Thursday, December 18, 2008

Looking Nothing At All Like Christmas

You know, hot Christmas is beginning to be a problem.  And I think it's getting worse.

Each year I add more crafty blogs to my link list, and each year I get new ideas from them for Christmas preparation - the cooking, gifts you make rather than buy, and of course the decorations for your home.  I love all that stuff and I come away feeling full of inspiration, but I find that I have nowhere to direct it.  These Christmas-crafty people seem mostly to live in the northern hemisphere, where they make hearty meals and big fruit cakes, cosy soft decorations and generally create warmth and bright to banish the cold and dark outside.

We in Townsville get more than enough warmth and bright from the sun each day, and what we need most of all is to not manufacture any more of it.  This causes a problem with the Christmas decorations.   Our shops, of course, go nuts with the tinsel and the songs about sleigh bells, and there's enough of an ick factor there - hot and flustered car parking, shops overrun with bogans and really too many bodgy tattoos on display - to put me off entirely.  (The other day I had to get Hayden to drive us home from the pool a different way, avoiding the Christmas Carols in the park, because I couldn't look at another insufficiently-dressed inked-up person - man or woman - climbing down from the family 4WD.)  When I get home, I need to be cool and calm.  Instantly.

I did manage a bit of Christmas crafting in the end.  I really liked this idea from Posy Gets Cosy for a quilted table runner ~ quilted, of course, to hold groaning platters of hot roasted meats and big casserole dishes of vegetables.  But instead of using warm Christmassy red and green, I stuck to coolish blues and pistachio.  And I quilted it only very lightly - more to stop condensation rings than scorch marks on the table.  

So, OK, it doesn't look very Christmassy.  Don't think of hot roast turkey.  Think of the cool and delicious glass of golden sauvignon blanc I'm enjoying right now because my Christmas decorating is done.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hair Disaster

I'm so irritated right now.
I was at the hairdresser's, right, which is in the middle of one of those disgustingly large shopping malls.  I'd just sat down in front of the mirror and was leafing through an old copy of Australian Hair, they hadn't put the black cape around me or anything, when an alarm starts going off and we're instructed to evacuate the building.  Hmph.  The hairdressers promptly close their front door and usher all us customers out through the back into the carpark.  The comical part was how they kept cutting hair all the while, and finished off a couple of cuts while we were standing around waiting in the sun.  The less funny part was how everyone - the hairdressers naturally, all the other customers and Christmas shoppers and staff of other shops, everyone except me - all lit up a cigarette at exactly the same time.  I'm sure even the children were smoking while we were all standing there squinting and sweating.  It was disgusting. 
I really wanted my hair cut, and I really didn't want to hike back to my car which was of course parked on the other side of the mall.  But how long could I put up with that second hand smoke?  No-one was offering to do my hair out there, but I waited and waited until finally the chief hairdresser told all the other hairdressers that they could go home.  As we were standing in their staff carpark, they all just hopped into their tiny cars and sped off out of there.  Ugh.  I was left to begin my circumnavigation of the enormous building, and I got crankier and crankier with each hot step.  I could feel my skin burning in the sun.  I tried to take a short-cut through the covered part of the carpark but I was told by an official that that was forbidden.  It was a bomb threat, and it had to be taken seriously.

I'm home now, but I'm still cranky.  If I ever find out who phoned in that bomb threat, well, I'm going to ...well, I don't know.  But I'll think of something.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Flying Home

Don't you love the little guys on these placemats?  I found them in our 'special things' cupboard, and I believe they once belonged to Hayden's Grandma.  They're different birds of New Zealand including, of course, the kiwi (that's the New Zealand Little Spotted Kiwi in the middle there).  This year it's Hayden's turn to have Christmas at home, and we'll be flying to New Zealand - just for a week - on December 23.   I wonder if there will be space on the Christmas table for them?

I am a bit sad to be missing Christmas in Brisbane with my half of the family, but I have to say that Christmas in New Zealand is pretty good too.  For one thing, it's often cool enough to enjoy a big warm lunch on Christmas day.  And for another thing, well, our last Christmas trip there did turn out to be really, really good.    

Ipod Pocket

Recently I made this little felt pocket to keep my ipod safe while it's languishing in the bottom of my handbag.  It gets pretty knocked about in there when I'm rummaging around for my keys/phone/money/lipgloss/a pen.   Now I know that my ipod is the soft and furry thing in there, it's also much quicker to grab when I need it. 

I highly recommend such a thing for anyone who's still wrestling with three devices in their bag instead of one. 

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Rise and Shine

Ahh today I'm feeling fresher and better.  Yesterday, Wednesday, was hard and hot and slow.  The day started badly because I wanted to sleep in but I knew I had to get up.  Wednesday is the day the yard guy comes to cut the grass, and though he seems a nice friendly fellow, and though he does an excellent job with our yard, he doesn't have the common courtesy to pretend he can't see us through the window while he's out there working and we're standing in the kitchen in our skimpy summer jammies.  So Wednesdays, whatever else happens, I'm up and dressed by 6:30am or embarrassment ensues.  (The worst is when I think I've got time to skip out to the washing line to collect some clothes to wear ... but I meet him coming in through our front gate on my way back inside.  He always wants to stop and chat.  Either he can't sense my embarrassment or he maliciously enjoys prolonging it.)
Last week at aquarobics I heard about a Townsville court case from a couple of years ago, in which a man was arrested for indecent exposure while inside his own home.  His nakedness was espied through the window by a passing pedestrian.  If I was that pedestrian, I would be careful about what kind of feud I started.  It might come back and bite me on the arse.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Big Workload

My in-tray is completely overflowing.  Remember how small and manageable my workload used to be?

I'm not getting very much of anything done today.  I've been sleeping poorly recently and that makes me super-cranky during the day and leaves me with a very low frustration-threshold.   It's enough to make me want to toddle down to the video shop and get a movie that Hayden wouldn't ever want to see, watch it at home with the aircon on full bore, my feet up on the coffee table and a bowl of ice-cream on my lap.

Come to think of it, it would be a complete waste of the day NOT to do that.

Seeya later.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Love Friday: The Rain

The humidity has broken.  I do not know if that is the correct term for it, but last night the rain thundered down for hours and this morning the world is wet and dripping.

The fat glossy drops hang on the end of the bottle-brush's leaves, just outside our kitchen window.  I'm standing at the sink, looking out into the grey and green and feeling quite cosy inside.   My Ella Jenkins CD is on.

But what to do next?  I noticed the other day that Lindcraft has opened up a shop in Townsville.  Maybe today's the day I go and check it out?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Welcome Baby Isabelle!

Congratulations Ben and Tanzi on the arrival of 
beautiful baby Isabelle.

We'll be over to New Zealand soon to meet you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bright and Breezy

Ah! Can you feel that cool breeze coming off the water? It was lovely to feel it this morning after a weekend so hot and humid I thought I would be pickled.   
On Saturday night we went to Hayden's work Christmas party.  The theme was 'Tropical Paradise', and they definitely got the tropical part right.  It was an extremely sultry night, and you'd sweat just standing still holding a drink.  But very fun indeed - definitely the best one we've been to so far.  At past work functions we've been sat in tables of ten through a groaning three-course meal before being dragged onto the dancefloor.  (I hate being asked to dance by Hayden's work colleagues.  Especially on a full stomach.  So awkward.)  

But this time it was a real grown-ups party with waiters and drinks trays, a wild range of hors d'oeuvres and a serve-yourself oyster bar.  There were live bands, fire-twirlers and a mini casino where I won quite a bit of money playing poker.  It was fake money of course.  But still.   

Friday, November 21, 2008

Love the Couch

It's sweltering.   And we're feeling it.  Especially those of us with fluffy tummies.  Couch season has begun.
I'm looking forward to the weekend, but I can only see two reasons to get up off the couch:  Saturday night it's Hayden's work Christmas party (I know, already), and Sunday morning I'm going to be out on the river in a kayak, counting triathletes as they go round the swim course.  That should be refreshing.

I'm wishing you a cool breeze this weekend, 

whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I don't know much about money, but I reckon Kevin Rudd's onto something: when you're feeling broke, one of the best things you can do is spend a little.  It eases the pressure beautifully, you feel heaps better, and then you're able to tackle your money problems in good spirits.
Flipping through a magazine yesterday, I saw an idea for spreading around a little extra cash:  through these people,, you can invest a small amount of money directly to someone in need of a bit of capital to help their small business - be it sewing clothes, milking cows or growing bananas.  What is only a small amount of money in Australia, as little as $25, can mean a lot to someone in one of the poorer countries of the world.

I just wanted to let you know about it.  I'm not trying to be preachy.  One of my least favourite sensations is the mix of 10% guilt / 90% irritability I feel when I encounter advertising which tries to guilt-trip me into donating money.  It's not that I don't think those poor little kids with the big swollen bellies deserve help - I just don't want to be made to feel bad about it.  I hate those depressing voice-overs and the mournful music they play while they describe the worst cases of poverty.  I don't want to be rung up during my dinner - how do they even know what time we're going to eat? - and I always look away from those sad round eyes peering out from my Saturday paper.  I used to think I must be naturally misanthropic, but what I have found is that when left to my own devices I do feel compelled to help other people.  I want to be inspired, not guilt-tripped, into helping.  I find it's much easier to do it in my own time.

Around this end of the year I usually like to make a small donation on behalf of Hayden and myself, especially when I feel like we've been lucky, or when I'm grateful that someone has taken a chance on one of us - and that has happened quite a bit this year.   It feels like the right thing to do, to pass that chance on to someone else.


Thank you so much everyone, for all the birthday wishes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy, Happy Day

Ahh what a wonderful day yesterday.  And what a wonderful night.   I felt so spoilt the entire time - like I was floating around on a cloud of luckiness and happiness.  That was one of the best birthdays yet.
After an afternoon having my fingernails and toenails painted (at my favourite beauty spot) I was instructed by Hayden to be ready for dinner at 5:30 sharp.  This did seem a bit strange, not because it was so early (things close early in Townsville, we're used to it now) but because it was sharp.  What?  Hayden is no respecter of restaurant bookings, so this was very out of character.  It did make me wonder where we were going.  

He picked me up right on time and drove us down past the waterfront .. no surprises yet .. past the Watermark, past the marina, past the turn-off back into town, and out towards the casino.  Hmm.  He stopped the car, and we began to walk ... to the ferry terminal.  Ah! We were going to Magnetic Island, just for dinner.  We'd never done that before.

It was such a romantic idea, and it was nearly a perfect night.  We didn't stop at the Peppers Resort near the ferry terminal; we hopped on the bus over to Horseshoe Bay to Barefoot gallery and restaurant.  We sat on their balcony - barefoot of course - and for a good while we were their only guests.  We gazed out to the sea as the sun went down, and listened to the lazy little waves sloshing rhythmically on the beach.  When the sky was really dark, all we could see were the lights at the top of each mast of the boats moored in the bay.  It was very, very romantic.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today's my birthday and I'm having a wonderful day.  All week Hayden has been spoiling me with gifts - a lucky ticket hidden in my weekend paper; a new CD I found in amongst our collection; a beautiful bunch of roses brought home one morning when he went out to get milk.  
Lily has got in on the act too, and she got me a couple of really thoughtful gifts: a little stuffed toy that smells like catnip, and bubble blowing liquid... that also smells like catnip.  Thanks Lily.  She really knows what I like.

To all my far-away family and friends:  I wish you were here!  Then we'd share my beautiful pink-coated chocolate-berry-muffin-cake.  

Hope you have a great day too, wherever you are.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Love Friday: The Big Weekend

We've got a wonderful weekend coming up, one with something for everyone.  Well, something for each of us anyway.
For Hayden there's a big bike race on Saturday, featuring Australian stars of the Tour de France who even I have heard of:  Robby McEwen and the guy who's nearly won the Tour de France twice now, Cadel Evans.  To be honest I am quite looking forward to the bike race too, because it's one of those psych-out style races where the competitors go all wary and slow at the start until someone makes a move - and then it's on.   We've been spotting the visiting cyclists around town for the last couple of days.  It's not hard to do; they're the lanky ones with the shaven legs.

Then later, after all the heat and sweat of the bike race, we get to see the foreign and arty films of the Sydney Travelling Film Festival.  I can't remember the last subtitled movie I saw at the cinema (though we did watch the brilliant and beautiful Diving Bell and the Butterfly at home).   So far I've circled The Grocer's Son and Happy-Go-Lucky on the Festival program.  What?? I've circled things on the program??  I used to be way cooler than that.  Now I'm just looking forward to a real big-city arty treat.  (I got a pang when I saw this picture of pale-faced Melbournians outside a gallery opening.  Ah..)

Thanks again Big Cat for Love Fridays.  It's the perfect way to build up to a weekend of fun.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

River Swim

We got to the river after a confusing and slightly nauseating drive through same-same-same-same 80s-brick suburbia.  Some teenagers were already there, splashing around in the water until a cellphone rang from where it was wedged in the fork of a tree and they soon wandered off in a dripping bunch.  They were nice - not sullen, not self-consciously brash like I was at that age.  I always cringe hard when I see teenagers acting out.  The last guy waited for us to get down to the water's edge, then threw the rope up to me before he climbed out up the exposed tree roots.

Then it was my turn to swing out on the rope and splash.  Hayden swung in after me and we headed out across to the other side.  And then back.  Hayden did another lap - this time much more seriously - while I got out and waited for him on the bank.    I watched him come back across the water towards me.  I felt like I'll always be doing that.  There's nothing so wholesome as a freshwater swim.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love Friday: Early Knock-off

At Hayden's work, the official Friday afternoon knock-off time is 2pm. It's always been 2pm. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it?  But I don't know why, maybe he's just inefficient, but in all the time he's worked there Hayden has only managed to come home early on three Friday afternoons.  That would be the last three Friday afternoons.
Just recently his workload has become more manageable, so we have instigated the most delightful Friday afternoon practice:  no, not beers on the balcony (wait, why not beers on the balcony??) but an extremely delicious and civilised coffee together to kick off the weekend.

I can't wait.

Three Cheers

Three cheers for Hayden, who fixed our washing machine single-handedly last night.  I was not looking forward to any of the alternatives:
  • paying someone $80 to come and take a look at it, then paying $25 for each fifteen minutes they subsequently ummed and ahhhed.
  • trying to lift the thing into the back of our car to take it to be repaired, or
  • attending Thursday Night Shopping tonight to look for a replacement
Living without a washing machine was not one of our options.  After only three days it was becoming uncomfortable, and a little bit smelly.  I would not like to continue that way.

Thank you once again, wonderful husband.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Love Friday: Clean and Fresh

Today I am preparing for the oncoming summer:  I have cleaned out our fridge, removing all these mystery bottles and jars of things out of date.  Sadly included are some delicious beers, including our favourite, Little Creatures Bright Ale.  So sad to see it go.    However, I've made stacks of space in there for summer fruits, summer salads and of course bread.  In summer in Townsville, it just doesn't last if you leave it on the kitchen bench.
I've also been to my first aqua-aerobics class.  It's my third summer returning. I don't know if I'll be quite so dedicated this year - last year I went every chance I got after I bought that wedding dress off the rack that fitted me so perfectly.  Make a note: aqua-aerobics is the exercise to do when you want to stay exactly the same size and shape.  After class I always feel wonderful; my skin warm and refreshed from the sun and the water, my muscles aching pleasantly like they do when they've been used.

Thanks so much BigCat for hosting Love Fridays.


PS:  After I cleaned out the fridge, I cleaned out the pantry.  I found a couple of items in it that were out of date in October 2005.  That was before we came to Townsville!  We transported things all the way from Melbourne that were already out of date.  And then we stored them in our kitchen for three years. Hm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Warm Up

It's really warming up here.  Every October it's like someone turns on a massive oven with its door open facing Townsville.  During October and November you can feel this oven heating up daily, and by January-February we're really being roasted.

I have been staying cool indoors during the day, sewing.  Not more patchwork, and not clothes (don't get excited Katherine), but I've been making cushion covers and a few little crafty things that are likely to turn up in some peoples' Christmas stockings.  Family, you have been warned.

Lily is my constant companion when sewing.  She likes to rest on any fabric I've laid out for cutting and she loves to investigate the sewing machine - especially when it's going.  But best of all she loves to pull out pins.  She gets as many pin-heads as she can in each mouthful, pulls them out with a jerk of her pretty head, and scatters them all over the floor.  I don't mind so much when they come out of the pin-cushion, but when she pulls them out of the fabric I've carefully pinned up for sewing ... well it does try my patience.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Power Cut

We had a lovely Sunday.  It was just perfect, really.  We woke up early and got out of the house; we drove to the markets out at Willows.  I've never had such a nice time there - usually it is late in the day by the time we finally make it, but it was so worth going early before the day warmed up.  We were there for some fresh fruit and vegetables (specifically bananas and potatoes) but we also looked at some of the local handicrafts.  We even picked up a fridge magnet made out of a beer bottle top with a tiny picture of an Australian landscape painted on the inside.  Strange impulse purchase perhaps ... but it was only $5 and the guy was chuffed to make a sale.

When we got home, we made smoothies from the bananas and played a long game of scrabble.  We don't impose a time limit, we just have music or telly playing softly in the background so that when it's not your turn there's always something to do.  After about an hour and a half our scores were tied at 316.  Hayden got all his letters down first, but I had cornered most of the triple word scores, so that's how we came out even.  We went down to our local coffee place to celebrate the game, and stayed there sipping drinks and reading the papers until the owner kicked us out.  He wanted to get home to watch the football.

Back at home, Hayden tinkered with his bicycles while I prepared the potatoes and put them in the oven.  When they were ready, we spent about two hours covering the kitchen with flour and gluggy mess while we made a huge batch of gnocci - some for our dinner, and some to freeze for later.  

After dinner, the power went out.  We don't know why, but it was black all over our neighbourhood.

It was such a relaxing end to a perfectly relaxing day.  There was sudden silence - no hum from next door's aircon or the pool filter just outside our bedroom window.  No overheard TV or other peoples' music.  Just us, sitting in candlelight with a pack of playing cards, relaxing and talking in the gloom.  Showering and teethbrushing by candlelight reminded me of camping, and I was just lying in bed, feeling so peaceful and for once I loved not reading myself into sleepiness - it came all by itself.

I just wanted to remember it.

100 to do list

Something Marny said recently got me thinking about those Myers Briggs personality types again.  You know, the ones where they classify your personality by giving you four letters:  I or E; S or N; F or T; P or J. 
Do you know what type you are? If you're an N you probably know exactly what I'm talking about, but if you're an S you probably can't see the point in this nonsense.  I'm one of those types with a J at the end, which means that I'm into making lists.

I have been working on this 100 things to do before I die list for ages now (eh ... years in fact.  That's why some items have already been crossed off) but I'm still only up to number 33. 

But I do find that every crossed-off list item generates ideas for more new things to do.  And though I know you're meant to introduce false panic into this exercise by imagining that you've been given only months to live, I prefer to assume that I've got a bit of time ahead of me.  I suppose mine's more like 100 things to do if I live.

1.  Travel outside of Australia 
2. Contribute to a published book.  It doesn't matter in what capacity - writer, editor, helper, contributor
3.  Work on a remote site 
4.  Work as a writer
5.  Raise at least one child
6.  Design a large garden and watch it grow
7.  Write a childrens' book - either a story or non-fiction
8.  Get back into music one way or another
9.  Help out in the community in a creative capacity
10. Live in a country in which English is not the first language
11. Grow a large crop of something - fruit in an orchard?  a commercial quantity of herbs? - to harvest and sell
12.  Own a house and 'customise' it a bit
13.  Study garden design or landscape design
14.  Design a garden for someone else - one that I think is beautiful and they're really happy with too
15.  Learn another language to the point where I can have a conversation
16.  Sew some curtains specifically for the place where we're living - especially if it is another rented property
17.  Set foot on Africa
18.  Do something about my fascination with middle-eastern tiles
19.  Get more of my creative thoughts out of my head and into the world
20. Set foot in the US
21.  Write a novel
22.  Publish a novel
23.  Get our photos off the computer and onto our walls, into books and albums, onto archive storage.
24.  Work somewhere where English isn't the first language
25.  Visit India
26.  Visit Morocco
27.  Make a picture book out of fabric - make one for children, and then think about making one for grown-ups?
28.  Make a set of cut-out felt animals, and a felt storyboard for them to cling to
29.  Make a home movie
30.  Drive from Townsville to Brisbane with Hayden
31.  Make myself a mousepad that works
32.  Go on safari in Africa
33.  Poetry.  Write some poetry.

I have already started on number 28.  I made a cut-out giraffe from brown felt, and it lead me to add numbers 17, 32 and 27 to the list.  You see how this works?

Let me know if you do up a list of your own; I'd love to hear what you imagine for your future.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Love Friday

Got migraine today.  Not loving it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Patchwork Number Two

I've made another one.  You're right, Claire, it is addictive. 
It served me really well on the weekend when we went to watch the North Queensland Athletics Championships:  while Hayden was off snapping action shots of the runners and jumpers, I rested on my blanket in the dappled shade.
I only looked up from my book once, when some gangly teenagers rolled up and started practicing with a shot put right there on the grass beside me.  My peace was ruined. 
 They needed a lot of practice.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Love Cat Friday

So did you ever wonder what happened to Lily's litter-sister?  We we wondering.  We hadn't seen her since February, not all that long after she came out of the womb second and literally walked over baby Lily to beat her to the milk.  
She's been bigger and stronger than Lily since then.  Initially we thought she was a boy.

We knew that she'd gone to live with some neighbours of ours and that they'd called her Kuta.  But we hadn't seen her at all until recently, when we spotted her scrapping with another (much bigger) neighbourhood cat.

She's grown into a strong independent woman-cat, tough but beautiful.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First Patchwork

Here it is.  My first patchwork quilt.  If you don't like it don't tell me, cos I'm ridiculously pleased with it.  And with myself.
I have seen a lot of different patchwork quilts on all those crafty-mummy blogs I browse, but I never felt the urge to make such a thing myself because if there's one thing we don't need in Townsville it's extra warmth.  

Then I saw a tutorial on House on Hill Road for a patchy picnic blanket and I thought that's something we could use... or at least give away.  I had the best time picking out the fabrics and co-ordinating how much and where for each one; instead of trying to keep track of some complicated geometric pattern (that would be nearly impossible for me and not at all fun) I made an unstructured pattern that just 'seemed right'.  And I love it.  The part of sewing I always like best is choosing the thread to match the fabric, and when you're making a quilt there is so much matching and co-ordinating to be done. 

Up until now I've tried really hard to furnish our house in a way that's warm and welcoming without crossing the line into 'cottagey', and that's not easy in a town with no Ikea.  With this new patchwork thing I might just be tipping the balance.  

Ah well.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Lots of good things have been happening recently.  We've had beautiful weather in the ramp-up to summer (no spring as such here); I've finally grown out of the woeful haircut I got a couple of weeks ago; Friends is back on telly instead of that awful dating gameshow and, best of all, our worst closest noisiest neighbours have left.  Gone.  Moved out.

We have a lot of close neighbours, as next door to us is a row of six tiny hovels, each with a tiny backyard courtyard that abuts our fence.   The first of these hovels, the one closest to our kitchen and living room, was where the worst neighbours lived.  We called them the Trash Family.  We could hear every word they said when they congregated in their little courtyard to drink and smoke and scold their children.  "No.  No.  Noooo.  No.  NO. NOOO!  Just sit down and drink your f--ken milk!"   

And then, just last Wednesday, we noticed that they were cleaning.  By Thursday they were gone.  My bougainvillea, which had done nothing all winter but look wan and bedraggled, has finally started to flower.  I feel much the same way myself.



We have new next-door neighbours.  They are Victorians, and they are already holed up inside with the aircon on all day and all night.  Er ... summer has not even got going yet.  They are in for a rough time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The road back to normality

Lily is recovering slowly but surely.   As you can see,  she's still got the cone on but she's now allowed outside to play.
She's sitting in her favourite spot in the garden.  Right on top of my coriander plant.  

We gave up eating coriander long ago.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sad Washing

Lily is not herself these days.  She went in for her little operation last Friday, and she's been wearing that disfiguring cone on her head for a week now.  She's well and truly sick of us mistaking her for a lamp.  She's made it quite clear that she doesn't find it at all funny.
The cone is to protect her stitches from her gnawing; we've also taken away her climbing post and we no longer let her outside to play, so she can't burst her stitches jumping up and down.  She's been so quiet and sad since we took all the good stuff out of her life. 

To cheer her up I put her up on the kitchen bench to watch me do the washing up.  She loves water, and bubbles, and she is keenly interested in everything we humans do.  Under the circumstances, it was the perfect treat.  

Friday, September 05, 2008

Luxury Weekend

Our long weekend away was lovely, and not just because we spent it with some of Hayden's oldest friends from undergrad days.   It was so good to finally meet some of the characters from those told and endlessly retold stories.  
In addition, we were upgraded from our modest holiday apartment to a massive modern mansion of a house.  It was really nice.  I have never been on one of those holidays where you book into a resort hotel and then never leave.  This was the closest I've ever got, and I have to say it was not too bad at all!  

It was an excellent opportunity for the guys to reconnect via beers and barbies and the girls to sit by the pool and compare notes on how we converted our scruffy engineer husbands into respectable nicely-dressed citizens of the world.  (I'm sorry.  It is absolutely true that we did that.  Also, compared to the other two wives I have not done very well at all.  I still let Hayden buy his own clothing, sunglasses and shoes.  Even worse, I sometimes let him go out to the supermarket wearing his post-exercise lycra circulation pants.  If the other wives had given me a report card, it would have said "more work needed".)

We ate a lot of good food and drank a lot of tasty beer and wine.  There were so many couches, daybeds and other relaxing spots around the house for an impromptu nap or a good read.  I wasn't feeling like I needed a holiday, but I certainly took one anyway.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Love Friday - Holidays!

We're off to Port Douglas for a long weekend, to help some of our New Zealand friends warm up and dry out after their long wet winter.

Why am I packing coffee beans in tupperware? Well, we're the ground support for this little trip. We'll be arriving with our tiny car packed to the gills with supplies and equipment the others couldn't afford in their baggage allowance - beach towels, board games, DVDs and beverages. Yes, all kinds of beverages.
We'll be back in the middle of next week - hopefully to a new internet connection which, you never know, might encourage me to post here more than once a week.
See ya!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Love Friday

This might just be the end of Love Fridays for me.  I'm not saying for definite - but I'm not sure it looks that good either.

From now on, Friday is going to be my housework day.   Ever since I quit my last job, our house has been particularly spotless as I filled in my time with over-cleaning.   But when I caught myself talking like a housewife to my sister - I was telling her about the morning I woke up wanting to buy Hayden a load of business shirts and mix-and-match ties so he could never go wrong - I decided that enough was enough.

So Love Friday is now Cleaning Friday.  Look out for it next week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Work History

Roughly in chronological order:

  • Violin teacher and one quarter of a string quartet
  • Fundraiser and campaigner for forests at tws
  • Undergraduate arts critic and radio announcer
  • Library assistant at a Brisbane university
  • Event organiser at Monash University; at an organisation for social justice for people with disabilities; then finally for a massive trade show of mobile phones in London
  • Writer of Replies to Letters on behalf of the Lord Mayor of Brisbane
  • Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall; the Premier of Victoria; and to one of Australia's most distinguished academic economists
  • Hand on an olive farm in Tuscany; then one in Sicily
  • Receptionist at a very lonely desk outside a state government department in Victoria (where I started blogging)
  • Clerk on a building site, then a mine site in north Queensland
  • Barista at Squires coffee shop in Townsville
  • Freelance writer, at home in my pyjamas
Most recently I have been working at home as a full-time carer for our cat.  It may be time to spread my wings a bit.

Quite frankly I'm surprised I haven't worked in a bookshop yet.  It seems an obvious choice - but maybe it's not just browsing all day long?

What do you think I should do next?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Love Friday

I have been feeling rotten.  I don't know if it's allergies  or a head cold or what, but this week I've been full to the brim with snotty disgusting gunk.  I don't know about you, but for me when this happens I usually go a little bit deaf.  It's all connected back there behind our noses.

This morning when I took a sip of my freshly-brewed coffee, one of the hundreds of morning coffees made with love for me by my wonderful husband, I let the warm and delicious liquid slip silkily down my throat.  I swallowed.  Then suddenly my ears cleared and out of nowhere I could hear the music playing for the start of the morning news.  I turned to Hayden and asked, "Have I been talking really loudly this past week?" 
He let his eyes close slowly then nodded, yes.

This weekend is going to be a good one.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Love Friday

The message here is pretty clear.  What more could you want than the smell of sweat and sunscreen, the glare, and the sweet relief of the afternoon's breeze?

Don't spend your weekend indoors watching sport on the telly.  Get outside and enjoy!  Come on.. I'll buy you an ice-cream..?

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Honeymoon

Our honeymoon on Hinchinbrook Island was short but extremely sweet.  

Eating, sleeping, resting and dreaming - laced with bushwalking and snorkeling.  Blissful.

These photos are all by Hayden.  I was way too relaxed for photography.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Love Fridays

I know it's been a little while since I've worked hard for money.  And it might seem like I have the most ridiculously luxurious life of leisure.   Well I do have a wonderful life.  I appreciate every minute of the comfort and freedom of our life in Townsville.  But also, I work.  Though you don't see it, and though there's not often a pay packet to show for it,  I do work quite hard during the week.   I'm trying to teach myself writing, story-telling, crafting and creativity, in amongst the odd part-time job or two, running our little household and keeping everything organised and tidy at home.

All this to say that ... I still love Fridays.   On Fridays I often think to myself that it would be nice to do a little winding down before the weekend.  I often wish I could do a Friday morning yoga class to relax and stretch out.  Change up my focus.  Look back on a week that might otherwise just drift away unnoticed.

I really like this idea for a Love Friday meme.  I'm going to try it for a bit.  Seems like a nice thing to do.

(On Monday I'm going to get back to the story at hand.  After all, we're just getting to the fun bit - the honeymoon.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Wedding (part iii)

This story starts here, and continues here.

The wedding ceremony itself was pretty simple.  Pretty short.  

We felt that we'd given everyone ample time to contemplate love, our marriage and what it meant to our extended family and friends.  We didn't feel we needed to cover it again by reading out poems or speeches.  We asked my parents to accept Hayden into their family as a new son and a new brother, and we asked Hayden's parents to accept me into their family as a new daughter and sister.  Hayden and I made a simple promise to each other to love and respect, be honest and faithful to each other, come what may.

Then we sealed it with a kiss.

Before I met Hayden, I didn't think I would ever get married.  It just hadn't seemed likely to me - I had always assumed I'd grow old by myself in a dingy flat crammed with books.  So I came at it my own way, hopefully in a grown-up way.  When I made my vow to Hayden, it was important to me to make a promise that I could keep forever.  I didn't want to promise to stay in love, and if it didn't work out just cancel the vows and regret the whole thing.   Though I didn't spell it out at the ceremony, my promise to Hayden was that, come what may,  even if our marriage didn't last, then my promise would still hold.  Even if our relationship changed and I had to find a new way to do it, I would always love and respect him, be honest with him and be faithful to the wonderful time we've had together.  Does that sound pessimistic?  It doesn't matter if it does.  It was important to me.  I knew what I meant, and so did he.

Then we signed the forms and the marriage certificate, thanked our celebrant and stood still for more photos.  

And it was all done.  While we waited for the champagne to come out, someone asked me "So what's your name now?" and I answered in a whisper: "The same thing it always was."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Our Wedding (part ii)

This story starts here.

First thing on the morning of our wedding, I looked out the window to see what kind of day we'd got.  It was beautiful!  The blue sky was shining through the trees and I started getting excited, wondering if everything might just go according to plan.

Hayden and I were in a little cottage, secluded by about ten km of winding country road from our guests.  We wrapped ourselves in bathrobes and wandered down to the creek below our balcony, hoping to see a platypus.  There were rumours they lived there, and I was sure we'd be in for a treat, you know, a special good omen for our wedding day ... but no such luck.

Then Hayden disappeared with his groomsmen and my sister came down to help me get ready, though we quickly agreed there was not much to do in that department.  I had no hair or make-up appointments, no fluster or bustle, so Louisa and I and her boyfriend Nick, our driver for the day, went for a walk in the rainforest instead.

I found out later that some of our guests had also spent the morning walking and visiting the waterfalls nearby, and it was exactly what we'd hoped they'd do.  We'd left the schedule open on purpose, to give everyone time to do whatever they felt like, and I was so glad they went out to enjoy the surroundings like we do on a weekend visit.

When we got back to the cottage, the photography team were there waiting for me.  It was time for me to get on with the business of the day.  Nick and Louisa melted into the background; Louisa disappeared to get herself ready, and Nick went off to smoke nearly a whole pack of cigarettes and tie the ribbon on the car.  I went in alone to face my dread: the 'bride gets ready' photography sequence.   

I know it's just a standard bridal thing and I knew it would be nice for Hayden to see later what I'd been up to beforehand, but... it's just not my thing.  For a start I didn't even have a dressing table and mirror surrounded by lightbulbs, and I had to do with the rickety picnic table out on the balcony.

Hint of lipstick, bit of mascara, then all of a sudden it was time to go.  I put on my shoes and my veil and it was exactly how I'd imagined:  the veil tilted my head wonky and the heels of my shoes sunk into the grass.  I had become a bride.  I wished I'd spent more time practicing that.

To be continued ...