Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Vortex

So I'm running a bath, yes right now. On 27 December 2010 I am running a hot bubble bath. What is with this weather?

It's been a really strange few days. I got sucked into the St Kilda Scandal vortex that is the internet forums and facebook sites. I've been doing my best to try and bring education to the masses about the age of consent and other 'topical' issues, as well as trying to encourage people to be less trollish and more compassionate.

Last night I watched Gangs of New York with Princess. It did not improve on second viewing.

And Christmas Day sucked balls. It was the least festive Christmas evah and by the time I went to sleep I wasn't talking to Clokes and he was starting to realise that maybe me complaining about it to him and then him NOT SAYING ANYTHING LIKE You know babe, sorry I know how you're feeling, the food was great was not the right way for him to play it.

That's all it would take. A little rub on the arm and a sorry, the food was delicious, thank you. Which he did the next morning after he noticed I still wasn't talking to him. But me spelling it out and then not getting any support? Hmmm.

Christmas has been complicated for me since the age of 14. It's the bane of many a child of divorce. But try adding a blended family into the mix and it becomes hell. Diarama when I can be bothered.
Hope all your Christmas Days were better than mine.

PS And I haven't even mentioned my father and the pathetic phone call Christmas afternoon, that I had to make after lack of contact for two weeks, and weak way he goes AWOL at Christmas most years.
See? The fourteen-year-old sad and disappointed little girl is still inside of me. BATH TIME!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nude saints scandale

I'm all over it. It's an interesting case of sexual politics, media feeding, scorned woman, stupid doofus men.

But what's really shocking (though not surprising) is the speedy willingness of people in forums and commenters on news articles who want to call her skank, ho, slut.

And woman are their own worst enemies.

Why is a man called a 'legend' if he is sexually successful?

Why is a woman called a 'slut' if she acts the same way?

I have to say I admire her for standing up to what would be an intimidating and powerful behemoth (AFL, a bunch of grown men with money and power, Demetriou etc.) The vitriol and support she has on the Internet seems almost balanced so far; depends on the forum. Her formspring is loaded with supportive comments, her facebook everyone is mostly slagging her off. I've read her twitter as well, and seen the photos and her video responses to what's been going on.

I hope she comes through it ok. I'm embarrassed for Riewoldt, that people like me have seen his junk. He looks furious in the still photos, and he would be. No matter how she got the pictures, what on earth was he thinking? It's a posed photo but he's fully nude standing there next to another guy (wearing jeans and no shirt, holding out a wrapped condom) and in front of someone with a camera.

What was he thinking?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's the definition of "spy"?

My Macquarie Dictionary 3rd Edn says:

1. one who keeps secret watch on the action of others

2. one employed by a government to obtain secret or intelligence, especially with reference to military or naval affairs of other governments

So the reason Mark Arbib is not being described as a spy by The Age is because:

1. we don't know whether he was in the employ of the US Government

2. we don't know how secret his observations were

3. he wasn't obtaining and passing on military or naval information; simply the internal workings of Labor party politics

4. he would sue The Age for defamation.

And is a spy someone who works for an enemy or opposite entity? That could also be a reason he can't be called a spy.

So informant then?

My Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus defines informant as:

See informer.

1. a person who informs against another
2. a person who informs or advises

1. informant, tell-tale, taleteller, stool-pigeon, US tattle-tale, colloq. supergrass, weasel, hist. beagle, sl. snitch, finger, squealer, nose, shopper, Austral. sl. fizgig, shelf, Brit. sl. grass, nark, Brit. school sl. sneak, esp. US sl. ratfink, US sl, fink, stoolie, US & Austral. sl. dog; traitor, betrayer, fifth-columnist, spy, rat, colloq. mole.
2. informant, source, reporter, correspondent, communicator, consultant, adviser, counsel, counsellor, guide, mentor.

Under the entry for "inform" -
2. turn informer, name names, colloq. scream, sl. sing, squeak, squeal, Brit. school sl. sneak (inform against or on), accuse, incriminate, inculpate, implicate, identify, betray, denounce, colloq. tell on, rat on, blow the whistle on, split on.

I'd settle for rat. It's pretty low and seems different to a sharing of resources which one might expect allied governments to engage in. I reckon it stinks and it stinks even more that he was one of the people who 'handled' the Rudd toppling.

How do we feel, knowing that one of our senators is in such close contact (for want of a better expression) with the US Embassy, and who might be influence by them and therefore influence our government?

I think it stinks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Obligatory Julian Assange post

I'm not a little disturbed by the fact that there has been American communication (seedy? manipulative? undercover? pushy? instrumental? meddlesome?) with Mark Arbib who was instrumental in bringing down Rudd.

I'm also quite disturbed by Julia Gillard making the statement she did about Assange; using words like illegal in one breath while in another saying it wasn't clear whether it was illegal. Shades of David Hicks in a way; our country deciding a person is a Bad Guy without trial and leaving them to the mighty forces overseas.

What are we? A fucking back-water? New Zealand has bigger balls than we do.

I think I've voted for the ALP for the last time. I cannot respect a government who doesn't do the right thing and say the rights things in these circumstances. That's the only thread that kept me in ALP's camp, and while I swung out occasionally to vote Greens, last election I voted Labor.

Gillard's no better than Howard or any other of the tools that preceded her. Where's her integrity, strength, ability to drive us properly? The car is careening all over the road and it is so disappointing. I'm let down, disappointed but somehow, unsurprised.

I'm not someone who thinks Assange OR HICKS are heroes. But they were both hung out to dry and we didn't do anything about it. Sure, we give them access to consular support like with any other citizen arrested overseas. Like we would have with Chambers and Barlow (Hawke also made a plea for compassion that they not be executed), and Corby and the Stupido Nines or whatever they're called. (no one bothered pleading for them that I know of.) I know Australia cannot interfere with foreign law but we can still make strong statements that show us as evolved and intelligent. No wonder people think we are idiots, stupid, dumbos, soft.

We have to get over our post-colonial shakes and realise that we can keep close ties with the countries that matter while also retaining our independence of thought and speech. And respect.
If not, ie if America is strong-arming us, well that just supports the rhetoric that they are the bully boys of the world. Maybe we can't have it both ways. Maybe we can't stand up for what's right without bending over and taking it up the arse.

But really, do we have to be an accessory to America's world domination? Do we want to be friend with them? Do we need to? Can't we pull away a bit more and be more like Switzerland? (Or New Zealand.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Two posts, one day.

I'm a bit behind the times here probably cause I don't read any music stuff at all, or entertainment/celeb stuff these days.

But was sad to hear of the death of Ari Up from the Slits. These girls were original Fuck You girls back in the late '70s to early '80s.

For me, they represented women who did their own thing and weren't worried about being judged or criticised or labelled as unsexy, unfeminine, uncouth. All the uns.

I had the album above - Cut. For me I think it was all about the cover, I don't think I ever fully loved any of their songs. Just had a quick listen on youtube - discordant, all over the place and terrible production. Oh well. Great album cover.

Let me play you (again I think) another of my faves from that time. I just loved The Damned and this video is pretty good, and it's their best song. I normally don't like these types of videos that just show still photography but this is pretty good.

Wednesday Panic

Panic is looking for and not finding Volume 22 of my diaries which I am going to rely on for a project and also which contains intimate and every detail of my life from 3.13am Friday 20 April 1990, scribed as I sat on the plane (seat 16A) at Bangkok airport waiting to fly to Athens, until 5.10pm Friday 29 June, 1990.

Relief is finding it.

Thank fucking god.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Happy Spree

Happiness today is my new short hair being commented upon, and then the drop-jaw looks when I say "oh, I did it myself."

Happiness today is two slices of cold watermelon as soon as I get home from work.

Happiness today is knowing we will have simple pasta for dinner. Requires no more thought.

Happiness today is knowing I have an excellent book to read. Room, by Emma Donoghue. Have read a few pages and I was instantly transfixed.

Happiness is not working tomorrow.

Happiness is the Bento Box I had for lunch today.

Happiness is the colour of my nails. OPI Cajun Shrimp. The prettiest red for summer.

Happiness is having knocked out a deal with two of my kids re walking the dog. Yes it involves money but what the hell. She gets walked, they make some money and everyone is happy.

Happiness is knowing we watch some Lost tonight.

Happiness is knowing we also watch some Big Bang tonight.

Happiness is knowing the caterer is booked for my mum's upcoming 70th birthday party.

Happiness is knowing what my next story is, and having done some good stuff yesterday.

Happiness is knowing I have the heart of an ox (not quite the cardiologist's words) and lungs of steel. So the feeling I've been having in my chest is neither lungs nor heart. Next stop - gastroenterologist.

Happiness is knowing my honey is taking me somewhere nice on the weekend.

Happiness is anticipating the Royal Wedding. I can't help it. I LOVE IT.

Happiness is having the piano tuned tomorrow.

Happiness is mopping the kitchen floor tomorrow. I'm serious.

Happiness is snatching 40 minutes or so outside on the trampoline to soak up some rays. Tomorrow.

Happiness is knowing I could sleep in tomorrow, although I won't. Too much to do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday-itis antidote

It's simple don't go to work.

No, it's not that simple. I'm working Friday so I've done a day swap HOWEVER it means I didn't have to heave out of bed and do the nomal Monday morning thang. It did mean, though, that I had to:

- still get up at 7am to check on Princess and do a "go-to-school-or-not" assessment. She stayed home. She has been having night sweats for three nights, had a raging temp on Sat night (or was it Friday?) and has a sore throat and headache. I swear, the girl has no immune system, and part of me worries about that one time a friend breastfed her (without my permission, I might add) when she was <1 year old, and another part of me worries about all the champagne I drank before I knew I was pregnant (Christmas/NYE in Sydney) not to mention the hessian sack of oysters I ate from Merimbula after coming home. Too much zinc can affect foetal development? So I'm takingher to the doc. We did go on Friday and were told that there was a tiny spot on one tonsil - maybe it's tonsilitis now?

- go to my mother's and help her change her sheets as well as dust some up high spots at her place

BUT it also means I've got the papers and can read them over lunch, I can now do some writing AND it also means I was able to spend more time finessing my new hair. Yesterday I chopped it off (it was mid-way down my back and bush like no other) while now it's a bit Blondie, shoulder-length messy bob with some longer bits at the front and a bit shorter at the back. I've done a pretty fine job if I may say so. Secret #1 - dressmaker shears for dealing with the bulk during stage one. Secret #2 - nail scissors for shaping. I read once that Sharon Stone cuts her own hair at the front with nail scissors. I've got pretty wild hair so it's ok to do this; I wouldn't recommend for people with normal hair. But I've saved a bunch of money and have a good story to tell.

So that's about it. Busy few weeks coming up. The Little Man finishes primary school, the two girls finish Year 8 and Year 9 respectively. We have birthdays galore in December, and next weekend Clokes is taking moi to Nobu. We had a reservation at Bistro Vue and I said no. I'm an incorrigible snob (I didn't want to go because it's the "lesser of the two" though truth be told the menu suited me better - no foam that I could see; but also they do early and late sittings and I didn't want to be rushed. So hah. Cancel that baby.)

- oh, one more thing. Is it wrong to feel relieved having almost finished my ex-step-sister's first book (collection of short stories) and realise that we don't write nearly the same, and while I can appreciate her wry humour (she really is alot funnier in her writing than I remember her being as an 11-year-old) and that she is a talented writer and story-teller, she hasn't at all written anything like my book. Not wrong, normal right?

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's a gorgois day out there so may get onto the tramp for a sun sesh HOWEVER in the meantime I have jobs to do, including right now demolishing poached eggs on toast and scanning the papers and drinking coffee. My new way with the coffee (because before I was having a large latte, and it's really alot of milk) is to make it as normal, then put hot water in (using another protrusion on the machine) and then put a shot of hot milk in. It means more cleaning up but tastes good...

I have a card from the PO, looks like it might be one of Ali's carpets. Not sure though.

Have to call the piano tuner again and tell him I need the thing tuned before December. He's a funny thing, very 'mad-musician' - all shambling and vague.

My mobile plan has finished. Does that mean that they automatically adjust the monthly payments to account for the fact I have paid off the handset? No. Apparently I have to tell them. Bastards. They are all bastards. So which phone should I get next? Princess needs a new phone and 'everyone' at her school has iPhones. I've told her she is not getting one and I don't care how outre it will be to not have an iPhone. I've come to hate Apple; they have made all their products so fucking desirable that The People just need to have mac computers and iPhones and iPads. Why do normal people need a fucking mackintosh computer? It's so fucking stupid.

That's about it. At home today oh yay. Will be a bit writerly, just have to get my mind off all the static, including a conversation about sessual relations with animals on another blog. (I've borrowed that term from another blogger, I don't want sick fucks turning up here looking for dog p*rn.)

Speaking about porn, I'm reading Gail Dines' book Pornland. It's about the sexualisation of society and the mainstreaming of porn and how porn on the Internet is becoming more and more hardcore and 'gonzo' (she calls it) and the effects of all of this on us, especially young people who learn about sex on the Internet by watching porn. It's interesting, it's sordid, it's highly academic and my kids think it's a scream that I'm reading something about porn. I tell them it's for work.

Peace out.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Not liking the rain, my darlings.

Just read in the paper that if it's raining, it must be a Saturday in Melbourne. Yes. At least I managed to get on the trampoline in the backyard yesterday for half an hour of (blazing) sun to try and top up the old Turkish Tan.

Am going out for arvo tea in Prahran with a friend shortly (D from the diaramas) and I'm going to have to wear closed-toe shoes. Fuck.

Last night had date night with Clokes, and we DID walk and I DID wear my new shoes god they are beautiful. We shared a prosciutto pizza (small) and had a steak each. For a small, unpretentious, innocuous place in East St Kilda, the chef sure knows how to cook a steak. My med-rare was exactly that. They could do something about their dessert menu, though. 'Orrible tartufo (from a box) and baci (ditto) and chocolate mousse that they tip into a martini glass behind the bar. Oh sweet jesus.

So I've finished Rose Tremain's The Way I Found Her. You know when you are finishing a novel and the final pages you don't want to read quickly, you want to draw it out and enjoy? Once I'd done that, and stretched the final pages, to the sweet end, ohmyfuckinggod it is so good.

I'm trying to make a list of writerly things, it's so boring and pretentious to go into detail here, I never wanted this blog to be a writer blog, so I shant let it now, BUT I just want to say doing all this other stuff is far harder than writing the thing in the first place. Enough said but it's doing my head in.

Oh an remember I wrote a while back about a few books I had to read, and was reading, and had read, well one of them was Jon Bauer's Rocks in the Belly, which is doing good things and has received some really good reviews. At the time I blogged that I had bought it and was going to read it, I got an email from him to my yahoo address. It was a little funny, that writers google themselves like that. But I've since done some stalking and the guy is funny, unpretentious and down-to-earth so not at all up himself. He's a bit of a spunk too, which doesn't hurt in addition to being a quality writer.

So, in much the same way that years ago I could summon Andrew Landeryou to my blog with a single tap of the keys (Andy, you rascally old self-googler you), Jon if you do venture this way again and haven't read that I loved your book, well I did. And good luck for whatever comes next, though from what I read online you are on you way and don't need luck.

To finish. I am hoping the cafe in Prahran has some nice cake, preferably with some cream in it.

Happy wet Saturday you Melbourne people, and anyone from elsewhere with sunshine, well stuff you, you smug bastard!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Friday

Sorry no diarama today, I am running behind, also have stuff to do. But in the meantime, some bits and pieces:
Loving my new shoes they are too sexy and I can't stop looking at them and touching them and putting them on. Will I be able to wear them out tonight for our date night? Depends if it is pouring with rain at about 7pm. If it's dry, we walk and therefore I can't wear them. If it's wet, we will drive and I WILL wear them. I don't know what to wish for because I kind of like walking to the restaurant. It's romantic.
Bugged by the recent news about a certain school in Ivanhoe not allowing a Year 11 girl to take her female partner to the school dance. There's a lot of 'that's not what we said' and 'this is the reason' and 'no, we are not being discriminatory.' There is anecdotal evidence that past students have been allowed to take female partners (whether to other year level functions, I don't know.) All I know is that the school has come off looking very bad, especially the principal for her unbelievable comment of (paraphrasing): I don't think they have any reason to be upset.
(Actually I just went and found the direct quote, it's even more unbelievable "I don't think it's appropriate they feel discriminated against, and I'm very upset they feel that," she said.
I tell you what. It would be a deal-breaker for me if I knew my kids were at a school which didn't allow same-sex partners at school dances etc. All the reasons this school has given are ridiculous. That is all.Actually it's not all. Loving John Birmingham's response in the paper yesterday. If you've got a spare hour, read the comments as well. Choice. Make that two hours. Just saw they have doubled since I read most of them yesterday. I will catch up on them later.
Loving me for having worked very hard on my writering stuff. But fuck me, synopses are satan's children.
Bugged by the wind and hayfeverishness it is creating. Blech. But I guess at least it's not locusts yet.
Loving me again because I have just organised my wardrobe, and bagged up two hefty orange garbage bags of winter stuff to be stored. I am so ace. I really am.
Loving The Big Bang Theory. My own quite non-physicist theory about the BBT is that Sheldon is the most awesome fictional TV character on at the moment. Perhaps ever! Who is your favourite TV character?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Not liking

Just a quickie cause I'm busy busy busy with other stuff.

1. Hating the maxi dress at the moment. It's a horrible fashion item and I wish it would go away soon. I mean, come on. Two summers?

2. Really don't like the square (or oblong) dinner plate. It's also too horrible for words.

3. Loving left-over rice panfried with diced red capsicum, mushrooms, spring onions and those cute little grape tomatoes. Then crumbled feta over that. Mmmm.

4. Loving a day to myself. I am lucky enough to get two of these per week (in addition to the weekend.) Yes I know. I'm a bit smug about it.

5. Loving Rose Tremain. Am now reading The Way I Found Her. Adored The Road Home. Brilliant writing and characters.

6. Unimpressed by the print media coverage of the Big Race. Talk about bad losers. All the sneaky adjectives attached to the winning horse implying (not really implying, stating) the cup was stolen, snatched, grabbed. And the xenophobic sub-text of previous "foreign" winners also stealing the cup from its rightful owners, Australia. Come the fuck on. Is it not an international race? Attracting international entries? It's things like that which prove we are still just so green and unformed. Embarrassing. But some pretty classy fashione pics in the paper as well, so nice to see that. (Not looking at you Brynne, but you're okay baby. It's your hubby that I'm worried about now, especially his lack of humour. One Dame Edna Everage handled badly.)

7. Unimpressed also with Bronwyn Pike's gaffe. Come on woman.

8. Loving the series of Lost. Have introduced Princess to it, and have created a monster. Clokes and I watched several seasons a few years ago then caught up to the telly. Will watch to the end now. Oh yay.

9. Uninterested by the Neighbours-for-groan-ups, and this week's "shock horror death." Meh, who cares? Have never watched the show but I'm sure I'm right in thinking it's a piece of crapola.

10. Slightly anxious about what I'm sure is on the horizon conversation-wise with Princess. She has been talking about drugs a bit lately, and has (over the years) shifted her knowledge and attitude from one of thinking drug takers are rare, and the scary people you see on the streets, dishevelled, dirty and crazed (we lived in St Kilda for a major part of her formative years) to now knowing that it's a lot more common and there are different types of drugs and a lot of young people try them as part of their growing up development.

She's not yet asked me if I've ever taken them, I must be prepared and I'm not sure what to say. I have to be prepared, for I will not lie, but I don't want to condone them either. And reading in the paper today that alcohol comes in 1st at 77/100 and heroin 2nd at 55/100 (or something) on a list of most harmful drugs is a worry as well. What do you do with that?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Well I think this is great. The Age reports a coalition of 11 schools that are forming to give the message that they are gay-friendly, that they will not tolerate bullying or persecution of gay and lesbian students.

At work we often get emails/news bulletins about GLBTI issues (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex). A couple of days ago I was forwarded (by my manager) the following. I couldn't watch it at work as it was buffering badly (strange, our computers are so crap yet for work we need to be able to look at porn, watch videos, go on chatroulette, mummy-help-me-I'm-scared-of-that-one-where-can-I-get-a-horse's-head-at-short-notice?)

Isn't it a beautiful day today? Please be accepting of people who are different to you. Young people are killing themselves because people are being shit to them. And if you are a parent and hear your young people saying things like "oh that's so gay" call them on it. Ask them why they say that. Ask them how they would feel if people were saying "oh that's so Adam/Jessica" [insert their own name here.]

Often, they just don't get it , and often they are just saying it without thinking, and may not be homophobic (I know, my daughter falls into this category.) Who gives a fuck if they think you aren't hip, are boring, are old and fuddy-duddyish. It's up to us to teach the younger generation. About this and so many other things.

Yesterday was Wear Purple Day, in acknowledgment of the suicides of young people who are GLBTI. I think it's great that schools like Princes Hill SC are taking a stand. Bloody brilliant.

Being same-sex attracted is not something new. Throughout time, in every country across the world, there have been people who identify as SSA. IN EVERY COUNTRY IN EVERY CULTURE
IN EVERY RELIGION. Just because a culture, religion or society is intolerant, it doesn't mean that people aren't gay or lesbian. It just makes it even harder for them. Studies show consistently that between 8% and 14% of populations are SSA.*

* Hillier et al, 1998. Writing Themselves In.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back home. Oh yeah.

The trip back was long but okay. The jet lag is crap. The weather is crap too. Why oh why.

Work is okay, good to see the folks there. Good to see the fam here as well.

But the weather. Oh crap.

Which is why I'm prolly feeling a tad flat.

The only thing to do is...

... plan the next trip.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

here we are

You can see a corner of our pool where we are staying as well as some of the view out from the property. The house is amazing - three stories of eccentric wood and wrought-iron magnificence, with old tombs jutting out of a couple of the walls (those old tombs, you have to work around them), soft curtains that float in the breeze and wagon wheels everywhere (as a light fitting here, on the gate there, in the garden.)
This is the house that Ali built. He has some amazing stories of working with the builders - figuring out how to make the external staircase, problems with the swimming pool tiles lifting off once the water was in there and having to be redone. I can't believe he has done it, and all from his head telling the builders what he wanted and then working out together with them how to make it happen. The whole thing is a towering castle of stone and marble and glass. Simply incredible.
We all have rooms here except Princess and I are sleeping together at the top of the house in a big bed with white mosquito net which is so softly romantic. This isn't just so no child-bride stealers will climb up to take her away. We like sleeping together on holiday, it's special and fun. The weather is hot hot hot but today is breezier and it comes right up the mountains off the sea and is glorious.
Breakfasts are typical Turkish breakfast. Sun-ripened tomatoes that cost less than $2 per kilo and are better than anything you can taste in Australia. Some cucumber, white cheese, soft fresh bread and coffee. Or tea. Or both. Salty black olives and then maybe some pastry to finish. Then in to the pool, then maybe in to town for a wander. Or maybe not.
Friends arrived the other day and they have tootled off to look at some ruins nearby, and my girlfriend seemed a little puzzled that I didn't want to go. There is nothing I want more than to just stay here in this Wesley-esque villa, its garden and pool. And it's platforms amongst the trees that are scattered with cushions and where you can laze and lie and drowse and stretch and not even turn one page of your book.
As soon as we arrived, Princess saw the white kitten. Her baba had been feeding her a little but had he gotten her a collar with a bell and with a string of blue eyes along it? No. Had he gotten her a flea collar, and two types of cat food, wet and dry? So she has collars and food galore and her brother has turned up so he has a bowl of food as well in the mornings and nights, but no collar yet because he won't let her touch him. Once he lets her pat him, he gets the collar.
There is a hill nearby. It is not too big and not too small and the top is a bit rounded and a bit pointed. I want to climb this hill before we leave. I don't know if there are fences or other impediments - dogs, goats, snakes. But this is my deep desire.
Better finish now. The Cats lost and Clokes and the other two kids (the boy especially) are too excited about Collingwood being in the Grand Final. I couldn't care less, not really, other than if they DO win, at least I'm not there. St Kilda is my second team so I wouldn't mind seeing them win...
I'm reading Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. It is an awesome book and I don't want it to finish.
Hope you are all well, can't say I'm missing Melbs but you know. We'll be back soon enough and this will all be but a dream. Trying to live in the moment, fairly easy to do when there's nothing pressing to do other than float in the swimming pool watching the red dragonflies perched along the edge. I've never seen red dragonflies before - they look like prehistoric creatures with enormous eyes and long spiky tails. And red, scarlet, and they glitter.

Friday, September 10, 2010

gone fishing

Farewell dear friends.

See you when we get back.

There will be diarama and news and maybe some photes, and surely plenty of stories to tell.


Oh and GO CATS.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

a few small things before I go

Hey you
Pretty good about Jules, n'est ce-pas? I'm pleased and will be taking my Julia badge, custom made by squib, to Turkey. It's a bit funny though. Turkey had their first female prime minister back in the early to mid 90s. Her name was Tansu Ciller and she was expected to be a puppet of male politicians but once she got into power, did not bow to anyone. She was well-respected and strong, but then of course fell off the pedestal, I can't remember what about. Everyone falls of their pedestal eventually. Except maybe Mandela.
Watched Invictus the other night. It was terrific and even though it was about rugby, it wasn't about rugby of course. I wonder if Mandela is a secret buddhist because he was showing all sorts of buddhist ways. I was amazed too that it was true to life. The Springboks were crap, he got behind them, they rose above their mediocrity, managed to have whites AND blacks going for them, and beat the All Blacks in the final in 1995. Awesome feel-good movie that doesn't resort to tricks to keep you involved, and there wasn't even one cliche that I could see.
What a beautiful day it is today. I am in a t-shirt and was just down the street, everyone looks happy. I've finished work (may have dug my own grave there yesterday with a couple of ill-advised comments and negative body language) but I'm away now until Mon 11 October and feeling mighty fine about that.
Had breakfast this morning with a dear friend who, with another couple of friends will be meeting us in the south of Turkey to spend some time. A few years ago we had a fantasy of three of us buying a villa in Portugal and while that hasn't happened, we can pretend that Ali's villa on the Mediterranean will suffice. I'm seeing all sorts of scenes from Stealing Beauty but I'm determined Princess will not be seduced by anyone closely resembling a creepy Jeremy Irons.
Is there a role he's played that HASN'T been creepy?
Princess comes back tomorrow from camp. I haven't heard anything so no news is good news. She told me one of her friends was hospitalised on a previous camp (dehydration) and I am expecting her to arrive back slightly hysterical. It will either be all good or all bad, there will be no in between. I hope she had a grouse time.
I won't be blogging in Turkey I don't think, but you never know. Last time I did one from an Internet cafe, so there's a chance. I will if I can.
Stay safe everyone and enjoy the warm sunshine that will no doubt be a fixture, now that we are leaving the country.
Oh, and Go Cats!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Another vigil

So when the miners were underground in Tasmania for ten days or whatever it was, I remember thinking about them as I went about my daily life. I even blogged about it.

All the time they were down there, I was up here doing my normal stuff. Going to the toilet, eating, snuggling into bed, waking and sleeping. Working.

And then there was the other vigil, the waiting for Princess to come back from America. Twenty-six days of hell.

I find myself in a similar situation now. Princess went to camp at 7am on Thursday morning.
It was dry but the deluge was coming. They are west of Melbourne, near the coast and under canvas for seven nights, eight days. Apparently there is a house on the property that I GUESS the teachers will take them to if say, they are completely washed out and having to wring the water out of sleeping bags and dodge falling tree branches?

There is no contact with them until Thursday when they get their phones given back on the bus home, and while I sent her off with the most sublimely packed bag with nothing forgotten, lots of warm stuff in the correct fibres, even hiking boots and thicko socks and as much stroggin* as she could carry, I still find it difficult to push away the thought that while I am snug and safe my babe is lost in the woods somewhere.

Last night, in bed, with my hot water bottle against my stomach, the wind and rain lashing the window, how could I settle down and sleep? We've been to a party, had Father's Day breakfast, slept in clean linen, worked, shopped, read, watched Geelong lose narrowly (not bitter, not bitter) and all the while she is somewhere I can't imagine, can't visualise, possibly up to her ears in mud.

So glad to see the sun today, but the papers are telling me there's worse to come? Cars have been pushed off precipices on the ski mountains, people are being evacuated from flooded towns, and the only thing that is keeping me sane is that she is not in a danger area and she is with professionals. But the next few days will still be long ones.

And next Saturday we leave for Turkey. Ahhhhh.

* hiking snacks, like chocolate, nuts etc. High energy, high protein.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Love this song

Can't embed, it's disabled. This is a great version. 1977, before it got overcooked.

Just wonderful.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Very Potter Musical

This is something i've been wanting to share for a while. Princess put me onto it, and maybe I'm like the last to know. For out of the morass of Potter parodies has risen A Very Potter Musical, written and performed by a bunch of University of Michigan students/fans of the Potter series.


I have watched all of the first, and half of the sequel.

Check it if you are - or aren't - a fan. It's all on youtube in sections, and it is fabulous stuff. Especially the homo-erotic grafting of Voldemort onto Quirrel in the first one, and the cuteness of Draco Malfoy. If it is possible to have a crush on a girl playing a supposedly evil [yet misunderstood boy] then I have one. If it is possible to have a crush on yet another actor playing Ron Weasley, well then I have one of those too.

As an aside, it kind of took me back to Trapped in the Closet, another beautiful find but of a very different ilk. I might feature that next.

So let me take you to A Very Potter Musical - Act 1, Part 1:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Do you swing?

I don't understand people who swing vote, I just don't. I'd like to understand their psychology more, so maybe someone can explain it to me.
I guess I'm a small swinger. I have swung in the past between ALP, Democrats and Greens, and tomorrow I am voting Greens. It's a vote of principal I guess, plus I'm in a safe Labor seat, so I figure it's as good as voting Labor. I don't want Labor to lose but I do want them to move a little bit more left. But I did hear the left is well and truly dead in the ALP and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. I am a leftie at heart.
Last election I voted Rudd which was more a case of "we can't let that cunt get back in" rather than "Rudd's so ace, he the man."
When I was young, I remember the day Gough got his arse kicked. My parents were shocked and quite devastated, more because (I think) they couldn't believe that it had happened, and though my dad was a member of the ALP and I helped hand out the stuff (IT'S TIME) at the polling booths (I think, I remember a march as well) my memory is that it was more the principal that they were annoyed by.
I have always been a Labor girl. I had friends who when they were 18 voted for Hawkie more as a rebellion against their staunch Liberal parents (I went to a posh girls' school, lots of parents were Liberalish.)
About tomorrow's poll. I am not rigid with fear though I think it will be close. I tend to see the whole thing as a big stupid game and maybe I am lucky in that MY day-to-day life is not really affected by a Liberal government being in power (other than that my mental health suffers and I find myself being angry all the time. During most of Howard's "era" I had to stop listening to radio and reading the newspaper. It all made me too angry and I felt so impotent.)

In other news, going to see "Westside Story" tomorrow with Princess and my Ma. Looking forward to it. Yay us, 4 rows from the front, awesome.
Have a good weekend and happy voting.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

happy thursday

Just looking through my notes and I have a list of "songs for old diaries."

I think these must be songs that I was listening to, or provide a backdrop to certain moments in my old diaries.

This one is for Patrick. This is his backing track.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

coupla books done

So, I'm still reading Rose Tremain's Sacred Country and loving it.

In about the middle of it I picked up The Mother's Tale by Camilla Noli. I'm not sure what to say about this book. I read it very quickly, the ending was unsatisfying and the writing was too removed and sterile for my liking. I love removed and clean, pared down is what MJ Hyland is great at. Others don't like it, I do. BUT this one. Meh. There wasn't anything new about the story, no reason why the main character behaves as she does, she's quite repulsive actually, and not just because she's a child murderer.

Then I raced through Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer. He writes beautifully, just the way I like, and I was intrigued by the story. The main character (at various times an eight-year-old boy and his twenty-eight-year-old adult self) is not likeable and is very messed up. I don't want to give things away in case you want to read it, and I would recommend it, very much, but it left me with a chilling feeling, and I've been looking over my shoulder at shadows for the last few days. I look forward to future books by this author, he's got the fucking goods man. That's all I'm saying. So good to read a new author who is fab BUT he's not Australian, not yet anyway, and so we can't take credit for him.

And that's about it. A quiet weekend, quite a few OC eps, we are almost at the end of Season 3 and Princess and I still love Seth Cohen. Geelong lost the game last night which is a poo but let those Pie-Boys have their fun, and if they end up winning the Grand Final, we Geelong supporters will be safely out of the country, lazing on a Mediterranean beach in the south of Turkey, and I won't have to try to be a gracious loser... Caught up with a dear school friend last night and then proceeded to embarrass her 16-year-old son and my 13-year-old daughter at the dinner table by insisting on talking about sex education. Heh.

Sorry I haven't done diaries, will try to during the week. For my two avid readers of the diarama. Stay strong.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

possum living

I was just googling around (trying to see if they have possums in Russia) and came across this:

Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and (Almost) No Money.

It's all about sustainable living on an individual household level. A 19-year-old woman wrote the book about how she and her father were living on $1500 per year. No phone, no car, and an estranged mother who is very scary and makes an appearance in the documentary.

The link above takes you to a page which has excerpts from the author's current blog, reviews and a documentary on youtube.

Amazing stuff. I'm about to watch the two other chapters of the doco. From the late '70s and it's pretty weird. Some weird family dynamics (if you watch it, between the father and daughter and mother and son.) Also some very gendered roles, between the father and daughter.

"What else do you want for lunch?" Like some Stepford wife.

And they shoot a turtle in the head, saying how they kill all the animals they eat humanely, not like in abbatoirs, but it doesn't die and later back in the kitchen sink as they are talking about what else to put in the soup, it's legs are moving and the father says something about reflexes.

They have a basement full of white bunnies hopping around, that they eat.

The mother/ex-wife visits (with the brother/son) and manages to get a couple of bitchy comments in from behind her blowfly sunglasses and smug coiff. She puts her daughter down in one breath - two insults one on top of the other, about the salad, it's a little bit tart, and you'll never be the cook your mother was.

I am going to try and get the book. What an interesting read. Quite macabre, with a fairly hefty dose of urban hillbilly and moonshine. And then of course she rebelled in her twenties by... buying a car and getting a job.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I'm sorry, it's just not. Each week it gets less and less funny. The first episode had some amusing bits. Then it progressively got more and more unfunny.

So many things in life are funny. Not this. Oh my god. Why can't my husband see it?

He thinks Phil is the most HIGH-LARIOUS dude ever. He's not, he's so annoying I want to kill him. And his stupid freaking wife. And his three horrible children.

The only people who are sometimes okay are the gay couple and Manny. I do like Manny but his character is getting tired.

Last week's episode I did not crack a smile.

Life is too short.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I just want to wipe the smile off Jimmy's face

He is shitting me big time.

And I know I'm not the only one.


Bought a new kettle today. Pretty happy about that. Also put tax stuff into accountant. Ticking things off the list, have more energy than I've had for a long time.


Might make lemon curd tonight to go with lemon puddings. Or mini lemon tarts with a bit of meringue on top. MMMMM LEMONS. From Ramon. Beautiful.


Had to say no to the ex yesterday, via email. He is a dodgy shit and I refuse to be caught up in his webs. That's all I'm going to say. Well, and this. He says he doesn't involve me in his business but he does! Including giving customers my mobile number and then I get calls out of the blue, and have to try and not say anything or the wrong thing. No matter what, everything I do or say is wrong according to Ali. He told me I was causing him trouble, when really it's the other way round. Mental.


Listening to classical music makes me feel joyous.


The sunshine, how nice is it? Dare we hope? Do you reckon? Maybe?


Princess has just now auditioned for the school musical. I am so proud of her, getting up and singing in front of the others (including Year 9s) and teachers. She's got game, and I would never have done that.


I am loving dark blue at the moment. Got a top recently, it is the most beautiful blue. Going all navy on your asses.


We are loving The OC. Seth Cohen - the best character ever in a tv show? Discuss.


Status of sitch with bro - we are not talking. Hopefully things will improve. We have never had feuds in our family. We anglos tend to leave that to the mediterraneans. But it's like "how old are we?" and "how can it come to this?"

Quite pathetic.


Oh hey. I'm re-reading The Colour of Water, by James McBride. If you like a memoir that reads like a novel, check it. I loved it the first time I read it, loving it again now. I am saturated a little with fictione, finding everything a bit too much hard work or something.


Have you noticed you can't cut and paste, or copy and paste, into blog posts any more? Is there something I'm missing? It's very annoying.


Gotta go. Gotta get the chop casserole happening and find recipes for dessert. I never cook dessert on a week night, but tonight I shall.

Friday, July 09, 2010

sweet nostalgia

So recently I've been showing Princess some movies, and today I sat her down and showed her a few music videos. She was trying to understand the difference between sharpies, skins, punks, goths, etc.

I explained about the New Romantics of the '80s, and we agreed Emos must have evolved out of Goths.

I showed her ska music, which I was into in 1982 and 1983. Madness, oh how we loved them.

Then I was showing her some Beatles music and this one I just love. The pipers make me cry.

Happy weekend everyone.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Good News

So the doctor said the scan said mum's cancer is gone.
How about that?
We are, of course, thrilled. But mum is trying also to be buddhist about it, that is not get attached to things too much in life, and that includes being cancer free.
I guess our approach this time around was one of oh fuck oh well let's just push on then, but without the soul searching and angst of before.
The good thing too is that she only had a little bit compared to ten years ago, so the little bit would go quicker than a big bit. That's my highly medicalised theory anyway.
Other good things that are happening:
- tomorrow night I'm going to see Animal Kingdom with my sis.
- I am well and truly on the way back from my illness. All it took, my friends, were the right antibiotics and over two weeks of house/bed rest. And much much reading.
- I have introduced Princess now to the pleasure that is The OC.
- the sun is out
- I took the Gigi for a walk yesterday. I am establishing a new regime of health, partly because I don't want to just feel worse and worse every year and end up a complete haggy invalid in a decade, and partly because we are going to Turkey in September, and I will be wearing bathers and jumping off the side of boats etc. I need to impress the moustaches.
- Booked the tickets the other day. Mum is coming with me and Princess. Three other friends are staying with us down south. It is going to be fucking awesome.
- My leave is approved, my new contract is signed so I have another year at my job confirmed. Yay me.
- tonight I will do a test run of cheese souffles for our Tour meal next Saturday night. Not sure about main yet. Maybe just something really simple, like chicken chausseur or a casserole. I can't be rooted going all out. Was considering the Frenchified version of beef Wellington but seriously can't be arsed. That dish is like a once-in-five-years dish. Maybe.
- I am re-reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Last time I got up to p214 (the page is still folded. Do you fold or use bookmarks?) Not sure why I stalled but I'm giving it another go. I am not reading well at the moment, unable to sleep, I have insomnia (last night couldn't get to sleep, sat at the computer until 6am then crawled back in, slept until 11.45am. There's something wrong with me? I'm turning back into a teenager/angst-ridden post adolescent.)
Things that are not so great:
- see above. Insomnia.
- my writing. No energy for it. Maybe I just need a little break. Have been going at it solidly and madly for well over a year. I have several "new" projects; they need to compete and jostle with each other to win my attention. But leaving it up to them to do so is at the moment a little fruitless.
- my mind is on my mortgage, which with the renos has climbed up. And I need to pay my mum back some money, and my dad. I have never worried about money before and now I am trying to be responsible and grown up, I don't like the way it makes me feel. Easier to just be in denial?
- Ali (ex husband) is wanting to organise some things when we are there. One of these things is trying to solve his tax problem which has been dogging him for years. One of the solutions I believe involves a property settlement with me, where things are transferred into my name, to be held for Princess? I don't know it all makes my head hurt and I hope I don't get caught up in it. I will have to be strong and tell him I can't sign stuff without a lawyer here looking over stuff. I know he'll huff and puff and say don't you trust me?
Short answer - no.
Long answer - mostly.
- I've told you about Princess and some of her peers at school being from the dark side (or children of them that hail from the dark side.) Seriously, one of her facebook friends has another facebook friend with a high-profile surname and public photos including a dinner at a swank restaurant with the high-profile person in attendance. Think one of two surviving. Surname ends in G. Don't mention here, I'm scared. So then there's the child of the non-surviving person (surname ends in M) and she is Queen Bee and hogs all the boys and is really mean and powerful and everyone sucks up to her and Princess has said things like People say her family are in U****belly and I know they are/were but I don't want her to know. I did tell her if it was true that the kids need their privacy and it's not their fault they have criminal families. Princess also said Some dude got killed last year, and x's grandmother is in jail. I already knew this and had to use my poker face. A bit of ferreting around on the Internet last night and I found out that Child X's new stepdad is connected (was arrested) with a certain stupid footballer's stupid brother who is in the news, like, now.
My concern is that the power and status of these people (which emanates from money, connections, veiled threats which I have heard were made at another private school, Don't you know who my family is? sort of thing, but not from this particular Child X) is affecting the tone of Princess's year level. I want them to leave but I also sort of feel sorry for them.
This is weighing on my mind quite a lot, but I'll leave it there.
So as you can see, a real mix of good and bad, as always.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The continuing education of Princess

Remember when I took it upon myself to introduce Princess to some of my favourite, "significant" movies? She was sick home with a virus and I wanted her to expand her literary horizons (ie be a little bit open to things other than Twilight.)
First, there was Romeo and Juliet x 2. The Luhrmann and the Zefirelli versions.
The next day, we saw Wuthering Heights.
There was 2001: A Space Odyssey. For full response please scroll down to middle of post.+
So now, to 2010. With everyone else in the family away at various holiday spots (Sydney and QLD) Princess and I have [shamefully?] indulged in videos constantly since Friday afternoon.
This is our viewing list:
1. Princess and the Frog (I didn't watch this one, so don't judge me.)
Princess: Don't bag it, it was a good movie.

2. United States of Tara, Disc 1, Season 1. (7 eps.)
Princess: I liked it but it was slightly confronting and are there people actually like that?

3. The Bodyguard.
Princess: I liked that one.

4. The Queen.
Princess: I liked that one as well, it was interesting but it was more documentary, and I think it was done well.

5. Room with a View.
Princess: I actually liked that one quite a bit, but I felt it was like... what happened in that one? I only liked it for the brother, he was hot. He reminded me of Leo Di Caprio, I found it a bit more interesting when she was back home, maybe because more things happened than in Italy. Charlotte was funny, but she was annoying. The Mr Beebe was annoying but hilarious at the same time.

6. Little Women.
Princess: I didn't like the ending very much, I think she should have ended up with the hot dude, and that was that old guy who like, I don't know, her father or something.

7. Bull Durham
Princess: I liked that one but I thought the lady had no life, no offence. Like nobody likes baseball that much, slightly scary.

8. The Da Vinci Code
Princess: Okay I'm just gonna say it straight: The albino was scary. Seriously, that was just weird and like I think, but I think I liked Angels and Demons better because it had more of a chase at the end, before the thing blowed up or whatever, but like this one, she, the lady whatever her name was, like she, like she could have she could have told like everybody that like what the church was saying was completely wrong, but she's like nup, not going to do that, and he's like found Mary Magdalene's bones whatever, and didn't even tell her.
Melba: How do you know? He might have texted her.
P: Yeah, he was just... it ended like he was just kneeling on top of the thing with all the triangles. But it was a good movie.
9. Juno
Princess: I liked the movie, thought she was an interesting character, I didn't like that Mark dude, he seemed really paedophilish, he was scary, and then like I think it was nice at the end how she gave the baby to Vanessa and that dude with the tic-tacs he was cool, whatever his name was, I can't remember the names.

10. Muriel's Wedding
Princess: The father was really mean. And like I think she was really delusional and that annoyed me, because I kept on wanting her to wake up, and she did finally. They were like a really dysfunctional family but not in like a comedic way, but a really sad depressing way, so I didn't really like it much but I liked the ending. It redeemed itself, a bit.

11. Terms of Endearment
[Melba: the saddest movie evah!]
Princess: Dude, no way. Titanic is like the saddest, seriously. Okay I liked it, I think she was an idiot for not leaving him [Flap]. I liked the astronaut, he was funny and the mum she was so glamorous all the time, I loved what she wore. Um, the ending was sad like when she died and mum was like crying so much and I found it sad but yeah, she was dying and stuff and in some ways I think it was better in some way for the kids, because even though they would grow up without their mum, I don't think they would have grown up great with their parents fighting and cheating, and so then they'd grow up with their grandmother, a bit more stable.

Harry Potter retrospective is underway. Will report later.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The worst book of the decade?

This morning I finished this book. While I can't remember much of Life of Pi other than I enjoyed it, and it was weird, this book, THIS BOOK is wonderful.

I cried in the final pages, then got out of bed, remembering that I'd read some negative stuff about it. I googled, I found some reviews, and these comments in a review by a blogger called Edward Champion:

It contains a moral vision less sophisticated than the dribbing one might encounter from a human vegetable.

That the reviewer wrote the way he did because nobody was willing to call a clear turd out for what it was.

And my favourite:

Inarguably, I think, nearly anyone with any literary sensibility would recognize this as something truly vile...

Oh my god.

And this from another reviewer: disappointing and often perverse (The New York Times.)

There was a bad review in The Washington Post as well.

I loved this book, adored it. It was fresh, clever, so so so imaginative, concise, weird, moving, chilling. And did I mention imaginative?

Perverse? How so?

Vile? How so?

I wonder is it me? Or them?

Just goes to show books and what you like and don't like is such a personal thing.

I was stunned by how much I loved this book.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday wrap


I've been in bed since Tuesday lunchtime. Well, obviously not the whole time. I have been in and out, even managing on Wed to drag myself out into the world to go to Officeworks and the local council offices. The dog, you see, was out of registration.

I'm feeling much better. It's been a flu I think, because I had the whole body aches and face aches, although the body aches can just be me getting old and the face could be sinusitis? Anyway, started with a rotten throat, passed through a day of nose runs, awful headache, nausea. Just so blah.

Wednesday was worst but I dosed myself up. Thursday a little better. And now today, better still. But I intend to crawl back into bed in a minute. I have just kissed the last of the family as they headed out the door.

I do love having the house to myself, it's such a delicious feeling.


So this week of being in bed has meant much reading.

I have read the following:

- half of Dogboy by Eva Hornung. What a book but it's so intense I have to dilute it with other stuff in between. It's so amazingly done, so believable. What a book.

- all of The Pillow Book by Matthew Condon. It's a re-read and I knocked it off yesterday. It's an interesting book because it's about domestic violence with the male as victim.

- Perfect Victim by Elizabeth Southall, which is about the murder of her daughter Rachel in 1999. Another re-read. I like to torture myself with these books for some reason.

- Orhan Pamuk's Snow. I'm 240 pages in and it's fucking awesome.

- Last night I started re-reading Widow for One Year by John Irving. It's funny. This dude has been my favourite writer forever but now, on rereading him as a more mature person, I am seeing his self indulgence and pomposity and I don't like it. But I'm liking the book again. We'll see.


So other than that, nothing much to report. Not sure what to have for breakfast. Not feeling so in love with food at the moment. Haven't wanted a glass of wine all week which is strange for me, usually I have to resist. We're going out on Saturday night to a friend's birthday party and I plan to wear my new anniversary shoes. Might be going out tonight with a friend and her daughter, we'll see. Otherwise a quiet weekend and I'll be ready for work on Monday. But it has to be said, all those people who say "Oh I'd keep working, definitely, if I won ten million dollars":


Work would be the last thing I'd do.


The writing is going okay. I'm on to another one, which is a fairly old one from about ten years ago, which I've got between 40 and 60K words done. (60K original, 40K edited but I can't remember what I cut out so will have to compare the two docs.)

It's not the one I thought I'd move onto next but for some reason it's the one that has been nudging at my brain. It's a bit exciting. Oh I wish I could have started this serious writing earlier, then I could have been this happy for a bit longer. Does that make sense?


I've ordered some books from Book Depository in the UK. A friend put me on to them. Cheap books and no delivery costs to Australia. She uses it all the time, so I'm a bit excited and it's really quite dangerous for someone like me to know about a place like that.


Tenants are in the flat, and I am learning to stop my mind from turning there all the time. Habituated to do so I guess. My mind is now starting to turn to the trip in September, I still need to book. Mum is going well so fingers crossed she can come. School holidays are coming up at the end of next week so that's really nice too. I won't be slaving during them at the flat, can huddle and hibernate here and do my thing. Once I'm better I intend to take the dog for a walk every day, no matter the weather. Wish me luck with that one.


Oh! In the garden yesterday when I took the dog out for a wee in between storms, I found that we have capsicums growing against the fence! Three of them, and I took them off the plant. Also we have some tender little violets there and a strawberry plant! With one frosty white looking strawberry on it! Incroyable.


Speaking of French we have our Tour meal coming up next month. This annual event is now in its fifth year for us.

We've had boeuf bourgignon, French onion soup, lapin (don't mention the lapin!), onion tart, cheeses, coq au vin. This year, it's at our house again and we are inviting another couple. My sis and her husband I don't think are all too pleased but nevermind.

My bro-in-law is the one who's the most enthused (along with me) about planning the menu and last weekend he arrived for dinner here with about 6 cookbooks and we sat down and he has decided to do creme brulee and I haven't decided what to do but probably Boeuf En Croute (which is Beef Wellington I am told, and Clokes did a fab Beef Wellington for our anniversary dinner not so long ago. He won't be making it, he has said never again and when he says something like that, I believe him.

This is a mild-mannered man, dear people, who never talks like that and is not given to histrionics like me. Maybe he will agree to help me? He did it with porcini mushrooms as a layer rather than pate. I would love to try it with foie gras but I know that others might not like it, ie him.)


So I think I might go back to bed. Happy weekend to all and keep warm and dry.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I have just finished reading Wetlands by Charlotte Roche.


I have this to say about it:

- it is the perfect length

- it is funny

- it is very revolting, not for the faint-hearted

- it is revolting and funny at the same time

- it is in no way sexually arousing (for me, I don't know, maybe poo-philes and pus-lovers will find it kinky?)

- isn't kinky such an old-sounding word? it's so seventies.

- I LOVED the ending. LOVED IT. It was a happy ending, an ending with hope and love and potential and she gave a reason for why the main character was as she was.

- it made me think of Affection by Krissy Kneen. Another warts-and-all type of book, readable and brave. I had read Christos Tsiolkas's Dead Europe just before Wetlands, and I loved that as well. I must be so stupid, it took me a little while to realise there was some sort of vampirish thing going on. What a great book it was though. Again, with all the bodily fluids, and blood. There's one other book I want to read which sits, I believe, in the detailed-bodily-fuctions-gross-out genre, and that is In-human by Anna Dusk. How cool a name is Anna Dusk - is it real I wonder.


Now I am turning to Snow by Orhan Pamuk. I have had this book on my shelves for years, dear readers, years. I have never read any of his books. I also have Istanbul and My Name is Red. I have often wondered why I haven't read them yet, but now I know. It wasn't time, and now it is.

I am going to enter a phase of "Turkish readings" including re-reading my favourite trilogy by Yashar Kemal Iron Earth, Copper Sky; The Wind from the Plains and The Undying Grass. I also have some memoirish stuff to re-read (life during the end of the Ottoman era) and a couple of non-fiction including Lady Mary Wortley's travel writings.

This long weekend, in addition to reading much, I want to tidy my bookcases and put all my stuff into author groups.

Any ideas on how to organise? How do you organise your bookshelves? Do you?

At the moment mine are all over the place. I do have a Helen Garner section and a Hemingway section, but I want to have sections where I can locate a book fast. I also have overflow. What do I do with that? For years my overflow has been all my "embarrassing" books, you know the ones that you don't want to be seen reading. My embarrassing books are things like Jackie Collins, Stephen King and books with titles like Who Killed Leigh Leigh and Single, Wild and Sexy. Another embarrassing book I had was Survivors of Verbal Abuse or something like that. I ripped the cover off that one because I was reading it and commuting at the same time.


The flat is finished yay. I have the whole weekend plus Monday to recover and turn my mind to the next project, which is going to Turkey in September. It'll be just me and Princess, though I'm hoping mum can come too. We have to wait another couple of weeks to see what the doctor says. A few friends are planning to join us there in the south - what fun - and I think the plan is to stay in the village house that Ali has renovated. It has a pool in the almond orchard, stone walls and from memory there were some chickens strutting around the dirt lanes. Bliss.
I think we'll hire a car so we don't have to drive the notorious jeep. I feel sick just thinking about it, ama hersey iyi olacak. Degil-mi?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sunday update

The flat is almost finished, but I was told on Thursday that the gas heater was not compliant. So I ran around Friday working out a solution which involves pulling out that heater tomorrow and creating an open fireplace (nice) and installing three of those slimline electric wall-mounted heating panels.

Bloody hell.

The current heater is a fake gas log fire one which I had installed about 8 years ago, and it's always worked fine but two plumbers have told me that heaters like that need appropriate ventilation, which would have been too costly and difficult to put in, not to mention fucking ugly.

While at the heater shop, I was approached by someone from Channel 7 Today Tonight with questions about the heaters I was buying. The conversation went like this:

Pretty girl: Hi. [self introduction] I can see you're buying some of the heaters we are doing a story on. Can I ask why you chose those ones?
Me: Um. They look nice. They are streamlined and a nice clean line.
PG: So did efficiency come into it?
Me: Oh I think on the website it said that they are okay for all that, but really, it was how they looked.
PG: Would you be prepared to say that on camera?
Me: Oh no. I'd be too shy plus I've got two sick kids at home, I haven't got time.
PG: [big smile]. Oh okay. [Backs off.]
It hadn't really sunk in what the show was, and I didn't click until I was walking out of the door why they were even there. I hate Today Tonight and all those shows with a passion, and all the people who watch them too. I'm so glad I didn't say yes, and I'm so glad I didn't have my mug on a story about two gassed boys. It would have been embarrassing and horrible.
I found out yesterday that not everyone in my family supports me and my writing. I found out why one of my close family members doesn't ask "how it's all going", or say anything like "hey, you've written a book [insert any number of appropriate sentiments here.]"
I am not flashy with my writing. I don't talk about it with everyone, and until about a year ago I didn't talk about it with anyone. I'm not one of those bores who sits there at lunch, dinner parties, wherever going on and on about me and my writing. I am one of the people who are usually sitting opposite such a person, smiling and nodding politely.
BUT I have supported this particular person doggedly through the years, through many creative/adacemic/sporting/entrepreneurial/business activities. I feel disappointed and hurt that I am not getting a skerrick of support or interest back. And I said so. (Also, btw, I have not received any questions/comments/interest about the renovation either.)
I was told that because it's creative and personal and mine, this person feels a lack of necessity to support me or show interest (!) and that anyway, I have lots of people interested (mum, dad, sister) (!) and it's better than faking interest (!) and besides (Oh, now I'll tell you the real reason, but just because you're pushing me): "I think you should be working instead of spending time writing a book. And looking after your kids and family."
What did it take for me not to smash this person in the nose? To be all very "large" about it and even give a kiss and rub an arm as if to say "no hard feelings?"
Because I felt sorry for him. I really did.
Because to live a life without creativity is sad I think. And I feel lucky, inspired, and (damn it all) touched by that wanky old muse.
And besides, I do work, I'm contributing, I'm cooking, my kids aren't smoking dope and having all sorts of unsafe, skanky sex, stealing money, in trouble with the cops, running away from home, refusing to go to school like some, being assessed by community services.
We sit and watch Masterchef. We watch Modern Family. We have deep and meaningful conversations in the car on the way to Family Night about condoms and what is the Pill?
I am seeing this person turn into a cranky old man.
And that's sad.
Time now for some eggs and coffee. Happy Sunday everyone. Diaries next week, I promise.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

nous sommes une famille gastronomique!

Okay. My copy of Mrs Beeton's Cookery and Household Management is NOT QUITE as rustico as the picture, but it would be a worthy challenger in any competition that included the category "death by puppy."

I bought my Mrs Beeton's at the old second-hand bookshop in Sorrento. That's Sorrento, Mornington Peninsula, not Italia.

I was rapt when I saw it there on the shelf. Some household had off-loaded it, thinking it worthless. Daggy when on the shelf beside Donna Hay and Jamie Everywhere Dot Com.

And get this.

At the same time, I got the Larousse Gastronomique.

What a fucking coup, ladies and gentleman. (That's you INC, Perseus only reads the diaries. And Ramon only comes on when there are lemons, really, or maybe a Palestinian/Israeli dispute. Just to watch, you know.)

So. you know we had an anniversary last Wednesday. The same day as Ms Fits' birthday. I'll never forget. And the same day she stopped her blog. Ah, how we move on.

"Hello, my name is Melba, and I am okay."

So. The anniversary. Right now Clokes is in the kitchen. He is wearing his Collingwood top and cooking a Masterchef recipe. He is doing Beef Wellington. While we went out Wed night to a local pizza restaurant and test-drove the idea that the kids can fend for themselves, tonight, my friends, is our romantico night where we feast on the Beef Wellington (as Hercule Poirot would say, very fond of the definite articles as he was in his translated Anglais).

So Clokes is Slaving over the Hot Stove and I have run off to my study/library/entirely indulgent and booky space to blog about the Mrs Beeton's index.

"I'm going to blog about this to my three readers!" I shouted, as I left the kitchen after helping Clokes skim the red wine sauce and flip the crepes, in a very George Calombaris manner.

"I thought you had more than three readers," said Princess, as she loaded up her taco. (When you have three kids, you don't feed them The Beef Wellington. It's Tacos For Them!)

"I'm being modest," I lied, and left the room.

So. This is what grabbed my attention.

Looking up God* Knows What, I noticed the following, on page 1324 in my old haggard prostitute of a copy (but Sorrento, don't you know dahling, think of how much she could 'ave 'aggled twenty years ago, dahling):

Bearnaise sauce
Beat, to
Beatrice tartlets
Bechamel sauce (can't be bothered with the acute)
Bed bugs
a la Mode
as mock hare
au gratin
balls, raw
braised, in aspic
brisket of
cannelon of
carbonnade of
chateaubrian steak

(can't be bothered with the circumflexes and graves either.)

So it's a book of household management, and cookery. You can whip up a cheese souffle and conquer warts at the same time?

Mais, bien sur.

This is my post for this week. I am tired, I have no time but I WILL answer any of your questions (using my Mrs Beeton resource or my own mad skillz) to do with cookery or household management.

Post your questions below.

And have a good weekend. Be nice to each other. Wear a condom, or don't use too much tongue when kissing. Just a little bit is nice.

* And speaking of the Old Boy, anyone else read or about to the new Phillip Pullman book on Jesus??

Friday, May 28, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday musings

Assorted shallow comments:

1. Just did my nails. OPIs Cajun Shrimp. A gorgeous red.

2. Got some new shoes yesterday. It's Clokes' and my wedding anniversary next week. We are doing the traditional gift thing, and 3 years is leather. So he's getting himself a leather jacket and I decided on shoes.

They're like these but the heel's a bit different. They are from Stuart Weitzman and nice.

3. Just finished watching Gossip Girl with my two girls. We have now finished the second season. Princess was having conniptions on the couch during the final episode. You know how these tv series creators like to play with your emotions.

4. We are up to date with Survivor. Happy Rupert survived. I think my kids think I'm revolting for saying that I find him quite fanciable.

5. Tomorrow we will watch some more back eps of Glee. Recently my dear friend Magical_M asked me who was my favourite character. I like lots of them, but forgot to mention Sue. How could I forget Sue? Earlier this week I saw the Season 1 episode where she visits her sister and reads to her. So tender and good. Love it.

6. Last night we had pizza and I really am not a pizza person.

7. I should put another coat of nail polish on.

8. Done.

9. We watched the first episode of Modern Family. It was a bit meh. Anybody else see it?

10. I might have a bubble bath tonight.

Deep and meaningful bits (some of these points probably belong above):

1. My mum's treatment is going well so far, thanks for everyone who's emailed, commented here or texted. I'm not going to bang on about it too much but will give you occasional updates. It's all a bit second-time-around and kind of boring in a way. (That sounds really callous, it's not.) We are planning a trip to Turkey in September, to take Princess to see Ali. I asked mum to come, so if it all goes well, that's what we'll do. A stop-over in Abu Dhabi maybe, and a side-trip to Prague. Oh yes please.

2. Geelong played well last night and poor Clokes was a bit devo but he took it well. My dad called me in the afternoon with a spare ticket and I had to say no. More than happy to be on the couch watching, with pizza, wine and then a Maxi-Bon to follow. I really can't be bothered with night games. They are so torturous. Though I once wrote an ode to a Friday night game, I really would rather be on red couch than on hard seat. And so, I can't see any real challengers to Geelong at this point.

3. I am re-reading Joe Cinque's Consolation.

4. Have stalled in the latest John Irving one. So self-indulgent and wordy. It's like he's too famous now so that either a) everyone is too scared to edit him properly or b) he just says 'fuck off' to editing. Or maybe both?

5. I am reading to my 13-year-old daughter again. I have decided to introduce her to the joys of Agatha Christie, especially the Hercule Poirot detective books. I lie on her bed at night and read to her. I do all the voices, she theorises (very accurately) about whodunnit, and it's all rather cosy and lovely. She still reads her vampire/fantasy books, but we have our little routine which both of us are enjoying.

6. I'm scratching around for another point. Might leave it there. Will try to diarise tomorrow but no promises.

What are you reading, good people? What are you watching on teeve? Who are you kissing, what are you wearing and what are you eating?

Talk to me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sorry, no Bali diarama today

I am battling a big headache. Have had it all day. I don't get headaches traditionally, though it has to be said in recent times I am starting to.




I've just had my second coffee, and if that doesn't fix it my recovery-back-up plan involves any or all of the following:

- Blue castello cheese on Vita-Weets (plain)

- Sea salt Kettle chips

- fresh salmon and wild barramundi with green beans and scalloped potatoes (made with cheese and cream, oh my)

- a high top apple pie with cream

- alcohol, ranging from wine to limoncello which really has just turned out a very lemony vodka. Bit disappointing actuallement.

- back episodes of Glee

- a bubble bath

- The Age newspaper on the bed. Now.

My back-up plan does NOT include:

- the Collingwood-Freo game tonight.

Wow. Just writing a list is making my headache recede. Must have been the coffee.

Does that mean I have to resist indulgence tonight?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who is being tried?

The Gambino-Farquharson case has me intrigued, I admit it. I am drawn to macabre events like this one. Aren't we all? I guess unless you are a super-sensitive person and have to turn away (some people can't read about this stuff, just like my mum can't bear to hear stories about people injuring their toes or fingers) or have suffered something similar, we humans like to read about the dark stuff, hear about it, talk about it. We revel in it. It's the car-crash thing, the schadenfreude thing. The There but for the Grace of God Go I thing.

But those of us who do lap this stuff up, we enjoy, if that's the word, from the safety of our nice, safe lives. Because it makes us feel lucky, perhaps (not a bad thing to feel.)

Puts things in perspective for us, that our small lives are untouched by such tragedy, drama and horror.

Feeds the need in us for thrill and shock and awe.

It's a long time since I wrote here commentarily. I haven't been inspired by the news or current affairs for ages.

But in today's Age, in the article on page 2, I was shocked by the story. We have all heard of rape victims being cross-examined and having to justify the length of their skirts, the volume of alcohol in their blood, or about how faint or inaudible or tardy their No was.

But in a murder trial? Is this a new form of misogyny? Attack a grieving mother who wasn't even within hoo-ie of the scene of death. Who had nothing to do with it. And was clearly a person who believed her estranged husband's story that he blacked out during a coughing fit and drove the car into the dam.

Nevermind that there is evidence that before it happened he told someone he was going to hurt her by killing the kids. Yeah, forget that. Innocent until proven guilty.

This man drove a car into a dam and in the back were his three young sons. This man said he had a sneezing attack, lost control of the car and then was unable to save them. This man called his wife it seems, first? She was on the scene very quickly and called the ambulance and police?

The defence lawyer - a Mr Peter Morissey SC - attacked the mother in court with such provocative insinuations that he got what he wanted - an emotional reaction, and probably thinks he managed to discredit her story. Because, you know, people have to stick to their evidence as given to the police, when you are a witness, not adjust their thinking over time, especially not if new information comes to light. No, just ignore all that and stay with what you originally said. Otherwise you are suspect and hypocritical.

I'm sure the police are suspicious of witnesses who don't change details over time.

But he's right. Her attitude may have changed. Why? Because at first she couldn't believe a father could do that. But then she realised he could. Don't forget, this was before the girl got thrown off a bridge. Irrefutable evidence that people can do awful things. But people don't want to believe the worst. We can't. Otherwise we may have to wonder what did I marry? What didn't I see?

Morrisey is on a mission to discredit her or suggest that she has changed her story, possibly defaced a tomb-marker and dared to be photographed at the boys' funeral in what remains undescribed in the paper but is insinuated to be what one could imagine a friendly, co-grieving clutch with her ex-husband.

So grubby. How does he sleep at night?

The fee? It can only be the fee.

The glory? What glory?

What the fuck does SC mean anyway? Standard Counsel. Satisfactory Counsel. So-so Counsel.

[Flashback - an eight-year-old Melba once took on a barrister, who these days specialises in similar grubby work defending people who clearly "did it." She told him not to call her mother and her friend (his wife) a "couple of tarts."

I remember him standing officiously in front of his enormous fireplace in his enormous house in St Vincent's Place, South Melbourne, red wine in hand, joshing around in his booming court-room voice. He was being funny, you see. Little Melba didn't know that, she took everything on face value, as is fairly normal at that age.

Don't call my mother a tart.

Later, at the age of maybe 14, an exchange:

Do you have to defend criminals?


Do have to be their lawyer even if you know they are guilty?


Thus endeth Melba's small thoughts of becoming a lawyer.

And another time. Melba enters the office on William St of the above barrister's lawyerly friend. The two of them were working on the Mr Asia case. This is oh maybe 1983/84. Melba is doing some work for them, data entry into a tinny little TRS-80 from Dick Smith. Evidence. Masses of it. Interesting stuff. I wish I'd kept a copy. No real link to anything here, just fills out the picture of the calibre of client.

But back to the story.

The defence for Farquharson, Peter Morrisey, who is not a designer of anything other than maybe paperclips in rows on his faux-teak desk, said the following to Cindy Gambino, mother of those three boys:

"What have you got to say about your role, if any?" (relating to the chiselling off of Farquharson's name on the boys' headstone.)

Why is this even being discussed? Even if she did, don't you think most reasonable people would understand why she might have hacked at it? It's something a mother might do, but its completely irrelevant to the case. And why is she being asked about her previous testimony? Is she in contempt of court, is she trying to cause mischief?

As she said:

"What mother could fathom that a father could do such a thing to their children?"

Morrissey insinuates that she defaced their grave.

Then he suggests that she is "deliberately putting a bad spin" or " 'deliberately exaggerating' aspects of her evidence to increase the likelihood of him being found guilt over the boys' deaths."

The trial continues, the paper says.

Whose trial?

Oh, and a literary tip. Book in the offing from high-profile writer. Can't wait.