Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Calming down, sorting out, digging deep...

Hello blog,

Somehow since last week and the depths of abstract anxiety-coping mechanisms, I have found the middle ... sort of. I blame Cath, she made me get up on Saturday and go to Bungendore for a cooking class with native limes. It's hard to be deep when you're whisking lime sabayon and making your first successful shortcrust pastry for 12 years. I won, I won the whisking! Everyone else had to swap with other ppl, but I being ambidextrous as to whisks, was able to make it all the way through about 15 minutes of sabayon creation without a pause. Even Mr Cook was impressed. AND the lime tart was delicious. I enjoyed the vinaigrette in that the ingredients were quite fancy, but I can't say I'll use it again - I don't really like salad dressing. And the third option - native lime and gin icecream - moves me not at all. I can't taste icecream, for one, because it's too cold. It seemed a waste of lime, cream and gin to me. I thought, as I watched the icecream machine whirring, that it would be much nicer if it was all being whirred in a blender with a bit of sugar syrup and turned into a cocktail. But that's my sad preference!

Then, abuzz with achievement, I reviewed myself. After the cooking class (and the rather fine lunch it led to), Cath and I took to wandering the other shops. We passed by the Woodworks, because of serial cafe offences earlier in the year. I went straight to the Secondhand and Antique Emporium on the corner ... where ... I ... bought a hall stand. You know how you do? I HAVE been looking for some time for such a thing, finding it difficult to locate a stand which was narrow in width and depth, for a particular not very spacious place in my house. And there it was - on sale! You just can't argue with the gods when they provide so spectacularly as this. I will need to work out how to get it back here, but I think my sainted father (hi dad!) will lend a hand with a trailer and some lifting muscles.

My next satisfaction is to announce that all the mats have been hosed. What with contributions from cats, winter feet, and less-frequent cleaner activity, they were kind of furry. So I've been giving the geraniums under the washing line a real bonanza of furry water - they seem to like it, and the mats are immatulate!


All this led to a determination to finish unpacking the posted boxes of stuff from Over There. It took ages to get into the extremely well-packed breakable items - clearly I have no faith whatsoever in post-handlers, because some of my things had three layers of bubblewrap, over tissue, then bound all about with wide sticky tape, and then stuffed into socks, jumpers, hats and the like. Then again, this obsessive packing meant that nothing got broken, cracked, chipped, not a skerrick. Wonderful!

This (are you still with me?) meant that I could then make up the spare bed, cos it wasn't loaded with boxes any more. THIS means that if a marital partner needs to bail in the middle of the night cos the cat is snoring too loudly, there's somewhere else to sleep. Cos, like, the arse fell out of the sofa while we were away...

To complete this list of virtuosities, I have made a huge leap forward in study (the room, not the process) management. I have seen the top of my desk, and it is dusty. I have inspected the contents of storage tubs, shuddered, hastily closed them again, and put labels on them. I have established that my mobile phone is far too missing to expect it to ever be seen again. I even found the Lego (WHAT was it doing in my study? The last time an offspring of mine used it was about 15 years ago!). Oh well. I guess if I get really bored when I'm losing my Curse of the Pharaohs game, I can build another squared-off dinosaur or something.

Today I did even more useful things. Tomorrow I will be mobile-phone enabled at last. All I'll have to do is re-establish my address book, which is a pain. I bet, I just bet, that after the last 9 digit number of the eleventy-three ppl I know is entered, my old mobile leaps up from its hiding place and gives me back my old SIM card.

Life, always, is like that.

I have to go to Adelaide on Thursday to see the uber-doc. Again. He will inspectigate me, sigh, and write me prescriptions for uber-drugs which will have to be applied in unladylike ways to work properly. They will only be available from special compounding chemists, and it will be a PAIN. He will tell me that ... I have a tricky problem. Yeah? BUT in breaking and super-wonderful news, my darling dorter is coming with me. She's never been to Adelaide before, so the rellos are lined up ready to meet the princess-goddess-wondergirl. I've given them the protocol, signed off on the security system, and ordered the caviar. I just hope my brothers remember the colour-coordinated Holdens...

Today brought to you with optimism, a cat full of bloody burrs, and a good dose of Toni. You should all try this, except she's my special mate and I don't know if I'm generous enough to share her with everyone. But you can try the Trussardi "Inside" perfume, that's open slather. It's potent, smooth and long-lasting. Hmm... sounds like a good drink. I'm off, then!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Buzz buzz..

So, what does the intrepid blogger do when she isn't packing, unpacking, finding herself or losing herself?

Not much ektually... bumped into friends at Tilleys ... topped up the scripts (sigh) at the doc ... pulled up the first zillion of a trillion forget-me-nots .... cooked twice! ... spent time with friends and family trying to re-engage in what I longed for so much - my real life.

This is clearly conceptual: I longed for tangible things, but now I have them I find they are only tangible physically. Robert Dessaix writes (I paraphrase) of the difficulty of travel being 'boredom - the boredom of oneself'. So true. When you are pooped to pieces and you need a big wow to motivate you to do anything, it is not the travel experience which is letting you down, it is your own poor, raddled, incompetent self. I have been reflecting on how much this is true and how much it sucks. MORE things one has to find willpower for!

Or maybe not ... the work I'm doing on anxiety recognition, management, 'control', coping mechanisms, etc, is focussed very much on the 'chatter of the mind' principle. And why, I ask, is the mind such a mean, negative, nit-picking, critical, doom-saying and downright nasty piece of work? Why are we apparently programmed to think only ill of ourselves? Critical, judgemental, adversarial, self-talk you wouldn't find in a bunch of drunk Harleys, all kinds of shit. Easily. Any old time. In fact, difficult, bloody very difficult, to escape. When I find myself struggling to get up and face the day, do I lie thinking "well that's alright; yesterday I weeded and cooked and made my dorter's life wonderful and I didn't murderate anyone or neglect a cat'. Oh no. I lie there thinking 'if I were a better person; a competent, capable reasonable intelligent person I'd just hop out of bed and get on with it, no mulling it over and feeling awful and wondering why and BLAMING MYSELF'.

It's just so ineffective. As a work practice it has all the efficiency of ... a championship delegator who can find and fling, but never fully understand. Never manage, create, contribute, control or complete a task or challenge.


So, I'm up against it. Arguing with myself is a good game, it can take hours; days out of my life. All completely useless of course, achieving nothing but the semblance of activity of the mind, but only leading to stronger feelings of crapitude, downness and general pointlessness.

What is the antidote? It's very simple, you just let go. Let all this chatter flow right on through, past you and your conscious self and off somewhere, it doesn't matter where. Just be in the now.

An elusive place! Think about it, when was the last time you were sitting somewhere, engaged wholly in your surroundings but not yakking away to yourself in your mind, or dreaming up a list of to-dos, or regretting something, or chivvying yourself to stop all this foolish blobbing around and go and DO something.

I'm working on it. And, sorry, but you haven't achieved now-ness if you are fully engaged in saying 'SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP' to yourself. It's SILENCE in the mind; full engagement in the moment we're looking for. Physical stillness might help but walking or swimming (anything soothing, repetitive and meditative) might do the trick.

How are you doing??

Today, deeply felt, brought to you by a new one: Trussardi's "Inside" (for women; there are two variants). Leathery, intense but not musky, and quite sexy. I think. I hope!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Brunch, aaahhh...

M pointed out to me that one thing we did not do, Over There, was brunch. There were many lunches masquerading as brunch, but as an entity in itself, brunch did not happen.

To redress this awful lack in our lives, I am ignoring the fresh eggs, english spinach, and sourdough bread - not to mention the international range of coffee I have to hand, thanks to assiduous posting - and taking ourselves to Ironbark, and Manuka, to see what there is to see. And eat it!

Wattleseeds, quandongs, rosella jam and whom nose what else.

Today brought to you, so far, by Dioressence, which I can sort of smell! Yah roids, their only happy side-effect, imho...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Re-entry, Mark 2

Hmm...I am Officially Not Well.



My respiratory system was, as you regular readers well know, a troublesome travelling companion. Oh well, I thoughts to myself, once I get home things will settle down.

I was wrong. You don't need the details. Roids rool, n all that... re-entry is being prolonged by continuing shit health. I don't know if that is a Medicare item, but it should be!

Meantime, however, between meds, puffers, rests, abandoned plans, and quite a lot of takeaway food, some things HAVE been achieved:

-I have found my socks but not my mobile.
-I have cut some but by no means all of the matted fur lumps off the divine but arthritic Maccy.
-I have enjoyed listening to Alice the Garden singing as she watered the new babies, and talked to Little Miss Wendy, my local buffalo-huntress.
-I have cooked a very good roast lamb, the only change to my usual recipe being to cook it very slowly on a low heat (so I could sleep off something or other). It was moist, tender and YUM.
-I have moved the furniture back to its normal configuration in the lounge, and removed sundry junks, so it looks more homey. But the Great (and bloody endless) New Sofa Hunt will have to resume very soon!
-I have bought two new 'pattern-matching' (anti-Alzheimers!) games for free!!! for my trusty home laptop. And spent a lot of ventolin-fuelled midnight hours playing them while I metabolised said drug enough to stop shaking and go to sleep..
-my Good Wimmin turned up yesterday bearing amazing goodies for me: two bunches of flars (burgundy and cream, oh gorjuss), shortbread freckles, soothing Organic Serenity (TM) tea from Toby's Estate. Their intent was to cheer. It worked!
-I have been able to do a small but oh so wonderful bit of socialising - from the purrfect delight of young Aidan (hi baby!) to the extremely violent but perfectly balanced Bell Shakespeare's 'Titus Andronicus' last night. Literally buckets of blood. My play companions and I had to repair for a drinkie afterwards to wash away the images... which were NOT gratuitous. John Bell can use the most minimal set, props, costume, and with the power of words and interpretation, knock you backwards in your seat and peel the everyday glaze from your eyeballs, with a single gesture. Fabulous.

Had some straaaaaange dreams afterwards, but..

Today? There is the possibility of crullers with Cath, I want to sit on my deck, and I'd like to cook again. There is a fridge full of lovely farmer's market veggies to consider. But, sadly, no purrfume, because a) I can't smell a thing, and haven't been able to for about a week, SAD FACE; and b) anyway it might make me wheeze or koff, and THAT is something I can manage to frustrating purrfection all on my own....

Saturday, October 11, 2008


.. is all about the strangeness of the familiar.. gosh, the fridge hasn't moved!! Oh, wow, peanut paste tastes the same! Hey, great, my black shoes!

And things to rejoice in meeting again, like the overgrown, wonderful wild fairy meadow spring garden, and decent cups of tea, and chutney, and supermarkets where I understand every item..

And funny things, like I can't find where I packed away my socks and undies, or remember what the system is to turn on the telly, or what that strange icy object is in the back of the freezer.

And sounds, like lawnmowers, and kids chattering as they walk past with icecreams, and happy magpies, and the way the back screen door bangs when it closes.

And thoughts, about simple pleasures which are very different from those which make travelling possible - my very own pillow, night after night; and predictable shower heads; and being able to find places and things; and how absolutely purrfect it is to be with special friends again.

And funny but weird stuff, like waking up in the middle of the night wondering which hotel we're in and where is the ensuite; and jetlag making me feel like lunch at 4am; and having NO idea where my mobile is even though I know I put it away trying to be very practical about 'obvious places'.

And simple purrfections, like ABC TV, and springtime in general, and the sweet peas climbing up the bamboo, and being reunited with my entire purrfume collection, and decent coffee every time from my very own kitchen, and of course having those two lil furry bottom feeders around again. Having one of them clamped to my leg all night, while the other one snores on the bedroom chair. And the lap cuddles, and the purring, and the nortiness outside running up trees and ambushing innocent ankles as they walk along the path...awww. My catties. How COULD I have left them for so long?

These last few days brought to you by eau-de-home. Whatever that means to you, I has it here. At last.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home, home's very strange...

Yeah I know I said I was going away.. but I thought I oughta at least confirm that we be home. Walking around going 'Wow. Who belongs to all this stuff???' and 'Where is a cat when I need it?'

See? Even when I go to the trouble of coming home, I can't get no satisfaction from a cat.

Altho... eventually Maccy gave me a 'howdy-whoever-you-are' purry drool onto my new coat, and Little Miss-chief consented to biff me. Awww..

Now. To bed, to bed, and don't expect to see me vertical until I think of a good reason to bother.

Today brought to you by a cupboard-ful of the purrfume I already own! Hmm... which one shall I spray all over myself so as to sleep in angelic fragrant clouds??? Tune in next week to find out!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

From Seoul to Hong Kong

Getting here was ok. Aiports didn’t throw any wobblies at us, unlike leaving Helsinki where I had to watch the nice security lady guard throw my L’Occitane face wash that cost at least half a big bomb, into the bin cos of the regulation that says ‘Nothing liquid in a container bigger than 100ml’. The container said 150ml, but it was half empty. Visibly half empty. Duzzenmadder, roolz is rools and my choices were to take it back out to check-in and check it in (one liddle tube???? I assumed I’d therefore have to put it into a bag, and bugger me I didn’t seem to have one teeeeeeeeny little Louis Vuitton bit of lockable luggage in my back pocket for just such moments), or watch it get binned. Waaahhh.. I was polite but puzzled, and the fierce lady guard person was quite polite, but when I waved goodbye to it, saying ‘bye bye, little tube, I love you’ she actually said sorry.


Packing to leave Seoul I inspected every unguent for signs of being in too big a container. Based on the Helsinki experience, they shoulda impounded M’s toothpaste tube even tho it was visibly nearly empty. But NO, his poxy toothpaste passed without a quiver of anybody’s anything. No fair I say.

This hotel, however, is rather porsh, and has L’Occitane miniature bathroom products. Which I have confiscated immediately and packed so M can’t touch them. Mine all mine!! It is the least I deserve.

See, I told you I was speechless.....

A cat can.. and frequently does. But this little purrfect puss is going offline for a week or so, to recover my energy, whip my whiskers back into line, and lie in the garden.

For the loyal followers of T and S, never fear, opinions’r’us will return. I have plenty of them waiting in the back of my mind, just waiting to be aired and shared. Just gotta catch meself up with meself first.

Today brought to you by quite a lot of Stemetil, so I could actually leave Seoul (that’s another story), one last whiff of Asian drain in the morning, and a quite large squirt of Guerlain’s “Very Irresistable”, which I was anointed with at the airport while doing my duty in Duty Free before leaving for Honkers. [Of course I bought some, it was 20% off!!!]

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breathing a little more slowly..

I have now found a Net cafe which doesn't charge by the wounded bull .. but still can't spend as much time as I'd like, cos we only gots one key to the hotel room and M needs to sleep soon.

Seoul? Well... hard to say. I've never been in a huge Asian city as clean as this one, which is a good and very impressive thing, given that this city is home to about 10 million people, and purrhaps could be furgiven a bit of grot. The smog is fairly light, even thought the traffic is heavy. But the downside is that people still have the habit of spitting, something I find really disgusting. It makes me feel icky enough to be unable to eat, if there's too much of it. As for the charming practice of blowing one's nose without use of a hanky or tissue ... irrggG.

We've been very slow to do much here, as our jetlag from Finland is still striking at unhelpful hours - one can't do day tours when one's internal clock says day is 2am - midday. Neither is room service quite possible, when it's not available 24 hours a day. I woke at 3am this morning, all fired up and ready to knock off a palace or two, and I couldn't even dial up a cuppa tea. Our hotel is not the most salubrious, even tho we're in the centre of the city. For a start, I think it's probably more focussed on Korean guests, as the possibility of English anything is fairly low. And our room has a wet spot... and the only truly edible thing on the room service menu (although this shows their excellent priorities!) is the coffee, which is served with cream unless you really DEMAND milk instead.

Seoul is so huge I don't know where to start - the night lights are spectacular, especially the 40 storey high graphics projected onto specially built panels all the way up a nearby hotel. The old palace grounds are across the city square from us, and this afternoon we wandered through them on our way to an exhibition of 20th C Latin American mural art. Most of the temples/residences are either 'new' copies, or radically revised/altered versions of the original, either because of something like fire, or something like a Japanese or Northern Korean invasion. I think it ends up a bit like the old axe story - I've had this axe for 30 years; I've had 5 new blades and 4 new handles, but it's still the same old axe.

I've tried to have some things made at the tailor, but apart from the cost, which is NOT Thailand-esque at all but rather expensive, I missed out when they underestimated how much fabric was needed for a coat BIG ENOUGH TO GO AROUND A HUGE WESTERN GODZILLA-GRRL LIKE ME. Oh, sorry, was I shouting??

Tomorrow we are going on quite a long tour around Seoul's hot spots, ending up at a huge street market. We walked through this same market yesterday, spending a couple of hours shuffling through the 'everything you could possibly imagine' stalls and tripping over the displays on the pathway... I didn't buy a single thing, I was too overwhelmed. And somewhat annoyed that the ONLY thing I didn't see was fabric. No point looking at clothes for miniature wimmin, or ceramics and glassware, or souvenirs (I'm truly over souvenirs).. or amazing displays of foodstuffs I can't identify. The fish market has species in it I reckon are actually plasticine models made by the local kindies on their sci-fi days.

I had a purrfume accident leaving Helsinki, so I'm not even looking at that here. Also, I have found in the past that Asian purrfumes tend to be either strong gardenia, or strong lily, or green tea. None of these scents are tempting to me, spoiled as I am by my very early venture into lily of the valley via Dior's 'Diorissimo' (and my good taste was vindicated when I read that it was Princess Diana's favourite). And green tea is a DRINK fagodzake!

I seem to be a bit speechless. News from home about springtime and the badness of the cats on the home front is just killing me. All I can think about is that, come Tuseday next week, I can begin a long period of deck therapy, with my fatty catty nearby in case I need to wuffle my face in his tum, and my Miss-chief Mummy-Mangler ambushing my ankles and returning them to their usual happily scarred state...

Today brought to you by large Asian city eau-de-rotten cabbage mingled with top notes of exhaust and dust, and a long after-whiff of 'orrible drains. My blasts of Magnifique are completely useless as a force field. I can't smell it at all, which is a bummer considering the city purrfume is up me nose with a vengeance. That is one of life's little nasal ironies...

Seoul, dying to be home...

The Net cost at this hotel is OUTRAGEOUS. I can only spend a few minutes; we are suffering jet lag, culture lag, energy lag and homesick lag...

Not that anything is WRONG, actually, but it's bloody hard to find our way around, to make sense of things, to get anything done without a hassle.

We leave Saturday afternoon, can't wait.