Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Week Off

 My pimp called me this morning. Pimp? It's what I call the recruitment consultants who farm me out to my jobs at an exhorbidant rate. They make a ton of money off my efforts, but then again, they pay my taxes. Such is life. 

The call came through at ten to nine, just as I was heading out the flat to go to my last day at work. Would it be okay if I started Monday week instead of Monday, he asked. My new job wasn't quite ready for me. Would it be okay if I had a week off?

My answer?


I went skipping into my last day of work. Even though I was quite prepared to start on Monday, ten full days off will give me a bit more vim and vigour for my new role. 

Tomorrow, Jonella and I are off to the Peninsula Hot Springs for the day. I love it there. It's an early start as we're due down in Rye at 10 am. At least we're going against the traffic. 

Saturday, I'm considering going to do my first Park Run in two years. A friend has bribed me along with the threat of coffee. 

Sunday, Blarney and the boys and I are going to see the Minions film. Love Minions. 

And now I have a week to myself. 

Yes, I have a play to go see on Friday night. 

And Barney is making me go to the footy the following Sunday, as the Crows are playing the Hawks (Marvel Stadium will be a birdcage)

But what else can I do with my week off?

I'd go away if it wasn't for the fact that it's school holidays - everything's busy, everything's expensive and yeah, kids. Nah.

Of course, a visit to the Picasso Exhibition might happen. Even though it's school holidays, the exhibition should be quieter than on the weekends. 

I have plenty of reading and writing and knitting to do. And putting clothes and shoes I no longer wear on Facebook Marketplace. And cleaning around here. And going through the kitchen cupboards. And maybe going for a daily swim - as in go for a kilometre swim at the local Olympic pool - nothing better than getting yourself back into water. 

And of course, there's sleeping in and cuddling the cat. 

Regardless of the fact I'm going nowhere, I'm looking forward to this week off. It's an unexpected gift not to be wasted. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Penultimate Day

 I shut down my work laptop at six 'o' clock. Later than I wanted, but pleased that I finished what may be the last real work for this company at this point in time. It's nice to leave things in a reasonable state. I'll be walking out the door tomorrow afternoon, head held high, but really glad to be going. 

I've worked for this company for nearly two and a half years. I'm truly grateful to have had a job over COVID, to have some stability and to have worked with some great people.  Over this time I've got to do things I've never done before - lead people, look after a team, interview people... The other thing I'm grateful for is that I've had sick leave, so I could have my gall bladder out and not have to worry about not getting paid. This was an absolute godsend. And because of COVID, I'm walking out with 26 days of holiday that needs to be paid out - so again, another bonus. 

Then again, the six months from October, where I was the team leader, working six days a week, 55-60 hours a week and a heap of stressed out people wasn't appreciated. 

And burnout is very real. 

It's a bit sad when you're looking forward to having a fortnight off to have your gallbladder out.

So in closing down my laptop tonight, I put it in my backpack. The charger and its cables were put in the backpack as well. I cleaned out my office desk over the last few weeks - all that's left in there is a water bottle, a tube of hand cream and a box of tissues. 

Tomorrow will be about coffee and lunch and saying goodbye. 

And that's it. 

It always feels strange walking out of a long term job. This one has been a good one, despite the last six months and the burnout. Monday will take me back to an old stomping ground - old company, new work. A new boss. An old outfit, post COVID. 

I'm up for the challenge. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Coronation Chicken Sandwiches

 This comes from a comment in our team meeting this morning. My colleague said that vegetables shouldn't be a part of desserts and fruits, with the exceptions of tomatoes and avocadoes, should not be a part of savouries. 

Which I completely disagreed with. 

See, one of my favourite ice creams I've ever tasted is wasabi and white chocolate. It's subtle, not over the top, and the wasabi gives the ice cream a kick, just as chilli gives chocolate ice cream a kick. I found a recipe for pistachio, white chocolate and wasabi ice cream. Looks a bit convoluted. 

Then, I said, think about all the savoury dishes which have a hint of fruit in it. Your salads with grapes and cranberries in them. Think of prunes wrapped in bacon and toasted. Think of the eponymous apricot chicken - which everybody's mother made in the seventies. It appears you could do anything with a tin of apricots and a packet of French Onion soup back then. Oh, and then there's Peshwari or Kashmiri Naan - Indian bread stuffed with nuts and currants. It's bliss

But my absolute favourite fruity savoury  which I have been thinking about all day, is the Coronation Chicken Sandwich - something that nobody has heard of over here. While in London, these were a staple, obtained from the chain Pret a Manger. Not that it's on the menu any more, like their wonderful prawn sandwiches (another thing the Brits to well), Coronation Chicken Sandwiches were the bomb. 

According to Coronation Chicken was "created in honour of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, this sandwich consists of only three basic elements – cooked chicken, curry powder and a creamy sauce."

Australians have not heard of this remarkable dish. Cold, shredded barbeque chicken, mixed in a curry mayonaise - using the curry powder your mum used when you were a kid - the yellow Keen's Curry Powder. In the sauce, there's also some currents, a smattering of toasted almonds, some mango chutney, a bit of salad, all spread on grainy bread. 

It's awesome stuff. 

Why, like prawn sandwiches, don't we have this ambrosial mix here. Or is this just a Pom thing?

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about today. Coronation Chicken Sandwiches. 

Seeing it's my designated vegetarian day, it all seems a bit ironic. 

Today's song:

Monday, June 27, 2022

Film / Theatre Review: Henry V

Film 26 of 2022

The Film: Henry V - a film recording of the National Theatre's production at the Donmar Warehouse 2022

The Cinema: The Nova, Carlton

Stars: 5

Yesterday, I let my love of Shakespeare override my hatred of Carlton. It's not that I really, truly hate Carlton, but I really dislike getting to Carlton, parking in Carlton and the flora and fauna of Carlton. Still, the Nova Cinema was showing the National Theatre's production of Henry V at the Donmar Warehouse. 

Considering the Donmar Warehouse only has 250 seats, and that it resides in Covent Garden in London makes seeing this production impossible, seeing it on screen is the next best thing - and the National Theatre do this very well. 

And before I start into reviewing this, I have to admit that Henry V is my favourite Shakespeare History (King Lear is my favourite tragedy and Twelfth Night my go-to comedy).

And of the Henry V's I've seen, this is up there. 

Set in modern day surroundings with Kit Harrington of Game of Thrones is in the titular role of Henry, the boy who grows up in Henry VI parts one and two and goes out of his way to invade France in this play. 

In a short interview with Harrington before the performance, the actor tells of some of his conflicting feeling about playing Harry, from how he auditioned for drama school with the Tennis Balls speech, to how uncomfortable he felt about kissing Katherine without her consent and shooting the prisoners - things which make Henry a bit of a bastard if you judge him by modern standards. 

Despite these things - which have been in the text for over 400 years, this is a bloody good Henry V.

As Harrington says in this interview, the Donmar Warehouse is an intimate space, making this, at time, a claustrophobic experience. Harrington is the perfect mix of suit bedecked statesman and warrior king, pondering the role he has in men's lives."Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." (Henry IV part II, III, i. ) And this is encapsulated to great effect here. 

What brings this home is that the play starts with snippets from the two former plays in the Plantagenet or War of the Roses cycle, showing Hal gadding about with the likes of Falstaff, Bardolph, Pistol, Nym and Mistress Quickly, where he is reminded to never hang a thief. Of course this comes back to bite him on the bum at the end of the  Act II. It also shows a man who has some understanding of the rest of the population over which he rules. 

The cast, for most of the play, are dressed in modern day combat gear, bringing this production into even more relevance, as we watch the soldiers struggle with their choices and those of the king. Of course, we are taken into the interval with the hanging of Bardolph, always a harrowing moment in this play. 

Other things I loved about this rendition - the chorus, the herald and the boy were all played by the same actor - Millicent Wong, who brought anger and poignancy to the roles. Pistol, Nym and Bardolph were as rollicking as they were angry - which was great. Fluellen went over the top in his final scene, but there was a lot of over the top action here - a lot of which brought home what this story might look like in modern times. 

The French Court are as snide and snippy as ever. The battle scenes, for such a small space, are effective and portray modern battlefields realistically. Harrington said in his small interview that the whole cast went through weeks of battle training with military instructors - and this shows. 

The blind casting was also great to see, mind you, no matter which theatre you go into at the moment, you're unlikely to see an Anglo-Saxon case playing what are traditionally cis roles. The inclusion of actor and disability activist Melissa Johns was unexpected and wonderful. It's these things which elevate the production further. 

For Shakespeare lovers, this is one to hunt out. It's in limited release in the art house cinemas. 

If you're in Melbourne, this is playing for the next few weeks at Cinema Nova, where the Chilli Choc Choc tops are ambrosial. 

Today's song

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sunday Stealing: From the book, 'If..."

 Another quiet weekend. When talking about COVID the other day, and I mentioned I haven't had it (yet - though had a close call this week). But a quiet weekend is what was needed, even if I did get over my hatred of Carlton to go to a movie  - but more on that tomorrow. 

Anyway, here goes this week's questions, courtesy of Bev at Sunday Stealing

1.  If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?

<rant> World peace would be good. Maybe, in America, they legislate that all women have the right to safe, legal abortions, without fear of anybody in the process having any recriminations. That would be a good start. Coming from a country where abortion is legal and available for those who wish to obtain these services, we look at the repealling of Roe vs Wade and just shake our heads. How can religion be so entrenched in politics that this is allowed to happen? Why don't American women have autonomy over their own bodies? Why is it easier to get your hands on a gun, but women can't make a choice over what happens with their bodies? The world is weeping for American women at the moment. And look what happened in Poland when they took abortion rights away? Don't people vote over there? /<rant>.

2.  If you could spend one night alone with anyone in the world who is currently alive, whom would you select?

I don't think I can answer that. I've wracked my brains for the last hour and can't come up with anbybody worth. A good friend, some decent dinner and a coupleof gin and tonics would go down fine, but I'm not drawn to naming anybody at the moment. Okay, Clive Owen or Matthew Goode at a push. 

3.  If you could spend one night alone with anyone in history, whom would you choose?

One of the following:

  1. William Shakespeare
  2. Gough Whitlam ( Ex-Prime Minister of Australia)
  3. Don Dunstan (Ex Premier of South Australia)
  4. Anthony Bourdain - but he has to cook. 

4.  If you could physically transport yourself to any place in the world at this moment, where would you go?

Probably to London, to a play of some description. If nbt there, then somewhere in Spain. I love Spain.

5.  If you could have lived through any war in history (without actually fighting in it), which would it be?

I hate the thought of living through any war - but World War II in Western Europe would be my go to. I read so much about World War II - and I have no idea why, other than I find it facinating. 

6.  If you could eliminate one type of insect permanently from the earth, what would you get rid of?

Huntsman Spiders. Not that they are really insects, but I hate the fuckers. 

7.  If you had to eliminate any single type of animal forever, which would you choose?

Snakes. Nuff said. Up there with huntsman spiders in the ick factor. 

8.  If you could have an elegant dinner alone with anyone presently alive, whether you know them or not, who would you want it to be?

Oh I don't know about this one either. I'm bound to spill food down my front. However, if he's cooking, Heston Blumethal would be a good person to have dinner with, if he's cooking. Or Nigella Lawson - but they are very different cooks. 

9.  If you could alter one physical characteristic of your mate, what would it be?

I don't have a mate so I can't alter anything about them. And the last one I wouldn't change, but it might have been good if he was a bit taller and a little musclier - but not much. I used to love his body. Oh, kill that - I always wished that he'd fix his teeth. They were all over the place. 

10. If you could change one thing about your childhood, what would it be?

Ugh, loaded question. I would wish for a happier childhood, as my childhood was anything but happy. No callipers and plaster boots and being good at sport would be a good start...

11. If you could have any room in the world become your bedroom, which room would you choose?

This may sound strange, but I would love a bedroom with big picture windows high up in a skyscraper, where you can lie in bed and look out over the lights. Somewhere like the Shangri-La in Sydney would be good. See below. The views from the Shangri-La are incredible. 

12.  If you could alter one thing about your physical appearance, what would it be?

My double chin has to go. Hate it. 

13.  If you could have stopped aging at any point in your life up to the present, how old would you wish to remain?

35. I quite liked being 35. Old enough to know better, young enough to have fun and your body is still your own, and not a slave to menopause. 

14.  If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you like it to be?

I wish I could play the piano, or sing well enough for people to hear me in public without cringing. 

15.  If you could have permanent possession of any single object in the world, what would you want it to be?

Part of me would love a Mercedes convertible. It will never happen, but I like the thought of a high spec Mercedes convertible car, not that there is anything wrong with my Mazda. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Movie Review: Elvis

 Movie Number 25 of 2022

Movie: Elvis

Cinema: Hoyts Lux, Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4.5

I remember where I was when I found out that Elvis died - it's one of those moments, like remembering the September 11 terrorist attacks, or the Tsunami or the Challenger Disaster. I was in bed, sick with a cold. It was a dreary August morning. And I remember that this was the first time I thought, 'He's the same age as my mum, and my mum might die. Such are the thoughts of a sensitive eight-year-old girl who was turning nine in a few days time, in bed with a chest cold. 

Another thing - I'm not a true Elvis fan. I do like his music, but he's not a hero. If anything, I've always t found him a very tragic figure - manipulated by others for personal gain. 

I'm also biased, as I LOVE Baz Luhrmann movies. 

Anyway, last night, Jay took ourselves off to see Elvis. Having a voucher to use, we went the Hoyts version of Gold Class, which really, has gone down hill - or maybe we just got a bad, busy night. Needless to say, not impressed with the service, nor Jay's cold food (cold sliders, eww).

But enough of that - for me, Elvis shows the very best of Baz Luhrmann. If anything, it has all the glitz, glamour and barking madness of one of his films, but he has made it a little more accessible. 

The film comes from the perspective of Colonel Tom Parker (a prosthetically enhanced Tom Hanks) who is reminiscing about his dealing with the boy wonder. Parker is a shonk of the highest order, the puppet master pulling the strings. The film looks back to Elvis' birth in Tupelo, Mississippi, through his childhood, his introduction to gospel and R&B music, through the early concerts, his service in the army, his marriage to Priscilla and the Vegas years. All of this is shown in Baz Luhrmann's inimitable style. 

I found this movie somewhat tuned down - it's not as out there as Romeo+Juliet or Moulin Rouge - but more The Great Gatsby or Simply Ballroom. It's stylish and stylised without being too over the top. Besides, Elvis's real world was bonkers anyway - to tone this down would no do The King justice.

Austin Butler inhabits Elvis. His performance is bound to earn him at least an Oscar nomination. He also does a lot of the singing, and he's very good. The final scene shows an end of life singing Unchained Melody in the final weeks of his life. Archive film is blended with Butler doing the same scene - it's a stunning montage. 

Butler is also VERY easy to look at. 

Filmed in the early days of COVID (Remember Tom Hanks was here when he was one of the first celebrities to catch the spicy flu?), the cast is almost exclusively Australian. David Wenham plays a sideshow act from Tom Parker's early days and David Wenham portrays Elvis's father, Vernon. Helen Thomson, one of those faces you see on Australian telly,  but probably can't name, plays his mother, Gladys. Melbourne actor, Olivia de Jonge plays Priscilla. 

This is seriously worth a look for the whole esthetic. It's over the top, glitzy and an assault on your eyes, but in a film that partly feels like a documentary, part like an apology and part like a music video, there's something for everybody.

Most of all, this is Austin Butler's film, and it's worth the ticket price just to watch. 

Today's song: 

Friday, June 24, 2022


Installation: Gaia

Where: St Paul's Cathedral, Flinders Street. Melbourne

When: Until 9 July - 10 a.m. - 4.30 Monday - Saturday

Free event. 

Today's lunchtime exploration took me to church - well the cathedral just down the road. Always up for a way to waste time this felt like a good thing to do. It looked amazing - something to see - and bonus, it's a free event. Never mind that I always worry that if I step into a church it might fall down around me. 

So I went to this installation of a seven metre in diameter photographic model if the earth suspended from the rafters of a local cathedral, which goes round on its axis every four minutes. The model was created by artist Luke Jerram using NASA maps.

And it's breathtaking. 

Walking into the cathedral I was told by the guy at the desk that the afternoon service was starting in about ten minutes and that taking photos during this time was frowned upon. I smiled and told him I wouldn't be long. 

I was wrong. 

This installation is magnificent. There, in the quiet cathedral, sits the world, turning on its axis, silently going about its own business. It's mesmerising. 

As I strolled around the nave, I took in this orb in all its glory, just watching it as it slowly turned. 

It's a deeply relaxing, deeply meditative installation, just like the cathedral, which is just wonderful to mooch about. 

Of course, I got chatting to one of the vergers, something I do in cathedrals, as they can normally point out all sorts of interesting things. And of course, this took me into the time of the church service. Being brought up better than to storm out of mass, I continued to have a quiet chat with the verger about life, the universe and everything while the cleric out the front said his blessings. It was a lovely chat. Once the priest called for the congregation to come up for blessings, I made my way to the door, thanking the verger before heading out into the city to do a couple of jobs before going back to work. 

As this is a free event (though you're encouraged to leave a donation on the way out) this is well worth your time, even if it is up look up and ponder our insignificance when it comes down to everything. 

I'll be going back for another look before it ends. It's just wonderful. 

Today's song: 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Marketing the Unmarketable

 Last night's Masons meeting was unlike no other. After last month, where we had members who had had surgery and couldn't do the required lifting in the ritual, somebody down with COVID, somebody away with work and somebody on holidays, we didn't have enough members to conduct the meeting. This perfect storm made us get together to discuss where we wanted to go. '

Among the discussions of the rituals (Too Churchy? Too long? Not up to date?), the time and place, the fact that many of our members are elderly and driving at night is starting to be an issue, to what we want to get out of being in the lodge. 

For people who know little of Freemasonry, this may all seem a bit strange and surreal - but I'm saying nothing that many other clubs and associations are going through, especially after COVID. 

And then there is the problem of membership numbers - part of which is how do you advertise a secret society? And okay, we're a society with secrets rather than a strange cult that everybody things is about blood letting and other weird practices. But our website, which isn't Google optimised, has us, Freemasonry for Men and Women (as opposed to the pure Men's version of Freemasonry, which most people are aware of) and our website can be found of page five of the google search under the Church of Satan... fun, eh?

But what's gone through my head over the last day or so is how do you market a secret society? What a the drawcards? What can the Freemasons offer? What do you get out of being a part of this? How can you make what at times feels like an archaic association and make it appealing to a new generation. 

If anybody has any ideas, please get into contact to discuss. We need all the help we can get, with a very limited budget to do it. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Six Weeks On

 Six weeks ago I had my gallbladder taken out. After this, I was given the strict instructions to not lift anything over five kilograms for the next six weeks. 

Well, I lasted 5 weeks being very good about lifting things. Okay, the cat, who weighs 6 kilos, he's been getting the odd pick up and cuddle, but not in the first three weeks - he hates being picked up anyway. And this last weekend, I had to get my stuff downstairs to go away. Some of that stuff weighed more than five kilos - but not too much more. It didn't hurt or pull

Speaking to my myotherapist this evening as he said that surgeons were really conservative when it comes to things relating to recovery and lifting things. But by being strict,it means that fewer people end up getting hernias from straining. 

The ban of weights has meant five weeks off from the gym, I've missed Masons because of a lifting requirement in one of the ceremonies (and being knackered when the meeting fell a week after the initial surgery. Then there's the lying on hard surfaces. I had to have my shoulder looked at three weeks ago, the shooting pains down my arm were getting the better of me (and it's nervy pain, not heart pain - it's fine). Lying on the massage table was a bit hit and miss. Tonight, when I went back for a follow up, and there was no problem with the table - and the shoulder is nearly fixed - bloody rotator cuffs.

Tomorrow night is the first time in six weeks I can do the following: 

  • Sit ups
  • Russian twists
  • Planks
  • Leg presses
  • Kettle bellswings
  • Dead lifts
  • Squats with more than 5 kilos on my back
  • And all sorts of other things involving weights and my core
I've been hankering to get back to this for a few weeks - who knew I'd be missing all of this so much. I can't wait to get back to it all. 

I might even try getting back into running. 

Okay, I'm not that desperate, but I'm glad this surgeon inforced purgatory is over. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Bonus: The Fifth Element

You gotta love Gardening Leave. 

Okay, by rights, I'm not on Gardening Leave, but close to it. My role here is finishing, I'm turning up to work, but I'm not busting a gut to get things done.  (Gardening Leave is what they tend to call the time you have from when you're given your notice until when you leave, where you're free to do jobs about the house).

So I'm here doing some document tidying while the telly is on in the background. 

And what do I find? 


The Fifth Element is playing on SBS World Movies. 


I love this film.

Bruce Willis still has hair. 

Ian Holm is at his dippy best.

Korben Dallas has a white cat who loves him dearly. 

Gary Oldman is menacing. 

Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) is bonkers. 

Actually, the whole movie is bonkers.

It reminds me a lot of that classic movie, Brazil, which like this, has cult status. Not so strangely, Brazil also has a mostly British cast and is absolutely bonkers. 

This has helped to make Gardening Leave even better. 

Well, back to it - with one eye on the telly. 

Today's song: 

Monday, June 20, 2022

The Day Off

 The next best thing about going on retreat is the day off after the retreat, which I always take because I'm always knackered the following day and there's all the things you need to do on the weekend that don't get done.

As the day has now gone, I see this as being a very successful day. 

Two loads of washing dried on the line. 

The said washing is nearly all ironed and put away. 

I went for a training session - today is the last day I have to watch what I lift - tomorrow's the six week mark after surgery and I can get back to weight training and abdominal excercises - building myself up again. Really looking forward to that.

Of course, I had to spend some time with the cat. After being completely traumatised by his stay at Blarney and Barney's, where he camped out in a suitcase and hissed at them everytime they went near him, he's come home and turned into a sooky la-la. I'm getting regular cuddles. He's purring a lot. If only he'd let Barney and Blarney love him, but no. At least he's safe, fed and watered there - and they will keep trying to gain his affection. And it only took ten minutes to get him in his carrier this time around. We're getting better at this.

And I read my book group book. I've still go ninety pages, but I will get that done by 8 pm tomorrow. 

Oh yes, and I plotted out what might be a memoir...

It's been a lovely day. 

Today's song:

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Sunday Stealing: From Danielle Selander

I'm still on retreat, down the Great Ocean Road. I've gone skinny dipping in the Southern Ocean in the middle of winter and lived once again to tell the tale. I've laughed, cried, danced, smoked, drank, written, had fun and generally had a bloody ball. It's been awesome. I really needed this weekend. 

Questions, as always, supplied by Bev at Sunday Stealing

 1. If you could live in a house shaped like anything what would it be?

I currently live in a flat it would be nice to live in a house with a bit more room. I'd love to live in a typical American two story weatherboard house. They look big and accommodating. 

2. What do you think is in outer space?

Lots, but not much. Stars, planets, dust, space junk and vast expanses of nothingness. 

3. Where is the most wonderful place you’ve ever been?

I have to say, today, the most wonderful place I have been is the beach pictured above. It really is the most fabulous place. 

4. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?

Invisible for the day, I'd probably sneak into some theatre productions I couldn't afford to go to. I think that would be fun. 

5. What is the worst smell in the world?

Corned beef when it's cooking - hate that smell. Dead animal (e.g. a bird/mouse) when it can't be found and disposed of easily. 

6. If you could, what animal would you be?

I'd be a very well loved house cat. I think that would be great. 

7. What is the greatest thing ever invented?

The HRT patch. Stopping women all over the world from committing murder a for a few years now. 

8. What is your favorite word? Why?

Serendipity. A happy accident. I like how it feels in the mouth. It's a happy word. 

9. Who is someone in history that you’d like to be friends with? Why?

I've always wanted to be friends with William Shakespeare - I just want to see how his brains work. 

10. If your pet could talk, what would it say?

"Oi, feed me, you bitch. Rub my tummy, you bitch. And leave me alone while I'm sleeping. I don't need to be kissed all the time!"

11. Were there dinosaurs on Noah’s ark?

No, because dinosaurs were extinct by then. 

12. What makes you cry?

All sorts of things. Strange things. Touching bits in movies. Friends in bad places. Loss. 

13. Have you ever played a joke on someone? What was it?

I haven't played a joke on anybody in ages. Most of my jokes on people are little and subtle, like asking Jonella to make a choice about a restaurant booking. She's a Libran. She doesn't make decisions easily. it's fun to watch. 

14. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?

Get over my pink phobia and wear my pink, sparkly gumboots all weekend. I don't wear pink - but I wear them now.

15. What is the most important appliance in your house?

Can I say my vibrator? If not, it's a toss up between the fridge, which keeps the food fresh, and my computer which is used all the time and is a communications device. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Grace Notes

 Here are some notes from the retreat. 

1) Nothing feels better than the enthusiasm you have when you are wearing pink sparkly gumboots. I feel like I'm four-years-old and can conquer the world. All because I am wearing secondhand pink, sparkly gumboots in a size 9. I think these will be akin to my superhero's cape. I can do anything in these shoes. And as they say, if you're going to do something, do it with the confidence of a four-year-old in a Batman suit. These are my Batman suit. 

2) Rediscovering an old project is like coming back into contact with an old friend. 

3) Forgiving yourself for not working on your big novel project is a great feeling. After six months of struggling, forgiven myself enough to know that my novel project needs some space to hibernate. And this will be a good thing. I'll keep taking notes, journaling, thinking about it. But I'm not staring at the screen, wishing the words would flow.  The words are flowing on the other project. 

4) Before I came down here to the retreat, I had lunch with and old family friend. Unfortunately, they appear to be miserable. I've offered some help and guidance in the area to which she's having difficulties. But I'm grateful that I strive to be happy. I'm grateful that the mantra, "Not my circus, not my monkeys," keeping my boundaries solid. I hope my friend finds some happiness. And I have let this go. 

5) Despite having limited sleep, watching the sunrise over the water never, ever gets old. Having  friends to watch the sunrise with you is also a very wonderful thing. We laughed at the willy wagtails arse. We listened to the wardle of the magpies. We communed with the colours over the water. It was wonderful. 

6) I love the sound of the sea, the constant hum of the waves, punctuated by the mooing of cows and the odd car passing. At night, you watch as the lights come around the bend on the hill. Bliss. 

7) Fish and chips make you fart. But there was fish and chips on the menu and fish and chips needed to be had. It was Friday, after all. 

8) I need to be cuddled more. And not just from my cat. 

9) Middle aged women are a very, very under-rated commodity. 

10) I need this t-shirt to add to my collection of inappropriate, bolshie, out there tees. 

Today's song: (we danced in the chapel to this first thing this morning).

Friday, June 17, 2022


 The hard bit of going on retreat is gettng going. 

So far:

  • My knitting and crochet projects are in a bag by the door
  • There is a small bag of groceries with it containing Turkish Delight bars (currency) a couple of bottles of tonic, half a block of Raspberry Milky Bar (writing prompt), decaffeinated coffee pods (because nobody considers we uncaffeinated coffee warriors) and a keep cup. 
  • The gin is in that bag too. 
  • I've taken a RAT test. It was negative. 
  • [p------------ (Lucifer says hello)
  • My bag is packed. I have my toothbrush, hairbrush, my book which needs to be read by Tuesday night, a sarong for Sunday morning - it acts as a towel. I also have ugg boots, jeans, pyjamas... I've overpacked. I always overpack. Ho hum. 
  • The cat carrier sits next to the bag at the ready. 
  • Lucifer is going to stay with Aunty Blarney for the next three days. He will spend most of that time in a cupboard. His choice. Blarney and Barney want to love him. He relishes the role of fickle prick. 
The hard bit will be getting the fickle prick into his carrier. I have to do this in about 20 minutes.

Then once he's dropped off, it's the long drive to Colac to have lunch with a friend, before making the last leg down to Apollo Bay. 

I'm looking forward to the fellowship - if that's what you call it and the restorative nature these retreats impart. 

I'm looking forward to being just me again. 

Time to pack the car.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Other Passports

In my bookshelves is a book called "Other Passports". It's a book of Clive James collccted poetry, complete with his very funny take on The Wasteland. I love Clive James. He's missed. Thumbing through the pages of verse, I can hear his laconic voice

But I'm contemplating new passports. Mainly because I hate having my photo taken. 

I was going to get my passport photos taken today, but a turn of events meant I couldn't leave the house. The scratch and dent man came to fix my car door, ridding it of the scratches and dent that have been there for a couple of months, the result of a car park skirmish with a concrete box. I'm glad he's here. I'm glad the car will look like new again. I'm glad I didn't go to Super Cheap Auto and get some scratch paint and bugger up the job. Cleo, my trainer, did her car in the same spot - and did a botch job on the scratches. I've just been downstairs - he's done a magnificent job of it. Looks like new. 

I look over my old passports, remembering how much I hated the shots in the ones I have. 

There's the one that expired in 2012. I can't get over how young I look. How thin, compared to where I am now, that I was. And there's the hair, which is abundant. The makeup is subtle. Mind you, at the time I was 34 and thought myself the ugliest person on the planet. Strange how I think differently now. 

The one I'm replacing is in better shape. Still an awful shot. I know I'd been to the hairdresser that morning and it was one of those ghastly hot days that Melbourne gets periodically where everything melts. My hair looks melted on - stringy, dreadful. I hate that photo. 

One of my colleagues said that your passport photo should like you just come out of a long session of waterboarding or some other nasty torture. My current passport photo is not far off this. 

And now, instead of a photo stuck in against the paper, laminated in place, it's electronically manipulated in all sorts of ways, your image is pixillated, shrunk and sits there, laughing at you, trying to mimic what you might look like after a 24 hour flight.

The only thing the same about these shots is how I do my eyeliner. Back in the early noughties a make up artist taught me to only put liner on my top lid. It's a big improvement from my kohl lined eyes of the 90s. 

Yes, I get all steamed up about this. Vanity, vanity. 

I've got a day off on Monday. I'll gird my loins and get the fuckers done then. 

Today's song:

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Strange things about today

 Not that today was strange, but it was good to watch some strange behaviours. 

My team met in the office today. Seeing we are being disbanded the week after next, and we're not really working that hard, I watched as this bonded group enjoyed each other's company. Now we are three, and we all get on really well. 

I got my paperwork done for my new job in the morning - which is a full time job in itself. 

The other two looked for work. We drank coffee. 

I went for a drink with one member of the team and her new husband - who is lovely. 

After work, I went and had my eyebrows sorted so I don't look like John Howard when I get my passport photos done in the next few days . The worst thing about getting your passport renewed is knowing you're going to be stuck with this photo in your passport for ten years. 

Then home, where Lucifer showed off his athletic prowess. After his normal welcome home cuddle, and being fed, he proceeded to hound me as I read in my reading chair. Repeatedly, he climbed up on the chair, then took a flying leap from the chair back, down onto the floor, if he was a flying fox. Then, on landing, he did a lap of the flat. Launch, fly, run, repeat. Mad animal. 

Dinner was at a pub in Windsor - the old Dream Group girls. It felt like a bit of a bad joke - A Liberal Support (Vivi), a Labor Supporter (Gloria) , A Greens Supporter (Rahrah), a public servant (Liza) and a corporate maggot (me) go out to dinner and talk politics, among other things. It was a laugh. We know each other well enough to not push too many buttons. 

And now I'm herem contemplating how I have to go and have my passport photos taken tomorrow. 

It's all to disturbing for words. 

But I heard this song in the pub. Thank goodness for Shazam - I've never know how to track this down. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Reset

 What can you do in 66 days?

Now my work situation is sorted out, it's time to sort out some crap - do a reset, up my game. 

So, as it is my birthday in 66 days, I want to get back into achiever mode, so I'm setting myself some goals for the next two months. 

1) Exercise

As of next Wednesday, I'm allowed to start lifting things over 5 kgs. So it's back to the gym. I want to be in the gym four times a week. I've missed it incredibly and need it for my sanity. Besides, I did a very light pump class on the weekend. I'm more than ready to get back to it. 

2) Diet

Over the past few weeks I've fallen off the diet waggon - I'll say that's thanks to surgery recovery  - but it's time to get back on track again. The other thing I'd like to to is have a vegetarian day once a week. I can't make myself go vegan - it goes against everything my body craves, but a day of being a vegetarian I can do easily. Maybe after my birthday I can do more. 

3) Throw out stuff

I need a big clean out here. I've started it, but I want to go further. Put some clothes on Facebook Marketplace, sent stuff to the salvos I never use. Make some room for more things. It needs to be done incrementally. But a lot can be done in two months. 

4) Renew my passport

My current one has just over six months left on it. I need this so I can be ready to travel. 

5)Write something other than this blog and work stuff.

My soul needs this too. 

6) Save some money

One of the great things about this new job is I'm back on a daily rate. The trick is to save the money I'm making above my current salary. Well, that is the plan. Besides. I want to save for maybe going on the Camino next year. 

I just need a reset. 

Today's song:

Monday, June 13, 2022

Movie Review: Benediction

 Movie number 25 of 2022

Movie: Benediction

Cinema: The Rivoli, Camberwell

Stars: 3.75

Another film firmly in the "not everybody's cup of tea" bucket. Benediction is pretty much everything I love in a good English film and more, but for the masses, yeah, not so much. I loved it. Many others wouldn't. And this is okay. 

Benediction looks at the life of Siegfried Sassoon, the English War Poet, both as a young man battling his demons, and again, later in life, where he finds himself trying to reconcile himself with his past.

Sounds a bit glum? It is to a point, but the subject matter is looking at the life of a sensitive poet, subjected to service in the Great War at the Western Front who comes down with shell shock, it's not the going to be the  most uplifting of topics. 

The other big tip off is the writer/director, Terence Davies, is king of the pictoral interior monologue, with movies like A Quiet Passion, The Deep Blue Sea, The House of Mirth, and Distant Voices, Still Lives.  Davies is not a director of vapid rom-coms. I remember a friend coming out of A Quiet Passion wanting to slit her wrists. 

Thankfully, this is not as grim as that. 

But what it does show is one man's struggles with his situations., Jack Lowdon is excellent as the younger version of Sassoon, both as the shellshocked soldier, and later, as a man living and loving in the shadows of the 1920s, when homosexuality was frowned upon and open secrets were kept. 

Cutting over the story is some of Sassoon and Owen's poems and graphic images of the Western Front trenches. As somebody who studied these at high school, they added to the gravitas, and familiarity of the film. 

Peter Capaldi takes up the reins as the older version of Sassoon, divorced from his wife, wondering about the meaning of life and on the verge of converting to Catholicism for its stability. Gone are the days where he was ladding about Mayfair with the other Bright Young Things. 

There are some notable performances amongst Sassoon's friends and lovers. Matthew Tennyson gives gravitas to Wilfred Owen, Sassoon's fellow poet who he meets at an Edinburgh sanitorium. You just want to tell Siegfried to run as far as he can from the nasty Ivor Novello, wonderfully played by Jeremy Irvine. Calum Lynch is luminescent as Stephen Tennant, a long standing friend and lover, and I'd pay money just to watch him again. 

There are a number of other British cinema luminaries in the cast - Geraldine James, Gemma Jones, Ben Daniels, Julian Sands, Anton Lesser - just to name a few. They round out what is a solid British affair. 

This film is currently in the art house cinemas and it probably won't have a long run. There was only myself and one other in this early screening. 

I really liked it, but I know that this isn't everybody's sort of film. But it is a very good film about the futility and horrors of war and it's ongoing repercussions. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sunday Stealing: Unconcious Mutterings

 I'm doing this on Saturday Night, because it's a long weekend and I am bit of a sad creature. The way I look at this, do a job, do a question, and I might get my house looking a bit better. At least I got a good walk in today - 1.5 hours around the place. I'm going back into the gym for a very light Pump class for the first time in a month tomorrow morning. It will be strange only using a 2.5 kg bar. Before my operation I was using a 20 kilogram bar for my squat track. 

Oh well...

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

There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head.

I say ... and you think ... ?

    Hurry! :: And I think that I am going to miss the tram. No matter what time I get to the tram stop, the tram always passed by in the two minutes prior. I should hurry more to the tram. Then again, you rarely win timing it just right. 

(Job one - Iron something)

    Dumb :: Putting Peter Dutton in as the leader of the Liberal National Party (think the Republicans in American, the right-wing conservatives) and thinking that he's going to go all touchy-feely and change his spots. Not going to happen. 

(Job two: Deal with the cat's litter box)

    Fudge :: Something you eat on holidays and regret after. They have a great fudge shop in Akaroa, just out of Christchurch, New Zealand - love the stuff, but I always feel a bit sick after. 

(Job three: Iron something else)

    Sturdy :: Sensible shoes. Also a term for thick set women. 

(Job four: Iron the tea towels (dish cloths)

    Printing :: Something we used to do, but now do as little as possible - when the printer is working that is. 

(Job five: Iron t-shirts)

    Itch :: Rocky Horror - Toucha Toucha Touch me song. 

(Job six: Do the dishes)

    Creaks :: My ankles first thing in the morning. They creak a bit. Thankfully, they don't hurt. 

(Job seven: Iron pyjamas)

    Paste :: What American's call glue. What strange kids sit up the back of the classroom and eat. 

(Job eight: Iron favourite top)

    Waste of time :: Peter Dutton. Playing games on your phone. Mopping (the floors are only going to get dirty again. 

(Job nine: Iron the last of the tops)

    Let down :: I was told this week that my work isn't extending my contract. Thankfully, I have found myself anothe job, but there is a part of me that is a bit let down that I didn't get to turn down this extension of the contract. I know it's petty of me - and I'm truly grateful that I've been working for this company for the last two and a half years, but over the last six months, they have burned me out. It was just a bit of a moral victory I was looking forward to. 

(Job ten: Iron the last item in the pile - ironing done)

    Cancellation :: Wasn't most of the last two years one big cancellation. I'm trying to keep myself healthy and free from COVID so I don't have to cancel next weekend, when I'm heading down the Great Ocean Road for a few days for a writer's retreat/ 

(Job eleven: Clean up under my desk)

    Suspect ::  I suspect I am never going to be forgiven for forgetting about meditation this morning, only to be texted, and doing the meditation from the comfort of my bed, complete with the cat curled up between my knees, instead of sitting up and being in front of my laptop. I genuinely forgot about this after my hairdresser cancelled on me this morning. Oh well. 

(Job twelve: Shred the remnants of paper found under my desk)

    Fireplace :: I wish I could be in front of one at the moment. I love an open fire.

(Job thirteen: Have a shower, It's getting late)

    Spring :: Is a solid three months away. Don't bring it up - I'm enjoying winter.

(Job fourteen: Moisturise)

    Commute :: Something I'm glad I don't do often, and when I do, it's a short one. Working from home three days a week is good. The fact that my current office is a half an hour away, door to door, even better - and this is by public transport - is an absolute godsend. It's a big reason I live where I do. 

(Job fifteen: Braid my hair ready for bed)

    Places :: So many to go to, so little time and money to get to them. I have to get a new passport before I do this. The old one is six months out from expory. 

(Job sixteen: Replace the J-cloth between my bathroom sink and the shower).

    Fraud :: It happens far too often. Particularly with identity theft. 

(Job seventeen: Feed the cat treats. He's annoying me.)

    Adoption :: There probably should be more of it - even though there's a troubling legacy for some people. In Australia, very few children are put up for adoption - and they need more foster parents. 

(Job eighteen: Clean teeth)

    Election :: I'm very proud of the fact that I live in a country where voter fraud is all but non-existent. We vote using pen and paper. The elections are organised by a centralised Federal body. Everything is triple scrutinised by numerous scrutineers . We also don't have an Electoral College, which to me makes as much sense as a fish owning a bicycle. And we have a preportional representational system. It's fair, transparent and ensures validity. 

(Job nineteen: Boil the kettle allowing me to get my hot water bottle ready for bed)

    Moving day :: I can't think of anything worse. 

(Job twenty: Set the alarm and a reminder that I'm talking to Reindert in Colorado tomorrow morning)

And you can now see what a loser I am, seeing my list of jobs being done on a Saturday night. 

Off to bed now. 

Today's song: (in honour of me being such a loser on a Saturday night).

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Theatre Review: The Sound Inside

 Play: The Sound Inside

Theatre: The Fairfax Studio, The Arts Centre

Company: Melbourne Theatre Company

Stars: 4

Until 2 July.

I normally go into MTC plays wondering what I'm to be presented with, normally not reading about what the play will be about. It helps to keep expectations down and let's you have some surprises. Overall, I enjoyed this, but I can see how this would not be everybody's cup of tea. There's a lot to unpack in the play's 90 minutes, the two actors doing a great job with the material. 

This is a writer's play - very much so. Bella Baird (Catherine McClements) is a middle aged Professor at an Ivy League college in America. She lives a buttoned down life, teaching, writing and generally living her quietly. Then things change. A big diagnosis and a new student, Christopher (Shiv Palekar) shake up her life to the core. 

The MTC website describes the play as such: "When the brash and enigmatic Christopher barges into the office of acclaimed author Bella Baird, the two misfits find in each other an unexpected intellectual match. Over the ensuing weeks, the young man breaks down Bella’s defences and a tentative friendship forms. But will it be strong enough to withstand an impossible choice?"

I can't say much more about what happens in this intense two-hander as it would ruin the overall effect of the play. Adam Rapp's script is tight, funny and thought-provoking. As I said before, this is very much a writer's play, with a lot of in jokes if you're a writer. But it's also a play about the predicaments we find ourselves in - and how we view life when we're older - and what we can do about changing. Both characters find themselves with an impossible choice. From the instance Christopher steps on the stage, you have no idea where this play is going. 

Catherine McClements and Shiv Palekar's are solid, believable and give credence to the reasonably heavy material. Sarah Goodes' direction is calm, driving the play forward. The set is minimal, being in the Fairfax Studio, making the best of the circular stage, although there have been questions about the snow that starts to fall from the middle of play. Personally, I didn't mind it - other's found it unnecessary. 

As much as I enjoyed this, it's not a must see, but it is another solid offering from the MTC. The season so far has been excellent. 

Today's song: 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Rigmarole: Passport Renewal

 At the moment, I have about a month left to travel on my passport. It expires in January next year and as hundreds of people who are currently queuing outside of the passport office will tell you, they don't let you travel unless you have at least six months until expiry on your passport. 

So currently, I can travel for about a month, then I'll not be able to go anywhere until this expiring passport gets sorted out. 

I don't want to get caught out. I mean, sure, I'm starting a new job in a few weeks, but I would like to get on a plane and go somewhere for a while. My current line of thinking is work for the next year, save a lot, then maybe, just maybe, go do the Camino next year. Well it's a thought.

Today, while I was pretending to work, I started to sort out my passport renewal. 

A new passport, which goes through the regular channels, when renewed, where you don't line up at the Passport Office for an emergency one, costs you $308. For a PVU (Price versus Use) it's $30 a year. Sure, no problem. 

Of course, you have to face some low level bureaucrat at the post office to get it all finalised, and there is the torture of having your passport photos taken (another job for the post office, I believe). Thankfully, when you're renewing your passport you don't have to get a JP or some other qualified person to notarise your photos any more. 

What got me, however, is the speed of the Immigration Department's website. Just navigating the form was galacially slow. To the point that I went and made a cup of tea waiting for my address to populate. It was criminal and ludicrous. How is it we are allegedly a smart country, yet the government websites are SO crap. Okay, it wasn't quite as bad as the Medicare app, and certainly it's a lot better than the Government Security app, which frankly, does not work - but the speed of this site was aggravating beyond belief. Maybe that's why so many people are queuing at the passport office - though the sheer velocity of the Passport Office software, it takes an age to get your paperwork through.

After toying with this document for most of the afternoon, between waiting for fields to validate, doing a bit of work, and making the odd cup of tea, my application was finally finished. But it's ridiculous that our government agency's software is so crap. 

Maybe this is another job for the new guys. Surely they can fix some of this stuff up. 

Today's song:

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Rising Festival: Kaleidescope

So, I went on a date. And it felt like a good first meeting sort of date. My company was above and beyond my expectations - actually, not really, because I'd already ascertained that he was erudite, interesting and had a sense of fun, but he was as nice in person as he is on the apps. So big ticks. 

But as a first date, going to the Rising Festival's Kaleidoscope exhibition was a great suggestion on his part. We both liked the look of Kaleidoscope - and were happily rewarded. 

The Rising Festival, you ask? Well, it's Melbourne's version of Sydney's Vivid and a replacement to Melbourne's excellent White Night. Rising runs over a week and has all sorts of illuminations and activities around the city from 1-12 June. Instead of running riot in the heat of February, it's there to bring people into the city in Winter. And at the moment we're having a bout of brass monkey weather, so rug up. 

So what is it? 

Basically, it's a bit mirror maze, complete with changing lighting and a soundscape.

And it's disorientating, and fun, and strange and awesome all at the same time. 

You take three steps forward and find yourself bumping into an image of yourself. You turn a corner and there you are again. You look at the team member standing in the middle of what you think is the team member, strategically placed to help out people who freak out (and allegedly a few people do every day) and you wander around until eventually, you find your way out. 

It's pretty trippy, considering you're in a box of mirrors which is about 100 metres square. It feels a lot bigger. We stayed in there, just looking around, getting the hang of the place, trying, after a while, to find the exit (You can ask the team member with the lanyard around their neck if you get really stuck or freaked out). 

This was a really pleasant way to spend some time. Thought-provoking, jarring, funny, and joyful. 

It's also kid-friendly, strangely trippy and best done with somebody else so you can watch each other's reactions.

Kaleidescope will be in the Arts Centre forecourt next to the NGV and in front of the spire until 10 July.

Tickets are $15, available online for timed, ticketed entry. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


I got the news today that my contract job wasn't being renewed at the end of the month.

So I haven't been sacked as such, but I'm enjoying toying with the word. 

My whole team is being disbanded at the end of the month, and along with many others on the project, there's a lot of us looking for a new role come the end of the month. They're shutting down the project.

I've been here before. 

It's all a part of contracting. 

And strangely, this feels really good. I don't have to turn down an extension that I thought I might be getting. I am free to look for work during working hours. I get to move onto something new - and I have 25 days of holiday, for which they have to pay me there is a good buffer there for me. 

There's a lot of things I'm grateful for with this job. I've been fully employed throughout the pandemic. I've worked with awesome people. I got the chance to upskill. Over the last eight months I've had the opportunity to manage a team - that was a learning experience - and I still think I'm probably the worst boss ever, but I learned a lot. I've also mentored a couple of the team members, and that's been great. And I've made some friends - never a bad thing. 

The company also had me on a fixed term contract, which gave me the chance to have my gallbladder out and have two weeks recovery time. This was really appreciated. There is a lot to be said for fixed term contracts and sick leave. 

But then again, there's been the working 6 days a week, sixty hours a week since October. 

The other silly thing is that over the last two years we've built up a great practice in the documentation space. In disbanding the team, all of this knowledge is walking out of the place. 

And there is still a lot to do, which is not going to get done..., because now notice has been given, there are other things to do. I won't be doing anything over my contracted weekly 37.5 hours. That feels good too. 

So there we are. 

With the current market, I'll be surprised if I don't have something by the end of July. I'm not worried. 

I'm just practicing gratitude and looking forward to what comes next. 

Today's song

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Random acts of kindness: Cat Food

 Sunday afternoon is when I do my weekly shop. Although I'm banned from lifting anything more than five kilograms for another two weeks (and yes, I'm over it and chomping at the bit to get back into the gym), I can trolley my groceries to the car and take two smaller bags up the stairs, one at a time. I'm being good. The surgeon will be happy. 

But this is by the by. On Sunday, as I approached Coles, sitting a the coffee shop was two guys. Both were rather dishevelled, probably a couple of housos from the local council flats. Both of them had a very placid cat, on a lead, in their arms. The cats looked well loved and looked after. 

I was stunned. Firstly because if I tried to do this with Lucifer, I'd have my eyes scratched out and my arm taken off. Secondly, because these two moggies were quite comfortable in their dads's arms as the Sunday afternoon throng went about getting their groceries for the week. 

Of course I had to stop for a chat. These guys were really pleasant, and their two cats, one tuxedoed long haired domestic, and the other, a white and tabby long haired domestic cat, were just happy to sit there and watch the world go by. I had to relate my wonder at how these two cats were really at ease sitting there - they weren't stressed at all. I got a little pat too. I told them of Lucifer and how he would never let this happen to him. He's too much of a prick for that. 

I can tell you now, this is not, and will never be Lucifer. Not going to happen. 

As I was leaving, one of their dad's asked if I had 50 cents so he could buy some cat food. 

I thought on this for a second, then asked if they'd be going anywhere for five minutes. I told them to wait. 

Of course I bought them a couple of cans of cat food. I had to get cat treats, and to be honest, rather than give money, I'd rather buy them some food. I can't let a cat go hungry. The great cat overseer of the universe would punish me if I did. 

I returned with four small tins of cat food a few minutes later. His dad seemed very happy. 

"We cat people have to stick together. This will last you a day or so. "

I was thanked heartily, and told, "You know, your cat will never go hungry. You've looked after us, the universe will look after you."

"It's what I believe in." 

I gave the tabby and which scratch behind the ears, wished them both well and got my groceries to the car. 

Am I a sap? Probably. Have I been shafted. Maybe. But it feels good to help out a fellow cat owner. 

What goes around, comes around, and all that. 

Still, I walked away with a warm feeling in my chest knowing I'd helped out somebody who loves his cats as much as I love mine, wishing I could get mine to walk on a lead. It's not going to happen...

Today's song:

Monday, June 6, 2022

Movie Review: Mothering Sunday

 Movie Number 24 of 2022

Movie: Mothering Sunday

Cinema: Rivoli Cinema, Camberwell

Stars: 4.5

Something I must do this year is get in early and book myself a block ticket for the British Film Festival - for this is one for which I saw trailers, and then went and forgot about it. 

Mothering Sunday is a little beauty. 

It's 1923. World War I and its effects are still reverberating across the families of England. Jane Fairchild (Australian actor Odessa Young) is a foundling and a maid, in service,working for the Nivens (Colin Firth and Olivia Colman). It's Mother's Day, and the Nivens are off to Henley to meet friends for lunch. The Nivens give Jane the day off to be left to "her own devices." These happen to be meeting up with her lover, Paul (Josh O'Connor) the son of another upper class family in the district. He is about to marry a family friend. They know their love is forbidden, but they mesh. In other parts of the film, we see and adult Jane and her husband Dennis (Sope Dirisu) face challenges. 

Following along with this older incarnations of Jane - Jane of the later 1940s and Jane, a number of years later played by Dame Glenda Jackson, who are both trying to make peace with this particular Mothering Sunday. 

And that's all I'll say about the plot. 

The film has many themes - forbidden love, families and their expectations, grief, class. It's all in there. Along with some other English staples - country houses, green fields, classic cars, the upstairs/downstairs mentality and something only the English can do - showing repressed emotions that threaten to poke through the surface, but not quite. The best thing about this film is you don't know where it is going. 

Odessa Young is luminescent as Jane, the motherless servant who knows her place, but is willing to skirt the boundaries. This is her breakout performance. Josh O'Connor is wonderful as her lover, Paul, who's dealing with the triple whammy of being the last of his siblings to be alive after the war, managing the expectations of his family by marrying a family friend, promised to his brother, and being in love with the inappropriate Jane. 

Colin Firth and Olivia Colman portray the Nivens, the family for whom Jane works for. They are good, caring employers, but both have been shattered by the years past.

The other highlights of this film is the cinematography and setting, which shows England, in Spring, at it's very best. 

Eva Husson's direction is assured, and not dissimilar to the direction of Terence Malick in it's dream like qualities. This does not have a linear chronology, which will confuse some and delight others. 

I was initially surprised at the film's MA rating, but a large amount of full frontal nudity has made it 'necessary' - it's appropriate, a little surprising and adds to the feel of the film. 

As English films go, this is wonderful - engaging on an emotional and visual level across many themes. 

It's on limited release around the country and well worth a look. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Sunday Stealing: From Facebook

 It's been a quiet weekend. Movies, sleep ins, out with friends. And now it's 9 pm and I haven't done my Sunday Questions. Oops. 

As always Bev at Sunday Stealing has provided the questions. 

The best story your parents or grandparents tell about the good ole days.

My grandfather lived all over Australia, but he used to tell great stories of when he was a boy in the 1910's and the antics he and his brothers got up to. He liked relating the stories of his boyhood before the war came. It sounded pretty idyllic even if things were not great at home. 

The best things in life are...

a) Cats and dogs

b) Friends

c) Movies

d) Good kissers

e) free.

Things that drive me batty

a) People who don't use their indicators when driving.

b) People who are rude to servers

c) When the printer gets jammed. 

d) Meetings which are set after 2 pm on Friday. 

A place I'd like to live and why

I would love to live in New York for a year. I would mean I would have money and a good place in Manhattan to live in (dream on, they say) but I think you need a year to come to terms with New York - it's a proper big city. 

I've liven in London. I loved on a Greek Island. I would love to live in rural Britain for a bit. But I'd love to intimately get to know New York. 

The best thing I've ever found

Other than some self-esteem? Probably $50 on the footpath. 

The best thing that happened recently is...

Other than Australia has a new Federal Governent, and the old right wing religious nutbags have been kicked to the curb? I've got some time back after work being utterly cactus for months. 

I admire people who...

Actually stick to their plans and finish something. I'm forever berating myself for not having this book at least to first draft stage. 

What makes me special

I'm kind, loving and funny. Does that make me special?

I am looking forward to...

Strangely, I'm going on a date on Tuesday night. We're going to see something at the Rising Festival after work. Yes, he's an internet date - and he appears to be lovely and I think we've been getting on a treat. We have a mutual friend who we both speak highly of. But I'm looking forward to meething him, and I'm looking forward to the illuminations at the Rising Festival. (and if you haven't yet seen the Patricia Piccinini exhibition in the Flinders Street Station, go - it closes next weekend.) I'm looking forward to a pleasant evening - that is where my expectations have been set. Keeping it real. 

Things that scare me

1) Snakes

2) Huntsman spiders

3) Right wing politicians. 

Complaints I have

1) I can't go to the gym for another two weeks.

2) It's a bit cold. 

3) I wish my cat was cuddlier. Oh well, I can always go and cuddle Blarney and Barney's cats...

I could never live without...

Books, film and theatre, and friends. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Too old for this shit

 Yesterday was a bit of a strange day. A long one, but one filled with many emotions I wasn't expecting to feel. 

After leaving the house at 7.45, I went to my favourite Jewish cafe in Caulfield (Cafe D'Lish - it's seriously awesome) for breakfast with my old work husband Dave, and his delightful 5-year-old daughter. Dave and I haven't caught up in a while. His child was beautifully behaved and a sweet little thing. On top of being really happy to be having one of Izzy's superb almond decaf lattes and a serve of latke and lox (potato fritters not unlike roti with smoked salmon, poached eggs and some horseradish cream - AMAZING) it was a great start to the day. 

This was followed by a funeral for an old friend's mother. I'm glad I went, even though the morning took the stuffing out of me. It's the facing of your own mortality which gets you the most. Knowing that one day, you will be the one out the front in the box. My friend has lot both of her parents in the last year, it was important to be there for her. The service related the life of a vibrant loving woman, with a great sense of fun and a love for her family. I sat up the back with a friend of her's who she had known for over 50 years. Cancer is such a bastard of a thing. I'm glad I took the morning off to go along. 

Once home, and after trying to work without much luck for the rest of the afternoon, it was time to get ready for the big work shindig. After primping, preening, putting on a cocktail dress, tights and my Doc Martens (because according to Jimmy Rees I'm having a mid-life crisis - but I just think they're more comfortable than heels.) Went in on the tram, checked my mail box on the way there, then walked up the road to the back of the GPO to the function room. 

How is it that people find it fun when 1)  You're in a room, all dressed up and it's so noisy you can't hear yourself think? 2) You're being plied with cheap alcohol? 3) You have to be nice to people you generally flip the bird to when your camera is off in zoom meetings. 4) The finger food is mostly fried and not that plentiful? 5) It's the middle of winter, the only place you can hear yourself think is out with the smokers. Thankfully my red wrap is warm. I tried vaping last night. No thanks. Once is enough. 

After two hours, saying hi to those required, I made my excuses and left - stone cold sober and my back beginning to ache. Seriously, I'm too old for this shit. 

A quick tram trip home, and I was happy once again. 

It was a big day. 

I slept nine hours last night. I'm hoping I'm not coming down with something. 

Today's song: 

Friday, June 3, 2022

POST 2000!

Some 13 years ago I started this blog, wanting to record my journey to running a marathon. 

Like that happened... although I completed five half marathons while I was running, which for a middle-aged, chubby chick is not a bad effort at all. 

But 13 years later, through good times and bad, from extended trips overseas, to the death of a loved one, multiple jobs, quite a few trips to Sydney, friends, family, a few of my grandmother's recipes, bitching about the gym, hundreds of Sunday questions.... I'm still here. 

Blogging daily since 1 January 2020, and a pandemic has got the numbers up. 

But this is post 2000, It's a bit of a milestone. 

And I would celebrate with a gin and tonic if I wasn't so buggered (and last night's dinner went through me - the first gallbladdery reaction I've had to date - the food was amazing, but something didn't sit that well - nothing too drastic, but it was enough to stop me eating and drinking at tonights work do)

This is today's acheivement. Small as it is. 

And with that, I'm taking my tired, grumpy and unfortunately sober body off to bed.

Today's song:

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Cumquat Marmalade

 Why don't we eat more marmalade? It's seriously the best stuff ever, but I rarely buy it, yet love it all the same. 

My wonderful cousin brought my mother some cumquat marmalade on a visit over ANZAC Day. I'm sure she made it herself - and it is utterly wonderful. 

Needing a mid-afternoon snack, I made myself a slice of toast, buttered it up and spread a spoonful of marmalade over it. It's filled the gap seeing I've got a late dinner in town tonight. 

I love the almost jelly like texture. I love how the sweetness mixes in the tartness. I love the stringy bits of softened peel. 

Of course, my favourite marmalade is Roses Lime Marmalade - that is incredible.

But this stuff is up there. 

I come from a family of jam makers. One enduring memory of my grandfather is stirring the blackberry jam. We'd go down the swamp and obtain a couple of kilograms of the elicit, illegal berries (I believe you have to destroy blackberry bushes as they are pernicious weeks. My dog used to love eating the low hanging fruit. Then the old family recipe - kilo of sugar, kilo of fruit, boiled up until it sets on a cold plate - stirred regularly. 

It brings back memories. 

And marmalade is such an English thing. 

Well, that's what's made my day. Marmalade on toast. 

Today's song: