll make sure they get trained up quickly. I'm enjoying mentoring them. They said today they'd never felt so supported in a role. 

But I'm reeling at this new task of scanning CVs. It doesn't sit well and I feel all judgy, and I have no idea how people do this more than once a decade. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Quiet

I love the quiet. 

I miss the quiet. 

I don't think I'll be seeing quiet for a while. 

Because I'm training people who've come into the team at the moment. Trying to teach people how to do my job, which means I don't shut up.

According to my sister, I can talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles, and maybe that is so, but when you're training, you get to talk about stuff you don't want to talk abut. And after about half an hour, your mouth goes dry. And it's no fun. When I train, I take everything in 25 minute blocks - and hand over to my colleague every now and then for good measure. 

Then there's the meetings. 

Today looks like this: 

9.00-9.15:  Team stand up

9.30 - 10.00:  Upskilling the newbies

10.00-11.00: Review cycle with one of my streams and compliance. 

11.15-11.45: Compliance team catch up

11.45-12.15: Commercial and Industrial Continuous improvement meeting.

12.00-1.00: Optional meeting held by my boss to induct the newbies into the team. 

1.30-1.30: Quiet time / Lunch (Yes, I've cleared the calendar)

2.00-3.00: BAU Upskilling. 

3.00-3.30: Weekly catch up with the boss

3.30-4.00: Optional meeting with one of the other streams. 

I know a lot of people have calendars that look like this - but this is what the rest of the week looks like. 

I just want the quiet back. 

I'm an intorvert. I don't like people that much. 

Besides, I'm not sure when I'll get any real work done...

Today's song:

Monday, October 4, 2021

Ruebens and Respite

We went on a 'picnic' because we could - and it was allowed. Mandated you could say. 

We're both double vaccinated. 

We were both within 15 kilometres from our front doors. 

And my favourite Jewish deli was open for takeaway. 

I've talked about my love of Cafe D'Lish on Bambra Road in Caulfield. And being about halfway between us, Jonella and I decided to have a picnic of sorts. We haven't seen each other face to face since July, though we talk or message most days.

And Cafe D'Lish was a great choice. 

Firstly, Jonella has never been there, despite her heritage and me raving about this place since I first met her over ten years ago. Mind you, if you want good bagels and challah, Glicks is the place to go - and I have a sneaking suspicion this is where D'Lish source their baked goods. But still, it's a consistently great cafe and it has been for over a decade (even if the in-house service can be up and down, especially if you're in a rush). 

Secondly, although we could have brought food with us, but grabbing a sandwich and a coffee from my one of my favourite places sounded like a good thing. 

And thirdly, we're both over lockdown so getting out was needed. 

How good is it to walk into a place and be greeted by the owner? I've known Izzy for over fifteen years, back when he had colour in his hair and he didn't have children. His first question was, "Where are the rest of you?", meaning where was the rest of the meditation class who I normally eat with when we go there.  

I introduced him to Jonella, said we were getting a takeaway and we ordered lunch. It was great to see the place had steady trade going through the doors. We talked to the local dogs as we waited outside. Izzy said there's often a queue of Golden Retrievers out front from 7 am most mornings. I'd like to see that. 

The place has such a great vibe. 

Lunch came quickly. Gee they do a wicked Reuben. Good coffee too. 

Pastrami and saurkraut, with pickles and horseradish on lightly toasted light rye. What more do you want?

We took our coffees and Reubens and found a bench in the neighbouring park, where we proceeded to eat, sip and talk for the next hour and a half, all the while talking to the friendly dogs who approached us on this warm, overcast afternoon. We moaned about how friends and family in far-flung places like Adelaide and Tasmania were out having pub lunches. We talked about how we were coping with this seemingly never-ending purgatory. We discussed some of the rulings, and had very different views, mostly due to our circumstances. But everybody has to do what they have to do in these times. 

Then the weather started to close in, our sandwiches and coffee long gone. 

A quick trip to collect some bagels and we said goodbye - Jonella with her birthday present under her arm. Her birthday's in two weeks. It's nice to have something to open on the day. I'm rather amazed at my forethought. Even more miraculous, I found wrapping paper and sticky tape to make it a proper present. 

And then we said goodbye.

But for a little while, just a little while, things felt normal again. That was the best thing of all. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Sunday Stealing: Facebook Questions

 It's another Saturday night/Sunday morning here in lockdown central. I'm still in bad need of: 

  • My hairdresser (last seen for a cut in May)
  • My legwaxer (last seen in June)
  • My eyebrow girl (also last seen early July)
  • A movie (last film I saw was in early July)
  • A play (I think that was in May when I was last in a theatre)
  • Dinner with friends (nothing done other than dinner with Blarney once a week since July)
  • A holiday. (Last plane ride was in March last year)
Yep, still over lockdown, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccinations rates are finally getting up there. Still. I'm over it.. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

Song of the Day has moved to the 80s. 

 1. Do you like blue cheese? 

Yes. I really like blue cheese. I also forget that some people don't like it, but I don't understand why. I remember gathering a picnic for a friend once, and I turned up. My first comment was, 'Oh my goodness, I don't know if you like blue cheese or not. This could be the end of a lovely friendship.' Thankfully, he did like it. Phew. 

Also, as much as I like blue cheese, it doesn't like me that much. To be eaten in strict moderation. 

2. Coke or Pepsi? 

Oh Coke. I actively don't like Pepsi. Mind you, I couldn't tell you the last time I had a coke. And I did tend to drink Coke Zero when I did drink it. As I gave up caffeine about three years ago it's a bit of a moot point. 

3. Do you own a gun?

Hell, no. Why would I want one of them? I'm not a soldier, policeman, gun club member nor do I live on a farm. Gun ownership is not a big thing in the cities in Australia. We've got a very different view to gun ownership over here than they do in America. 

4. Hot dogs or cheeseburgers? 

Um, not a big thing over here, and we do them very differently. I do love a good burger, but I also have a hankering for the hot dogs we got as a kid. The bun is toasted on a spit, before butter is swilled around the hole, then you add tomato sauce (ketchup) and they are the best thing ever. The Keith Roadhouse does a very good, traditional Australian hot dog. It's on the way to Adelaide. It's all in the toasting of the bun in the middle. Trust me. The nearest we get to American hot dogs here are found at Ikea. 

5. Favorite type of food?

Oh, that would be a toss up between Vietnamese, Mexican and Japanese. I like them all, really. 

I also love a good Chinese. Oh to return to Hong Kong, where the food is amazing. And plentiful. 

6. What do you drink in the morning? 

Water and my normal Almond decaf latte. Mornings are not the same without fake coffee. 

7. Can you do a 100 pushups? 

From my knees, yes. I can do around 20 from my toes. Unfortunately, I have a sore shoulder which makes full pushups a bit hard at the moment. 

8. Tattoos? 

One. It's a very small Chinese symbol which rests on my hip. Out of sight, out of mind I say. 

9. Do you wear glasses? 

Yes, but not as much as I did. I need them for driving and distances, but have to take them off to read my phone. And I'm not getting multi-focals. I'm too vain (and proud) for that. 

10. Phobia? 

Snakes and huntsman spiders - or any big hairy spider. Horrible things. 

11. Piercings? 

Just my ears. Twice. 

12. Can you whistle? 

Yes. My grandfather taught me to whistle when I was about four, much to my parent's chagrin. I remember that well. I was in the back of his old Beetle. My grandfather was the best. 

13. Surgeries? 

A couple. I had my legs fixed twice when I was a child. Since then there have been a couple of gyneacological procedures. Thankfully nothing major, but they've been done and they fixed up the issues. 

14. Like gambling?

Not really. Other than the fairly regular lottery ticket that's it. I don't like the casino, nor to I bet on the horses or the dogs. It's just not in my makeup. 

15. Do you like to dance?

Yes and no. Not in public. But I have just started doing a dance class online and I'm loving it, even if I look like a fridge when I dance. It's quite liberating. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

I need to talk to somebody about Ted Lasso

 I'm just a little bit in love. With Ted Lasso

Looking for something a bit uplifting, a lot funny and that shows the best of  England. 

It's Ted Lasso

The premise is really quite simple. Ted Lasso, an American football coach from Kansas, is recruited by Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), a newly divorced Owner's wife who got the Richmond FC in the divorce settlement and is wanting to see the team relegated  from the Premier League out of spite. 

Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) is the epitome of the American Midwest. Completely hokum, dreadfully nice, extremely polite and terribly optimistic, the exuberant Ted is thrown into coaching this team of misfit soccer (football) players. Not that he's ever coached soccer before, but he did a good job with an American team in the past for one season. So this is a show about Midwest America meets ordinary South London. 

Then you meet the team. 

There's Roy, the angry captain, who underneath is just a big softy. There's pretty boy striker, Jamie Tartt (doo doo de doo de doo) a man baby who needs to grow up. There's coach beard, who doesn't say much. There's Nathan, aka Nate the Great, the bullied equipment manager who begins to find his own voice. And the downtrodden Manager of Football, Higgins, who's a bit like a member of Dad's Army, trying his best to please Rebecca.  Oh, and of course there's Keeley, the aging WAG who ends up being the marketing guru for the whole outfit. 

And it's quite possibly some of the most perfect comedy I've seen in ages. 

It doesn't the fish out of water thing brilliantly. 

There's all the team dynamics which are funny and tragic all at once. When a replacement striker comes in for a while, a South American by he name of Rojas, he's hysterical.But it sends a number of characters on new arcs. 

For a little show, it's got a tremendous heart to it. 

And I need to find somebody to talk Ted Lasso with. Especially as Giles from Buffy (Anthony Head) played Rebecca's odious millionaire ex-husband. 

I love the observations of the other characters. I love Ted's interactoins with them all. I love that Ted bakes biscuits for Rebecca, possibly helping him soothe his own angsts. And I love that it shows a bit of London in which I lived for a few months which gets me all homesick. 

Mind you, I'm only halfway through the first series. 

But it's near perfect television, and we don't get that very often. 

Ted Lasso streams on Apple TV+. 

Today's song:

Friday, October 1, 2021

What to knit next

I'm still knitting during boring meetings when I'm not presenting. So far I've made five hats and two scarf - and I've just started a scarf for myself. 

There's a part of me that would love to have the time and money at patience to make myself a another jumper that I will never wear. Maybe a cardigan. Or maybe not.

The thing about lockdown is you can't go and handle the wool, buy the needles, go on a humt for the perfect project. Instead, you make do with online shopping. But it's not the same. 

I'm thinking once I run out of wool maybe finding yarn to make one of these. I've got better at cables and I like a challenge. 

I don't need to do this. I just like keeping my hands busy. 

Today's song: