19 December 2009

postscript: hot and not (#four-and-a-half)

Some further hots and nots which a) were lost in the Wednesday morning brain-haze or b) possibly not going to make it to the page, since next Wednesday I will be ringing out work for 2009 and enjoying K's company before we part for a week and reunite, post-xmas, in Gippsland...

Hot

A hilarious trip with my mate R out to the boondocks (past Ipswich) to see a psychic who, despite being recommended by more than one person, was utterly crap. Apparently I have a spirit guide called Theodosis, a spritely Aegean man, while R's spirit guide Trish was her lesbian lover in a past life. It went downhill from there. Hot though, because we laughed all the way home.

Our first joint furniture heist has furnished the love nest with three sets of old-school wooden drawers from a QUT science lab. Well, maybe it wasn't technically a heist. The University for the Real World is demolishing some buildings (still can't get my head around why), and since I walk through the uni to get to work, I stumbled across the chuck-outs. Replete with dynamo labels, declaring 'buchner funnels', 'clamps', 'qualitative accelerators' and the like. I'm hoping a second swoop tomorrow finds the furniture pile still there.


A most productive op-shop swoop in Paddington, with multiple pairs of jeans and trousers each and a whole rack of shirts for K. Tally, about thirty bucks.

Pre-xmas dinner with K's family at Mondo Organics. Ten words. Callebaut chocolate pudding with bleeding hazelnut heart and cinnamon semi freddo. Yum. Yum. Yum.

A bizarre Christmas dinner at Binna Burra lodge with K's old choir buddies, aka his geriatric harem... I had no idea groups of old ladies charged with cheap red wine could flirt with such gusto. The old ducks worship the ground K walks on, and hadn't seen him for a couple of months, so there were lots of cuddles. And a few wayward gropes of his thighs - eek! The dinner was followed by a sleepless night in my tent, which we added to the list of things I own which K doesn't fit in. (His head nestles my car's roof and his feet get stuck on the wrong pedals, as previously chronicled). The next day, however was more relaxed, with a visit to his mate Tony from choir, who is the son of the founder of Binna Burra Lodge. We had tea with Tony on the most amazing deck I've ever had tea on, with an outlook over Lamington National Park, the Numinbah Valley and the Gold Coast beyond. He showed us right around his place, Alcheringa - the only residence at the top of the mountain, built by his brother in the 70s but still amazingly stylish. He lets it out and lives in the 'granny flat' next door. A decadent yet homely wood-and-slate chalet with high ceilings, an 'infinity' deck, open fireplace, spa bath and outdoor Japanese-styled bathroom. Oh. My. God.
I was agog when K said he'd earlier this year turned down an opportunity to house-sit for Tony. Needless to say, we are now firmly back on the short-list for house-sitting in 2010, while Tony will be gadding around Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and half of Europe, guiding for the tour company he established but which is now run by his daughter. What a life.

Not

In a logical segue from some of the above food-fests, I have padded out quite a bit in the latter half of the year. Mainly because I'm not walking as much with ongoing back irks. Cohabitation with the Hollow-Legged Man has also changed eating patterns somewhat. Anyway, trying to get past my ego, get used to the curves and enjoy compliments about being 'womanly'.

16 December 2009

hot and not wednesday (#four)

Not (thought I'd start at the ugly end this week and work my way back to nicety)


I am ratty. I walk like an old lady and grumble like one because I can’t shake this back thing (nor the work thing, I'm not sure which is the greater evil at the moment). My wallet is falling apart. Any decision-making capacity I had this year (not a lot to start with, and further diminished by the ethical conundrums wrought by the prospect of a new wallet) has left the building. I badly need a haircut, some new clothes and a hip replacement. Work is driving me nuts, with its frayed personalities and bi-polar pace: busy-one-week, tumbleweed-watching the next. I am so overdue for a very long holiday.

I could kick myself for not sticking to my boycott of the work Kris Kringle. With an 11th-hour peer-invoked reversal, I procured a very satisfactory bejewelled soft elephant from Oxfam, which now taunts me from J's desk across the room. While my crappy ‘hugging’ ceramic salt and pepper shakers remain at home, in a very deep, dark cupboard. Grrr.


Hot

Four working days left of 2009. Yee-ha!


My spunky little cabbage moth. For his own little ‘hot and not’ email to me last Thursday morning, which declared yours truly his ‘hot’ item. And a missed opportunity for, well, morning cuddles, his ‘not’!  

*Swoon* 

And for his stellar ability to put up with my increasing grumblings about work, and encouraging me to see the delight in every day. 

To play... write up your own 'what's hot and what's not Wednesday', link back to loobylu and add your name to the widget.

09 December 2009

hot and not wednesday (#three)

hot

An oldie but a goodie… the problem of sound was resolved many moons ago, through a surplus set of Dell speakers K gave me, which do the trick amp-ly (pun intended) for the small space we inhabit.

Also on the problem of sound, I have been expanding my musical horizons via a nifty little doodad (oh, I am so technical) called BitTorrent. Seriously, I have existed in web 1.0 far too long…

Some of the funniest out-takes in ages…


My DVD player carked it (presumably a 'not') as we were about to watch the fabulous Once (a birthday present – thanks S!). Having the bus across the road is proving a winner at crucial moments. K popped over the road and retreived his DVD player, averting the resort to laptop/desktop viewing. And the movie? Brilliant music and a somehow satisfyingly unsatisfactory (weepy) ending… if that makes sense?

Twelve more work days and counting...

not

My best mate R’s date with routine surgery turned very nasty and she wound up seriously sick, with stomach acid in her lungs. The doctors told her she had great karma and was lucky to have made it through. Eek. Which makes the rest of my ‘nots’ seem trifling really...

Burnout. At the very end of my very frayed rope. Putting it down to the continuous slog of more than a year at work without a real break… and ongoing back irks which make me feel a gazillion years old. Upper back and neck now seizing up. We blacklisted mid-week alcohol in an effort to regain energy and be good to ourselves, which admittedly has helped, though the larger struggle to get through the weeks til xmas remains.

Whole-screen pop-up web ads. Grrrr! Also in the media realm, there has been lots of bemoaning at the Hill of the ABC's news programming, which has been sliding, with live crosses to reporters in studios in Adelaide (?) and the holus-bolus feeding on the Tiger derailment.


To play... write up your own what's hot and what's not wednesday, link back to loobylu and add your name to the widget.

02 December 2009

hot and not wednesday

It's still Wednesday in Queensland...


Hot.

Five days beachside in central NSW. Throw in a wedding, dancing, swimming... and float away on a daydream of getting out of Brisvegas. 

Using the new Creative Space (aka the spare room) to make a driftwood/riverstone/paua shell mobile which now adorns the entrance. Ta-da!

Cohabitation has brought access to a cordless drill with many-sized drillbits for craft activities (see above). And probably power tools I haven't even dreamed of yet. And don't get me started about having my own web solutions maestro / help-desk in the next room. Oh I could rave...

The third bedroom/storage shed/second pantry (aka Alice the bus). Now parked over the road. Running out of pepper as dinner is served has never been such an easy fix.

K's choir has a CD out!

15 working days until xmas break. And hanging out at Bingi. Think I might create some sort of advent calendar in my Outlook. The count-down will be punctuated by work xmas parties. Which actually promise to be ... fun!

Leave loading. And a core agreement increase, backpaid to August, due any day... woo! Handy, since I've dog-eared some xmas wishes. Oh. And an appointment with the dentist, including multiple x-rays, which cost me $13. $13! Tallying the cost of items in my 'free' care pack, I think I actually walked out ahead! My first ever 'yeah!' for private health insurance! And a clean bill of health, with two remaining wisdom teeth declared fine to stay.

Not

Brain-fry. Courtesy being up to my eyeballs in policy quandries and deadlines on the secret squirrel welfare reform project which Anna is now earmarking as the centrepiece of Queensland's social inclusion agenda. Despite Kevin having virtually gazumped it. Eek!

Missed lunch breaks, emails, life etc (see above).

Federal politics... sheesh! 

Back irks are ongoing. However I have given up my Amish ways and am experiencing the revelation of Nurofen. Sitting at desk with minimal discomfort - the joy! Walking up hills without pain... hallelujah!

Summer hit about two weeks early. Hot. Wind-less. Blah. The first of many cold showers of the season.

---


To play... write up your own what's hot and what's not wednesday, link back to loobylu and add your name to the widget.

30 November 2009

interstate (love song)














Just got back from a much-needed five-day stint in south west rocks, a cosy beach hamlet in between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. A seven-hour drive (one way by car). Magnificent stretches of unpeopled beaches. Sun. A howling wind. And an all-day wedding, very good friends of K’s from The Rock. We took photos.

The stunning Smoky Cape Lighthouse hosted the party. Pink bubbly and Coopers flowed (and spilled) as we danced barefoot upon a soft lawn, overlooking a white, wild coast below - one of the most spectacular dancefloors in the world!
 













The sun blazed orange into the hills and the dancing turned serious...













Kidster floral headbands were donned and a plucky bridesmaid turned the tables on the photographers...
 













Barrelhouse, a whippersnapperish blues trio from Port Macquarie unloosed slide guitar, bass and drums into the gusty eve. A fabulous, long, hot day!














After the wedding, we indulged in lots of swimming, took ourselves for a bushwalk to our very own nudie beach, played more with the cameras (and collectively filled about 7GB of memory), and hung out with the lovely newlyweds.













More swimming was had on the beach-hop home, which we began with a slight detour south to Hat Head National Park – where the surf was bliss! We dreamed of parking Alice the bus there. Slightly crazy perhaps, but not completely off the map, since the hunt is on for a more permanent home for the old girl. She has just been relocated from her caravan park on the northside to a generous spot over the road from the House on the ‘Hill. Though she makes a great third (detached) bedroom (and wardrobe overflow, storage shed, etc), she’s bound to raise a few eyebrows.


A taste of summer and five continuous non-work days spent beachside... bring on xmas!

18 November 2009

another list, the resort of the overworked stressed-out deskhound

Getting on the blog theme bandwagon since life moves quickly (or faster than I seem to have capacity to blog) and any creative energy I had is pretty much sapped by day's end. And I do love a good list.


Hot.
Musculoskeletal therapy and cupping. Out of dire desperation after about six weeks of intractable (even with physio) lower back pain I had THE BEST massage last weekend. Cupping? I cocked an eyebrow at the "musculoskeletal therapist" but agreed to give it a go. A three thousand year old Chinese therapy made current by Gwyneth, 15 minutes is supposedly on par with three hours of remedial massage. My back has not felt so normal in a long time. Unfortunately this normalcy lasted about two days. Hmmph. And now Kaja (the "musculoskeletal therapist") is climbing Mt Everest. Of course.



The kind of tax return refund you get for not working a full year. Yeah!


Work is suddenly busy, after months of gouging my eyeballs out for entertainment. Am working on a sexy secret squirrel social inclusion / welfare reform policy project, a mandate straight from Anna's desk. Finally, some actual social policy work! Unfortunately it's been particuarly subject to political whims and now has some pretty squirmy timeframes on it, resulting in missed lunch breaks etc.


Subtropical electrical storms. One of the nicer things about summer in this part of the world. Oh, and the most exquisite local manzanella olives. And a new vintage sundress (without the pricetag which now goes along with vintage garb).



Looking forward to at least ten days off work over xmas and chilling out at Bingi with the relics. 

Not.
Coming up to about six weeks continuous lower back frustrations - see Hot. Hurts to sit. (Even after the heavenly massage, and even on my gymball.) At informal work meetings I stand. Long ago I changed my seat at the desk for a knee stool... unfortunately work is still a... pain in the arse!


My lame double entendres.


Saying no to January sailing on Pelican. Fun work. Paid work. I must be crazy. But this is my trade off for holiday-hoarding in anticipation of the can't-stand-desk-anymore (or at least can't sit at one) leap into the land of no reliable income. Bring. It. On.

And. I'm not sure which part of the list this belongs in, but last week was the one year anniversary of my return to Bris-vegas.

11 November 2009

theme of the week: cups

Had I posted this last week, it would have made a lot more sense. So. Humour me. Pleeease. And pretend you’re reading this during Melbourne Cup week…

This time last year, someone with wisdom beyond the urban bind baffled me with a Taoist parable about cups and the value of their contents. The moral being that a whiff of possibility is far more valuable than any precious stone, sweet intoxicant, nay, anything that can be held/measured by the cupful.

Upon recently re-reading this post, the story made a lot more sense. At the time I barely realised that my cup was empty. (I guess that’s the whole point though: fullness is relative.) I had no fixed address, no next calling. I'd spent more than a year being pulled along by a fluffy dream cloud on a string.

Now my cup overfloweth. With fizz and delight. (But also fair amounts of spillage, stained tablecloths, and working it out as we go etc. Ahem.)

After a long-ish stint of independent living, the house on the ‘Hill welcomed another member. K officially moved in after several months of unofficial cohabitation where we pretended to have separate abodes and he would duck home (to his beautiful motorhome bus) once or twice a week to water plants and pay rent.

So his arrival, with the rest of his worldly belongings not already at my/our place, was not the huge merge of stuff I’d expected (sort of stupidly, knowing his possessions are restricted by the confines of the bus). He came with computer, a few clothes, four indoor plants and an obligatory man-box of power tools. My long neglected spare room is morphing into The Creative Space (the one I have always dreamed of but somehow put up with a dining table instead... though it now more closely resembles a bank manager's office, with big wooden desk from The Salvos and a big-wig type reclining chair... we'll work on the ambience thing.) 


Anyway, back to cups. I came out a dollar ahead in the workplace sweeps. I’ve been scouring the local op shops for vessels of all sorts of late. Last week I picked up another old-school glass sugar dispenser.

A dollar, a sugar jar and a whole lotta love. Glass half full indeed.

20 October 2009

the list review: part two

18. Do more creative work. Oh dreary desk, thief of time and inspiration. Thus begins a concerted effort to lessen web trawling and beef up creative play.

19. Do something eco-preneurial / creative with R. Lots daydreaming. See above. Gah!

20. Make and give away recycled notebooks. Ibid. *shudders*

21. Redevelop Pelican’s website. Some advice dispatched... the guts of it outstanding.

22. Start giving blood again. Started going again but got dizzy and was advised not to return til my constitution was a bit more robust.

23. Learn the violin. And pick up my guitar more often. The former is BIG on my 35 list (if there will be a 35 list, I'm undecided given my inability to get through the 34 list). Recently unleashed the dusty axe for the first time for K, to his complete astonishment. :)

24. Visit the Bunya Mountains. Hmph. Feel somewhat OK about not getting there yet since I have instead discovered the southern (and very un-Gold-y) end of the Gold Coast. Who would've thunk?

25. Go for bushwalks. Yep.

26. Get a bike and ride it (and this time, don’t give it away!) Bike, check. Must apply self to riding it more... as soon as this inflamed disc in my lower back settles. Hmm. The relics were right, getting older sucks.

27. Do more for others. Took photos at R’s art auction and helped organise S’s 50th... and did photos there too. Have burnt CDs, provided references and generally I think been good to others. And in poetic karma harking back to my recalcitrant kid-hood, I seem to do a lot of washing up these days for other peeps. I even put the dishwasher on today at work!

28. Get an address book and keep track of friends/family contact details and birthdays. Adult-hood hath started!

29. Apply to become a foster carer. Geez, I can't even commit to getting a cat.

30. Find out about rent-a-chook and herdshare. Researched both. Some pet-commitment type issues prevail (see #29). And what the @#$%! would I do with all that milk!?

31. Go to Sunday comedy and jazz @ the Powerhouse again. Yep.

32. Try to be more open to the possibility of meeting a single/available/adjusted boy with similar interests/values/goals. By far, the best thing I have done in a very long while :) aw!

33. Accept the journey, where ever it goes, and trust myself more. ‘Tis all you can do, right? The best things in life are a leap of faith...

34. Do one thing that's not on this list that I would normally say ‘no’ to! Short-term cohabitation upon return to Bris-vegas. Spent Christmas on my own watching the whole two series of Love My Way. Signed a lease on the spot for a place with a dodgy kitchen. Tried online dating. Tried offline dating. Declared both to the cyber-verse. Took a very big punt. And finally understood how to live in the greys instead of the blacks/whites.

19 October 2009

creativity angst

Have found myself mired in extreme creativity angst of late. Weekends seem to expire with the list of boring chores mostly knocked over, while the (wish)list of arts, crafts and higher pursuits remains untouched. I simply cannot work out how other desk-hounds tweak their schedules to maintain creative dabblings.

I have been wondering whether it is just a time thing, whether I just have too many interests to maintain, or whether something more sinister might also be going on.

Was recently beavering away on a piece for dumbo feather (and have two pieces in the Spring issue – saving me from complete creative woe), for which I was leafing through blog posts from about mid-last year, retracing some of the anarchic thoughts I was having back in drop-outsville. And was sort of astounded at the writerly zest I (me?) seemed to wield back then. And appalled that said zest seems to have leaked from my brain. Though sadly, not onto the page. Or into anything remotely creative.

Back in the Life After Desk days I seemed to have some sort of vague insight into Stuff. And seemed to be able to relay it with some sort of mild humour and zing. Now, I aim words at a target with functional intent. Unpretty, linear information widgets…

Just like a…

Ministerial brief...

Gah! GAH!

The desk. Desk, desk, desk. Sounds like a reprimand. Thief of creative expression, abstract thinking and sweet unproductive time. I have found this year much harder than any other stint in my working life. My current mission: to make more room for creative play. Hmmm.

07 October 2009

the list review: part one

About this time last year I made a list of 34 things to do before I turned 34. Since I'm now being reminded that another year is almost done, I wanted to see where I got to with my (mostly) small aspirations. Keeping in mind my nerdy proclivity for personal 'to do' lists and seething resentment of 'lists of things to do before I die', here's part one. (It was a hefty list!)

1. Find a job in policy (and change blog subtitle to Life And Desk). Check. Blog subtitle may have been more accurate as Life and Dull Stuff Which Pays. Who could have predicted a hulking re-engineering of the entire machinery of government would make ANY job in the Army suck. I'm sure it's not at all Buddhist, but I'm consoled by the knowledge that those around me are suffering too.


2. Save save save and buy some land. First part of mantra complete. Part two awaiteth...

3. Research and design my little sustainable house. Lots of idle daydreaming, ordering journal articles from the library at work, and general collection of thoughts to expand draft design brief.

4. Persevere with a potted herb garden. Holy basil, purple basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley and chilli still going, tomatoes came and went, and now have warrigal greens coming on (thank you Relics), despite the scrabblings of the resident moggie who keeps digging them up and crapping on them. Much angst about vegie seeds not yet planted halfway through spring.

5. Sell my photos. Next!

6. Sell my cards (or at least give them to family and friends on card-type occasions). Aren’t parentheses a wonderful thing?

7. Eat more ethically. Tick, with forgiveness for recent slippage with occasional purchases of sushi and farmed salmon. Am now a certified no-packaging / re-use freak.

8. Buy goods in bulk in own containers. Love Mick’s Nuts and Flannerys. For my next trick I shall implement own lunch-box regime for take-away food purchases (see no. 7).

9. Continue making all my own bread. Sourdough baking was a monthly event at the ‘Hill until recent discovery of artisan-inspired Flour Power up the road, which most people would have discovered within a week of moving in. I credit my tardiness to my tenacity to goals!!

10. Stick to pilates and walking 3 times/week each. Walk to and from work but have completely fallen off the yoga/pilates wagon. Am now self-diagnosing possible sciatica after extended rock-sitting episodes the other week. Of all the list things I should have clung to like a woman falling off a cliff...

11. Do a first aid, safety at sea and sail training course. Basic dinghy sailing 1 and 2. Aced! First aid is up next.

12. Investigate Indigenous kitchen garden idea. Well, um, I met Mark Olive at the Dreaming Festival...

13. Read about transition culture. Ooh... does blog trawling count?

14. Knit R a beanie in time for Japan. Knit one, pearl one, done. Though she ended up going to Thailand instead and not needing the beanie!

15. Send a krama to N. Hey N, what’s your address? Do you check the Peli box?

16. Blog more regularly. Post more for streeteditors. Keep writing for Dumbo Feather. Nup. Nup. Yep. How my cousin who is in charge of a toddler and a working week can manage to blog every day for a month is beyond me. I am weak.

17. Get my typewriter fixed. Ye old specimen of smudgy typefaces has been lovingly restored and now nestles on the treadle of my Singer sewing machine. Which I should probably learn how to use. Does this mean I need to make a list of 35 things?

... to be continued!

05 October 2009

glee. a weekend retreat

Life has been a bit of a slog lately, largely due to a full-blown case of work irks. I can handle just about anything the desk throws at me. It’s when they stop throwing it that I start losing it. Thanks to Queensland school holidays and a progressive female Premier, the past few weeks in the Army have been so DULL I’ve wanted to bore my eyes out with a rusty drillbit. Dwelling on the dismal imbalance of it (time is short, there are so very many things I want to do, and there is so very much to be done) has been doing my head in. That and doing the shuffle between the 'Hill and the bus (which is now in Brisbane after K relocated from the coast), which is driving us both a little nutty.

So it was perfect glee to spend three whole days (and one of them a Monday!) in Cougal, New South Wales beside the Border Ranges National Park with friends of K’s who moved from 'the Rock' earlier this year to run a guesthouse on 200 acres. This weekend they hosted a bunch of women on a dance retreat. With a baby due any day, K's mates invited us to hang out as back-up hosts in case baby decided to show up, which, thankfully (not being acquainted with home births) he didn’t. So we hung out, washed a few dishes, pulled a few weeds and made daily trips down to the creek to swim and sprawl on sunny rocks with books. Aah! We awoke after slumber-licious nights to the sound of bellbirds and whipbirds (not at all like the crazy alarm-birds at the ‘Hill which have learnt to mimmick every alarm clock in the south Brisbane neighbourhood). We played with a dreamy-eyed toddler and an old dog from the desert. And chatted to I and T about their life running a guesthouse in the bush. And daydreamed (well, I did) about the many possibilities in their extremely large commercial kitchen...


Photos to come, since my camera inadvertently went home with K in Barry, in the continuing saga of 'where's my stuff?' that accompanies the dance between two homes.

15 September 2009

spring time, sydney town


First weekend of spring.
Time stops in a musk-scented garden.
And begins again on dusk.
Farm Cove. Mrs Macquarie's Chair. Sounds like a big colonial doll's house.
And like dolls we sit on the grass and watch
as the moonrise trumps the bridge in a silent argument about the bigger spectacle.
We ride old-school ferries to Manly and rewrite the great Aussie pie.
Pumpkin and fetta? Pies at the beach?
And we walk. And sit by seaside pools of molten gold.
Cabbage Tree Bay. Bare fingers of frangipani point to blue skies.
Late afternoon chill and bruschetta in Bronte. The woman in the cafe gives us blankets.
A yellow balloon rides the breeze above the Waverley Cemetery.
Celluloid unreality.
Saltblown. Somehow closer.
Then a bus, a train and a mad dash to scrub up.
Ben Folds. Second row seats at the Opera House.
Request bowl, piano stool, melancholy.
Warm hands.
In a wink everything unclenches.
Except hope, held tight.









01 September 2009

party days

A rather gargantuan party-ish weekend has caught up with me and I am slicing into my rather massive haystack of sick leave. Last week was busy to the hilt preparing for S’s 50th, amongst all the usual stuff. Since I felt responsible for convincing her of the absolute necessity of celebrating such a hefty milestone – how could the person who, in her fabulous youth, started the Eumundi markets and sailed to India with an international fugitive, let her 50th pass without a bit of a knees-up? – I offered to help out with the food. Thus ensued wads of shopping, cooking, dishwashing and organising by both K and I. Buckets of sand were brought from Tallebudgera to bed tealight candles in brown paper bags. Chairs were carted and fairy lights strung. I made a mega pesto pasta salad from scratch. Plus my first ever quiche and samosas. (Thanks to my long-standing recipe recalcitrance – and the freezer gods – visitors to the 'Hill will be plied with samosa filling for months to come...)

The day before the party, R and J (who I hadn’t properly caught up with for AGES) came over for dinner on the deck. Mainly so they could finally meet K… and both parties be satisfied that my besties/squeeze were not just a psychological dependency I dreamed up. The girls drank a yummy red and talked about the boys. The boys drank German beer. And talked about beer. There was chicken, salad, cous cous. And sticky date pudding. Mmm. Oh. And the day before that was S's actual birthday, so we went to Sakura, the local Japanese, for amazing sushi, tempura and sake. Parteeee!

Since she had friends coming from both ends of the east coast and every hippy haven in between, I thought it would be lovely if S had photos from the evening as a keepsake. Here are some of the more experimental results… and a rather cute look at what happens when two alco-mo-hol-happy dreamers play with a camera :)








25 August 2009

brunswick by bus



On the weekend K and I took Alice the bus for a slow spin down the coast. After some months parked by the Tallebudgera Creek, she needed a run. K found a place on Google Maps called Wooyung which begged the question: a seemingly undeveloped stretch of coast between Pottsville and Brunswick Heads. It was my first time travelling in Alice... and I discovered it is akin to being crowned parade royalty - people look, wave and cheer at you, so naturally it's polite to wave back. (All my secret Moomba fantasies now realised!) We discovered why Wooyung is undeveloped: stagnant creek, mosquitoes and pallid drenchings of end-of-the-worldness. There were no powered sites for us in Wooyung, making the short run to Brunswick a no-brainer. There we found a lovely little nook at the end of the caravan park, right by the Cruising Yacht Association, where honeydew smells filled the air. After executing our entry strategy (parking a bus is kind of like mooring a boat, though thankfully a lot less stressful), we went for a walk to ogle boats. I then proceeded to sate my crazy summer food and beverage cravings (Coopers Greens and potato chips followed by lamb and rosemary sausages and salad… mmm!)




In the morning we discovered Alice had not quite enough grunt left in her batteries to get us away by check-out. So we dutily informed the 12-yo at the desk that we unfortunately couldn’t go anywhere for a few hours, put Alice on charge and took coffees and breakfast-bowls to some rocks by the river and read the paper in the sun. Bliss! Then it was off to the beach for a spell of lolling and swimming.



Accompanied (as has been increasingly the case over recent beachy weekends) by a small boy-pack kicking a footy. This strange phenomenon has seen small groups of not-quite-teenage boys assemble beside us on the beach and engage in a bit of biff - kicking footies, wrestling, etc. K thinks it’s me. Pffff! I reckon they have a sixth dog-like sense and can smell the crazy love gremlins.

We headed back to Alice for a late alfresco lunch of cold sausages and sourdough with leftover tomato-capsicum salsa. Yum! And in a move sure to please the elder Relic, I took out a fully-paid, life-time membership of the Cold Sausage Fan Club.

Bellies full, K gave Alice a turn and she was back in action, putting paid to fantasies of calling work Monday morning to report ourselves "stuck at the beach". Back at Tallebudgera (after people at bus stops on the Gold Coast Highway tried to hail us - apparently this is usual), we did a sweep of Australia on Google Maps, pegging out regions on a big old road-tripping dream across the country. Which was fortuitously followed by the happy Monday discovery that by next March, I will have racked up about six months leave at half pay.

How many ways can a desk-hound say ‘Wooooo!’?

18 August 2009

rose coloured things

Spring is early. Dresses and skirts are out. Along with an unusual compulsion to wear pink.

Jasmine is blooming, spilling over fence-lines and filling walks to work with summery thoughts of barbecues and bare feet. Tallebudgera weekends are salt air and sunshine, walking and swimming, sunset beers on the beach. S has bent to my nudging and is going to (try to) teach me to surf. I'll help make food for her 50th celebration. The calendar is filling: a quick jaunt to Sydney to see Ben Folds at the Opera House, a weekend in a tent at Straddie.

Possibility is rife and expectant. The future is being dreamed...

The coast road. The desert. A swag and a campfire. Fishing gear and a fistful of stars. An adventure ending in a little plot of land. A deli-café? And a dog, a wood-shop and a bus. Ooh and maybe a boat!

Dreams... fluid, shimmering and unknown.

12 August 2009

the love shambles

I have spent the past month hanging out with the most lovely boy in the world.



It has been a wonderful and very surreal month of kayaking, ocean swimming, firefly enchanted forests, beautiful language, riverside lolling and mysterious worm holes that make whole evenings disappear in a love-hazed puff. Seems though the gremlins are a-lurking... wreaking a series of injuries and acute befuddlement upon us. Let me recount the woes…

We went walking at Springbrook and K sconed himself on a tree branch (he is tall and it was dark), leaving a nice red welt on his noggin. I (horrifyingly) gave him a very nasty burn with a hot water bottle. And then (repenting?) got a little too close to the oven while making pizzas and scorched a finger. Early on in the piece, I broke out with a dreaded cold sore… and, despite utmost care and restraint, almost gave it to him... eek! I have lost two pieces of treasured jewellery in his presence (an earring that belonged to my Nana and a ring from Fes). The other week he lost my glasses in Alice the bus (his home on wheels) and was so guilt-laden/worried about me driving in the dark without my 'eyes' that he drove me home from Alice’s digs at Tallebudgera. To Bris-vegas. And nearly killed us both when his foot got stuck on the accelerator (or a water bottle rolled under the brake... we were both a little too traumatised to be sure which) and we nearly ploughed across a median strip and through an intersection at about sixty clicks. (We pulled the bus apart at least three times looking for the specs. He toyed with the idea of applying an angle grinder to a small hole near the wheel arch that may have swallowed them. The glasses turned up a week later INSIDE an ugg boot. Of course.)

Gadgetry is also awry: my TV had a hissy fit, the laptop is exhibiting terminal early warning signs and supermarket conveyor belts simply stop functioning in my presence (after I have loaded my shopping onto them, naturally). We also aroused a few neighbourly eyebrows after he locked his keys in Barry (the Landcruiser) at my place and we attempted to break in with a coat-hanger. In the dark. Oh. And this week my watch stopped working. Which may explain those mysterious time-stealing worm holes.

And. I have also inexplicably become an overnight ditz at work, muddling up all over the shop. Whilst being inducted to the secret squirrel world of the Queensland Cabinet.

Anyway, this week has been clear of funny stuff. Am hoping we've seen the back of the gremlins. ;)


hand-washing






28 July 2009

nine months

Mind-boggling, but that’s how long I’ve been back in Bris-vegas. And back at desk. The novelty of home and routine and staying put has dulled. I am so reintegrated (re-educated?) I talk about my former cultural alienation like it belonged to someone else. Winter has stolen daylight from my home. It’s too dark and cold to nurture plantlife mid-week and weekends always disappear under the weight of bare necessities… laundry, coffee, papers, food and a lazy snatch of sunshine. Despite a little busy spell – a couple of writing assignments, theatre engagements, kayaking jaunts and dinners out – the past month has yet managed to dissolve in a blur of yoga-guilt, neglected plants and half-started library books. And I’ve been a carefree squirrel, merrily piffing acorns up the wall. So have been feeling grudgingly distracted from goal. But trying still to take it all in and enjoy the ride. The lazy susan of life has been spinning at a breakneck pace. And it has launched a small parcel of spectacular my way. But given recent efforts at Speaking Too Soon, I'm gonna wait a few more spins before spilling the goods.

11 July 2009

an unbecoming gloat

Phew! I won a stay of execution. I am not going back to the communications perch anytime before Christmas. And possibly not even after. Or ever [dreamily].

I snagged the recently-referred to temporary policy role (my second). Actually [enlarged ego warning…] I ACED the field of seasoned policy practitioners. WOOO! Though I must qualify that by adding that selection was based on a written task given to shortlisted candidates. And I’m sure I would not have scored so highly had I been required to talk. But still. There I was, floundering in my little pond of self-doubt, thinking I didn’t have the goods to make it in the social policy realm because I lacked the somewhat critical requirement for content expertise. Which is kind of stupid logic really, because exactly how much expertise could I have expected to amass in my two-and-a-half months at a policy desk. So. I’m sticking this feather in my cap and flouncing down the catwalk with it! The coolest thing about this is that I have done the previously unthinkable – a sideways (and slightly upwards) transition into a whole new field of work.

[winged cherubs with trumpets appear]

Not counting the cooking on boats stuff. Or the writing for interesting publications stuff. And not nearly as cool as either of the above but a) salaried, b) ongoing and c) potentially interesting and worthy enough to hold my attention and let me derive some sense of meaning and purpose while I keep on squirrelling acorns.

I started the new new job – in the same wider policy team but a different branch – last week. And I am locking the jury out, despite their door-battering attempts to make some rash (read unfavourable) judgements about the new environs. Unbecoming it may be, but I have time yet for a little more swooning around with this feather. Tra-la…

30 June 2009

lumps, crumbs and irony

So that little lump of sadness is dissolving in a fizz of urgency for life. However am very impatient with current lifestations. Probably because I’ve just returned from ten days jamful of friends, family, Dali, winter food, mushrooming, open fires, wine, wombat chasing and the wild woolly Prom. To desk. Which is currently proving very blah.

I like to think I have a high capacity for work and usually (at least after coffee) contribute something of value and substance – even if the terrain has seemed rather pointless at times. Now I’m on meaningful terrain, but for reasons largely beyond my control, contributing mere crumbs. I found out last week that a return to my communications perch seems likely, since the seat I’m warming will shortly be reclaimed.

My former boss (the one who I love – I think – for keeping me on a yo-yo string and letting me explore it's furthermost limits) asked me to come work with her (again) in a super stealthy strategic area of the new mega-department. Whispers are the Army has too many spin doctors, so the team is being scattered to the winds. Including super stealthy strategic areas of the department.

I need to go back a few years to explain why this is so ironic it makes me want to puke. I was basically minding my own business at the old desk (thrice removed) when I got lured by an agency to go work in a flashy role in the old human services department, ie, the same department which earlier this year sucked up my department along with several others and became one mega human services department, ie the one I work for now. Follow? After working like an absolute dog on high-profile social marketing campaigns under stupid amounts of pressure, I choked on a hairball and took a rather spectacular nosedive (and watched in horror, mid-freefall, as my ‘superiors’ ran away with their safety net). Whereupon I found myself back at my little old desk batting away flies and self-loathing. Grrr. Shortly thereafter, I renounced my field of ‘expertise’ (bah), put a hex on life at desk, packed up the nest and flew the government coop altogether.

In hindsight, one of the best things that ever happened to me.

So. In effect, my old boss (the one who has me on the string), has asked me to join her in roughly the same place I was when I made that spectacular nosedive.

$#@#%%%$ huh…?

Could this be some rude circuitous groundhog plot, designed perhaps to remind me why I left in the first place? HTF could I end up back in the SAME place which cured me of my desk ambition and sent me packing to the northernmost tip of Australia (which btw is not Cape York but Boigu Island, where the crocs have names and you can feast on mudcrab for all of $2).

There is one small ray of hope, in the form of another short-term position in the policy dynamic. Gah. Maybe I need to embrace the buddhist reality and accept that temporary is just the way things are.

22 June 2009

dear universe

I barely know where to start. The past few weeks have been chockers. A three-week intravenous hit of culture and people I love. Between mud-camping at Woodford for the Dreaming Festival, Melbourne to see friends whilst dosing on food, Dali, design and high-street-retail love, and Binginwarri to gather wild mushrooms, chase wombats and get trounced by the relics in the Winter 2009 Pictionary Play Offs, I’ve barely been home.

Or alone.

And now that I am both, I’m feeling kinda sad.

I’ve been given a fair bit of prodding in recent months to think about the shortness of life. Today another good soul passed away. I am sending warm thoughts to his family and friends. And acknowledging life, the precarious privilege.


Dear universe, I am paying attention.

02 June 2009

ho fan club



My mate Ren and I have started this thing on Friday nights. We do dinner. Actually we do Vietnamese. Actually we do Vietnamese in West End. Starting in Hardgrave Road, which has at least a long month’s worth of Vietnamese Friday dinners. Last week we gave ourselves a name – the Ho Fan Club, after one of the house specials at Quan Thanh. And too much red wine. And at the encouragement of Ren’s partner J who thought "ho fun" (in a 'chinglish' accent with good-time inflection) was the goods. We also adopted some house rules: one, we order to share; two we always order a tofu dish; three, we always mystery-select a chicken dish (ie, in ‘blindly point at the chicken section of the menu' fashion); and four, we never eat at the same establishment twice.

So we thought yeah, that’s pretty cool. An interesting start to our respective weekends. Maybe we should blog it. And then I was looking at The Age and see that one of their food writers has done the same thing! Except on Mondays along Victoria Street in Richmond. They call their little dinner club 'Good Evening Vietnam' (snooze). And they’ve been doing this for a whole year already!

WTF? Seriously! I mean if only we could come up with these ideas a little earlier. Anyway, I'm sure there's only one Ho Fan Club in Brisbane. And here it is...





01 June 2009

material girl and the wealth of nations

Lately I’ve been single-handedly reversing the penny-pinching global trend. My dormant discretionary spending capacity has been unleashed and the industrious squirreling of acorns into a handsome mound has been suspended in the name of cultural participation. It started as a few dinners out, some music, books, wine. A movie here. A haircut there. New jeans. A festival ticket. A 1960s Danish leather chair!

When I moved into the Highgate Hill abode, I found it really difficult to unpack things. The psychological transition from impermanence/mobility to a more predictable, fixed life (with objets de stuff) is unfolding still. I'm still living out of a toiletries bag (old habits) and my pantry which still seems mildly gargantuan is in fact little more than a large shoe box. Now the end of my six-month lease is nigh. I have a new job and am enjoying the company of men-folk (one in particular). I've been coming round to the idea that maybe my view of this moment (the job, the city, the 100-metre dash for cash) being ultra temporary was kind of illusory. That doesn’t mean I have cast aside my self-sufficiency goals. It means that severe shortcuts which demand a reduced/fleeting experience are out. I will unpack the other four glasses in the set! I will get that print framed and I will invest in stereophonics!

Longevity is my new mantra. Temporary is out!

So in aid of making my current stations more comfortable, I spent Saturday trawling the net and visiting Video Pro to talk stereo. iPod speaker docks, in fact. I was completely ready to pounce on the B&W Zeppelin, supreme and lovely beast of speaker docks. Which would have been an immediate fix to my lack-of-decent-sound problem. But at the point of sale that longevity thing reared its persistent little mug. I took a walk and pondered the iPod lifecycle and the scalability of the Zeppelin for future stations in life. It has no tuner. It sounded difficult to hook up to dvd. It has kick-ass speakers, but whose ability to kick ass would probably diminish in larger environs. I pondered the final commitment to adulthood: the purchase of a grown-up stereo. The kind you keep forever.

I stood there on the brink of ideological redefinition, with the sales chump batting his free warranties at me. I hemmed. I hawed. I hedged. And drove away sans Zeppelin, resigning myself to the inevitable protracted trauma of researching amps, tuners and speakers.

When I got home I took out the sales chump's card.

Adam Smith. Indeed. The material girl is back.

11 May 2009

good things

Two weeks ago I unshackled myself from the communications desk for a temporary stint at a remote Indigenous housing policy desk. After I had the week from hell doing my manager's job without recompense, she felt sufficiently guilt laden to let me go at a week's notice, for three months. I love karma.

However the desk is about to change again as half the remote Indigenous housing policy team unlatches from the program area and reattaches to the soon-to-be-portfolio-wide policy unit, which if you believe the hype, has a Far More Strategic Focus (aka softening the Rudd machine to dance to the beat of Bligh’s army). Call me tasky and unstrategic but I am quite enjoying shepherding through the first home ownership application on Aboriginal reserve land, despite the necessary proximity to know-it-all lawyers. I am also quite enjoying not having to dance an eight-hour, 300 beats-per-minute jig. And loving the lashings of time to read about policy stuff (which I secretly did anyway whilst dancing the 300bpm jig). And it looks like - thanks to a dearth of accommodation - we'll be moving to one of the plushest offices in Bligh's army, which is a hop away from the gleaming financial district (though even farther away from my faithful campos coffee house).

I also started a dinghy sailing course a couple of weeks ago. So the last two Sundays have been spent learning how to avert collisions (unintentionally), capsize (intentionally) and get very bruised knees scrabbling round in the back of the boat in a tangle of tiller. Anyway, things now make a lot more sense. And am v chuffed that (in a rare ongoing left brain victory) I Still Know My Knots. If I was more handy with html those last five words would be decked in a gaudy bells and whistles font.


Um. And. More small but happy developments in the realm of good things... stay tuned.

01 May 2009

layers of crud(e)

You may have noticed. The whinge about Easter and repeated failed attempts to get out of the city. The tendency to bang on about work. And salivate over other people's travel. Yep. I've got cabin fever. Good and proper. Despite the hellish pace at work over the past few weeks - I have had novelty punching bags delivered to my desk by colleagues who appear above the partition sporting worried ‘appease the wildebeest’ faces... at day’s end I go into a coma on the couch at nana o’clock, waking like a drugged automaton amid mysterious puddles of drool - I've been rampantly bored at desk. Crafting the same old word widgets. Dancing the same old jigs for clients. I've become a very industrious, obedient, purposeful ant. Scurrying to and from the nest, busily occupied with nation building, in exchange for the daily dispense of crumbs. I've become one wired little wage zombie. With little space for much else.

Last weekend I finally let a little light in. I woke late, grabbed food, notebook and music and fled like a possessed survivalist, driving two hours to Alexandria Beach. Stunning blue day. Salt. Sun. Little breeze. I walked in the back way, through my favourite snatch of coastal heath. Womping great banksias, pale yellow, lime, amber, umber, bronze and char. Prostrate ‘birthday present’ plants with leaves clumped like birdsnests of finely spliced ribbon. Skirted grasstrees which shimmy amongst lush green drenchings of shade. Lolloping saw-toothed palms threaten to fold in on themselves. And all of it leaning landward, as if receiving a secret. Straining to hear above the din of the shore.


On the beach I sit. I eat. I want to swim but my body yawns so I lay in the dunes. Then walk. And walk. I breathe it all in and try and hold it. I think of the plant I keep on my desk who I call ‘Sol’ to remind me of mine. And marvel at why the forgetting always happens so quick.

Suddenly the sand beneath my feet is not white anymore, it’s black. Stained with oil. The shit of life has its claws on everything. Even this sunny little sweep of beach in all its unfettered nudie joy. A little tear appears in my renewal. Two young guys are sticking their toes into the slick, looking, maybe wondering. And I wonder too, how long it will take for this forgetting to happen, for the miles of beaches to forget. And recover. I'm sure it will be longer than it takes for Us, probably already coveting the next shiny (imported?) widget and jumping in cars for the next long weekend.

12 April 2009

easter momentous

I have a history of eventful stuff happening over Easter. Easters of yore have variously been occasioned by relationship evolution/dissolution, the Cruising Division title in the Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race, gadding around Moreton Bay on a boat, and a towtruck ride into South Melbourne after breaking down in the city-bound middle lane of the Westgate Bridge at about 5pm on return-to-town Monday.

This Easter has so far been very un-momentous.


I had much-lusted plans to go camping with friends at Boonoo Boonoo National Park. My hairdresser - who skips to the beat of her own drummer - had told me about a trip there. Big waterfalls. Rockpools. Granite outcrops. Bush. No screaming kidlings. I called the NSW parks peeps. 15 campsites, no bookings required. “We’ve never turned anyone away.” Then friends discover a tragic double booking with a very expensive theatre performance. Gah! They assure their commitment to camping and try to sell tickets. In vain. Which is probably, in some mysterious realm not yet evident to me, for the best, since it has rained on and off the whole long weekend and looks set to continue thus.

In fact, the weather is very un-momentous too. It's that kind of still, grey, dove-warbling, nothing-much-happening-here weather. If there were tumbleweeds here, I'm sure one would roll by.

So instead of drinking wine beside a campfire under the stars in pleased exhaustion, I somehow got passively coerced at the last minute into driving all the way across town to check on a cat (the one who let me stay over while his mum was in Europe for six weeks over xmas) so his mum
could spend four days in Byron with Ben Harper. Which no doubt has been planned since Blues and Roots tickets went on sale. Though it took her until THURSDAY to ask me.

Oh, and I also found out that my beloved local market has just been pimped to a fly-in/fly-out Sydney consortium which will glamourise them into just another expensive foodie market for stupid bourgeois Baby Boomers.

So. Instead of camping, instead of channelling Jesus and feeling the love (or whatever it is you're supposed to do at Easter), I battled traffic, seethed, scooped cat poo, and generally resented humankind.

The one very excellent thing that has happened this weekend was I finally worked out how to tweak the tv aerial to get full and unfettered reception for SBS. For the first time since plugging in the teev at its Gertrude St home. WOO! I am now complete.

06 April 2009

turning circles

Was highly amused today by colleague’s description of current machinery-of-government changes: “government agencies have the turning circle of a large aircraft carrier”. Well. I thought it was hilarious. Maybe I’m just a wee bit over-invested in work. Hardly surprising I guess given my daily remit to turn tepid horse poo into something highly desirable. On the turning circle of a gnat. With the reflexes of a reef fish.

Humph.

You know when you exclude something from your life for a higher cause (like chocolate, though that’s just stupid) it automatically appears all around you like an evil cherry to tempt you from your commitment?

An adventuring friend emailed last week enquiring my interest in

"Diving in the caves of Mexico

Walking across the Pyrenees from Atlantic to Mediterranean.
Ride around Ireland. I think it would be neat to then ride around northern France.
Annapurna crt or even an Island/Mera peak trip in Nepal.
And something still tugs at me to go back to NZ and paddle around Marlborough sounds and hike some of the classic areas in the south.
And I keep coming back to the idea of a trip into Northern India."

Money in the bank. Money in the bank. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH can’t hear you can’t hear you not listening WHAT?

The trips in bold are my picks. I will covet and store these away, to be dusted off when I've grown the acorn stash a bit bigger. And meanwhile content myself with curry-from-scratch, the ABC’s India and Ravi Shankar's back catalogue.

I love my little pad. I love walking to and from work (pity about the intervening hours). And yoga. And having stuff. Like a garden and a sandwich press and proximity to friends. But as you can see from my capacity to be disproportionately amused by inconsequential tripe (above), sometimes life at desk just doesn’t cut the ghee…

31 March 2009

bligh's big broom

I can’t believe it’s only TUESday. I am too knackered for it to be only TUESday. Am wondering whether this recurring fatigue stalking me is perhaps a latent viral thingie. Ironic, since today at work my pod-sters started calling me ‘the canary’ in a weird tip of the hat to my rampant health. (Which I actually prefer to 'Prouds' - an antidote to there being two Sams in the pod. My brother was called 'Prouds' at about age 13 by all his sweaty ruffian mates, and I really don't need these kind of flashbacks at work.) Anyway. To explain. My rampant health is sort of known. I’m the last chick standing after successive sustained lurgy attacks through the office. The girls in my pod think I'm an over-achieving health geek. So naturally, they laughed themselves silly at the chance to declare me the barometer for office ventilation issues after I went all queasy when the air con crashed.

Anyway. The real news at desk is Don't-Fluff-With-Me Anna has pulled out her broom and made a clean sweep of the army. My whole department has been abolished!!

[Delighted evil giggling.]

Super departments focused around ‘issues clusters’ are the future. Ironically, I now find myself back in the department (it's a new department but with the name of an existing one) that seeded my loathing for my bread ticket. DFWM is promising no job cuts, but there WILL be rationalisation of corporate services.

[Practically explodes with delight at prospects for life at desk. Or not at desk.]

The changes are in name only at the moment. But the broom is out.

BTW, am completely over all things ‘stimulus’. I’m with Satyajit Das. So hair of the dog.

28 March 2009

two wheels good, four wheels bad

With my usual deft display of indecision, I finally bought a bike. Not a mountain bike as originally planned. Original plans got dusted a couple of weekends ago when I tried D’s road bike and discovered that I am a speed freak. Oh. My. This must be what surfing feels like. Except on water. Yeeeeeee-haaaaaaa!

So, realising that I still needed a bike for commuting, I sprang for the Trek 7.3FX, which flies along like a road bike but has the hardiness to handle Brisbane’s pot-holed streets. And importantly, is not white. Ironically, I'd taken this bike for a test ride a while ago and liked it, but had MTB on the brain. I got some basic stuff (pump, lights, water bottle cage, lock) but have since realised I won’t get far in my commute quest without a rack and pannier. And tools. The wisdom of getting toe clips or cleats has also been pointed out to me and I suspect I’ll soon be hearing about the virtues of gel pants, special shoes and assorted lycra wardrobery.

Yesterday, after an afternoon river loop ride with lunch at the Japanese Garden at Mt Coot-tha (and a quick dash and grab through the herbarium – I blame my mother for my botanical banditry) I rode to the supermarket. On the way home, I passed the Critical Mass riders – bike enthusiasts who ride every month in a kind of ‘reclaim the roads’ demonstration of pedal power. They spied my white flashing light and binged their bells at me in a kind of mating ritual, saying “join us, join us!” … I smiled and continued on home to fridge my dairy, slightly suspicious of their hippy bike-love happiness.

I have entered the cult of bike...



12 March 2009

two wheeled $timulu$

Apparently it’s my national duty to spend. So while I ethically can’t justify buying crap I don’t need, I’ll acknowledge that I’ve got a couple of years worth of significantly reduced discretionary spending to make up for. So I’ve been plotting how to spend a lot of money really quickly, aka buy a bike. I’ve been round all the bike shops within a 10km radius of the central boring district. I’ve websurfed bike forums to the point where I get what ‘lbs’ means without having it explained. (local bike store, duh!) I’ve decided new over used. I now know more about componentry and geometry than I ever learned in high school mechanics and maths (I sucked at both).

So, in my search for a mountain bike that I can put slicks on to hoon round my ‘hood, but still take on long road rides and the occasional trail… I found the Trek 4300. Light frame, good componentry, NightRider-esque paint job, nice to ride, all round excellent entry-level mtb (mountain bike, duh!) Decision made…

Til I webstumbled upon the Gary Fisher Wahoo… superlight frame (same as their v expensive models), has lockout (the Trek doesn't) and even better componentry than the Trek for about $30 more. And a super smooth ride. BUT… the top bar on the Fisher is a lot longer so it’s got a much longer reach, which supposedly is THE measurement I should be worried about for potential back/neck/wrist strain. The other glitch is I can have it any colour I want, as long as it’s … white! Even the saddle is white! I'm worried it'll lead to an urge to call myself Powderpuff and get an 80s afro-perm...

So… what to do? The bike that has more bang for $, feels great now, could cause problems later, looks naff the whole time... or the one that is ok but defintely looks slick... or waste more weekends looking instead of riding!

If you know stuff about bikes… or hauling thy butt out of indecision, please, little help!!

08 March 2009

the black russians


Got to love a tomato that sounds like the Soviet mob. I remember growing tomatoes in plastic garbage bins when I was a long-haired, bare-footed little person. Actually I should say I remember making dirt tunnels in plastic garbage bins while one of the not-then-relics planted tomatoes in the not-yet-tunneled garbage bin. Anyway, my black russians, which I have nurtured from seedlings (thanks Dad), through a three-state, three-day road trip and three Brisbane addresses, are about to deliver their lycopene goodliness!

YEEEEAAH!

I have looked after these little grommets like a mother-in-training, hauling myself out every night during a swampy Brisbane summer, shagged from work, to water them by bucket. I've hauled them round in my car from house-stay to house-sit to housebound-bliss. Frankly I've never invested so much grunt into a plant before. Well actually that's a lie... but I am not going to flaunt my criminal past here. Anyway, today I made three loaves of sourdough and am thinking the russians will go nicely with that, a little olive oil and some of the purple basil that I have unbelievably managed to sprout from seed and which is now growing like medusa on speed in my little potted garden. A perfect, if hard-won, home made lunch.

06 March 2009

4101

It’s official: I live in the best neighbourhood in the 4000s. Yes, this is a dorky ode to my new hood, because we have:

1. The best video store (think Black Books but with moving images and social skills, staffed by film students who let you keep stuff if you haven’t quite managed to watch it by the due date).

2. The best markets. I have probably raved enough. So you'd think I'd be over it after about five non-continuous years of patronage. Nup.



3. The best felafels and the competitors yet to try.

4. The best Tibetan, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, Greek...

5. The coolest apartment block (mine!) which has a water tank, compost bin, resident blue tongue lizard, and a rooster down the road who is not really mine to claim but makes me feel like I’m back in rural Laos every morning! And the girl upstairs who plays a sweet guitar and the boy next door who makes honey.

6. The Greeks across the way have perfected the art of sitting on the balcony watching the world go by.

7. Furniture gifts by the roadside. Hello new cane deck chairs and lounge.

8. Walking to and from work. Who needs the bus?! iPod, backpack, hotshoe over the Goodwill (pedo bridge), through the botanical gardens, along the river, look at the boats and pick one to take out for the day, shower, desk, brekky. LOVE IT!

9. Getting round on two wheels, a VERY exciting prospect. Coming soon.

10. The local thrift shop. Reverse Garbage. The Green Grocer. Mick's Nuts. The Rumpus Room, Lychee Lounge, wamble home. Neighbourhood lolly bag of the good stuff.

I am planning on moving anytime soon WHY?

04 March 2009

hobson's choice

(HOB-suhnz chois) noun The choice of taking what is offered or none; an apparently free choice with no acceptable alternative.

This week I was asked if I wanted to do my boss’s job again. When I say ‘ask’, I'm being overly generous. The 'offer' was disguised as a question, but before I had time to respond I was told the work would probably fall to me anyway so I may as well get paid for it.

SIGH.

I wouldn't mind so much but there are some icky team issues that do my head in.

I must have sent my hesitation flapping up the flagpole, as the next day, my boss 'offered' a retraction. In the vein of "don't feel you HAVE to do it, I can always do [the big cahuna's] job and my job".

GAH! (money in the bank, money in the bank, ommmmmmmmm)

Glimmers on the horizon:
a new bike
camping at Easter at Bunnoo Bunnoo
dinghy sailing course in May, yay!
Dreaming Festival in winter
idle daydreams of running away travelling with Ren