I got a fabulous email from my mum last night. It simply said:
Things that remind me of you (1)
The dessert spoon in the drawer with the bead pattern on the handle
This morning when I woke up the nice lady on the radio told me it was going to be a fine day, highs of 19 degrees.
"That's cold" I thought, and I dressed in stockings, knee high leather boots and a jumper (plus other articles of course, a skirt and suchlike).
As I went to walk out of the front door she downward revised to 17 degrees.
I nipped back into my bedroom to grab a scarf.
I am rather excited.
Yesterday I got a message on Facebook from a very good friend and Boo member, saying that she is in Malaysia a lot for work in the next couple of months and is looking into detouring via Sydney to pay me a visit.
Now, as a disclaimer so she doesn't worry that everything is done and dusted; I know this is still just at the IF stage.
I haven't yet had a visitor out to Sydney and really want to see her.
Fingers crossed everyone!
In celebration of the fact that my replacement copies of BBC History Magazine's March and April editions arrived in the post this week (thanks to lovely bro-in-law Phil!), here are some choice facts pilfered from the April edition:
- The word avocado derives from a central Mexican language and its root means testicle
- John Bull, icon of Englishness was in fact Scottish. He was first drawn in 1712
- The first British motorist ever to be convicted of speeding was doing 8 mph. He was overtaken by a bobbie on a bike and then charged with speeding
- Pitt the Younger became British PM aged just 24. He didn't just get the job because his daddy had been PM before him - his CV was pretty good because he was chancellor at 23.
Lawks I love facts!
The following items have vanished from the care of the postal services between the UK and Australia:
- One care package of chocolate
- Two BBC History magazines (two replacements have finally arrived - thanks Phil!)
- One monthly care package from lovely sister Edwina
- One easter card from other lovely sister Liz
- Reckon a letter from my dad too as have received only one in the last month and he writes them weekly.
Really unimpressed. Nothing to make you feel further from home that a shite postal service.
Today is Tuesday. Which, logically, means tomorrow is Wednesday.
Wednesday is my day off under our 4-day week scheme.
For the last 5 weeks I have had to work my Wednesday because I have had so much to do (so I have accumulated a whole week's leave owing - Kakadu here I come... soon).
Anyway tomorrow is the first Wednesday for yonks when I don't have to go to work, but I have forgotten what it is I used to do on this day off!
I need to pop to the library to return a book (Kafka and I didn't work out), but other than that.... ?
Suggestions are very gratefully received. For those in the UK about to suggest I head to the beach, the weather forecast is warm-ish but sporadic and often heavy showers.
Hello my lovelies. How are you all this Monday? I am sleepy, which is strange because I have had the most chilled weekend. Ever. Judged by an independent panel of me.
I wanted to tell you about two of the highlights of my fabulously antisocial, insular, chillaxed weekend.
1) On Saturday I had to be at the gym at 11am to meet my personal trainer. That's a highlight? I hear you wonder. Well yes, because he got the boxing gloves out for the first time! I think he had clocked my envious looks at the boxing people in previous weeks.
Jab. Jab, cross, jab. Jab, cross, jab, knee, hook, kick. Oh yeah.
Bizarrely my left boob muscle (not sure what that is technically known as) is sore. I am using that to prove that boxing IS for girls because it uses boob muscle.
2) Sunday it was raining buckets, which I love, and very very windy, which I also love. (Energetic weather makes me feel alive). So I spent all morning in bed painting my toe nails and reading Terry Pratchett.
The rain eased around midday so I took a stroll down to the beach to watch the waves pounding in. As I was heading home again the rain put in another appearance so I ducked into a book shop cafe to pass the time.
This cafe is opposite my Favourite Bondi Brunch Place, but I have never before ventured inside. Inside is a second hand book shop with tables randomly squeezed in the middle. Tasty looking food and a gloriously eclectic bunch of customers. Not your dull cookie-cutter Bondi babes in here.
I ordered a pot of mint tea, found a corner and got stuck into Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Got bored and then spotted the complete works of Oscar Wilde so I meandered through A Woman Of No Importance. An hour later, the tea drunk, I purchased Wilde for $14 ($14!!) and an Anne McCaffrey Pern book ($5!!!!!) and headed home.
If you can't find me on a weekend or Wednesday off from now on - look in the book cafe Gertrude & Alice on Hall Street in Bondi.
I just tried for a little while to blog about #PRGathering. Only, I was there last night and it was really cool (which is why I want to tell you about it) but it involved a lot of booze and a 3am bedtime and, frankly, I don't seem to be able to get my words out.
So instead, enjoy some link love today:
The new Harry Potter film trailer is out here.
This post can be seen in two ways. Think of it as a hologram. Or one of those 3D image things. Except if you aren't in Boo you will just see a flat picture. But its a nice flat picture, so I think thats OK.
One of my favourite blogs is Indexed. Every morning Mr or Mrs Indexed (whoever they are) posts a graph showing a graphical representation of random things. Some of my favourite recent graphs have shown how poverty + materialism + desire for status = babies with pierced ears, the effect sunny days have on the sale of running shoes, and where on a chart and how exactly Insomnia becomes beautiful (when watching sunsets and sunrises overlap).
Yes I know, it sounds weird, but it makes me chuckle.
But anyway today was a rather factually accurate one which made me think of Boo and our love of sharing pirate related stories. Apparently we are in for good times:
This morning my colleague Polly handed me the S supplement from Sunday's Sun Herald. "Thought you would agree with this", she understated.
I have tried to find the article online because it so perfectly sums up my thoughts on feminism, but for some very strange reason the Sun Herald's site not only has no search facility, they also don't upload all their print content.
So you can't read it in full, unless you dig out your print copy from Sunday 12th April and turn to page 31 of S. But I wanted you to see it so much that I have typed out three sections from the piece. Yes, I know, a tremendous time waste, but trust me - this is worth repeating.
Sorry Sam de Brito, for not hyperlinking to your original work. Have a word with your bosses and get your content online. But thank you, for putting it so clearly.
Ladies - do we really need a man to point out to us where 51% of the world's population is going wrong??
There can be nothing more sobering for an old-school dinosaur than watching his darling daughter grow into a young woman, assured she's gonna meet a generation of narrow-minded creeps just like Daddy, who'll treat her like a brainless piece of meat.
Its a pity the same perception shift doesn't occur in so many women, with huge numbers of mothers continuing to transmit the trivial obsessions of shoe shopping, beauty products and gossip magazines to their baby girls.
As I've written before in this column, it's a bit much to expect men to take the insoluble issues of Western gender equality seriously - things like abortion rights, equal pay and sexual discrimination in the workplace - when millions of intelligent women spend their days consumed with what Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing.
We now live in a country where a generation of Australian women don't even consider themselves feminists, having rejected the term because they think they'll be labelled a lesbian and won't get a boyfriend if they even utter the word.
I could walk into any bar, supermarket or fashion boutique in this country and I guarantee I would know more about feminist issues than 90 per cent of women there.
Ask a woman under 30 to even define what feminism is and I bet you'll get a pea soup of misconceptions about hairy armpits, man-hating and rabid activism instead of this: feminism is the belief that women should have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights to men.
1) I love country music. I also love red or brown cowboy boots. I want to go to Alabama and meet a genuine redneck. I enjoy a barn dance and quite fancy trying my hand at line dancing next to a man with a mullet. I own a Tim McGraw album and love the Robert Plant/Alison Kraus album Raising Sand. One of my favourite films is Sweet Home Alabama for combining my penchant for romance with the Deep South.
2) It may surprise some (not least my mother) but my all time favourite crave food is bok choy cooked with lots of ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Yes; a green vegetable. This beats chocolate (even British Cadburys), pizza and thai food. But it is close...
3) I wish I was intelligent and knowledgable, but usually have to use my best PR skills to convince people that it is the case instead. I would like to learn to speak German and I wish I enjoyed high brow literature more than I actually do. I have to concentrate really hard to do maths. I collect facts but often forget the best ones.
What about you? Tagging Cathy, Polly, Katy, Nicole, Lawrence and anyone else who wants to join in. Or just add yours in the comments. Let's all get to know the less obvious about one another....
Regular readers will remember that earlier on this week I did a bit of a cop out post in the form of a meme.
One of the questions asked who was the last person I hugged, which made me realise that I don't hug anyone in Australia.
That sounds like a really sweeping statement and one that I expect you are thinking cannot be true. Because everyone loves a good tight hug. How can you exist day-to-day without one?
Well I agree entirely. I *love* a hug. Its such an unambiguous gesture and can totally embody (oooh good use of word!) your feelings for someone. The closeness is comforting. Not only do you feel someone's arms safely wrapping you up, but you are at the perfect proximity to get a good whiff of their smell. Which could be gross, but personally I only hug people whose smell doesn't offend. And we all know how good it can be to catch a whiff of someone you love.
So how can I exist without them? To be honest it hadn't really occured to me until this stupid meme pointed it out so explicitly. Today is Thursday and I wrote that on Tuesday and I have been thinking about that one question quite a lot.
Because now I *really* miss hugs.
My family is a group of pretty expert huggers, if I do say so myself. We aren't a particularly kissy family (well, at least not to each other!), but hugs we do bloomin' well. My sisters and I didn't hug too much until I left the country, but returning at xmas taught me that they are brilliant co-huggers. My parents hugs are the epitome of love and comfort.
It can actually be quite amusing to watch my (large) extended family saying hellos and goodbyes at family functions. Hugs for aunties, uncles, cousins, cousins girlfriends, grandad, sisters heading back up the road with husbands, nieces.... and we all give good hug.
I have some really good friends in Australia, but noone that can make a hug much more than just another way to say goodbye.
Gosh I would give anything to teleport home briefly for some good strong hugs.
I made a resolution a while ago not to scrimp when buying original art. When I see art work that I love, why not treat myself to it? Its not like I buy loads, and I don't mean that I can spend thousands of dollars I don't have... the resolution was just intended to alleviate some guilt in investing in original art works.
I bought my first pieces in the UK (having looked through my blog archive I never seem to have uploaded a picture... one will be added as an edit to this post when I get home this evening. These two prints, bought after Andrew cajoled me, are still my favourites). Then I acquired another on my arrival here in Oz (check it out...). Now here is the third purchase.
I bought this in an aboriginal community somewhere in the thousand+ kilometres between Uluru and Coober Pedy on my recent holiday. It has just come back from the canvas stretcher folks and I am very excited about hanging it over my bed...
UPDATE: and here is a picture of the first pictures I bought, in situ in my Letch living room. LOVE THEM.
Yes I know, its a bit of a cop out, but yesterday you got nothing at all, beloved reader, so thank your lucky stars that my sister tagged me in this meme...
1) What is your salad dressing of choice?
2) What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
I love that they need to say 'sit down'... like otherwise my answer would be KFC (ew). Has to be Asia De Cuba at the St Martin's Lane Hotel in Covent Garden. In Australia it is Sushi Train in Bondi Junction. Best sushi in the world. Had tea there last night...
3) What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of?
4) What are your pizza toppings of choice?
Pepperoni, goats cheese, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatos... mmmm.
5) What do you like to put on your toast?
Marmite or strawberry jam
6) How many televisions are in your house?
7) What color cell phone do you have?
8) Are you right-handed or left-handed?
Right, although I used to be ambidextrous.
9) Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A couple of wisdom teeth.
10) What is the last heavy item you lifted?
Ambitious amounts of weights in the gym. Grrr personal trainer!
11) Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
12) If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
Nope. I plan ahead quite enough as it is.
13) If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
I would only change my name for a man I really loved. I have no wish to change it otherwise.
14) Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
Nope. The GFC hasn't hit that badly yet!
15) How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
Have no idea. In addition to the many I have here, I have a box full of shoes (including flip flops) in my loft in The Letch
16) What is/are your goal/s for the year?
To continue to live and love every minute of my time in Australia.
17) Last person you talked to?
Kinetics girls in the kitchen over my sandwich
18) Last person you hugged?
How sad... I don't really hug people in Australia. Probably Anna my new housemate. She is Italian (which I believe serves as a good explanation).
19) Favorite Season?
I love them all at the beginning and by the end am looking forward to the next. Not looking forward to winter in Sydney though - it was cold and boring.
20) Favorite Holiday?
My recent one to the desert. LOVED it. Other goodies were the week in Tobago and week driving around the Champagne region with Elle in her Morgan. The good life...
21) Favorite day of the week?
22) Favorite Month?
It was July, but that is now winter... hmmm. December. Sunshine in Sydney, a short work month, then flying home to snow and family.
23) First place you went this morning?
24) What's the last movie you saw?
How funny that its the same as my sister! The Holiday (pure cheese, but I have a girl crush on Kate Winslet which regular readers will already know about). Plus it was filmed in a town I discovered at Christmas - where a good friend lives.
25) Do you smile often?
26) Do you always answer your phone?
No. I rarely do.
27) It's four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?
One of my backpacker friends from my holiday who have no idea of time... or someone from home. Occasionally a nightclub in London - yeah, that's really appreciated.
28) If you could change your eye color what would it be?
Why would I want to do that? Are gravy brown eyes not the best?
29) What flavor drink do you get at Sonic?
30) Have you ever had a pet fish?
Yes I had Abi (Abercrombie and Fish) and Levi. Then I had a load called Marmite, Martha and other M names. I am not good with fish...
31) Favorite Christmas song?
Wizzard or Slade. Don't mind Mariah either. I LOVE christmas cheese!
32) What's on your wish list for your birthday?
An Aquabumps picture. Already choosing!
33) Can you do push ups?
Almost. I do them at a 45 degree angle on the bar in the gym. They hurt.
34) Can you do chin ups?
Assisted ones, which is a big improvement on a month or so ago.
35) Does the future make you more nervous or excited?
36) Do you have any saved texts?
37) Ever in a car wreck?
38) Do you have an accent?
BBC English - and getting stronger the longer I spend in Sydney!
39) What is the last song to make you cry?
I cry at just about anything. Des'ree Kissing You last week got me. REM's Nightswimming always does, as does Everybody Hurts.
40) Plans tonight?
41) Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?
No. I can't really imagine what that feels like. It hurts enough to watch people you care about do it.
42) Name 3 things you bought yesterday.
Sushi, a diet coke, my week's train ticket
43) Have you ever been given roses?
Yes, and although I had been bought them by a few people and yellows are my favourite, the red one given to me at Kings Cross station 11 years ago still makes me smile to remember.
44) Current hate right now?
45) Met someone who changed your life?
It would be arrogant to say no, almost everyone I know has changed my life in some way, but noone has influenced it more than anyone else (I think...)
46) How did you bring in the New Year?
With some of my favourite folks of Boo... singing to Singstar. Thank goodness Clare's house is detached!
47) What song represents you?
Oh gosh, this is the kind of thing I think all the time. I hear something and think 'that's so me!'. I don't have a theme song though.
48) Name three people who might complete this?
Well let's try Jen, Cathy and Polly
49) What were you doing 12 AM last night?
50) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?
Absolutely no idea. My brain takes quite a while to get going in the morning.
I have been really proud of my daily blogging for the last few weeks.
Today I am very busy, but I opened my blog ready to say something.
I have nothing to say.
So, well, have a lovely weekend. Normal service will resume when I have enough headspace to have a random thought on something.
Tomorrow the boss man goes on holiday and he has handed temporary power of THE WORLD (of Kinetics) to me. I shall, for the next couple of weeks, go by the title Honorable Lady Madam Acting Managing Director (or something similar). I get power over petty cash and other such glamorous undertakings.
I just sent out a tweet asking for suggestions for ways in which my new found power trip should manifest itself and the replies are pouring in. They are making me giggle so I will share them with you...
- Get your minions to create you a throne made from your clients' productsI love a lot of these ideas and may try a good many of them out. I do need a lightbulb for my IKEA lamp....
- Walk into the office and make @KdeR reorganise your bookshelf by book colour
- Get someone to do coffee runs for u and fill up your water bottle when its empty and, ensure that the cheese and wine comes out in a nice platter at 3pm
- Get everyone into the boardroom, ask them to pick who should go, let them argue, send them out, bring them in and say 'You're fired'
- Make some senior people clean your car :)
- Make everyone use the term 'egregarious' in everything they write
- Get them to make you a coffee :)
- Oh... PERFECT way to express your power... Go buy heaps of IKEA stuff and get staff to assemble them for you.
- Have a gold statue of yourself erected outside your office door. Make people bow as they walk past it.
I am an optimist. You have probably picked up on that by now, dear reader.
My mum raised me with the much repeated advice that if you don't have something positive to say, don't say anything at all.
I then moved into a career which is, essentially, about convincing people to do things, and I learnt quickly that if you focus on the positive when telling them their idea is pants they will be more inclined to do what you say.
Looking on the bright side has become second nature to me, to the extent that I wonder whether its in someway genetic (it just feels too fundamental a part of me to be entirely due to nuture).
But when I look at the rest of my family I see that I am quite easily the most positive person. In fact my lovely eldest sister regularly makes me laugh outloud with her Jack Dee-beating pessimism. I love her very much and she is great fun, but she does love a good moan.
I have pondered on this on a couple of occasions recently, when friends have been beating the whinge drum. And I have sussed it.
I actively engage in optimism. And positivity is a self fulfilling proposition.
If I watch very closely I can even spot the moment at which I realign a thought which is tending towards the defeatist, and project it back onto a path of 'but at least....'
I noticed a few years ago that hanging out with colleagues who liked to moan (but never actually resigned) made me dissatisfied with my job. When I stopped listening to them I could begin to enjoy my work by taking it at face value and not looking for the catches in every new policy, the attempts to exploit me... blah blah blah.
Positivity is a conscious part of my day. While I may indulge in a brief 140 character moan on twitter, I always think twice about posting negative blog posts. A look through my archive will see lots of things that I like (indeed two whole posts dedicated to lists of things I like), but the 'Things that annoy me' post was given over to a guest writer, because I don't like to wallow in such lists.
While optimism doesn't make for the best comedy, and can sometimes annoy friends seeking a partner in negativitiy, it does make for a healthy mental state.
I enjoy the plus-sides my brain thinks up for every situation. I was seeing a nice man in the UK, which didn't work.... plus side? It was one of the reasons I moved out here. You have a snake problem at your country house? Well... they will contain the mouse population. Landlord wants you to move out of your gorgeous flat? Moving to a new one will help you discover a whole new coffee place, and the barista may be your perfect man! (Ok, so I am an optimist and a die-hard romantic).
So, dear reader, if this all sounds appealing and you want to try to embrace a little more conscious positivity to your life I challenge you to write the following on a Post It note near your desk. Its a sentence to live by:
Everything that happens in my life is designed to improve it.
Oh and smile. A smile passes down a pavement full of people and can brighten everyone's day.