Wednesday, May 31, 2023


 I'm truly grateful to live in a country where the powers that be believe in preventative medicine. Once you hit fifty, the barrage of tests start to come in every two years. There's the poo test, the skin check - and for the women, there's the mammogram. 

Fun. But it's easier to do them and have the piece of mind that you're still running well. 

The great thing about the mammogram is that it's over in about five minutes. 

That you're not charged for it, even better. 

That the clinic I go to is in David Jones in the city - fabulous. 

And the mammogram itself doesn't hurt. yes, it's uncomfortable, but the machines are a lot better than they were - the plates are now plastic rather than metal. 

Yet, there is something very discombobulating about having somebody position your body, hoik your breasts about the place, tell you when to breathe, when to move. 

Not accustomed to being touched, I jumped a mile when the operator tried at first to put me into position. It wasn't the touching of my breasts - it was my back. 

It was over in five minutes. 

And though it's by no means a traumatic experience, I found myself in Koko Black buying a small packet of almond nougats, which were demolished on the way to the tram stop. 

A few hours on and I'm still feeling the lingering heebies from this two-yearly test. 

From memory, I felt exactly the same after the last one. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Lunchtime Yoga

 My hatred of Downward Dog is something I have to work on. I've only got myself comfortable with Child's Pose, so uncomfortable I am with my body and the way it moves, but as with everything, if you work on it, you can make things better. 

The 12.15 yoga class at the gym is something I should get to more often. Even if it means starting earlier and working a little later, and as confronting as it can be, it makes me feel good. 

Firstly, the instructor, Frank, is wonderful. When I introduced myself to him a while back, explaining that I'm not very flexible and completely crap at yoga, he said it was fine - he gave lots of options - child's pose for Downward Dog - various iterations of Warrior Pose. You name it, he'd make it accessible. 

Secondly, as crap as I am at yoga, it makes me feel great. It's good to stretch out this old body.

I'm not sure what I like more about yoga. The stretching, the sitting in my uncomfortableness for an hour, the sense of pride I get when I realise I can do something I think I can't, or Frank's encouraging words. I love the feeling you get when you work through the flows. I suppose this is why so many people go to these classes. 

All I know is that I feel better about the world after this lunchtime jaunt into a darkened room in the gym. 

My calendar is booked out for the same time next week. 


Today's song: 

Monday, May 29, 2023

When do you give up on a book?

 I'm currently finishing a book out of sheer bloody-mindedness. I keep berating myself for this, but with pages to go, I can do it. I will hopefully finish this tonight. 

The book is Sally Rooney's Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Normally, I have a 30 page rule. If, by page 30, I'm not getting into the book, I throw it against the wall, pick it up when I'm cleaning and put it back on the stack. Some of the books which have failed the 30 page test are The Great Gatsby (which I tried to read for 30 years, and finally got through it - and I enjoyed it) and The Hobbit, which I just can't make myself do, no matter how hard I try. I think Tolkien was ruined for me after a semester of Old English at Uni. 

Somehow, this got through the 30 page test. 

I've also taken this book with me overseas - it came to New Zealand for a ride. It's been with me to Darwin for three trips. It's hung onto me like a limpet for nearly six months. 

And now I have 15 pages left to go. 

I will persevere, even though I really dislike this book. I can't get into the characters. And I particularly hate the five-page paragraphs, which somebody like Anna Burns does so well in Milkman, but Rooney misses the mark. All of the characters are going nowhere and doing nothing, which you could argue is what your twenties is all about, but these guys I don't give a crap about. They shit me to tears.

And why have I kept on with it, other than I've dragged it around like a rag doll and if it wasn't for the fact the book doesn't belong to me, it would be going into the nearest street library once I'd finished it?

Well. I really liked Sally Rooney's Normal People, though I remember having a bit of difficulty getting into that one too - but this - nah. 

I know I'll feel a sense of relief when I've finished this book. It will be over. I can start something new, and not as boring. Maybe Pip Williams' The Bookbinder of Jericho - although I go into this with a little trepidation because as much as I liked The Dictionary of Lost Words, her first book, I found it lacked a certain something at the end. Or the third Amor Towles book - I'm listening to his first book, Rules of Civility on audiobook at the moment and loving it. His A Gentleman in Moscow is a must read. My To Be Read pile is huge. 

Maybe I've continued with this book because I am an optimist who hates to be disappointed, which this book has done in spades. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

My Cat is Broken

 While I was in Darwin, Lucifer stayed with Blarney and Barney. He's stayed with them on many an occasion, which they are okay with, but he's not so sure. 

He has a big room to himself. The family go visit regularly, read with him, talk to him, try to make friends with him, but it doesn't seem to work. He just hisses back that them and goes back to sit in the cupboard, where he takes up residence on top of the shoes. Blarney says he's not trouble. He eats and drinks and poos where he's supposed to. He doesn't wreck things. He's just and antisocial twerp.

This time, he did something a bit different. Finding a doona/duvet in the cupboard, he hauled it out and made a nest in it. His blanket and bed were in the room, but no, he wanted to sleep in Blarney's quilt. Bless him. 

Regular readers also know that Lucifer is a bit of a prick. Okay, he's more reticent that other cats, but give him some time and he comes out of his shell. If I'm around, he'll come out more quickly. Stay with him in the flat and he's good after a few days. Teddie, when she came to stay with him said that he would come into the kitchen, look at her, and give her a look of utter disappointment.

He's also not the cuddliest of cats. 

Imagine my surprise when I got him home to find my little black beast has had a bit of a personality transplant. 

He's gone all sooky. 

Yesterday was a busy day. Meditation, a hair appointment, pop in on a friend for a cuppa. I was out and about. 

Returning from meditation, I was busting to go the loo. I got into the flat, said hello to the cat and ran relieve myself. 

I was following in, the cat hot on my heels. As soon as I got my trousers down and was sitting, his lordship came up to me. 

"Hello, mate."

There were nose butts and lots of head rubbing. This is reasonably normal behaviour. He visits me while I'm on the loo. 

Then he jumps up on my knee, then up on my shoulder, purring loudly, rubbing his head against mine. 

"Mate, I love you too, but I really need to wipe myself."

The cat took no notice and staying on my shoulder, kept purring. 

After a few more minutes, I asked him, nicely, to get down. 

Thankfully, he complied. My bum was getting cold. 

But I've had to pop out a bit over the weekend. Whenever I come home, I'll sit down and he now climbs up on my shoulder for a cuddle. 

This morning, on waking, he came and joined me, again sitting on my shoulder and the pillow, once again, purring loudly, making biscuits and nuzzling. He stayed for ten minutes.

He normally only cuddles for a minute or two before he goes off. 

I hope the stays like this. I love this new cat. He will probably go back to how he was - stroppy, surly and a pain in the bum. 

Yet I like to think that he's maybe going to be a bit like the Japanese art of kintsugi - mending broken items with gold. A little bit of time away in a slightly uncomfortable place and I get something better back in return. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Sunday Stealing

 It's Saturday afternoon and I'm between jobs. Off to the hairdresser in an hour so this is a task I'm looking to finish for the day. I'm still a bit tired after coming back from Darwin yesterday morning after a long delay on the overnight flight.  For the Americans, I've travelled across the country. Here's a map. It's a four and a bit hour flight.

Regardless, I'm still a bit tired. 

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

1. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive through?

Through the drive thru - always (unless you're in a food court, but that's different and I avoid the fast food places then anyway). Nobody judges you going through the drive thru.

2. Have you ever lost anything down a toilet? 

No, I've been lucky - or I've been able to fish the said item out of the loo in time with no damage. And I purposely don't take my phone when I'm about to do my ablutions. That's just courting trouble. 

3. Do you have a dog?

No. I have a cat. My dream would be to have a place with a large back yard where I could have two biggish dogs and a couple of cats. But Lucifer would hate that. 

4.  Ever go camping? 

Not if I can help it. I'll revise that, I'd be happy to go glamping. Electricity and running water are a necessity. 

5. Have you met anyone famous? 

I once bummed a cigarette off Jeremy Clarkson. I've bumped into all sorts of people at writer's festivals, but they're nobody anybody here would know about. 

6. Any plans today?

I'm off to the hairdressing in about half an hour, then going in to see Jonella (as she lives in the next suburb to my hairdresser). That will do. I'm still tired from the travel. 

7. Are you happy? 

I'm level at the moment, and reasonably content. I don't ask for much more than that. 

8. Where are you right now? 

Sitting at my work table at home. The cat is in the windowsill next to me shouting at the birds. He loves the sunshine. 

9. Biggest annoyance in your life right now? 

Oh, I have a few, but they aren't worth moaning about. Melbourne traffic is awful. My colleague who came in sick and talked about cars all week, last week - well, I was ready to throttle them - but I've left them back in Darwin, so all is well. The government's lacksidasical policies on the environment are annoying. I can't complain really. 

10. Last song listened to? 

I'm listening to the Violent Femmes in my head at the moment. See Today's Song for details. Love the Violent Femmes. I love this version of Blister in the Sun with Stephen Colbert. 

11. Last movie you saw? 

I went to the Deckchair Cinema in Darwin on Thursday were we (some colleagues and me) saw The Banshees of Inisherin.

I love the Deckchair Cinema. It's down by the beach. You go in, find a cushion and reserve your seat, find a beer and something to eat, slather yourself in bug repellent, then sit down, and at 7 p.m., as the sun sets, the movie starts. There are geckos running over the screen, bats flying about and stars twinkling above you. It's a fabulous way to see a film. Here's a little video to show you what it's like. It only runs in the Dry Season (April - November). It is utterly wonderful. 

12. Are you allergic to anything? 

Sulpha drugs (Bactrim). I'm a little bit allergic to cats until I get used to their own fun. I just have to wash my hands after patting them. 

13. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?

I living in Birkenstock Mayaris in Summer. Currently, now it's nearly Winter, I'm living in a pair of very comfortable Chelsea Boots. 

14. What do you think of when you think of Australia?

Home. I was born here. I live here. It's far more than a funny code of football, Steve Irwin, kangaroos and a bunch of flora and fauna that want to kill you. 

15. Do you use smiley faces on the computer a lot?

A little bit. More when I'm communicating with workmates over teams. This is my favourite:

Today's song: 

Friday, May 26, 2023


 My takes on having a flight which was delayed by four hours this morning: 

  • There is no point getting upset about it. 
  • Relax as well as you can, what ever that means to you. 
  • Be prepared to move quickly near the flight time. 
My 1 a.m. flight was delayed until 5 a.m. Thankfully we had the use of the hotel apartments we've been staying in all week. After packing, I set the alarm to 3.15 and dozed off in bed, keeping the lights down low and the television on for company. I got a couple of hours sleep. 

My colleague and I caught an Uber to the airport at 3.45 a.m. There is no traffic in Darwin at this time. Thankfully, my colleague had access to the Qantas Club where we got an early breakfast and I had a Virgin Mary, because the bar was closed. 

The plane departed Darwin at 5.20 a.m.

As the sun was about to come up - there was no point trying to get any sleep. I managed to watch two movies, relaxing all the way. Again, no point stressing about not sleeping. It's not going to happen. 

We arrived in Melbourne just after ten. My bag got collected, then was collected to pick up the car at the off-airport parking place. 

Then it was time to collect the cat. 

He's fine. Sooky, and clingy, but fine. He'd taken up residence in the cupboard, although this time, he had dragged a doona out of the said cupboard and made a nest in there. Blarney had spent a lot of time with him, but he just hissed at her. He's a good house guest, even if he is anti-social. 

The next delay was along the Monash. A prang in one of the right-hand lanes turns what normally takes 30 minutes into an hour - with a stroppy cat sitting next to me. 

The rest of the day was spent unpacking, looking like I was at work, chatting to my colleagues who were based in the Melbourne office for the week. And then it was over. 

I'm knackered. The cat is remaining a clingy suck. I love how his tail is staying straight up and vibrating at the base, his sign of happiness. He normally saves this for when he's fed at night. He's also sitting on the keyboard and walking all over me at every opportunity. 

And now I'm going to take this exhausted body to bed. I've got a big day tomorrow. 

It's time.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Curry Lunch

There are many perks of working mostly from home. You get to talk to your cat. You don't have to talk to people if you don't want to. You've got your own things to eat and drink in the kitchen. You can go for a nap or put on a load of washing when you want, if you're not in a meeting. 

And after many years away from it, I was working in a depot this week, where the operations team do their thing. These people are incredible, making magic happen that you wouldn't believe. The Northern Territory provides an extra level of challenges to the work. Crocodiles, snakes, weirdos, weather events - you name it, they've seen it, and some of the week was spent listening to some of these stories. 

Operations teams also have a food culture of their own, whether it be chocolate, biscuits, or the case in point on this job, Thursday lunch. 

"You know about curry lunch?" the boss asked me yesterday. 

"Yes. All good."

"You're all set for curry lunch?" somebody else asked half an hour later. 

"I've got my $20 ready to give to Joe." Joe sits in the corner in front of a multitude of computer screens. 

"Are you all set of curry lunch?" the next person I met with asked. 

"Of course."

Everybody was all set for curry lunch - there was no way I was not going to participate. Even my old friend who I met up with yesterday knew about curry lunch. But her son-in-law is a member of the team. Still...

And give them their dues, the curry, which Joe gets in each week, being a friend of the owner at a local South Indian restaurant in a local suburb, gets all sorts of specials. Today there was a Beef Korma, a Butter Chicken, a Chilli Chicken, and something called 67 Chicken, along with papadums and rice. There's normally some yoghurt too, but this was missed today. 

It was awesome. 

We sit around with the team, eat our curry, have a chat and just enjoy this little ritual that they do every week, even when Joe is on holidays, but the curry isn't quite as diverse on these occasions. 

Even better for me, I got to have a good chat with two of the guys I've had trouble getting time with, finding out just what they do. 

Working with engineers, I've got the spiel down. Just showing an interest in the communication capabilities of electricity meters probably made their day. When was the last time you talked about an electricity meter?

I love how food brings everything together.

And now I'm preparing to go home. We're off to see a movie at the Deckchair cinema tonight. Then it's back to the hotel, finish packing, get to the airport and take the 1 a.m. flight back to Melbourne. 

It's been a good trip.

Today's song:

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

One More Episode

 I'm not going to write much tonight. 

It's been a pretty good day. 

Work was good. I love that the drive to work only takes me ten minutes. 

The people are great.

My head is spinning from the information gathered while I've been here. That I've started to make inroads into the team is even better. They really are great. 

I had a lovely lunch with my old PE teacher from high school. She's a great lady. It was also nice to get out of the office, which is really a very big depot, just for a bit. 

And this night off was nice. Last night I went with the others up here to a rather posh place at the casino. Tonight, it was Coles salad in my room after a quick walk. I was invited to dinner with the others tonight, but I wanted a rest and cried off. We're going to the Deckchair Cinema tomorrow night before catching the plane home in the wee hours of the morning. I don't have the need to be seen out every night. 

I've starting getting things ready for packing. It's the way I roll. 

And I'm about to go to bed and watch the penultimate episode of Ted Lasso. This, I am sad about. It's my favourite show on the streaming services at the moment. 

That there's one last episode is just sad. 

And with that, I'm taking this tired body to bed to watch my show. One thing about this heat, which is not at all unbearable, it tires you out. I'm not sure how I'm going to go back in Melbourne on Friday morning where it's going to be 14 degrees...

Today's song:

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Coffee Run

One necessity of relocating yourself for work, whether it be for a week or a year, is finding your coffee place.

And what’s even more difficult is when you’re out and about in the field, knowing where you can get a decent cup of Joe. I know of a couple of good places in Darwin City. Out near the depot where I'm working - not so much. 

And another thing. I drink decaf. I do this for health reasons. I love the taste of coffee, but I can’t do that much caffeine. Decaf has got a lot better over the years. And being a decaf drinker, I tend to go in with very low expectations and then I’m happy when I’m surprised.

Until today, Darwin has met and exceeded my expectations when it comes to decaf. The coffee shop on the opposite corner makes a good decaf. The 1995 Café, another near the office in town, makes very good Melbourne-style coffee complete with tattooed hipsters to serve whilst giving you judgy side eye. Feels just like home.

But working out in the sticks makes lunch options a bit more difficult. By the sticks, I mean working in a suburb a few kilometres away. There's very little out this way. 

Yesterday, a colleague gave me a meandering tour of an inner suburb. He claimed that he knows how to drive there but is crap at navigating. I can attest to this.

Today, after last night’s visit to the supermarket, I’d bought my lunch, but forgot to bring it with me, so I went back into town for lunch in my hotel room. It was a good move after a morning of meetings.

On the way out, I stopped in for a coffee. At the coffee shop right next to work. Which everybody had warned me not to go into.

I should have heeded the warnings. I was in a rush. 

“Hi, can I please have an almond decaf latte?”

“Sure. What’s the name for that?”


They go to write my name into the register, but look back at me. “Panda?”

“Like the bear.”

“Oh.” They looked a bit puzzled. “That’s a funny name.”

“Short for Pandora.”

They seemed happy with this. I paid for the coffee. The server, who was young, and very pleasant, went about their business.

Stood to the side to wait for my coffee.

Others were served around me. All good. It’s a lunchtime. They’re busy.

A few minutes later, I hear, “Um, is there a Panda here. “

“Yep. That’s me.” I raised my hand.

“Sorry, we’re out of decaf. We can do you a chai, or a tea..?”

Being out of decaf is nothing out of the ordinary. McDonalds used to do decaf. Not any more. Most shops remember they're out of decaf well after they've taken your order. 

I shrugged, it was fine. Used to it. “Almond chai, please. “

A few minutes later I got my chai and traipsed off to get in the car from the car park next to the city office. 

For the next half an hour I pondered where I had tasted chai like this before. And I drink a bit of chai. Normally wet chai – tea bags or leaves. This, I’m sure, was the powdered stuff.

It was sweet – too sweet. It left an aftertaste that lasted for a good half hour. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. 

Then I got it. I had to delve long and hard into my memories, back to childhood. 

 Egg Nog. When I was a teenager, there used to be this milk drink in a carton called Egg Nog. I used to love it. It might just be a South Australian thing, like so many of the foods.

This chai tasted like that Egg Nog drink. I believe they now sell it at Christmas at Coles. 

Not that I mind it, but it was pretty awful chai. The 30 minute aftertaste was a give away. 

Allegedly, the coffee is so dire, nobody will go to that cafe. 

Hmm. I might give the place a miss next time I’m in dire need for a decaf. 

Today's song: 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Back in Satan's Armpit

 I'm getting used to Darwin. 

In many ways, it's a little patch of Paradise. In other ways, it's akin to the seventh circle of hell, where the violent are thrown into a river of boiling blood. 

Yet it's growing on me. 

That it's now the Dry Season, where the humidity has backed off and it gets down to 18 to 20 at night makes it even better. 

I'm not with my team this time. As myself and three others from the greater project were going down the escalators to find a taxi after last night's flight, a colleague from my team going the up escalator to get a 2 a.m red eye to Melbourne. Not having the direct team around is a bit strange as they've provided a social life after hours on other trips, yet it's been great to break out on my own. 

The trip up was fairly nondescript. The nice crew member, who I talked university courses while she fed me Lindt balls in the galley last trip up, was on the flight. She remembered me. She got a distinction on the paper she was undertaking last time. Well pleased for her. You never know, I might run into her on another trip.

The bloke sitting the aisle seat next to me, however, wasn't as pleasant, insisting on playing George Michael on his phone without using headphones or ear buds three hours into the flight. Thankfully I slept through the worst of it. My colleague at the other end of the row remained asleep to listen to this rudeness. 

Arriving at the hotel at 1.15 a.m. I went up to my room, unpacked, had a glass of water and a Stilnox and went on to get five hours of decent sleep. 

They've given me a car to get me out to the depot every day - a ten-minute drive away, inaccessible by public transport. I've called him Bruce. A Honda HRV, it drives very well. A colleague gave me a tour of Parap at lunch time, looking for the shops. It seems he knows how to drive to these shops but is a bit useless as a navigator.

This also means I can go to the Parap pool after work tomorrow night as it's technically on the way home. To be able to go for a decent swim after work will be bliss. The hotel's pool is still under renovations. The works were supposed to be completed this month, but it appears to have fallen victim to what is known as Territory Time. Things do get done - just in their own time, when they happen. Maybe. 

There's not much else to report. Darwin feels different in The Dry. Stepping out on my balcony tonight, I can smell the smoke from the burnoffs, which are happening around the place. There's no humidity.  The streets are quieter than I remember, but it is Monday. A quick trip to the supermarket for supplies. Salad, fruit, a few snacks, almond milk - supplies for the next few days. And my treat for the trip. A tube of sweetened condensed milk so I can make Vietnamese coffee after work some nights. I'll chill off the coffee tomorrow and fill the ice trays. It's my treat for after the swim. 

I also stopped in at the famous Johnn Johnn's for an ice cream on the way back. After a cheeky taste of the burnt fig and caramel (Sorry, Maggie Beer's is better) I happened on a white chocolate, macadamia and caramel scoop in a cone. Needs to be done. 

And now, I'm taking this exhausted body off to bed, taking a melatonin to ensure a restful night. I'll catch up on last night's Masterchef while I wait for sleep to take me over. 

All is well with the world.

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Stealing:

 I'm getting ready to go back to Darwin. The bags are packed, just have to finish off the washing, wrangle the cat and I'll be off. 

Questions, as always, come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate?

I'll answer yes and no to this. I never exaggerate too badly - but there is time and place for exaggeration. 

2. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it?

I'd allow for it considering I'm normally running late myself. :)

3. Can you be counted on to be on time?

For important things like catching planes, interviews, appointments, I'm on time. Otherwise expect me 15 minutes after when you expect me. You'll get a text. 

4. When did you last yell at someone?  Why?

I yelled at my cat the other night because he was being bloody annoying. I think he's picked up that I'm going away again. I can't remember the last time I yelled at somebody, other than idiot drivers on the road. It's not something I do. 

5. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, masseuse, or personal secretary, which would you choose?

Oh, a housekeeper would be fantastic. I'm too messy to get a cleaner. I'd have to tidy before they came. 

6. Would you be willing to go to a slaughterhouse and kill a cow?  Do you eat meat?

I can't kill things. I can't kill my own spiders (okay, I can with bug spray, but I can't use the shoe method. I couldn't kill an animal unless they were in terrible pain. Something else that's not in me. 

7. Do you feel ill at ease going alone to either diner or a movie?  What about going on a vacation by yourself?

I've only ever travelled by myself, and I go to the movies and dinner alone regularly. It's not an issue. If I waited for people to do things with I'd never go anywhere. 

8. Would you like to be famous?  In what way?

Other than being a world famous author, I'd hate to be famous. No thanks. No privacy. 

9. Would you rather play a game with someone more or less talented than you?  

I think I'd like to play something with somebody a little more talented than me. It makes things a challenge, and I like a challenge. 

10. Is there something you've dreamed of doing for a long time?  Why haven't you done it?

I've wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella in Spain, but COVID, and money have stopped me doing this. One day...

11. If you were at a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner and found a dead cockroach in your salad, what would you do?

Thanksgiving is an American thing - we don't have it over here in Australia. But if I found roach in my salad I'd spit it out, take it out to the kitchen to dispose of it and quietly mention it to the host. I wouldn't make a big deal of things - it's not their fault this happened. 

12. Would you accept $10,000 to shave your head and continue your normal activities sans hat or wig without explaining the reason for your haircut?

Probably not. My scalp is peppered with small scars where I've had cysts cut out - it would be too much to explain all of that. 

13. If you were able to wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else, would you do so?  Whom would you pick?

Probably Elle MacPherson. She doesn't age and I'd love to be taller and lither. 

14. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

I could write a novel about this, but I won't. I think I'd like to have been raised in a more academic family. but you can't change anything. I'll leave it at that. 

15. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Miscarriage. You just don't. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Theatre Review: Once

 The Production: Once

The Theatre: The Comedy Theatre. 

The Production Company: The Darlinghurst Theatre Company    

Stars: 4

Until 4 June. 

Once is on my sanctioned list of musicals. If it's not: 

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Chicago
  • Come from Away
  • Fun Home or
  • Once, 
I'm not interested. What about Les Miserables? The best bit is when Javert jumps off the bridge. The Lion King. Never seen it. Mary Poppins? Hells no! Hamilton? Loved it the first time, but once was enough. 

Once has a special place in my heart. 

It's got lots of Irish Music, a simple love story, enough humour to keep me happy and an unexpected ending. 

The story is simple. A disenfranchised street muso, who fixes hoovers by day is about to quit. He's approached by a Czech cleaner on her way home who has heard him sing and begs him not to give up. She's a muso herself. And it goes on from there. You never learn the boy or girl's name. 

Oh, I should add that I have always love the film of this, which is available on Prime Video. Glen Hansard, who wrote the music and lyrics of this with his onscreen partner, Marketa Irglova. 

The Darlinghurst Theatre Company is one of the smaller Sydney Theatre companies - but this is top notch. I loved the slightly rough and ready feel to this. You're seranaded with Irish music by the cast on the way in. There are no big named actors in this production - and this is what is so good about it. 

The set is simple, Richard Carroll's direction is assured, and keeps the action moving. The Comedy Theatre is a bugger to light at the best of times - and if you're up the back, occasionally you might be struggling to see everything you want to. 

But this is wonderful. The cast received a standing ovation at the end. 

This is great for a good night out, especially if you're a music sceptic.  If you like Irish music, even better. 

Do yourself a favour. It's one of the best tickets in town. 

Friday, May 19, 2023


 I'm not in the mood for writing, and that is okay. I'll admit to my emotions being all over the place, partly because of the session with the psychologist, and partly just because.

I explained to the psychologist that sometimes I'm a bit like Eeyore and sometimes I'm a bit like Tigger. I had to then go on and tell her about Winnie the Pooh. How do people not know about Winnie the Pooh? Today was an Eeyore day. Hopefully tomorrow a bit of the Tigger might come back. 

As much as I'd like it if a friend came around tonight, it was good to catch up on a few things. The ironing is being done. The cat is asleep on the bed snuggled up to his hot water bottle. (Yes, I make the cat up a hottie...). I've cut my toenails. I've got my French lessons done. My legs were waxed at lunchtime in preparation for next week's Darwin trip. I'm watching the Great British Bake Off because it makes me chill. (Soggy bottom....)

And the thing that has kept me smiling today. Francis Bourgeois. 

Who is Francis Bourgeois you ask?

He's this TicTok guy who's the most enthusiastic trainspotter out there. 

Trainspotter? It's a thing in the United Kingdom where people go out and chase down all sorts of trains. they're normally much maligned, judged as being on one of the spectrums. There are lots of trains in England. Commuter trains, intercity trains, local trains, steam trains, diesel trains - and trainspotters love them all.

Oh, to have the enthusiasm for life that Francis has for trains. 

He cheers me up no end. 

Here's a bit more Francis. He's grouse.

Today's song: 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Beyond the Shopfront

 It's a non-descript shop front. Bare brick, large windows, Apple products on the standing desk inside the window. I've passed it hundreds, if not thousands of times as I've walked down the major thoroughfares of Richmond. I've never really thought about the building, it it's that unremarkable, situated between a barbers and a barbeque shop and down the road from a McDonalds. 

Who puts a psychologist's office next to a McDonalds? I suppose it's convenient for those seeking solace in fat and sugar after coming out of a session. But I'll get to that. 

On entry, I spoke to the person at the desk, paid for my session and checked they had my Medicare details. What they don't tell you about mental health plans is that your six to ten sessions with a psychologist are not free, but subsidised. Medicare pays a rebate of about $90. Most psychologists charge out at $220-250 an hour. 


The offices of the psychologists run deep. A real rabbit warren of a building. I was shown to one of the pokiest sets of stairs that I've seen out of The Netherlands and asked to wait in the waiting area, in which there were some comfortable couches and a radio set to a banal pop station. The rooms were warm, comforting, but plain. A bit like your Nana's nursing home, just without the stale urine smell. 

A few minutes later, I was greeted by my psychologist, and we started on the session. 

Fifty minutes later, I reversed the procedure, carefully making my way down the pokey stairs, and with another appointment set for three weeks' time. 

We didn't do any work last night, we just talked about what was going on, letting her know my story, talking about what I wanted to get from this. 

She stirred up a lot of muck - stuff that I don't talk about - don't like talking about. But then again, this is why you see a psychologist. If you don't leave feeling slightly unsettled, but hopeful, then there's something not quite right. I've done enough therapy over the years to know this. 

And yes, a stop at McDonalds for some nuggets occurred on the way home. 

It's going to be a journey, but I'm glad that the process has started. 

Today's song: 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Shrink and ChatGPT

 Tonight was my first session with the shrink. 

Things you need to know. She's nice. She's a bit young. And she specialises in people with anxiety, depression, childhood trauma and neurodiverisity - she she ticks my boxes for a therapist. 

And even though I've been feeling a lot better of later, I came out feeling hopeful, but pretty wrung out. All I'm good for is sitting on the couch eating raisin toast. Because raisin toast fixes most things. Sitting on the couch eating raising toast and watching Ted Lasso. 

So, I've outsourced my blog to AI tonight. 

I asked it: 

I need to write a blog post about my visit to the psychologist tonight.

AI wanted to know more. 

I told it the following:

It was my first visit. We talked about what I wanted from these sessions. She was very nice but a bit young. I left feeling a bit wrung out. I'm now sitting on the couch watching Ted Lasso.

It came back with the following:

Thank you for sharing that with me. Based on what you've described, here are a few tips on how to write a blog post about your visit to the psychologist tonight:

Start by introducing the topic: Begin your blog post by introducing the topic of mental health and the stigma surrounding seeking help from professionals. You could also mention what led you to make an appointment with a psychologist in the first place.

Share your experience: Describe the appointment, including your initial impressions of the psychologist and how you felt during the session. You could also write about what you discussed during the appointment and whether or not it met your expectations.

Be honest: Don't be afraid to share any concerns or reservations you may have had about the process of seeking help and going to counseling. This will help readers who may be feeling the same way feel more comfortable seeking help for themselves.

End on a positive note: Even if you left feeling a bit drained, try to end your blog post on a positive note by discussing the ways in which seeking help from a psychologist can be beneficial in the long run. You could also mention any goals you would like to accomplish through continued therapy.

Here's an example introduction:

"Tonight, I took the first step in addressing my mental health by going to see a psychologist. As someone who has always struggled to open up to others, I was hesitant to seek help at first. But I decided to take the plunge and make an appointment. Here's what happened during my first session..."

Remember to use your own authentic voice and perspective when writing the blog post. Best of luck with your writing!

That's not my writing style. And it has some good things to say, but I'm not going to write about it tonight. I think I need to process a bit more. 

I then asked it: 

My cat is being a prick. What should I do?

I can understand why you might be feeling frustrated with your cat's behavior. However, it's important to approach the situation with patience and understanding. Here are a few tips on what you can do:

Try to understand your cat's behavior: Cats can be moody and unpredictable, but their behavior is usually based on a specific trigger. Try to identify what's causing your cat to act out, whether it's a change in their routine, a lack of attention or playtime, or a new stressor in their environment.

Address any underlying health issues: Sometimes, a cat's behavior can be related to an underlying health issue. If your cat is acting aggressively or exhibiting unusual behavior, it's important to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems.

Provide outlets for your cat's energy: Cats need both mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Make sure your cat has plenty of toys to play with, scratching posts to keep their claws sharp, and opportunities to climb and explore their environment.

Stay calm and patient: When your cat is behaving poorly, it's important not to react with anger or aggression. This can only escalate the situation and make it worse. Instead, try to remain calm and patient while you work to understand and address your cat's behavior.

I hope those tips help you manage your cat's behavior and improve your relationship with them. Remember, cats have their own personalities and preferences, so it may take some time and effort to find what works best for you and your furry friend.

AI is a bit of a sychopant. Surely it should just say, "All cats are pricks, deal with it." But no, it goes and wastes another couple of hundred words. 

The cat is just pissed off because I went to the office, then went out, and I pasted his nose with yoghurt this morning.

He'll be sleeping between my knees by midnight. 

As for AI, I'll give it a miss. 

Today's song: 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Grilling

 Today's admin item task was talk to an insurance broker about Income Protection insurance. 

I'm not fond of insurance - but it's something that needs to be done, and income protection insurance is useful as it's tax deductible, but the policy I was on was coming into far too many dollars to make it worth my while. 

So, I've been looking around, and found a new policy and today I spent an hour with the Insurance Agent filling out the forms over the phone. 

Seriously, insurance brokers save your live. What he insurance companies ask you is incredible. And I know they are underwriting you, but the questions are badly worded and border on invasive. And sure, they can get all of the details off your doctor - and if they do take me on, they're going to want another blood test - I only had one a couple of weeks ago, and with the exception of slightly low iron, I'm the picture of health. 

It felt like a grilling, and not a welcome one.

Talking to my colleague after we discussed the joys of ageing and insurance. As a coincidence, we met at the insurance company at which I'm applying for the policy. 

The thing is, you are lucky to get to my age and not have a few medical things up your sleeve. I was grilled about the asthma - which only comes out on cold mornings when I'm trying to exercise. And the gall bladder - which has been removed. It's gone, you can't do much more than that with it once it's gone. 

Then the mental health questions. You answer honestly. How long have you had depression. I rolled my eyes as I've probably had depression most of my life off and on. The caveat to this is that it's not the clinical type and I've never been medicated. So does it count?

It's just another confronting process we put ourselves through on an irregular basis. 

Hopefully, they will insure me. 

Today's song: 

Monday, May 15, 2023

Today's Delight

 Finding small joys in the day when you're struggling a bit with your mental health can be hard. Thankfully, I'm not far down the rabbit hole and this came pretty easily today. 

They reckon if you focus on the good, you will be rewarded with good. 

So, my good for today was as follows:


The joy of finding the perfect avocado when you cut into it. I mean perfect. Haas avocadoes have come back into the supermarket, thank goodness. I bought some ciabatta at the local European deli yesterday along with some marinated feta. Half a small avocado mashed in with a square of this marvellous feta, spread on toasted ciabatta. Yum. Perfect. 

Other good things about the day. 

There is something good about finishing a book you don't really like. We have book group tomorrow. We've read Jane Harper's Exiles. I've liked her other books. She's the master of Outback Noir, but this one really missed the mark. Besides, she set this in South Australia - but it's not a recognisable South Australia. And the characters were all very bland. Which is a pity. At least that is over. 

And I had my weekly chat with the dietician. 

So, I've not lost any weight as yet. One thing this exercise has been good for is identifying some of my eating habits. I've started to identify emotional triggers, relating out after seeing the doctor for my mental health plan, the only thing for it, being rather strung out and upset, was donuts. It wasn't a case of wanting some comfort. That I recognised this was good. What would have been better is ignoring the need for fat and sugar. But it's baby steps. 

As I said, it's a matter of looking for the good in the day. 

And perfect avocadoes make me happy. 

Today's song: 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Theatre Review: Macbeth

 The Play: Macbeth

The Company: Bell Shakespeare

The Theatre Space: The Fairfax Studio, The Arts Centre

Until: Season Closed (this afternoon's matinee was the last performance)

Stars: 4

This has to be the seventh or eighth performance of the Scottish Play I've seen in my lifetime. 

There was the one done at the Pop Up Globe and I saw their version in Sydney. That was fun, but Shakespeare outside, in the rain, is always fun. 

There was the one in the Botanic Gardens a couple of years ago. It was lighter than most Macbeths, but that's because Shakespeare in the park isn't meant to be that heavy. 

Of course, there was the Melbourne Theatre Company version done in 2017, where it was all very military and we got to see Jai Courtney parade around in his undies. 

And I remember a particularly bad Macbeth done by the Royal Shakespeare Company with Roger Allam in the lead role. It was stark and boring and just not good at all. 

Alice is one of my Shakespeare buddies and we both like what the Bell Shakespeare company does with its material. They've done some crackers over the years. Their Henry V done in school rooms during the Blitz was phenomenal. The other great thing about Bell Shakespeare is they always include actors of every creed and colour in their casts. They've been very inclusive in their casting for years. It's great. 

And this Macbeth was no different. 

And hey, anybody who's been through Year 12 English knows the story of Macbeth, the Thane who was given a prophesy and he goes out of his way to make sure it comes to pass, leaving a swathe of bodies in his wake. There are some witches, everybody goes a bit batty and Macbeth ends up dead after the forest goes for a walk and we learn that Mac Duff was the product of a caesarean. 

As Macbeths go, this one was excellent. Dark, moody, intense and surprisingly funny in places. 

The open stage at the Fairfax Studio, with dark green drapes and some chairs that wouldn't look out of place at your Nan's were the only set. The costumes came out of the twenties, giving the production an extra edge. Something the Bell do well is footwear. I spent a lot of the time gawping at everybody's shoes. 

What makes any Bell Production special is their knowledge of the material, and how they put it to use. Hazem Shammas was great as an increasingly unhinged Macbeth (so much so the company fought back at a review in The Age which moaned about the actor's perceived overacting (and to be honest, The Ages theatre reviews have gone to shit of late.)). I loved how unhinged both he and Lady Macbeth (Jessica Tovey) went down the metaphorical rabbit holes and then get their comeuppance. 

The troupe work as a team. This was slick, wonderfully choreographed, and seamless. 

And for your Shakespeare purists, of which I can be counted, the omissions were done well - although I was a bit peeved that the Porter didn't get more time. 

My only criticism is that I thought this was a little under lit. But that's it. 

This was edgy, fast-paced and well done, even if the Bell do Shakespeare with Australian accents. After living here for over 20 years, I'm finally getting over that one. 

As this closed this afternoon after a three state run, I'm really glad I got to see this. Bring on Romeo and Juliet later in the year. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Sunday Stealing: Sunday Stealing Questions

 Another Saturday Night at home doing housework. Queer Eye is on the telly. The ironing board is set up ready to go. And as usual, I'll iron something and do a question, and that means I get two things off my plate. 

Questions, as always, have come from Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. What is in the back seat of your car right now? 

At the moment, nothing. Yesterday, you would have found my clothes basket on the back seat - I hung out my clothes on the line and rather than bring the basket up two flights of stairs, I leave it on the back seat of the car and bring the clothes up when they are dry. 

2. When was the last time you threw up?

I think that was when I had that gall bladder attack last February. It was a part of whole gall bladder symptoms. Oh that was fun. The gall bladder was taken out this time last year. I don't miss it. 

3. What's your favorite word or phrase? 

Serendipity. It rolls off the tongue nicely. 

4. Name 3 people who made you smile today? 

Vee - our meditation facilitator. She has a wickedly dry sense of humour. 

My massage therapisty. We always have a giggle when he's trying to sort out my back muscles. 

My cat. It's hysterical how he things my office chair belongs to him. 

5. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?

Thinking about getting out of bed as I was due at meditation in Caulfield at 9.30. Vee doesn't like us being late. 

6. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

Having a shower and getting ready for bed. 

7. What would constitute the perfect evening for you?

A lovely meal at a great restaurant, followed by a decent performance of a Shakespearean play. That sounds pretty good. 

8. Have you ever been to a strip club? 

No. Drag clubs, gay clubs, footy clubs... but not a strip club. Not my scene. 

9. What is the last thing you said aloud?

I told the cat I loved him. He likes that. 

10. What is the best ice cream flavor? 

Wasabi and White Chocolate ice cream. I've only had it once. It was really subtle. You don't believe it exists. Here's a recipe

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?

A cup of chai tea. I like chai. I like the spice. 

12. What are you wearing right now?

A pair of blue pyjamas. There's nothing on my feet. 

13. What was the last thing you ate? 

I had some leftover chicken and salad for dinner. 

14. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? 

No, not this week. Last week I bought a pair of cheap black skinny jeans. For Kmart jeans, they're really comfortable. 

15. When was the last time you ran? 

That was only for a minute on the treadmill at the gym a few weeks ago., Running doesn't do my joints any favours. 

Today's song: 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Theatre Review: Happy Days

 The Play: Happy Days by Samuel Beckett

Who's putting this on? The Melbourne Theatre Company

Where? The Southbank Theatre, Southbank

Until: 10 June

Stars: 4 (with a caveat or three). 

Happy Days is a polarising play. 

Samuel Beckett is a polarising playwright. 

Judith Lucy is a polarising performer. 

And because of these statements, you're either going to love this or hate it. 

Oncoming out of tonight's performance, Jay said she found it to be a heap of pretentious tosh. 

I was far more complimentary, but I was prepared going into the play. Jay was not. I'm an English Major with a decent working knowledge of Absurdist Theatre. I'm versed in the works of Samuel Beckett. I've read Beckett's muse, Billy Whitelaw's autobiography, who spends a couple of chapters on this, one of her most famous roles. And I have read, and adored Claire Thomas's The Performance, which is a book which is based around this very play. (A book I highly recommend.)

What do they say about being forewarned is being forearmed? 

I'm glad I was prepared. It greatly heightened my appreciation for the play.

I also remember booking this play talking to another friend who was also sorting out her MTC subscription. This play didn't make her short list. She doesn't like Judith Lucy. 

If you're coming to see Judith Lucy, the comedian, you're not going to find her. 

Also, if you're coming to see a play with a cohesive story, you're not going to find that either. 

What you are going to get is an hour and a half of a middle-aged woman buried up to the chest, talking about her day in no real order, not really saying much - yet saying everything. Winnie (Lucy) is the eternal optimist, despite her predicament. Next to her, she has a bag, in which she has an umbrella, a mirror, a lipstick, a hat and the ominous gun (Was it Chekhov or Ibsen who said if there is a gun on the wall at the start of Act One, it has to go off near the end? It was Chekhov). 

Winnie is married to Willie (Hayden Spencer), of whom we (thankfully) see very little. He has very little to do other than be a useless, and menacing presence in the background, being of no aid to Winnie, who by the end of the play, is buried up to her neck. 

Petra Kalive's direction is firm and assured. Beckett is not easy at the best of times, and she has done a fantastic job ensuring this keeps moving towards the play's crescendo. The set looks like a big ant hill, but that's what's so effective about it. 

And Samuel Beckett's words, written over sixty years ago, are still pertinent and haunting, as Winnie contemplates live, the universe and everything from her chokehold, unable to move, or run. All she can do is sing, or scream - and you wonder about the gun. 

The set of Happy Days, pre-show. 

For me, the standout was Judith Lucy's portrayal of Winnie. It was finely nuanced. From my seat eight rows from the front, I could see every minute detail of her face. She was excellent in this - a real breakway from her comedy persona. She commanded the stage and the script. What she's achieved in this is pretty wonderful. That we're the same age is a little disconcerting. 

This certainly is not a play for everybody. I appreciated the stagecraft, the performance and Beckett's incredibly pertinent and affecting words. But I wouldn't expect many to agree with me. 

(And if you do see this, I highly recommend getting hold of a copy of Claire Thomas' The Performance. It will make you consider the play in a number of other ways.)

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Boiled Eggs

 Learned something this week, thanks to one of my favourite TicTokkers. 

Yes, you can learn something by watching TicTok, and I mean, these people start to become your friends when you're home along a lot. 

So, I see a lot of reels from this woman called Miriam. She's an Orthodox Jew who live in New York, a midwife, with a husband and five kids, and she talks about her life and her faith in a gloriously unjudgmental way. I find her interesting. I also like the young British trainspotter, Francis Bourgeois, The Irish Click Click Clapper, Damien Broderick and Josh Godfrey. 

Anyway, Miriam gave out a hack to do with hard boiled eggs, and how to make them easier to peel. 

You know how hard hard-boiled eggs can be to peel. According to Miriam, if you take your eggs, pick them up, get a teaspoon, then give them a soft tap on the point end - tap them until the egg makes a clicking sound. You don't want to break the egg, but you need to hear this click. Once the egg clicks, then boil it up as normal. 

I tried this egg tapping thing. It works.

Trying to find Miriam on YouTube doing the egg tapping thing didn't happen, but I did find another way to shell eggs. You can blow the hard boiled eggs out of their shells. Like this woman.'

The only thing is it doesn't appear to be that hygienic. 

I tried this too. And yes, it works. But I had boiled eggs with my lunch. Wouldn't serve them to anybody else if they were shelled in this way. 

The things you learn on the internet.

Today's song: 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023


 After eight years training with Cleo, Jay and I passed the banner over to Saxon tonight.

New trainer, new regime. 

And okay, he's twelve. He's not really twelve, but when you're training two women old enough to be your Mum (and nearly old enough to be your Nana), we think he looks 12. And he's got the giggle of a twelve-year-old, which is sort of endearing. So, I think I'll be referring to him by his new blog name of Twelve. Besides, Saxon is the name of a hipster. 

But he's trainable, like all good kids. And we like that. It's sort of like when you obtain a new puppy. Both sides need to show their boundaries. 

He's learning what we want in a trainer. Our first ask is to keep us moving at all times. Treat us like a hyperactive five-year-old. Tire us out without breaking us. That's want we want. 

"We're stronger and tougher than you think we are," we told him. 

He tells us to do leg presses - and the other one can rest. The one resting will be doing body weight squats, without being told. To keep moving. 

We did seated rows. An extra weight was added each round of 12. He said ten reps, but we're used to doing twelve. 

We told him repeatedly that we either do twelve or fifteen reps. Not ten. It's twelve. 

He kept asking how many more reps could we do after a round.

"Lots," we said with a smile. 

Chest presses with the dumbbells were next. Again, we were told the one not doing the reps could rest. Nah. We found a barbell and did some light bicep curls. And he amped up the weights, because we could still do more. 

"We're not tiring ours chests," was our retort, "May as well work the arms."

After this, hamstring curls, on a machine we've not used in years. Again, instead of resting, the other did tricep dips.

"Gotta even up the arms."

"You two are machines," he told us.

"Yep. Don't forget it. "

A round of abs. One armed Farmer's Walks for Jay, weighted Dead Bugs for me.

And we were done. 

It's cool working out with somebody new. I love surprising people. 

It's also validating to know that we're stronger and fitter than we think we are. 

I look forward to kicking some fitness goals. 

Onwards, I say. 

Today's song:

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

The Plan

The appointment was made early in the day. Before work. Get it over and done with. Well, that was the theory. 

I got up on time, fed the cat, showered, dressed and was out the door by 7.45. 

The appointment was made for 8 a.m. 

There's something about knowing that you're going to end up a wreck when you go into an appointment. Accepting that I need a mental health plan has been a big deal, not that there is any stigma in asking for help, nor seeking it. 

I'm very thankful I've got a doctor I like and trust. 

I arrived on time. A few minutes later she called me in. And after a few checks and questions about how other things are going - blood pressure (coming down), if the sleeping tablets she gave me for my Darwin trips didn't make me sleepwalk (No - all good), and a chat about the dietician (who I can claim a few sessions with Medicare - yay), we got on with the appointment at hand. 

The Mental Health Plan. 

What got me most was that it's been nearly 20 years since I last sought treatment for my mental health. It still feels like it was last year.  That time round, it was intensive hypnotherapy. My therapist at the time was brilliant, and thorough, and he helped set me on my way. He instilled me with a lot of tools to manage the depression patches that come round once or twice a year. The trick, for me, is to acknowledge them, then take a lot of care of myself and I tend to turn around pretty quickly. 

This time, it's different. It's not depression that's kicking me, but anxiety. 

So, we had a good chat about things. 

She was kind. She listened. 

See, this is the thing about being a high-functioning woman, you know how to mask the symptoms - I've been doing this for thirty years. The fact that I've had difficulty getting into a pump class because the number of people and the loud music get to me. That I'm waking up at 2 in the morning and panicking about all sorts of things that I have little control over is not usual but has thankfully abated a bit thanks to lavender oil and melatonin. That I've been avoiding going out. That the mix the naturopath gives me for my blood pressure is full of herbs to treat anxiety and that works better than any medication she gives me.... It's all adding up. 

This is on top of the childhood trauma which, though dealt with in the last session of therapy has come back to haunt me. 

And did I mention my father died at 55? Intellectually I know I have none of the same medical issues he had going on. I know my grandmother lived to 104.  But on a strange and deep level, this too is kicking at my soul. 

Oh yes, and there's a good possibility I fall into the realms of the ADHD spectrum. 

So yeah, I'm currently one big existential crisis who's just keeping my head above water. 

At least I'm still functioning. Better to embark on this journey when you're not a foetal-positioned puddle on the floor. 

We filled in the forms. Went through the motions. Most things are fine. Some things are not. Concentration is fleeting. See, shiny thing... My moods are up and down. Sleep has been problematic. There are occasional dark thoughts, not that I'd act on them, but you have to admit to having them now and then. More a what's the point question rather than an 'I'm over it' statement. 

She asked about support and family. Well, they're over in Adelaide. I talk to my mother once a week, my sisters ever few months (though we see each other on Facebook.) It's always been like that. 

A partner? No. Never had one. She raised an eyebrow, knowing my gynae history. I see people. I go out with people. I've had lovers. But they're not the people you do the food shopping with, or get a mortgage with, or who are obligated to pick you up from the hospital and love your cat with a fervour that matches your own. 

Friends. Yes, I have them too, but I don't want to worry them with this stuff. They have their own families and lives. It wrecks me to have to ask friends to mind my cat when I'm away. I've always been hyper-independent. It's conditioning from a very young age. (And another ADHD trait.)

We've decided to go the psychologist route first, get an assessment, while being open to seeing a psychiatrist if the need requires. 

I left 45 minutes later with the mental health plan in my bag and a list of psychology practices to look into to find somebody to help me through this.

I acted on my first impulse and rather than go straight home I went and got a coffee. I then bought two donuts, because if you've just exposed yourself in such a way, you can find some solace in a donut. Self-soothing through food. See, I recognised it, and acted.  There is something calming about the mixture of sugar and fat. 

Next thing, over lunchtime, I started looking into the psychologists' websites and immediately became overwhelmed. It felt a bit like Tinder for shrinks. 

A few email queries were sent, and I'm aware it could take a few weeks to get into see somebody. But it's a start. Baby steps. 

And in the meantime, I'm concentrating on being kind to myself. This probably won't be a quick fix. There's work to be done. 

Onwards, I say. 

Today's song:

Monday, May 8, 2023

Would anybody like a cat?

I wish I could talk cat. 

I don't get them at all.

There's a bit to unpack in his behaviour today. 

I worked from home, so there was no guilt trip which I likes to lay on when he realises that I'm going to the office. 

At 9 a.m. I was sitting down at my computer, about to start work. 

He starts baying at my knee. 

I give him a couple of treats. He's been fed, so he shouldn't need too many. But he keeps coming back for more. 

I try playing with him for a couple of minutes. He loves his stick and ribbons and jumping all over the place. 

He keeps coming back for more. 

There's the Monday team meeting. He attends. He says goodbye by sticking his arse in the camera. 

This went on until midday, when I opened the door to the spare room and let him at it. 

15 minutes later he was asleep in the reading chair, curled up in a ball. 

Seriously, cats! Who'd have 'em?

Tonight, we went back into battle mode over who has rights to my office chair. 

Seriously, I love this critter. I think he doesn't mind me. But God he's a pain some days. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Movie Review: Gaurdians of the Galaxy Volume III

 Movie Number 22 of 2023

The Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume III

The Cinema: Hoyts Victoria Gardens

Stars: 4

Hand on heart, my favourite Marvel creations are the Guardians of the Galaxy. They're fun, they're funny, their quirky and they are a family, and there's a lot of action - what more could you want in a film? 

Well, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume III does not disappoint - but it's a bit different to the other two films. 

Firstly, it's a bit more heartfelt. It's also a little bit darker. 

I won't be putting spoilers in this review, but will mention some activities from the other two films.

At the end of the second film, we see the Golden People being lead by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) being rather angry that the Guardians defeated them. So, it's payback time. Ayesha sends her son, Adam Warlock (Will Poulter playing the ultimate Mummy's boy) to fix some things. He's just a bit dangerous.

Compounding this, a new baddie, The High Evolutionary (played masterfully by Chukwudi Iwuji) who wants to get his hands on Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper). Rocket, it comes to pass, was one of the High Evolutionary's creations, and we get a lot of the back story of this over the film. 

And then there's dear old Starlord , or Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) to his mates. He's still mourning the loss of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) from when Thanos killed her in Avengers: Infinity Wars, however, Gamora has come back, but remembers nothing of their relationship. Her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillen), seems to be doing a bit better, holding the fort and keeping Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Oh, and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) is back, still trying to master Yondu's whistling arrow. 

If you haven't seen the first two films this won't make sense, however, I went along with Barney, the Units and Teddie. Teddie hasn't seen the first two films and she really enjoyed it. As for the Units, they gave the film an eight out of ten, which for two grunting thirteen-year-olds is pretty goood. 

So, that's the starting point. As with all Guardians of the Galaxy films there's a lot of action - lots and lots of action. What this one has above and beyond is a heart-rending back story, as we find out just how Rocket became Rocket. I loved this bit. It's touching - so touching that this comes with a take some tissues warning. Then again, I cried when Yondu died. 

James Gunn's writing and direction are spot on as always. And, of course, the music is great, but they've graduated from the seventies and moved on to the nineties and naughties music. And yes, Starlord's walkman is still around, but we see the emergence of the iPod too. 

And lastly, there are some fabulous cameos in this. Some of them, if you blink, you'll miss them - link Kevin Bacon and Sylvester Stallone, but they are there. 

I'm a Marvel nut and I love Guardians of the Galaxy part three. I now have to get Teddie around so she can catch up and see the others. 

This is great fun, with a heart. 

Today's song: 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Sunday Stealing: Songs

 It's Coronation Night, and because of this I've got the telecast playing in the background. King Charles is our Head of State, rightly or wrongly (I blame John Howard for this. We might be a republic if it wasn't for his arsing around. ). The British do pomp and circumstance very well - although I doubt I'm going to have to wait another lifetime to see another coronation. At 74, we'll be lucky to get 20 years out of him. 

A pot of pumpkin, sweet potato and chick pea soup is cooking on the stove. Yes, Americans. Pumpkin and sweet potatoes make a decent savoury dish. And to the Brits reading this, no, pumpkin is not just food for pigs. 

Anyway, on with the questions, brought to you by Bev at Sunday Stealing

1. A song with a food name.

Peaches, by The Presidents of the United States. This is a great song to sing badly. 

This is not to be confused with the artist, Peaches song F*ck the Pain Away - which I like a lot too. But that is not about food. 

2.  A song with an animal in it

Little Lion Man by Mumford and sons. I love this song. It reminds me of a friend who's learning the banjo. But it's just a great song. 

3.  A song about a bird

Blackbird by The Beatles. Is there any better Beatles song? This is up there. Off the White Album. 

4.  A song about a dog

Black Dog by Led Zeppelin.  Not that this is about a dog, but it has the word Dog in the title. 

5. A song mentioning a cat.

There are far too many songs mentioning cats, but I love this one by Elton John. I mean, what do they mean about a Honky Cat? Does it smell?

6. A song listing a character from Wizard of Oz.

Oh, a hard one. But we have this song about a Lion... which gets stuck in your head. You can thank me later. Wimohweh...  No self-respecting lion would sleep through this. 

7. A late night driving song. 

If I'm driving late at night I try and listen to something a bit edgy and loud with a beat. Something I can sing along to.  The Pixies are great or late night drives, as are The Pogues and AC/DC. And remember, Shane McGowan is still alive somehow. Must have the same genes as Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones. 

8.  A song from a movie

I watched The Breakfast Club a few weeks ago. You can't hear this song without thinking about the film. This was a hard choice for me. I could have put the whole of the soundtrack to Grosse Point Blank in here. Love both of these films. (Simple Minds, Don't You Forget About Me).

9. A guilty pleasure song

Please don't tell anybody I love this song. Love, love, love it. I have fond memories of rolling into Apollo Bay in a convertible with this blaring over the radio. (The Blood Hound Gang - The Discovery Channel Song).

10. A song about friends

There's so many songs about friends to choose from. But I like this one. (Bill Withers, Lean on Me)

11. A song that is about summertime

This song might not be about summer per se, but if I think of a song about Summer, this is it. It reminds me of the beach, playing beach cricket and swimming at Silver Sands beach. It's a very Australian song.  (Dragon, April Sun in Cuba).

12. A song that needs to be played more on the radio

We have a radio station at our local Coles Supermarket, which plays all sorts of amazing songs while you do your shopping. You often see people singing along. I would love to hear this over Coles Radio. It would be funny. IYKYK.  Here's a link to the Wikipedia page. Look at the section marked "Call and Response. You are Australian if you do not do this, they might take your passport away. It's in our genes. Here's a link to what happens live. Any self-respecting Australian has to sing the call and response. As I said, it's genetic. (The Angels, Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again).

13.  A song about drugs or alcohol

This is my ringtone. Not many people know that this is about Anthony Keidis' struggles. (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Under the Bridge).

14. A song you would sing at karaoke

I don't think I'd ever sing karaoke again, but I'd probably do something like this - because it's short. And nobody knows the lyrics anyway. :)  (Blur, Song 2)

15. A song from year you were born in

I never knew this came out in 1968 - well the original did. Gotta love her. (Aretha Franklin, Think)

Today's song: