Tuesday, March 29, 2011


While we were in NZ, Bumblebee fell in love with L&P, a lemony mineral-waterish softdrink. It's hard to find in Australia, we've tried all sorts of places, within the ACT and without.

Yesterday, BB sent him off to our new local supermarket to get some (badly-needed) tonic water, and he came back crowing. It stocks L&P. What are the odds?

Now he's really, really glad we moved. He's still bouncing around the house. All I can think is that at least now he's distracted from buying Coke.

Oh, and RIP Diana Wynne Jones. I hadn't realised she was dying. She really was a very good writer. I've said before here that I think she's better than JK Rowling, if only for the depth of her imagination. She didn't borrow and adapt, she MADE IT UP. JKR is better at making you bond with characters, but DWJ let her freak flag fly in sooo many different ways. She leaves an awesome body of books that are sometimes quite hard to find, but do persist.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

She's leaving home

Another photo-post, mainly because it's very hard to describe how I feel about leaving a house that I never warmed to, but which is now full of very precious memories. I had a watery tart morning as I locked it up for the last time, thinking about my son as a baby, the changes I made the house go through to make me feel like I was escaping my past instead of being trapped in it, and while I feel thankful that I've moved to somewhere that I love, a little piece of me will be reluctantly floating over the distressed wooden floorboards like a vapour wisp.

If you need more words, go to my flickr stream.






empty shelves



floor line



I'd like to formally thank Colonel and Lady Duck for giving me a home of my own, and for all their support even though I whinged a lot about the house. It wasn't actually the house, but I guess you knew that.

Putting it out there

Dear Jemal Sharah,

I would like to use your poem 'Revelation' for a letterpress broadside.

I have looked for you everywhere. I have written to your publishers, who say the rights have reverted back to you. I have googled you, found where you worked a year ago (Dili, Timor), tried to email you (it bounced back), emailed a colleague who might work near you (again, bounced back), so wrote to you via your employer (a very large government agency), but the letter came back with 'whereabouts unknown' on it. I have asked around, since you are very connected to Canberra, even found someone who has rented your house, but they do not know how to contact you directly.

I do not want to give up. All I can do is make the broadside, fully acknowledge you and the volume from which the poem comes, and hope that you surface and contact me to get your rightful dues: a fee, or a copy of the broadside, or a mix of both.

I will try to make it beautiful, and if it's any consolation, I won't be making any money from it, as it's being printed to raise money for a good cause.




I love blogging. Jemal found me, we got in touch, I'm printing the broadside with a clear conscience. Results! Thank you, interwebs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BBQ Day: a photo-essay

Yesterday was Canberra Day, a holiday we had and you didn't, to celebrate CANBERRA. I chose to spend the day taking piles of rubbish to the tip, which I thought was apt, and then I planned to build the rest of the outdoor setting gifted to us house-warmingly by Colonel & Lady Duck, and also the fancy-pants BBQ gifted to himself by Best Beloved.

After the tip trip, carrying old wardrobes that had been knocked apart and all the crap that comes with buying new things (which is why I hate buying new things), like masses of plastic and polystyrene


and cardboard


I got a phonecall from byrd, with a background of much high-energy squealing and similar noises. Could he and Owen (Zoe's partner) and all their respective kids come over to ours to get said kids from under the feet of respective partners? Absolutely, says I, if you help me build my BBQ. Righty-ho! They were over in a flash, with kids that emerged from their cars like a cork out of a bottle, amd a six-pack of BBQ-building beer.

So here's our afternoon:

Team BBQ
Team BBQ. byrd and Owen, finding all the bits.

Meanwhile, I am Team Chair. Best Beloved is Team Faff around the Kitchen.

Team DS
In the still quite bare loungeroom (around the corner from the tv-feet-up room) is Team Nintendo DS. To the left, out of shot, is our sandstone mantelpiece and open fire (not lit). Grand Days!

Team BBQ, later
A couple of beers later, Team BBQ haven't lost any tempers, but they're having trouble finding a couple of pieces.

Team Table
Team Chair becomes Team Table, which evolves into Team FAIL until Best Beloved surprises me by working out how to get three of the misaligned legs on a bit more easily, and Owen the Engineer works out the last one. You can see the coppiced paperbarks in the back yard. They're lovely, but they're getting taken out in favour of some fruit trees sometime in the nearish future.

Team Cook
Team Cook, standing around feeling justifiably satisfied, sucking on a beer each, discussing meat smoking and rotisserie strategies, but in the meantime whipping up some humble snags for the kids.

Our grass-free back yard, complete with new table and chairs. By the end of the evening, all chairs were occupied (although moved inside, because it started raining).

And finally, Padge, out the front on the silly front light pedestal (the light doesn't work so far) with a cheesy black cat statue I found once at a garage sale. It looks up adoringly at people entering, something Padge never does, although he is very welcoming in a dignified kind of way.

padge lamp

One of his nicknames is 'Dignity Puss'.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

As promised, the bed

I feel like International Wimmins Day has rolled right over me, and left me a bit bruised and exhausted. Today I've (in no particular order) packed and unpacked umpteen boxes, taught a class, bought some shoes, helped a load of students and a senior teacher, ridden my bike across town and back, had lunch with my hubbie, talked my son through his homework plans, amused the cats, attended a committee meeting and written the first draft of a second-round project application.

How's that for a full bloody life, eh? Classic over-'extender', dunno about 'achiever'.

For the record, 'buying shoes' was probably the girliest thing there besides lunching the hubbie (he paid, dammit), but the shoes themselves were NOT girlie, and anyone who knew me in the 80s (I think that's only you, Jo, and maybe Steeve, and possibly Lisa, if you read this) will laugh when they see them:

RIPPLE SOLES! I lived in these for at least ten years, then they disappeared off the shelves until this year. The guy in the shop laughed when I told him this, and said he's been trying to source them for years too. The originals ('Rollers', we both said at the same time, thus establishing our cred with each other, which I pretty much destroyed by saying 'SNAP') used to be made in Poland, but these are made in China and don't quite have the 'roll' as you walk that the Polish ones did. But I love them, and my feet are happy.

So. The bed. A gas-lift bed, for those enquiring minds who enquired, is a storage bed wot with you can store your winter/summer doonas or sex toys or whatever you want to store, and it has a gas-lift hydraulic thingy to help you lift the mattress to get to the storage (thank goodness, because we bought a huge mattress. The cats love it).

The bits, fresh from the flat-packed boxes.

The bits to put the bits together.

Me, putting the bits together. This is the abbreviated, censored, soaped-mouth version.

The gas-lift hydraulics, ready for the mattress.

The final bed, with brand-new linen. We keep looking at the old (Queen, so still big) bed on the low ex-futon base and wondering how we fitted into it. In this bed, sometimes in the night I don't even know there's someone else sleeping with me. BLISS.

Speaking of which, I desperately need a hot bath to relax my screaming muscles before I sleep. So ciao, until the next batch of bad iPhone photos or I get the chance to vent. Still no broadband, no tv, no telephone. Just a dongle. Happy IWD, peoples.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

happy cat is happy

Actually, the cats are nervous and prowly, but Padge didn't seem to mind a chin scratch a little while ago as I booked some cinema tickets on the internet:

You can see one of the things I love about our new house: the slate detailing on the outside.

By the time BB had loaded and unloaded masses of things, then I helped to unload and partially unpack other things, we were absolutely exhaustipated (tired and nothing comes out right). My lovely friend K has moved to Canberra from the Southern Highlands, into a house JUST around the corner, so she bounced around and we drank a bottle of bubbly then walked around to Wilburs (our new local) just in time to order food before the kitchen closed.

Then we fell into bed and slept soundly with the nervous kitties for half the night, but then newness and strangeness took over and I found myself sitting in the loungeroom with wide-awake cats at 4.30am, talking to them about the niceness of their new home. Then we lay in bed pinching each other and saying, 'we're actually here!' Finally we all got back to sleep, but we also had to awake at dawn's crack to give back the rental truck.

So. We're underslept, caffeinated and happy, unpacking merrily but I have just bought cinema tickets in the anticipation of both of us crashing emotionally in a few hours and needing to eat and be entertained without having to talk to each other. Tomorrow Bumblebee gets back from his parental visit and Real Life in the New House begins in earnest.

Hope you're having a good weekend, too!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Poo bum

I thought, since I've packed up all our internetty connection thingies* at home, that I'd be able to download some of my documentary snaps at work & show you yesterday's massive bedmaking effort.

But poo bum, no. My work computer has been overhauled since I last worked here (6 months) and all the useful things have been removed, and no software has been updated. All I can use is the internet. I can't even download photos. Sigh. Getting that all fixed will take a lot of time and phone-based earache and energy that I just can't spare right now.

As I type (quicky between chores), Best Beloved and byrd are packing all our furniture into a hired truck and hauling them one kilometre up the road to the new house. I'm best at work, out of the way, we both agreed when we decided, late yesterday, to go ahead with the move even though our dratted house buyers HAVEN'T exchanged yet. We figure, since they have requested permission to move in before Settlement and pay us rent etc, that they are serious and won't fall through.

So. Today, after work, I ride my bike to the new abode! I saw hot air balloons this morning on the way back from driving BB to Fyshwick to pick up the truck. Good-o, I thought: it's a Balloon Day. Excellent omen.

Yesterday our new beds were delivered. We borrowed enough money to buy a couple of new things, like beds and a BBQ (things that are better bought new, not secondhand) and the rest of our purchases will be secondhand, like couches and dining chairs -- Zoe is lending us a lovely cedar dining table that is sculking in the corner of her house, aching to entertain. Colonel and Lady Duck bought us an outdoor table setting as a house gift, bless them. It arrives today too, flatpacked and ready to assemble.

Bumblebee's new bed is a King Single, and only needed its little feet screwed on to the base (which is also a bed in its own right, so the two halves can be pulled apart for sleep-overs). Our bed, however, was delivered flat-packed (apart from the mattress) and needed to be assembled. So that was yesterday's task for me.

I will insert before and after photos here when I can upload them. Suffice to say that there is a special circle in Hell for people who write construct assemblage instruction sheets. All the bits were there, but the instructions were supremely unhelpful, and in fact quite obstructive. I eventually just glanced at it to make sure I wasn't doing anything downright dangerous, and worked it out for myself. I like assembling things; I have friends who ring me up to build their Ikea whatevers etc for them, but I do get very cranky with bad instruction design.

I now have a magnificent (and solid) King Size gas-lift storage bed, fully made up and ready for us to fall into, exhausted, tonight. I feel righteous. The flat-packed outdoor setting will be a lot easier, I'm hoping!

So the cats are nervous, sticking together in worry and not sure whether we're abandoning them, or if we'll be taking them to the vet later or something. I can't wait for them to be prowling around the new rooms. Every window sill is wide enough for them to laze upon! Kitty heaven. As the nice man who came yesterday to install the catflap said: 'you don't find houses like this anymore.'


* I've been the resident amateur IT person at every workplace I've worked since the introduction of the Mac Classic. I put it down to my use of simple and accessible technical vocabulary.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

hurry up, hurry up

impatient cat is impatient

So much for the easy Monday exchange. Thanks to lawyers and banks stuffing up, exchange is slated for this afternoon. It better be, we've booked the truck for tomorrow and the new beds arrive in an hour.

I have primed up my iPhone camera for documentation porpoises.

I have met the pets on one side: two cats and a little yappy dog. One of the cats has obviously learned from the dog, as it is yappy too, and looks like a miniature version of our cats. We'll have a black cat street! Mind you, I think it will be chaos for a while.

Padge has also been ill. I have had to squirt horrid expensive antiobiotics down his throat with a syringe four times a day. I have become an expert at grabbing a huge handful of the scruff of his neck to pull it back for the squirting. It's not pretty, but it's a great skill to learn and I wish I'd been shown it years ago, could have some in handy with Bumblebee :) Anyhoo, the drugs are working, he's perky as hell today.