February 28, 2014

I'll catch you up

Hi internet!  I should catch you up on what I've been doing lately and why I went silent.  I last posted on January 19.  After that we went camping with an excellent lady friend of ours at Langi Ghiran.  I wont forget that camping trip because I had a beautiful dream about an Aboriginal man who was also a kangaroo.  He visited our tent and made me feel reassured that we were safe staying there.  The area has been inhabited by the Djab Wurrung people for at least the last 22,000 years continuously.  That's amazing.

Just after that we went to stay in Ocean Grove for a week with my family.  Our goal was to lie on the beach, boogie board (heaps) and drink beer.  There was some family crap going on, which tends to happen when we all get together, but at least there was plenty of beach time.

And then, after all that, we went on a road trip up the coast for 2 weeks.  I'll fill you in on that later!

January 19, 2014

Life train

This is a quick check in to let you know that we are full steam ahead on the life train right now.  I have been jogging three times per week for two weeks now.  By jogging, I mean shuffling angrily and then walking intermittently, but I'm doing what my iPhone tells me to and if the phone isn't telling lies, I'll be able to jog five kilometres without stopping in six more weeks!  That's about 4.95 kilometres more than my personal best.

I've also downloaded the Yoga Studio app. for the iPad and I've done a half hour session almost every day this week.  I feel a bit addicted.  I've never really tried yoga before.  I think that I've been to two classes in my life before this.  During the first one the instructor and I got into a weird situation where whenever we caught each other's eye we would burst out laughing, which undermined the relaxation somewhat.  And the second class was only memorable because somebody passed gas loudly during a relaxation pose and because I was 19 at the time, I thought that it was scandalous and hilarious.  I still remember it 13 years later.  You really hope that nobody remembers your faux pas for 13 years don't you?  Anyway, I've discovered that I love yoga.  I love it.  The story goes that my Mum was in a yoga class when her waters broke with me, so it's meant to be I reckon.  My body feels strong in ways I never knew it could.  I've also started describing everything in terms of energies.  For example, "that brussel sprout has a weird energy, I think I need to not eat it".

And if that's not enough, we've also been swimming laps at the pool a couple of times each week, which will keep my hairdresser making sneering remarks about the state of my hair, if nothing else.

We haven't had a television for about three weeks now and it's been phenomenal.  At first I would walk in the door after work and stare longingly at the space where it used to be and panic a little bit.  But after a while I began to love the time I suddenly have on my hands and I'm doing things like jogging, yoga, cooking better meals, drawing, painting, writing, reading, checking the oil in the car, Googling "why does Alexa Chung have such skinny legs?"... the possibilities are endless.  And by the way, she forgets to eat when she's stressed, so lay off ok?  Without the tv in our life I feel so much more relaxed. I hadn't realised how much it was geeing me up.

Here are some photos from the last week.

Last weekend I had a bit of a meltdown over family stress, so I took myself for a picnic in the botanical gardens.  The sequoias are my favourite thing in the gardens and I can't wait to see them in their natural habitat one of these days.  I think botanical gardens are cool because they're the result of people being awed by nature and wanting to show it off.

The picnic hit the spot for me.  After a few hours spent lying under the trees in the heat eating antipasto, with butterflies and dragonflies zipping around me, I wandered out of the gardens with a pretty glazed blissful expression on my face.  And some twigs in my hair.

I don't know the name of this tree, but the spiky leaves twist around the branch in a spiral.  Fancy that!

This was my view for the afternoon.

One of my relatives created many of the marble statues in these gardens.

Can you see the light flickering on the tree?

The next picture reminds me of a song by Bill Callahan.

Another day, we walked up to the lake after dinner.  We do that a lot at the moment and it's a delight to sit and watch the moorhens diving and kids fishing for yabbies.  Plus there's dogs everywhere and because we can't have a dog in our flat, we perve on everybody's dogs.  There were some beautiful colours that night and the next four photos haven't been filtered.  Because nature did it better.

These are my new shoes.  I like them.

In the last week the temperature suddenly shot up and it was about 40 degrees Celsius for five days.  As usual, that meant there were big bush fires.  The worst in our area was in The Grampians (Gariwerd), one of our favourite camping spots.  You can see the smoke haze from the fire in the next photo.  I read in a news article that the plume of smoke from the fire was so large that it created its own weather, including lightening!

And this is a photo that I took during our jog today.  These are corellas and I like the way they squawk.  They come across as a bit hysterical.

January 11, 2014

Ch-ch-ch changes

It definitely wasn't an intentional new year thing, but there have been a lot of changes made around our house lately.  Even a little bit of time off work gives you space to clean out the cobwebs.  And I really like change.  Change exhilarates and excites me.  Just ask my ex-boyfriends ha.  I feel like I'm evolving all the time, but it's not a lack of identity thing.  In fact I feel like I'm moving towards being a stronger, more satisfied woman all the time.  So, we're paring life back and selling our tv and all other extraneous electronics.  We have a desktop computer, two laptops, an iPad and two iPhones.  It's excessive.  And I have a feeling all of sudden that the screens are sapping my strength.  I move from screen to screen.

I still get a lot out of the internet.  Some of the people I like most don't even know me, or that they inspire me all the time.  But I want to achieve a little more balance and reduce the supply.  It might seem like no big deal, getting rid of the tv, but it has always been a nifty anaesthetic for me on days when work has filled my mind with too many questions.  To be honest it has felt a bit scary getting rid of it.  But I had this idea the other day that we only form memories when something unusually good or bad happens, and so time spent in front of the television is wasted time.  Old news for many people I'm sure, but it's a new idea for me.  So I'm going to try to spend my down time reading books (a lost art when you're studying), making good food, writing, studying, learning how to play my mandolin and doing any one of the many things that are actually nourishing for my soul.

That doesn't mean that I wont download the next season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and chortle along in my dressing gown on my days off, with teeth that need brushing.  I just wont sit down in front of my television and accept whatever it throws at me.

In other news, the weather is still being weird.  But, when I hear about polar vortexes on the other side of the world, I think I might just shut up.

Here are some photos from the last week or so.

This is a Michael Leunig drawing that I keep beside my bed because I like the colours.  If you don't know who he is, I highly recommend looking him up. Although, he is openly political and if you're the sort who thinks that it is possible, or even desirable, to separate politics from daily life then you may be offended.  For me he captures the pathos and joy of existence perfectly.  And he has so much affection and humour for animals, which I can relate to.  We had one of his poems read at our wedding and the plan is to have parts of it tattooed on our arms for our first anniversary in February.  You can see the poem, called The Path To Your Door, here.

On New Years Eve we walked around the neighbourhood taking photographs and drinking pre-mixed margaritas by Skinny Girl.  That's some money well spent.  (not really)

It was a beautiful warm night and seagulls were wheeling and trying to eat bugs.  I may have eaten a bug or two myself, by accident.

Life finding a way.

Greens and what-not.

That's a pre-mixed margarita being had while standing over crispy flowers and leaves.

I'm a bit taken by this photo.  It has good lines and if you're looking for meaning in things, it could represent being tethered by expectations and systems.  Yes yes I'm a social worker.

This was New Years Day at Queenscliff beach.

We ate some pretty average pastries in the car while seagulls plotted to kill us for them.

Beach colours are fairly gorgeous aren't they?

This is my new necklace that I ordered from Is Was + Will Be.  Grouse hey?

This is a photo taken at a gig that we went to at the Northcote Social Club.  We had a beautiful night with dear friends drinking cocktails we can't really afford and good tequila.  The headline act was a blues singer who was pretty fun, but I couldn't shake a feeling of sadness for a girl in the front row being plied with drinks by a predatory guy (you know the ones).  She became so very drunk that she was twerking - yes twerking - to the music.  And then the singer threw her out of the gig calling her disrespectful.  I couldn't shake the feeling that the wrong person was being condemned.  What about the guy bringing her beer after beer who would try to have sex with her when she's unconscious later? She twerks because society told her that her worth lies in how many men want to have sex with her and she was drunk because a guy was trying to date rape her.  Not cool all round.  But, we stood by like everybody else and didn't offer to escort her safely home when she was thrown out.

December 31, 2013


I am so exhausted.  I have downloaded an iPhone app. that promises to make a decent runner out of a couch potato like me, in just 8 weeks.  I have never been a runner, I'm much happier in the water.  If you'd like to picture me "running", imagine a pear-shaped (not designed for running people!) woman with an angry bright red face, bitterly shuffling alongside a man who springs along like a gazelle and has to keep jogging in circles to fill in time while his wife catches up.  Yesterday Alex and I went for our first jogwalk under the guidance of iPhone.  It was hellish.  I ate a pizza with jalapenos on it just before our jogwalk and it didn't help matters.  My thighs are in total shock.

The other reason that I feel exhausted is that it has been a very intense year at work.  Not just for me, but for all of the women who I work with.  And when you get to the end of a year like this and finally pause, your body and mind finally experience all of the exhaustion and stress that's been kept at bay so that you can keep doing what you need to do.  I absolutely love my work in family violence though. Exhaustion is an unavoidable consequence of rattling the cage for a living.

Here are a few pictures of life lately.  

A muggy grey sky.

A dog's domain.

A picnic in the bush with a friend.

Where we found this old beauty.

Lots of gravitating towards the lake.

Beer and almonds on a hot day in Collingwood.

This is some amazing graffiti that we discovered in a very unassuming suburban alleyway in Ballarat. It's amazing because the Dirty Three are phenomenal and I consider Warren Ellis' violin to be the most beautiful I have ever heard.  The last time that I saw the Dirty Three, they played at about midnight at the Meredith Music Festival.  After a rainy and dreary night, the clouds suddenly parted to reveal the moon and listening to them play in that place was like a spiritual experience.  Alex saw them at the same festival years before, playing with a lightning storm crashing around behind them.  Dear lord.

Here's an old song by the Dirty Three.  They are best enjoyed loud and quite drunk and if possible under the stars.

This was a muggy day sitting on the boardwalk at St Kilda, watching buff guys sans shirt endlessly parade past.

This was Christmas Eve after we did some tequila shots and decided to trawl for Christmas lights.  Have you ever noticed how people in poorer suburbs tend to put more effort in?

There are lots of baby swans at the lake at the moment.  They're very cute.  There's also trash.

And finally, here's some music that I've been listening to lately.  Flume is new to me, but the others are old favourites.

Sarah Blasko is a woman who I love very very much.  Her music is beautiful and if you ever have a chance to see her play live, please do.  None of the recordings do justice to her plucky, funny, striving and earnest self.

Augie March are one of my favourite bands.  Their album Sunset Studies was released in 2000 and I never fail to be moved when I listen to it.  This song isn't from that album, because they weren't that successful at the time.  It's beautiful nonetheless.  Glenn Richards - the guy with the wonderfully ugly face - has a way with words.

I cannot find an official video for this song, so please enjoy the bird montage.  This is Bill Callahan.  I love his voice and the way he thinks.  Alex and I saw him play at the Barbican in London while we were painfully jetlagged and our heads were lolling on our chests.  He wore a terrible suit and it's one of my happiest memories.

Trying to choose a Bonnie 'Prince' Billy song to share with you is a bit torturous because he is so prolific and at the risk of sounding like a total knob, I think his music is stunning.  This is one of his more cheerful songs.

I wanted to share this with you because it's really fun.  Flume is killing it in Australia at the moment. This song is really cool, but I also love the way that the guy in the video moves.  Beautiful dance is a beautiful thing.

Ok, I'm off to read A Room With A View in the bath.  I forgot what a clever man Forster was.  I love finding people from the past who challenged social structures.