Saturday, October 27, 2007

Going Away

Of all the potplants I am fussing over before we leave them alone in the house for a week while we go to Melbourne to witness the union of Drue and Sarah, it's this little mint plant I'm worried about most.

Its sole purpose in life is to sit on the window sill above the dishrack and provide me with a minty twist to every glass of lemon cordial. And now that we are up to 30 degrees with humidity of 66% (Hayden brought home a Prolonged Exposure to the Elements chart from work and I now realise that this is the equivalent of what 42 degrees feels like back in the temperate zone where there's less humidity. 42 degrees is hot!) there is a lot of icy lemon cordial to be had. I would miss this little plant terribly if it didn't make it through the week without us.
But the poor thing has been feeling the pinch of my fingernails every hour or so since it started warming up. Oh wait ... maybe it will fare better while we're away?
I hadn't thought of that.

Friday, October 19, 2007


It's like procrastination, but it happens not before the assignment but after, while you're waiting to hear if everything went OK.

The writing work is finished for the moment. All the text and photos have been handed over to the graphic designer, and now the waiting begins. You would think that this is the time for me to rest? Unfortunately no; due to ever so slight anxiety about how it’s all going to turn out I’m hovering at the edge of my seat, refreshing my email inbox about 500 times a day and generally trying to occupy my agitated self. In some ways this is a very productive time: the house is cleaner and tidier than it’s been for ages, insurance has been renewed, old bills/bank statements/miscellaneous bits of paper have been filed away, and even my tax return has been lodged.

Why so anxious? It's not like it matters that much. I've done my bit, I've tried my best and I'm told the cheque is in the mail. But whatever comes out, it will be the result of a collaboration, and everyone who is involved - from the people I interviewed and profiled to the faraway bosses who sign off on it all - has his or her slant. Everyone has their own angle. My angle, of course, is to do with the writing: whole sentences not fragments; active voice not passive; and a nice crisp rhythm instead of drawn-out strands of bureaucratic gobbledigook. I have been messing with other peoples' sentences and I'm sure it drives them as nuts as it drives me when they mess with mine. So I'm anxiously waiting to see how much of my stuff makes the final cut.

What to do next I wonder? eat something?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pictures of my Ex

Slightly pathetiquely, I have been gazing at photos from my old job today. Well, you know it wasn’t even a proper job, just a temp assignment. But it was a really good one.

(I always loved this photo the best. It was taken by Hayden on the weekend that he came to visit me at work. He's in the plane, looking out a window to starboard, coming down to land at the mine's airport; that big plume of dust is coming from the back of a truck as it hurtles down the road to the airport to meet the plane. I can feel the excitement of the people in that truck; the plane that Hayden's on is going to turn around soon and take them HOME. Going home is a BIG deal after two straight weeks at work in the middle of nowhere.)

(This is the middle of nowhere, right here)
(This one is of what's outside the camp in the middle of nowhere)

Not that I didn't find anything to complain about with that job (long days, waking up in the dark, being away from Hayden, filing before the sun came up on a Sunday) there is always something, isn’t there?) but what I am remembering today is what an amazing experience it was. How much I learned – about mining, about working away from home (some people do it for years), about the dry middle of Australia, about our indigenous culture, so many things.

Honestly, I’m not really loving my current job - the one at the café. Too many hours in a hot dingy kitchen, and the camaradarie is definitely missing. What I’m learning there, apart from how to make coffee (did I really want to learn how to do that? I can’t remember) is how lucky I was with the other two jobs I’ve had since we came to Townsville. Do you remember the first one, at the building site? And of course the second one, at Century mine where these photos are from.
I’m not breaking up with the cafe just yet … not until something nicer comes along. But I wonder if I could get it to dump me first?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Work Station

Recently I’ve been complaining a lot about work (have I been complaining to you? I’m sorry. You see, the problem with work is that I’m just not used to it.)

But just now I think that the tide is beginning to turn. I’ve taken leave from the café for the rest of this week (everyone who works there has got other stuff on the boil, and our boss Paul is extremely kind about letting us work around it) and I’m settling down to get stuck in to the writing.

And look where I work. It’s not so bad, is it? I’ve got natural light and natural breezes, and a bunch of yellow flowers I bought from Bilo for $8. I’ve got a fridge full of snacks and best of all, I’m working in my pyjamas (and you know how much I love to do that).

Plus I've got all those blogs down the sidebar to keep me entertained when I'm 'on a break'. Do you ever click on other peoples' links? I often do. Recently I was a bit taken aback when one of my favourite bloggers, Yarnstorm, reduced her list of blog links from about twenty to just eight. I was kind of miffed on behalf of all those whose blog links just got deleted (not mine, I don't think Yarnstorm knows I exist), but then I started clicking on the ones that she had left behind ... and I found Lobstersquad. It's brilliant. It's a cooking blog from Spain, and it's illustrated. Go on, have a look.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ahh, the twin joys of the warmer weather: suddenly fruit can't survive in our fruitbowl, and big black ants invade our house.

At the end of last week I made a banana cake out of a couple of bananas that were getting a bit squishy. I was kind of proud of being so frugal and house-wifely; I have this secret Stephanie-inspired aspiration to eat fresh food all the time, to cook what's in season and to always be zinging with ideas of what to do with the delicious bits and bobs I keep in my pantry. I was pretty stoked with myself a) for even thinking of making a cake out of old bananas and b) having the rest of the ingredients on hand. I thought it was a big step in the right direction.

But I didn't get to taste the banana cake (I was a bit distracted helping to finish off Hayden's birthday cakes) before a herd of enormous black ants had smelled the cake from outside and marched inside in a big long line - up the outside wall, in through the kitchen window, along the window sill, down a bottle of wine and along the edge of the bench to where the cake sat on a plate.

Sometimes when the ants invade, you can brush them off quickly and the food is still ok (I find I get more and more cavalier about this throughout the summer). This time the ants had infiltrated the cake so completely that we just let them keep it. Over the weekend they nibbled the 22cm loaf down to this knobbly end:

Yes, well done ants. Very good effort.

But now what am I going to do with these?

Stephanie?? anyone?